2/2/22 – Mary’s 222 Birthday

February 2, 2022 at 11:43 am (diaries, estates, history, jane austen, postal history, research, World of Two Teens) (, , , , , )

I simply could not let today pass without a passing nod at my first diarist, Mary Gosling — also know here as Lady Smith (following her 1826 marriage to Sir Charles Joshua Smith, baronet).

There could be NO harder name to “search” or “research” than a couple called Charles and Mary Smith!

And yet, the research has been GOLDEN.

I first found Mary’s earliest diary – a set of six trips taken between 1814 and 1824 – in 2006, when I was wishing to note down “authentic” sightings of the Ladies of Llangollen, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler. I had visited their northern Wales home, Plas Newydd, in 2005. Mary Gosling met them! And she left her impressions of them. Well… less her impressions than notes of what others always said of them. I was QUITE disappointed, especially in the brevity of her thoughts — for, within a page, the family had DEPARTED Llangollen!

BUT: Mary herself began to intrigue me. Mainly, because the family members were shown around Plas Newydd and they spent about four hours with the Ladies, in their home. THAT one premise began EVERYTHING that has gone on since — from all the research into the Smiths of Suttons, as well as my interest in the Ladies of Llangollen themselves.

The results of all this early research:

  • Two Teens in the Time of Austen – this blog, so named because Mary’s sister-in-law, Emma Smith, my second diarist, married James Edward Austen. And Edward was the nephew of writer Jane Austen.
  • Ladies of Llangollen – a blog whose information, based on a website I created circa 2006, still needs additional work, but it currently hosts interesting artwork, book excerpts, and information on people who visited Plas Newydd — the GOSLINGS included — during the tenancy of Ponsonby and Butler, as well as after.

The Smiths took over my life – buried me under diaries and stacks of letters, stocked my brain with tidbits of personal and national (England) history, squinted my eyes in deciphering a myriad of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century “hands,” and made me spend my money and my time (not sure WHICH is more costly, in the end), in a never-ending pursuit after more knowledge. The nosing-around their lives has made and still makes me HAPPY.

by Frenchie (Photobucket)

With that thought, I wish Mary Gosling the HAPPIEST 222nd Anniversary of her 2 February 1800 birth. She graced the earth for only 42 years, leaving three youthful children, whose faint faces I have now unearthed. And she opened the door for a true glimpse into the past.

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Fanny Palmer Austen aboard HMS Namur

June 2, 2021 at 12:02 pm (books, entertainment, history, jane austen) (, , , , )

Author Sheila Johnson Kindred announces a fascinating new exhibit at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent (England): HIDDEN HEROINES: The Untold Stories of Women of the Dockyard. The exhibit runs 29 May 2021 through 31 October 2021.

With covid concerns, Hidden Heroines will also have an online component. Listen to curator Alexandra Curson’s remarks on the importance of uncovering remarkable ladies who lived in the past. (Embedded in the main website page, or via Youtube.)

“Naval history, in general, tends to focus a lot on the male roles, and the women get sort of sidelined – but, the female roles were just as important, if not more important in some respects.”

— Leanne Clark, Master Ropemaker

Areas of study include, Woman at the Dockyard; Women in the Home; Women at Sea; Women in War; Women in Military Service; Post War Women; Women of Today. You will also find “asides” which highlight Louisa Good (1842-1924); Elizabeth Proby (1777-1811); Lady Poore (1859-1941); Fanny Palmer Austen (1789-1814); and Hannah Snell (1723-1792), known as James Gray, who spent more than four years in the marines. The others I will leave YOU to discover.

You will readily recognize Fanny Austen (upper right), if know the cover image of Sheila Johnson Kindred’s book, Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen. Sheila’s book came out in 2017 (McGill-Queen’s UP), and is now available also in paperback and eBook. See a sample on books.google.

Join Sheila Johnson Kindred, on 23 June 2021, for a “Zoom” event at 7 PM BST (British Summer Time is five hours ahead of US’s EDT), when she discusses, “Fanny Palmer Austen: Challenges and Achievements in Making a Family Home onboard the HMS Namur ” (reserve space for this free event – donations accepted! – through the main Chatham website).

In the meanwhile, you can read writings on the Austens – links included through Sheila’s website.

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The Gender of Nouns

April 24, 2021 at 11:38 pm (history, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , )

In the conference JANE AUSTEN’s FRENCH CONNECTION, hosted jointly by JASNA Regions New York Metro and New Jersey, over the weekend of April 17 & 18 – one participant brought up the use of the word AUTHOR and AUTHORESS as regards JANE AUSTEN. Specifically, in a letter to James Stanier Clarke, and brother Henry Austen’s “Biographical Sketch.” We must, of course, also consider the dedication of Emma to the Prince Regent.

  • click the BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH link to read Henry’s original, in the 1818 edition of Northanger Abbey (vol. I)

The very TITLE of Henry Austen’s biographical sketch announces to Austen’s readership that he was presenting, for the first time, the “Biographical Sketch of THE AUTHOR” of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The edition, published posthumously, came out in four volumes (two volumes per novel).

  • Austen’s early novel, never published in her lifetime, had been picked up by Crosby & Co. – for which they paid her £10. It languished upon the proverbial shelf. Austen actually repaid the £10, thereby regaining the rights to the publication of her own manuscript. Read more about Northanger Abbey‘s history at JASNA.org.

Like many authors, Austen published anonymously – Sense and Sensibility (1811) appearing as “BY A LADY“; subsequent work appeared as the latest publication “by the Author of Sense and Sensibility” – with successive title pages emphasizing the authorship of the well received Pride and Prejudice.

The brief audience comment during the weekend conference made me think about the “sex” of nouns. Of course in English, (unlike other languages), words have no gender, are “sexless” if I may so term them. No die Welt (the world [feminine] or der Mond [the moon [masculine]) or das Mädchen [which is cheating, for it it “neuter” as opposed to male or female, although it indicates a ‘girl‘ or ‘young woman‘].

What English does have are words like author-authoress; poet-poetess; actor-actress. With the exception of the last, which continues in usage, ARE there many professions that designate a male or female practitioner? I rather wonder if those once in existence, having “fallen out of usage,” sound now so unusual because they were never much IN use?

OR, I wonder, DID they arise by somewhat pejorative?

Take “writer” – no ‘sex’, masculine or feminine, can be attributed to that task.

We have the term “knitter” – which certainly has undergone a change in the sex of those practicing the craft. Yet, despite the predominance of it as a “‘home craft’ among females” nowadays, there exists no “knitteress” or “knittrix” in the English language. One who knits is a knitter.

I go back to German, where it seems (German speakers could tell me if this still holds, in the second decade of the 21st century) MANY nouns had its male/female counterpart: Student / Studentin; Professor / Professorin; Schüler / Schülerin; Arzt / Ärztin; Doktor / Doktorin; Schriftsteller / Schriftstellerin; you get my drift.

English does have holdovers, like Executor / Executrix.

Paintrix comes to mind, but is it a word? Does anyone describe the likes of Freda Kahlo as a “paintress”? I don’t think so…

Photographer.
Cinematographer.
Videographer.

I might give you SALESPERSON, which has definitely evolved from Salesman/Saleswoman.

No one calls a female Singer a Songstress.

Professor.
Teacher.
Construction Worker.
Operator (as in telephone).
Assistant.
Banker; Bank Teller.
Writer.

I will even make a case for the “sex” of the WORD Secretary. Now quite outmoded (in favor of Administrative Assistant), but, once, pretty singularly A MALE occupation, before becoming dominated by FEMALES. And we all know how a profession drops in “prestige” once women enter that workforce. I’m not going down that lane in this post…

I do recognize that British Politics has retained its Private Secretary role; and in the U.S. we still designate office holders, such as the Secretary of War, Secretary of State, etc.

But most, hearing the word SECRETARY, will pull up an image from films… Always efficient; sometimes button-upped and bespectacled. Often QUITE good-looking when she takes off her glasses and lets down her pinned-up hair.

But, let’s get back to JANE AUSTEN.

In the dedication of Emma to the Prince Regent:

In BIG and BOLD lettering, Jane Austen is designated

The Author.

I’ve never thought about the word novelist – did it have a pejorative sense when it was first ‘invented’, in order to denigrate female writers of novels? (Must look that one up.)

***

SEE LETTER 106 (2 Sept 1814) – which has Jane Austen telling Martha Lloyd that she has not forgotten Martha’s Bath Friends, Captain and Mrs. Deans Dundas, for “their particular claim to my Gratitude as an Author.” Le Faye assumes it must reflect a person – ie, Captain Dundas – useful to her naval research, but note Austen’s word THEIR. As unmistakeable as her use of the designation AUTHOR in the same sentence.

HENRY Austen’s letters to/from John Murray – see this blog: http://www.strangegirl.com/emma/letters.php

Ah yes, Stanier Clarke’s letter in which she uses the term “authoress,” dated 11 Dec 1815: “the most unlearned, & unformed Female who ever dared to be an Authoress.” Surely, Austen is toying with her correspondent. SHE DOES echo Murray’s own phrase “Authoress of Emma” in an 1816 “reply” to Murray she herself pens. BUT: is any tongue-in-cheek joke meant — considering the letter is dated, 1 April (ie, April Fools Day).

*

“He is a Rogue of Course, But a Civil One”

— Jane Austen, referring to John Murray

letter to Cassandra Austen; October 1816

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Small Victory

March 1, 2021 at 2:06 pm (history, jane austen, postal history, research) (, , , , )

Over the weekend I spent some time with the Smith & Gosling letters. Nearing 4000 pages of typescript, ranging from the 1760s into the 1940s.

I have more to add – some portions of information about the VYSE family. George Howard Vyse married — after a very long courtship — Lizzy Seymour, sister to the Rev. Richard Seymour of Kinwarton and the Rev. Sir John Hobart Culme-Seymour of Northchurch and Gloucester.

Vyse’s father, Colonel Vyse, literally stood in the way of the match. An intense dislike, of the Seymour family, of Lizzy. It is heartbreaking to read that GHV (as Richard always referred to the young man as, shortening a long name into three initials) was spotted by Mamma (Mrs. Smith, Emma’s mother), wistfully looking up to the windows, hoping to spot his young lady a brief second, while on military parade as part of Queen Victoria’s Coronation!

Mixed within these letters was one I suspected did NOT belong in the year 1838. DATED “August 12” from Mapledurham (the family’s rented estate in Hertfordshire), it is missing its last page or perhaps pages. These are small sheets of paper, and typically there were up to 8 pages (2 sheets folded in half; each creating 4 pages) of text. As well, these small sheets probably had utilized an envelope — and the end and signature could have ended up inside the envelope. I’ve come across one or two envelopes at this archive, hermetically sealed between two sheets of mylar, that were not pulled open before being sealed inside, yet the dark writing clearly showed thru the paper! Groan…

The letter – half letter – had ended up in a folder marked “Unidentified”. That folder was very *full* when I saw it in summer 2015. Did I miss a second sheet, or a single sheet? Are there envelopes, addressed to Fanny (Smith) Seymour in Kinwarton that I never photographed? (Alas, a couple of them!)

The letter in question is unmistakably written by youngest sister Maria Smith. She has such scrawling penmanship, with a very distinctive “W”. Also, as Mamma’s youngest, she was the last in the family ‘nest’ once all her siblings had married (or died).

That it was written from Mapledurham tells me the letter could not date before October 1834, when they moved into the house (so, summer of 1835, at earliest). That Mamma was alive, tells me it could be no later than Summer 1844. Maria sounds unmarried (ie, still with Mamma), so that backed it into 1843 (and, therefore, summer of 1842 at latest).

Although a full-run of Mamma’s diaries does not exist, several for the late 1830s and early 1840s DO exist. Plus I have other letters. Several years were already removed from contention: Mamma and Maria were elsewhere than Mapledurham.

There were two clues within the content: Their visit to Chobham – home of sister Eliza and her husband Denis Le Marchant – sounded too much like Maria describing what NO ONE among the siblings had yet seen. I had to find a date for their move.

The other was Maria saying that Arthur Currie had purchased a horse (heavily contributed to by Mamma) for Maria’s use. Not the EASIEST to find, someone commenting again on a new horse. Maria asked her sister Fanny what name should the horse be given – so, unlike “Jack Daw” or “Tom Tit“, I knew of no name to search for.

I had already searched Mamma’s diaries – but went back to 1840 again. And THERE found a comment about CHOBHAM! It became unmistakable: Maria and Mamma had returned home from a visit to Chobham in August 1840.

Frosting on the cake was that Maria, a couple of letters later, commented that she was pleased with her New Horse!

I call this a small victory because the letter still has no ending.

There have been times in the past, when a WIDOW torso gets a date close enough to an ORPHAN torso (yes, that’s what I call them…), that a closer look is warranted. A couple of times, the flow of the sentence AND the topic of conversation indicated that they were, indeed, one and the same letter. I remember once, spotting a DATE, buried within the handwriting, a confirmation of my hunch — after reuniting a pair.

Across archives, I have several incomplete, widow or orphan torso-only letters. I live in hope… But nothing dropped into place this time. Missing photographs? Missing envelope? Irretrievably-missing pages?

Envelopes were easy prey in the past – for their postal marks, their STAMPS, their wax seals. Hand-stamps [cancellations and handwritten marks] in the early, prestamp, era made (and make) “wrappers” and “free fronts” highly collectable. The wrappers got divided from letters, robbing the letter of its definitive dating. The free fronts – where the “direction” is cut away from the rest of the page, robs the letter of CONTENT. The reverse side’s content (if there) appearing as disparate sentences with few beginnings or endings. MADDENING to know the original – full – letter must have been jettisoned after the “surgery”. All for the saving of the “collectible” signature that allowed the piece of mail to travel for free.

Once such “collection” of autographs had SIX LINES missing from a Jane Austen letter. Its discovery (a long time after the album’s sale) caused a *STIR* in Austen circles in 2019! And it really did end up being about … LAUNDRY!

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Candice Hern: What’s inside a Lady’s Reticule?

February 6, 2021 at 10:51 am (entertainment, history, jane austen, jasna) (, , , )

Last year’s visit to Cleveland, Ohio for the JASNA AGM turned into a virtual event. Among the nicest, most interesting side-entertainments were the videos made to enlighten participants about anything from “Regency” food and gardens, to making marbled papers (truly fascinating!).

New to the JASNA – Jane Austen Society of North America – website is the first in a series of three videos by author Candice Hern: “What a Lady Might Carry in her Reticule“. For me, these videos were super instructive because I can pinpoint times when Emma Smith (Mrs. James Edward Austen) secured for herself nearly every little item Candice Hern brings to the attention of the camera. Hers is a tremendous collection! And now she’s sharing her collection with everyone via these freely-viewable videos.

Part I of “What a Lady Might Carry in Her Reticule” discusses Calendars and Almanacs. Says Hern, when discussing her “Smalls” (the “tiny” items my Emma would have readily recognized), “I’ve been collecting antiques for decades, many of them from the years during which Jane Austen lived.” [click photo to go to the JASNA website]

Part 2, available shortly, features “Scents and Cosmetics”; Part 3, “Coin Purses, Fans, and Vinaigrettes”.

You may also wish to visit Candice Hern’s “Regency World” website. And do keep in mind the future plans at JASNA to include more videos in their *new* Austen’s World Up-Close. The JASNA Post brings you all the new (and give links to old) Announcements, News, and Observations in one handy place.

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Jane Austen Society: Reports

December 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm (books, entertainment, history, jane austen, jasna, people) (, , , , )

If you are unfamiliar with Persuasions / Persuasions On-line, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), (see blog post, “Jane Austen’s Birthday publication“), you may not realize the extent to which Austen Societies in other countries publish Austenian research.

The Jane Austen Society (JAS) in the U.K. publishes an “Annual Report,” and has even collected them into “omnibus” editions over the decades. These editions have been reprinted; and (of course!) are sometimes found in used book stores (and on their websites). I found a decently-priced copy, in Germany if I remember correctly, of the Collected Reports, 1986-1995. It was about that time that I started thinking about “fleshing out” my collection.

For the longest time JAS, unlike JASNA, did not have online availability of the contents of their oldest issues. All that has changed!

JAS Reports have been consistent in providing nuggets of Austen family history, which I of course relish.

Just yesterday, in beginning to read E.J. Clery’s Jane Austen, The Banker’s Sister (which has for too long been in my To Be Read pile), I had reason to find the JAS Annual Report for 2007 – Clery cites an article in that issue on Papermaking (for the Bank of England) and the Portal family, written by Helen Lefroy.

I knew where to look – for I had long ago found the *STASH* of JAS Reports, uploaded to Internet Archive.org. But I never told you, dear Readers, about this *find,* did I?

Internet Archive is the site that also hosts the Austen Family Music books, where you can gaze and study the music copied by various members of the family, including Jane Austen.

Currently, Jane Austen Society Annual Reports include:

  • Collected Reports, 1949-1965
  • Collected Reports, 1966-1975
  • Collected Reports, 1976-1985
  • Collected Reports, 1986-1995
  • Collected Reports, 1996-2000 [includes Index, 1949-2000]
  • Collected Reports, 2001-2005

Then follows the single JAS Annual Report for the years, 2006 through 2018.

I recognize the cover for the 2017 Report – and it reminds me of another piece of (old) Austen “news” that I don’t think I mentioned yet to Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen. I’ll put that on my “To Be Blogged” pile. The curious may click on the picture to be brought to Internet Archive (which should sort the titles by year, so scroll down for later Reports).

 

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Jane Austen’s Birthday publication

December 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm (books, jane austen, jasna, news) (, , )

Persuasions On-line, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, publishes their latest issue on the date of Jane Austen’s birth: December 16th. Today!

So, if you wish to find some “food for thought” as you Toast Miss Austen for her works, check out Volume 41 – free and available to all – Persuasions On-line.

Having attended – virtually and remotely – this year’s AGM on the Austen Juvenilia, participants were able to “attend” for 30-days beyond the actual “live AGM” weekend and listen to MORE breakout sessions than just one per session. We could also go back and re-listen to special interest sessions and plenary talks.

Many of my favorites are now “in print”, including:

  • Alden O’Brien, “What Did the Austen Children Wear and Why? New Trends in British Children’s Clothing, 1760-1800”
  • Mackenzie Sholtz and Kristen Miller Zohn, “‘A Staymaker of Edinburgh’: Corsetry in the Age of Austen”
  • Gillian Dooley, “Juvenile Songs and Lessons: Music Culture in Jane Austen’s Teenage Years”

A section called STAYING AT HOME WITH JANE AUSTEN: READING AND WRITING DURING A PANDEMIC, will help provide entertainment and thoughtful solutions for times of “isolation” and/or lockdown.

The “Miscellany” always includes non-AGM topics and are on point enough this year to include one “Karen” article! (If you’ve seen the U.S. news, you’ll know what a “Karen” represents during this time of “plague”; otherwise, I have to hand you over to google), Sarah Makowski‘s article is entitled, “‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ Lady Catherine de Bough, Jane Austen’s Proto-Karen.”

Two “In Memoriam” articles, both written by Persuasions / Persuasions On-line editor Susan Allen Ford, honor those who were fundamental in forwarding a love for Jane Austen and her work, and life-long devotion to uncovering the trail of Austenian research: Lorraine Hanaway, a JASNA founder; and Deirdre Le Faye, whose name graces so many publications.

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Virtual Jane Austen – Cleveland AGM

October 10, 2020 at 9:25 am (books, entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , )

Am spending the weekend in a VIRTUAL Cleveland, Ohio – the site of our JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) Annual General Meeting. Meeting in person, of course, got canceled back in the spring of 2020.

Last night’s opening featured:

Opening Remarks by JASNA President Liz Philosophos Cooper. She announced that the Virtual Event AGM attracted 1400 participants (a JASNA record, of course) – and gave a special shout-out to one “senior” in Japan, a member for 30 years, attending her first AGM (one of 466 first-timers).

Members learned of the death of a founding member of JASNA, Lorraine Hanaway, her daughter Annie giving a taped interview. I had the pleasure to meet Lorraine, a “neighbor” in New Hampshire at the time, and last saw her at one of the AGMs. She will be missed by many.

We heard a taped address from Chawton’s Jane Austen’s House Museum – new director Lizzie Dunford.

The most intellectually stimulating event was the lengthy “Conversation with Juliet McMaster” – Fascinating insight into a life spent with education, literature and art; as well, an inspection of Austen’s JUVENILIA, the topic of this year’s AGM.

“Entertainment” came in the form of a Special Interest Session that would have (under normal circumstances) been performed at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aside from our hostess – who I will come back to – our “Rock Stars” were:

Emma, Lady Hamilton – love interest of Lord Nelson

Frances Burney (Madame d’Arblay) – contemporary novelist

Dora Jordan – actress & love interest of William, Duke of Clarence

The Prince Regent – complete with wine bottle & glass

Lord Byron – poet leading a scandalous life

All hosted (and scripted) by Dolly Parton.

This must be Jocelyn Harris’ _vote_ for Dolly to be inducted (in the future) into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her absence (and that of many WOMEN) was obviously a story back in January 2020. I see their website is experiencing “technical difficulties” – attack of the Janeites? or the fans of Dolly??

The evening ended with a BritBox presentation of the first two episodes of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice – newly “remastered” Here’s a hint as to why nearly everyone raves:

Mr. Darcy: “I beg you…. consent to be my wife.”

The conference continues today and tomorrow – though, being ‘virtual’, participants are able to “attend” as many Break-Out Sessions as they please, over the next 30 days. Special Interest Sessions, Games, even the Emporium are still happening. The one thing missing: Company and Meals. This AGM paves the way for more participants, from around the global (barring time differences for some) for dipping into future *live* AGMs.

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Art and Artifact in Austen

May 3, 2020 at 10:32 am (books, history, jane austen) (, , )

A new book, based on a SUNY-Plattsburgh Conference entitled, Jane Austen and The Arts: A Bicentenary Conference, which took place 23-25 Marcy 2017. I remember it being rather cold and even snowy up here, especially whenever I ferried across Lake Champlain to reach upstate New York. “Jane” always does seem to bring out the extremes of our Vermont weather in March….

Art-Artifact in Austen

Editor Anna Battigelli, the conference organizer, has included articles presented in 2017, as well as some c”omplimentary material, covering all aspects of “art” in Jane Austen’s writing and life.

I well remember this three-day conference. It remains *special* for several reasons: the size was perfect – the enthusiasm high – the scholarship thought-provoking. A highlight was the song cycle “Marianne Dashwood: Songs of Love and Misery“, an original piece commissioned and sung by Meaghan Martin (Douglas Sumi, piano). No CD with the book, I’m afraid! But a peek at the table of contents will give indication of the wealth of topics between the covers:

  • “Portraiture as Misrepresentation in the Novels and Early Writings of Jane Austen” (Peter Sabor)
  • “Jane Austen’s ‘Artless’ Heroines: Catherine Morland and Fanny Price” (Elaine Bander)
  • “Legal Arts and Artifacts in Jane Austen’s Persuasion” (Nancy E. Johnson)
  • “Jane Austen and the Theatre? Perhaps Not So Much” (Deborah C. Payne)
  • “Everything is Beautiful: Jane Austen at the Ballet” (Cheryl A. Wilson)
  • “Jane Austen, Marginalia, and Book Culture” (Marilyn Francus)
  • “Gender and Things in Austen and Pope” (Barbara M. Benedict)
  • “ ‘A Very Pretty Amber Cross’: Material Sources of Elegance in Mansfield Park” (Natasha Duquette)
  • “Religious Views: English Abbeys in Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Emma” (Tonya J. Moutray)
  • “Intimate Portraiture and the Accomplished Woman Artist in Emma (Juliette Wells)
  • “‘Is she Musical?’ Players and Nonplayers in Austen’s Fiction” (Linda Zionkowski and Miriam Hart)
  • “What Jane Saw—in Henrietta Street” (Jocelyn Harris)

You can read the “Introduction: The Intimate Ironies of Jane Austen’s Arts and Artifacts” online, when you click on “Look Inside”. I look forward to reliving some *warm* memories!

 

 

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Stop to Smell the ROSES

March 29, 2020 at 9:35 am (jane austen, people) (, , , )

Last week I divided a bouquet – flowers at my mother’s grave; gifted to my aunt; and a couple retained for myself.

Photo Mar 22, 12 36 45 PM

The color GRABBED me when I saw them, a deep blush pink – They “called to me.”

Then I spotted their ‘name’:

Photo Mar 22, 12 36 06 PM

LOVELY LYDIA

How could someone who reads Jane Austen and researches her niece-by-marriage, Emma Austen Leigh, RESIST? Instantly, sprang to mind: “LYDIA BENNET” (Pride and Prejudice, of course).

By the time I got home, though, I found the name had morphed in my mind into:

Laughing Lydia

and that is what I call them now, whenever I glance at these roses, though the blooms in my vase have now “dried” into little dangling bells of pink blush.

I leave you that thought today, and wish you – especially those who are home, sheltering from the coronavirus – to “take a moment and smell the roses.” Enjoy what brings you pleasure, whether online or in a book (for instance). Revel in good health, or increasing health if you’ve been ill (any illness). Leave a moment, too, to remember those no longer in your life. And always: LAUGH along with Lydia.

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