I came across this “backwards letter” (pictured) when I was looking for a Jane Austen quote about New Years. Since I’ve featured a couple other scrambled language systems before (Playing Mind Games and More Mind Games), which turned out to be some of my most popular posts, I just had to share it with you. Can you figure out what it says? (transcription below)
Ym raed Yssac, I hsiw uoy a yppah wen raey. Ruoy xis snisuoc emac ereh yadretsey dna dah hcae a eceip fo ekac. Siht si elttil Yssac’s yadhtrib, dna ehs si eerht sraey dlo. Knarf sah nugeb gninrael Nital. Ew deef eht Nibor yreve gninrom. Yllas Mahneb sah tog a wen neerg nwog. Teirrah Thgink semoc yreve yad ot daer ot Tnua Ardnassac. Doog eyb ym raed Yssac. Tnua Ardnassac sdnes reh tseb evol, dna os ew od lla. Ruoy Etanoitceffa Tnua, Enaj Netsua
The letter is dated January 6th from Chawton (year unknown) and was sent to one of Jane Austen’s nieces. If you’ve managed to decipher it, you know the young lady’s name is Cassy (Cassandra) – a very popular moniker amongst the Austen females (Jane’s mother, sister, this niece and her three-year-old cousin also mentioned above).
It’s not easy to read, is it? Nor for me to type it. Consider how much more difficult it would have been for Jane to write it out in cursive longhand. I respect the brain power it took to do it, but I guess I’m more impressed that she took the time and trouble, simply to provide a little entertainment for her niece. I think Cassy was very lucky to have such an aunt.
PS – Not surprisingly, my spell-check program didn’t much like this JA quote. What I didn’t expect was that it actually approved some of the words: os, ew, od, ym, fo, si, sah. Come on! These aren’t real words, except maybe to hard core Scrabble players.