Monday, 23 March 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 296

St. Patrick at the St. Benin Church, Kilbennan, Ireland

Since St. Patrick's Day was just a few days ago, it has been on my mind.  Thus, I could not help but notice the references to that Day in the newspapers here in the middle of the United States.  I was amazed to see that there are so many celebrations for it way over here in the U.S.  Specifically, there was an advertisement for a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Memphis, Tennessee and another advertisement for locally sponsored tour of Ireland.  I don't get around much, so those ads took me by complete surprise. 

Which brings me to my Jane Austen quote when she talked of Tom and called him "my Irish friend".  Putting all this together makes Ireland a really Big Deal!

So as far as I am concerned Tom shall always be "my Irish friend" too!!  Jane and I have spoken!

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Jane Austen portrait

An interesting email came to me last week from Ed Lefroy, a descendant from Thomas Lefroy (see here for our Oct 2007 post). When going through some of the books from Carrigglas Manor (built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy) he found one called Personal Aspects of Jane Austen by Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh (1838-1922, great niece of Jane Austen) which has a frontispiece of a painting by Zoffany entitled Jane Austen.

The book was published in 1920 and interestingly the painting claiming to be of Jane Austen is the same painting known as the Rice Portrait (see our 2012 post). The Rice Portrait was originally attributed to Johann Zoffany as inscribed in this book but now is believed to have been made by Ozias Humphry (a renowned English painter) around 1788 when Jane Austen was 13 years old. Some still suggest that the painting dates to the early 19th century and thus cannot be of Austen, an interesting mystery.

Do you believe the painting is of Jane? We welcome your comments.

Pic 1 and 2: Sent from Ed Lefroy, taken from Personal Aspects of Jane Austen (1920)
Pic 3: Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 46

That would be what Chief Justice would say. 'Never give up!'

So, tomorrow is Monday, and - like many of us - I have several things to resume working at the office. One of them is a paper co-authored with several colleagues to be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal. We're not yet happy with the manuscript, there's something wanting... the core concept is not strong yet. So, I'm a bit disheartened at the moment at the prospect of sitting down in front of my laptop and rework on the manuscript, yet again... 

But then I looked around for a Tom Lefroy quote for this (passing) weekend, and I re-read the letter Tom Lefroy wrote to his daughter Jane. The extended version of the letter can be found here, taken from the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy (p. 31-32). His advice that resonates with me is this:

Believe me, my darling girl, there is no progress to be made in anything without steady and continued application, which, besides the advantages it brings in the way of improvement, makes labour pleasant from habit instead of being irksome, as it always is to the idle and irresolute.

Thanks, Chief. I hope I can make a breakthrough tomorrow with the paper, instead of falling to the "idle and irresolute" trap of social media...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 295

Last night I was fortunate enough to go to see James McAvoy (yes our Becoming Jane Tom Lefroy) in a production on stage of The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes. He was absolutely phenomenal as the paranoid schizophrenic born into a wealthy, aristocratic British family. This play, focussed on social classes has stayed in my mind and today it made me wonder about Jane Austen and how the classes interacted in her time.

Jane Austen wrote often about her world and this included her social class, the gentry. The manners and customs of the gentry are always present in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I have chosen a quote from chapter 19 of Sense and Sensibility where Edward Ferrars is speaking:

"We never could agree in our choice of profession. I always preferred the church, as I still do. But that was not smart enough for my family. They recommended the army. That was a great deal too smart for me. The law was allowed to be genteel enough; many young men, who had chambers in the Temple, made a very good appearance in the first circles, and drove about town in very knowing gigs. But I had no inclination for the law, even in this less abstruse study of it, which my family approved. As for the navy, it had fashion on its side, but I was too old when the subject was first started to enter it- (…) I was therefore entered at Oxford and have been properly idle ever since"

This fascinates me as in some ways our perceptions, customs and social interactions have changed so much from these times until today but in other ways we are still facing the same issues. For example young people today, in the culture I have familiarity with, typically have autonomy and freedom of choice in terms of their career paths (I do appreciate that this does not apply to all cultures), this suggests that traditions and connections with older times are fading. However at a time where our government in the UK are discussing university tuition fees and affordable housing for average paid workers, it is apparent that the questions and deliberations of class divide that also existed in Jane Austen's time are still very real and at the forefront of many peoples lives.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 294

It seems as though a multitude of "sickness" is going around where we are, so I wondered what Jane had to say about it.  I found in Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 8 the following about Jane Bennett who had gotten ill at the Bingleys:

Elizabeth joined them again only to say that her sister was worse, and that she could not leave her. Bingley urged Mr. Jones's being sent for immediately; while his sisters, convinced that no country advice could be of any service, recommended an express to town for one of the most eminent physicians. This she would not hear of; but she was not so unwilling to comply with their brother's proposal; and it was settled that Mr. Jones should be sent for early in the morning, if Miss Bennet were not decidedly better. Bingley was quite uncomfortable; his sisters declared that they were miserable. They solaced their wretchedness, however, by duets after supper, while he could find no better relief to his feelings than by giving his housekeeper directions that every possible attention might be paid to the sick lady and her sister.

So even in those days, illness (sickness) was quite a problem.  Enough said, and I hope everyone gets better very quickly.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Monday, 16 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 293

Dear friends,

Last Saturday was Valentine's Day, so it's apt that I post something about love, which is Jane Austen's most popular topic. However, I'd like to post something about self-love and self-appreciation this time, because without a good relationship with ourselves, any relationships with others are bound to fail. 

Lizzy Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) mimicking Darcy's insult to Jane Bennet

From Pride and Prejudice Chapter III Vol I; Darcy was about to deliver his famous insult on Lizzy's character.

"...turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, ``She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.''
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous."

Let's forget for a moment that Lizzy and Darcy would later find deep connexion between them etc. etc. At this moment, Lizzy did not let Darcy's comments define her. She knew her self worth, and she appreciates herself for who she is. I think had she not maintained her composure and fought Darcy back, the latter would not find himself helplessly attracted to her.

I do think, though, romance is important. But prior to that, we need to love ourselves first and nurture a loving relationship with ourselves. That, I'd say, includes accepting our worst sides/characters and grow from it. 

Belated Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends! May Love be with us always.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 292

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 291

The aftermath of a massive storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 2005 (the

I have two weather-related quotes for last weekend, which I should have posted earlier had I not forgotten that it had been my turn instead, and thus I was busy having other fun (head down in shame...).

First, about snow storm. Massachusetts is having a snow blizzard at the moment, such that Governor Charlie Baker imposed on state-wide travel ban. Not sure if Mississippi is hit as well, but dear Linda, I hope you are safe and sound! 

The related quote would be from Emma, Chapter 15:

Mr. John Knightley now came into the room from examining the weather, and opened on them all with the information of the ground being covered with snow, and of its still snowing fast, with a strong drifting wind; concluding with these words to Mr. Woodhouse: 

"This will prove a spirited beginning of your winter engagements, sir. Something new for your coachman and horses to be making their way through a storm of snow."

Poor Mr. Woodhouse was silent from consternation; but every body else had something to say; every body was either surprized or not surprized, and had some question to ask, or some comfort to offer. Mrs. Weston and Emma tried earnestly to cheer him and turn his attention from his son-in-law, who was pursuing his triumph rather unfeelingly.

"I admired your resolution very much, sir," said he, "in venturing out in such weather, for of course you saw there would be snow very soon. Every body must have seen the snow coming on. I admired your spirit; and I dare say we shall get home very well. Another hour or two's snow can hardly make the road impassable; and we are two carriages; if one is blown over in the bleak part of the common field there will be the other at hand. I dare say we shall be all safe at Hartfield before midnight."

Emphasizes of my own. 

But of course the Knightleys and the Dashwoods still ventured out back to Hartfield, and it was good that they made it. Don't try to do that tonight in Boston tho, not advisable!

This stormy snowy condition, my dear friend, is of such contrast with where I live now in North Queensland Australia. We won't get snow, but we are hoping so much for the rain. Alas, we have been trapped in a hot weather pocket for a week now without some respite (okay, a huge rain on last Thursday, but that was it). What I'd give for a downpour rain now...

The related quote would be from Jane Austen's letter dated 18 September 1796:

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Indeed. My poor hair...

We have air-conditioner (or heater for Massachussetts until they have power outage), which Jane Austen would have loved to have. On that note, I shall return to my quarter for some cool air-con...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 290

Over the past two weeks I have been fortunate enough to be asked twice to be a bridesmaid at two dear friends weddings over the next year. I thought that it was therefore appropriate to consider wedding quotes this week. There are a number I love from Pride and Prejudice but I do not believe we have not chosen this one yet to post on the blog, it is perhaps a little cynical but brilliant.

In a conversation between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas in Chapter 6 of Pride and Prejudice:

Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

I have pondered over the last statement, I have tendency to want to plan and overthink everything but often that is only to my detriment, perhaps this overthinking is a waste of energy and time, perhaps happiness is indeed entirely a matter of chance.

I hope you are all having a super weekend.

Elizabeth Bennet: If he cannot percieve her regard, he is a fool. Charlotte Lucas: We are all fools in love. - Keira Knightley (Elizabteh Bennet) & Claudie Blakley (Charlotte Lucas) - Pride & Prejudice (2005) #janeausten #joewright #fanart

Monday, 12 January 2015

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 45

Source: this site

The world seems to be witnessing a lot of deaths these days. Of course, people die everyday. But the last two months have been significant for me. Personally, my dear father passed away at the end of November last year. I had to fly back home to cremate him, but thank God everything went unexpectedly well. He is in peace now with The Light. I can feel it...and for that, I thank the Universe.

Then we have some siege, hostage and murder situations in Sydney (Dec) and Paris (just a few days earlier). That brought sadness to me, particularly because innocent people died during the siege. In between, Air Asia #QZ8501 went down off Sumatra, killing all 162 people onboard. That was also personal to me because that I'm a frequent flyer to that airline.

Then, last Saturday, a renowned scientist in my own field passed away. She was from Thailand, and I never had the honour of meeting her before she died. I only knew of her achievements by words of mouth. She died after battling cancer for several years. Her departure is a loss for us, personally and professionally. However, I hope that she is in peace now, free of pain. 

Now it seems my prayers for the final moment, any final moment, is this: let it be in peace. Let there be Light, let there be Unconditional Love and Courage. Let there be unconditional letting go, returning to the Source. Let it be pain-free...

And for those who departed recently, here is a passage from the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy p. 386. We have posted it in 2010, but there's nothing wrong in recycling it here for its beautiful value. Written by Tom Lefroy Jr, son of the original Thomas Langlois Lefroy (our Tom Lefroy), about the final moments of his father's life. 

To the last he retained a cheerful and patient endurance under suffering which often elicited the astonishment and admiration of those who attended upon his sickness. I remember in his last illness (only two days before he was taken from us), after he had spent a very wearisome night from want of sleep, and great oppression of breathing, we closed the window-shutters in the morning, in the hope of his getting some sleep; just then the physician for whom an express had been sent, arrived from Dublin. After feeling his pulse, the doctor asked whether it would annoy him if the window-shutters were opened for a moment, when he replied with a cheerful smile, “not at all, doctor, I always like to have light thrown upon a subject.”

May every one of us welcomes our final moments with such courage, serenity, love and peace. God speed.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 289

The late Mollie Sugden (1922-2009) who played Mrs Goddard in Emma 1972

This quote is taken from Emma, Chapter 3:

Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a School -- not of a seminary, or an establishment, or any thing which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality upon new principles and new systems -- and where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity -- but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies. Mrs. Goddard's school was in high repute -- and very deservedly; for Highbury was reckoned a particularly healthy spot: she had an ample house and garden, gave the children plenty of wholesome food, let them run about a great deal in the summer, and in winter dressed their chilblains with her own hands. It was no wonder that a train of twenty young couple now walked after her to church. She was a plain, motherly kind of woman, who had worked hard in her youth, and now thought herself entitled to the occasional holiday of a tea-visit; and having formerly owed much to Mr. Woodhouse's kindness, felt his particular claim on her to leave her neat parlour hung round with fancy-work whenever she could, and win or lose a few sixpences by his fireside.

Pardon the long quote, but I could not help but love the description of Mrs. Goddard and even she must have a "holiday" even if it is only for a tea visit.  The way I found this "holiday" mention was because I wanted to see Jane use the word in some context.  So, I am happy now that Jane did have "Holidays".  Hope everyone had a lovely Holiday Season.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 288 (New Year)

I was supposed to post something last Sunday; I meant to post something about the end of a chapter (Year End) and then let Linda post something about the new beginning (New Year). However, I've been traveling and I couldn't get a decent internet to post anything. Hence this post, which I hope does not duplicate Linda's intended quote later.

Anyway. About New Year: I found a very nice quote about Persuasion from I'm not sure who summarised this particular contemporary article on Persuasion, could be editor Adam Burgess; but I really like it because it captured the essence of Persuasion. The original article itself was written by authoress Laurie Viera Rigler and can be found here. The quote I'm referring to is this:

"Bringing in a New Year is all about second chances. This year, we vow, we will do it right. We have a second chance to take better care of ourselves. We have a second chance to be kinder, wiser, and better human beings."
And the most related paragraph of Persuasion, according to Laurie, would be this one from Capt Wentworth himself to Anne Elliot:

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. 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. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
F. W."

Ms Rigler was right. This is the quote that caught my attention the most. 
"Tell me not that I am too late."

Well, I agree that New Year is New Beginning, and about second chances. I have my new beginnings to plan ahead. What are your new beginnings, my dear friends?