Sense & Sensibility: Lucy's cheeky letter to Elinor

In the early days of filming Sense and Sensibility, director Ang Lee requested that the actors write background information about their character's "inner life". While some actors balked at this homework, actress Imogene Stubbs took the task to heart and wrote an imagined letter from Lucy to Elinor, some years after their respective marriages. Emma Thompson included it in the Screenplay and Diaries book on the film and deemed that Imogene had the prize-winning letter!

I found it to be quite entertaining so here is an excerpt from Lucy Ferrars letter to Elinor Ferrars:

Dear Elinor,

Robert and I have been enjoying a splendid weekend with the Prince Regent, with whom, I declare, I feel quite at home, and who is a veritable gentleman towards we ladies . He has called me 'sumptuous' and 'frivolous' by turns all weekend, and even remarked on my famous curls - enquiring whether 'God did all' or did they require 'feminine assistance'? How we laughed!

My dear Elinor- I feel the time has come to have a little discussion about the past, but before I begin, do tell - how are your precious family? Is poor, pale Marianne happy now with the marvellously competent, mature husband? I shall never forget the pathetic lachrymosity (my! the vocabulary one acquires in 'society') of her warbling, when that wretched scoundrel left her innocent, trusting self for material advantage. Well - he must live with his shame. We can be grateful for that at least. Is darling Margaret behaving herself? I do so miss her mischievous ways, and have quite forgiven her the time when she placed a beetle in my soup, and then laughed fit to burst as I was carried upstairs in a faint. How could she know how close I was to choking to death? How could she know how deeply affected I was by the experience? How could she know at that tender age that one day I might be in a position to offer her assistance financially, or an entry into polite society, and might not care to forget such behaviour? I jest - and for proof, enclose a bonnet-ribbon to prettify that sweet, homely face.

Has Mrs Jennings managed to lose weight, and has your mother gained any? If only a doctor could cut pieces off one person and transfer them to another, how content we should be! ...

Read entire letter here
(page 317 on, not page number of book)


  1. Love the letter (Imogen Stubbs sounds like a card) love the book and love the film. The world is a better place because of this film!

  2. I almost forgot that this letter was included in the screenplay book! I really enjoyed reading her letter and feel again that the actors from that film really understood Jane Austen. It makes such a difference when actors take the time to understand their characters and the author, it helps them to really move and think like the character they are portraying. So even though Emma Thompson cut out or changed bits of S&S the film as a whole is so true to the spirit of Jane Austen and is so beautiful!

    ~Miss Laurie
    Old-Fashioned Charm



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