Monday, 29 June 2009

Once upon a “Bad Tuesday”

The following is Mariana’s companion article for the marvellous calendar that she had made earlier and I’ve posted here. Thank you so much, Mariana!


This is something I’ve started a while ago after reading Ellen Moody’s calendars. Like her I was trying to find patterns in Jane’s books, just that I was looking for them hoping to make the connection with Tom Lefroy –the dates and events that matched those from Jane’s surviving letters written in the years she met and ‘flirt’ with her “Irish friend”.

As per one of her articles, “A Startling Pattern: Bad Tuesday”, Tuesday seems to be “repeatedly a pivotal day in Austen's novels, a day on which some embarrassing or mortifying incident or series of incidents occurs (at a ball, a change of home) which sets off an important change in the plot.”

In P&P, the last ball at Netherfield during which Darcy becomes aware that everyone is saying Bingley will marry Jane and leads him to separate them, occurs on a Tuesday. There is a very similar event in S&S: the first traumatic day which is specifically named as Tuesday is the day when Marianne and her family expected Willoughby to make her an offer, but instead he comes to tell he’s been sent away to London by his reach aunt. Another book in which Jane chose to send away the gentleman on a Tuesday is Emma. Frank leaves Highbury on Shrove Tuesday but not before trying to confess to Emma his love for Jane and their secret engagement.

After reading Jane’s letters ‘between the lines’ and with the help of BJF JA/TL Timeline article, here’s my special calendar with all those pivotal Tuesdays I’ve found in her surviving letters.

In Jane’s first 2 surviving letters, one day gets mentioned repeatedly which happens to be a Tuesday: January 19th 1796, and I believe this was the day Tom Lefroy returned to London, after their last ball at Ashe, during which Jane was also expecting an “offer” (one reason to believe that Jane was talking about an offer in marriage is her statement: I mean to confine myself in future to Mr. Tom Lefroy” and that someone drew Tom’s picture for her):

1. On Sunday January 10 1796, Jane added few more lines to her 1st surviving letter which she started the day before. She talks about her cousins, the Coopers, but I believe this was more a sing of her disappointment in not having her sister home before Tom’s departure, and so not able to meet her “Irish friend”: “By not returning till the 19th you will exactly contrive to miss seeing the Coopers, which I suppose it is your wish to do.”

2. At the beginning of her 2nd surviving letter (January 14-16, 1796) Jane shows again disappointment in not having Cassandra coming home before Tom’s departure. She’s even telling her sister how little she cares about the ball that will be held when Tom is gone (I assume this one was on Friday like all previous balls): “I do not at all expect to see you on Tuesday, since matters have fallen out so unpleasantly; and if you are not able to return till after that day, it will hardly be possible for us to send for you before Saturday [January 23], though for my own part I care so little about the ball [January 22] that it would be no sacrifice to me to give it up for the sake of seeing you two days earlier.”

Another Tuesday I’ve discovered in her 1st surviving letter is the day she visited Mrs Lefroy at Ashe: January 5th, 1796.: “…he [Tom] is ashamed of coming to Steventon, and ran away when we called on Mrs. Lefroy a few days ago.” Most likely the visit took place after she sent her missing letter (January 2-4, 1796) and that’s the reason I think it was on Tuesday. By saying “few days ago” on Saturday morning, it means that more than 2 days passed since this visit.

This is matching again a Tuesday in P&P – the day when Miss Bingley writes to Jane inviting her for dinner at Netherfield Park. Probably the ball at Ashe has been confirmed, or announced during this visit (same as in P&P), after Jane sent her missing letter, and that’s the reason to have it communicated to Cassandra only on January 9th: “I can expose myself, however, only once more, because he leaves the country soon after next Friday [another reason to believe Tom’s departure probably took place onTuesday19th and explains Jane’s hopes to have her sister returning home till this date] , on which day we are to have a dance at Ashe after all.”

One more important Tuesday I’ve ‘picked’ from Jane’s letters is the day she spent in Cork Street –London, August (23) 1796, on the same street if not the same house, where Tom’s great-uncle Langlois lived. Although it can not be confirmed, I still believe this short letter and the missing one (25-29 August, 1796) sent from Rowling-Kent are related to Tom Lefroy. In the first letter we have from Kent, Jane apologizes for the length of her previous one “I am sorry that you found such a conciseness in the strains of my first letter” and promises to make amends for it when they will meet “by some elaborate details, which I shall shortly begin composing”. Jane sent 3 more letters to her sister before returning home, but none of them contained those secret details that I believe were referring to Tom Lefroy and her short visit in Cork Street. Most likely they’ve been communicated in person, as Jane mentioned, when she met Cassandra – an indication these details were not safe to be sent in a letter.

There are similar events in P&P and S&S: Jane Bennet is encouraged by her sister to go to London hoping she’ll meet Mr Bingley again, but instead she’ll send letters (the first one very short) filled with “elaborate details” about Miss Bingley’s plan to have her brother married to Georgiana Darcy: “an event which will secure the happiness of so many”. In S&S, the day Willoughby leaves his card, which Marianne sees when they come in form the morning's drive, it’s mentioned again to be a Tuesday -a week after their arrival in London. Also, the central traumatic moment wherein Willoughby humiliates Marianne at the ball is dated, as per Ellen’s calendar, on Tuesday January 16, 1798.

The last pivotal date for Jane and Tom’s story seems to be again a day when he returned to London after visiting Ashe, in November 1798. Most likely Tom’s departure was related to his brother’s “imprudent marriage” (November 5th, 1798 -reference JA/TL timeline) and probably it took place the day after the news reached them, on Tuesday 6th or Tuesday 13th –the day before Mrs Lefroy’s visit to Steventon (Wednesday November 14th).

This is again only an assumption but it just happens to be a very good match of a pivotal date in S&S: Tuesday November 7th, 1797 (as per Ellen Moody’s calendar) is the day when Willoughby has been sent away to London by his reach aunt. Between 6 and 7 November, Mrs. Smith had discovered Willoughby's affair with Miss Williams and demanded Willoughby marry her as price of her forbearance.

…and the link for a ‘matching video’ on YT:

All pictures belong to Mariana Gheorghe

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Week – Week 62

My apologies for the belated quote this week, but I finally managed to pull something from Jane Austen’s first written novel. Northanger Abbey, Chapter X.

It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged, the mull or the jackonet. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter.

I am most impressed by the quote in bold. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. Why, is it not so true? We often unconsciously or consciously compare ourselves with other women, or with what a person of opposite gender that we admire would think of us. But is it not amazing to be happy, just happy and accepts ourselves the way ourselves are? Accepting myself the way I am, with flaws and blemishes? For each and everyone of us is unique in our own ways?

Oh dear oh dear. Seemingly, I have found my new favourite quote. Thank you so much, Jane!

Pic: Catherine Morland, from (submitted by Laurel Ann)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Mariana's amazing calendar!

Our dearest Mariana gave a belated but very beautiful and much appreciated birthday gift for Becoming Jane Fansite. A collection of Jane Austen & Tom Lefroy calendar, tailored-suit for December 1795 until November 1798. Very handsome indeed and deserves to be printed out and framed to admire. So thank you so much Mariana, and hope all of you enjoy them as much as I do! All pictures belong to Mariana Gheorghe.

Christmas time December 1795

1 January 1796

2 January 1796

5 January 1796
8 January 1796
9 January 1796
16 January 1796

3 August 1796

October 1796

17 November 1798

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Jane Austen Quote Week 61

Funny that we’re into Sanditon since last week, for I’d pick another Sanditon theme a month ago just for preparation. Well, Linda dearest, great mind and all…

Anyway, Sanditon quote this week is an inspiration of healthy attitude towards our own health. Or rather, human’s occasional unhealthy attitude towards health as described here, from Sanditon Chapter 10:

‘Disorders and recoveries so very much out of the common way, seemed more like the amusement of eager minds in want of employment than of actual afflictions and relief. The Parkers were no doubt a family of imagination and quick feelings – and while the eldest brother found vent for his superfluity of sensation as a projector, the sisters were perhaps driven to dissipate theirs in the invention of odd complaints.’

The Parker sisters should really talk to Mrs. Bennet, for she also loved to complain about her health in order to gain other’s compassion (or perhaps due to lack of conversational themes). And of course Jane Austen despised such a habit. Why, she was very ill at the end of her life, but she still maintained a high spirit and even wrote some poems a few days before her death. What a woman!

But of course the bottom-line is that we should maintain our health, our prime capital the best we can. And if we unfortunately are presented with illness, we must seek beyond the sickness to see what caused it and what changes we can make in our lives to alleviate it. We are so fortunate to live in the 21st century with advance medical knowledge; one would wonder why there are souls who still take pleasure in demanding attentions from others by exaggerating their illness, instead of taking self-command and responsibility to deal with it.

I hope I’m not too harsh, and that dear friends here do not misinterpret my words as being cruel or so. I certainly do not mean to offend anyone who is currently ill and unable to perform as usual. I used to be ill myself, and I realised the power and importance of self-commitment to recover and stay healthy ever since. Blessings for you all.

Pic: Florence Nightingale, the Western epitome of ground-breaking medical woman. I wish Jane Austen would have known her (or did Florence read Jane’s novels?). Picture from Wikipedia.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Jane Austen Quote - Week 60 by Linda

From Sanditon, Chapter 8 in the Penguin Classics:

The two ladies continued walking together till rejoined by the others, who, as they issued from the library, were followed by a young Whitby running off with five volumes under his arm to Sir Edward’s gig - and Sir Edward, approaching Charlotte, said, "You may perceive what has been our occupation. My sister wanted my counsel in the selection of some books. We have many leisure hours and read a great deal. I am no indiscriminate novel reader. The mere trash of the common circulating library, I hold in the highest contempt. You will never hear me advocating those puerile emanations which detail nothing but discordant principles incapable of amalgamation, or those vapid tissues of ordinary occurrences from which no useful deductions can be drawn. In vain may we put them into a literary alembic; we distil nothing which can add to science. You understand me, I am sure?"

"I am not quite certain that I do. But if you will describe the sort of novels which you do approve, I dare say it will give me a clearer idea."

“Most willingly, fair questioner. The novels which I approve are such as display human nature with grandeur; such as show her in the sublimities of intense feeling; such as exhibit the progress of strong passion from the first germ of incipient susceptibility to the utmost energies of reason half-dethroned; where we see the strong spark of woman’s captivations elicit such fire in the soul of man as leads him – (though at the risk of some aberration from the strict line of primitive obligations) - to hazard all, dare all, achieve all, to obtain her. Such are the works which I peruse with delight and, I hope I may say, with amelioration. They hold forth the most splendid portraitures of high conceptions, unbounded views, illimitable ardour, indomptible decision. And even when the event is mainly anti-prosperous to the high-toned machinations of the prime character -- the potent, pervading hero of the story -- it leaves us full of generous emotions for him; our hearts are paralyzed. T’were pseudo-philosophy to assert that we do not feel more enwrapped by the brilliancy of his career than by the tranquil and morbid virtues of any opposing character. Our approbation of the latter is but eleemosynary. These are the novels which enlarge the primitive capabilities of the heart; and it cannot impugn the sense or be any dereliction of the character of the most anti-puerile man, to be conversant with.”

"If I understand you aright," said Charlotte, "our taste in novels is not at all the same."


This is a very long quote, but I could not bear to leave anything out in order to shorten it. The paragraphs following my quote are also recommended for more enlightenment on the subject of ‘novels’. I used the Penguin Classic edition, 1974 with an introduction by Margaret Drabble that had Lady Susan and The Watsons also. I had marked up my copy and there were markings such as “T.L.?” where I had wondered if she were writing about you-know-who. I will try to get to that quote later on. Sanditon is the last book Jane wrote and therefore I can see it is highly charged with meanings about several subjects. It bears a lot more looking into. I get the sense that there are more treasures to be found in it.

My main point/question is: how does the opinion of novels, quoted above, reflect her own opinions/writings?

Linda the Librarian

Pic: 'Girl Reading At a Sunlit Window' by Carl Vilhelm Holsoe, from Booksdofurnisharoom

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Becoming Jane piano music sheet

Michelle, you are to love this information. Thanks to our new friend Janeen; she informed me of the existence of a wonderful piano book containing piano music scores of many period drama musics, including Becoming Jane's! The Piano Solos Film Music: The Costume Drama Collection. BJ music scores in this adoring music book are An Adoring Heart, First Impression, Lady Gresham, Runaways, and Selbourne Wood.

But not only that, dear friends, for the book also has piano sheet for Dangerous Liaison, The Portrait of a Lady, A Passage to India, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Sense and Sensibility, and Little Women, to name some.

It is a bit dear, GBP 14.95, and only available in in UK (no, not even in Music Room Australia!), so perhaps Rachel is the lucky one here to have a low shipping price :-D

Janeen has offered to write a review on this music book once she receives hers; so I'm very eager to post her review here for us all to read!

Pic: Front cover to "The Piano Solos Film Music: The Costume Drama Collection", from

Thank you Mariana! BJF toddler two years old!

If I can hide myself like an ostrich hiding its head underground, I would. For I forgot (EEPS!) that last May 24 was our anniversary! Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen... Becoming Jane Fansite is two years old already!

And the one dearest friend who reminded me (us) is none other than our Mariana! She even sent this beautiful Youtube video by Needingyourvoice as a belated birthday present.

Beautiful, beautiful video indeed! No wonder it won first place in AmeliaKate09's Valentines Day Contest and first place in Volz545's Jane Austen Character/Couple contest. I have no idea how I missed that! Oh wait... I was in the middle of the sea, doing field work. No wonder :-D

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Quote of the Week- Week 59

My chosen quote for this week is from Pride and Prejudice. I think that the character of Miss Caroline Bingley is fascinating and is often forgotten in the midst of all the other fantastic Austen characters. She is a brilliant example of Jane's ability to observe people and their flawed personalities. Miss Bingley is so shallow and so vindictive; a great character to keep the audience entertained.

She has always felt alot (in the only way she knows) for Mr Darcy. In chapter 11, she is fully aware how Darcy has started to devote his attention to Elizabeth and she hates it. To put the scene in context, Elizabeth has just walked from her home to be with her sister who has taken ill in the Darcy/Bingley company. Miss Bingley dislikes reading but in an attempt to impress Mr Darcy, she is reading the second volume of the novel in which he is currently reading. In an exasperated desperation for attention, she exclaims:

"How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!—When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

Elizabeth is frank and openly speaks her mind to Darcy, whereas Caroline is very reserved in an effort to please and endear him. Jane Bennet may have been fooled by Carolines apparent friendliness but Elizabeth always saw through her mask. Caroline Bingley is in complete contrast to Elizabeth Bennets genuine, intelligent persona and this is what makes the chemistry between these characters so intriguing.

Pic 1: Elizabeth and Caroline Bingley
Pic 2: Elizabeth and Darcy