, never published in her lifetime. It mercilessly parodies the literary works of her time, much in the vein of the satiric aspects of
— an adaptation of a completely unrelated early, posthumously-published Austen work
- Accomplice by Inaction: Laura and Sophia consider MacDonald's lack of sighing when witnessing their relative bad luck as the mark of a black heart. He is the only one to help them and to save them from their misfortune at that point.
- Arranged Marriage: Attempted for Edward. His rejection is a satire:
My Father, seduced by the false glare of Fortune and the Deluding Pomp of Title, insisted on my giving my hand to Lady Dorothea. "No, never," exclaimed I. "Lady Dorothea is lovely and Engaging; I prefer no woman to her; but know, Sir, that I scorn to marry her in compliance with your Wishes. No! Never shall it be said that I obliged my Father."
- Bewildering Punishment: Laura and Sophia are shocked at a man's rage when he catches them stealing from them.
At this period of their Quarrel I entered the Library and was, as you may imagine, equally offended as Sophia at the ill-grounded Accusations of the malevolent and contemptible Macdonald.
- Black Sheep: Edward
- Blue Blood: On Laura's mother's side, and for Edward.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Edward, rather ridiculously.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: At one point everything Laura says reminds the grief-stricken Sophia of her imprisoned husband, and staying silent only leaves her to her thoughts of him.
- Contrived Coincidence: Even Laura comments on how an accident means she doesn't have to talk.
- Elopement: Laura and Sophia persuade Janetta to one.
- Epistolary Novel: The exchange that inspired Laura opens it.
- Fainting: Exaggerated to the point that it kills Sophia
"Beware of fainting-fits... though at the time they may be refreshing and agreeable, yet believe me: they will, in the end, if too often repeated and at improper seasons, prove destructive to your constitution."
- Ghibli Hills: Where she lived with her parents.
- Heir Club for Men: Laura's father-in-law, Sir Edward, remarries in hope of a son—and gets one.
- His Name Is...: Edward, dying.
- Inherited Illiteracy Title: As in the title, the word "friend" is always written as "freind," along with a number of other misspellings. The misspellings are all Austen's (she wrote the story at age 14). She corrected the spelling later in life, but editors of her work tend to leave it uncorrected as they think it's charming.
- Instant Expert: According to the the narrator, she herself picked up accomplishments quickly in the convent.
Of every accomplishment accustomary to my sex, I was Mistress. When in the Convent, my progress had always exceeded my instructions, my Acquirements had been wonderfull for my age, and I had shortly surpassed my Masters.
- I Was Quite a Looker: While narrating the story, Laura admits her beauty has faded.
Tho' my Charms are now considerably softened and somewhat impaired by the Misfortunes I have undergone, I was once beautiful.
- Lack of Empathy: Laura, the narrator, claims to have acquired this over time:
Tho' indeed my own Misfortunes do not make less impression on me than they ever did, yet now I never feel for those of an other.
- Last Request: Sophia urges Laura to profit from her example and not go in for Fainting.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: Inverted. Philander and Gustavus insist that their lineage comes from their mothers.
- Long-Lost Relative: Laura finds her grandfather.
- Love at First Sight: A stranger (Edward) arriving wins Laura's heart:
My natural sensibility had already been greatly affected by the sufferings of the unfortunate stranger and no sooner did I first behold him, than I felt that on him the happiness or Misery of my future Life must depend.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Four separate grandchildren are recognized in one scene.
- Missing Mom: Edward and Augusta
- Moral Myopia: Sophia and Laura's concern extends solely to those they approve of — those, in fact, who act like characters in a novel. They abuse Sacred Hospitality by persuading a man's daughter to run off with a fortune-hunter and steal from him with clear consciences.
This discovery she imparted to me; and having agreed together that it would be a proper treatment of so vile a Wretch as Macdonald to deprive him of Money, perhaps dishonestly gained, it was determined that the next time we should either of us happen to go that way, we would take one or more of the Bank notes from the drawer.
- Nature Lover: Augusta, resulting in Laura meeting her and the others with her.
She told me that having a considerable taste for the Beauties of Nature, her curiosity to behold the delightful scenes it exhibited in that part of the World had been so much raised by Gilpin's Tour to the Highlands, that she had prevailed on her Father to undertake a Tour to Scotland and had persuaded Lady Dorothea to accompany them.
- Oedipus Complex: Spoofed; given the silliness of the children, their defiance comes across as probably idiotic.
- The Ophelia: Parodied when the husbands of the two heroines suddenly die in front of them. Each heroine exhibits a standard Gothic romance reaction — one swoons, while the other has a fit of madness. The latter proves the healthier choice, as lying unconscious for two hours on the wet grass gives the other girl a cold that ultimately kills her, and she dies exhorting her friend "Beware of swoons, dear Laura. . . . A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is I dare say conducive to Health in its consequences—Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint."
- Pair the Spares: Augusta and Graham.
- Parental Abandonment: Both of Laura's parents die during the story, in time to keep her situation dramatic:
You may perhaps have been somewhat surprised, my Dearest Marianne, that in the Distress I then endured, destitute of any support, and unprovided with any Habitation, I should never once have remembered my Father and Mother or my paternal Cottage in the Vale of Uske. To account for the seeming forgetfullness I must inform you of a trifling circumstance concerning them which I have as yet never mentioned. The death of my Parents a few weeks after my Departure, is the circumstance I allude to. By their decease I became the lawfull Inheritress of their House and Fortune. But alas! the House had never been their own, and their Fortune had only been an Annuity on their own Lives. Such is the Depravity of the World!
- Parody Sue: Laura — and Sophia, Edward, and Augustus, to a certain extent.
- The Promise: Of eternal friendship, made at first sight.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: The narrator Laura excuses any crimes whatsoever committed by herself, her husband Edward, and their friends Augustus and Sophia, but is merciless toward anyone who does not cater to their whims.
- Sacred Hospitality: Laura, Sophia, and their husbands abuse hospitality freely.
- They rudely snub Edward's aunt's invitation.
We returned a suitable answer to this affectionate Note, and after thanking her for her kind invitation, assured her that we would certainly avail ourselves of it, whenever we might have no other place to go to. Tho' certainly nothing could, to any reasonable Being, have appeared more satisfactory than so gratefull a reply to her invitation, yet I know not how it was, but she was certainly capricious enough to be displeased with our behaviour
- At MacDonald's, they persuade his daughter to run off with a fortune-hunter, and then rob him.
- Settle for Sibling: Sir Edward, at the end, marries Lord Dorothea, whom he had tried to marry his son to.
- Spoof Aesop: A mock-Anvilicious scene at a dying friend's bedside delivers the spoof Aesop, "Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint."
- Strong Family Resemblance: Laura's grandfather comments on it:
He started, and after having attentively examined my features, raised me from the Ground, and throwing his Grand-fatherly arms around my Neck, exclaimed, "Acknowledge thee! Yes, dear resemblance of my Laurina and Laurina's Daughter, sweet image of my Claudia and my Claudia's Mother, I do acknowledge thee as the Daughter of the one and the Granddaughter of the other."
- Tyop on the Cover: Preserved from the original manuscript. Austen wrote it when she was fourteen and didn't intend for it to be published. In addition, the "I before E except after C" rule had not been codified at that point.
- Unable to Support a Wife: Edward's sister puts her thumb on the problem of his rash marriage, but was ignored by Edward:
But still, I am not without apprehensions of your being shortly obliged to degrade yourself in your own eyes by seeking a Support for your Wife in the Generosity of Sir Edward
- Who's Your Daddy?: The mothers of Laura's male cousins, Philander and Gustavus, were unsure of the paternity of their sons.
- The Wicked Stage: The narrator's grandmother:
My Mother was the natural Daughter of a Scotch Peer by an Italian Opera-girl.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Certain characters think they are in a novel...unfortunately, they're actually in a Parody thereof. For example, the hero's father comments:
Where, Edward in the name of wonder (said he) did you pick up this unmeaning gibberish? You have been studying Novels, I suspect.