Saturday, 12 December 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 86

This week’s quote returns us to Persuasion with a quote that struck me for its truth, despite it being ‘dedicated’ to Elizabeth Elliot instead of Anne Elliot. Persuasion, Chapter One:

It sometimes happens, that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth; still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago; and Sir Walter might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of every body else; for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood worsting; and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him.” (emphasize my own)

Again, I understand that this quote was for Elizabeth Elliot, a character I have no sympathy at all in Persuasion. However, the bold line has its own grain of truth. There are women (and men) I’ve met who are more beautiful as they age… and to me, this pronounced beauty as they age actually owes a great deal to the maturity and wisdom of those people (I would exclude Liz Elliot from this case). I’m not only talking of women and men aged 30… I’m also talking about those entering their forties… fifties… sixties… and so forth.

True, the beauty will be different for each age group, but the essence is still the same. It’s still beauty. Of course personal hygiene and the understanding of the best type of clothes and colours to wear add up to the physical beauty, but if beauty is earned from wisdom and understanding, it lasts much longer than if it is earned from mere superficial cosmetics.

Pic: The Elliot sisters (Elizabeth, Anne and Mary), from TV Guide


Andreia said...

I loved this post and this quote. It is a great truth. :)

Alexa Adams said...

I always thought it amazing that this quote helps provide our physical description of Anne. First we are told she is "faded and thin", then we get Sir Walter's vicious judgment. The sentiments expressed in this post are precisely in keeping with the miraculous transformation Anne undergoes.

Icha said...

Thank you very much Ladies. In my hurry, I made a slight mistake by not putting the title yesterday. I've made the ammendment just now.

Linda Fern said...

Ah, yes, "wisdom and understanding" - what a lovely thought! Thanks, Icha.

Linda the Librarian