Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tom Lefroy Quote Week 15

I wanted to find a Tom quote that would reflect the birthday of our lovely Linda, who will be 71 years old tomorrow Monday. From the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy page 329, an excerpt from Lord Derby (Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, the 14th Earl of Derby) to Chief Justice Lefroy:

Downing Street,

July 11, 1866
“My dear Chief Justice, - Your son sent me, a few days ago, a most kind letter from you, the handwriting of which I should have taken to be that of a man of thirty instead of ninety, in which you express your readiness to surrender into my hands the high office which I had the satisfaction of intrusting to you fourteen years ago, and which you have filled with so much credit to yourself and advantage to the public service.”

That’s what I often feel when I communicate with Linda… Not exactly 30-90, but I often forgot that she is already 70 years old, and going to be 71 years old tomorrow. Linda still has her sharp mind and alert consciousness, something to be admired from people of her age.

Thank you for helping us these years, Linda. Have a happy birthday, may you be happy, healthy and prosperous always. God bless you.

Pic: Edward Smith-Stanley, Wikipedia

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 181

I chose a part of Pride and Prejudice that I love - chapter 43 when Elizabeth sees Pemberley for the first time. It triggers the beginning of her growing affection for Mr Darcy. She later meets him in the grounds and they connect like they havent before.

"They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!"

I really love the part "nature had done more" and "natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste" - what a wonderful description and I think that this can be linked to the natural development of her relationship with Mr Darcy.

Pic: Elizabeth Bennet at Pemberley

Monday, 16 January 2012

Jane Austen the Unseen Portrait

Thanks to Mariana Georghe, here we are aware of the 'new' unseen portrait of Jane Austen. The clip is from BBC, but is now in SMaryG's YouTube account. The picture was found by Dr Paula Bryne and was later discussed in the recent BBC documentary titled 'The Unseen Portrait of Jane Austen?'.

A detailed article about this portrait can be found here.

I have to say that the picture does not match to my personal image of hers, which was more influenced by the sketches made by Rice and James Stanier Clarke (we discussed them here and here). The Rice and Clarke sketches displayed the frontal view of the young girl's faces, hence I was led to believe that the nose would not be so pronounced, as in the Bryne portrait.

But the facial features does speak of the talented, witty woman we know as Jane Austen. So... who knows?

Pic: Dr Paula Bryne's found portrait of Jane Austen.

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 180

Let's get serious for a minute this week and talk about LOVE and MARRIAGE. In Mansfield Park, Chapter 35 we find a discussion between Edmund and Fanny concerning Fanny's recent rejection of Henry Crawford's proposal of marriage. Edmund had just returned home and heard the news of the proposal. He wished to discuss her feelings about the matter so he joined her in a walk through the shrubbery.

Fanny, at one agitated and dejected, replied, "IF you hear of it from everybody, cousin, there can be nothing for me to tell."
Not of facts, perhaps; but of feelings, Fanny. No one but you can tell me them. I do not mean to press you, however. If it is not what you wish yourself, I have done. I had thought it might be a relief."
"I am afraid we think too differently for me to find any relief in talking of what I feel."
"Do you suppose that we think differently? I have no idea of it. I dare say that, on a comparison of our opinions, they would be found as much alike as they have been used to be: to the point - I consider Crawford's proposals as most advantageous and desirable, if you could return his affection. I consider it as most natural that all your family should wish you could return it; but that, as you cannot, you have done exactly as you ought in refusing him. Can there be any disagreement between us here?"
"Oh no! But I though you blamed me. I thought you were against me. This is such a comfort!"
"This comfort you might have had sooner, Fanny, had you sought it. But how could you possibly suppose me against you? How could you imagine me as advocate for marriage without love? Were I even careless in general on such matters, how could you imagine me so where your happiness was at stake?"

So the crux of the matter is this: one should marry for LOVE and is of the utmost importance. Certainly there are other things to consider, but love is to be considered FIRST. Speaking as one who has "been there, done that" I can vouch for the correctness of such advice. I only wish I had tended to those "other things to consider" a little more carefully. As we say "too soon old, and too late smart". Sigh.

Yrs aff'ly,

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Fanny Price

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 179 by Linda

While tiding up my cluttered desk I ran across a scribbling dated for 2-21-09, but cannot find that I actually posted it. So I shall give it a try now.

It is from Mansfield Park, Vol. 3, Chapter 5 of my Signet Classic edition, where Miss Crawford made a request of Fanny:

Her [Fanny's] habits of ready submission, on the contrary, made her almost instantly rise and lead the way out of the room. She did it with wretched feelings, but it was inevitable.

I couldn't help but notice this character trait of "ready submission" when anyone makes a request. It simply must be done. It is a trait that has been passed down through the ages, because I have observed this very trait in my own Grandmother, as well as myself. I will also add that it is fostered in our Bibles as "wives be obedient to your husband's will". I have since learned that "ready submission" is not the way to go. But that's another story.

This is just one example of how Jane throws in so many small things that we can relate to. For instance, when I opened my copy of MP, I noticed all the notations I had made. There is enough material for a ton of quotes. So reader beware! Here I go!

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Cover to Oxford World's Classics of Mansfield Park

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 178

Firstly Happy New Year to you all and thank you very much for your continued support. If any of you have any suggestions on Jane-related things we can do this year on the blog then please do write to us.

Linda has kindly made me aware of a website that we wanted to bring to your attention. It provides information about The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen.
Before I continue I want to link this to a fantastic article that Icha wrote here on the blog in July 2007 about this very same topic Rice Portrait and Clarke's Sketch. Basically it is believed that the 'Rice Portrait’ refers to a portrait of a young girl made by Ozias Humphry, an English painter (1742-1810). It is proposed that the portrait is of Jane Austen when she was around 13/14 years old but there has been much debate about the authenticity of this portrait.

The website mentioned above, The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, has recently been constructed by Anne Winston Rice who was married to Henry Rice, a descendent from Jane. She wants to set the record straight about whether this portrait is indeed Jane Austen, she believes it is.

The website is quite detailed and I will not try to summarise all the information here as it is well worth exploring yourself if you are interested. She describes 4 pieces of primary evidence which puts together an excellent case. I have simplified the information below:

- Colonel Thomas Austen, Jane's second cousin, had possession of the painting and gave it to his great friend Colonel Thomas Harding-Newman in 1818. Colonel Harding-Newman’s son wrote in 1880: “I shall hope to give another painting of Jane Austen to her relative Morland Rice. It is of a girl about 15, and came into my family the gift of Colonel Austen of Kippington, to my mother-in-law, or rather, step-mother, my father’s second wife, who was a great admirer of the novelist."

- Admiral Sir Francis Austen, Jane's brother, was very close to his grandson John H. Hubback and it is believed he shared valuable information regarding the Rice Portrait with him. Hubback told Mrs Graveson (a lady researching the portrait) that his cousins, the Rices, owned the only professionally executed painting of the authoress.

- Lord Brabourne was the eldest son of Fanny Knight, who married a Knatchbull Hugesson. He was Jane Austen’s great nephew, as also were John Hubback and Morland Rice. They were all cousins. In 1884, he published the first book about Jane, her “Life and Letters”. He relates how he has written to Mr Cholmeley Austen-Leigh about Morland Rice’s portrait, and that Mr Cholmeley Austen-Leigh has replied that if Morland’s portrait is authentic.

- Fanny Caroline Lefroy, the granddaughter of the Rev. James Austen was the family historian. Her mother, Anna Austen had lived in the same house as Jane Austen for some ten years, and therefore would have known what she looked like. Morland Austen, who received the portrait, asked Fanny Caroline Lefroy for her opinion about the portrait. She says she “knew before of the portrait in your possession”, and cites one or two little difficulties but only of when, and where, the portrait was painted.

Pic: Taken from Jane Austen Rice Portrait