Saturday, 27 December 2008

Jane Austen Quote of the Week – Week 36

This week, the last weekend of 2008, I’d like to pick something from my favourite book ‘Persuasion’ about the inner strength of a woman. No, I’m not talking of Anne Elliot, though she was one mighty woman of her own. This quote is about her friend, Mrs. Smith, who used to be a rather wealthy woman but by the time of Anne’s visit to her humble quarters in Bath, she had become an ill woman of barely any means to live on. As we all know, Jane was very sick when she wrote the last chapters of ‘Persuasion’, and I think she channelled her strength through her descriptions of Mrs. Smith. Yes, I do think that Mrs. Smith resembles Jane Austen in her later days.

Persuasion Volume II Chapter 5:


Anne found in Mrs. Smith the good sense and agreeable manners which she almost ventured to depend on, and a disposition to converse and be cheerful beyond her expectation. Neither the dissipations of the past – and she had lived very much in the world, nor the restrictions of the present; neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to have closed her heart or ruined her spirit.

In the course of a second visit she talked with great openness, and Anne’s astonishment increased. She could scarcely imagine a more cheerless situation in itself than Mrs. Smith’s. She had been very fond of her husband, – she had buried him. She had been used to affluence, – it was gone. She had no child to connect her with life and happiness again, no relations to assist in the arrangement of perplexed affairs, no health to make all the rest supportable./…/Yet, in spite of all this, Anne had reason to believe that [Mrs. Smith] had moments only of languor and depression, to hours of occupation and enjoyment. How could it be? – She watched – observed – reflected – and finally determined that this was not a case of fortitude or of resignation only. – A submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply resolution, but here was something more; here was that elasticity of mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of herself, which was from Nature alone. It was the choicest gift of Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which, by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counter-balance almost every other want.


Now tell me my dearest friends, if Jane Austen was not talking of herself now? As if she said that ‘Although my body is terminally ill now, I am not resigning to despair. Not ever.’

I consider myself very lucky now. Now and then I had to remind myself to take it easy, lest my body will suffer, and will definitely launch a protest that will force me for a bed rest (my Boxing Day was spent in the bed, due to a sudden attack of gastritis, my fault really…). But, just to recall the friendships we have shared in this blog, some of them getting to sisterhood level even… I remind myself that I can make the best of my life. Jane Austen could do that; and though I will never be a great authoress like her, I want to give the best of me as well.

On that note, have a Merry Xmas (once more) and Happy New Year. May 2009 be kind to us, more peaceful and loving, and may our spirits be strengthened to give the best of us to this world.

With lots of love,

Pic 1. The Wordsworth Classics variant of Persuasion cover, from the Old Grey Pony
Pic 2. A beautiful Xmas and New Year card from our dearest Mariana


Anonymous said...

Dearest Icha, Thank you for that most welcome, beautiful, meaningful quote that touched me heart and soul. I needed that! I have found myself despairing lately and you have reminded me to be grateful for what I am and have.

And yes, I also, believe that dear Jane was thinking of herself and her situation.

Love from
Linda the Librarian

Icha said...

Glad I can be of service, my dearest Lady Librarian. I also admit that it's rather hard to count our blessings when everything is dark, cloudy, and even stormy. But I am certain that now and then Life has this ability of reminding us of what we truly have, and be grateful for that.

Let's embrace the New Year with such grateful spirit, shall we? Big hugs!

mamma jakeline said...

Just a quick note, on Monday evening our son Éomer was born through c-section. We are all fine under the circumstances. he arrived right on d-day!

I will tell you more when I have slept more than three hours since Monday morning.

Hugs and Kisses from a Proud Maria.

Icha said...

Oh my... Happy New Baby and Happy New Year Maria honey!

It's such a pleasure to know that we are now aunts (and grandma) to such a healthy boy. May Eomer live happily and healthily, and tap to the grand name of Eomer of Rohan. He's one of my best men of LOTR, so I'm so glad that you and hubby chose that name, Maria, such a great warrior name for him!

Anonymous said...

really nice quote and everything. Question bout the picture though, I can tell ones a drawing of jane and tom but whos the other guy in the picture?

mamma jakeline said...

Hi guys, I'm slowly getting used to being a mommy. :) It's the most wonderful thing in the world.

Here's pictures of the little miracle:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Maria, He is a real cutie! This Grandma's son and daughter-in-law made me a Grandma to twins on Dec. 26th - a boy and a girl. I was able to go see them and hold them already. There's nothing like a new baby(s) in the house to brighten things up. Thanks for sharing your pictures. And take care.

Love from Linda the Librarian

Icha said...

Trish: Question bout the picture though, I can tell ones a drawing of jane and tom but whos the other guy in the picture?

Trish, sorry that I forgot to reply to this one. You might have to ask Mariana about the last guy, but I think it's Richard Armitage as Mr. John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North and South'.

Maria, my nephew Eomer is definitely a cutie! Daddy looks so happy. Where's Mum?

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year and Happy New Babies, my dearest Maria and Linda!!!!

This is such a wonderful happy ending for year 2008... now I think the beginning of 09 will definitely be a bit busy for you two - especially for you Linda: Grandma of twins :) WOW! CONGRATULATIONS!!! I wish you all the best and I’m looking forward to read something on this blog from the new generation of Team Jane :)))

Your little Peanut, Éomer looks so Adorable and all Sweetness, Maria dear – Thank you for sharing the pictures with all of us

Trish/Icha, the answer is correct: that’s the "Guy" in my drawing :-D (he’s also playing Guy of Gibson in the new BBC TV series of Robin Hood – series 3 will be airing in spring this year)

Just in case you did not know it, S&S will be aired again on PBS –Masterpiece in February this year:

Icha said...

Ahhh... Mr. Thornton... who can resist his cravat-ed charm? And he is even more charming cravatless!

Oh.... and Guy of Gisborne... yumm!!! Let's not go there, too dangerous a zone to go!

mamma jakeline said...

icha--> well, to be honest, I don't do pics. ;) I will continue uploading pictures, and promise to include one of me and Éomer. I'm glad that you like the name, I mean we love it, and as soon as my darling came with him after the operation I said it was right for him. But our parents are not as thrilled. They think it very odd and difficult to pronounce. Needless to say, they are not LOTR fans. ;)

Linda-> Congratulations to the twins! Double the joy!

Rachel said...

Good Evening All from the UK.
I am sorry I have been out of the loop but look whats happened since I have been gone.
Congratulations to both Maria and Linda- such wonderful news.
Maria, I echo the words of Icha; please please send us a pic of you and Éomer. I think its a lovely name.
Linda, what has your son and daughter and law decided to call their little bundles of joy??
I love the idea of a new generation of Team Jane Mariana....what a fantastic thought!
Congratulations to you both again, its such fantastic news indeed.

Rachel said...

I have just looked at the photos on the link Maria....adorable!
Thanks so much for sharing.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mamma jakeline said...

Thanks all! I am so in love with my son I could die!

We have decided that his full name will be Éomer John Arell. John comes from my darling's side of the family.

And I am a nice obliging girl, here's a pic of me and Éomer:

Icha said...

Aaawww... the Mum is also very cute! Hi Mum and Eomer... His full name is so lovely too!

Blarney Girl said...

I just found your blog today and I love it! It's nice to know that I'm not the only person who's favorite JA book is Persuasion and not P&P (a very close second).

After skimming through the other comments, I feel as though I'm butting into a private conversation with introductions having not been made first! :( Quite rude of me. Please forgive. :)

Icha said...

Oh, Blarney, don't feel embarrassed or something :-)

It's not that private, it's just that we've known each other for quite some time, so that the regular bloggers here became close friends and we can share news of wedding, babies, nieces, grandkids, etc. You're most welcome to do that too if you find us comfortable to talk to!

And thank you for your comment. Welcome to BJ Fansite, and yes, Persuasion is such a persuasive book, eh!

Rachel said...

Hi Blarney Girl. As Icha said, please do not feel uncomfortable writing to us. We would like you to share more about your love of Jane Austen as that is what we are all here for....Welcome to the blog.

Blarney Girl said...

Thank you for the warm welcome! It's just within the past few weeks that's I've come across all these lovely JA blog sites and I love this one! Most diverting!