Saturday, 6 March 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 98

Rather than succumbing to the usual laziness of vaguely remembering quotes in my head and then researching on the internet for the full details, this week I thought I would dig out my copy of Love and Friendship (alternative spelling of Freindship) as it is work by Jane Austen's that we rarely speak about. Its hilarious. Upon reading it again whilst sitting on the train this week, I was laughing out loud. Its amazing to think that she wrote this when she was only 14 years old.

The short novel is a series of letters. One of the main characters, Laura, acts as narrator for the first part of the juvenilia piece.

Laura was married to Edward and through him met his friend Augustus and his wife Sophia. In a very short summary, Augustus is arrested for not paying his debts and Edward goes to town and never comes back. Laura and Sophia flee to Scotland to stay with some of Sophia's relatives. Here is where the passage I have chosen is spoken. They have been walking and take a rest at the side of the road next to a stream.

"Alas why are not Edward and Augustus here to enjoy its Beauties with us?"

"Ah! my beloved Laura (cried Sophia) for pity's sake forbear recalling to my remembrance the unhappy situation of my imprisoned Husband. Alas, what would I not give to learn the fate of my Augustus! to know if he is still in Newgate, or if he is yet hung. But never shall I be able so far to conquer my tender sensibility as to enquire after him. Oh! do not I beseech you ever let me again hear you repeat his beloved name--. It affects me too deeply --. I cannot bear to hear him mentioned it wounds my feelings."

"Excuse me my Sophia for having thus unwillingly offended you--" replied I--and then changing the conversation, desired her to admire the noble Grandeur of the Elms which sheltered us from the Eastern Zephyr. "Alas! my Laura (returned she) avoid so melancholy a subject, I intreat you. Do not again wound my Sensibility by observations on those elms. They remind me of Augustus. He was like them, tall, magestic--he possessed that noble grandeur which you admire in them."

I was silent, fearfull lest I might any more unwillingly distress her by fixing on any other subject of conversation which might again remind her of Augustus.

"Why do you not speak my Laura? (said she after a short pause) "I cannot support this silence you must not leave me to my own reflections; they ever recur to Augustus."

"What a beautifull sky! (said I) How charmingly is the azure varied by those delicate streaks of white!"
"Oh! my Laura (replied she hastily withdrawing her Eyes from a momentary glance at the sky) do not thus distress me by calling my Attention to an object which so cruelly reminds me of my Augustus's blue sattin waistcoat striped in white! In pity to your unhappy freind avoid a subject so distressing." What could I do? The feelings of Sophia were at that time so exquisite, and the tenderness she felt for Augustus so poignant that I had not power to start any other topic, justly fearing that it might in some unforseen manner again awaken all her sensibility by directing her thoughts to her Husband. Yet to be silent would be cruel; she had intreated me to talk.

From this Dilemma I was most fortunately releived by an accident truly apropos; it was the lucky overturning of a Gentleman's Phaeton, on the road which ran murmuring behind us. It was a most fortunate accident as it diverted the attention of Sophia from the melancholy reflections which she had been before indulging

It is an unusual humour but I love Jane's use of shear mockery.

Pic: Love and Freindship cover


Icha said...

I do declare that Jane's writing style here is most refreshing and certainly gives a different aspect of her writing.

Thank you very much Rachel!

jakeline said...

I know I've been absent for a while. Sorry :P I've started a writer's forum, anybody interested? I'll send the link if anyone wants it.

Um, well I've just finished chapter 43 of I Remember Love. Only one more chapter to go.

And I do declare it is time for a new header for you guys... :P

Hugs and kisses, from Maria in Sweden, where Spring, is finally on the way!

Icha said...

LOL! I hear you, Jakeline... I guess I was waiting for my 'supplier' to supply us with a new banner...

But the old one might do to, if you haven't got time :-D