Sunday, 29 June 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 273

Anthony Head as Sir Walter Elliot, BBC
I watched Persuasion 2007 last night and it prompted me to search for the quote from Persuasion, which seems to be my favourite Austen book after all. The quote is from Volume II, Chapter V, when Anne was about to visit her friend Mrs Smith at Westgate, and her "darling" father made a gigantic protest out of it for fear it would pollute the air of Camden Place, as Lady Catherine de Bourgh would no doubt put it.

"Westgate-buildings!' said he; "and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be visiting in Westgate-buildings?--A Mrs. Smith. A widow Mrs. Smith,--and who was her husband? One of five thousand Mr. Smiths whose names are to be met with every where. And what is her attraction? That she is old and sickly.--Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most extraordinary taste! Every thing that revolts other people, low company, paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting to you. But surely, you may put off this old lady till to-morrow. She is not so near her end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another day. What is her age? Forty?"

Well, thank you, Sir Walter, for suggesting that life is no more for a forty years old woman. I am very grateful that I live in the 21st century where we women enjoy not only a more equal education and opportunities, but also freedom to thrive and reach for our dreams in our forties. In fact, I am forty years old now, and I enjoy being at my current age.

And I'd like to know what Sir Walter would say had he had the honour to meet our dearest Linda, who is still galloping around the USA despite being much older than him. Linda dearest, what would you say to dear Sir Walter if you have the "honour" to meet his modern version?...I'm sure you will give him a good piece of your mind.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 272

Sorry for the delay in posting.

I have recently been doing an introduction to counselling course and it has been really eye-opening for me personally. We have covered very basic principles such as active listening and questioning but becoming conscious of these things and how we use them in everyday interaction has become really interesting.

I chose to look at communication in relation to some of our favourite novels and I was considering which characters are best to quote. My first is Lydia Bennett as she always has made me chuckle at her inability to listen and her total inappropriateness in communicating. The second quote is a favourite extract on this blog - the letter from Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot in Persuasion.

From Pride and Prejudice Chapter 39 Lydia Bennett is talking to Jane and Elizabeth and demonstrating her total lack of tact and comical communication.

``Now I have got some news for you,'' said Lydia as they sat down to table. ``What do you think? It is excellent news, capital news, and about a certain person that we all like.'' Jane and Elizabeth looked at each other, and the waiter was told that he need not stay. Lydia laughed, and said, ``Aye, that is just like your formality and discretion. You thought the waiter must not hear, as if he cared! I dare say he often hears worse things said than I am going to say. But he is an ugly fellow! I am glad he is gone. I never saw such a long chin in my life. Well, but now for my news: it is about dear Wickham; too good for the waiter, is not it? There is no danger of Wickham's marrying Mary King. There's for you! She is gone down to her uncle at Liverpool; gone to stay. Wickham is safe.''

The next quote is the perfect love letter from Frederick Wentworth to Anne taken from Chapter 23 in Persuasion. I used this for a valentines quote this year but I love it so using it again! Our other references on the blog have omitted the first line but this time its the most pertinent part related to communication. As part of the counselling training we have had to do numerous role plays just active listening with no use of language, it is so difficult, but incredibly effective to nurture a person to speak. Frederick Wentworth is feeling the frustrations of not being able to say what he is thinking and in this scenario it is magical when he does.

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W."

Pic: Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth

Monday, 16 June 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 271

Here is a quote from Linda, thanks so much.

This Sunday, June 15, is Father's Day here in the U.S.  So in honor of all of our Fathers, I will quote Jane on dear Mr. Bennet.
We begin in Chapter 1 of "Pride and Prejudice" where Mr. Bennet is rather "put out" as Jane would say.  There is some "give and take" about Netherfield and its new inhabitants when Mrs. Bennet says:
"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way! You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."
Mr. Bennet answers:
"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."
In the last chapter, 61, he takes a turn for the better with this opinion after his 2 oldest daughters are married:
Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from home than anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected.
And so it is with Fathers and Daughters.  My Father was quite upset when I announced I was leaving home to live elsewhere after finishing college.  Thank  goodness, he did get over it.

Yrs aff'ly,

Linda the Librarian


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 270

"Belle" movie poster
There's a movie I need to see before it disappears from my local theater. "Belle", directed by Amma Assante and featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the main heroine. The movie is set in the 18th century Georgian England on the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), the illegitimate daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay and Maria Belle, an enslaved woman of African origin. Dido Elizabeth Belle was in turn the grand niece of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who later became a Lord Chief Justice.

I've always admired Gugu after watching her in Lost in Austen and in a Marple episode (of which title I can't remember). I remember thinking about her in Lost in Austen, that she was an amazing actress, but it wouldn't be possible to see her in a period drama. And lo and behold, I was wrong. And I'm so happy I was wrong.

But it returns me to Jane Austen, and how eerie is that Belle actually was Austen's contemporary. Belle was about the same age as Jane Austen when the former died (43 years old, Jane died when she was 42 years old). I wonder if Jane ever heard of the great niece of Chief Justice Murray. And would it be too far fetched to guess whether Jane's novel "Mansfield Park" was inspired by the Mansfields?

The painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle and cousin Elizabeth Murray ca 1779 (formerly attributed to Johann Zoffany)

At any rate, it got me digging Mansfield Park to find a quote related to slavery. It's difficult to find a verbatim one; but I found this conversation between Edmund Bertram and Fanny Price:

[Edmund:] “Your uncle is disposed to be pleased with you in every respect; and I only wish you would talk to him more. You are one of those who are too silent in the evening circle.”

[Fanny:] “But I do talk to him more than I used. I am sure I do. Did not you hear me ask him about the slave-trade last night?”

[Edmund:] “I did — and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther.”

[Fanny:] “And I longed to do it — but there was such a dead silence! And while my cousins were sitting by without speaking a word, or seeming at all interested in the subject, I did not like — I thought it would appear as if I wanted to set myself off at their expense, by showing a curiosity and pleasure in his information which he must wish his own daughters to feel.”

Mansfield Park was published in May 1814, seven years after the Slave Trade Act in 1807. I am inclined to think that Miss Austen understood that slavery was still a sensitive topic at that time, hence her hidden messages about her anti-slavery views in Mansfield Park. Of that topic alone, some scholars have reviewed it rather extensively (see this for an example).

Monday, 9 June 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 269

Dear Readers,

We seem to have a problem keeping up with our posts these days, and Icha asked us just this day, June 8, the following question when she sent us the roster for June and July:  "7/8 June:  God knows, anyone want to volunteer?"  Well she inspired me with that question due to the fact that this Sunday, June 8, I am celebrating the Church holiday known as "Pentecost" with some friends and we are doing it on line.  So, I determined to check to see if our Dear Jane used the word "God" in P&P, and sure enough, she did - 4 times.    And here they are:

Two of them are sort of derogatory, as in Chapter 3:  For God's sake, say no more of his partners.
And in Chapter 46:  "Good God! what is the matter?"
The next 2 quotes are a bit more respectable, as in Chapter 24:  I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have not that pain.

And in Chapter 35, my favorite:  I will only add, God bless you. " Fitzwilliam Darcy."
So, dear Readers, excuse me whilst I go back to my study now.  And, to quote our dear Jane:  God Bless You All!
Linda the Librarian

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tom Lefroy Quote Week 39

The House of the Commons during Regency Era

It’s almost presidential election day in my country, and many people are in the election-frenzy (or busy ignoring it altogether). I opened the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy randomly just now, trying to find a quote (we have been abandoning the site for a while). And the one that I found made me smirk because election is always a frenzy to report, even back then in 1841...

Page 135

To his wife

Longford, 16th July 1841

We pulled up to-day considerably, but still are beaten by a large majority, owing to the Roman Catholics, who promised to vote for us or stay away, being brought up by the priests in spite of their wishes and polled against A___, as well as from the number of Protestants who were deterred from leaving their houses, by the violence and intimidation of the Priests’ mobs. Thank God, we have had a comparatively quite time with this town, owing to the providential circumstance of having a good High Sheriff, and an effective military force, as well as police.

.... The election is virtually over, but the Members can’t be declared until to-morrow evening. Henry White has left this, and comparatively few have been in the town to-day. The poll as just announced is: for Henry White, 613; for Luke White, 614; plumpers for Lefroy, 480. On the whole, we have made a very noble fight, and we expect a few more plumpers to-morrrow.