Friday, 24 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 137 by Linda

For our Christmas quote this year, I searched Pride and Prejudice for a mention of Christmas. What I was particularly looking for was something that resembled what we do during the season in today's world. In Chapter 25 I found this instance where Mrs. Bennet's brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, are introduced:

On the following Monday Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure of receiving her brother and his wife, who came as usual to spend the Christmas at Longbourn...

The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business on her arrival was to distribute her presents and describe the newest fashions...

Here we see two customs mentioned, namely, the family gathering and the giving of presents. As a matter of fact, that is what my family does even today.

"Christmas" is alluded to 5 times in P&P to indicate the time of year when something else occurred. So now I am happy that times haven't changed so very much in all these years.

We, here at the Becoming Jane Fansite, wish to take this opportunity to wish you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years!! Blessings to all.

Yrs affectionately,
Linda the Librarian

Pic: Regency family Christmas scene from

Friday, 17 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 136

This week was meant to be Tom's turn but considering it was Jane's 235th birthday yesterday we thought that Tom would not mind if we recognised Jane instead!

I was looking for a quote that would link in nicely with Jane's birthday celebrations but I have found one which instead links in nicely with this time of year and the weather situation in the UK at the moment! As readers from the UK will know we have had our fair share of snow these past few weeks. I have heard alot of moaning and there is more due to arrive this weekend - I have found this lovely quote taken from a letter written by Jane to her sister Cassandra which echoes these views. The letter was written on December 2nd 1815 (two weeks before her birthday) at Hans Place (Henry Austen's home in London).

"I am sorry my mother has been suffering, and am afraid this exquisite weather is too good to agree with her. I enjoy it all over me, from top to toe, from right to left, longitudinally, perpendicularly, diagonally; and I cannot but selfishly hope we are to have it last till Christmas -- nice, unwholesome, unseasonable, relaxing, close, muggy weather."

I love the sense we get of her wanting to wrap herself up in the warm weather. She seems happy and I love the excitement in her tone. Such great use of adjectives in only two sentences. I am going to try to mimic the same excitement when I go out today in my coat, scarf, gloves and hat!

Happy Birthday Jane.

Pic: thesecretunderstandingofthehearts blog

Eliza de Feuillide at Jane Austen Centre UK!

Our deep gratitude once more to Laura Boyle of the Jane Austen Centre UK for using one of Becoming Jane Fansite articles in their prestigious website. This time, Eliza de Feuillide nee Hancock is the Christmas feature of the year. JA Centre has taken this article, excellently written by Rachel in July 2007 (dear Lord, that long ago?!).

Once again, thanks to Laura for the adaptation and Rachel for the article!

Pic: Eliza (Lucy Cohu) and Henry (Joe Anderson) in 'Becoming Jane' (2007)

Happy Birthday Jane!

Roxana reminded me that yesterday (Australian time) was Jane Austen's 235th birthday (thanks Roxana!). Since it's still 16 December in U.S., I can still safely wish Jane a very happy birthday without being ashamed of being late.

And Maria provided me with a Google picture of what looks like Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy here, so thanks to Maria as well!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

More Austen dresses

Nicole from Etsy gave me this link to a very pretty dress (right side) that might be desirable for some of us. It's not truly faithful to Regency style, but still has a high empire waist and overall Regency look. For $10, it's a big bargain!

There are some more dresses in Etsy (search for 'Austen dress' or 'Regency dress'), but this blue velvety one also attracts me (left side). It's too hot for my city and I'm not fond of long sleeves, but who knows it fits Austenites in Northern hemisphere?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A beautiful painting of Austen dresses

I should stop visiting Etsy; but in my defense, if I didn't visit that place, I wouldn't find my Austen dress. There was another item I found a few days ago that I'd like to share: A very beautiful painting of Austen Dresses by Janet Hill. She's a very talented artist and I wish I have enough money to buy the original oil painting of this print; but I am certain another lucky soul has snatched it up to adorn her/his abode...

Oh how I wish I have those dresses... and opportunities to wear them!

Pic: 'Austen Dresses' by Janet Hill

The Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest

In conjunction with the publication of the new anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Ballantine Books,, and The Republic of Pemberley are pleased to announce an online short story contest. Enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize: publication of your entry in the anthology – a collection of original short stories inspired by the life and works of popular English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817). Hosted by the Jane Austen web site The Republic of Pemberley, the contest begins on January 1, 2011. Publication of Jane Austen Made Me Do It is tentatively scheduled for publication by Ballantine in Fall 2011.

Contest Highlights

· Eligibility: Previously unpublished U.S. residents over the age of 18
· Entries must be approximately 5,000 words in length
· Manuscript submission January 1 – February 13, 2011
· Voting for the Top Ten finalists February 14 - 28, 2011
· Top Ten finalists announced on March 1, 2011
· One Grand Prize winner receives $500.00 and a contract for publication in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It
· Grand Prize winner announced Fall 2011 in conjunction with the official release by Ballantine Books (Random House, Inc.) of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Jane Austen Made Me Do It contains more than twenty best-selling and popular authors who have contributed short stories inspired by Jane Austen, her novels and her philosophies of life and love. From historical continuations of her plots and characters to contemporary spinoffs and comedies, the stories encapsulate what we love about our favorite author: romance, social satire and witty humor. Contributing to the line-up are best-selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation series), Laurie Viera Rigler (The Jane Austen Addict series), Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen), Stephanie Barron (Being A Jane Austen Mystery series), and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Many Austenesque authors and others from related genres have also contributed stories to the project. One spot in the anthology remains open for the lucky Grand Prize winner.

The anthology’s editor, Laurel Ann Nattress of, is very excited at the prospect of discovering the next star in the burgeoning sub-genre of Jane Austen sequels and inspired books. “Jane Austen has been inspiring writers for close to two hundred years. It seems quite fitting that she should be the witty muse of our anthology and short story contest. Encouraging writing and discovering new talent is in spirit with her true legacy. I am ‘all anticipation’ of what will develop, and am honored to be part of the selection team.”

Visit the official Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest web page for official contest rules and eligibility requirements. Best of luck to all entrants.

“[S]uppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 60

Monday, 13 December 2010

Another Austen dress for sale!

Oh, I found another Austen dress for sale in Etsy! Click here for the said Etsy shop. I bought mine from the same shop. This green dress looks stunning, particularly with the mock buttons (authentic Regency dresses have real buttons at the back), but this lady has promised to shop no more, hence this lovely green Regency dress can be another lady's companion. Besides, green is not really my colour...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 135

Actually, it is my turn to do a Tom quote this week but having re-watched Pride and Prejudice (both 1995 and 2005) this week, I want to do a PP quote. I hope dearest Rachel will cover a Tom quote for us next week.

This PP quote was taken from Volume III Chapter I (Chapter 43), directly taken from Elizabeth and the Gardiners were visiting Pemberley for the first time. They were very impressed by the sight of the great house and the following was her first thought:

"And of this place,'' thought she, "I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt. -- But no,'' -- recollecting herself, -- "that could never be: my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me: I should not have been allowed to invite them.'' This was a lucky recollection -- it saved her from something like regret.

Then, we fast forward to after Lizzy and Darcy confessed their love to each other. That night, Jane asked Lizzy when she knew that she loved Mr Darcy (Volume III Chapter 17/Chapter 59).

"My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?''

"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.''

Another intreaty that she would be serious, however, produced the desired effect; and she soon satisfied Jane by her solemn assurances of attachment. When convinced on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing farther to wish.

"Now I am quite happy,'' said she, "for you will be as happy as myself. I always had a value for him. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley's friend and your husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more dear to me. But Lizzy, you have been very sly, very reserved with me. How little did you tell me of what passed at Pemberley and Lambton! I owe all that I know of it to another, not to you.''

I have no doubt that Lizzy loved Darcy instead of his money. But there is another question here: Did the grandeur of Pemberley add to her increased acceptance of Darcy? Bearing in mind that it wouldn’t hurt to marry well as long as she loved him first and foremost?

Or at least, did Jane Austen herself tease us here? She was never in a good financial situation, but she wouldn’t marry if not for love. Hence it was natural for her to make her heroines marrying for love… with another benefit: rich and prospective husbands.

Pic: Pemberley in PP 1995

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 134

This week's quote was provided by Linda. It is a Jane quote, but it is heavily related to Tom Lefroy. Enjoy!

JA Letter to Cassandra, Saturday 9 - Sunday 10 January 1796:

" . . . I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together."

Using the Memoir as a reference, I hope to point to some information contained therein, but not as a quoted passage as we have been doing here. This information answers a question that has been on my mind for quite a while.

Jane Austen has been quoted as calling Tom "her Irish friend". I accepted that without question until one day it hit me that his uncle and aunt Lefroy were in England thereby making them "English". That led me to do some digging for their 'roots' to find out just who they were.

In chapter 1 of the Memoir we find this place named: Cambray, Netherlands and Flanders. So I tried looking that up on a map, as a matter of fact several maps, only to find that the area changed nationality several times. Then Tom's father ended up in Ireland in the army where he chose to remain until his death. Now Tom's mother was from Ireland which makes our Tom at least half Irish. So deducting from all that information, since Tom was born in Ireland, lived in Ireland, and his mother was an Irish native of Doonass in the County of Clare, we might get away with calling him "Irish" also.

I guess my problem is that I was looking for a truly Irish persona and now I discover that he is only half 'Irish'. This is of interest to me since I became interested in discovering my own roots. Needless to say I was surprised to find out that this "American" is "English" with one "German" thrown in for good measure. So what does that make me? Your guess is as good as mine.

One other item that the Memoir is sure to shed some light on is the financial situation of Tom's family. I shall be taking notes on that subject also as I read, mainly because all those bios of Jane want to claim that he was too 'poor' to marry Jane. I believe there is more to the story than that. So this group of posts is 'to be continued' as we look into 'Tom'.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian
Pic: Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) and Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway), 'Becoming Jane'

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Crack myself on a Jane Austen dress!

Forgive my indulgence Ladies and Gents... but I have a story to tell. I know this humble Jane Austen fan who could not help herself when she saw a beautiful 1960s empire dress that resembled a Regency dress being sold on an online shop called Etsy (weird shopping habits, these creatures of the 21st CE!). She must have it, although not at any cost (what with being a student), and after much deliberation (which lasted only a few minutes actually), she bought it!

In her defense, she had been searching for a decent Austen dress which would not make her ample bosoms look larger and would still fit her rather uhm... healthy frame. Several talented dress makers in Ebay (that is another online site, weird 21st CE citizens, very accessible through the famous Google Avenue!) have tempted her in the past, only to have her deterred by the excessive price (of over $100!). In recollection, it is only fair that we must forgive this rather reckless young lady, for indeed she had done her homework of researching better prices in the past, to no avail of course. Also we must consider her plan to visit a certain dear Miss Kingston in Surrey en route visiting Chawton and Bath, and what dress more proper to wear than this (old but) new blue 60s dress?

Do forgive her, Ladies and Gents... for she promises that she would publish the weekly quote in time this week (after one dear Mrs Fern supplies her one). And she solemnly promises not to be so impulsive in purchasing any other Regency artifacts next time, lest she would not have the means to visit the aforementioned Miss Kingston!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the week - Week 133

I have chosen a quote from a conversation between Catherine and Henry in chapter 16 of Northanger Abbey.

“With you, it is not, How is such a one likely to be influenced, What is the inducement most likely to act upon such a person’s feelings, age, situation, and probable habits of life considered — but, How should I be influenced, What would be my inducement in acting so and so?”

“I do not understand you.”

“Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well.”

“Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”

I chose this quote as I have recently been in the company of too many people who think it clever to over complicate language with the aim of making themselves seem more superior. I love Catherine's retort here and I think it highlights how sometimes intentions can be expressed alot clearer when put simply. I think that the world is filled with overcomplications.

Pic: Henry and Catherine

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Tom Lefroy Quote Week 2

For the second quote of Tom Lefroy this weekend, I chose the opening paragraph from a letter he wrote to his eldest daughter Jane Christmas Lefroy. From the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy p. 31, noting that Thomas Lefroy (TLL’s son) only disclosed the initial of Jane’s Christian name instead of her full name. The date was not clear either; but perhaps because I read the digital version. I shall peruse the print out copy tomorrow at the office and recheck the correct date. It must be around 1810 though, for Tom Lefroy alluded that Jane Christmas was still very young (she was born in 1802) and in the early stage of learning how to write a letter.

Limerick, Monday.

MY DARLING J---, Your letter gave me great pleasure; it was fairly written, well worded and no mistakes in the spelling; and I hope, by employing your time regularly between this and the next time I leave home, you’ll be able to correspond with me on subjects of more importance. Believe me, my darling girl, there is no progress to be made in anything without steady and continued application, which, besides the advantages it brings in the way of improvement, makes labour pleasant from habit instead of being irksome, as it always is to the idle and irresolute. A saunterer when young, continues a saunterer through life.

I particularly love the two last sentences, although I enjoyed the affection Tom Lefroy clearly had for his eldest daughter. A saunterer when young, continues a saunterer through life. He certainly knew how to motivate a child for the better…

Pic: 'Snow Child' by Hilda Boswell

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 133

I have chosen a quote from chapter 21 of Persuasion. Anne and Mrs Smith are discussing Mr Elliot and his desire to marry a woman solely for her wealth. Mrs Smith explains that her husband was good friends with him and tells Anne how Mr Elliot ruined her husband. My particular quote is taken from the part where Anne is learning why Mr Elliot knew so much about her (she learns it was from discussions with Mrs Smith):

What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken!

I found that this quote resonated well with me. I am frequently told that I think too much and analyse every situation rather unnecessarily. I do think it is natural to formulate wild imaginations when concerning self, particularly when holding a measure of insecurity, and this may be exaggerated in some more than others. Often these imaginings are not a true reflection of the situation and we find ourselves mistaken. I like that Jane has once again made an accurate observation of human behaviour.

Pic: Anne Elliot

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 1

This week I wish to return to our study of dear Tom Lefroy by looking in the Memoir for a bit. I do think more attention is deserved to some particular details that were possibly overlooked by others (and I won't mention any "lit critters" by name).

Let us begin at the beginning – namely the first paragraph of the Preface found in the "Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy", by his son, Thomas Lefroy, M.A., Q.C., Published 1871.

The following Memoir of the Right Honourable Thomas Langlois Lefroy, late Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, has been written, not so much as a record of his public career as of those traits of character which, in private life, endeared him to all who had the privilege of enjoying his society; and in the hope that the bright example he has left behind, in the unswerving consistency of his political principles, the simplicity of his Christian faith, and his deep humility, may be blessed to many who knew him not while here. To those who did know him it will be interesting to retrace some of the steps of one who, through all the arduous duties of professional, political, and judicial life, seemed to live in constant communion with Him who was the source of that singularly unruffled peace of mind which characterized his whole career.
I particularly wanted to quote this in order to set the tone for further insight to the "real" Tom Lefroy. Yes, I know that one is supposed to speak (or write) nice things about those who have passed on, but I wish to believe that the above is true in all aspects as our future searches and quotes will bear witness. So stay tuned!

You may see a reference to the Memoir on amazon Here. Other Lefroy sources include a book titled "Notes and documents relating to the family of Loffroy" by a cadet [J.H. Lefroy] which is online HERE. Geez, are there any more that would shed light on our dear Tom and the Life and Times of those days? Do let us know.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Thomas Langlois Lefroy by George Engleheart

Icha's note:
Starting from this week, we start coding the Tom Lefroy quotes separately. This week is Week One of Tom Lefroy Quote. We will alternate with Jane Austen quotes every other week or so; the next Jane Austen Quote will be JA Quote of the Week 133.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lovely Becoming Jane wallpapers

I found two elegant BJ wallpapers from here and here, and thought that I'd like to share them with you. Click the two links for higher resolutions.

I'm not sure who created them, but I thank him/her nonetheless. So poetic. Methinks I shall watch an Austen DVD tonight...

Monday, 1 November 2010

'Pride and Prejudice' fetches 140,000 pounds at auction

From the Times of India (Nov 1, 2010, 01.35am IST):

LONDON: A copy of the first edition of Jane Austen's romantic novel " Pride and Prejudice" has fetched 139,250 pounds at an auction in Britain, more than 150,000 times its original price.

The book, when first published in three volumes in 1813, cost 18 shillings - just 90 pence in today's money. The masterpiece, in which the heroine Elizabeth Bennet falls for the dashing Fitzwilliam Darcy, has since sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, according to the Daily Mail.

The book was among 149 volumes sold by London-based auction house Sotheby's for an anonymous 75-year-old collector, raising more than 3.1 million pounds.

The auction also included a signed first edition of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, which went for 181,250 pounds.

An 1847 first edition of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" fetched 163,250 pounds, more than double its estimated price.

A collection of poems by William Shakespeare published in 1640 sold for 135,250 pounds and Charles Darwin's "On The Origin Of The Species" fetched 127,250 pounds.

A 1922 edition of "Ulysses" by James Joyce went for 121,250 pounds and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" from 1818 fetched 115,250 pounds, the report said.

Sotheby's Peter Selley said it took the wealthy collector 45 years to amass his "extraordinary library". "The quality drew bids from around the world," he was quoted as saying.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 132

I chose a quote about friendship today, from Pride and Prejudice Volume I Chapter 23. It was after Lizzy and Charlotte had an argument about Charlotte’s decision to marry Mr Collins. The quotes were directly taken from Pemberley.

Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint which kept them mutually silent on the subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her sister, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness she grew daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been gone a week, and nothing was heard of his return.

It was a while before Lizzy’s friendship with Charlotte was restored; a few months after Charlotte’s wedding when Lizzy eventually visited her friend in Kent. There and then, the restrain was lessened and the two women became friends again.

I have a very different situation at the moment, but somehow it got me into thinking of Charlotte and Lizzy. I have a dear friend, who recently has not been in communication with me (although we live in the same town). Just today I realised that she perhaps truly started to separate her life from mine, for we hardly ever shared girl stuffs anymore, let alone friendly secrets.

I’m sad about it. I tried to think of my mistakes that forced her to distance herself from me. I'm sure there were mistakes, it takes two to tango, but I only saw them as misunderstanding. However, upon a careful consultation with another friend, I realised that people also change. Perchance, she does not see that her intimate friendship with me as nourishing her anymore. Things happen I guess; she’s busy with her own life, I’m with mine… and although I missed our girl talks, I must accept that she might have chosen a different path now. One that doesn’t necessarily include me.

I hope one day our friendship can be restored, or at least getting better. I hope I am shown my mistakes and shall never repeat it in the future, and vice versa for her. But if we have cleared the deck and we still cannot find common grounds anymore, I hope that I am receptive enough to let her go to live her new life, knowing that I shall always help her if it is within my capabilities.

Pic: Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins talking to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, from Pemberley

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 131 by Linda

In Emma, Chapter 12, there is a mystery lurking for me. Maybe someone can shed some light on it for me. It seems that Emma is interjecting something to change the subject in the course of conversation. Here is the quote:

"I did not thoroughly understand what you were telling your brother," cried Emma, "about your friend Mr. Graham's intending to have a bailiff from Scotland, to look after his new estate. But will it answer? Will not the old prejudice be too strong?"

I am in the dark about the meaning of “the old prejudice be too strong”. The only thing I can think of is that the English harbor a prejudice of some kind against the Scottish. I get the sense that this must be the case, but is this really true? And if so, what is the nature of it?

Speaking of prejudices, I grew up with a certain prejudice which I overcame in my later years. What I discovered is that there is some good in the worst of us and some bad in the best of us. Also, wherever I travelled it seems that each group carried a prejudice against another group in the area. I learned to take each person on their own merit instead of simply lumping them all together. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking to it!

I had to do a bit of research to discover what Emma meant by using the term ‘bailiff’. Wikepedia included this definition which I suspect comes closest to what she was speaking of. “Under the manorial system a bailiff was in charge of superintending the cultivation of the manor.”

So, if anyone can shed some light on this topic, I would be most grateful. And by the way, I am mostly English with one ancestor of Scottish origin and another one of German origin. No wonder I am always fighting with myself. ;-)

Yrs aff’ly,
Linda the Librarian

Pic: Kate Beckinsale's Emma

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Becoming Jane fanfic section in

I just found out that actually has a section for Becoming Jane the movie alone. It's here, and it has 26 stories there. Our Maria from Sweden is one the most prolific authoresses (if not THE most prolific one), I beleive, with 44 chapters (I Remember Love) and 303 reviews! Well done, Maria!

I think what I want to say is that it's been more than 3.5 years since I saw the movie in April 2007, but the movie still has followers and inspires many writers. Good job, Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy! And good job for Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy as well, in that sense.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 130

I wanted to focus on a character who always seems to be in the background of Pride of Prejudice. - Mary Bennet. I have never quite understood Jane Austen's feelings towards Mary; she portray's her as quite plain and socially inept but also a great thinker. Do you thinks he saw some of herself in Mary?
The quote is from chapter 47 after Lydia has ran away with Wickham. Mary says to Lizzy:

"This is a most unfortunate affair; and will probably be much talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation."

Then, perceiving in Elizabeth no inclination of replying, she added, "Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable—that one false step involves her in endless ruin—that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful,—and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex."

The definition of virtue is 'conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles' and she is correct that Lydia's behaviour has indeed put her virtue into question if she does not marry Wickham. I think that the use of the word brittle suggests that no woman's virtue or reputation is ever secure, it is fragile.

My question is, have things changed so much in the past 200 years? In society today, all things are more accepted and some standards have been shattered. I do believe, however, that internally in most women there is still a code of conduct which when breached or jeopardised produces a great sense of disease for the woman.
On the other hand, this quote can still be considered current in the fashion of double standards with women being heavily criticised for actions that a man would be praised for.
Mary opens up an interesting debate on the way women are perceived in society today compared to Jane Austen's time.

I also really like the term 'the balm of sisterly consolation' - I think that this is something which has not changed over the past two centuries and is unlikely to change over two more.

Pic: First Novels Club

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 129

This week, I chose a quote from Emma Vol 2 Chapter 16 as spoken by John Knightley to Jane Fairfax:

"Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does."

While I do not say that this quote does not capture the truth, I have to say that the reverse can be truthful, too. I have to say that I've seen people who scored their business deals because they had known their business partner(s) from a friend who attested to their merits. I am not trying to promote nepotism here. However, I do believe that a sincere friendship can invite a good business deal as well, so long as it is conducted in a fair and professional manner. Colonel Brandon offering Edward Ferrar a parish in Sense & Sensibility is a good example of my argument.


Pic: Audiobook of Emma, read by Prunella Scales

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 128

This weekend I chose a passage from Persuasion again, Chapter 9, when Anne Elliot was taking care of Little Walter (her nephew, Charles’ brother) and Captain Wentworth came into the room. Direct quote was taken from Pemberley.

There being nothing to be eat, he could only have some play; and as his aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was about Charles, she could not shake him off. She spoke to him, ordered, entreated, and insisted in vain. Once she did contrive to push him away, but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back again directly.

"Walter," said she, "get down this moment. You are extremely troublesome. I am very angry with you."

"Walter," cried Charles Hayter, "why do you not do as you are bid? Do not you hear your aunt speak? Come to me, Walter; come to cousin Charles."

But not a bit did Walter stir.

In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of being released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he had bent down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were unfastened from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away, before she knew that Captain Wentworth had done it.

Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless. She could not even thank him. She could only hang over little Charles, with most disordered feelings. His kindness in stepping forward to her relief, the manner, the silence in which it had passed, the little particulars of the circumstance, with the conviction soon forced on her by the noise he was studiously making with the child, that he meant to avoid hearing her thanks, and rather sought to testify that her conversation was the last of his wants, produced such a confusion of varying, but very painful agitation, as she could not recover from, till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the Miss Musgroves, to make over her little patient to their cares, and leave the room.

There’s no particular quote I’d like to emphasize here, but the whole passage is amazing because it shows how the presence of a child can reconnect Anne and Wentworth, two lovers who became strangers because of the past. I can understand why people choose to have children then, although it should not be the only reason for an established relationship, of course.

Pic: Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot (P2007) from Penny for Your Dreams

Friday, 1 October 2010

Becoming Jane persona from Maria

Thanks to Maria, we now have a very beautiful Becoming Jane persona!

Click here to access the file, and there may be more to come from our amazing artist in Sweden!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 127

It was the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath this week and I was fortunate enough to go for a two days and a night at the beginning of the week.
Bath is the most amazing city, so beautiful. I took part in two of the organised activities; on monday night I attended a regency food tasting evening presented by a Jane enthusiast and it was most entertaining. There were a few people there in regency dress which was exciting. On the tuesday morning I went on an organised walk around where Jane would have walked herself during her time living in Bath (between 1801 and 1806). There are many activities organised over the week period such as dance lessons and balls so I am certain that I am going to go back next year and do more. This was just a taster.

I have attached various pictures with associated description. I have many of Bath so if you are interested to see more then do email me.

I photographed some of the recipes mentioned at the food talk so that you could see some examples of what Jane would have eaten during this time.

The young lady who presented actually had made her own variations of these recipes to taste which I actually didnt think were too bad! She did mention a few times how at the turn of the 19th century there was very limited storage and meat therefore went rancid very quickly so the meals were very rich in spices to try to conceal the rotten taste of the meat! I also thought that the use of language and variations in spelling was very interesting. One point raised was that recipes were not documented how we are used to, i.e. with a list of ingredients, instead it was often just a paragraph of words with little punctuation as seen in these photographs.

She also gave us a couple of recipes to take home for White Soup and Gooseberry Tart (email me if you would like a copy) and also made me aware of a poem called "Puddings Without Rhyme or Reason" written by Cassandra Austen (Jane's mother). It can be read on the Jane Austen Centre website . It makes us aware that Jane was not the only talented writer in the family.

The walk on tuesday morning started in Laura Place (where Lady Dalrymple - Sir Walter's cousin in Persuasion- lived) and walked up Great Pulteney Street towards Sydney Place where Jane Austen resided. There are two interesting facts about Great Pulteney Street; William Wilberforce lived here during the same period and it was highly likely that Jane and Cassandra would have passed him frequently on their walks. Also, Great Pulteney Street actually converges with a Henrietta Street at Laura Place. The mystical me is ignited here as Henrietta Street in Dublin houses the Law Library of King's Inns which holds the Stained glass window of Thomas Lefroy coat of arms ! I like finding signs when most would say it is just sheer coincidence.

Great Pulteney Street, Bath

Next we walked into Sydney Place and saw where Jane Austen and her family lived. There is a plaque on the wall. It still is a stunning part of Bath. The tour guide was explaining that rental prices in Great Pulteney Street where William Wilberforce lived would have been highly expensive and probably more than what the Austen's could afford. By simply walking 1 minute off the main street meant that they could afford to rent but still in the very plush and highly popular area of Bath. It was very very strange to stand on the steps where Jane herself would have stood. It was an amazing sense of uplifting.

The Austen's lease on 4 Sydney Place ended in 1804 and they moved to Green Park Buildings (no longer exists) and Mr Austen died a few months later. Mrs Austen, Cassandra and Jane lost their income and moved to lodgings at 25 Gay Street, which unfortunately I did not photograph but it is the same street as where The Jane Austen Centre now stands (pic below). They left Bath for good in 1806 to go to Southampton with Jane’s brother Frank and his family.

The next photos are just of the beautiful landscape surrounding where she lived. It fascinated me to consider how far she would have walked so frequently. There are lots of hills around there and wonderful areas to walk. We know she loved walking and she must have spent a great deal of time strolling considering she was not spending her time writing over this time which poses the question of what was going through her mind during these years?

The picture on the right shows where Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion lived, Camden Place on the Crescent.

It is believed that Jane's uncle James Leigh-Perrot (her mothers brother) showed Jane the canal (seen in the picture on the bottom right)

The picture above left is of the pump rooms (next to the great Roman Baths) which Jane and her characters would have been very familiar with. Edward, Jane's brother, used the healing baths when he visited Bath as he was suffering from gout. Jane wrote in a letter to Cassandra...

'He was better yesterday than he had been for two or three days before...He drinks at the Hetling to bathe tomorrow.'
'Edward has been pretty well this last week, and as the waters have never disagreed with him in any respect, we are inclined to hope he will derive advantage from them in the end'.

I really like the lamp posts in Bath and I took care to take a photo with the one which had The Jane Austen Centre sign displayed. As mentioned above, The Jane Austen Centre is at 40 Gay Street, along the same street as Jane herself lived after her father died.

I ended my trip at St Swithin’s church, Walcot (below right), where Jane’s parents married and her father is buried.

I had a wonderful two days and I urge all of you to visit the wonderful city if you can. I end with my quote of the week, spoken by Catherine Morland to Mr Tilney in chapter 10 of Northanger Abbey:

"Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?"

Pics: Taken by myself 20th and 21st Sept 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Answer to the Puzzle: Tom Lefroy's handwriting!

My dear friends, apologies for the very belated instalment of the puzzle. Thanks to Amy who has contributed the trivia and to Mimi who has wrecked her brain in trying to solve it (I wrecked my brain for 5min and gave up, hahaha!).

The above is the scanned image of a letter Amy posted to me, and this is the interpretation:

1st line: “Longford October …1836”

2nd line: “…Herries… &Co.”

3rd line: “St James St.”

4th line: “Lefroy London”

Amy’s note:
1. In the olden days, addresser was written on the left side
2. In 1836 , Messers Herries, Farquhar and Company was located on 16 St James Street, London. Some years later it was acquired by Lloyds Bank.

And the leading material that confirms that it was a letter from Thomas Langlois Lefroy (which we didn't post until now on purpose...):

“The Right Honble [Honourable] Thomas Lefroy”

Wikipedia entry of the University of Dublin confirms that "The Right Honourable" was Tom Lefroy's official title by 8 January 1835 (scroll down to 'Elections in the 1830s). The Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy page 120 noted that in 1830, Tom Lefroy was first elected as the Representative of the University of Dublin. He contested again for a general election on 7 May 1831 and 18 December 1832. He won those elections (wow!) but he had not had "The Right Hon." in his title by then. It seems that Thomas Langlois Lefroy received "The Right Honourable" title somewhere between 1832 and 1835.

Anyway, it seems to me that the letter was indeed written by our Tom Lefroy. Thus this letter might be a specimen of his hand-writing!

Hope the trivia is enjoyable!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Jane Austen Quote Week 126

A friend of my friends passed away last week, leaving many of them shocked because of his sudden departure. While I do not know the deceased in person, I have ever since learned that he was a very amiable gentleman with a great sense of humour, a great father, and a loving husband. To him I dedicated this quote, which was taken from The Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy page 386. The young Tom Lefroy was reminiscing the last moments of his late father’s life.

To the last he retained a cheerful and patient endurance under suffering which often elicited the astonishment and admiration of those who attended upon his sickness. I remember in his last illness (only two days before he was taken from us), after he had spent a very wearisome night from want of sleep, and great oppression of breathing, we closed the window-shutters in the morning, in the hope of his getting some sleep; just then the physician for whom an express had been sent, arrived from Dublin. After feeling his pulse, the doctor asked whether it would annoy him if the window-shutters were opened for a moment, when he replied with a cheerful smile, “not at all, doctor, I always like to have light thrown upon a subject.”

Apparently, Thomas Langlois Lefroy braced the last moments of his life in great courage and high spirit. May the friend of my friends also felt the same grace and spirit as Heaven opened up to him, and may he rest in peace.

Pic: the young Thomas Langlois Lefroy, private collection of Edward Lefroy

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 125 by Linda

In Emma, Chapter 12, we find this quote:

"Why, pretty well, my dear, upon the whole. But poor Mrs. Bates had a bad cold about a month ago."

"How sorry I am! But colds were never so prevalent as they have been this autumn. Mr. Wingfield told me that he had never known them more general or heavy, except when it has been quite an influenza."

"That has been a good deal the case, my dear; but not to the degree you mention. Perry says that colds have been very general, but not so heavy as he has very often known them in November. Perry does not call it altogether a sickly season."

What I find intriguing about this passage is the talk of “colds” and “influenza”. Without making an extensive research, it amazes me that such afflictions were around in those days. For some reason, I have assumed that they were ‘modern’ afflictions. However, one brief excursion into the book “The English Physician” (1814) found the mention of ‘colds’. Jane’s mention of such everyday events are things that are so easy to overlook. It makes me wonder what else we have missed.

Yrs aff’ly,
Linda the Librarian

Friday, 3 September 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 124

I am told that it is the national Father's day in Australia this weekend so I thought that it was a good opportunity to pick a quote relating to fatherhood.

I have selected a series of rather long quotes from chapter 1 of Persuasion but I think that all are necessary to capture the dynamics of the Elliot family.

“Sir Walter’s continuing in singleness requires explanation. Be it known then, that Sir Walter, like a good father, (having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications), prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughters’ sake. For one daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up any thing, which he had not been very much tempted to do. Elizabeth had succeeded at sixteen to all that was possible of her mother's rights and consequence; and being very handsome, and very like himself, her influence had always been great, and they had gone on together most happily. His other two children were of very inferior value. Mary had acquired a little artificial importance by becoming Mrs Charles Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way - she was only Anne.”

“Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society.”

“Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she was called on to quit them.”

I think that these quotes capture insights into a series of roles within the family. I am an only child so have not had to experience some of the emotions brought to our attention in the first quoted paragraph. The last line is the most poignant for me:
"her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way - she was only Anne."
To arrive at a state where it is easier to just give in than to fight for yourself and what you believe in is truly tragic. No-one should ever be made to feel this way.

The second quote makes us aware of the vanity and self-obsession that Sir Walter possesses. More interesting is the third quote which again paints a picture of a very familiar familial set up (both then and still in present society). Lady Elliot showed bravery and above all loyalty, demonstrated in the line: "she had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself."
Sir Walter's actions and personality allowed his daughter and his wife to feel deeply unhappy. I am sad for their situation but I marvel in the inner strength that both of these women clearly have to continue regardless with their head held high, as so many women must do.

Pic: Sir Walter and his daughters

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A puzzle

A friend from Singapore (Amy) sent us this piece of letter. Truly a piece of a letter, very old, and might be attributed to one of Jane's acquaintance, or even Jane Austen herself.

Guess what was written in this piece of paper? Try to type it on the comment section so that we can see which one has the best guess. No prize this time for the winner, but hey, it's a fun thing to do!

The answer will be posted (along with a rather long story of how Amy found this letter) next week, before the weekend.

Good luck and have fun! And thanks a lot Amy for contacting us!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 123

My apologies for the rather late installment for this week's quote. I originally wanted to pull something from the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, but after contemplating, I chose another quote from Emma, chapter 21 when Mr Woodhouse was contemplating the pleasant evening they just had.

"I hope every body had a pleasant evening," said Mr. Woodhouse, in his quiet way. "I had. Once, I felt the fire rather too much; but then I moved back my chair a little, a very little, and it did not disturb me. Miss Bates was very chatty and good-humoured, as she always is, though she speaks rather too quick. However, she is very agreeable, and Mrs. Bates too, in a different way. I like old friends; and Miss Jane Fairfax is a very pretty sort of young lady, a very pretty and a very well-behaved young lady indeed. She must have found the evening agreeable, Mr. Knightley, because she had Emma."

"True, sir; and Emma, because she had Miss Fairfax."

Emma saw his anxiety, and wishing to appease it, at least for the present, said, and with a sincerity which no one could question --

"She is a sort of elegant creature that one cannot keep one's eyes from. I am always watching her to admire; and I do pity her from my heart."

We all know that Emma is jealous of Jane Fairfax, and perhaps for a good reason for everyone always loves to talk about Jane's merits. Being a rather spoiled (but actually golden-hearted) girl, Emma forgets that everyone has his/her own merits. 'Just' because everyone is praising Jane Fairfax, doesn't mean that she has nothing to be proud of. If anything, Emma's desire to mend the fences after insulting Miss Bates is something of a good quality for her. Also her willingness to (eventually) listen to Mr Knightley (albeit grudgingly). Emma's tremendous care and love for her father is something that caught my attention as well.

I guess what I want to say is, there was a reason for me picking this quote too. I have a tendency to compare myself with others, and unwillingly get jealous of him/her. I am now trying to learn to admit other's positive characteristics and talents... while at the same time also try to understand that I also have good things that I can contribute to others. For everyone is unique and has his/her own place in this world.

Does it make sense? I hope it makes sense...

Pic: 2009 Jane Fairfax and Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 122

We were deliberating whether we should keep these quote of the week dedicated to words only written by Jane Austen but we thought that it would be ok, on occasion and not too regularly, to include quotes made by other prominant people in Jane's life. So who better to start with than Tom Lefroy.

This is taken from a letter he wrote to his wife Mary in 1801. It is written in his memoirs, page 29 - 30. The title of the letter is: To His Wife (Mountrath, Friday night).

"I do not say that we are to extinguish the affections which belong to the different relations of life; on the contrary, by the pure and sincere exercise of them, selfishness is in some degree extinguished, but the gratification arising from the most delightful of these affections should not form the stay, and hope, and prop of life. No; therein consists the excess and the abuse: but I’ll say no more on this head, lest you should tell me that nothing but my vanity could suggest the necessity of sermonizing you in this manner. I own, however, it is grounded on a conviction that the sensibility and devotedness of my darling wife’s attachment to a certain degree impair her own enjoyment. But, remember, I am not willing to part with the least atom of it to any earthly object; whatever of it ought to be pruned away, let it be transplanted to that region where we may hope and trust to enjoy it in bliss unfading."
I think that this quote lends to lots of different interpretations. I think that it is clear to say that he knows what love means. I like to believe he is saying that love is ultimate selflessness and is aiming to distinguish between the short term gratifications arising from a lustful relationship and the long term foundations which develop a truly loving relationship. He goes on to state that Mary is obviously a highly devoted and attentive wife and he fears that her own enjoyment is impaired by such actions. He does not want her regard for him to diminish, only for it to be translated to another form in which they both can enjoy it forever.

I think that this quote demonstrates his awareness of matters of the heart. My interpretation may be very different from others so I welcome comments and alternatives.

Pic: Tom Lefroy

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mariana's UK videos

The followings are Mariana's YouTube videos she made based on her recent trip to UK. This is an excerpt of her note:

"I’ve only started to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker the week before leaving on vacation. These are my first videos, nothing really fancy, just a compilation of the pictures and short clips I captured/recorded during my journey and wanted to share them with you. Icha my dear, these videos are especially dedicated to you. I truly hope and wish in the near future you will be able to make this journey, not only through my eyes or the help of Internet."

Hope you enjoy the video as much as I do!

From London to Alton:


The Bakehose and the Garden

The House - the Drawing Room

Thank you so much Mariana!

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 121

Inspired by the meeting between Rachel and Mariana last week, this week I chose a quote about friendship. From Northanger Abbey chapter 4 when Catherine was anxiously waiting for Mr. Tilney to arrive at the Pump Room, yet his presence was nowhere to be found.

The whole being explained, many obliging things were said by the Miss Thorpes of their wish of being better acquainted with her; of being considered as already friends, through the friendship of their brothers, etc., which Catherine heard with pleasure, and answered with all the pretty expressions she could command; and, as the first proof of amity, she was soon invited to accept an arm of the eldest Miss Thorpe, and take a turn with her about the room. Catherine was delighted with this extension of her Bath acquaintance, and almost forgot Mr. Tilney while she talked to Miss Thorpe. Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.

Of course I hope we don't only need friendship when we have disappointment in love. Certainly to me, friendship is very much treasured in any situation whatsoever.

But it is true that friendship endures us. Here I translate 'love' as general love, not only between a man and a woman. Our love to life is also love... and at times, such love is also tested. At times, I also wonder where my life will lead me, and will I have enough faith that I shall be okay... that all will be okay... And at such times, in addition to my faith to myself and the Power That Be, the presence of my friends also sustains me.

To my dearest Mariana who shall read this soon: Have Faith my dearest. We all have our troubled times, and yours too shall past, with clearer sky above your head to shine upon your smiling countenance.

love always,

Pic: Felicity Jones (Catherine Morland) from Northanger Abbey 2007

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Meeting Mariana

After being good friends through this blog for a long time now, I finally managed to meet one of the blog's most loyal fans. Marianna and her husband visited England and Jane Austen's homeland last week and I was fortunate enough to meet up with them at the airport before their return home.

It nearly didnt happen (sorry guys!) but I am so glad that it did, even if it was far too short. Both Marianna and her husband are such wonderful people and I am so happy that I had the time I did to chat with them. I was furnished with gifts from Canada and embraced with such care and warmth.

Mariana, your passion for Jane is uplifting and exciting. I really do hope that you can come here again and we can explore more of Jane's life together. Icha, Linda, Michelle and our other loyal friends, you are most welcome too. I have faith that one day it will happen and I am already excited.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 120

This weekend I choose a famous quote from Marianne Dashwood that echoes what has been happening to my life. Although Marianne was in her reckless age when she uttered it, there is a grain of truth there, and some of them applies to me now. Sense & Sensibility Chapter 12:

It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.

I met someone about two months ago, and we started seeing each two weeks after. We're going steady. Externally, our development may be considered as being too quickly, but I just think that it's the right time. This is where I agree and disagree at the same time with Marianne. Timing is also important, opportunity is also important. We would not have come this far had we not met at the right time, moment, setting, etc. Of course our dispositions, i.e. our characters is also an important factor, but we both agree that had we met six months ago or so, this would not happen. It was not the right time.

But now, it is the right time. We're of the right age and maturity to move on. And I'm very grateful for every moment I spend with him.

May Love, in whatever forms, graces you all.

Pic: Lovely Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood