Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
5 weeks ago
Wherein, gentle reader, you may find anything and everything about Jane - her writings, her life, her admirers, Austen criticism, movie adaptations, websites, blogs...
It will be two years to-morrow since we left Bath for Clifton, with what happy feelings of escape!
It seems likely too that on her return from London Jane was accompanied home by her as yet undeclared admirer, William Seymour, for many years later he told a member of the Austen family that 'he had escorted [Jane Austen] from London to Chawton in a postchaise, considering all the way whether he should ask her to become his wife! He refrained however, and afterwards married twice.'
"ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH-HALL.
"Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester; by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, Nov. 5, 1789; Mary, born Nov. 20, 1791."
Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth -- "Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset," and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife.
You scold me so much in the nice long letter which I have this moment received from you, that I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.
"Now, how am I going to introduce him? Am I unequal to speaking his name at once before all these people? Is it necessary for me to use any roundabout phrase? Your Yorkshire friend -- your correspondent in Yorkshire; -- that would be the way, I suppose, if I were very bad. No, I can pronounce his name without the smallest distress. I certainly get better and better. Now for it."
“has but one fault, which time will, I trust, entirely remove—it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light. He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, as he did when he was wounded.”
As soon as the sergeant was departed, Jones rose from his bed, and dressed himself entirely, putting on even his coat, which, as its colour was white, showed very visibly streams of blood which had flown down it.[Tom Jones Book VII, Chapter XIV].
“It was some time before she discovered that the gentleman [Jones] who had given him [Fitzpatrick] this wound was the very same person from whom her heart had received a wound, which though not of a mortal kind, was yet so deep that it had left a considerable scar behind it.” [Tom Jones Book XVII Chapter IX]
"Sophia shreiked & fainted on the Ground - I screamed and instantly ran mad-. We remained thus mutually deprived of our Senses some minutes, & on regaining them were deprived of them again-. For an Hour & a Quarter did we continue in this unfortunate Situation - Sophia fainting every moment & I running Mad as often."
"Talk not to me of Phaetons (said I, raving in a frantic incoherent manner) - Give me a violin-. I'll play to him & sooth him in his melancholy Hours - Beware ye gentle Nymphs of Cupid's Thunderbolts, avoid the piercing shafts of Jupiter- Look at that Grove of Firs- I see a leg of Mutton- They told me Edward was not Dead; but they deceived me- they took him for a Cucumber-" Thus I continued wildly exclaiming on my Edward's death-. For two Hours did I rave thus madly and should not then have left off, as I was not in the least fatigued, had not Sophia who was just recovered from her swoon, intreated me to consider that Night was now approaching..."
"My beloved Laura (said she to me a few Hours before she died) take warning from my unhappy end & avoid the imprudent conduct which has occasioned it.. beware of fainting-fits.. Though at the time they may be refreshing & Agreable yet believe me they will in the end, if too often repeated & at improper seasons, prove destructive to your Constitution... [...] Beware of swoons dear Laura... A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body & if not too violent, is I dare say conducive to Health in its consequences - Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint-".
One evening in December, as my Father, my Mother and myself, were arranged in social converse round our fireside, we were on a sudden, greatly astonished, by hearing a violent knocking on the outward Door of our rustic Cot.
My Father started - "What noise is that," (said he.) "It sounds like a loud rapping at the door" - (replied my Mother.) "It does indeed." (cried I.) " I am of your opinion; (said my Father) it certainly does appear to proceed from some uncommon violence exerted against our unoffending door." "Yes (exclaimed I) I cannot help thinking it must be somebody who knocks for admittance."
"That is another point (replied he;) We must not pretend to determine on what motive the person may knock - though that someone does rap at the door, I am partly convinced."
Here, a second tremendous rap interrupted my Father in his speech and somewhat alarmed my Mother and me.
"Had we not better go and see who it is? (said she) the servants are out." "I think we had." (replied I.) "Certainly, (added my Father) by all means." "Shall we go now?" (said my Mother,) "The sooner the better" (answered he). "Oh let no time be lost (cried I).
A third more violent Rap than ever again assaulted our ears. "I am certain there is somebody knocking at the door." (said my Mother.) "I think there must," (replied my Father.) "I fancy the servants are returned; (said I) I think I hear Mary going to the door." "I am glad of it (cried my Father) for I long to know who it is."'