Treated Rather like Mr Darcy?

August 8, 2010 at 9:54 am (books, entertainment) (, , , , , )

Yesterday, I was reading Sophie du Pont: A Young Lady in America (since posting about it a couple weeks ago, I found a copy — great condition and a perfect dust jacket — at Monroe Street Books in Middlebury last weekend… So the library copy has been quickly returned) and came across this letter extract that I simply have to share! Enjoy —

“I have a laughable story of a partner of hers at Phillips ball…. In the midst of the dance, he exclaims ‘excuse me ma’am’ & darts off, leaving Ella petrified, not knowing what to do, & the whole set put out till John Phillips rushed forward & took his place — He reappeared at the end of the set but made no apol:y to Ella & avoided her all the rest of the evening. Every one pronounced him the rudest of bears [underlined TWICE!]”

Now comes the explanation, which sets the common thought of those dancers on its head:

“–Now the explanation of the whole matter ‘has come to light.’ … It appears, in the first efforts to dance, his suspenders gave way entirely and he was obliged to hold up his pantaloons, the descent of which you will allow, would have been distressing — (for himself & spectators)  His excuse to Ella was necessarily abrupt & he hurried to the door, which being much crowded at that moment, his further retreat was impeded — In this dilemma he felt some one pulling his suspenders, which had found their way down, & turning round he beheld little Caroline Phillips, who exclaimed aloud, ‘What is this!’ “

I don’t know what struck me as funnier — the poor man’s embarrassing situation (as well the now “cleared” bear), or the little girl yanking his suspenders!

And this gives a taste of the comical turn young Sophie’s letters often take. Just an enjoyable book; wish someone published more of her correspondence!

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Selwyn, Austen and new book

August 8, 2010 at 9:42 am (books) (, , , , )

After much looking (wasn’t this book due out months ago? It seems out in the UK – for I see copies for sale – but Amazon.uk STILL doesn’t have a dust jacket photo!), here is a sneak peek at the cover of David Selwyn’s new book, Jane Austen and Children.

Continuum’s description makes it (I hope!) valuable reading for someone with so many pregnant ladies and young mothers to write about! I loved the publisher’s Jane Austen and Marriage (by Hazel Jones, who I wish would come out with something new!), and trust the same high standards are given over to Selwyn’s book; after all, he has written much on Jane Austen and the Austen family in general.

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