Monday, October 31, 2011

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Review

Just about every Jane Austen aficionado out there has, at some time or another, seen Andrew Davies' 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Hundreds of reviews are currently floating around the blogosphere, detailing the plot, critiquing the actors, giggling over the script and raving about the lavish costumes.

We really don't need yet another review.

Then again, "we" (who is "we", anyway?) don't really need yet another period drama blog, but here I am anyway. So I'm going to review Pride and Prejudice, and if you're sick to death of P&P reviews, you don't have to read the post.

Let me warn you. This is going to be an excruciatingly long post packed full of screencaps and quotes, and it will not be an objective summary of the story. Y'all know what happens in P&P. If you don't, I beg you to go read the book. This post is going to be an extremely subjective expository of What I Like About P&P95 (extensive list) and What I Don't Like About P&P95 (there are approximately two items on this list).

~Jennifer Ehle, to begin with, is The Perfect Elizabeth Bennet. Witty, sparkling, attractive, and she has "fine eyes". :) I love the way she plays serious scenes--she switches from totally facetious to totally sober, and it's still believable. And she cries very well in the scene when she finds out about Lydia. Crying on command is an art, as my sister Anne will tell you. Jennifer Ehle is good at it. (Mary Ingalls of LHOTP is NOT, but that's another story for another time.)

I love the way she delivers funny lines. She doesn't overdo it, nor does she underdo it. I can't really describe it, but I love it. "I am no longer surprised at you knowing only... six... accomplished women, Mr. Darcy. I rather wonder at you knowing any."

~Colin Firth makes The Perfect Mr. Darcy. (I just can't call him Fitzwilliam. Saying the name "Fitzwilliam" makes Lady Catherine's voice sound in my head.) He looks just as Mr. Darcy should look--tall, dark and handsome--and he sounds just as Mr. Darcy should sound. This will sound odd, but even his movements and mannerisms are spot-on for Mr. Darcy: very decisive and sudden. Anne's favorite Mr. Darcy scene is the part when Caroline Bingley is making snarky comments about Elizabeth, and he sits up suddenly and says, "WHAT!" We always laugh our heads off at that scene. I have no idea why. My only complaint about Colin Firth as Darcy is that he really doesn't smile enough. (This is why I chose the picture you see on the right.)

Now before all you members of the P&P95Forever Club rise up in wrath and come at me with your DVDs at the ready, I have to point out that Mr. Darcy smiles in the original novel. A lot. In fact, Jane Austen often mentions that he said such-and-such "with a smile". Granted, Mr. Darcy is supposed to be stiff and proud and arrogant. And Colin Firth does that part very well. But I really think he should have smiled a little more.

On the other hand, his usual poker face makes his rare smiles even more noteworthy. For instance, that famous scene known as The Look, when Lizzy is singing at Pemberley. *Cue romantic sigh as all the teenage girls watching P&P melt into a puddle*

Also, I really love the portrayal of Darcy's relationship with Georgiana. She basically adores him, and you get the feeling that he adores her too. "He is so good to me; I don't deserve it." Lizzy's response is one of my favorites: "Oh, I think you do. Your brother thinks so; and as we know, he is never wrong."

~I do love the costumes! The bonnets especially--take a look at Elizabeth's bonnet in the second picture on this post. I would so wear one of those. Unfortunately many of the dresses are a bit low-cut (especially Lydia's, but I suppose that's part of her character. Groan.)

~This film is just. so. elegant. Tea and pretty parlors and English country dancing and old-fashioned manners. It makes me want to be British (or, more specifically, to live in Regency England).

~Lizzy and Darcy's on-screen chemistry leaves little to be desired. Even if you were watching the movie for the first time and had no idea of what would happen, you'd know that the two of them would wind up together in the end. Because it seems right. Whether they're verbally sparring in the ballroom or actually yelling at each other after Darcy's first proposal (okay, technically voices aren't raised but it sure feels like yelling) or smiling at each other across the piano (aww!), Darcy and Lizzy steal the entire screen.

Really, there are just so many delightful characters!

~Anna Chancellor played Caroline Bingley to a T. Her ingratiating smiles when Mr. Darcy was around, her catty remarks about Lizzy, and her snide comments toward Jane were spot-on. What's-her-name who played Louisa Hurst (known as Looweezer to Anne and me--the name comes from "Looweezer and I have been quite desolate without you") was also very good, but not as good. My only complaint about these two snippy ladies is that they don't look like sisters at all.

~Julia Sawalha was just perfect as Lydia Bennet. Now, some people say she was too old for the role, but I didn't think so. Okay, she doesn't look 15, but I was honestly shocked when I found out she was 26. She looks about 17 or 18, I think. She's obnoxiously annoying--"save your breath to cool your porridge, *I* shall tell mamma"--but she's also hysterically funny.

~Adrian Lukis played Wickham very well indeed--my only complaint was that he was kind of unlikable right from the very beginning. You could see that he was a slimeball. Anne doesn't like the way he bows--he sort of raises his head like a turtle on the way back up and grins in a most disconcerting way. Ugh. I wouldn't trust him if I were Lizzy. That's the problem; Wickham is supposed to be so charming that anyone would like him. As Elizabeth says to Jane, "It seems that one has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of goodness." [speaking of Mr. Darcy and Wickham]

~Mrs. Bennet, played by Alison Steadman, practically stole the show. If you saw P&P once and only remembered one character (incontheivable! How could you only remember one? Okay, it's an illustration, peoples) then she would have to be that one character. She's become iconic. Her poor nerves are constantly being mocked in our household, and her "Oh, Mr. BENNET!" has become a catchphrase. Let me just point out here that yes, Mrs. Bennet is portrayed as a caricature in this movie. But that's how Jane Austen wrote her. She was a humorist, people. She wrote satire. She was making fun of shallow women who thought of nothing more than making rich matches. Mrs. Bennet isn't supposed to be a sympathetic character (although I did feel sorry for her in the 05 version). She's comic relief, not a secondary heroine.

Speaking of comic relief....

~David Bamber is THE Mr. Collins. Oily, slick, pompously hilarious, Mr. Collins is one of Jane Austen's funniest characters ever. Andrew Davies' script enhances Mr. Collins' pomposity a little, but I think that's a good thing. Let me repeat--Jane Austen wrote caricatures. Mr. Collins is a caricature. Now, I'll admit that his portrayal in this movie is a little over-the-top as compared to his description in the book. He's not oily in the book, just "not a sensible man". But he's funnier in the movie than in the book. And I really like Lucy Scott as Charlotte Lucas. She has that philosophical, bloom-where-she's-planted outlook on life, just like Charlotte in the book. (I'm constantly comparing movies to books. Sorry, it's my one weakness.)

~I do love the music in this movie. From that first galloping-horses piano over the credits at the beginning to the imposing grandeur of "Pemberley" to the wistful strings and winds of "Thinking About Lizzy", the soundtrack captures the spirit of the story. Eek, I hate writing stuff like that--I sound like the back of a CD case. But it says what I want to say. :P

~The script is phenomenal. Andrew Davies, despite his knack for sticking in unnecessary and inappropriate scenes in his movies, kept P&P both clean and fascinating. This movie is just so quotable! But I won't bore you by listing all my favorite quotes--that's what Quote of the Week is for.

~Barbara Leigh-Hunt is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Judi Dench is Miss Matty Jenkyns. Are there any questions? No? (Hush!) Good. We understand each other.

So, now it's your turn to tell me what you liked or didn't like about P&P95. Please do leave a comment. If anyone asks for me, tell them I'm in my library, not to be disturbed. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

P.S. Shocking lack of good P&P95 trailers out there, so I made my own.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hymn of the Week: And Can It Be?

Everyone's heard of John Wesley, the Methodist preacher, but not as many people are familiar with his brother Charles. Charles Wesley was one of my favorite hymn writers (probably his most well-known song is "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"), and this is my favorite of his hymns. I've highlighted the parts I like best.

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in my Savior's love?
Died he for me, who caused his pain,
for me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

'Tis mystery all! the Immortal dies--
who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father's throne above;
so free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied himself of all but love
and bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O, my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast-bound in sin and nature's night.
Mine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon filled with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread:
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine.
Alive in Him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne
and claim the crown through Christ, my own.

In order to fully appreciate this beautiful hymn of praise, you have to hear it. (The audio and video are out of sync, but you can still enjoy the gorgeous music.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I've Been Awarded!

...and I'm so thrilled! Thank you, Abby of Newly Impassioned Soul, for giving me my very first blogger award. Here are the rules for this tag.

1. Be sure to post the award on your blog, for all of your readers to admire!
2. You will need to link back to the person who nominated you!
3. Make sure you tell your readers 7 random facts about yourself!
4. Also mention your favourite hobby, color and food!
5. Pass this award on to your 10 inspirational bloggers! (You can choose the person who nominated you!)

I’ve done the first two, so here are 7 random facts about myself…

1) I adore dark chocolate. Actually, chocolate of any kind, except white which is a little too sweet for my taste.
2) I love knitting. Cable stitch is my new passion.
3) I am deathly afraid of chickens, emus, turkeys, peacocks and just about any large bird with beady eyes and claws (shudder).
4) Insects fascinate me. I like turning over rocks and watching the creepy-crawlies.
5) I love singing, especially Irish folk music and songs from Broadway musicals. ("As long as he neeeeeeeeds meeeeeeee.....")
6) It is currently snowing very hard outside my window and I'm loving it.
7) I am very absent-minded and tend to forget things within ten minutes. (You know that feeling when you're standing in front of the linen closet wondering what on earth you're doing there.)

And now my hobby, favorite color and favorite food:
My hobbies are many--some include reading, writing, reading other people's blogs, knitting and cooking.
My favorite color is probably blue, but pink is wonderful too. And yellow, and green, and red, and white, and lilac...
My favorite food is... uh... do I have to pick just one??? Okay, probably soup. I love soup. With tons of vegetables. I also have an insatiable sweet tooth, so maybe ice cream with nuts. I don't know. This is too hard! (And now I'm getting hungry.)

I am going to pass this award along to:
Miss Laurie at Old-Fashioned Charm
Maria Elisabeth at Miss Georgiana Darcy
Miss Elizabeth Bennet at Elegance of Fashion
My sister Anne-girl (her blog is private, so no link)
Hayden at Story Girl

And... uh.. I'm still new to this realm of bloggers, so I could only come up with nine people to tag. Anyone else who wants to do it, feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks again, Abby. This was fun!

Recasting Mansfield Park

A couple of weeks ago, I read Melody's post about casting Claire Foy as Fanny Price if the BBC were to make a new adaptation of Mansfield Park. I completely agree that a new adaptation of Mansfield Park is sorely needed. I tolerated the 1983 version, refuse to watch the 1999 version (PG-13? Seriously???) and do not acknowledge the existence of the 2007 version. (Mr. Elton as Edmund? You've got to be kidding.)

Anyway, I think Claire Foy would make a very good Fanny Price. She did such a good job as Amy Dorrit, and Fanny is a similar character. But as I was pondering this, I thought, "Why stop there? Why not recast Mansfield Park in its entirety?" So I did (with a great deal of help from Anne). It was loads of fun and perhaps you'd enjoy reading about it too. I tried to choose actors and actresses from relatively recent period drama films, so that we know how they look now.

In no particular order...

Francesca Annis (Wives and Daughters, Cranford) as Mrs. Price, Fanny's mother. Anne objected to this, saying that she's too refined for the role, but I think Mrs. Price IS refined; she's just come down in the world.

Simon Woods (Cranford, Pride and Prejudice 05) as Tom Bertram. I'm not entirely pleased with him for the part, but he was the only person I could think of that remotely fit the role. Anyone have a better suggestion?

Elizabeth Spriggs (Sense and Sensibility, Wives and Daughters) as Mrs. Rushworth. I know Mrs. R is a pretty minor character, but I think Mrs. Jennings Elizabeth Spriggs would fit her to a T.

Adrian Lukis (Pride and Prejudice 95) would be good as Mr. Yeats, I think. He just seems to fit my mental image of the character. Plus he's had experience playing unprincipled men before.

Jena Malone (Pride and Prejudice 05) as Betsey--she could play a character who's a little silly, and a little unrefined, but still likable and sweet. Plus, she and Claire Foy could pass for sisters.

Keeley Hawes (Wives and Daughters, Our Mutual Friend) as Maria Bertram. She was the first person who popped into my head when I thought about recasting MP. I mean, she's PERFECT!

Ioan Gruffudd (Amazing Grace, Great Expectations--how on earth do you pronounce his name??) as Edmund Bertram. Okay, this picture isn't the best, but just pretend he isn't yelling at Parliament. It's about time we had a handsome Edmund Bertram (Jonny Lee Miller doesn't count; he's Mr. Knightley). Plus, his voice sounds the way I imagine Edmund talking.

Justine Waddell (Wives and Daughters, Great Expectations) as Mary Crawford. It's hard for me to think of her as anyone but sweet Molly Gibson (I saw her as Estella in G.E. so long ago that I barely remember it), but she certainly looks the part. Mary is supposed to have dark hair and eyes and be very pretty and charming.

Julia Sawalha (Pride and Prejudice 95, Cranford) as Lady Bertram. This woman is such a versatile actress--I could totally see her as the insipid, indolent Lady Bertram. "Do not tease my poor pug! I want to go to Brighton!"

Janine Duvitski (Little Dorrit) as Aunt Norris. Now, Mrs. Meagles in Little Dorrit is as harmless a character as you'll ever see (Anne and I have nicknamed her Chicken Meagles, for all her chirping and clucking) but I think she could also be the bossy and mean Mrs. Norris.

Bill Paterson (Little Dorrit, Wives and Daughters), would make an excellent Sir Thomas Bertram. You can definitely imagine him rising up in righteous wrath against the evils of playacting.

Lisa Dillon (Cranford) as Julia Bertram. Julia's pretty boring, but Lisa Dillon looks the part, and she and Keeley Hawes could assuredly pass as sisters.
Rupert Evans (Emma, North and South) as Henry Crawford. He made an excellent rogue as Frank Churchill, and I think he could do it again.

The only principal character I haven't cast is Mr. Rushworth. Any suggestions?

Oh, and the screenplay will be written by Andrew Davies (Little Dorrit, Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice) and Sandy Welch (Emma, Jane Eyre, North and South). Hey, the sky's the limit, right? Andrew Davies will preserve Jane Austen's original language, and Sandy Welch will prevent Mr. Davies from putting in unnecessary PG-themed scenes. Emma Thompson will serve as advisor. The music will be composed by Patrick Doyle (Sense and Sensibility) and Dario Marianelli (Pride and Prejudice 05). And the costumes will be designed by somebody who knows the Regency era and will make sure all the ladies wear their hair up. There will be a perfectly splendiferous wedding scene at the end, and young Fanny will actually resemble older Fanny. Hmm, I forgot to cast young Fanny. Your thoughts?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quote Of The Week 4

Jack Worthing: I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we still had a few fools left.
Algernon Moncreiff: We have.
Jack Worthing: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?
Algernon Moncreiff: The fools? Oh, about the clever people, of course.
Jack Worthing: What fools!

~The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

Note: I do apologize for the picture that showed up on here! This is what happens when you link from the web--sigh. I am not really sure what happened--maybe I put the address in wrong. Weird. Anyway, I've edited it to put the real picture in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Period Drama Heroines #7: Jane Eyre

"If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends."
~Jane Eyre

To describe Jane Eyre in one word is really not so hard, as long as the word you choose is either "principled", "moral" or "steadfast". Do not, under any circumstances, use the word "boring" to describe Jane; if you do so, that is clear proof that you do not understand her.

Now before you give a great huff and close your browser window with exasperation at my pomposity, let me assure you that I don't pretend to understand Jane Eyre. That is why I like her. She's complex.

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre (2011)

At first glance, Jane seems like a pitiable character. Brought up under the cruelty of her aunt (wow, she and Esther should get together!), sent away to a horrendous boarding school (who else always wants to smack Mr. Brocklehurst every time he appears on the page?) and left to take care of herself in an unforgiving world, Jane's story sounds a little like a soap opera. Or at least a melodramatic Victorian novel.

Wait, it IS a melodramatic Victorian novel. Never mind.

But though Jane's story may seem a bit contrived and over-the-top, it has many redeeming qualities--the biggest of which being Jane herself. I mean, you can't help but root for this girl!

Joan Fontaine as Jane Eyre (1943)

Jane is meek and timid--in her own words, "poor, obscure, plain and little". Jane also possesses great strength of character, steadfast beliefs and a pepperpot temper when she's provoked. In that memorable scene when Mr. Rochester asks her to marry him (in an extremely roundabout way--annoying man!) she tells him in no uncertain terms why she wants to leave Thornfield. "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? a machine without feelings?... You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart!" In general, Jane is a very gentle person, but there are times when she just can't take it any longer. I'm not commending angry words, but I will admit to being excessively pleased when I read this passage. Take that, Mr. Rochester!

Jane is not a people-pleaser. She speaks candidly and with complete honesty. "I like rudeness a great deal better than flattery. I had rather be a thing than an angel." As a child, this often got her in trouble with her odious schoolmaster and horrible aunt. And if she had been employed by a man who was not in love with her, this talent probably would have cost her her job, too. :)

Jane is opinionated without being outspoken. She has her standards and her beliefs, and she won't be shaken in them--but she doesn't cram what she thinks down people's throats. However, her book is told in the first person, so the reader at least gets a healthy dose of Jane's opinion on everything. "Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last."

There is but one thing in which I cannot admire Jane---why, why, why did she fall in love with Mr. Rochester???

Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens in Jane Eyre (2006)

In case you hadn't noticed yet, I'm not a big fan of Edward Fairfax Rochester. He's a liar. He's willing to be a bigamist. He's moody and strange. (That's not attractive, ladies.) He's violent. He's had an immoral past (and is rather unrepentant when Jane confronts him). Jane, on the other hand, is truthful, loyal, open, forthright, moral, just, and a woman of integrity. Could two people ever be less suited to each other?

You know the basic story. Mr. Rochester wants to marry Jane, but one tiny detail stands in their way--his insane wife, locked in the attic. Jane leaves Thornfield as soon as she finds out about Mrs. Rochester (not without intense emotional trauma). "Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent expectant woman--almost a bride--was a cold, solitaray girl again: her life was pale; her prospects desolate." I feel so sorry for Jane at this point--does the whole world have to be against her?

"Don't worry," Hayden says in her review of Jane Eyre on her blog, "the book ends with a happily-ever-after. It just takes a really long time to get there."

It takes a little too long, in my opinion. Jane deserves a happy ending now. But it's all okay, because there's one more virtue of Jane's that I forgot to mention.

She's unbelievably patient. She can wait for a happy ending.

Josephine Serre and Charlotte Gainsbourg in Jane Eyre (1996)

P.S. I have not seen any of the film adaptations of Jane Eyre, so I don't have a video clip for this post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Blog Button!

I finally have a blog button--and I'm so excited! I had made a button quite a while ago, but I didn't know how to make a grab box for it. I would love to say that I figured it out all by myself, but the truth of the matter is that I googled "how to make blog button grab boxes" and followed the directions on this page.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

My Blog Button! Ta-da!

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

I also added a cute little icon on my sidebar where you can get the button, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hymn of the Week: O For A Closer Walk With God

I love old hymns. Love, love, love them. Some of the newer hymns are very good too (In Christ Alone, I Am Your Shield, How Deep the Father's Love, etc.) but in general I prefer the older ones. There's something beautiful about songs of worship that have stood the test of time. And often, the older hymns are more thought-provoking. The words are full of truth and meaning. I'm not saying the newer ones aren't, but in my experience they often rely heavily on the music rather than the words.

Anyway, I would like to share one of my favorite hymns here every week, and what better day to do it than on the Lord's Day?

O For A Closer Walk With God was written in 1769 by Jane Austen's favorite poet, William Cowper. (I encourage you to read his story--what an inspiring testimony to God's faithfulness in our weakness!)

O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heavenly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew
when first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
of Jesus and his word?

Return, O holy Dove, return,
sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
and drove thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
whate'er that idol be,
help me to tear it from thy throne,
and worship only thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Period Drama Heroines #8: Esther Summerson

A little note: In order to write about Esther Summerson, it is necessary for me to describe key plot points in her story. If you have not read or watched Bleak House, you may wish to skip this post, because it will contain A LOT of spoilers.

"True beauty comes from within." It's a phrased so overused as to become cliche; perhaps that's why it's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Esther Summerson, the heroine of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

I was recently browsing the archives of Miss Laurie's delightful blog Old-Fashioned Charm, when I chanced upon these verses written by one of my (and Jane Austen's!) favorite poets, William Cowper. Again, Esther's lovely face popped into my mind.

Sweet stream that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid -
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng;
With gentle, yet prevailing force
Intent upon her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and bless'd where'ere she goes,
Pure-bosom'd as that wat'ry glass,
And Heav'n reflected in her face.

~William Cowper

Esther Summerson grew up knowing little more than harshness and hardship. Throughout her childhood she was told that she was her mother's disgrace, that she was good for nothing. And yet she never allowed her aunt's cruel words to tear her down. Esther's sweetness shone through no matter what.
When Esther goes to become a companion to Ada Clare, one of her first observations about Ada is that she is beautiful. Esther candidly admits that she herself is not. (I would beg to differ, but we'll get to that in more detail later.) Though some girls might resent a position such as Esther's, serving a young lady who is "superior" (I use the term loosely) in class and appearance, Esther really doesn't know the meaning of the word "resent".

Naturally, Esther isn't perfect (if she were, I probably wouldn't like her). She has an overwhelmingly strong sense of justice and can take a great dislike to people she feels are unworthy. A certain scheming, conniving, sponging, self-centered idiot by the name of Harold Skimpole, for instance. Esther handles him brilliantly, letting him know exactly what she thinks of him without ever once stooping to his level. Bravo, Esther!

Esther also possesses a great deal of tact. She isn't at all interested in Mr. Guppy's hilariously awkward declarations of love, yet she doesn't push him aside or belittle him--she kindly but firmly tells him that she cannot marry him. Esther would never intentionally hurt another person's feelings.

When she contracts smallpox, her face becomes terribly scarred. At first she doesn't want to let anyone see her, because she's afraid of offending them, not because her vanity has been hurt.

Because Esther thinks so little of herself, you see.

The inner turmoil Esther undergoes when she SPOILER ALERT finally meets her mother and cannot tell anyone END OF SPOILER reminds me of Elinor Dashwood's similar experience. Both handled the situation in a remarkable manner, never letting on how upset they were.

And if that business weren't enough, Esther has still more problems with the romance in her life. She finds herself in love with Alan Woodcourt, but after her illness is convinced that he can never love someone who is so changed. She accepts Mr. Jarndyce's proposal with a sense of gratitude, but then Alan returns from his time at sea and the music becomes thunderous! (Well, not really. But in my head, when I was reading the book, it did.)

Alan proposes to Esther (he's a true gentleman, not to be swayed by a few scars), but she remains loyal to Mr. Jarndyce and gently refuses Alan. This is Esther's best scene and the epitome of her self-sacrificial personality--please tell me I wasn't the only one crying when this happened (even though I'd already read the book....).

(I couldn't find a clip of Alan's proposal alone--Esther's Best Scene goes from 2:07 to 3:48, with a bit of the wedding at the end. I'd recommend you watch the whole thing. :))

And yet Esther's happiness isn't sacrificed, because Mr. Jarndyce (dear man!) makes a sacrifice too. (I'm using that word too much...) Esther and Alan lived happily ever after, and there are few heroines who more richly deserve an ending such as Esther's. As I said before, Esther's true beauty shines from within. Outwardly, she is rather plain, but inwardly, she is loveliness itself--and that loveliness manifests itself in her countenance.

That's true beauty. That's Esther. She's the kind of lady that I want to be.

All pictures except for the second, third and sixth (which are from Google Images) are from

Quote of the Week 3

"Wilt thou give up thy garter, oh fairest of the fair"? Anne, nobody speaks that way. And look at that sap Percival who sits around mooning the entire time. He never lets a girl get a word in edgewise. In real life she'd have pitched him.
~Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Other Way, Mr. Collins

I am ever so slowly learning the wonders of movie-making--it is more fun than I ever would have imagined. :) I enjoyed myself faaaar too much while making this tribute to Mr. Collins, and I couldn't resist sharing it here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Introducing My Family

I love little details. Do you? I also love people. (I'm not even going to ask if you do, too, because I'm sure you do.) When I read someone's blog, I like to read posts that are personal. Unfortunately, in this crazy world, it isn't safe for me to post freely (on a public blog) about myself and my family. For this reason, I haven't told you my real name, nor where I live. You know me as Miss Dashwood, and frankly I find that fun. It's like having an alter ego. :P

Anyway, I'd like to be able to tell you about things that happen in my life (with discretion of course) but since I'm still living at home with my family, my family is naturally going to be a central part of what goes on in my life! And since it's awkward to be constantly referring to "my sister--no, not that one, the other one", I've decided to nickname each of my family members. My parents I can refer to as Mother and Father (or Mom and Daddy) without worrying about their privacy :), but my siblings are another matter. So I have chosen some names for my siblings that, I think, fit them very well.

I should tell you that I, Miss Dashwood, am the eldest child in my family. (Any other firstborn ladies out there?) Now that that's out of the way, I can share a little about my siblings.

"Anne" is next in line after me. She and I are as close as sisters could be: she tells me everything and I tell her everything. This sounds cliche, I know, but we literally are best friends. Anne is romantic and passionate, dreamy and imaginative, unbelievably funny, tenderhearted and caring. She is NOT a redhead, but she would very much like to be one. :)

"Molly" is gentle and sweet, conscientious and fun-loving. She likes to be outdoors and she loves animals of all shapes and sizes. She and I are very much alike and share many common interests. Molly is a real bookworm and has been known to bring home stacks of 15 or 16 books from our local public library, fully dedicated to the "improvement of her mind by extensive reading". :)

"Laura" is our family imp--mischievous, cute and with a rather unfortunate talent for drawing painfully accurate caricatures. :) Tenderhearted and caring for all living creatures and small things, she loves just about anything that crawls, creeps, flies or swims. Artsy and creative, Laura isn't too fond of schoolwork, but she plays the piano, sings, draws, covers screens and I know not what.

(Note: It isn't at all difficult to describe my one and only brother; the difficult part of this post was finding a period drama character to which I could compare him! I finally settled on Jeremiah Kincaid from the lovely old family film So Dear to My Heart. Technically that's not a period drama, but have you ever considered how few little boys there are in period dramas? I'm not about to compare my brother with Mary Musgrove's little terrors, after all!)

"Jerry" is the youngest member of our family, the only little guy in our girl world. He doesn't mind, though--being the youngest has its benefits. Jerry is fast developing a love of books, and I'm delightedly encouraging that as much as possible. He loves being outdoors, getting dirty, eating, singing (loudly) and watching Disney movies--in short, he's all boy.

I couldn't possibly close this post without mentioning my wonderful parents. They share my love of reading, my passion for music and the outdoors, and my fascination with history. My mom introduced me to Jane Austen when I was fourteen, and my dad has diligently fostered my love of Dickens. I don't have pictures to share with you, because honestly my parents are incomparable--there are no two people in my knowledge of period drama as special as they!

So, that's my family. I'm looking forward to sharing more family-oriented posts with you as this blog develops!

Period Drama Heroine Tournament

I am delighted to announce that Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Elegance of Fashion is hosting a Period Drama Heroine Tournament. I'm eager to participate, and you should be too. :) You can click on the button to head on over to her blog and vote on your favorite heroine from period drama.

Of course, this all fits in very nicely with the Period Drama Heroines series I'm currently writing. :)