Saturday, 29 March 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 265

We have in the past on this blog quoted from the letter Jane wrote to Cassandra on November 17, 1798 where she said:
"...I was too proud to make any inquiries..."
Also, we have discussed the Jane and Tom connection.  I ran across the following post made by my late friend, Ashton Dennis on the Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen web site that I have preserved.  The post is titled:  "I was too proud to make any inquiries" Jane Austen's Eleventh Letter."  In this post he discussed the question "Was Jane Austen ever in love?"  Ashton says this in the second paragraph:
Let me begin with an observation: If Goethe himself or even if one of the Russians had written this letter for a fictional character, he would have been very proud of himself—and for good reason. I find the letter to be very interesting and very affecting and I suspect that you will as well. Several biographers point to the most important passages in the letter, the ones dealing with her meeting with Madame Lefroy, but I want to do something more. I will discuss those in the context of other passages in the letter because only in that way can the full impact be felt.
Now, if that piques your interest, you may read his most interesting thoughts on this subject here:  Was Jane Austen ever in love?  I highly recommend it.
Yrs aff'ly,

Linda the Librarian

Friday, 21 March 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 264

This early 19th CE Dutch milk lady seemed to be enjoying what she was doing. Painter: Wybrand Hendriks

Breaking my recent tradition of being late in quotes (gasp!), I am posting the weekend quote earlier this week (well, it's Friday afternoon in Australia, so it starts to count...). I just realised that we had not done a quote from Sense & Sensibility for a while, so it's good that I found one from the said book just now. 

From Chapter 19 of Sense & Sensibility:  

"I think, Edward," said Mrs. Dashwood, as they were at breakfast the last morning, "you would be a happier man if you had any profession to engage your time and give an interest of your plans and actions. Some inconvenience to your friends, indeed, might result from it -- you would not be able to give them so much of your time. But" (with a smile) "you would be materially benefited in one particular at least -- you would know where to go when you left them." 

Indeed, I agree with what Mrs Dashwood said. It is a grand feeling indeed if we have a profession that interests us. That keeps us vibrant and alive in our hearts.

And if we are lucky enough to have such jobs, know this: keep it. There may be annoying people in your department, or they're just around to whine about their lives. But let them not discourage you. For you are doing what you love the most, and we can ignore hiccups like that.

Enjoy the weekend, and all the best for next week!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 38

Since March 17th is St. Patrick's Day around the world (according to Wikipedia), I thought it appropriate to investigate Tom's Irish connections, especially because he is referred to by Jane as "my Irish friend". I, therefore, quote from the "Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy", Chapter 1:
Thomas Langlois Lefroy was born on the 8th of January, 1776. He was the eldest son of Anthony Lefroy, Lieut.-Colonel of the 9th Light Dragoons the descendant of a Huguenot family, who were obliged to fly from Cambray, at the period of the Duke of Alva's persecution in the Netherlands and took refuge in England. .... Lieut.-Colonel Lefroy, the father of the subject of this memoir, entered the army in 1763 as Ensign in the 33rd Regiment, then quartered in Ireland, and at the early age of twenty-three married Anna, daughter of Thomas George Gardner, Esq,, of Doonass in the County of Claire; ...
Colonel Lefroy sold out of the army in 1791, and having previously purchased landed property in the County Limerick, he resolved not to return to England, and settled in Limerick, where he resided till his death in 1819.
So Tom was indeed "Irish" in that he was born in Ireland, however, his paternal ancestry is from European origin (Cambray, and Netherlands are mentioned). His maternal ancestry is Irish. So in reality, his 'blood' is half Irish.
Over here in the U.S. we have a St. Patrick's Day custom thusly:  if you see your friends NOT wearing something green, you must give them a pinch.  It is fun to catch them unawares.  So, does anyone else have such customs?
I salute our Irish Friend "Tom Lefroy" on this coming St. Patrick's Day, March 17.
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 263

I wish to continue my quote from last week in The Loiterer Issue No. 29.  I got side tracked with the new discoveries from 200 years ago, so now I want to address the discussion as stated in the title of that issue "Absurdity of marrying from Affection."
The very next paragraph says:
Between two opinions so warmly urged and so strongly supported, it is not easy to fix any decision; but I must confess that however, in other respects, I may lean to the side of the young, (well knowing that their experience and coolness must nine times out of ten give them the advantage over their adversaries) yet in this one instance I must revolt to the other party; and shall in this paper endeavour to prove, that marrying from motives of affection is a very improper and absurd action, injurious to our own happiness as individuals, and detrimental to the interests of the community.
The writer goes on the "prove" his point which is interesting, but as a Southern American, I must admit that I had never thought about 'marriage' in this light.  So I hope to continue this series on "affection" in marriage, and see what happens.  As dear Jane says, "I leave it for you to determine."

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 262

A Regency wedding, from Isabelle Goddard


While searching for some "Jane Austen" opinions about the status of women in her day, I ran across so many things that I had no idea existed.  Let me start with her brother James' Loiterer No. 29.  To get the complete 'picture' you really should read the entire issue.  No. 29 is HERE and this is the first paragraph that starts the discussion about "MATRIMONY":

NOTHING has so often interrupted the harmony of private families, and set the whole genealogical table of Relations in arms against each other, as that unfortunate propensity which the old and the young have ever discovered to differ as much as possible in their opinion on almost every subject that comes in their way. Various in consequence are the disputes, and bitter the altercations which arise from the diversity of opinion on matters in themselves of small consequence, such as the shortness of allowances, and the length of bills, the propriety of saving money, and the pleasure of spending it. But there is one subject, which above all others affords never-failing matter of contention between father, uncles, or guardians, and their sons, nephews or wards. I mean (to use the words of a celebrated dramatic authoress) “The great universal purpose, MATRIMONY,” on which the above-mentioned personages have adopted Ideas so very dissimilar, that to endeavour to reconcile them would be a vain attempt. For nothing is more true, than that the young have taken it into their heads to imagine that youth and beauty, good temper and good sense, are the best recommendations in a wife; that on this occasion similarity of dispositions should be consulted rather than equality of fortunes, and that mutual affection is a surer basis of conjugal happiness than a hundred thousand pounds. While the old, on the other hand, that it is no matter how wide the tempers are separated, provided that the estates join: in order to get possession of a rotten borough, would gladly exchange all the beauties of the person, and all the graces of the mind; and (rather than stand upon trifles) give the four cardinal virtues into the bargain.
I will comment on the 2 parts in bold.  First, "the clelebrated dramatic authoress" - who is that?  After a Google search I found her, Susanna Centlivre and her writing was "The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret" (1714).  This book is still available at Amazon and at some libraries, if you can believe that!  I'll have to put it on my "to do" list.
Next, "the four cardinal virtues" - all right, so what are they?  And it's amazing they were known way back in those "Austen" days.  Wikipedia says HERE that they are piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.  Boy, if that doesn't sound like what I grew up with.  And more importantly, it explains why I was raised to be a "doormat".
Such findings make me wonder "what else is out there that we don't know about?"  Happy Hunting!
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 261

As it is valentines weekend I have chosen a favourite quote from Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne Elliott in Persuasion:

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago."

Never give up on true love and always have hope.

Happy Valentines Day to you all.

Pic: Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth

Monday, 10 February 2014

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 37

Jane (Anne Hathaway) and Tom (James McAvoy) before the faithful moment that turned the tide

I’d like to revisit an old quote of Tom’s that Rachel has posted back in August 2010 here. This quote popped up in my mind again today when I was reflecting upon a recent dinner with an old friend.

"I do not say that we are to extinguish the affections which belong to the different relations of life; on the contrary, by the pure and sincere exercise of them, selfishness is in some degree extinguished, but the gratification arising from the most delightful of these affections should not form the stay, and hope, and prop of life. No; therein consists the excess and the abuse: but I’ll say no more on this head, lest you should tell me that nothing but my vanity could suggest the necessity of sermonizing you in this manner. I own, however, it is grounded on a conviction that the sensibility and devotedness of my darling wife’s attachment to a certain degree impair her own enjoyment. But, remember, I am not willing to part with the least atom of it to any earthly object; whatever of it ought to be pruned away, let it be transplanted to that region where we may hope and trust to enjoy it in bliss unfading."

Emphasize are my own.

Rachel et al have discussed this quote in the link above, an interesting discourse I must say. Then, coming back to my dinner, my friend has related to me her love story. Since she remains anonymous here, I feel no guilt in explaining the gist of her love story (and I sincerely hope I do not trespass her boundaries here). The gist is simple: the man and the woman love each other, but due to prior engagement, they cannot be together. They find it difficult to move on, but the woman has made up her mind to do so.

I understand her journey will not be easy, so here’s my prayer for her. She reminds me of Tom, because now I believe that Tom did love Jane Austen and Mary Paul at about the same time. God knows, loving two people at the same time is very difficult, not to mention the guilty feeling. However, I believe that Tom surpassed those turmoils. He dedicated his life and love to Mary, while at the same time kept the sweet memories with Jane in one corner of his heart. 

Was it wrong to do so? I doubt it. Certainly Tom (or my friend) did not wish to have two concurrent loves. But it happened. It still happens these days. What Tom did, and what my friend will do, is distancing himself from Jane. He did not do it out of malice. He did it out of respect, love and responsibility to Mary, and out of his love to Jane as well (at least I think he didn’t want to put Jane in trouble). It was not an easy decision to make. He did it, though. My friend is doing it now. God knows how many hearts have to do that as I write this sentence. That kind of journey is not easy. Letting go is never easy.

So here’s this quote, to those hearts out there who need to let go and move on, despite the desires to be together. May the Universe bless you in this difficult journey.  

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 260

Sorry for the delay in posting Linda's quote. We will be more on time this weekend.


Here I go again!  Sorry, but I can't help myself.  This quote just keeps popping up and I am losing count of the number of times!
Jane Austen (I firmly believe) said in The Loiterer No. 9:
I am a great reader....
and here is why I was drawn to that again.  I was perusing my shelves of Jane Austen books and ran across this one by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit:  Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad - The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship.  It is a true story  told in an email format between and English Lady and an Iraqi Lady.  And our Jane Austen brought them together.  I have only briefly looked at the book, and I must get-around to reading it in its entirety.  My point being that "reading Jane Austen" is world wide!!  It takes something "special" to be able to do that.
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian


Jane Austen Quote of the Week 259

Chapter 6 of Northanger Abbey finds Isabella Thorpe and Catherine Morland having a conversation in the early stages of their friendship. They are talking of reading novels such as The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (who Jane meets with in Becoming Jane). Isabella says:

“Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them. I wish you knew Miss Andrews, you would be delighted with her. She is netting herself the sweetest cloak you can conceive. I think her as beautiful as an angel, and I am so vexed with the men for not admiring her! I scold them all amazingly about it."
Scold them! Do you scold them for not admiring her?”
“Yes, that I do. There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.

I actually could not believe that we have not cited this quote before on the blog. It came into my mind yesterday after a colleague of mine, who has now become a good friend, has left to go on maternity leave. I spoke to her about not losing touch and she made a comment about how she always makes a huge effort for people who she regards as "real" friends - it has been in my mind since so thought it apt to use this quote today. As soon as a big occasion (whether it be negative or positive) strikes in your life, you certainly quickly learn who your true friends are. I never forget that either.

I hope that you are having a great weekend.

Pic Isabella and Catherine

Monday, 20 January 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 258

Sunrise in north Bali (my own collection)

It’s my first turn of the year, and I already am late! Sigh... (being more punctual is undoubtedly in my resolution list for this year). However, I do find a quote that resonates with some of my New Year spirits...

From Pride & Prejudice, Volume I Chapter 11, Mr Darcy to Elizabeth:

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever”

I have been Mr Darcy in the past. I have been Elizabeth too, in the past. But I realise now that people are either: 1) not as they seem, or 2) indeed capable of growing into better versions of themselves. “People” in this case includes me, of course.

I once wrote a quote in 2010 how I went into a big fight with a friend. Since last year, we have amended the friendship, to the point that he seems not to even remember that big fight. Or at least, he chooses not to dwell on it. Good on you, my dear friend... I’m sorry that we went into that fight, but I’m glad that we are over it now.

And just early last year, I also misjudged another person. Turned out, he is not who I thought him to be. I later explained to him how I had a Lizzy Bennet moment the moment I met him (he was doing something I thought snobbish, but really, it wasn’t the case). He laughed and we became good friends. We still fought and argued a lot last year, involving a big project. Once or twice I thought of just terminating this new friendship. I’m glad that we persisted tho. Otherwise we wouldn’t have grown up in this friendship...

So, that’s one of my New Year resolutions. Instead of jumping into conclusion, I’d like to keep an open mind on anything before concluding something based on enough facts. Of course, at times we shouldn’t ignore intuition. But intuition should be balanced with good judgement as well, methinks.

By the bye, if any of you are still unsure about your New Year resolutions, fret not. The Chinese New Year of the Horse is coming soon on 31 January, just 11 days away. You can still wish upon a star for a better year ahead...

Monday, 13 January 2014

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 36

This week I chose a quote from part 9 of Tom Lefroy's memoirs:

"But the things I am speaking of concerning his personal character – his love for God’s word, his humiliation as a sinner, his confidence in Christ – these are not gone. My brethren, for ourselves let us think can we look for more earthly things than he had? Few of us, perhaps none of us here, will attain to that advanced life. A few, indeed, may attain to the same high eminence in the world, or to the honors that crowned him; but even of those who attain these honors few may have that unbroken family peace and happiness which he had."

The highlighted words stood out for me. We hear such horrifying stories on the news every day and I wonder whether there is a reduction in the number of people who feel a sense of humiliation after committing a sin? I also wonder whether there are less people who have unbroken family peace and happiness in the world we live in today? Perhaps people don't fight as hard for what is important.

I think that from reading this it is clear that Tom was a very admirable character, someone to respect and follow as a compass of morality. I believe he may have understood the importance for balance in life.

Pic: Yin Yang symbol

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 257

This quote is to reply to a comment we received from Anonymous last week who questioned the authorship of Jane's novels.  You may read his comment at the bottom of the post HERE.  I did a search for the book title he wrote and found the description at Amazon HERE.  Therefore the author of the comment is Nicholas Ennos.
I wish to state my own opinion on this subject even though I have not read his book.  Please keep in mind that this is only an "opinion" because I have not read his book and I believe in hearing both sides of a "story".  So here is "my side" which has not been thoroughly researched.
I have quoted the first paragraph in the letter from Sophia Sentiment in Issue No. 9 of James Austen's "The Loiterer" only 3 times since I have been doing these quotes.  Hee hee.  Here is a link to that issue:  No. 9 published on March 28, 1789 when Jane was only 13 years old.  And I am opinionated enough to think that Jane is guilty of writing that letter.  So here it is again:
I write this to inform you that you are very much out of my good graces, and that, if you do not mend your manners, I shall soon drop your acquaintance. You must know, Sir, I am a great reader, and not to mention some hundred volumes of Novels and Plays, have, in the last two summers, actually got through all the entertaining papers of our most celebrated periodical writers, from the Tatler and Spectator to the Microcosm and the Olla Podrida. Indeed I love a periodical work beyond any thing, especially those in which one meets with a great many stories, and where the papers are not too long. I assure you my heart beat with joy when I first heard of your publication, which I immediately sent for, and have taken in ever since.
Mr. Ennos is concerned with Jane's limited amount of formal education.  If memory serves me, her father was a tutor and had a library.  As a younger daughter I can envision her spending her time perusing that library and being taught in some indirect manner by her father.  Her older brothers were formally educated and I can imagine she picked up some 'pointers' from them also.  We have to realize that there were no TVs to distract them, so time was available.
I have collected copies of those periodicals mentioned above, among other books of that era, and am amazed at what they did know.  Up until then I thought those people were quite limited in their knowledge. 
And as for the "fictitious love affair between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy", I have my own feelings about that but I am not ready to expose myself yet with my suspicions.  Briefly, I think the 'affair' has been overdone, but their feelings may have been held inside for their own reasons, and not as 'exposed' as all these modern authors like to exploit.
So, at present (before I have the chance to do deep research) I respectfully disagree with Mr. Ennos' ideas.  And as we say, I won't be so foolish as to 'throw the baby (his book) out with the bath water.'  I Thank You, Mr. Ennos for your comments.  It keeps us on our toes to get the truth.
Yours with respect,
Linda the Librarian