These are my entries for Miss Dashwood's contest for birthday-cards and letters to Miss Jane Austen. :)
My dearest Miss Austen,
La, but I'm fagged! I was up dancing all last night at the Officer's Ball and Wickham spilled his punch all over my gown and spoilt it. (The gown, not the punch--well, both. La, what a goose I am!) I'm afraid he isn't half as agreeable as you said he'd be when you married me off to him, though he is horridly handsome. But here I am babbling on so when I picked up my pen to write you a Happy Birthday. (Though it seems to me you might be happier if you were married as well. If you only came to visit me, Miss Austen, I could introduce you to all the officers--ahhmmmm!) I trust we can count on you to host a ball to celebrate the day? And make sure that the fabled Mr. Churchill sees to the music. [I've never met him, of course, but I hear you wrote him up as a fine rogue! How I wish I could see him.] We simply can't let Mary play--she'd be bound to play concertos when we want something we could dance to like a jig or a reel and--oh crumbs! Why, I haven't chosen my gown for the dance tomorrow--what rot it is being married to a man who can't supply you with an allowance because he spends it all on cards. I find I haven't had a new gown since September! Really, Miss Austen, I'd think you'd be wiser than to set me up with him. Ah well. Que Sera, Sera and all that sort of thing the French say. (Or was it the Italian?) No matter. My hand is so cramped from writing this card I had better stop at once with one more wish for you to have a pleasant ball--I mean, birthday.
Your dearest friend,
Lydia Wickham. (La, how droll that sounds!)
My dear Madam,
I would not be a gentleman if I did not wish you a very felicitous birthday--and I do, most heartily--though I can't seem to understand what the women find so pleasant in reading the mail. Especially letters of friendship--they seldom bring any money at all. I hear rumours that you are having a small evening party? I hope it does not snow, for your sake. It is my opinion that it looks very much like snow, and you know how unpleasant it is to be snow-bound in another's house for any length of time.
But as I have taken up my pen against scruples over the mail, I must beg an answer from you for a question that has plagued my mind for some time--how to convince my father-in-law that I don't wish to hear at every mealtime how unhealthy my habits are? If it is not the food he is sighing over, it's the place I take my family on holiday, and if it isn't where I take my family on holiday it is the cut of my coat. George, my brother, seems to be able to not only tolerate him, but likes him. Mr. Woodhouse is, I daresay, a good man and a generous one. But he never extends the generosity to me in the manner of which I'd savor it: In a good dose of silence.
Once more, I wish you a happy and enjoyable birthday, and I trust my sending a letter in the mail will not distress you any more than I hear they distress Miss Fairfax. Now I must beg your leave and go attend to guarding the chickens.
I am yours &c,