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Showing posts from September, 2009

My cat Marley, Autumn and Willoughby's Return

My cat Marley is feeling much better after his nasty accident where he managed to cut his achilles tendon very badly. He's not allowed outside yet but hopefully in a couple of weeks he'll be back in the undergrowth as in the picture above. You can just see him to the left of the photo about to stalk through the long grass doing his impression of a tiger. Like Marianne, my sensibilities prefer a wild garden, and I hate to cut the daisies until I have to - that's my excuse for not cutting the grass and I'm sticking to it!
I love summer, but now the days are growing shorter and autumn is here. We've had some beautiful, bright and sunny days but the evenings are drawing in and I've even lit a fire once or twice. Still, there is something lovely about sitting in a cosy room by the fire - an excuse to re-read Jane Austen!

I think Jane Austen must have been fond of this season - the action often starts at this time of year. In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood m…

Willoughby's Return, a Sense and Sensibility Sequel - Colonel Brandon's first love

When we first meet Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility he is quickly established as Marianne Dashwood's admirer much to her dismay. At seventeen she considers the thirty five year old colonel to be past his prime: '...he is old enough to be my father; and if he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind. It is too ridiculous! When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?"
When dashing Mr Willoughby appears on the scene Marianne retreats from the colonel's company altogether and takes as much opportunity to ridicule him alongside her lover. Her sister Elinor values Brandon's friendship and sensible conversation, she can see how much he is attracted to Marianne and knows that with the livelier Willoughby for a rival he does not stand a chance. She warms to him even further when she discovers a little about his past.

Elinor's compassion for him (Colonel Brandon) increased, a…

Photos from my album!

North Parade, Bath, which was used for Mrs Smith's lodgings in the 1995 Persuasion adaptation.

The view down the long drive to the gorgeous house, Luckington Court, which was used in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Thatched cottages in Lacock - the pretty village used in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Eliza de Feuillide - Part Two

By Christmas 1787, Eliza was at Steventon Rectory again, and excited about performing in a make-shift theatre (her uncle's tithe barn) with her cousins. The Austen brothers most likely fitted out the barn with a stage, scenery, curtain and oil lamps to illuminate the actors. Eliza tried unsuccessfully to invite her cousin Phila to join them all, but the latter declared she had no wish to appear in public. The play decided on was The Wonder: A Woman keeps a Secret!
James Austen wrote a prologue and epilogue for the play which celebrated the abilities of women to conquer men by their wit and charm - one cannot help wondering if Eliza had influenced his thinking and inspiration! Though I am certain the Austen brothers behaved impeccably, I am sure they were both captivated by the sophisticated and flirtatious Comtesse who exercised every opportunity to steal their hearts by acting alongside them. When Jane Austen later wrote Mansfield Park, surely some of the inspiration for the play…

Eliza de Feuillide - Part One

Eliza de Feuillide (1761-1813) is a fascinating personality in Jane Austen's life. Eliza's mother was Jane's aunt, her father's sister, Philadelphia Hancock. Jane's father George and Philadelphia had been orphaned from a young age and though it seems they managed to stay in touch with one another, they both had to make their way in the world. Philadelphia was apprenticed to a milliner in Covent Garden for five years before being shipped off (most likely by her uncle Francis Austen) at the age of 15 to India in order to find a husband. She met and married Tysoe Saul Hancock, a surgeon, twenty years her senior but remained childless for the first six years of their marriage. In Calcutta they befriended Warren Hastings who later became the Governor General of India. When Eliza was born Hastings became her godfather and took his role so seriously that there was a certain amount of gossip spread about that he was in fact her father. Whatever the truth of the matter, he…