Thursday, June 25, 2009


In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer. Mr. Tom LeFroy's birthday was yesterday, so that you are very near of an age.

After this necessary preamble I shall proceed to inform you that we had an exceedingly good ball last night, and that I was very much disappointed at not seeing Charles Fowle of the party, as I had previously heard of his being invited. In addition to our set at the Harwood's ball, we had the Grants, St. Johns, Lady Rivers, her three daughters and a son, Mr. and Miss Heathcote, Mrs. Lefevre, Two Miss Ledgers, and a tall clergyman who came with them, whose name Mary would never have guessed.

We were so terrible good as to take James in our carriage, though there were three of us before, but indeed he deserves encouragement for the very great improvement which has lately taken place in his dancing.
This is the beginning of a letter from me to my sister Cassandra. The book Cassandra and Jane makes me think about the letters Cassandra destroyed after I died. Wouldn't people like to know what was in those letters? What would they see? What would they read? What would they interpret?

Would they know more about Tom LeFroy? Would they know the story that starred Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy? Is that really what was between Tom and I? Would they know more about my brief engagement that I broke less than 24 hours after accepting? Would they understand my reasons? Would they mock me? Or even worse, would they pity me? Pity I don't think I could take.

Would my gentle readers (as I steal a line from Bronte) know me better if they had those missing letters? Would they love my characters more or would they see them in a different light? I am very curious, but as I did not want them read by anyone but Cassandra I will keep quiet on the subject.

But gentle reader, I would like to know what you think was in those letters? If you could go back in time and stop Cassandra from burning them, would you? Do you think the world today would want to know what Cassandra and I knew then?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sisterly Bonds

I'm reading a new book: Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley. I loved the prologue. It struck me right off. I will be blogging about this book several times in the next week.

I have two sisters and I am not as close to them as Cassandra was to Jane and I often wonder if we were born to a different time if we would be better friends. If we were Regency girls would we have been better companions because all we would have was each other? It's tough to tell.

My one sister would totally be Lady Caroline Lamb. Not that she'd trail after Byron, but she would be very shocking. I was reading a book
about a female spy during World War II and the spy, Betty Pack, left her family and slept with men to get secrets to help the British. I don't think I could do this. I could not sleep around even if it meant I could save thousands of lives and Pack did save thousands of lives. I asked my sister if she could and she said yes without a doubt. She would not be the submissive miss that so many men wanted in a convenient marriage.

My other sister would probably be Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She would be a great political hostess, but would get involved as well. I also think her marriage and love affairs would be quite tragic. She would, however, have her pet causes that would keep her going.

As for me, well it's a tough call. Obviously I am Jane Austen, but is that who I would be if I were born in Regency times? I think I'd be more likely to be Mary Nisbet. I would do something like save the Elgin Marbles and then I would ruin my marriage by writing letters to a close male friend. I would however rue the day by divorcing my husband and leaving him nothing, but I would lose my children. I would have left a great and controversial legacy though in the Marbles.

So there are my sisters and I if we were born in Regency times. Would we be any closer? Probably not. We'd have our own circles....our own scandals....our own heartaches. But each one of us will have left her mark on the time regardless of whether it was positive or negative. As it stands now we are not on any scandals sheets. One of us is a marketing manager for a whitewater rafting company. One of us is a project manager for an environmental company. One of us is a librarian/event coordinator hoping to start a Ph. D. in library science soon. As different now as we were then.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So True

A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.

This is one Jane Austen quotation that has always stuck with me perhaps because it's so true. I know my mind jumps quickly. I meet a man; I think I like him and then I start to imagine. The thing is the imagination is always better than the real thing. Recently I have met several men and thought that maybe something could work out and yet the more I get to know them the less I think of them.

Maybe that's what we learn from Pride & Prejudice. First impressions are rarely accurate. Although in Lizzie and Darcy's case they find each other repulsive and then realize they were wrong. I think that's what I need. I need to Lizzie Darcy first impression instead of the ones that I'm starting with. Ha!

Although I guess I'm in good company. In my formal life I was single and did well for myself although I feel I was lonely then. Perhaps this time around things will turn out better.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Great Lines

As I continue to read Northanger Abbey I am amazed at how many great Jane Austen witticisms that I have always enjoyed belong to this book. It gives me a new appreciation for me. NA really does have this tongue in cheek charm about it that shows that Austen could poke fun at herself and society together.

Earlier this year I met a wonderful future librarian who loves Henry Tilney best out of all of my heroes and suddenly I am understanding why. He is a great person and doesn't have the dark brooding of Mr. Darcy...the hurt of Wentworth with Louisa...the stupidness of Edmund (let's face it, he doesn't appreciate Fanny at first so he is totally stupid)...the scolding of Mr. Knightly. He seems to be perfect from the get-go. And he is, it's his family that needs help. A little like Mr. F. Scott's Fitzgerald's family from Under the Biltmore Clock. The guy is great, but the family is a little nutty. I believe the family in The Diamond as Big as the Ritz was the same way. But enough of F. Scott.

The great thing is how perfectly NA can be rewritten to be reintroduced to today's society. Parts of it fit perfectly with today's society. Granted we can introduce ourselves to people now and don't need to wait for proper introductions, but still the lines could be easily transported to modern times.

Perhaps that's what's so great about me. I can transcend eras. Ha! I guess that makes me a transcendentalist ala Thoreau....although he might be a little tame for me!