After Jane Austen’s death in 1817, her family is said to have destroyed some of the letters she wrote to them to avoid any potential embarrassment.
Cassandra Austen set about burning many of her sister’s letters in an attempt to preserve her legacy, and cut out passages of others to prevent them leaking.
So when the last six lines of one note was recently unearthed – penned by the famed author to her Cassandra four years before her death – there were hopes it may lead to an intimate secret.
Instead, the writer simply described matters concerning her laundry.
Today a leading academic described the mention of “linen inventory” and “storeplaces” in the note as part of what made Austen’s art so universally popular.
The missing lines have now gone on display at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, and concern the reordering of her brother George’s London estate.
In the letter, dated September 15-16, 1813, Austen wrote: “By the time you get this, I hope George & his party will have finished their Journey.
“God bless you all. I have given Mde. B. my Inventory of the linen, & added 2 round towels to it by her desire.
“She has shewn me all her storeplaces, & will shew you & tell you all the same. Perhaps I may write again by Henry.”