You are Eliza Bennett from Pride and Prejudice! Yay, you! Perhaps the brightest and best character in all of English literature, you are intelligent, lively, lovely-- in short, you are the best of company. Your only foibles are that you stick with your first impressions... and your family is quite intolerable.
I have always loved to read; books have been my companions through all the stages & seasons of my life. In my early teens, I discovered a love of period fiction; my first dip into writings about a gentler age was with the Betsy & Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. It was as an adult that I first read “Little Women” (& several subsequent books by Louisa May Alcott), “Jane Eyre” (a little dark for my taste), & “War & Peace” (entirely too ponderous!)
In my early 30’s, I met Jane Austen & a fast friendship was formed; while her wit, intelligence, & sense of irony satisfied my intellect, it was her pleasure in the simplicity of the everyday that struck a chord in my own soul. Although the snobbery of the class system & the utter lack of self-determination for women during this period grates against my 21st century sensibilities, I was charmed & changed by Jane’s word craft; the politeness & propriety of social interactions, the genuine enjoyment of gentle pastimes, & the invocative imagery of the natural surroundings.
Therefore, along with the thousands of fellow Janites (or Austenians), I have been looking forward to this first part of the Masterpiece Theater season, where they are presenting adaptations of all six of Jane Austen’s published novels. The first installment- Persuasion- was this past Sunday; while I was not absolutely thrilled with this rendering of my second favorite novel, (some very strange staging choices, over-the-top characterizations by actors, overall dark tone, & several very period-inappropriate actions, such as the couple kissing in public & a lady running through town without a hat!), it was infinitely better then wasting my evening on the current drivel being televised.
This upcoming Sunday is Northanger Abbey, a great bit of light fun, even by Jane’s standards, & my hopes are high that it will be a pleasing interpretation. I was planning to host a “Virtual Tea Party” for last week’s broadcast- inspired by my friend Junie Moon’s talk of baking scones- but returned home from my duties at Ravenswood too late to put it together properly. So, providing all the stars align, the landlord takes himself in good time (he’s bringing an appraiser over as part of his efforts to refinance at a better rate), & no one is called away unexpectedly, I would like to extend an invitation for the honor of your presence at high tea on Sunday evening (gloves & hat are strictly optional)