Sunday, 23 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 262

A Regency wedding, from Isabelle Goddard


While searching for some "Jane Austen" opinions about the status of women in her day, I ran across so many things that I had no idea existed.  Let me start with her brother James' Loiterer No. 29.  To get the complete 'picture' you really should read the entire issue.  No. 29 is HERE and this is the first paragraph that starts the discussion about "MATRIMONY":

NOTHING has so often interrupted the harmony of private families, and set the whole genealogical table of Relations in arms against each other, as that unfortunate propensity which the old and the young have ever discovered to differ as much as possible in their opinion on almost every subject that comes in their way. Various in consequence are the disputes, and bitter the altercations which arise from the diversity of opinion on matters in themselves of small consequence, such as the shortness of allowances, and the length of bills, the propriety of saving money, and the pleasure of spending it. But there is one subject, which above all others affords never-failing matter of contention between father, uncles, or guardians, and their sons, nephews or wards. I mean (to use the words of a celebrated dramatic authoress) “The great universal purpose, MATRIMONY,” on which the above-mentioned personages have adopted Ideas so very dissimilar, that to endeavour to reconcile them would be a vain attempt. For nothing is more true, than that the young have taken it into their heads to imagine that youth and beauty, good temper and good sense, are the best recommendations in a wife; that on this occasion similarity of dispositions should be consulted rather than equality of fortunes, and that mutual affection is a surer basis of conjugal happiness than a hundred thousand pounds. While the old, on the other hand, that it is no matter how wide the tempers are separated, provided that the estates join: in order to get possession of a rotten borough, would gladly exchange all the beauties of the person, and all the graces of the mind; and (rather than stand upon trifles) give the four cardinal virtues into the bargain.
I will comment on the 2 parts in bold.  First, "the clelebrated dramatic authoress" - who is that?  After a Google search I found her, Susanna Centlivre and her writing was "The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret" (1714).  This book is still available at Amazon and at some libraries, if you can believe that!  I'll have to put it on my "to do" list.
Next, "the four cardinal virtues" - all right, so what are they?  And it's amazing they were known way back in those "Austen" days.  Wikipedia says HERE that they are piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.  Boy, if that doesn't sound like what I grew up with.  And more importantly, it explains why I was raised to be a "doormat".
Such findings make me wonder "what else is out there that we don't know about?"  Happy Hunting!
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 261

As it is valentines weekend I have chosen a favourite quote from Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne Elliott in Persuasion:

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago."

Never give up on true love and always have hope.

Happy Valentines Day to you all.

Pic: Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth

Monday, 10 February 2014

Tom Lefroy Quote of the Week 37

Jane (Anne Hathaway) and Tom (James McAvoy) before the faithful moment that turned the tide

I’d like to revisit an old quote of Tom’s that Rachel has posted back in August 2010 here. This quote popped up in my mind again today when I was reflecting upon a recent dinner with an old friend.

"I do not say that we are to extinguish the affections which belong to the different relations of life; on the contrary, by the pure and sincere exercise of them, selfishness is in some degree extinguished, but the gratification arising from the most delightful of these affections should not form the stay, and hope, and prop of life. No; therein consists the excess and the abuse: but I’ll say no more on this head, lest you should tell me that nothing but my vanity could suggest the necessity of sermonizing you in this manner. I own, however, it is grounded on a conviction that the sensibility and devotedness of my darling wife’s attachment to a certain degree impair her own enjoyment. But, remember, I am not willing to part with the least atom of it to any earthly object; whatever of it ought to be pruned away, let it be transplanted to that region where we may hope and trust to enjoy it in bliss unfading."

Emphasize are my own.

Rachel et al have discussed this quote in the link above, an interesting discourse I must say. Then, coming back to my dinner, my friend has related to me her love story. Since she remains anonymous here, I feel no guilt in explaining the gist of her love story (and I sincerely hope I do not trespass her boundaries here). The gist is simple: the man and the woman love each other, but due to prior engagement, they cannot be together. They find it difficult to move on, but the woman has made up her mind to do so.

I understand her journey will not be easy, so here’s my prayer for her. She reminds me of Tom, because now I believe that Tom did love Jane Austen and Mary Paul at about the same time. God knows, loving two people at the same time is very difficult, not to mention the guilty feeling. However, I believe that Tom surpassed those turmoils. He dedicated his life and love to Mary, while at the same time kept the sweet memories with Jane in one corner of his heart. 

Was it wrong to do so? I doubt it. Certainly Tom (or my friend) did not wish to have two concurrent loves. But it happened. It still happens these days. What Tom did, and what my friend will do, is distancing himself from Jane. He did not do it out of malice. He did it out of respect, love and responsibility to Mary, and out of his love to Jane as well (at least I think he didn’t want to put Jane in trouble). It was not an easy decision to make. He did it, though. My friend is doing it now. God knows how many hearts have to do that as I write this sentence. That kind of journey is not easy. Letting go is never easy.

So here’s this quote, to those hearts out there who need to let go and move on, despite the desires to be together. May the Universe bless you in this difficult journey.  

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 260

Sorry for the delay in posting Linda's quote. We will be more on time this weekend.


Here I go again!  Sorry, but I can't help myself.  This quote just keeps popping up and I am losing count of the number of times!
Jane Austen (I firmly believe) said in The Loiterer No. 9:
I am a great reader....
and here is why I was drawn to that again.  I was perusing my shelves of Jane Austen books and ran across this one by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit:  Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad - The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship.  It is a true story  told in an email format between and English Lady and an Iraqi Lady.  And our Jane Austen brought them together.  I have only briefly looked at the book, and I must get-around to reading it in its entirety.  My point being that "reading Jane Austen" is world wide!!  It takes something "special" to be able to do that.
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian


Jane Austen Quote of the Week 259

Chapter 6 of Northanger Abbey finds Isabella Thorpe and Catherine Morland having a conversation in the early stages of their friendship. They are talking of reading novels such as The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (who Jane meets with in Becoming Jane). Isabella says:

“Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them. I wish you knew Miss Andrews, you would be delighted with her. She is netting herself the sweetest cloak you can conceive. I think her as beautiful as an angel, and I am so vexed with the men for not admiring her! I scold them all amazingly about it."
Scold them! Do you scold them for not admiring her?”
“Yes, that I do. There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.

I actually could not believe that we have not cited this quote before on the blog. It came into my mind yesterday after a colleague of mine, who has now become a good friend, has left to go on maternity leave. I spoke to her about not losing touch and she made a comment about how she always makes a huge effort for people who she regards as "real" friends - it has been in my mind since so thought it apt to use this quote today. As soon as a big occasion (whether it be negative or positive) strikes in your life, you certainly quickly learn who your true friends are. I never forget that either.

I hope that you are having a great weekend.

Pic Isabella and Catherine