Last autumn I started a multi-post story about Charlotte Lucas and how she came to marry Mr. Collins. It ended up containing some surprising twists. This post continues the Charlotte’s tale. If you haven’t read the earlier sections, some bits of it might seem mysterious. You can find the earlier sections at Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9.
Across the clearing, sparks flew as the stuffed guy was engulfed in flames. Flickering yellow and orange tendrils shot up from the bonfire toward the sky. Charlotte remembered how huge and out of control the bonfires on Guy Fawkes Day had seemed to her as a child. She had always feared that the sparks would set a building alight, perhaps the result of all those years of stern cautions from her mother about taking care with candles, and her graphic descriptions of the possible consequences of carelessness. Now, of course, Charlotte did not give a second thought to the risk of the fire spreading. She could see the precautions the men were taking – the circle of stones to contain the fire, the buckets of water standing at regular intervals around the clearing.
It was a different kind of fire that Charlotte associated with Bonfire Night now. Had it only been a year ago that she had allowed Mr. Robinson to lead her off into the dark woods? That night had changed her life so completely, and none of it in the manner which she had expected. She was no longer an aging spinster, her future uncertain and dependent completely on her family, an easy target for a flattering seducer. Now she was Mrs. Collins, with a home of her own and security beyond any she could have expected.
Of course, that home of her own was precious little good at the moment, since she and Mr. Collins had fled the vicinity of Rosings Park. Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s wrath over Mr. Darcy’s engagement to Elizabeth Bennet, showing no sign of abating a fortnight after receiving the news, had been enough to convince Mr. Collins that absence was his best defense. And so Charlotte, now a married woman, was back at Lucas Lodge on Bonfire Night, which had been when it all began. Continue reading
After some major and minor delays, I present a report of the second half of Jane Austen’s cruise around the Baltic Sea, which began way back here.
Jane in Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a port and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for European Culture. It’s also way overrated. Super super ovverated. Also you can find Nazi stuff in the antique shops.
Soooo history. It started as Templar fortress and for awhile was a pretty important place if you lived in Estonia because I imagine there wasn’t a whole lot else going on in this country with their weird language that is nothing like the other languages around it and nobody can begin to understand it. Seriously, the guide said that. “You’re not going to understand anything. We barely do.” It’s related to Finnish but they’re not understandable to each other.
In Jane Austen’s time, Tallinn was part of Imperial Russia, joining it in 1710. A lot of places were part of Imperial Russia. It’s actually pretty hard to keep track of things in Eastern Europe. As it did not see heavy fighting during World War II even though the Nazis and the Soviets fought over it, most of the Medieval fortifications are still intact, making it a tourist trap. It does have the world’s oldest still-functioning pharmacy (they sell different things now) but it also has a place where you can buy matchbooks with Hitler’s face on them. So whatever. I’m not talking up this disappoint anymore. The cruise really talked it up, otherwise I would go easier on it. Plus they fought for the Nazis in WWII. Continue reading