Sunday, 29 December 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 256

The subject of "Truth" in all areas of our lives has recently been brought to my attention. That naturally led me to wonder what Jane and Tom had to say about it. I was not disappointed.

This will be Part 1 and concern Jane's encounter via her brother James and what he wrote in The Loiterer, of which I am sure that our Jane was well aware. Here is the first paragraph of Issue No. 2 of The Loiterer:

Ars Rhetorica, from Vimeo

Language has been commonly defined by Grammarians to be the Art of expressing our ideas. Nor was the definition a bad one, during those times when our rude ancestors were sufficiently uninformed in the Ars Rhetorica, to speak always what they really thought. But since we have wisely banished that absurd custom, I should humbly presume that the aforesaid definition might also be altered, and that from henceforward Language be entitled the Art of concealing our Ideas; and I will venture to assert it is used infinitely oftener for the latter purpose than the former, by all ranks and ages, and at all times and in all places. So totally indeed is a regard to veracity excluded from the system of modern ethics, that were it not for diseases, duns, and wives, who sometimes tell one disagreeable truths, one would imagine that Truth as well as Justice had left this degenerate world at the expiration of the Golden Age. And that I may not take an unfair advantage, I shall say nothing of the numerous tribes, whose situation authorizes and in some measure obliges them to a continual breach of veracity; (such as foreign ministers, ladies; maids, lawyers, an physicians; to which list I may also add lovers and their mistresses, who can claim so many precedents in favour of this practice, that they may be said to lie by prescriptive right) and only consider how little attention we all of us pay to truth in the common intercourse of life.

Due to my limited education, it was necessary to define Ars Rhetorica and the Golden Age. As you can see by the above quote, James deplores the then terrible world condition of Truth.

Lately (in the past 10 years at least) I have noticed those same "conditions" in today's world. Evidently from what James wrote it has been going on for quite some time and I cannot disagree with him.

I can't help but wonder how this condition (of lack of Truth) may have possibly shown up in Jane's works. However, that research would be a book in itself.

I never cease to be amazed at how smart all those Austens and their contemporaries really were. Now, you may check Part 2 and Tom's thoughts.

Yours in Truth,
Linda the Librarian

Monday, 23 December 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 255

Sir Walter Scott in 1822 by Henry Raeburn

I seem to open my quote these days with apologies again for being late. My excuse this time was, again, a report overdue. But then also, I had difficulties in finding a quote that expresses what I feel at the moment (scroll down to see why). Thank God for our own Linda’s Loiterer; I found just what I needed there.

Here Linda compiled what male authors thought of Jane Austen post-mortem. Sir Walter Scott’s comments caught me, and I herewith quote it in its entirety. 

"Read again, for the third time at least, Miss Austen's finely written novel of 'Pride And Prejudice'. That young Lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The big Bow-Wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary common-place things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!"

The Diary of Sir Walter Scott
(March 14, 1826)

“What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!” is something close to my heart at the moment. This morning I received sad news that an old colleague of mine passed away last night after battling cancer for a few months. She was a mere 44 years old, about Jane Austen’s age when our authoress died. As for my friend, I think it was – among others – overwork that contributed to her illness. I was somewhat aware of this coming, when I learned that she had metastatic cancer a few months back. But still, I still feel that pang of loss. 

My friend, like Jane Austen, was a hard worker. She worked hard for her cause, such that she seldom took a rest. Her passing is a strong reminder for me to slow down this holiday season. Yes, I have some reports coming... but so what? It’s not like I’ve been laying around doing nothing for the last few months.

It’s just... in this era, everything seems to be measured with what we have done. What we have achieved. Those are important, I don’t deny that. But those achievements should not come at a cost; certainly not health and happiness as a cost.  

So, let’s commit to ourselves to slow down this holiday season. Put the tools down, as my old friend told me this morning, when I told him about my sad news. Take a piece of paper or a diary and start writing, hand writing, not typing... that is a healthier option. Walk down the beach you always want to walk; go up the hill you always want to conquer. Take time to smell the fresh green grass... and let’s be grateful that we are still here, healthy and happy, to celebrate Christmas, Year End and New Year.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 254

Tomorrow (16th December) will be Jane's 238th birthday.

There are so many quotes to pick from in order to celebrate Jane's birthday and mine might seem to be a strange choice, both because it has been used before on the blog but also because it doesnt seem to be birthday related. I love it though!

This quote is taken from chapter 5 of Mansfield Park when Mary is being spoken to about marriage.

"If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere."

I think that this highlights Jane's philosophy; she recognises bad luck and events that occur in life which are out of our control but she also sees hope and gives us the courage to seek comfort in a better plan. These words are very uplifting for me and form wise advice from someone who, I believe, lived a honest, thoughtful and inspiring life.

Happy Birthday Jane!

Pic: Great design taken from old-fashioned charm blog

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 35

Our James McAvoy as dear Tom Lefroy in 'Becoming Jane' 2007

This is Part 2 in my study of "Truth" and here is what I found in the "Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy".  It is in Chapter 4, pages 76 to 78 specifically, but I highly recommend reading the entire chapter for more details.  I was astounded when I read it because it is exactly what I had lately thought of myself and he wrote this almost 200 years ago.  This quote is rather long but it does tell the story.  You may read the entire Memoir here:  Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy.
Certain it is that the law may and does in some measure restrain the progress of crime, but it cannot reach the root of the evil or the source of crime. The law cannot change the nature or the habits of men, and our experience of the operation of the law since the year 1776 is demonstrative of this fact. It is no impeachment of the law that the evil has not been eradicated, nor any reason why we should abandon the law, or cease to carry it into execution. So long as men continue to commit crimes, the law must be shown to be supreme, and punishment should follow crime. But whilst we may naturally be indignant at the crimes which now exist, our feelings of humanity ought to lead us to find out, if possible, the source of the evil and its remedy, and we are happily not left without the means of doing so, for Scripture teaches us that the source of the evil lies in the absence of the fear of God, and of the influence of true religion, and we have on the same high authority the true and only remedy for the evil in that divine maxim, which should be impressed upon the minds of all " Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." But, gentlemen, woeful experience has proved the converse of this great truth, for it is in the way in which they should not go that unhappily the lower orders of the people are too often trained up. To your own experience, gentlemen, I would put the question, 'What sort of training do the lower orders get ?' 1 am bold to say, that if my own children or the children of any of you whom I have the honour to address were so trained, they would probably become the same pests of society. I do not speak of these things theoretically, as I have made the disturbances of this country the frequent subject of my consideration during the last fifteen years, and I give it as my opinion, that until a well-ordered system of education is introduced, not the mere mechanical art of reading and writing, but a system calculated to impress upon the young mind as far as is in the power of man, to write upon the young heart, the great truths of Christianity truths which all sects and parties concur in acknowledging; unless such be done, it is idle to hope for peace, loyalty, or tranquility in this country; society will, as it is doing at present go on from bad to worse. I trust, gentlemen, that you whom I now address will take this matter seriously to heart, in pity, at all events to the rising generation, how- ever you may despair of the reform of those who now seem hardened in crime. I do not mean to dictate to you, gentlemen, it would not become me to do so from the place where I now address you ; I direct my observations to you as country gentlemen, and to you who now have schools on your estates, I would earnestly suggest the necessity for improving the present system of education, and no longer allowing the children of the peasantry to drink of the poison imbibed at the hedge schools, but to see that they are at least instructed in the fundamental truths of the Christian religion, which, you must allow me to remind you, forms a fundamental part of the law of the land. Without this, gentlemen, I see no means by which we can look for the fear of God and the principles of religion having their due influence upon the rising generation, nor do I see any other means of striking at the root of the evils which now afflict our unhappy country.

Whew, and this is just a "small" excerpt of an eye-opening chapter.  I must find time to read the entire Memoir for who-knows what  else is in there.   Tom really was "something else" as we say now-a-days.  As for Truth, "you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free"!
Happy Reading,
Linda the Librarian