LETTER : Austen's answer

Sir: Petronella Wyatt ("Marriage? No, I'd rather live", 28 March) says she was pilloried for being "unattached" like some poor creature in a Jane Austen novel.

Jane Austen did not by any means always regard the unattached as "poor creatures". In Emma (vol 1, chapter 10) her heroine says, "... a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as pleasant and sensible as anybody else," and "it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible ..."

EVA WITTENBERG

Pinner,

Middlesex

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