Saturday, 8 August 2009

Jane Austen Quote Week 68

I have a new-found obsession – ehm – hobby, about shoes recently. Well, I mean, I’m always so fond of boots, gladiator sandals, espadrilles, or sling-backs with cords, but I never thought until last week (very belatedly) how lovely a pair of graceful pump or court shoes can be, provided that their heels are of sensible height! So I did some reading, and found out that Jane Austen also loved shoes. Well, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Being very fond of dancing herself, she must have loved shoes as well! And apparently, having the correct pair of shoes was essential to keep one healthy, as it is today. Wonder if the Regency ladies thought of high heels as deterrent to healthy spines, though…

So the followings are several quotes about shoes in Jane Austen’s novels, and also some pictures of cute period shoes. Nothing heavy this time, just pretty things.

Pride & Prejudice, chapter 28

From his garden, Mr. Collins would have led them round his two meadows, but the ladies, not having shoes to encounter the remains of a white frost, turned back;

Sense & Sensibility, chapter 36

The impertinence of these kind of scrutinies, moreover, was generally concluded with a compliment, which, though meant as its douceur, was considered by Marianne as the greatest impertinence of all; for after undergoing an examination into the value and make of her gown, the colour of her shoes, and the arrangement of her hair, she was almost sure of being told, that "upon her word she looked vastly smart, and she dared to say she would make a great many conquests."

Sense & Sensibility, chapter 42

Two delighted twilight walks on the third and fourth evenings of her being there, not merely on the dry gravel of the shrubbery, but all over the grounds, and especially in the most distant parts of them, where there was something more of wildness than in the rest, where the trees were the oldest, and the grass was the longest and wettest, had- assisted by the still greater imprudence of sitting in her wet shoes and stockings- given Marianne a cold so violent as, though for a day or two trifled with or denied, would force itself by increasing ailments on the concern of every body, and the notice of herself.

Mansfield Park, chapter 36, speaks Mary Crawford:

Poor Margaret Fraser will be at me for ever about your eyes and your teeth, and how you do your hair, and who makes your shoes

Emma, chapter 15, speaks Isabella Woodhouse:

"You had better order the carriage directly, my love," said she; "I dare say we shall be able to get along, if we set off directly; and if we do come to any thing very bad, I can get out and walk. I am not at all afraid. I should not mind walking half the way. I could change my shoes, you know, the moment I got home; and it is not the sort of thing that gives me cold."

Emma, chapter 19

Mrs. and Miss Bates occupied the drawing-room floor; and there, in the very moderate-sized apartment, which was every thing to them, the visitors were most cordially and even gratefully welcomed; the quiet neat old lady, who with her knitting was seated in the warmest corner, wanting even to give up her place to Miss Woodhouse, and her more active, talking daughter, almost ready to overpower them with care and kindness, thanks for their visit, solicitude for their shoes, anxious inquiries after Mr. Woodhouse's health, cheerful communications about her mother's, and sweet-cake from the beaufet –

Emma, chapter 32

She could not enter the house again, could not be in the same room to which she had with such vain artifice retreated three months ago, to lace up her boot, without recollecting. A thousand vexatious thoughts would recur.

Northanger Abbey, chapter 3, speaks Mr. Tilney:

"Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings--plain black shoes—appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense."

Persuasion, chapter 19

The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay; she would hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne's; and, in short, her civility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr Elliot as Anne could be, and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr Elliot deciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest.

PS: Quotes were easily grabbed from Online Literature.

Pic 1: beautiful green Venetian court shoes from The Bata Museum
Pic 2: lovely purple Regency pump shoes from Jane Austen Centre UK
Pic 3: elegant yellow pumps from the Jane Austen World


Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Icha! I would have never thought of 'shoes'! What amazes me about the ones you pictured, are the 'pointed' toes. I remember back in the late 50s or early 60s when our styles changed to spike heels and very pointed toes. And here I thought that they were a new invention! I guess there is never anything new under the sun.

Linda the Librarian

Icha said...

Ha! Actually, many many many of modern women shoes copied the styles of Regency, Victorian, Edwardian shoes... not to mention Greco-Roman sandals, Indian boots, India slippers, etc. Isn't it amazing?

Wonder if we have the remnants of Jane Austen's dancing shoes somewhere? Surely Chawton House have them?

Icha said...

Oh, look what I found! On SALE!

Brocade court made in 1780! Anyone? Collectors?

Not me tho, but they're pretty...