Sunday, 23 May 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 109

It's Sunday here in Australia, so wake up from the hang-over, Ladies!

Ooops. That might be a wrong thing to say. Do ladies who read Jane Austen have weekend hang-over? Well... if you do, do not fret. I think Jane Austen herself would have drunken too much wine now and then. Of course, drinking wine sounds cooler than drinking beer, but you ladies get what I mean...

Anyway, leading to this week's quote is the party-related statement from JA herself. From Deidre Le Faye's 'Jane Austen's Letter' p165, dated Tuesday 10 - Wednesday 11 January 1809, written in her brother Edward's Godmersham Park, Kent. Jane would be 34 years old by then, hardly old at all for our modern standard. But still, here's what she said in the PS section:

The Manydown Ball was a smaller thing than I expected, but it seems to have made Anna very happy. At her age it would not have done for me.-

It's funny... we often think of Jane Austen as an old spinster sitting in the rocking chair and reading highly intelligent books or poetries... which I think she did anyway during the dusk of her life... But we often forgot that JA was also a party animal.

Although I'm actually older than Jane by the time she wrote this letter, I also often forgot that the senior ladies I often saw in the bus or on the street were once party animals too... with high heels that clicked when they danced. I guess reading Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl and Alexandra Potter's Me and Mr Darcy changed my opinion about the classical image of elderly ladies now.

Elderly ladies would also have had wild parties before, and had some fun. It would be a different setting, shoes and dresses, but they still had a great time. One might cry because her partner deserted her, and - just like what I saw last night on the bus - her friend would try to cheer her up.
And I guess, the Regency setting is more of a good balance those days. We would still find elderly ladies standing at the sides, smiling as they watched (albeit chaperonically) their nieces/daughters/grand-daughters dancing with prospective partners. Sometimes, mothers would also dance with their husbands. It would be more of a balanced and healthy setting for the party spirit within the seniors, I think...

Pic: A quadrille dance during Regency Era, from the exquisite Jane Austen's World

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