Elizabeth skipped down the stairs, still unable to stop smiling after three weeks of marriage. She laughed, she really was blissfully happy. She already felt at home, helped no doubt by the fact the Mr. Darcy seemed to be just as happy.
She stepped into the breakfast room, a small west facing room already warmed by the morning sun. It had been Mr. Darcy’s favorite rooms in the house. A slight blush warmed her face for he had told her that their bedroom was now his favorite.
She picked up the envelope tucked next to her plate on the table set for just the two of them. It was a letter from Jane. At the window she snapped the seal and unfolded the small paper.
Darcy stood in the doorway; she was breathtaking as the sun glistened in his wife’s hair. He smiled at the word wife then silently crossed the room. Elizabeth startled slightly when he bent and kissed her neck. A small whimper escaped her throat as he continued the soft butterfly-like kisses up to her ear, then whispered, “Good morning, Mrs. Darcy.” She turned and kissed him full on the mouth, stopping only for her own greeting, “And good morning to you, too, Mr. Darcy.”
“What has your sister to say?” He asked gesturing to the letter.
“Jane would very much like to come as soon as possible rather than Christmas Eve and they would like to stay through Twelfth Night.”
“Is there a problem at Netherfield?”
“Jane does not say it but even her sweet tempered nature and Mr. Bingley’s patience are, I am sure, sorely tested by my mother and Aunt Phillips.” Continue reading
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”
Next Saturday, September 29th is Michaelmas, the feast of Michael the archangel who threw Lucifer out of heaven. Michaelmas festivities date back to the sixth century. Traditionally it was celebrated as a harvest festival.
It was at this time that tenants were able to pay their rents after working hard all spring and summer. They celebrated with food, music, dancing and games. The children would pretend to be St. George out slaying dragons. Legend held that St. George was Michael’s representative on earth.
In British folklore it is said that goose was the traditional Michaelmas meal because Elizabeth the first was dining on it when she learned about the defeat of the Spanish Armada, resolving to eat goose every Michaelmas after. Long before QEI mutton, duck, chicken and goose were served as the centerpiece of Michaelmas feasts. Like Bannock, bread made of grains and milk, goose was served because they were the fruit of the harvest. Continue reading
For all the love, romance and scandal in Jane Austen’s books, what they are really about is freedom and independence. Independence of thought and the freedom to choose.
Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Collins offer of marriage showed an independence seldom seen in heroines of the day. Her refusal of Mr. Darcy while triggered by anger showed a level of independence that left him shocked and stunned.
The freedom she exhibited in finally accepting him in direct defiance of Lady Catherine and knowing her father would disapprove was unusual even for Austen. In her last book Anne Elliot is persuaded to refuse Captain Wentworth at Lady Russel’s insistence.
Although Jane played by the rules of the day, all of her writing is infused with how she wanted life to be. She ‘screams’ her outrage at the limitations for women in Emma.
When accosted by Mrs. Elton, Jane Fairfax says,
“Excuse me, ma’am, but this is by no means my intention; I make no inquiry myself, and should be sorry to have any made by my friends. When I am quite determined as to the time, I am not at all afraid of being long unemployed. There are places in town, offices, where inquiry would soon produce something — offices for the sale, not quite of human flesh, but of human intellect.” Continue reading