Yesterday was cause for celebration. My in-laws, who I’ve known and loved for 18 years, celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. Perhaps I’m biased, but I have yet to see another couple so well-suited as they. They truly complement each other in personality, temperament, humor, and taste, and bring a balance and harmony to their union that is sincerely inspirational to everyone in our family.
In the last pages of their wedding album I happened upon a newspaper clipping that featured a picture of my mother-in-law in her wedding gown, as well as written details of her dress, her family, my father-in-law’s family, their occupations, prospects, and future residence. I loved reading it. One part especially, caught my eye, though, and it appeared as follows:
The bride’s gown was Chantilly Lace. She wore a crown of silk illusion, contour style, shirred to a crown of seed pearls and crystals.
Isn’t that absolutely divine? (I wish I thought to scan the photo!) It immediately made me think of romance and (you guessed it) Jane Austen and the differences between our two periods. Continue reading
“Oh, Lord! I don’t know. Not these two or three years perhaps.”
“Write to me very often, my dear.”
“As often as I can,” Lydia replied. “But you know married women have never much time for writing. My sisters may write to me. They will have nothing better to do.”
In the wake of such a statement Mr. Bennet cast an appraising look at his second eldest daughter, unsurprised to find her lips pursed as she followed the newly-weds out of the house. Surely, he thought, his Lizzy could not repine the end of her youngest sister’s visit as their mother did, and here was his proof. He cleared his throat, anticipating the moment her eyes would meet his so they might share a conspiratorial look, but was soon met with disappointment. Her eyes, much like her somber mood, remained downcast as she stood obediently behind her mother.
Mr. Wickham’s adieus were much more affectionate than his wife’s. He smiled, looked handsome, and said many pretty things.
It was with a heavy heart that Mrs. Bennet raised her handkerchief to wave at the chaise as the driver urged the horses toward the road. Lydia leaned precariously out of the window to return her mother’s gesture, shouting her goodbyes to her sisters, and promising them she shall soon find husbands for them all should they come to her at Christmas. Continue reading
Acck! This four-days week threw me off. I thought today was Thursday. My apologies for being a few hours late.
Lately, for a Regency suspense story I’m writing, I have been deep in research into the bowels of Georgian & Regency time—into crime and punishment, into abandoned babies left to perish on rubbish piles, into murders and Bow Street Runners…and I desperately need a break from the gloom and doom.
Here’s a piece of escapism writing I did to combat the gloom—combining my love of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer Regency romance into a short piece of pure Austen-Heyer Regency romance fantasy. Suppose Darcy’s mother is alive and Elizabeth’s mother is…well…. You’ll have to read on.
It is a truth universally acknowledged the more sensible a young man is in his judgment in all other matters, the more foolish he is when it comes to the fair sex.
With no little irritation, Lady Anne Darcy observed her son tapping his foot on the carriage’s floor, a sure sign he was excited. That, and the distracted way he kept twisting his head every minute to glance at the road ahead. Continue reading
Yesterday I attended one of the Athletics sessions of the Paralympics. It was mind-boggling, emotional and certainly very inspirational. The athletes themselves were amazing. My eleven year old daughter won’t stop talking about it, especially about the tremendous determination and strength of these Olympic athletes who never allowed a physical or mental challenge to come in their way. Just the thought of how each and every one had to fight all odds to get to that stadium brought tears to my eyes.
I was awestruck, too, at all the work that went into adapting different games and setting up rules to take into account different physical capabilities. What impressed me most, though, was the fact that the athletes were given no slack. This was particularly striking with the long jump. True, the athletes were blind and had to depend for guidance on their coach’s clapping to know when to take the jump, but to see that red flag raised indicating a foul when an athlete went over the white line was a constant reminder of how hard they’d had to train to get to this stage. But it went way beyond that, because the distances they were jumping were worthy of the absolute best. Continue reading
Well, the local outdoor pool is officially closed now and my habit of jogging in the swim lanes (sounds crazy, but try it, it’s addictive, especially in the sunshine) must be shelved until Memorial Day 2013. Before I consider switching up my regimen to hot yoga (yoga in 110 degree heat, anyone?) or piloxing (pilates + boxing), I think I can get my endorphins pumping just by surfing the net and searching for all things Darcy and Austen.
I’m doing a little more of this lately due to the fact that on September 29th I’ll be giving a talk to the JASNA Greater Chicago Region entitled Jane Austen: Multimedia Maven? If you’re in town, I’d love to see you there! Either way, I’d like to ask you how you get your digital Austen fix…
Ready for a laugh? This clip is one of my favorite Austen fixes, a mash-up of Ashes to Ashes and Pride and Prejudice with an actor that really gets (and I mean gets) Gene Hunt. Even if you’ve never heard of Ashes to Ashes, you’ll love this spoof: Continue reading
The morning post brought a letter from Longbourn to Gracechurch Street. Mrs. Gardiner was delighted to recognize Lizzy’s handwriting on the outside. Jane’s letter reporting the arrival of the newlyweds at Longbourn had satisfied her basic curiosity on the subject, but she knew she could count on Lizzy to provide a more amusing version. She settled herself in her favorite chair to enjoy it.
She was disappointed to see how brief it was, but as she began to peruse it, those thoughts were replaced by astonishment. By the time she reached the last line, she was already on her feet and hurrying to her husband’s study, where Mr. Gardiner peered at her over his ledger with an inquiring look.
Mrs. Gardiner waved the letter. “Oh, my dear, I have just received the most startling intelligence from Lizzy! It seems she had no knowledge of Mr. Darcy’s involvement in Lydia’s marriage, and she writes to me asking for an explanation after Lydia let something slip about his presence at the wedding.”
Mr. Gardiner’s brows drew together. “She was not aware of it? How can that be? She herself admitted in Lambton that she had told Darcy of their elopement. Of course, he never told me directly that she was aware of his involvement, but I would never have allowed him to act as he did but for the belief of her being a concerned party!”
“I know, my dear. Everything pointed to Lizzy’s involvement – his ability to find our house in London, his detailed knowledge of the situation; and of course his admiration of her at Pemberley could not be denied!” She handed him the letter. 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