I’m feeling a little like Jane Fairfax today. Remember the scene at the end of Emma when Miss Bates explains Jane’s feelings about becoming a governess?
“When one is in great pain, you know one cannot feel any blessing quite as it may deserve. She is as low as possible. To look at her nobody would think how delighted and happy she is to have secured such a situation.”
I think this quote sums up many a teacher’s feelings on her last day of summer break. (Okay, maybe we aren’t quite that low, but it’s close.) Even as a stay-at-home parent, I used to dread the start of school. There is always so much I want to do with my children during the summer. Now that I work at my children’s school, I feel it all the more. Though I love my job, the students, and my coworkers, I would also love another month or two of summer break.
Jane’s task of teaching the three Suckling girls sounds pretty easy to me, compared to the challenges of a modern middle schoo, but I imagine that being a governess in Jane Austen’s time was still no easy task. I love what Emma says about her salary:
“If other children are at all like what I remember to have been myself, I should think five times the amount of what I have ever yet heard named as a salary on such occasions dearly earned.”
It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same, doesn’t it?
At least we get a summer break now. A governess probably would not have gotten a long vacation. In addition, she would feel isolated from both the upper and lower classes while living far from her loved ones.
I suppose it is a bit melodramatic to compare myself to a Regency governess. However, now that my summer break is drawing to a close, I am consoling myself in the same way as Jane Fairfax or any other good Jane Austen character did. I have been “wandering about the meadows” and also among the rocks and mountains. Here you will find a few pictures of my wanderings:
All in all, it has been a wonderful summer of wandering, and I have stored up a lot of beauty to feed my soul through the winter. Do you like to wander through nature? What are your favorite landscapes?