Sunday, 29 July 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 201

I have been dipping into Northanger Abbey and one paragraph made me chuckle - Mrs Thorpe and Mrs Allen have just been reacquainted in Bath and in chapter 4 of the novel they are catching up.

"Mrs. Thorpe, however, had one great advantage as a talker, over Mrs. Allen, in a family of children; and when she expatiated on the talents of her sons, and the beauty of her daughters, when she related their different situations and views — that John was at Oxford, Edward at Merchant Taylors’, and William at sea — and all of them more beloved and respected in their different station than any other three beings ever were, Mrs. Allen had no similar information to give, no similar triumphs to press on the unwilling and unbelieving ear of her friend, and was forced to sit and appear to listen to all these maternal effusions, consoling herself, however, with the discovery, which her keen eye soon made, that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe’s pelisse was not half so handsome as that on her own."

I dont know about you but I so often find myself feeling the same as Mrs Allen. It may be about different subject matters but often there is always a way to make yourself feel better about life!

Pic: Northanger Abbey scene, taken from:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 200

I thought I had a brilliant idea, namely, to include on the Becoming Jane Fansite a list of other sites that are Jane Austen related which our readers may or may not know about.  Lo and Behold, upon looking at the BJ home page I discovered that such a list already existed called "Austenian Links".

So the best I could do is recommend another site to add to that list which is edited by my friend, JulieW.  The name of the site is "Austen Only" and deals mainly with Jane's Life and Times.  She has a treasure house of information there.  You may peruse it here:  Austen Only
So, simply to pique your interest in that site, I will say the the entry for July 19, 2012 is about a "twitten".  You will have to read the article to understand what a "twitten" is, so I won't spoil your fun.  The next entry dated July 18, 2012 is about Jane's connection with Winchester Cathedral (where she is buried).  That is of special interest to me because in July 2003 I made a trip to dear England for a Jane Austen conference and included a tour of Winchester Cathedral - which I will never forget.  You may read about my trip here:  Linda's Sentimental Journey.  You will even find a picture of me next to Jane's grave.  At the top of that page is a partial quote from Jane's brother, James Austen, and I will include his entire poem here:

"On such subjects no wonder that she shou'd write well,
In whom so united those Qualities dwell;
Where 'dear Sensibility', Sterne's darling Maid,
With Sense so attemper'd is finely portray'd
Fair Elinor's self in that Mind is exprest,
And the Feelings of Marianne live in that Breast,
Oh then, gentle Lady! continue to write,
And the sense of your Readers t'amuse & delight.
A Friend

James wrote this after the publication of her first novel, "Sense and Sensibility".   So dear Readers, have fun looking into these items about our own Jane Austen.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Pic: Linda besides Jane Austen's grave in the Winchester Cathedral in 2003

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 199

I have been reading ‘The Dressmaker’, a Victorian novel written exquisitely by Posie Graeme-Evans. The heroine in the novel slightly reminds me of Margaret Hale in North and South (by Elizabeth Gaskell). Ellen Gowan (the heroine in ‘The Dressmaker’) had a father – a poor vicar – who died in a tragic accident, thus the story also reminded me of Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility (not that he died in the SS novel). I haven’t discovered how poor Reverend Gowan was (his entitlement or stipend, etc), or to some extent, the general living condition of an honest but poor vicar (like Jane Austen’s own father, albeit in a different era). I do however, remembered a passage or two in SS about Edward’s entitlement. This is from Chapter 49:

One question after this only remained undecided between them, one difficulty only was to be overcome. They were brought together by mutual affection, with the warmest approbation of their real friends; their intimate knowledge of each other seemed to make their happiness certain -- and they only wanted something to live upon. Edward had two thousand pounds, and Elinor one, which, with Delaford living, was all that they could call their own; for it was impossible that Mrs. Dashwood should advance anything, and they were neither of them quite enough in love to think that three hundred and fifty pounds a year would supply them with the comforts of life.

I then found an eloquent article by Ms Place from The Jane Austen’s World that explained a great deal of living cost during the Regency Era. Vic (Ms Place) also quoted a passage from Chapter 17 of SS:

"And yet two thousand a-year is a very moderate income," said Marianne. "A family cannot well be maintained on a smaller. I am sure I am not extravagant in my demands. A proper establishment of servants, a carriage, perhaps two, and hunters, cannot be supported on less."

How much does GBP 2,000 of the 1810 worth now? Ms Place used the UK national archives to calculate the worth of GBP 2,000 (Edward Ferrar’s entitlement) in 2005. It was GBP 67,920 or approximately GBP 81,000 in 2011 using the UK Consumer Price Index. Putting it in AUD (so I can imagine the purchasing power), that amount is about AUD 122,000 per annum or AUD 2,340 per week for 2011. It is a lot of money.

But Chapter 49 of SS stated that Edward’s and Elinor’s annual income would only be GBP 350 per annum. Perhaps they could not use their entitlement, only the annual interest of their combined entitlement. If so, Edward and Elinor would only live with GBP 11,886 per annum in 2005 or GBP 14,175.97 per annum in 2011. In the 2011 AUD, it is about AUD 21,400 per annum, or AUD 411 per week. That’s the lower level stipend of a postgraduate student in Australia, which practically only provides the student for rent, basic groceries, bus ride and occasionally cheap movie nights. The amount is certainly not enough for a family living.

Now I know why the Dashwood ladies were distressed when they received only GBP 500 per annum for their living (three ladies and two maids). If this is about the amount that Rev Gowan (Ellen’s father from The Dressmaker) received during his years of service, no wonder Ellen was concerned about their income once her father passed away…

Pic: Edward and Elinor from Sense & Sensibility 1995

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 198

This week I attended the most spectacular wedding in Tuscany, Italy. It was such a pleasure to be there and bride and groom were so happy, love was filling the air. In response to this I wanted to chose something from the relationship between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. So this weeks quote is from volume II, chapter IX of Persuasion:

"How she might have felt, had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case, was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth: and be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be his for ever. Their union, she believed, could not divide her more from other men, than their final separation.

Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could never have passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting with from Camden-place to Westgate-buildings. It was almost enough to spread purification and perfume all the way."

True love is so beautiful.

Pic: Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 197

I have spent this past week on vacation at my childhood home with my dear Sister and I managed to do some genealogy searching of our past history/lives.  I had a restful and profitable week for which I am grateful.  Now, what has that to do with our dear Jane Austen.  I promptly went to her brother's periodical "The Loiterer" (which I put on line) and found Issue No. 7 which discusses the "use and advantages of Studying History".  Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph:

IF the respective merits of our different studies are to be settled by the pleasure which arises from their pursuit, or the utility which results from their attainment, historic knowledge will justly claim the highest rank amongst our literary acquirement. To review with one glance the various accidents, and mark the latent causes, which have given birth to states, or destroyed empires, to place before us the exploits of the daring, the discoveries of the adventurous, and the systems of the wise, confers the greatest superiority which an enlightened age and a polished nation can enjoy, over an area of darkness and a clan of barbarians. And though history were always what it too often is, only an enumeration of the madness, folly, and crimes of mankind, it is yet some advantage to know what we would wish to avoid; and if mankind make a proper use of this knowledge, they may derive some benefit even from the crimes, and some wisdom from the follies of their ancestors. But history has surely something better to offer, has other claims upon our attention, other motives to excite our industry, and other sweets to reward our labours. 

I find that I cannot disagree with James because I found out so many of our family's "dirty" little secrets as well as the "good" things that we did.  I managed to do some research at our court house through many papers that documented our comings and goings.  My Bachelor of Science degree includes a minor in History, so you can see that I am in my element when I do my historical research.  I really wish to return more often to do some more.  May you all benefit from studying "History"!  Because some of it we do not want to repeat!!

You may read the entire article - No. VII of James Austen's  The Loiterer.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian