Saturday, December 31, 2011

Literary Tag

I originally saw this tag on Austenitis, and at the end of it Charity tagged anyone who wanted to do the tag.  I thought it looked interesting, and so I filed it away.  I now hereby tag any of you who wish to do this tag.

To begin, you must choose twelve literary characters. (Yes, I'll wait while you do.)  Choose the characters first, then proceed to answer the questions (which are listed below with my answers.)

My characters:
1. Cynthia Kirkpatrick (Wives and Daughters)
2. Rachel Lynde (Anne of Green Gables)
3. Miss Matty Jenkyns (Cranford)
4. John Thornton (North and South)
5. Cecily Cardew (Importance of Being Earnest)
6. Paul Chauvelin (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
7. Bella Wilfer (Our Mutual Friend)
8. Lady Bertram (Mansfield Park)
9. Edmund Sparkler (Little Dorrit)
10. Marguerite St. Just Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
11. John Jarndyce (Bleak House)
12. Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)

1. Who would make a better college professor, 6 (Paul Chauvelin) or 11 (John Jarndyce)?
Hmm, I'd have to say Mr. Jarndyce.  That is, I would definitely prefer to study under his tutelage than Chauvelin's.  (Revolution this, down with the aristocrats that... no thank you.)

2. 12 (Catherine Morland) sends 8 (Lady Bertram) out on a mission. What is it? Does it succeed?
Ha! This would be highly amusing.  I guess Catherine would send Lady B to investigate Mrs. Tilney's room, and her ladyship would simply yawn on the sofa and send Fanny to do it. :)

3. What is, or what would be, 9 (Edmund Sparkler)’s favorite book?
Edmund doesn't strike me as being the literary type, but he might enjoy something adventurous and exciting.  Maybe a poorly-written swashbuckling penny novel. :)

4. Would it make more sense for 2 (Rachel Lynde) to swear fealty to 6 (Chauvelin) or the other way around?
I really can't see Mrs. Lynde swearing fealty to anyone (after all, it's dreadfully wicked to swear!) but Chauvelin certainly wouldn't, so it would have to fall to Mrs. Lynde.

5. Number 5 (Cecily Cardew) is looking for a roommate. Should s/he room with 9 (Edmund Sparkler) or 10 (Marguerite Blakeney)?
Definitely Marguerite.  No question there.

6. 2 (Rachel Lynde), 7 (Bella Wilfer), and 12 (Catherine Morland) are going out to dinner. Where are they going, and what do they discuss?
Hmmm, this would be interesting.  They would probably go to some respectable inn, where Mrs. Lynde would silently tsk at Bella's fancy silk dress and Catherine would be bored to tears with Mrs. Lynde's chatter about Avonlea.  Bella would sit and enjoy the awkwardness of it all. :)

7. 3 (Miss Matty Jenkyns) challenges 10 (Marguerite Blakeney) to a duel. Who wins?
Hold on a minute, I just have to get my head around the idea of Miss Matty challenging anyone to anything.
Moment passed.  Okay.  Marguerite would win.  Can we move off this topic before my head explodes?

8. If 1 (Cynthia Kirkpatrick) stole 8 (Lady Bertram)’s most precious possession, how would s/he get it back?
I really can't imagine why on earth Cynthia would steal Pug, but I suppose Lady Bertram would come whining to Sir Thomas and demand that he retrieve her poor dear Pug.  Sir Thomas would comply, and Cynthia would give back the dog with a "oh, it was only a joke".

9. Suggest a story title in which 7 (Bella) and 12 (Catherine) both attain what they want.
Money and Melodrama--at least, in the beginning of their respective books. :)

10. What kind of plot device would you have to use to get 1 (Cynthia) and 4 (John Thornton) to work together?
Um.  The end of the world.
'Nuff said.

11. If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would it go?
Bella and I might get along... then again, we might not.  It would depend on how far along Bella was in the story. :)

12. If you could command 3 (Miss Matty) to perform any service or task for you, what would it be?
Hmmm... I suppose I would ask her to show me around Cranford and introduce me to all the lovely ladies.

13. If 2 (Rachel Lynde) had to choose sides between 4 (John Thornton) or 5 (Cecily Cardew), what side would s/he choose?
That's a toughie.  I would say John Thornton, because Rachel Lynde would probably think Cecily a butterfly-brained young snippet without a grain of sense in her.

14. What might 10 (Marguerite Blakeney) shout out while charging into battle?
Pardon me while I giggle childishly at the thought of Marguerite charging into battle.  Heh, heh.  Okay, um, she would probably say something to the effect of "FOR THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL!"
Wouldn't we all?

15. If you had to choose a song to best describe 3 (Miss Matty), what would it be?
Probably "My Favorite Things" (the raindrops on roses one!) from The Sound of Music.  It just seems to fit Miss Matty.

16. 1 (Cynthia Kirkpatrick), 6 (Chauvelin), and 12 (Catherine Morland) are having a dim sum at a Chinese Restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left , and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets it?
Well, Chauvelin would of course defer to the ladies, and Catherine would be so in awe at being in the presence of someone so darkly mysterious and thrilling as Chauvelin that she wouldn't be hungry, so Cynthia would get the pancake.

17. What would 5 (Cecily) most likely be arrested for?
She wouldn't.

18. What is 6 (Chauvelin)’s secret?
He's really a prince from Morocco, but he's hiding his identity because aristocrats aren't favored so much these days.  You didn't hear it from me.

19. If 11 (John Jarndyce) and 9 (Edmund Sparkler) were racing to a destination, who would get there first?
Sparkler, of course.  He'd reach the finish line and shout, "And I've won with no nonse---" and then his mother and wife would shout, "Sparkler!" together.

20. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, who would you be more comfortable walking with, 7 (Bella) or 8 (Lady Bertram)?
Bella Wilfer, without a doubt.  If we met a knave, Lady Bertram would probably scream and faint, while Bella would smack him over the head with her parasol.

21. 1 (Cynthia) and 9 (Edmund) reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4 (Mr. Thornton)'s sinister secret organization. 11 (Mr. Jarndyce) volunteers to help them,but it is later discovered that s/he is actually a spy for 4 (Thornton). Meanwhile, 4 (Thornton) has kidnapped 12 (Catherine Morland) in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5 (Cecily Cardew), they seek out 3 (Miss Matty), who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fiction?
Okay! Cynthia and Edmund reluctantly team up to save the world from Mr. Thornton's sinister secret Men in Black society.  (Other members include Westley and Chauvelin, but not Mr. Darcy because he prefers the green coat.)  Mr. Jarndyce volunteers to help, but Cynthia later finds out that Jarndyce is a spy for Thornton.  Meanwhile, Mr. Thornton has kidnapped Catherine Morland, who is nearly suffering from an attack of the vapors with all the mysterious excitement.  Cynthia and Edmund ask advice of Cecily Cardew, who tells them to write in their diaries, and they skeptically go to Miss Matty instead.  Miss Matty gives them directions to Blakeney Manor, at which place they will find everything (and everyone) needed to complete their mission.  What title would I give this fiction?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quote of the Week 12

Let us then, as you say, live in the real world, where men of course always reject a girl with a pretty face in favor of one with a well-informed mind.  Oh, no no no, I bow to your superior knowledge, your sixteen years' more experience.  You must know best.  Harriet, with her good looks and her easy temperament will be right at the back of the queue with your sex when it comes to choosing a mate.  Now, we have both made our argument.  Let us not quarrel.
~Emma Woodhouse, Emma (2009)

Just a reminder...

I just want to remind y'all that the last round of the Period Drama Heroine Tournament is underway at Elegance of Fashion! Just click on the picture above to go to the page. Anne Shirley is up against Margaret Hale for the big finish, and *gasp* Margaret's ahead by one vote!!! Now, I love Margaret Hale and I think she's amazing, but seriously, ladies, this is ANNE SHIRLEY she's up against. Please go and vote for Anne if you haven't already!

...Not that I would want to influence you in any way, of course, Harriet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Period Drama Heroines #6: Molly Gibson

Justine Waddell as Molly Gibson in Wives and Daughters (1999)
Of all the period drama heroines in my acquaintance, it is Molly Gibson whose story most resembles that of Cinderella. I mean, think about it. Girl's mother dies, girl and her father live happily together for sixteen years (or whatever it is), girl's father remarries. Girl is not exactly happy about this, especially since the new stepmother is overbearing and ridiculous, and insists on dragging a stepsister into the relationship who is... actually kind of nice.

Okay, the similarities end there.
Anthony Howell, Bill Paterson, Francesca Annis, Justine Waddell and Keeley Hawes in
Wives and Daughters (1999)

Or do they?  Enter Prince Charming (and his brother).  Enter stepmother's scheming. Enter engagement between Prince Charming and evil flirtatious stepsister.  Enter... no fairy godmother.

Cinderella had a magic wand, a gaggle of rodent friends, a pair of glass slippers and the tiniest feet in the kingdom at her disposal when she fell in love with the prince.  Molly Gibson had.... uh.... well, she liked insects.  And she was clever, intelligent, eager to learn, a good listener and of a most forgiving nature.

Justine Waddell as Molly Gibson
Of the two, I think Molly has much more in her to respect than Cinderella ever did.  I admire Molly, not because she "secured" the man of her dreams, but because she was willing to give up the man of her dreams if he was in love with someone else.  (I still maintain he wasn't really in love with Cynthia. "Boyish fancy", and all that.)  Books and movies are full of the guy who gives up the girl so she can marry the man she really likes (John Chivery *sniffle*), but there are few stories that tell of the girl who gives up the guy.

Molly, at the beginning of Wives and Daughters, is just the wee-est bit spoiled.  She's grown up under her father's loving care, and for years it's been just the two of them.  Then in come Hyacinth Clare (why? why?? why must there be such a name on the face of this planet???) and her daughter Cynthia Kirkpatrick, and proceed to make Molly's life miserable.  Not, perhaps, intentionally, but it happens nonetheless.  Mrs. Gibson crumbles everything special that Molly and her father shared (she even bans cheese!) and Cynthia waltzes in and manages to captivate the man Molly is in love with.
You know who she is by now.  Hopefully.
And Roger, like an idiot, falls for Cynthia.

My parents watched Wives and Daughters for the first time this summer, and they both loved it, though my dad told me that there were times he felt like smacking Roger over the head with a two-by-four.

My sentiments exactly.

Molly, unfortunately, is so sweet and inclined to think well of people that she won't let Roger or Cynthia see how she really feels about their engagement.  She can't help liking Cynthia (how can anyone?) even though Cynthia has basically ruined her life.  She's prettier than Molly (well, actually that's debatable because I personally think Molly's lovely), more accomplished and certainly more charming.  Theoretically, any man would fall head over heels for her.  (If he were an idiot.)  And yet Molly is the one who understands Roger, who takes an interest in his interests, who reads his letters over and over and charts his travels on her maps.  Cynthia takes Roger's love for granted, and though Molly could easily hint as much to Roger, she's far too honorable to do so.  Instead, she tries to persuade Cynthia to be a little less nonchalant about the whole thing.  "Yes, he's in love with you!  And he depends upon you, so you should try to deserve him!"

Poor Molly.  Have I mentioned how much I like her?  Well, I do.

The story of Molly's heroism doesn't end there-- and lest from the last few paragraphs you have developed the highly mistaken idea that Molly is a doormat, may I hasten to prove that theory wrong.

Without going into details (this post is too long already), I'll tell you that Molly was instrumental in saving her stepsister's reputation in the incident with Mr. Preston.   Cynthia was too chicken to confront the odious man herself (odious but still kinda pitiable... I SAID KINDA) and so Molly, the convenient Molly, was sent to do it for her.

And she did a marvelous job.
Molly's Best Scene

And then.... AND THEN Roger comes back from Africa.  Ta-dah-dum!  And he and Molly go to a ball together, and Lady Hawwiet pulls a few strings, and as they say (who? who says?), the rest is history (with one of the sweetest kiss-less proposals ever).  And Molly and Roger live happily ever after.

Because hey, it's a book (and a movie).  And because Molly totally deserves a happy ending.

Even if she did keep her shoes on the whole time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Something There

This year for Christmas I gave my sister Molly the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, and we listened to parts of it after she unwrapped it. While we were listening, I mentioned offhandedly to Anne that I should send Hayden the link to the Pride and Prejudice/Beauty and the Beast video we liked, because I thought she would get a kick out of it. Anne promptly replied that I should do one better and post it on my blog so everyone could see it. I took her advice as I always do (haha, not) and here it is. (I didn't make this. I just found it on YouTube and I think it's awesome.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Oil of Joy and Beauty for Ashes

(and I keep using Little Women screen caps
for my holiday posts!)
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come!" Isaac Watts' hymn proclaims. "Let earth receive her King, let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!" Christmas is a time of joy and rejoicing, a glorious celebration of Jesus' birth.

For many, though, the joy of Christmas is countered by sorrow and sadness. At Christmas more than at any time of the year, the loss of loved ones is felt keenly. The glad tidings that Christ is born in Bethlehem are dimmed because of grief. This Christmas I know of many people who are suffering from the loss of family members and friends. This most wonderful time of the year is not wonderful for them. Pain and mourning are obscuring their joy.

And yet, that's exactly why Jesus came to the earth.

Luke 4:16-21 tells us of how Jesus traveled to the synagogue in Nazareth and spoke to the people there. He read aloud this passage from the book of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

The King James Version of this passage is a little different in the Old Testament, because the book of Isaiah was written in Hebrew and the book of Luke in Greek. The original passage goes like this, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3, emphasis mine)

Jesus Christ came to this earth as a human baby, God in the flesh. He was born for a purpose: to bring salvation to undeserving sinners, to bring joy and peace to this earth. He came to bind up the brokenhearted. He came to comfort all that mourn. He came to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. All for one reason: to bring glory to God in the highest.

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great Light," Isaiah wrote, "They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." That Light is Jesus Christ. "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Can't you just hear the triumphant orchestra in the background?)

Our Dayspring has come to cheer us and drive away the shades of night. He has pierced the clouds and brought us light. Rejoice, rejoice! Immanuel has come to ransom captive Israel.

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD," Isaiah 61 continues. "My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." (verses 10-11)

We have been given beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, victory for sorrow, light and life for darkness and death.  There is nothing lovely in us, nothing that would make the God of Heaven smile on us, and yet he loves us.  Deuteronomy 7:6 tells us that God loves His people simply because... He loves them.  And He loved us enough to send His only Son to be born into a miserable world, to die a cruel death for the sake of sinning people.  (Wow.)  He came to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found.

"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it." (Isaiah 25:8)

So, good Christian men (and women), rejoice! Jesus Christ is born. The Desire of Nations has come to bind up the brokenhearted. Rejoice, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

"And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Sister's Blog!

create your own banner at!

I am quite excited to tell you that my esteemed patroness--er, sister-- the Anne-girl has given me permission to link to her blog, Scribblings of my Pen.  She started this blog just a couple of months ago and is using it to write all about her writing. :) There, you can read excerpts from her NaNoWriMo novel and short stories she's written.  You have seen samples of her poetry, now you may read some more of her writing!  I am quite proud of her, in case you couldn't tell. :)

One thing I must add: Anne's blog is private, so in order to view it you must be invited.  In order to be invited, leave me a comment here with your e-mail address and I will make sure you get an invitation.  (If you don't wish your e-mail address to be published, just let me know and I won't publish the comment.)  If you know I already have your e-mail, just say you want an invitation and I will make sure you get one.

One thing more: I suggest you get this piano tuned.  (Sorry.  I've seen Mary Poppins too many times.)  I meant to say that since Scribblings of my Pen is private, you will not receive updates from it on your Dashboard.  Blogger is quirky that way, and private blogs don't have feeds that connect to your Dashboard (not sure how that works).  Anyway, in order to see new posts, you'll have to keep coming back to check Scribblings.  Sorry for any inconvenience!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quote of the Week 11

William Pitt: Barbara. You have my deepest condolescences.
Barbara Wilberforce: Thank you SO much.
William Pitt: But do me a favour. Make him eat some of his pets.
Barbara Wilberforce: [picking up rabbit] I rather like them.
William Pitt: I like them, too - in brandy sauce.

~Amazing Grace (2006)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Emma (2009) Review

For the Jane Austen Film Challenge, my sister Anne and I opted to watch the BBC's 2009 adaptation of Emma. Anne had never seen it before, but it was my second viewing... and I have to say, it was better the second time around.  In fact, it was so good that... "I find I do not know what to [say]."

An odd statement, because I didn't think it was possible for me to like it any more than I did the first time. (Also odd that I do not know what to say, because as you know I am rarely at a loss for words.)  This movie is so good. It's rather a shame, because this review is going to be a little gushy, I'm afraid. When I really like something, I tend to rhapsodize quite a bit.

Ahem. Perhaps I should begin by summarizing the story.  I don't want to spoil it for any of you who have not seen the movie or read the book, so I shall not use any names.  "No, I am not teasing you.  I am quite serious."

 Character A is happy, wealthy, beautiful, and an incurable matchmaker. She takes Character B under her wing and tries to make a fine lady out of her, but in the process foolishly advises Character B to turn down an offer of marriage from Character C, who isn't rich enough to suit Character A. Character D, an old friend of Character A's family, frequently has to reprove Character A for her thoughtlessness. (I'm tired of typing the word Character and so will abbreviate it to a plain C--so Character A will become C-A.) C-A tries to make friends with C-E, the niece of the talkative C-F, but C-E is standoffish and shy.

"Lucky guess."
"Luck had nothing do with this.  Just talent.  And intution."

C-G, a church rector, comes calling on C-A and C-A immediately sets him up with C-B. C-B falls in love with C-G, but all is apparently lost when C-G declares his feelings for C-A, not C-B. Poor C-B. Anyway, the dashing young C-H comes to town and quickly captures the attentions of C-A, despite C-D's warnings that C-H is far too full of himself. C-A fancies herself in love with C-H, but soon drops the idea when she is led to believe that C-B is in love with him--though, in fact, C-B actually has a bit of a crush on C-D. Meanwhile, C-G forgets C-A and marries C-I, a snobby young lady from London who is rude to everyone. At a picnic, C-A is thoughtless and rude to C-F (C-E's aunt) and is severely scolded by C-D, who says that her meddlesome ways will catch up with her one day.

C-A, though not realizing it, is slowly falling in love with C-D. She is still not sure, however, about C-H, and is most surprised when she learns that C-H and C-E were engaged all this time and didn't tell anyone--a shock indeed, since C-H was always rather rude to C-E in public. Then C-A finds out that C-B wasn't interested in C-H at all, but rather C-D, and she realizes that she herself is in love with C-D. C-D, who had gone to visit his brother in hopes of forgetting C-A (he knew all along that he was in love with her) returns and proposes to C-A (best. scene. ever.). She joyfully accepts, and C-B ends up marrying C-C, who she shouldn't have turned down in the first place. And everyone lives happily ever after, including C-A's father, C-J, who likes to sit by the fire wrapped in scarves and eat gruel.

Now, was all that clear?  Good.  Take out a clean sheet of paper and number it from one to ten down the left-hand side, because we are going to have a quiz now.


What I really, really loved about this movie was that it made me so happy.  The visual brilliance, the lovely music, the enchanting characters, the funny dialogue, the hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings, the sweet ending--and did I mention the lovely costumes? those too--all came together to make a movie that left me with a ridiculously happy grin on my face when it was over.

So yet again, I guess I'll go through my favorite aspects point-by-point.  You know better than to expect a dignified and stately stroll through the story.  I just jump higgledy-piggledy from character to character and costume to costume, and I enjoy myself immensely.

I'm going to ask Mr. Knightley to teach me Chinese!
Romola Garai is the best Emma Woodhouse I have ever seen.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have not seen any other version of Emma, but we needn't quibble about details.  Her facial expressions are priceless and her manner of speaking was just perfect for Emma.  I do not think she could be improved upon.

See what I mean about the facial expressions?  I so enjoyed watching her quarrel with Mr. Knightley about Harriet and Robert Martin--the Knightley Fightley, as I like to call it.

"I really think it is time for tea, and yet it has not arrived.  Do you think I should call Father in?"
Emma's almost-boisterous personality at the beginning and her more mature and calm manners near the end were both beautifully played, and the change was so gradual that it was quite believable.

Miss Taylor's hat... sigh.  I mean, Mrs. Weston's hat.

I really liked Miss Taylor---er, Mrs. Weston.  Sorry.  She was so sweet and yet not above giving Mr. Elton the Gladys Gilford Glacial Glare when he refused to dance with Harriet. :) I think maybe some of Emma's penchant for matchmaking came from Miss Taylor's example... she was definitely scheming (albeit quietly) to get Emma and Frank together!

And her romance with Mr. Weston was such a sweet little subplot.  I loved watching the two of them together.

Really, I loved how all the people interact with each other in this beautiful film.  People are fascinating, IMHO, and there isn't a single boring character in Emma.  Everyone is so complex and yet perfectly normal.  Sort of.

Okay, so nobody's going to call Mr. Elton perfectly normal.  Eeeeh, he was so much fun.  I haven't seen Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram and don't really want to, so I didn't have any problem seeing him as Mr. Elton.  He was hilarious: just the right mix of creepy, wacky and self-satisfied.  How wonderful that he got saddled with a wife who was just like him, only worse.

"Quite so.  And in Bath we would certainly
have announced dinner by now."
Yep, the snotty Mr. Elton deserved everything he got.  "That young man is so conceited, I am surprised he can stay on that horse."  Utter wit, only it didn't come from Mr. Elton.  It came from someone much, much more deserving of praise...

Mr. Knightley and the napkin had me in stitches. :)
I will NOT spend this entire post going on and on about Mr. Knightley.  I could.  But I won't.  I shall spare you the details of how I think he is the ultimate Jane Austen hero and save all that for my series on Period Drama Heroes (which I'll hopefully begin if I ever finish the Heroines series... whatever happened to that??).

Um.  Anyway.  Long sentence there.
"Brother and sister? No, indeed!"

I do want to see the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, but I can't imagine Jeremy Northam holding a candle to Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Mr. Knightley.  Where Mr. Elton is pompous, fully aware of his handsome-ness, overbearing and selfish, Mr. Knightley is... well, knightly.  He epitomizes the perfect gentleman, and his rapport with Emma is beautiful to behold.

"Oh! it's beautiful!"
Speaking of which, the entire Crown Inn ball scene had me smiling and laughing and even getting a little misty-eyed the whole time.  I felt the way Emma looked when she came in and saw how beautifully it was decorated.  Mr. Knightley's gallantry in asking Harriet to dance... Mr. Elton's hilarious-yet-awful "I am an old married man" spiel... Frank Churchill's ridiculous bouncing about in "The Ship's Cook"... and Emma and Mr. Knightley's dance. The Last Dance.  


Did I mention I loved this movie?  I think I did.  

So, moving on to some of the other characters.  Frank Churchill, for instance.  Now, I know I'm going to incite some righteous indignation in all of you, but, well, there are times when I can't help liking Frank.  No, no, stop! I didn't mean it!  Put down the tomatoes!

No, but seriously, didn't you feel just a little sorry for him when he was remembering his childhood?  And won't you admit that he's at least a little bit charming?  And, after all, he did use Jane very ill (wow, I sound like Mrs. Bennet) but he did love her.  Of that I have no doubt.  Remember the whole brouhaha at Donwell when Frank came late to the strawberry party and had the big fight with Jane?  The whole reason behind the fight with Jane was that he didn't want her to go be a governess when he could easily provide for her! But... then, of course, Frank didn't have the chutzpah to just tell his aunt he was getting married.  As Melody said to me last week, "Frank Churchill is just one big BUT STILL."  I agree. :)

Emma's relationship with her father was also quite sweet.  Mr. Woodhouse might be a fuddy-duddy hypochondriac, but he genuinely loves Emma and it shows.  I love how this movie portrays the funny characters as humans, not just comic relief.  (Except for Mr. E., the caro sposo, of course.)

Miss Bates, for example.  I am anxious to see Sophie Thompson's funny portrayal of the character ("lovely, lovely lovely!") but I really liked how Tamsin Greig made me feel sorry for Miss Bates.  Though perhaps that wasn't exactly the way Austen wrote the character, still I enjoyed seeing a more sympathetic portrayal of the talkative spinster.

Of course there are a whole slew of other characters (Jane Fairfax, John and Isabella Knightley, all the little Knightleys, Mrs. Bates, Mr. Weston, &. &c.) but I don't have time to talk about them all, much as I would wish to.

No, instead I have to speed my way onward to... the last episode.  The wonderful, glorious, perfectly splenderiferous, rewind-it-three-times end.

The realization...
Emma's shock upon realizing that she loves Mr. Knightley is beautifully sweet.  The proposal (infamous Chapter 49!) is even better, and my happiness is capped by the fact that they left the "If I felt less I might be able to talk about it more" quote intact.  Emma's consternation over having to leave her father is touching, and Mr. Knightley's sacrifice of his beloved home in order to make Mr. Woodhouse happy leaves me sniffling a little.


My reaction to Mr. Knightley's surprise at the very end was much like Isabella's upon receiving Mr. Knightley's letter: "Oh... oh... OH!" *half-hysterical laughing/crying*

The seaside.  The end.

(All pictures except the first one are from this screencap page:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Card Contest Winners

I am pleased and proud to announce the winners of the Jane Austen Birthday Card contest! It's the moment you've all been waiting for...

the moment you're all STILL waiting for...

Oh, very well, I won't keep you in such suspense. However, I shall be mean enough to begin at the bottom and prolong your suspense just a little.  (Prize buttons are below each name, and I have provided links to the letters themselves.)

And before I satisfy your curiosity, I must say that all the entries were most excessively diverting and I was much amused and charmed by all! I am only sorry that there can be but three winners.

Enough stalling, Miss Dashwood.

In third place, we have Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm, with her sweet and charming missive from Colonel Brandon.  Congratulations, Miss Laurie!

In second place, we have Abby of Newly Impassioned Soul with her fantastically funny note from Mr. Collins.  Congratulations, Abby!

(For some reason, Abby's button is giving me a great deal of trouble and will not save to my computer.  Hopefully I shall have it completed very soon and will give it to Abby then.)

And in first place, we have Rachel of The Inkpen Authoress with her spot-on card from John Knightley (it's the second one on the page).

And in honorable mention we have...

E. Bristol's card from Elizabeth Bennet Darcy
Lady Nessima's card from Mr. Collins
Milisande's letter from herself to Miss Austen
Eva-Joy's card from Eleanor Tilney Winthrop
Maria Elisabeth's cards from Henry Tilney and Mr. Collins
Melody's card from Emma Woodhouse
Julia's card from Anne Elliot
Stephanie's card from Edmund Bertram
Hayden's card from Miss Bates
The Anne-girl's card from Mr. Woodhouse (which she has kindly given me permission to reproduce here.)

My Dear Miss Austen,
I congratulate you on your advanced age. It shows a carefulness of character that at least your writings have survived this long. It is evident that you have not left them out in drafts or other dangerous things. I would like to impress upon you the importance of not going to any sort of party for your birthday. A quiet day at home, three turns around the garden, and a basin of gruel would be much pleasanter I assure you. My dear Miss Austen I am gladdened to hear that you never married. It is so distressing to a parent when one of their children goes of and marries. When I think of poor Miss Taylor... Could you not have fixed it that she had stayed here? I would like to thank you however for your thoughtfulness in letting Emma and Mr. Knightly stay here with me. We are all very happy and the little ones are being brought up properly. I only wish Emma would not insist on letting them have cake every now and then, cake is so indigestible. A little gruel now... But I see I have forgotten the most important thing of all. I have sent you a shawl for you comfort on a warm night by the fire. I know how dangerous leaving the throat exposed can be.
With many good wishes,
Mr. Woodhouse

Thank you all so much for participating.  Perhaps I'll host another contest one of these days---this was such fun and you all are so clever!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Conclusion (and my tag answers)

Wow.  That is all I can say.  (Kidding, kidding... when have I ever been at a loss for a great deal of words??) This was my very first attempt at hosting a blog party, and I must say that all of you made it a smashing success.  I loved reading all your posts and reviews and answers to the tag questions and especially your birthday cards.  It is going to be very difficult to pick a winner.  This may be partially due to the fact that I am just the teensiest bit indecisive. (Do tell!)  But my sister the Anne-girl is quite the opposite; she, in fact, is very decisive and will be a tremendous help in picking three winners.  (Because I've decided to award first, second and third place.  Just so ya know.)

And since the party draws to a close today, it's about time that I answered my own tag questions, don't you think?

1 - What was the first JA novel you ever read, and who introduced you to it?
I read Pride and Prejudice in June of 2009, at my mom's prompting.  I was at that age (14) when I was feeling too old to be reading a lot of the juvenile fiction at the library, yet wasn't ready (or eager) to start browsing the adult section. One day my mom announced, "I think you're old enough to start Jane Austen," and off we went to Borders to purchase my Modern Library of Classics edition.  (This one.)  I read it in less than a week, fell in love on the first page and never looked back.  Since then I have read all six of Jane Austen's major works and am midway through The Watsons, but it's Pride and Prejudice that owns my heart.

2 - Which is your least favorite JA novel, and why? (Everybody posts about their favorites... I want to know what's at the bottom of your list!)

Mansfield Park, probably.  I do love it, but it just didn't quite captivate me the way her other works did.  I've only read it once, though, so maybe it deserves a little more attention.

3 - Who do you think is the funniest character JA ever created?

That would be a tie between Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins and Henry Tilney.

4 - Which JA villain[ess] do you love to hate?

Too many to count, but probably my favorite villainess would be Caroline Bingley.  But when I say "love to hate", I mean that I intensely dislike her but the story wouldn't be the same without her.  I enjoy reading about her, just so that I can say, "Ugh, Miss Bingley again!"  But I don't loathe and despise her the way I do Mr. Wickham or Willoughby.

5 - What's your favorite JA quote?

(Can I list my top ten? Of course I can, it's my tag! But I won't.)  It would probably be the famous opening sentence from Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."  Funny story: I had heard of this line long before I read P&P, and before I read the book I completely misunderstood the line.  I thought it mean that a single man is in possession of a large fortune BECAUSE he has no wife; e.g., there is no one to spend all his money for him and that if he had a wife his fortune would diminish greatly.

Then I read the book and saw the light. :)

6 - If you were to "start" someone on JA, which book would you recommend to them first and why?

Pride and Prejudice.  (Do I sense a theme here?)  It's light, bright and witty.  The characters captivate you from the first page and the story moves along swiftly.  Emma, also, is light and witty, but it's so long that it might be daunting to a first timer.  I am also very, very fond of Sense and Sensibility, but I think its more slow-moving story is less appealing to a new Janeite than P&P.

7 - What is your absolute favorite JA film adaptation and why?

Pride and Prejudice 1995.  (Sowwee.)  It just... is.  It captures the spirit of the novel better than any other movie adaptation of any book I've ever seen (except maybe Anne of Green Gables).  I love it to pieces.
I do apologize, however, for the predictability of my answers!  I didn't realize I was so P&P obsessed.  Usually I tend to prefer an author's lesser-known works (my favorite Charles Dickens novel is Little Dorrit) but with Jane Austen I can't help but love her most famous novel.  There's a reason it's so well-known, y'all.

8 - If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of JA's novels, which would it be and why?

Mansfield Park.  See here for a more elaborate description.  The only adaptation that I saw was the 1983 BBC miniseries, and I was rather disappointed.  No, scratch that.  I was most severely displeased and it was not to be borne.

9 - Which JA character do you most identify with?

Toss-up between Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood.  Actually, I'd say I'm really more like Elinor, but I want to be like Lizzy. :)

10 - If you could have lunch with JA today, what question would you most like to ask her?

"Why didn't you finish The Watsons?"  Or perhaps, "Did Mr. Darcy intend to have Elizabeth overhear his tolerable-but-not-handsome-enough remark?" (Something I've always wondered.)

11 - Is there any one thing that you think could have been improved upon in one (or all) of JA's books? What is it and why?

Proposals, hands down.  Most unsatisfactory in most cases.  Jane, you disappoint your readers... especially in Northanger Abbey.  I was looking forward to Henry Tilney's proposal so much!

12 - If you could have lunch with one of JA's characters today, who would it be and why?

Probably Mr. Bennet, possibly Emma Woodhouse.  Mr. Bennet is so full of dry humor, and Emma would be such fun to talk with!

13 - (optional) Why is Miss Dashwood so fond of asking "why"?

Because my real name is Curious George.  Now you know.

Miss Austen's Romances

My dear blogging friend Melody has kindly agreed to write a guest post about Jane Austen's love life (how shocking!) and we collaborated to write questions, so that it is a sort of interview.  I helped with the questions, but the brilliant answers are all her own.  Enjoy!

~Do you think that Jane Austen drew her heroes from real life, or from her brilliant imagination?
While I think it could be some of both, I’d definitely say on the side of her brilliant imagination. I think perhaps she drew a few characteristic, etc. to get her started from real life, but on the whole, she made up all her characters herself.

~Who do you think was her favorite of her heroes, and why?
I think Mr. Knightley was her favorite, because I read it somewhere. And it seems quite likely, too; he has the qualities which I think she would admire.

~About Tom Lefroy... what is your opinion of him?  Were he and Jane ever really engaged?
    I’ve never had much patience with Tom Lefroy and all these suspicions. In this case, I think her relationship with him was only what appeared in, say, her letters to Cassandra, and what other people said. I don’t think there is anything between the lines to be read.
About Tom himself, I don’t have a very high opinion of him, if things were at all serious between he and Jane, because I could never forgive him for marrying someone else just because his family told him to. But if what I think is right, and it was only a “brief flirtation,” I’d probably respect the fellow well enough.
    I do not think Tom and Jane were ever engaged. In her letters, Jane said that she rather expected a proposal from him; I think she was rather joking, and trying, perhaps, to egg on her sister who rather scolded her for her flirtatious behavior. Jane said she would only accept him if he promised to give away his white coat. I think that, even at her young age of 20, she would acted more serious about the matter if she was in earnest. But then there seems to usually be an element of truth in joking. I’m not unwilling to believe that at the time, in the early emotions of a relationship, she did expect something to come of it. But of an engagement, I am extremely wary.

~Has Hollywood made too much of the whole "Jane and Tom" thing?
   Hollywood, as in Becoming Jane? Yes, I certainly think they have. I haven’t seen this movie myself, but I know the general plot. I certainly don’t think that Tom Lefroy was her true love, and she never would have eloped with him. I think they picked up an idea and ran away with it, as Emma said Mrs. Weston did with her Jane Fairfax and Mr. Knightley idea.
  The only thing I like about that movie is its soundtrack, which I wish the movie equaled. *Hums The Basingstoke Assembly*

~If Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy had gotten married, how do you think this would have affected her career as a writer? 
   I don’t personally think that Jane and Tom would ever have married. I think that if they knew each other for longer, they would find they weren’t right for each other. This is just my own little fancy, of course.
   How it would have affected her career depends almost entirely on the gentleman, I think. If he was a great supporter of her writing and was willing to let her leave her household duties for a while when needed, and didn’t mind the thought of his wife being successful in a field that men generally occupied, we may still have been able to read some of those beloved novels; but I suspect not as many and perhaps not the same. “Pride and Prejudice by Jane Lefroy”? That just doesn’t sound right.
   Though sad, I think it’s much better for us Janeites that she never did marry and could devote her time to writing.

~Was Jane Austen happy to be single, or do you think she still wanted a husband, even throughout her years of success in writing?
   I think Jane Austen was content to be single, but not really happy. She loved her life with her sister and her writing; like Emma, she always had an abundance of nieces and nephews so as not to miss having her own children excessively.
   Here’s what I think: In her earlier years, Jane thought like any other young lady, that eventual marriage was just a matter of course. As time passed and the right man never came, she gave up an expectation of ever marrying, and decided it was all right to be an old maid with her sister, although unlike Cassandra, didn’t decide against matrimony in general. (I like to imagine that, having already invented some wonderful heroes & romances, she would settle for nothing less.) In her later 30s, her prosperous time as an authoress, I believe she really did view her books as her “own dear children,” and felt satisfied that she accomplished that much at least. I think her occupation in writing kept her from disappointment. In her last months, when she was too weak to write, I think she must have felt some sadness or emptiness at never having a husband and a household & family of her own.

What do you think about Harris Bigg-Wither and his offer of marriage? What were Jane's reasons for accepting and then refusing them, and did she ever regret her refusal?
  Harris Bigg-Wither’s proposal was rather extraordinary in that Jane was five years older than himself. He was looking for a wife, and she was a friend of his family; well-liked by them all.
  I think Jane accepted Harris at first for a few reasons; the most important being, family duty. If she married into this wealthy family, herself, her mother, and her sister would be secured comfort for the rest of their lives. She perhaps considered that this might be her only chance at marriage, a house of her own, a family; and she didn’t want to miss it. She was also very attached to the Bigg sisters; it must have sounded very agreeable to her to have them as sisters-in-law.
  In truth I always enjoy the story of Harris and Jane. I think it is one of the few things that we know about to determine Jane Austen’s life and character. Because of the reasons I mentioned above, she accepted a marriage proposal in the evening; but what a night she must have had! To be joined, for the rest of her life, to a man she did not love: not even a little. I’m not sure she even liked him. Perhaps she did, perhaps not; but she could never care for him in that way. Was it worth all the advantages to be stuck in a potentially unhappy situation always? I like to think that she remembered her writing; the offers of marriage her heroines received and refused. If they could do it, so could she. Maybe she couldn’t write a happy ending for herself, but she could determine not to marry a man she didn’t love, even if it was the most difficult thing she ever did. Imagine making a promise, everyone delighted – and then changing one’s mind by the morning. This would not be smiled upon.
  Perhaps she used this circumstance later when she wrote Pride and Prejudice. Maybe Charlotte Lucas’ opinion on matrimony is what she at first talked herself into; Elizabeth Bennet’s is what she really thought and then acted upon.
  I do not think Jane regretted her decision. After all, her books were written or revised after that circumstance; they all discourage marrying without love. “Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection,” she tells her niece Fanny later in life. This sounds strikingly like something Jane said to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice: “Do anything rather than marry without affection.” I think it is quite obvious that, while she may have regretted the outcome of things, she never wished she could go back and marry Harris.

~Did Jane Austen ever find true love? Do you think her story didn't stop at Tom and Harris?
   Every Jane Austen bio-fic – whether book or movie – that I’ve come in contact with decides that Jane needs another proposal than just the one from Harris. Even Just Jane, which in general stuck pretty close to her life, created one other man who proposed to Jane. Miss Austen Regrets, which I just watched, also did; in fact it was a main element of the movie. I find this rather annoying.
   I, like most Janeites I think, like to imagine that Jane was really in love at some point or other. As you might guess from reading the above, however, I don’t think Tom Lefroy was the one. I am a firm believer in the Mysterious Seaside Romance.
   Do you know to what I am referring? In case you don’t, I’ll explain it.
   Sometime in the early 1800s, Jane traveled to the seaside, where Cassandra Austen later tells a niece of theirs, that she met someone – a clergyman, I’ve read. Cassandra said he was the only man Jane ever really loved. If it is true that Cassandra said that, then I believe it, because she was Jane’s closest confidante.
   The sad thing is, after agreeing to meet again a few months later, he died suddenly. I don’t remember whether it is known how; but isn’t that such a tragically romantic story?
  The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which I read earlier this year, is all about the seaside romance; except the author imagines that she knew this man much longer, was even engaged to him, and he did not die; instead he was pretty much forced to marry someone else to save his family from ruin. It was nice and tragic; but I think I’d still prefer him to die.
   It didn’t just have that, though. She received one or two other offers of marriage in the book; one of them from a Mr. Collins-based character.
   I find the seaside romance more likely, myself, than Jane ever having been serious with Tom, or another circumstance for which information is nonexistent. It seems like the right amount of information is known about it to have been true; I think the Austens would have tried to keep something that was more serious quiet. I also think it’s more likely that Cassandra would have burned Jane’s letters mentioning Tom if it had been important, because it would have been too personal.

But I cannot end this post without saying…
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! Thank you for adding so much spice to our lives.

And thank you, Miss Dashwood, for giving me this delightful opportunity! I’ll have to have you guest post on my blog some time or other!

Regency Delight (

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mrs. Dashwood's Reply to Elinor

And here is the final epistle in the Elinor and Marianne series.  Hope you enjoyed!

(I much prefer Gemma Jones as Mrs. Dashwood, as I've only seen the 1995 movie and I think she looks the part, but this picture of the what's her name actress from 2008 suited the letter. :P)

Barton Cottage, January

My dearest Elinor,

Words cannot express the grief and regret which I felt--nay, still feel--upon reading your epistle of Monday last.  I entreat Marianne to bear up with fortitude, lest this disappointment prove dangerous to her health.  It is a cruel thing, a hard thing, & all I can say is that he has used my poor darling very ill.  Indeed, I can say no more, for I am so overcome with distress that I can hardly write.   Poor Marianne! I only wish I could be with you to comfort her.  What a dastardly thing, what a miserly and mean deed!  I cannot believe that Willoughby would do such a thing--yet I must say that I suspected it all along.  You will remember that there was always something in Willoughby, a look in his eyes perhaps, which I did not like.  Miserable man!

I am sure they must have been engaged; her unreserve in his company, her obvious feeling & affection for him, serves only to prove that she thought very highly of him; and surely he cannot have been such a cad as to see her partiality and return nothing.  No, no, I am sure they were engaged.  But of course I could not ask such a question for the world.  What distress would such an inquiry have inflicted, were they not really engaged!  I am so glad now I did not ask, for perhaps after all they were not.  I do not know.  I am in such indecision at present.  He never deserved her.  Her unhappy prepossession for such a worthless young man gives me great pain.

Marianne's heart is not to be wasted for ever on such a despicable young man as Willoughby.  We can only pray that in time there will come one who has a nobler heart, higher ideals & a loving spirit.  I am very sure that even if Willoughby had turned out very amiable, though he proved it oft to the contrary, they could never have been happy together.

But enough of this.  What a comfort it is to know that you are in the hands of Mrs. Jennings, for she is a kind soul & will do Marianne good in this difficult time.  You cannot come back to Barton Cottage at this time, my darling, much as I wish to see your dear faces again.  It is better for Marianne to be anywhere, at this time, than at Barton, where every thing within her view would be bringing back the past in the strongest and most afflicting manner by constantly placing Willoughby before her.  By all means, I recommend that you should not shorten your visit to Mrs. Jennings; the length of which is expected by all to comprise at least five or six weeks, & you have not been there half that time.  A variety of occupations, of objects and of company, which cannot be available at Barton, will be inevitable there, & might yet, I hope, cheat Marianne into even some amusement, though the idea may now be spurned by her.

From all danger of seeing W. again, I count her to be at least equally as safe in town as the country, since his acquaintance must by now be dropped from all who call themselves my daughter's friends.  Besides which, a letter from John has just reached me, in which he tells me that he & Fanny are to be in town before the middle of February, and I judge it right that you should sometimes see your brother.  Give little Harry a kiss for me.

Margaret sends her love and condolence, and I remain
Yours with much love,

It's the Big Day!

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

For she's a jolly good fellow, for she's a jolly good fellow...

Today is Jane Austen's actual, real, undisputable birthday.  (Yes, I am perfectly aware that undisputable is not a word.)  To celebrate this great and momentous occasion, I'm taking you all to Blakeney Manor for the day.

Oops, I think that was a typographical error.  Pardon me.  I meant to say, to celebrate this great and momentous occasion, I'm hosting a Birthday Card Contest.

You have probably never heard of a Birthday Card Contest, with good reason, because I just made it up.  Actually, my sister Anne came up with the concept of it, so all credit goes to her.

The contest goes like this.  To enter, you must a) be a follower of my blog and b) either have a blog of your own or be able to leave a comment on mine and c) have read at least one of Jane Austen's novels or seen at least one of the movies.

Those requirements probably encompass pretty much all of you, so we shall proceed.

The rules for the contest are easy.  Step number one: write a birthday card to Jane Austen.  The birthday card must be written by you, of course, but (and here's the catch) it must be written in the voice of one of her characters.  Wish her a happy birthday and then go on to elaborate on what is going on in "your" life, why you are grateful to Miss Austen for giving you a happy ending or why you are angry at her because of what she did to you.  Example: a rather poison-pen missive from Mary Crawford, sugar-sweet and patronizing, but with a little biting comment at the end about Miss Austen's meanness of spirit in making Edmund marry that Fanny person.  Or something like that.

Step number two: post your card on your blog (it may be as long or as short as you choose) and then comment on this post with a link to your post.  If you don't have a blog, post your card in the comments!  Anne and I will judge the entries and award a winner on Monday.  The contest closes on Saturday night at 11:59 PM--all entries posted after that time will not be counted.  Sorry for the short notice, but as we have seen, people tend to write more productively when they are given a small and specific time frame. :) (, anyone?)

Looking forward to your entries!

A Missive from Margaret

Those who are experts about such things tell us that Jane Austen may have written Elinor and Marianne, the early draft of Sense and Sensibility, as an epistolary novel (one written entirely in letters).  Melody and I have teamed up to recreate some of those letters (alas, no early manuscript survives!).  We shall present to you four epistles, all written by different characters and all taking place over the winter when Elinor and Marianne were in London.  (Dramatic music please.)  I must admit that in this letter I overstepped bounds a little and based Margaret's "voice" on the Margaret of the 1995 movie.  I know, I know, but she's not very interesting in the book. *covers head and ducks* (The picture, however, is from the 2008 movie... just because I like the way it looks.)

Barton Cottage, January

Dear Elinor and Marianne,

I hope you are enjoying your stay in London! I wish I could go.  It simply is n't fair that I have to stay at home.  Mamma says that I may go when I am old enough to be Out, but I do n't want to wait that long.  I want to go now, and I think that if you talk to Mrs. Jennings, Elinor, she will surely let me come and visit with you. I like Mrs. Jennings; she talks about things & we NEVER talk about things.

Edward still does not come to visit.  It's been weeks since he last came, & even then his last visit was so short! It was really of no signiff signef importance.  Has Marianne seen Mr. Willoughby?  Elinor, do tell me when they are to be married.  Will I get a new dress for the wedding?  Did he kneel down? They always kneel down, you know.

I want Mamma to shew me how to play Cassino, so that I can play with all of you when you & Mrs. Jennings return from London, but she says I am not old enough.  I hate being the youngest.  Elinor, do write to Mamma and say I may learn.  I am quite old enough, I'll be twelve soon!

Oh! I just had a thought! Is Edward in London? Do tell him to come and see us, Elinor.  You know he will if you ask him.  I am dying for the chance to play at swords with someone.  I am planning another expedition to China, and he has promised to go as my servant.  He'll be swabbing the decks of course; I couldn't afford to do it myself as I shall be quite busy with my captainly duties.

Hurry back, Elinor and Marianne.  I miss you dreadfully, and I will go on all the walks you like, Marianne, when you return.

Your loving sister,
in great haste &c,
Margaret Dashwood

(Read the other letters in this series here)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jane Austen's Best Quotes

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

“Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?”

“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

“Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.”

“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.”

“Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.”

“But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”

“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”

And my favorite one of all, written out and tacked to my bulletin board "for all to see":

“I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on until I am.”