Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Giveaway copy of Willoughby's Return, celebrating 200 years of Sense and Sensibility

As it's Easter and we are celebrating two hundred years of Sense and Sensibility this year, I'd like to offer a signed copy of Willoughby's Return. Please leave a comment below telling me who your favourite character is from Sense and Sensibility. The offer will be open until May 1st, 2011, and is open to everyone!

Jane Austen wrote the following letter to her sister Cassandra when she was staying with her brother in London. She was there to edit Sense and Sensibility, and she tells her sister how she is getting on with the process of corrections. It seems the weather was hot - we're also enjoying a spell of fine weather here in England.

Happy Easter! I hope you all have a lovely holiday!
Sloane St: Thursday (April 25).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
I can return the compliment by thanking you for the unexpected pleasure of your letter yesterday, and as I like unexpected pleasure, it made me very happy; and, indeed, you need not apologise for your letter in any respect, for it is all very fine, but not too fine, I hope, to be written again, or something like it.
I think Edward will not suffer much longer from heat; by the look of things this morning I suspect the weather is rising into the balsamic north-east. It has been hot here, as you may suppose, since it was so hot with you, but I have not suffered from it at all, nor felt it in such a degree as to make me imagine it would be anything in the country. Everybody has talked of the heat, but I set it all down to London.
I give you joy of our new nephew, and hope if he ever comes to be hanged it will not be till we are too old to care about it. It is a great comfort to have it so safely and speedily over. The Miss Curlings must be hard worked in writing so many letters, but the novelty of it may recommend it to them; mine was from Miss Eliza, and she says that my brother may arrive to-day.
No, indeed, I am never too busy to think of S and S. I can no more forget it than a mother can forget her sucking child; and I am much obliged to you for your inquiries. I have had two sheets to correct, but the last only brings us to Willoughby's first appearance. Mrs. K. regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till May, but I have scarcely a hope of its being out in June. Henry does not neglect it; he has hurried the printer, and says he will see him again to-day. It will not stand still during his absence, it will be sent to Eliza.
The Incomes remain as they were, but I will get them altered if I can. I am very much gratified by Mrs. K's interest in it; and whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable. I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.
Our party went off extremely well. There were many solicitudes, alarms, and vexations, beforehand, of course, but at last everything was quite right. The rooms were dressed up with flowers, &c., and looked very pretty. A glass for the mantlepiece was lent by the man who is making their own. Mr. Egerton and Mr. Walter came at half-past five, and the festivities began with a pair of very fine soals.
Yes, Mr. Walter - for he postponed his leaving London on purpose - which did not give much pleasure at the time, any more than the circumstance from which it rose - his calling on Sunday and being asked by Henry to take the family dinner on that day, which he did; but it is all smoothed over now, and she likes him very well.
At half-past seven arrived the musicians in two hackney coaches, and by eight the lordly company began to appear. Among the earliest were George and Mary Cooke, and I spent the greater part of the evening very pleasantly with them. The drawing-room being soon hotter than we liked, we placed ourselves in the connecting passage, which was comparatively cool, and gave us all the advantage of the music at a pleasant distance, as well as that of the first view of every new comer.
I was quite surrounded by acquaintances, especially gentlemen; and what with Mr. Hampson, Mr. Seymour, Mr. W. Knatchbull, Mr. Guillemarde, Mr. Cure, a Captain Simpson, brother to the Captain Simpson, besides Mr. Walter and Mr. Egerton, in addition to the Cookes, and Miss Beckford, and Miss Middleton, I had quite as much upon my hands as I could do.
Poor Miss B. has been suffering again from her old complaint, and looks thinner than ever. She certainly goes to Cheltenham the beginning of June. We were all delight and cordiality of course. Miss M. seems very happy, but has not beauty enough to figure in London.
Including everybody we were sixty-six - which was considerably more than Eliza had expected, and quite enough to fill the back drawing-room and leave a few to be scattered about in the other and in the passage.
The music was extremely good. It opened (tell Fanny) with "Poike de Parp pirs praise pof Prapela"; and of the other glees I remember, "In peace love tunes," "Rosabelle," "The Red Cross Knight," and "Poor Insect." Between the songs were lessons on the harp, or harp and pianoforte together; and the harp-player was Wiepart, whose name seems famous, though new to me. There was one female singer, a short Miss Davis, all in blue, bringing up for the public line, whose voice was said to be very fine indeed; and all the performers gave great satisfaction by doing what they were paid for, and giving themselves no airs. No amateur could be persuaded to do anything.
The house was not clear till after twelve. If you wish to hear more of it, you must put your questions, but I seem rather to have exhausted than spared the subject.
This said Captain Simpson told us, on the authority of some other Captain just arrived from Halifax, that Charles was bringing the "Cleopatra" home, and that she was probably by this time in the Channel; but, as Captain S. was certainly in liquor, we must not quite depend on it. It must give one a sort of expectation, however, and will prevent my writing to him any more. I would rather he should not reach England till I am at home, and the Steventon party gone.
My mother and Martha both write with great satisfaction of Anna's behaviour. She is quite an Anna with variations, but she cannot have reached her last, for that is always the most flourishing and showy; she is at about her third or fourth, which are generally simple and pretty.
Your lilacs are in leaf, ours are in bloom. The horse-chestnuts are quite out, and the elms almost. I had a pleasant walk in Kensington Gardens on Sunday with Henry, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Tilson; everything was fresh and beautiful.
We did go to the play after all on Saturday. We went to the Lyceum, and saw the "Hypocrite," an old play taken from Molière's "Tartuffe," and were well entertained. Dowton and Mathews were the good actors; Mrs. Edwin was the heroine, and her performance is just what it used to be. I have no chance of seeing Mrs. Siddons; shedid act on Monday, but, as Henry was told by the boxkeeper that he did not think she would, the plans, and all thought of it, were given up. I should particularly have liked seeing her in "Constance," and could swear at her with little effort for disappointing me.
Henry has been to the Water-Colour Exhibition, which opened on Monday, and is to meet us there again some morning. If Eliza cannot go (and she has a cold at present) Miss Beaty will be invited to be my companion. Henry leaves town on Sunday afternoon, but he means to write soon himself to Edward, and will tell his own plans.
The tea is this moment setting out.
Do not have your coloured muslin unless you really want it, because I am afraid I could not send it to the coach without giving trouble here.
Eliza caught her cold on Sunday in our way to the D'Entraigues. The horses actually gibbed on this side of Hyde Park Gate: a load of fresh gravel made it a formidable hill to them, and they refused the collar; I believe there was a sore shoulder to irritate. Eliza was frightened and we got out, and were detained in the evening air several minutes. The cold is in her chest, but she takes care of herself, and I hope it may not last long.
This engagement prevented Mr. Walter's staying late - he had his coffee and went away. Eliza enjoyed her evening very much, and means to cultivate the acquaintance; and I see nothing to dislike in them but their taking quantities of snuff. Monsieur, the old Count, is a very fine-looking man, with quiet manners, good enough for an Englishman, and, I believe, is a man of great information and taste. He has some fine paintings, which delighted Henry as much as the son's music gratified Eliza; and among them a miniature of Philip V. of Spain, Louis XIV.'s grandson, which exactly suited my capacity. Count Julien's performance is very wonderful.
We met only Mrs. Latouche and Miss East, and we are just now engaged to spend next Sunday evening at Mrs. L.'s, and to meet the D'Entraigues, but M. le Comte must do without Henry. If he would but speak English, I would take to him.
Have you ever mentioned the leaving off tea to Mrs. K.? Eliza has just spoken of it again. The benefit she has found from it in sleeping has been very great.
I shall write soon to Catherine to fix my day, which will be Thursday. We have no engagement but for Sunday. Eliza's cold makes quiet advisable. Her party is mentioned in this morning's paper. I am sorry to hear of poor Fanny's state. From that quarter, I suppose, is to be the alloy of her happiness. I will have no more to say. Yours affectionately,
J. A.
Give my love particularly to my goddaughter.
Miss Austen, Edward Austen's, Esq.
Godmersham Park, Faversham.


24 comments:

D NicolSmith said...

My favourite character from Sense and Sensibility must be Colonel Brandon, his life had been so tragic and driven by his fathers wishes before meeting Marianne (who took so long to see his qualities before falling in love with him), he deserved happiness that eventually came.

maichi3 said...

Mine is Elinor. She's so brave and keeps her word happens what happens. Her intelligence and common sense is worthy of admiration.
Thanks for the giveaway!

conchisc3(at)gmail(dot)com

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you for your comments, ladies - I always find it interesting to see whether male or female characters are favourites in a novel! I shall add your names to the hat!

Farida Mestek said...

My favourite character is Elinor. I admire her strength of character and her ability to follow the forms of politeness even when her politeness is under great strain. Also, when I was younger and my granny was still alive, the Dashwood ladies reminded me a lot of my family with me being Margaret, my aunt Marianne and my mom Elinor. So that's another reason why I like Elinor best of all.

However, I also like Mrs. Jennings for her kindness and openness and the fact that Elinor was always her favourite :))

Lieder Madchen said...

I like Col. Brandon for his honorable adoration of Marianne. He would never let his personal feelings interfere with her happiness, even if that meant she would never be his. Also, what's not to like about a hero who carries swooning maidens through rainstorms?

liedermadchen(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jane Odiwe said...

Farida, Elinor is a wonderful character - I admire her very much also, and I must admit to having a soft spot for Mrs. Jennings.

Lieder - it would be impossible not to love Colonel Brandon for his adoration of Marianne, I quite agree.

Mer said...

Okay, I''ll admit it - I just love Marianne. She's histrionic and self-centered and everything I just love about teaching teenagers who are just like her!

revas(underscore)m(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jane Odiwe said...

I love her too - such a drama queen! I completely understand when Colonel Brandon intimates that he wouldn't want her to be any different.

Barbara C said...

Oh dear, must I chose? For the sake of the drawing I will pick one--Col. Brandon--but if I think about it too long I will waver. :)

Jane Odiwe said...

Barbara, I shan't make you choose-that is too difficult, I do understand completely. Colonel Brandon will do very nicely, however!

Margay said...

I really have a soft spot for Colonel Brandon. He is such a steadfast and loyal character and when he cares about you, you know it. I think he's one of Austen's most understated heroes, but he is heroic just the same.

Nancy Kelley said...

I already have your book on my Kindle, Jane, but I wanted to play anyway. :)

I'm torn between Brandon or Elinor. Both show a high degree of integrity, or honor to use the older word. When Elinor learns of Edward's engagement, she doesn't think once of trying to split the couple up. (Unlike Miss Lucy Steele, ironically!) Even though everything in her rebelled at the thought of them together, she accepted it.

And Brandon... *sigh* He's willing to stand aside, if that's what it would take for the woman he loves to be happy. He also takes Willoughby's actions seriously and his honor demands justice.

No need to enter me in the drawing. :)

Jane Odiwe said...

Margay and Nancy, I share your admiration for Colonel Brandon - I think he's the perfect man for Marianne.
Thank you for your insightful comments!

Mary Beth said...

I have to say that my favorite male character is Colonel Brandon, but my favorite female character is Mrs. Dashwood. I completely identify with her. I have two daughters who are incredibly different and yet who love each other devotedly. She must have been a wonderful mother to have allowed all three of her daughters to grow up with such diverse personalities. I would love to hear her love story some day...

Jane Odiwe said...

Mary Beth- we all love Colonel Brandon I think! I love the idea of Mrs. Dashwood's story especially as we know she was not his first wife. I wonder, as a girl, was she a Marianne, Elinor, or mixture of the two?

Felicia said...

Happy Easter! Thank you for the lovely post.

My favorite S&S character is Col Brandon. He loves Marianne but is willing to stand aside for her happiness.

Jane Odiwe said...

Happy Easter Felicia!

Lovely Colonel Brandon-he's clearly a hit with ladies!

Mystica said...

Colonel Brandon for me!

Jessica said...

This is a hard pick,in Sense and Sensibility I admire Elinor's strength. She's isn't about to wear her emotions on her sleeve, and keeping her chin up despite all that transpires. Though, I also find that Colonel Brandon is the romantic and loyal man that I believe most women would find aimiable.

Jane Odiwe said...

Mystica and Jessica, it seems Colonel Brandon is coming out on top, followed very closely behind by Elinor. Thank you for your comments!

Colleen said...

Too hard to choose between the good Col. Brandon and Elinor, but like many of the others who had to choose I have to go with Elinor for her strength and good sense.

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you Colleen - Colonel Brandon and Elinor win hearts every time!

Melissa said...

My favorite is Elinor, for the same reasons other people have mentioned. When her world collapses, she doesn't sit around and wait to be rescued, or turn completely bitter. She mourns, yes. But she also does her best to keep moving forward, and adjust to her new circumstances. I have to admire that kind of fortitude.

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you, Melissa, for your comment - I shall add your name to the hat!