[Raphael Tuck & Sons “Easter Post Cards” Series, No. 700]
Happy Easter One & All!
An Austen Easter Basket: Today, a little potpourri from Janeite Kelly to join the beautiful illustration of Janeite Deb…
In the mail yesterday, when I expected nothing but junk mail, came the latest edition (Spring 2009) of JASNA News. My reviews of Carrie Bebris’ The Matters at Mansfield and Jane Odiwe’s Lydia Bennet’s Story are there (they should be posted at JASNA.org in some few months); as are reviews of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (continuing — or perhaps the correct word is beginning, since the first book in the series came out in 2005 — a Gothic connection to and from Austen’s works), Peter Graham’s Jane Austen & Charles Darwin: Naturalists and Novelists and Nora Nachumi’s Acting Like a Lady: British Women Novelists and the Eighteenth-Century Theater.
I can’t wait to sit with a cuppa and read the interview with Elizabeth Garvie (Elizabeth Bennet in the 1979 P&P); she is scheduled to appear at the October AGM in Philadelphia!
I loved Deirdre Le Faye’s forthright letter to the Editor about the bedrooms — and their possible distribution among guests — at Ibthorpe House. Just goes to show that we all use conjecture and educated guesses when reconstructing the past.
A lot of International “News” in this issue, but VERMONT gets its mention on the next to last page. I should clarify that the editor dropped what should be the full name of Suzanne Boden’s Hyde Park (Vermont) B&B: The Governor’s House in Hyde Park. Shortened to simple The Governor’s House, there may be readers who think we were actually entertained by the state’s sitting Governor! I will mention here (as I could not in the article) that there are two upcoming Pride & Prejudice weekends in 2009: August 14-16, and September 11-13. Those who come to the Friday ‘over dessert’ discussion of Georgiana Darcy are in for an interactive treat, as I am adding an audience participation component to the mix.
And this leads to the question posed in the News article: Why does sending out invitations to the Netherfield Ball depend upon Mrs Nicholls (Bingley’s housekeeper) making “white soup enough”?? As always with Austen, there are small details (that are easily overlooked) which obviously meant something to readers of her period. We did manage, that Sunday over brunch, to find a recipe for White Soup, so that is not the curious part; it is the ‘why’. Comments welcome!
An article on Lost in Austen brings up the possibility of a film (!) version, but why always the idea that something has to be adapted for an American audience?? Such absurd thoughts baffle me each and every time…
I leave readers with this little vignette found — well, I’ll reveal where it came from later:
“She smiled and blushed and hid her face. A porter and some other people were looking wonderingly on, so I thought it best to end the conversation. But there was an attractive power about this poor Irish girl that fascinated me strangely. I felt irresistibly drawn to her. The singular beauty of her eyes, a beauty of deep sadness, a wistful sorrowful imploring look, her swift rich humour, her sudden gravity and sadnesses, her brilliant laughter, a certainly intensity and power and richness of life and the extraordinary sweetness, softness and beauty of her voice in singing and talking gave her a power over me which I could not understand nor describe, but the power of a stronger over a weaker will and nature. She lingered about the carriage door. Her look grew more wistful, beautiful and imploring. My eyes were fixed and riveted on hers. A few minutes more and I know not what might have happened. A wild reckless feeling came over me. Shall I leave all and follow her? No — Yes — No. At that moment the train moved on. She was left behind. … Shall we meet again? Yes — No — Yes.”
So: A maudlin Victorian novel? A new knock-off of P&P? Or a real-life reaction to a pair of beautiful eyes, thereby making Darcy’s reaction to Elizabeth Bennet a bit less vague?? Answer revealed here
This is an actual diary entry of the young Francis Kilvert. Wednesday, 19 June 1872 in the famous Kilvert’s Diary (this from the “selections” edition of 1971 [reprint]). “Irish Mary,” as Kilvert called her, boarded the train with a friend in Wrexham; they had been walking to their destination, gotten completely soaked, changed into dry clothes and caught the train to Chester. It is from there that he steams out of her life. I find the parallels that may be drawn with Darcy’s attachment to Elizabeth of the greatest interest. Life stranger than fiction? Sometimes.