Monday, 27 August 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 204

The auction and selling of Jane Austen’s ring (I still ponder over its final value of GBP 152,450!) made me realise how fine Jane’s taste of exquisite things was. So I browsed around her letter today and found a letter she wrote to Cassandra, dated 1 November 1800, exactly 63 years before Eleanor Austen bequeathed the now-famous ring to Caroline Austen. Here’s the quote, taken from Le Faye’s Jane Austen’s Letters page 52:

‘Your abuse of our Gowns amuses, but does not discourage me; I shall take mine to be made up next week, & the more I look at it, the better it pleases me. – My Cloak came on tuesday,& tho’ I expected a good deal, the beauty of the lace astonished me. – It is too handsome to be worn, almost too handsome to be looked at. – The Glass is all safely arrived also, & gives great satisfaction.’

Now I’m wishing that the cloak Jane talked about here survived the age... but perhaps it’s a thinking too wishful for the reality. But I now am certain that Jane was a tad of fashionista herself. Perhaps not as lavishly as Marianne Dashwood would dress herself up, but certainly, Jane was not a plain Jane.

Pic: a pretty 1820s Regency cloak

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Jane's Ring ... SOLD

The turquoise and gold ring that belonged to romantic novelist Jane Austen 

Sorry it has taken us a while to write this information but a ring belonging to Jane Austen sold for £152,450 at a Sotheby's auction in London on July 10th, this was over five times the predicted price!

An article from the guardian newspaper states "The turquoise and gold ring came to Sotheby's from Austen's family, complete with a note sent by Jane's sister-in-law, Eleanor Austen, in November 1863, to Jane's niece, Caroline Austen. "My dear Caroline," wrote Eleanor. "The enclosed ring once belonged to your Aunt Jane. It was given to me by your Aunt Cassandra as soon as she knew that I was engaged to your uncle. I bequeath it to you. God bless you!""

The ring was passed from Jane Austen to sister Cassandra Austen to sister-in-law Eleanor Austen to niece Caroline Mary Craven Austen to niece Mary A. Austen-Leigh to her niece, Mary Dorothy Austen-Leigh, then to her sister, Winifred Jenkyns, who passed it to her descendants.

There has been speculation that the ring was given to her by Tom Lefroy but experts predict that she actually received it from her brother Henry who she was very close to.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - 203

Generally mothers want the best for their children and have good intentions. I work with alot of young people who find their mothers a drain and certainly "uncool". With age my perspectives have changed greatly in this regard and although I am not a mother myself allowing me to see the relationship in both directions, I find interactions between parents and their children fascinating to observe.

Mrs Bennet always makes me chuckle and this large selection of lines taken from early in Pride and Prejudice (chaper 9) does not fail to amuse me. The conversation involves Mr Darcy, Mr Bingley, Elizabeth and her mother primarily. Elizabeth is embarrassed by her mother's bold comments.
There are many types of people walking this earth, each with their own story - variety is the spice of life.

Lizzy," cried her mother, "remember where you are, and do not run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home."
"I did not know before," continued Bingley immediately, "that you were a studier of character. It must be an amusing study." "Yes; but intricate characters are the most amusing. They have at least that advantage." "The country," said Darcy, "can in general supply but few subjects for such a study. In a country neighbourhood you move in a very confined and unvarying society." "But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever." "Yes, indeed," cried Mrs. Bennet, offended by his manner of mentioning a country neighbourhood. "I assure you there is quite as much of that going on in the country as in town." Every body was surprised; and Darcy, after looking at her for a moment, turned silently away. Mrs. Bennet, who fancied she had gained a complete victory over him, continued her triumph. "I cannot see that London has any great advantage over the country for my part, except the shops and public places. The country is a vast deal pleasanter, is not it, Mr. Bingley?" "When I am in the country," he replied, "I never wish to leave it; and when I am in town it is pretty much the same. They have each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either." "Aye—that is because you have the right disposition. But that gentleman," looking at Darcy, "seemed to think the country was nothing at all." "Indeed, Mama, you are mistaken," said Elizabeth, blushing for her mother.

And later ...

"I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love," said Darcy. "Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Every thing nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away." Darcy only smiled, and the general pause which ensued made Elizabeth tremble lest her mother should be exposing herself again.

Pic: Mr and Mrs Bennet

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 202

In the few minutes of spare time that I can find nowadays, I work a daily puzzle named "Cryptogram" which uses quotes from famous and not-so-famous people.  Well, finally, there was one by our own dear Jane, and I simply must share it with you.  I found the quote in her letter No. LXXX in the Brabourne edition, dated Nov. 18,1814 written to her niece, Fanny Knight.  To put the quote in context here is the whole paragraph:
Think of all this, Fanny. Mr. A. has advantages which do not often meet in one person. His only fault, indeed, seems modesty. If he were less modest he would be more agreeable, speak louder, and look impudenter; and is not it a fine character of which modesty is the only defect? I have no doubt he will get more lively and more like yourselves as he is more with you; he will catch your ways if he belongs to you. And, as to there being any objection from his goodness, from the danger of his becoming even evangelical, I cannot admit that. I am by no means convinced that we ought not all to be evangelicals, and am at least persuaded that they who are so from reason and feeling must be happiest and safest. Do not be frightened from the connection by your brothers having most wit -- wisdom is better than wit, and in the long run will certainly have the laugh on her side; and don't be frightened by the idea of his acting more strictly up to the precepts of the New Testament than others.
The cryptogram quote is in bold.  I thought I knew what the word 'wit' meant in the back of my mind, so I looked it up in the dictionary to be sure.  However, now I am not at all sure.  I'll have to think about it for awhile.  Any enlightenment you may wish to send me will be greatly appreciated.
I especially appreciated her reference to 'evangelicals' which agrees with my own beliefs.  The bottom line is this:  what other gems might we find in her letters?  Did she never write anything that is not worth reading?  Sigh, I leave it for you to determine.
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian
Pic: water colour picture of Fanny Knight, taken from The Jane Austen Centre UK

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 22

This week's quote is actually inspired by an old Tom Lefroy quote that I posted about 1.5 years ago, in November 2010. The quote was taken from a letter Tom wrote to Jane Christmas Lefroy, his eldest daughter. At that time, Jane must have been a young girl learning how to write, because such was the nuance of the letter. One particular sentence captured my attention this time, and when I read further, another one also popped up, begging to be written. The funny thing is, the two sets of sentences seem to be at odds with each other. When I looked deeper though, I realised that they were not contradictory. Instead, they were logical.

Hence, here I rewrite the longer version of the letter for our perusal. Page 31-32 of the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy (emphasizes are my own):

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.Nothing has always struck me so forcibly to show the value of order, and precision in our works, as observing the regularity and exactness displayed in all the works of God, day and night - summer, winter, autumn, and spring, - the regular and uniform motions of the almost infinite host of heavenly bodies. In the same manner in His kingdom of grace, there is a time and a season for everything. Although a thousand years are in his sight as one day, nothing is permitted to occur a moment before its appointed time. Our blessed Lord's constant observation was, "mine hour is not yet come." How is it possible that we can expect to please God in the neglect of order and the disregard of stated times for different purposes?

If we take a look at the first bold sentence and see the next two bold sentences, they seem to contradict each other. The first one tells us that practice makes perfect, basically. The second one, though, says that everything is only perfect in Its/His/Her time. So why waste time to practice stuffs that we want to happen/achieve, if nothing is ever appearing before its time?

My take here, dear friends, is that in order to receive the best benefit of the long-awaited event, we must prepare the necessities. For instance, I want to make a proposal for my postdoc. I haven't got any funding source that can cater to my needs. But won't it be prudent to just write my umbrella proposal now (and prepare other things like budgeting etc) so that the majority of the proposal is ready when I find the correct donor?

Or, in love... We know that nothing happens before its time. A couple won't meet before their destined time to meet. However, the man and woman can actually 'prepare for the encounter' by being true to themselves, taking care of old issues (and making sure they don't reappear), and be happy - tremendously happy - with one's own presence. Thus, when The Time comes, the man and woman are actually ready for the encounter. Their past is no more, and thus they can clearly see the person in front of them: someone they can rely on to accompany them for the rest of their lives....

Pic1: James McAvoy as Tom Lefroy, Becoming Jane 2007
Pic2: Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, Becoming Jane 2007