Saturday, 23 February 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 223

Thanks to Mariana we have been reminded of a great quote in Pride and Prejudice Chapter 5 when there is a discussion about Mr Bingley's fondness for Jane Bennet.

"Oh!—you mean Jane, I suppose—because he danced with her twice. To be sure that did seem as if he admired her—indeed I rather believe he did—I heard something about it—but I hardly know what—something about Mr. Robinson."

"Perhaps you mean what I overheard between him and Mr. Robinson; did not I mention it to you? Mr. Robinson's asking him how he liked our Meryton assemblies, and whether he did not think there were a great many pretty women in the room, and which he thought the prettiest? and his answering immediately to the last question—"Oh! the eldest Miss Bennet beyond a doubt, there cannot be two opinions on that point.''

On January 8 1796 Tom Lefroy invited Jane Austen to dance not two, but three times, at the ball. This is interesting based on Jane's words in Pride and Prejudice, written between 1796 and 1797 (initially called First Impressions and later being changed to Pride and Prejudice).

I wonder if this exchange is based on her own personal experience and perception around the implications of Tom's invite to dance three times with her. It is definitely something to ponder.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 222

Regency courtship, from Austenauthors

This week’s quote is about Valentine’s Day, which happened on last Thursday. It was taken from Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6, spoken by Mr Darcy:

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

Just like any other Austen quotes, I originally thought that this quote was just applicable to the Regency or period time. At the most, the 1920s (aaahhh, Downton Abbey!) or 1950s. But apparently, it IS still very applicable today!

(I apologise in advance if this post is rather insensitive. I’m trying to make it more appropriate, but if I still offend someone, I do apologise. It was kindly meant.)

Let’s just check our dating system today. No, I don’t mean our Gregorian calendar system. I mean our modern courting system. When we were teenagers, we don’t care about whether we are going to be with our sweetheart forever and ever. Well, perhaps we do. But we care less. We just want to be with the sweetheart, watching movies together, eating ice cream at the canteen together, doing homework together... ah, how sweet life is!

Then we are at our 20s. Slowly slowly, we start to think if our chosen boy/girlfriend will stick with us through college and hopefully walk with us on the isle. In our 30s, with a horde of our friends already getting married, some already having kids, we look at the clock and start to feel panic. Many of us don’t want to just court any man or woman available; that would be improper. But we want relationship, and a stable one at that. Preferably one that leads us to the aisle with a fluffy dress of our colour choice for ladies. So we start courting a guy or a girl with the hope that he or she is REALLY the one, this time around.

Approaching the 40s, we would fine-tune our search engine. We meet a guy or a girl we are attracted to, and immediately, in practically a nano-second, we wonder if it is possible for us to be with them. Forget if they like us or not. If they don’t, then end of story. But if they do like us too, what are the chances of us walking the isle with him or her? Or at least, doing a co-habitation, for those who choose not to believe in marriage? 

As I quote one of my female friends, ‘I’m looking for a husband, not just a flirtation.’ Point.

So, Mr Darcy’s words are still applicable here. “A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.” A lady’s imagination can be very rapid indeed. And for modern gentlemen over 30, it might also be the case nowadays.

I learned two days ago when I was watching Al Jazeera, that it takes a huge leap from that first flirtation to a 50 years of happy marriage.  Agree. But still, we have to take the first step.

May you have your first steps taken correctly, my dear friends. Belated Happy Valentine. Love yourself first, and then love others! (but it’s okay to share the chocolate with them; you don’t have to eat all the chocolate by yourself)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 28

Although this is not strictly a "Tom" quote, this one is especially for Mariana who is researching the Tom/Jane love affair. I was stumbling around (as I do a lot lately) my web site and in the Table of Contents I saw this note to a link under "Jane Austen - The person": Was Jane Austen ever in love? No one knows, but see Jane Austen's Eleventh Letter . I was literally 'blown away' when I read the article. I recommend reading the entire article, but here is a tidbit - the first 2 paragraphs:

I wish to discuss a letter written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra on November 17 of 1798. This is the eleventh letter in the most recent edition of Jane Austen's letters published by Deirdre Le Faye (1997) and the tenth in the first collection of her letters published by her grand-nephew (Lord Brabourne, 1884). The latter reference is available on line at the Brabourne Collection. You won't need that link in this particular case, because I reproduce the entire letter for you at the end of this posting.

Let me begin with an observation: If Goethe himself or even if one of the Russians had written this letter for a fictional character, he would have been very proud of himself—and for good reason. I find the letter to be very interesting and very affecting and I suspect that you will as well. Several biographers point to the most important passages in the letter, the ones dealing with her meeting with Madame Lefroy, but I want to do something more. I will discuss those in the context of other passages in the letter because only in that way can the full impact be felt.

The article was written by my late friend, Ashton Dennis for his web site "Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen". I do believe he has "given us a treasure". See what you think about it.

Yrs aff'ly,

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Jane and Tom 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the week 221

This week I have chosen the quote from Chapter 22 of Northanger Abbey:
“But now you love a hyacinth. So much the better. You have gained a new source of enjoyment, and it is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible. Besides, a taste for flowers is always desirable in your sex, as a means of getting you out of doors, and tempting you to more frequent exercise than you would otherwise take. And though the love of a hyacinth may be rather domestic, who can tell, the sentiment once raised, but you may in time come to love a rose?”

I was having a conversation this week about what exactly makes me happy and defining happiness as a concept. It is entirely individualised and we cannot judge anyone on their desires. It made me think of the highlighted quote above as I think it is so important to take happiness whenever it is available!
But what is happiness? I read somewhere that it is having the strength to confront your own weaknesses. It can't exist in the past or future but can only be felt in the present, so I hope you all find comfort in this quote.