|Recently discovered portrait? She only looks 70, tops!|
- tea and scones,
- orange-pomegranate salad,
- a make-your-own-Regency-hat craft, and
- a discussion of the ever-beloved Pride and Prejudice.
|This man loves my scones|
Consider this quote, which might very well be a modern author complaining about pirated books and e-lending: "People are more ready to borrow and praise, than to buy -- which I cannot wonder at; but tho' I like praise as well as anybody, I like what Edward calls Pewter too."
Speaking of pewter, Austen reaped L680 from her books during her lifetime, a not insignificant sum for a dependent, unmarried woman. But compare that to Darcy's annual income of L10,000! Yes, clearly Pride and Prejudice's hero was the "subject of schoolgirl fantasy," as Sting would put it.
Elsewhere Austen records that her brother Henry is reading Mansfield Park and "his approbation has not lessened." Moreover he "admires H[enry] Crawford -- I mean properly, as a clever pleasant man." I, too, admire the tricky characters of Henry and Mary Crawford and how fine a line their creator walks between making them delightful and dreadful. So far I have no idea if I'm achieving success with my versions of the Crawfords, but I can hope...
Nice to know too that, apart from drafts of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice composed in her early years, Austen didn't get down to the nitty-gritty of cranking out, polishing and publishing novels until her mid-thirties. And by your mid-thirties in the 19th century you already had one toe in the grave, if not a whole foot. Austen didn't even reach her 42nd birthday, after all. (If you ever needed a reminder that, really, you haven't managed to do much with your life, spend time meditating on what Jesus managed to accomplish by 33 and Jane Austen by 41. Kind of demoralizing.)
Take a brief time-out from the Christmas rush in honor of dear Jane. Curl up with a cup of tea and a chapter from one of her novels. Look up the alternate proposal scene between Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. Weigh in on the debate over Austen's newly discovered "portrait." Try to picture Emma Stone in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Watch my favorite "about Jane" movie Becoming Jane. (Yeah, it's pretty much made up, but there are some nice touches. Tom LeFroy really was "a very great admirer of Tom Jones" and James McAvoy is lovely playing him.)
Happy birthday to Jane!