Who Is Persuaded in Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”

hqdefault Jane Austen writes plot-driven masterpieces, and all her God-given skills come together in Persuasion. In Persuasion we find a twist of pathos, not present in her other novels. We can view Austen’s growth as a writer. She provides her reader the promise of a wider scope of understanding. In Scribner’s Magazine (March 1891), W. B. Shubrick Clymer says, “Persuasion does not…echo with the distant hum of the whole of human life; it is, however, a ‘mirror of bright constancy.’ Jane Austen’s observation, unusually keen always – and this is no mean qualification, for has not humor its source in observation? – here unites with the wisdom of forty to make a picture softer in tone, more delicate in modeling, more mellow, than its companions of her girlhood, or than its immediate predecessors in her later period. The book marks the beginning of a third period, beyond the entrance to which she did not live to go. It is not pretended that she would, with any length of life, have produced heroic paintings of extensive and complicated scenes, for that was not her field; it may reasonably be supposed that, had she lived, her miniatures might, in succeeding years, have shown predominantly the sympathetic quality which in Persuasion begins to assert itself.” 

So how often do we encounter “persuasion” in Jane Austen’s last novel. But who is under the powers of persuasion? 

persuasion-1995-persuasion-5174222-1024-576In Chapter 1, Lady Russell speaks to Anne of the Elliots’ need to economize. “If we can persuade your father to all this,” said Lady Russell, looking over her paper, “much may be done. If he will adopt these regulations, in seven years he will be clear; and I hope we may be able to convince him and Elizabeth, that Kellynch-hall has a respectability in itself, which cannot be affected by these reductions…” 

In Chapter 1, Anne desires that her father clear all his debts. Anne considered it Sir Walter’s duty. She wanted it to be prescribed, and felt as a duty. She rated Lady Russell’s influence highly, and as to the severe degree of self-denial, which her own conscience prompted, she believed there might be little more difficult in persuading them to a complete, than to half a formation. 

In Chapter 1, when Sir Walter and his eldest daughter Elizabeth refuse to economize, the idea of their quitting Kellynch-hall to a smaller residence is suggested Mr. Shepherd, Sir Walter’s man of business. The hint was immediately taken up by Mr. Shepherd, whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter’s retrenching, and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be done without a change of abode. 

In Chapter 4, Anne reflects on why she chose to end her engagement to Captain Wentworth. …but Lady Russell, who she had always loved and relied on could not, with such steadiness of opinion, and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain. She was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing – indiscreet, improper, hardly capable of success, and not deserving it.

In Chapter 4, Anne has second thoughts about giving up Captain Wentworth. She did not blame Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been guided by her; but … She was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every anxiety attending his profession, all there probable fears, delays and disappointments, she should yet have been a happier woman in maintaining the engagement…

Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5250107-1024-576In Chapter 6, Anne’s family appeal to her to “tame” Mary’s tendencies for hypochondria. Known to have some influence with her sister, she was continually requested, or at least receiving hints to exert it, beyond what was practical. “I wish you could persuade Mary not be always fancying herself ill,” was Charles’s language; and, in an unhappy mood, thus spoke Mary; – “I do believe if Charles were to see me dying, he would not think there was any thing the matter with me. I am sure, Anne, if you would, you might persuade him that I really am very ill – a great deal worse than I ever own.”

In Chapter 6, Anne takes the acquaintance of the Crofts and learns that Mrs. Croft expects a brother to visit them at Kellynch-hall. Anne was left to persuade herself, as well as she could, that the same brother must still be in question. She could not, however, reach such a degree of certainty, as not to be anxious to hear whether any thing had been said on the subject at the other house, where the Crofts had previously been calling. 

In Chapter 7, Mary refuses to stay home and tend to her son when there are entertainments at the main house. “I mean to go with you, Charles, for I am of no more use at home than your are. If I were to shut myself up for ever with the child, I should not be able to persuade him to do any thing he did not life.

Also in Chapter 7, Anne uses the excuse of little Charles’s accident to avoid meeting Captain Wentworth again. Anne was now at hand to take up her own cause, and the sincerity of her manner being soon sufficient to convince him, where conviction was at least very agreeable, he had no farther scruples as to her being left to dine alone, thought he still wanted her to join them in the evening, when the child might be at rest for the night, and kindly urged her to let him come and fetch her; but she was quite unpersuadable; and this being the case, she had ere long the pleasure of seeing them set off together in high spirits. 

At the end of Chapter 7, Captain Wentworth criticizes Anne Elliot before members of her family. His pride knows no forgiveness. She had used him ill; deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others. It had been the effect of over-persuasion. It had been weakness and timidity. 

In Chapter 10, when the Musgrove sisters mean to go for a “long” walk in order to encounter Captain Wentworth again, Mary intrudes. “Oh, yes, I should like to join you very much, I am very fond of a long walk.” Anne felt persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely what they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the family-habits seemed to produce, of every thing being to be communicated, and every thing being to be done together, however undesired and inconvenient. 

images-1In Chapter 10, Louisa Musgrove claims “independent” thoughts before Captain Wentworth. Anne overhears their conversation of how Louisa made certain that Henrietta great their cousin/beau. “And so, I made her go. I could not bear that she should be frightened from the visit by such nonsense. What! – would I be turned back from doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right, by the airs and interference of such a person? – or, of any person I may say. No, – I have no idea of being so persuaded. When I have made up my mind, I have made it. And Henrietta seemed entirely to have made up hers to call at Winthrop today…” 

In Chapter 10, Louisa let it slip to Captain Wentworth that her brother Charles proposed to Anne before he married Mary. “I do not exactly know, for Henrietta and I were at school at the time; but I believe about a year before he married Mary. I wish she had accepted him. We should all have liked her a great deal better; and papa and mamma always think it was her great friend Lady Russell’s doing, that she did not. – They think Charles might not be learned and bookish enough to please Lady Russell, and that therefore, she persuaded Anne to refuse him.” 

At the end of Chapter 10, the Crofts speak to Anne of Wentworth’s desire to marry. Mrs. Croft wants Frederick to be as happy as she and the Admiral. “We had better not talk about it, my dear,” replied Mrs. Croft pleasantly; “for if Miss Elliot were to hear how soon we came to an understanding, she would never be persuaded that we could be happy together. I had known you by character, however, long before.”

At the end of Chapter 11, Anne attempts to drag Captain Benwick from his doldrums. He was evidently a young man of considerable taste in reading, though principally in poetry; and beside the persuasion of having given him at least an evening’s indulgence in the discussion of subject which his usual companions had probably no concern in, she had the hope of being of real use to him in some suggestions as to the duty and benefit of struggling against affliction, which had naturally grown out of their conversation. 

In Chapter 12, Henrietta and their  cousin are hoping for a curacy for Charles Hayter so they may marry sooner. Henrietta says Dr. Shirley should retire. “…And as to procuring a dispensation there could be no difficulty at his time of life, and with his character. My only doubt is, whether any thing could persuade him to leave his parish” Two paragraphs later, Henrietta is still speaking, “I wish Lady Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr. Shirley. I have always heard of Lady Russell, as a woman of the greatest influence with every body! I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to any thing!” 

In Chapter 12, Wentworth advocates for Anne to stay with Louisa while either he or Charles Musgrove goes after the elder Musgroves to tend their daughter. Charles agreed; but declared his resolution of not going away. He would be as little incumbrance as possible to Captain and Mrs. Harville; but as to leaving his sister in such a state, he neither ought, nor would. So far it was decided; and Henrietta at first declared the same. She, however, was soon persuaded to think differently. 

At the end of Chapter 12, Anne bemoans Captain Wentworth’s folly in admiring “firmness of character.” Louisa’s determination has her near death’s door and has him needing to speak his proposals if the girl survives. Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him, that like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness, as a very resolute character. 

At the beginning of Chapter 13, Anne is at Uppercross, proving herself of use to the Musgroves. The household receives word of Louisa’s lack of recovery from Charles. In speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed unable to satisfy his own sense of their kindness, especially of Mrs. Harville’s exertions as a nurse. “She really left nothing for Mary to do.” He and Mary had been persuaded to go early to their inn last night. 

Persuasion-2007-persuasion-5250107-1024-576Also in Chapter 13, Anne does her best to persuade Louisa’s family to go to Lyme. Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all dreaded. And so much was said in this way that Anne thought she could not do better than impart among them the general inclination to which she was privy, and persuade them all to go to Lyme at once. 

In Chapter 14, Anne has joined Lady Russell at the woman’s cottage upon Kellynch’s estate. They have received word from Mary that Louisa has improved, and although Anne does not ask of Wentworth, she learns something of him. As Louisa improved, he had improved; and he was now quite a different creature from what he had been the first week. He had not seen Louisa; and was so extremely fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview, that he did not press for it all; and, on the contrary, seemed to have a plan of going away for a week or ten days till her head were stronger. He had talked of going down to Plymouth for a week, and wanted to persuade Captain Benwick to go with him; but, as Charles maintained to the last, Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride over to Kellynch.

In Chapter 18, Anne worries that Wentworth and Benwick’s friendship will suffer with Benwick’s proposal to Louisa Musgrove. Despite Mary claiming otherwise, Anne believes Benwick’s character required that the man love someone. She did not mean, however, to derive much more from it to gratify her vanity, than Mary might have allowed. She was persuaded that any tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for him, would have received the same compliment. He had an affectionate heart. He must love somebody.

In Chapter 20, at the opera house, Anne hopes to speak to Captain Wentworth privately. The first act was over. Now she hoped for some beneficial change; and, after a period of nothing-saying amongst the party, some of them did decide on going in quest of tea. Anne was one of the few who did not choose to move. She remained in her seat, and so did Lady Russell; but she had the pleasure of getting ride of Mr. Elliot; and she did not mean, whatever she might feel on Lady Russell’s account, to shrink from conversation with Captain Wentworth, if he gave her the opportunity. She was persuaded by Lady Russell’s countenance that she seen him. 

At the end of Chapter 21, Mrs. Smith explains to Anne why the woman did not speak out against Mr. Elliot sooner. Anne could just acknowledge within herself such a possibility of having been induced to marry him, as made her shudder at the idea of the misery which must have followed. It was just possible that she might have been persuaded by Lady Russell! And under such a supposition, which would have been most miserable, when time had disclosed all, too late? 

images-2In Chapter 22, we learn that Elizabeth’s vanity will not permit her to entertain the Musgroves, Captain Harville, the Crofts and Wentworth at their home in Bath because she does not want them to view the Elliots retrenching. Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal. She felt that Mrs. Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them, but she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch. It was a struggle between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then Elizabeth was happy again. These were her internal persuasions. 

Later in Chapter 22, while visiting in Bath, Charles Musgrove encounters Captains Harville and Wentworth. He brings them back to the hotel to reunite with his family. Anne hopes for a renewal of the conversation she had with Wentworth at the concert hall.  …Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth. The appearance of the latter could nto be more than the surprise of the moment. It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel, that this arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together again. Their last meeting had been most important in opening his feelings; she had derived from it a delightful conviction; but she feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion, which had hastened him away from the concert room, still governed. He did not seem to want to be near enough for conversation. 

In Chapter 23, Mrs. Musgrove describes for Mrs. Croft the history of Louisa’s engagement to Captain Benwick. Anne felt that she did not belong to the conversation, and yet, as Captain Harville seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk, she could not avoid hearing many undesirable particulars, such as “how Mr. Musgrove and my brother Hayter had met again and again to talk it over; what my brother Hayter had said one day, and what Mr. Musgrove had proposed the next, and what occurred to my sister Hayter, and what the young people had wished, and what I said at first I never could consent to, but was afterwards persuaded to think might do very well,” and a great deal in the same style with every advantage of taste and delicacy which good Mrs. Musgrove could not, could be properly interesting only to the principals. 

Toward the end of Chapter 23, Anne and Wentworth have reconciled, but as is the like, they revisit the years of separation and their recent coming together. “To see you,” cried he, “in the midst of those who could not be my well-wishers, to see your cousin close by you, conversing and smiling, and feel all the horrible eligibilities and proprieties of the match! To consider it as the certain wish of every being who could hope to influence you! Even if your own feelings were reluctant or indifferent, to consider what powerful supports would be his! Was it not enough to make the fool of me which I appeared? How could I look on without agony? Was not the every sight of the friend who sat behind you, was not thee recollection of what had been, the knowledge of her influence, the indelible, immoveable impression of what persuasion had once done – was it not all against me?”

“You should have distinguished,” replied Anne. “You should not have suspected me now; the case so different, and my age so different. If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.” 

 

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Posted in book excerpts, excerpt, film adaptations, historical fiction, Jane Austen, language choices, Living in the Regency, Living in the UK, Persuasion, Regency era, Regency romance, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Very “Real” Estate ~ Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire ~ Church for Robin Hood and Maid Marian’s Wedding???

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_of_Northumbria ~ St. Edwin of Northumbria depiction at St Mary, Sledmere, Yorkshire

 In 633 A. D., King Edwin of Northumbria (King of Deira and Bernicia), a Saxon, whose kingdom at the time stretched from the River Trent, which marks the boundary between the Midlands and the north of England, to Edinburgh (Edwin’s borough), marched south to fight the pagan King Penda of Mercia. Edwin had been converted to Christianity by his wife Princess Ethelburga of Kent, which was the first Christian kingdom in England. Unfortunately, Edwin was killed in the battle, which took place near a small hamlet known as Cuckney (in Sherwood Forest), then known at Hatfield.

               To prevent his body being mutilated by his enemies, his friends buried King Edwin in a clearing of the forest. They intended to see to a proper burial once the war knew success. Edwin’s body was to be taken to Whitby Abbey; yet, when they returned for his body, they discovered that the locals had begun to think of the late king as Saint Edwin, so instead of unearthing him, they built a small wooden chapel on the spot. A priest was pressed into service, and the place was christened, Edwinstowe, or “the holy place of Edwin.” In 1175, a stone church replaced the wooden chapel, one of the many churches put up by Henry II as penance for the murder of Thomas a Becket. 

According to the Edinstowe Parish Council, “In 1066 Edenstou was royal land, part of the Saxon king’s manor of nearby Mansfield. The Domesday survey of 1086 records that in Edenstou was a church, a priest and four bordars (slaves who worked on the priest’s lands). Edwinstowe stood well within the roughly 20 miles long by 7 miles wide Royal Forest of Sherwood.

“The villagers were bound by harsh forest laws, and courts to punish offenders were held frequently. It was a punishable offence to damage living timber in any way, and all dogs taken into the forest had to be ‘lawed,”\’ i.e. three claws had to be removed from each front foot. Death and dismemberment was the punishment for deer poaching and these harsh laws were not changed until 1217 A.D. In 1334 A.D. the Vicar of Edwinstowe, John de Roystan, was convicted of ‘venison trespasses,’ a major crime.

“Edwinstowe villagers had various privileges regarding the forest. e.g. gathering brushwood and letting their pigs root for acorns. They were also free born and could marry without permission.

“Much had changed by 1600 A.D. Queen Elizabeth owned parts of Sherwood Forest but it was no longer regarded as a hunting forest. Parts were cleared for farming and the oaks were felled for ship building. In 1609 A.D. there were 49,909 oaks in the forest areas just north of Edwinstowe. By 1790 there were only 10,117! Ship building accounted for the best timber although 10 oaks were used for the roof of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London.

“By 1801, the total population of Edwinstowe had risen to 506! Piped water was available in Edwinstowe for the first time in 1905. In 1912, more than thirty Suffragettes (including Mrs. Emeline Pankhurst) visited Edwinstowe. In 1925 the nearby Thoresby Colliery began operation with benefits to the village.

“During World War II the nearby forest housed one of the largest ammunition dumps in the U.K. The area was also used for tank training and for housing thousands of troops prior to D-Day. The facilities were used after the war for European displaced persons.

“Popular belief has it that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married in St Mary’s Church! There was certainly some sort of church here during any of the periods ascribed to Robin Hood.”

Resources: 

Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire

Excavation of Robin Hood’s Village

Visit Nottinghamshire

Posted in Anglo-Saxons, British history, buildings and structures, kings and queens, legends and myths, medieval | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Making of a Janeite, a Guest Post from Eliza Shearer

Eliza Shearer debuted on Austen Authors on May 12, 2018, with a bit on how she came to be a Janeite, a Jane Austen fan. Enjoy!

Almost eight years ago, I found myself in the Royal Crescent in Bath, dressed in a crimson gown, coiffed with a bonnet and clutching a reticule. I was surrounded by gentlemen in breeches and cravats, ladies in gowns in all the colours of the rainbow, the odd militia officer and children in Regency attire running around. The crowd was a sea of top hats, feathered turbans, straw bonnets and dainty parasols, while the master of ceremonies tried to maintain some semblance of order. The occasion was the legendary Grand Promenade, part of the Jane Austen festival, which takes place every September. I was over the moon, yet bewildered: it was a scene that, just a few months earlier, I could have never imagined witnessing. 

For years, my love of Austen had the taint of a dark secret. I was an avid (re)reader of Jane Austen’s works, and knew the places and characters in her books as intimately as if they were real. I also watched the film adaptations with much enthusiasm, cheering (or booing) the different casting choices for my favourite heroines. Unfortunately, none of my many friends and family shared my interest. They were used to seeing me read my dog-eared Penguin Classics volumes but thought that it was all down to a general love of English literature. I suspected that if they knew the real extent of my Austenesque obsession, they would be slightly taken aback, so I kept it to myself.

Then I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, a beautiful city steeped in history and with a magical castle in its midst, and everything changed. It all started harmlessly enough. To meet new people, I joined a book group, and quickly bonded with the other members over a shared love of Austen’s novels and Colin Firth’s rendering of Mr Darcy. My new friends also introduced me to the world of Jane Austen adaptations, variations and continuations, and I devoured all the ones I could get hold of. For the first time in my life, my love of all things Austen was out in the open, and joyfully so. It was a revelation to realise that I was part of something much greater than I could ever imagine. 

Some time later, when a fellow book group member suggested going to Bath for the Jane Austen festival, I immediately said yes. The experience was just perfect. I remember loving every minute of our trip, having wonderful conversations with people from the farthest-flung corners of the planet, and smiling so much that my cheeks hurt. But the best bit was realising that I was surrounded by men and women who cared as much about Jane Austen as I did.

Looking back, I believe it was on that magical occasion I decided I would one day pen my own Austen continuations. But what I treasure the most from the day is the warm, happy feeling that came with spending time with like-minded souls. It is a feeling I have experienced in subsequent Janeite gatherings, as well as online, in places such as the wonderful Austen Authors community. I consider myself incredibly fortunate: what I felt in Bath is very much present in my life. I have found my tribe. I am a Janeite.

What’s your story? How did you become a Janeite? Tell us below.


Posted in British history, fashion, Georgian Era, Guest Post, Jane Austen, JASNA, Living in the Regency, Pride and Prejudice, publishing, Regency era, Regency romance, tradtions, Vagary, writing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

James and Henry Austen and “The Loiterer” ~ Literary Influences on Jane Austen

Many of those around her influenced Jane Austen, but Henry Austen’s and James Austen’s influences were profound. Most of Austen’s biographers believe that Henry was Austen’s favorite brother and James her least favorite.

jamesausten

Jane Austen’s Brothers http://www.janeausten.co.uk James (1765-1819)

James Austen was the eldest of the Austen clan, a youth with a quick mind and a love of the classics. Matriculating to Oxford at age 14, James remained at the school for eleven years. James enjoyed writing poetry, and the Austen family encouraged him to do so.  As entertainment, the Austen family often acted out amateur theatricals. Reportedly, James composed metrical prologues and epilogues for these “family” plays. Many believe these efforts by the eldest Austen had a profound effect on one of the youngest, Jane. 

James’s poetry efforts dwindled as he settled into the life of a country clergyman. As the heir to his wealthy, childless uncle, James Leigh Perrot, James Austen’s future was solid. After leaving Oxford, James became Rector of Steventon (rather than his father’s curate at Deane). He married twice – the second marriage bringing him two children, but gave him a wife with whom he was generally thought to be disappointed. We have no records of James’s poetry from 1789 to 1805.

Six years James’s junior, Henry joined James at Oxford in 1788, and in 1789, the brothers began producing a weekly periodical, called The Loiterer, which contained a series of fashionable essays. James and his friends provided the majority of the essays; however, Henry became quite adept at the occasional piece of fiction. Henry used “stock” characters and situations – those commonly found in the fiction of the day. The brothers continued their efforts for 60 consecutive weeks – quite an undertaking for the time.

Henry Austen

Rev Henry Thomas Austen (1771 – 1850) – Find A Grave Memorial http://www.findagrave.com

Henry is well known among Austen scholars as Jane’s “man of business,” acting as her agent in arranging the publication of Austen’s novels. He managed to convince Thomas Egerton, who coincidentally had published the Austen brothers’ efforts with The Loiterer, to take a chance on a piece of fiction. Egerton specialized in pieces of military history, so this was a different track for the publisher. In 1811, Egerton published Sense and Sensibility, by a Lady. Henry likely advanced the £180 upfront fees for printing and advertising for the novel.

Despite these particular influences on Jane Austen, her brothers exercised other effects upon her career. One of those was their involvement in student periodicals. In the late 1700s several examples of student journalism sprang up. Eton College had its Microcosmopolitan, Westminster School had The Flagellant, St. Mary Magdalen College had Olla Podrida, St. John’s College had the Loiterer, etc. Three of these efforts were later collected into volumes: Microcosmopolitan, Olla Podrida, and the Loiterer (which was edited by James Austen). These periodicals covered a wide variety of topics: manners, drinking, epitaphs, superstition, fashion, entertainment, etc. Some serious topics appeared as well. There were pieces on Parliament, the war, education, religion, poetry, fiction, etc.

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The Loiterer janeausteninfo.wix.com

Literary criticism was a staple of these periodicals. One often finds criticism of the novel as a literary form. There were serious discussions regarding the change in style = movement from the epistolary novel – the rise of sentimental fiction – the use of irony and satire. These young journalists were well read men. James Austen, for example, took offense at the predominance of sentimental fiction in the circulating libraries of the time. Henry Austen spoke out against the French influence upon the genre. “What I here allude to, Sir, is that excess of sentiment and  susceptibility, which the works of the great Rousseau chiefly introduced, which every subsequent Novel has since foster’d and which the voluptuous manners of the present age but too eagerly embrace.” (The Loiterer, No. 47

Some biographers suggest that Jane Austen wrote one of the letters published in The Loiterer. The letter expressed an objection to the lack of a female perspective in the articles published in the weekly periodical. It was signed “Sophia Sentiment.” It is said that the issue containing the letter supposedly written by Jane Austen (issue 9) was the only one to be advertised for sale in North Hampshire, where the Austen’s lived. The other issues were for sale at Oxford and in London. In the Cambridge University Press collection of Austen’s Juvenilia, Peter Sabor (2006, pages 356-362) suggests that the letter may have been inspired by Jane’s voice in her brothers’ ears rather than her actually writing the letter. The letter turns sentimental fiction upon its head. “Sophia Sentiment” encourages the editor (James Austen) to publish more sentimental fiction. 

“Let us hear no more of your Oxford Journals, your Homelys and Cockney: but send them about their business, and get a new set of correspondents, from among the young of both sexes, but particularly ours; and let us see some nice affecting stories, relating the misfortunes of two lovers, who died suddenly, just as they were going to church. Let the lover be killed in a duel, or lost at sea, or you may make him shoot himself, just as you please, and as for his mistress, she will of course go mad; or if you will, you may kill the lady, and let the lover run mad; only remember, whatever you do, that your hero and heroine must possess a great deal of feeling, and have very pretty names.” (The Loiterer, No. 9)

Ironically, in Henry evaluation of sentimental fiction he writes a tongue-in-cheek response: Let her avoid love and friendship as she wishes to be admired and distinguished. (The Loiterer, No. 27) Li-Ping Geng says in Persuasions, No. 31 (pages 167-168), “Sophia (meaning “wisdom” in Greek) is a pretty name but also an ironic one. Further, it si the name given to a protagonist, in Jane Austen’s “Love and Freindship,” who is “all Sensibility and Feeling,” a heroine who is recognized as “most truly worthy of the Name” by the equally sentimental Laura, herself possessed of “[a] sensibility too tremblingly alive.

“The spirited playfulness and the cheeky style, consistent with what we see in Juvenilia, seem to exclude James from the authorship. The letter’s somewhat crude irony resembles very much that seen in Henry Austen’s satirical contributions, but the charming temperament and feminine tone seem to point to the hand of Jane, who was more than capable of it at the precocious age of thirteen and who was at the time actively engaged elsewhere in mocking the rampant literary bias.”

 

Posted in British history, Georgian England, Georgian Era, history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Living in the UK | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Look for Me Now on Kindle Unlimited

Nearly a month ago, I made a decision to move some of my titles to Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited. I know several of my fellow authors limit their titles to KU, but I have also always listed mine on Kobo and Nook, in addition to Amazon. One of the reasons I have done this is I have a niche group of readers, who have been with me from the time I released Darcy’s Passions in 2009,  in many of the European countries, who Kobo services. There is also a large number of readers who own Nooks in the U.S., who follow my stories. That being said, as sales on certain titles have dwindled, I thought to open up the KU connection, and hopefully find new readers and provide loyal followers who use KU to read some of the stories again. Therefore, I have switched a number of titles over to Kindle Unlimited. With each, I have done another complete edit. Hopefully, I caught most of the typos (and did not create new ones). I also updated some of the “history” in each. Most of you know I am a great one for including history in each of my tales. Below are the books currently on KU. I hope you find something you have not read and will choose to pick it up. [By the way, I have a new Austen book coming in late August and two Regency based Christmas tales in October. I will keep everyone posted on the release dates.]

Austen-Inspired Titles:

51mWCN35-9L._AC_US218_.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Fault: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

What if an accident prevents Elizabeth Bennet from reading Mr. Darcy’s letter of apology? What if said letter goes missing and ends up in the hands of George Wickham? What if Mr. Wickham plans to use the evidence of both Georgiana Darcy’s ruination and Darcy’s disdain for the Bennets to his benefit? How will Darcy counter Wickham’s plans and claim happiness with the woman he loves?

When he notices his long-time enemy in the vicinity of Hunsford Cottage, FITZWILLIAM DARCY means to put an end to an assignation between ELIZABETH BENNET and Mr. Wickham, but Darcy is not prepared for the scene which greets him in Rosings Woods. Elizabeth lies injured and crumpled beneath the trees, and in order to save her, by Society’s standards, Darcy must compromise Elizabeth. Needless to say, Darcy does not mind being forced into claiming Elizabeth to wife, but what of the lady’s affections? Can Darcy tolerate Elizabeth’s regard being engaged elsewhere?

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51Z7CTMdYNL._AC_US218_.jpg The Pemberley Ball: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary Novella

Elizabeth Bennet’s acceptance of his hand in marriage presents FITZWILLIAM DARCY a hope of the world being different. Elizabeth offers warmth and naturalness and a bit of defiance; but there is vulnerability also. With characteristic daring, she boldly withstood Caroline Bingley’s barbs, while displaying undying devotion to her sister Jane. More unpredictably, she verbally fenced with the paragon of crudeness, his aunt, Lady Catherine, and walked away relatively unscathed. One often finds his betrothed self-mockingly entertaining her sisters and friends, and despite Darcy’s best efforts, the woman makes him laugh. She brings lightness to his spirit after so many years of grief.

Unfortunately for ELIZABETH BENNET, what begins gloriously turns to concern for their future. She recognizes her burgeoning fears as unreasonable; yet, she cannot displace them. She refuses to speculate on what Mr. Darcy will say when he learns she is not the brilliant choice he proclaims her to be. Moreover, she does not think she can submit to the gentleman’s staid lifestyle. Not even for love can Elizabeth accept capitulation.

Will Elizabeth set her qualms aside to claim ‘home’ in the form of the man she truly affects or will her courage fail her? Enjoy a bit of mayhem that we commonly call “Happily Ever After,” along with three alternate turning points to this tale of love and loss and love again.

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51oSiXeZuoL._AC_US218_.jpg Elizabeth Bennet’s Excellent Adventure: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

The Last Man in the World She Wishes to Marry is the One Man Who Owns Her Heart!

ELIZABETH BENNET adamantly refused Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal, but when Maria Lucas discovers the letter Darcy offers Elizabeth in explanation of his actions, Elizabeth must swallow her objections in order to save her reputation. She follows Darcy to London and pleads for the gentleman to renew his proposal. Yet, even as she does so, Elizabeth knows not what she fears most: being Mr. Darcy’s wife or the revenge he might consider for her earlier rebuke.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY would prefer that Elizabeth Bennet held him in affection, but he reasons that even if she does not, having Elizabeth at his side is far better than claiming another to wife. However, when a case of mistaken identity causes Darcy not to show at his wedding ceremony, he finds himself in a desperate search for his wayward bride-to-be.

Elizabeth, realizing Society will label her as “undesirable” after being abandoned at the altar, sets out on an adventure to mark her future days as the spinster aunt to her sisters’ children. However, Darcy means to locate her and to convince Elizabeth that his affections are true, and a second chance will prove him the “song that sets her heart strumming.”

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51bDxdYnvEL._AC_US218_.jpg Elizabeth Bennets Deception: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy refused to approach Elizabeth Bennet when he observes her upon the grounds of Pemberley? What if Elizabeth permits Mr. Darcy to think she is the one ruined by Mr. Wickham? What if love is not enough to bring two souls together?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY’S pride makes the natural lead to ELIZABETH BENNET’S ruination when the lady appears, without notice, upon Pemberley’s threshold to plead for Darcy’s assistance in locating his long-time enemy, George Wickham. Initially, Darcy cannot look beyond the pain of lost hopes, but when Charles Bingley demands that Darcy act with honor, Darcy assumes the task. Even so, the idea of delivering Miss Elizabeth into the hands of Mr. Wickham leaves Darcy raw with anguish. Yet, Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet too much to see her brought low. He sets his heartbreak aside to save the woman he affects, but it is not long before Darcy realizes Elizabeth practices a deception, one Darcy permits so he might remain at her side long enough to convince the lady that only in each other can either find happiness.

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 51CbnM5ZhlL._AC_US218_.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Bargain: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

Darcy and Elizabeth are about to learn how “necessity” never makes a fair bargain.

When ELIZABETH BENNET appears on his doorstep some ten months after her refusal of his hand in marriage, FITZWILLIAM DARCY uses the opportunity to “bargain” for her acceptance of a renewal of his proposal in exchange for his assistance in bringing Mr. George Wickham to justice. In Darcy’s absence from Hertfordshire, Wickham has executed a scam to defraud the citizens of Meryton, including her father, of their hard-earned funds. All have invested in Wickham’s Ten Percent Annuity scheme. Her family and friends are in dire circumstances, and more importantly, Mr. Bennet’s heart has taken an ill turn. Elizabeth will risk everything to bring her father to health again and to save her friends from destitution; yet, is she willing to risk her heart? She places her trust in Darcy’s ability to thwart Wickham’s manipulations, but she is not aware that Darcy wishes more than her acquiescence. He desires her love. Neither considers what will happen if he does not succeed in bringing Mr. Wickham before a magistrate. Will his failure bring an end to their “bargain”? Or will true love prevail?

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518cER8ZVbL._AC_US218_.jpg The Road to Understanding: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

DARIUS FITZWILLIAM’s life is planned down to who he will marry and where he will live, but life has a way of saying, “You don’t get to choose.” When his marriage to his long-time betrothed Caroline Bradford falls through, Darius is forced to take a step back and to look upon a woman who enflames his blood with desire, but also engenders disbelief. Eliza Harris is everything that Darius never realized he wanted.

ELIZA HARRIS is accustomed to doing as she pleases. Yet, despite being infuriated by his authoritative manner, when she meets the staunchly disciplined Captain Fitzwilliam, she wishes for more. She instinctively knows he is “home,” but Eliza possesses no skills in achieving her aspirations.

Plagued with misunderstandings, manipulations, and peril upon the Great Valley Road between eastern Virginia and Tennessee in the years following the Revolutionary War, Darius and Eliza claim a strong allegiance before love finds its way into their hearts.

This is a faith-based tale based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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51eZXm92+iL._AC_US218_.jpg Honor and Hope: A Contemporary Pride and Prejudice

Liz Bennet’s flirtatious nature acerbates Will Darcy’s controlling tendencies, sending him into despair when she fiercely demands her independence from him. How could she repeatedly turn him down? Darcy has it all: good looks, intelligence, a pro football career, and wealth. Attracted by a passionate desire, which neither time nor distance can quench, they are destined to love each other, while constantly misunderstanding one another until Fate deals them a blow from which their relationship may never recover. Set against the backdrop of professional sports and the North Carolina wine country, Honor and Hope offers a modern romance loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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Regency Era Based Stories:

All eight books of the Realm Series is now available on Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited. Publishers Weekly says of the series: “The first fully original series from Austen pastiche author Jeffers is a knockout.”

The men of the REALM have served their country, while ignoring their responsibilities to home and love, but now with Bonaparte defeated, they each mean to claim their portion of a new and prosperous England. However, their long-time enemy Shaheed Mir has other plans. The Persian warlord believes one of the Realm has stolen a fist-sized emerald, and the Baloch intends to have its return or his revenge.

51Q64wIzdVL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series [originally title The Scandal of Lady Eleanor]

JAMES KERRINGTON, the future Earl of Linworth, left his title and his infant son behind after the death of his beloved Elizabeth, but he has returned to England to tend his ailing father and to establish his roots. With Daniel as his heir, Kerrington has no need to marry, but when Eleanor Fowler stumbles and falls into his arms, Kerrington’s world is turned upon its head. He will do anything to claim her.

LADY ELEANOR FOWLER has hidden from Society, knowing her father’s notorious reputation for debauchery has tainted any hopes she might have of a happy marriage. And yet, despite her fears, her brother’s closest friend, James Kerrington, has rekindled her hopes, but when Sir Louis Levering appears with proof of Eleanor’s participation in her father’s wickedness, she is drawn into a world of depravity, and only Kerrington’s love can save her.

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51Ltz+-GNUL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series

No one finds his soul mate when she is twelve and he seventeen, but Brantley Fowler, the Duke of Thornhill, always thought he had found his. The memory of Velvet Aldridge’s face was the only thing that kept him alive all those years he remained estranged from his family. Now, he has returned to Kent to claim his title and the woman he loves, but first he must obliterate the memory of his infamous father, while staving off numerous attacks from Shaheed Mir’s associates.

Miss Velvet Aldridge always believed in “happily ever after.” Yet, when Brantley Fowler returns home, he has a daughter and his wife’s memory to accompany him. He promised her eight years prior that he would return to make her his wife, but Thornhill only offers her a Season and a dowry. How can she make him love her? Make him her “knight in shining armor”?

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516yYuuIWKL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Cashémere: Book 3 of the Realm Series

MARCUS WELLSTON never expected to inherit his father’s title. After all, he is the youngest of three sons. However, his oldest brother Trevor is judged incapable of meeting the title’s responsibilities, and his second brother Myles has lost his life in an freak accident; therefore, Marcus has returned to Tweed Hall and the earldom. Having departed Northumberland years prior to escape his guilt in his sister’s death. In atonement, Marcus has spent the previous six years with the Realm, a covert governmental group. Now, all he requires is a biddable wife with a pleasing personality. Neither of those phrases describes Miss Cashémere Aldridge.

MISS CASHEMERE ALDRIDGE thought her opinions were absolutes and her world perfectly ordered, but when her eldest sister Velvet is kidnapped, Cashé becomes a part of the intrigue. She quickly discovers nothing she knew before is etched in stone. Leading her through these changes is a man who considers her a “spoiled brat.” A man who prefers her twin Satiné to Cashémere. A man whose approval she desperately requires: Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick. Toss in an irate Baloch warlord, a missing emerald, a double kidnapping, a blackmail attempt, and an explosion in a glass cone, and the Realm has its hands full.

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512J3dWI1KL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series

GABRIEL CROWDEN, the Marquis of Godown, can easily recall the night he made a vow to know love before he met his Maker. Of course, that was before Lady Gardenia Templeton’s duplicity had driven Godown from his home and before his father’s will had changed everything. Godown requires a wife to meet the unusual demands of the former marquis’s stipulations. Preferably one either already carrying his child or one who would tolerate his constant attentions to secure the Crowden line before the deadline.

MISS GRACE NELSON dreams of family died with her brother’s ascension to the title. Yet, when she meets the injured Marquis of Godown at a Scottish inn, her dreams have a new name. However, hope never has an easy path. Grace is but a lowly governess with ordinary features. She believes she can never earn the regard of the “Adonis” known as Gabriel Crowden. Moreover, the man has a well-earned skepticism when it comes to the women in his life. How can she prove that she is the one woman who will never betray him?

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51YKc0AyULL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series

A devastating injury has robbed AIDAN KIMBOLT, LORD LEXFORD, of part of his memory, but surely not of the reality that lovely Mercy Nelson is his father’s by-blow. Aidan is intrigued by his “sister’s” vivacity and how easily she ushers life into Lexington Arms, a house plagued by Death’s secrets—secrets of his wife’s ghost, of his brother’s untimely passing, and of his parents’ marriage: Secrets Aidan must banish finally to know happiness.

Fate has delivered MERCY NELSON to Lord Lexford’s door, where she quickly discovers appearances are deceiving. Not only does Mercy practice a bit of her own duplicity, so do all within Lexington Arms. Yet, dangerous intrigue cannot squash the burgeoning passion consuming her and Lord Lexford, as the boundaries of their relationship are sorely tested. How can they find true love if they must begin a life peppered with lies?

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51uJ2+iL0xL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series

Aristotle Pennington has groomed SIR CARTER LOWERY to be his successor as the Realm’s leader, and Sir Carter has thought of little else for years. He has handcrafted his life, filled it with duties and responsibilities, and eventually, he will choose a marriage of convenience to bolster his career; yet, Lucinda Warren is a temptation he cannot resist. Every time he touches her, he recognizes his mistake because his desire for her is not easily quenched. To complicate matters, it was Mrs. Warren’s father, Colonel Roderick Rightnour, whom Sir Carter replaced at the Battle of Waterloo, an action which named Sir Carter a national hero and her father a failure as a military strategist.

LUCINDA WARREN’s late husband has left her to tend to a child belonging to another woman and has drowned her in multiple scandals. Her only hope to discover the boy’s true parentage and to remove her name from the lips of the ton’s censors is Sir Carter Lowery, a man who causes her body to course with awareness, as if he had etched his name upon her soul. Cruel twists of Fate have thrown them together three times, and Lucinda prays to hold off her cry for completion long enough to deny her heart and to release Sir Carter to his future: A future to which she will never belong.

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51pZyxcaiNL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Honor: Book 7 of the Realm Series 

For two years, BARON JOHN SWENTON has thought of little else other than making Satiné Aldridge his wife; so when he discovers her reputation in tatters, Swenton acts honorably: He puts forward a marriage of convenience that will save her from ruination and provide him with the one woman he believes will bring joy to his life. However, the moment he utters his proposal, Swenton’s instincts scream he has made a mistake: Unfortunately, a man of honor makes the best of even the most terrible of situations.

MISS SATINE ALDRIDGE has fallen for a man she can never possess and has accepted a man she finds only mildly tolerable. What will she do to extricate herself from Lord Swenton’s life and claim the elusive Prince Henrí? Obviously, more than anyone would ever expect.

MISS ISOLDE NEVILLE has been hired to serve as Satiné Aldridge’s companion, but her loyalty rests purely with the lady’s husband. With regret, she watches the baron struggle against the impossible situation in which Miss Aldridge has placed him, while her heart desires to claim the man as her own. Yet, Isolde is as honorable as the baron. She means to see him happy, even if that requires her to aid him in his quest to earn Miss Satiné’s affections.

Sacrifice and honor, betrayal and redemption, all make for an exceptionally satisfying romance. A Touch of Honor is a mesmerizing story of extraordinary love realized against impossible odds. – Collette Cameron, Award-Winning Author

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519u-vHsXGL._AC_US218_.jpg A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series

Four crazy Balochs. A Gypsy band. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. And a missing emerald.

For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mir sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girl’s child, Lady Sonalí Fowler.

Daniel Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, danger arrives in the form of the Realm’s old enemy, and Kerrington must ignore all caution for the woman he loves.

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51TQoPeqEyL._AC_US218_.jpg His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel of the Realm Series

The Deepest Love is Always Unexpected.

LAWRENCE LOWERY, Lord Hellsman, has served as the dutiful son since childhood, but when his father Baron Blakehell arranges a marriage with the insipid Annalee Dryburgh, Lowery must choose between his responsibilities to his future title and the one woman who makes sense in his life.

Although her mothers was once a lady in waiting to the Queen, by Society’s standards, MISS ARABELLA TILNEY is completely wrong to be the future baroness: Bella is an American hoyden who demands that Lowery do the impossible: Be the man he always dreamed of being.

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415UMK93jdL._AC_US218_.jpg His Irish Eve

When the Earl of Greenwall demands his only son, ADAM LAWRENCE, Lord Stafford, retrieve the viscount’s by-blow, everything in Lawrence’s life changes. Six years prior, Stafford released his mistress, Cathleen Donnell, from his protection; now, he discovers from Greenwall that Cathleen was with child when she returned to her family. Stafford arrives in Cheshire to discover not only the son of which Greenwall spoke, but also two daughters, as well as a strong-willed woman, in the form of AOIFE KENNICE, who fascinates Stafford from the moment of their first encounter.

Set against the backdrop of the early radicalism of the Industrial Revolution and the Peterloo Massacre, a battle begins: A fight Lawrence must win: a fight for a woman worth knowing, his Irish Eve.

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Contemporary Choices:

41lP25xslPL._AC_US218_.jpg Second Chances: The Courtship Wars

Rushing through the concourse to make her way to the conference stage, Gillian Cornell comes face-to-face with the one man she finds most contemptible, but suddenly her world tilts. His gaze tells stories she wants desperately to hear. As he undresses her with his eyes, Gillian finds all she can do is stumble through her opening remarks. The all-too-attractive cad challenges both her sensibility and her reputation as a competent sexologist.

Dr. Lucian Damron never allows any woman to capture his interest for long. He uses them to boost his career and for his pleasure. Yet, Lucian cannot resist Gillian’s stubborn independence, her startling intelligence, and her surprising sensuality. Sinfully handsome, Lucian hides a badly wounded heart and a life of personal rejection. 

Thrown together as the medical staff on “Second Chances,” a new reality TV show designed to reunite previously married couples, Lucian and Gillian soon pique the interest of the American viewing public, who tune in each week, fascinated by the passionate electricity coursing between them. Thus begins an all-consuming courtship war, plagued by potential relationship-ending secrets and misunderstandings and played out scandalously on a national stage. 

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515ZRGQX5VL._AC_US218_.jpg “One Minute Past Christmas” [a holiday short story]

One Minute Past Christmas is the story of a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, family in which a grandfather and his granddaughter share a special ability — they call it a gift — that enables them to briefly witness each year a miraculous gathering in the sky. What they see begins at precisely one minute past Christmas and fills them with as much relief as it does wonder. But they worry the “gift” — which they cannot reveal to anyone else — will die with them because it has been passed to no other relative for forty-four years.

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Posted in Austen Authors, publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Bit on the History of The British Imperial System of Weights and Measures

weights-and-measures.jpg In 1965, the British Imperial System of Weights and Measures was replaced by the metric system, used in Europe since the days of Napoleon in the 19th Century. The change has been a gradual one for the UK, and, today, most weights, lengths, and volumes are measured and labelled metrically. The United States Customary System of weights and measures is derived from the British Imperial System.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The British Imperial System evolved from the thousands of Roman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and customary local units employed in the Middle Ages. Traditional names such as pound, foot, and gallon were widely used, but the values so designated varied with time, place, trade, product specifications, and dozens of other requirements. Early royal standards established to enforce uniformity took the name Winchester, after the ancient capital of Britain, where the 10th-century Saxon king Edgar the Peaceable kept a royal bushel measure and quite possibly others. Fourteenth-century statutes recorded a yard (perhaps based originally on a rod or stick) of 3 feet, each foot containing 12 inches each inch equaling the length of three barleycorns (employed merely as a learning device since the actual standard was the space between two marks on a yard bar). Units of capacity and weight were also specified. In the late 15th century, King Henry VII reaffirmed the customary Winchester standards for capacity and length and distributed royal standards (physical embodiments of the approved units) throughout the realm. This process was repeated about a century later in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In the 16th century the rod (5.5 yards, or 16.5 feet) was defined (once again as a learning device and not as a standard) as the length of the left feet of 16 men lined up heel to toe as they emerged from church. By the 17th century usage and statute had established the acre, rod, and furlong at their present values (4,840 square yards, 16.5 feet, and 660 feet, respectively), together with other historic units. The several trade pounds in common use were reduced to just two: the troy pound, primarily for precious metals, and the pound avoirdupois, for other goods sold by weight.”

fabric-measurements-guide-by-buyandcreate.png Ironically, the British still use “pint” and “mile” as they once were considered, but most other weights and measurements have been changed to metric. The British Imperial System was based on the human form. I recall so easily when my mother was measuring fabric and determining a yard how she would hold the one end of the fabric between her finger and thumb and stretch out her arm to her side. She would bring the other end of the fabric to her nose after she turned her face in the opposing direction of her stretched out arm. That was her “yard.” The 5th Century philosopher Protagoras reportedly said, “Man is the measure of all things.” Many took this statement quite literally. 

The basic unit of length for the English was the yard, which was originally set as the distance between Henry I’s nose and the tip of his outstretched arm. I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn tells us, ” In the 14th century many items in the markets in and around St Paul’s were sold by the ‘St Paul’s foot,’ a measurement based on the length of the foot of St Algar, carved on the base of one of the columns near the cathedral entrance. This soon became a standard measurement and was the origin of one ‘foot’ (12 inches or 30.48 cm).” When the Romans occupied England, they brought with them the concept of 1000 paces equalling a mile. A pace was FIVE Roman feet. A Roman mile, therefore, became 5000 paces. It was Elizabeth I who changed the mile to 5280 feet (or eight furlongs). 

The furlong was based on the length of a long furrow in a plowed field. A rod was based on the accepted length of the ox goad or prod used by medieval farmers. An acre was set as one furlong by one rod. An agreement of the national standard of weights and measures can be found as far back as the Magna Carta. But it was during the reign of George IV that the Weights and Measures Act came into effect. This act, along with the another in 1878, established the British Imperial System. This system was based on precise “understandings” of existing units of measure. “The 1824 act sanctioned a single imperial gallon to replace the wine, ale, and corn (wheat) gallons then in general use. The new gallon was defined as equal in volume to 10 pounds avoirdupois of distilled water weighed at 62 °F with the barometer at 30 inches, or 277.274 cubic inches (later corrected to 277.421 cubic inches). The two new basic standard units were the imperial standard yard and the troy pound, which was later restricted to weighing drugs, precious metals, and jewels. A 1963 act abolished such archaic measures as the rod and chaldron (a measure of coal equal to 36 bushels) and redefined the standard yard and pound as 0.9144 metres and 0.45359237 kg respectively. The gallon now equals the space occupied by 10 pounds of distilled water of density 0.998859 gram per millilitre weighed in air of density 0.001217 gram per millilitre against weights of density 8.136 grams per millilitre.

1024px-Weights_and_Measures_office

The former Weights and Measures office in Seven Sisters, London (590 Seven Sisters Road). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_units#/media/File:Weights_and_Measures_office.jpg

“While the British were reforming their weights and measures in the 19th century, the Americans were just adopting units based on those discarded by the act of 1824. The standard U.S. gallon is based on the Queen Anne wine gallon of 231 cubic inches and is about 17 percent smaller than the British imperial gallon. The U.S. bushel of 2,150.42 cubic inches, derived from the Winchester bushel abandoned in Britain, is approximately 3 percent smaller than the British imperial bushel. In the British system, units of dry and liquid capacity are the same, while in the United States they differ; the liquid and dry pint in Britain both equal 0.568 cubic decimetre, while the U.S. liquid pint is 0.473 cubic decimetre, and the U.S. dry pint is 0.551 cubic decimetre. British and American units of linear measure and weight are essentially the same. Notable exceptions are the British stone of 14 pounds, which is not used in the United States, and a divergence in definition of the hundredweight (100 pounds in the United States, 112 in Britain) that yields two different tons, the short U.S. ton of 2,000 pounds and the long British ton of 2,240 pounds. In 1959 major English-speaking nations adopted common metric definitions of the inch (2.54 cm), the yard (0.9144 metres), and the pound (0.4536 kg).” (British Imperial System)

In another Christopher Winn book, I Never Knew That About the English (Ebury Press, ©2008, pages 115-116), Mr. Winn tells us, “Weights were even more complicated, but were based on multiples of a grain of barley, except when it came to money, and then it was a grain of wheat. Money was based on weight and hence 240 pennies, which made up one pound in weight, became one pound in money terms as well…. Some old units have quietly died away. A guinea was one pound, one shilling, and was widely used as a conventional method of payment in auctions or transactions where a percentage was to be paid to a third party…. A league was three miles, the distance a man could comfortably walk in one hour.”

From Encyclopedia Britannica

unit abbreviation
or symbol
equivalents in other units
of same system
metric
equivalent
Weight
Avoirdupois1 avdp    
ton      
short ton   20 short hundredweight, or 2,000 pounds 0.907 metric ton
long ton   20 long hundredweight, or 2,240 pounds 1.016 metric tons
hundredweight cwt    
short hundredweight   100 pounds, or 0.05 short ton 45.359 kilograms
long hundredweight   112 pounds, or 0.05 long ton 50.802 kilograms
pound lb, lb avdp, or # 16 ounces, or 7,000 grains 0.454 kilogram
ounce oz, or oz avdp 16 drams, 437.5 grains, or 0.0625 pound 28.350 grams
dram dr, or dr avdp 27.344 grains, or 0.0625 ounce 1.772 grams
grain gr 0.037 dram, or 0.002286 ounce 0.0648 gram
stone st 0.14 short hundredweight, or 14 pounds 6.35 kilograms
Troy
pound lb t 12 ounces, 240 pennyweight, or 5,760 grains 0.373 kilogram
ounce oz t 20 pennyweight, 480 grains, or 0.083 pound 31.103 grams
pennyweight dwt, or pwt 24 grains, or 0.05 ounce 1.555 grams
grain gr 0.042 pennyweight, or 0.002083 ounce 0.0648 gram
Apothecaries’
pound lb ap 12 ounces, or 5,760 grains 0.373 kilogram
ounce oz ap 8 drams, 480 grains, or 0.083 pound 31.103 grams
dram dr ap 3 scruples, or 60 grains 3.888 grams
scruple s ap 20 grains, or 0.333 dram 1.296 grams
grain gr 0.05 scruple, 0.002083 ounce, or 0.0166 dram 0.0648 gram

 

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Posted in British currency, British history, business, commerce, customs and tradiitons, Elizabeth I, George IV, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Lessons Learned from Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey”

northanger-abbey-jane-austen-paperback-cover-artIn Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney chastises Catherine Morland for romanticizing foreign settings (from the Gothic romances she reads) and forgetting her “nationalism.” 

Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature if the suspicions you have entertained. what have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing? Where every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies and where roads and newspapers lay everything open?

Catherine responds by thinking upon her national duty. 

imagesHer thoughts being still chiefly fixed on what she had with such causeless terror felt and done, nothing could shortly be clearer than that it had been all a voluntary, self-created delusion…Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps, there were no mixed characters…[but] among the English, she believed, in their hearts and habits, there was a general though unequal mixture of good and bad.

This passage is from Volume II, Chapter X. It shows that Catherine has learned something from her wild speculation about General Tilney and her subsequent scolding by Henry for thinking such a terrible thing. “The Alps and the Pyrenees” refers to the settings of the Gothic novels that Catherine reads. Here Catherine recognizes the fact that in those novels, people are either all good or all bad, and a bad-tempered widower is an obvious murder suspect. But in the real world of England, Catherine realizes, people can be both good and bad. The real world Catherine refers to is actually a fictional world created by Austen, who suggests that even in fiction, characters need not be purely good or purely evil. In this passage, Austen makes it clear that her project is to create fiction that accurately reflects the world as it is.

We know that Henry himself has made attempts to be as actively concerned as his father over politics. General Tilney stays up late to study the latest political pamphlets. We are never told which party the general prefers, but it obvious that General Tilney is a “party man.”Likely, he represents the Whig oligarchy, which would be opposing the Morland’s Toryism.  Austen has been described as the “Tory daughter” of a “Tory parson,” who wrote “Tory pastorals.” She never mentions political parties in her novels, but there are signals within the novels. The gentry of the time were VERY devout and patriotic. She came from a rural, Anglican background. Her books express the need for moral accountability. Patriotism is an element we find in Austen. Most experts on the novel think that Catherine’s marrying Henry will bring a sense of moral reclamation (of a Whig). 

In Patrick Parrinder’s Nation and Novel: The English Novel from its Origin to the Present Day (page 182-183), we find, “There was an intense loyalist reaction to the French Revolution and the threat posed by Napoleon’s armies ‘orchestrated by the rich’, as one historian writes, but spreading to all classes. Jacobin novelists like Charlotte Smith tried to warn their readers against the dangers of nationalism, balancing England against France and Royalism against republicanism. The heroine of Smith’s Marchmont studies English history and concludes that, for one who has gone beyond the abridged histories written for children, since the reign of Elizabeth I ‘there is hardly an interval that can be read with pleasure’. Jane Austen’s outspokenly Royalist teenage History of England, admittedly a burlesque, reveals the ‘strong political opinions’ which later mellowed into her family’s moderate Toryism.”  

Henry, on the other hand, expresses only complacency when he attempts to engage a group of females with a “short disquisition on the state of the nation.” Henry also remarks on the inferiority of women, in general. 

The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance. But Catherine did not know her own advantages — did not know that a good–looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man, unless circumstances are particularly untoward. In the present instance, she confessed and lamented her want of knowledge, declared that she would give anything in the world to be able to draw; and a lecture on the picturesque immediately followed, in which his instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in everything admired by him, and her attention was so earnest that he became perfectly satisfied of her having a great deal of natural taste. He talked of foregrounds, distances, and second distances — side–screens and perspectives — lights and shades; and Catherine was so hopeful a scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff, she voluntarily rejected the whole city of Bath as unworthy to make part of a landscape. Delighted with her progress, and fearful of wearying her with too much wisdom at once, Henry suffered the subject to decline, and by an easy transition from a piece of rocky fragment and the withered oak which he had placed near its summit, to oaks in general, to forests, the enclosure of them, waste lands, crown lands and government, he shortly found himself arrived at politics; and from politics, it was an easy step to silence. The general pause which succeeded his short disquisition on the state of the nation was put an end to by Catherine, who, in rather a solemn tone of voice, uttered these words, “I have heard that something very shocking indeed will soon come out in London.”

And listen to what Henry says of history, children, and reading. 

“Yes, I am fond of history.”

“I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes’ mouths, their thoughts and designs — the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books.”

“Historians, you think,” said Miss Tilney, “are not happy in their flights of fancy. They display imagination without raising interest. I am fond of history — and am very well contented to take the false with the true. In the principal facts they have sources of intelligence in former histories and records, which may be as much depended on, I conclude, as anything that does not actually pass under one’s own observation; and as for the little embellishments you speak of, they are embellishments, and I like them as such. If a speech be well drawn up, I read it with pleasure, by whomsoever it may be made — and probably with much greater, if the production of Mr. Hume or Mr. Robertson, than if the genuine words of Caractacus, Agricola, or Alfred the Great.”

“You are fond of history! And so are Mr. Allen and my father; and I have two brothers who do not dislike it. So many instances within my small circle of friends is remarkable! At this rate, I shall not pity the writers of history any longer. If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person’s courage that could sit down on purpose to do it.”

“That little boys and girls should be tormented,” said Henry, “is what no one at all acquainted with human nature in a civilized state can deny; but in behalf of our most distinguished historians, I must observe that they might well be offended at being supposed to have no higher aim, and that by their method and style, they are perfectly well qualified to torment readers of the most advanced reason and mature time of life. I use the verb ‘to torment,’ as I observed to be your own method, instead of ‘to instruct,’ supposing them to be now admitted as synonymous.”

“You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my life at home, you would allow that ‘to torment’ and ‘to instruct’ might sometimes be used as synonymous words.”

“Very probably. But historians are not accountable for the difficulty of learning to read; and even you yourself, who do not altogether seem particularly friendly to very severe, very intense application, may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worth–while to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it. Consider — if reading had not been taught, Mrs. Radcliffe would have written in vain — or perhaps might not have written at all.”

MV5BMjAzMTQ2ODMxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg2MjA1MQ@@._V1_UY268_CR3,0,182,268_AL_We also have this passage early on regarding “reading” and writing of novels. 

And what are you reading, Miss—?” “Oh! it is only a novel!” replies the young lady…in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the min are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.

This passage comes from Volume I, Chapter V, when the narrator gives a long and fervent defense of novel-reading. In Austen’s time, novels were looked down upon by many people, especially people of the upper classes. The young Jane Austen, writing her first novel, likely felt she had to launch a preemptive strike against critics who would disparage her work. This passage is one of the few places where the narrator makes a long address to the reader. By the second half of the novel, the narrator will have given over to Austen’s famous free indirect discourse style of narration.

But what other lessons do we learn from Austen’s spoof of the Gothic novels of her day?

northanger-abbey-bannerThere is the theme of “wealth” having its privileges, one found in all Austen’s novels. For example, although the Thorpes hold strong opinions of the prideful Tilneys, they scramble to be noticed by them. John Thorpe says of General Tilney, “A very fine fellow; as rich as a Jew.” Isabella Thorpe says of the Tilney family, “…all pride, pride, insufferable haughtiness and pride,” but she succumbs to Captain Frederick Tilney’s seduction for she wishes to align herself with the rich rather than the provincial such as James Morland. General Tilney boasts himself to be the owner of “as considerable a landed property as any private man in the county.” char_lg_frederick

John-Thorpe-period-drama-villains-31635816-149-231We also find the reoccurring appearance of the “bounder,” this time in the form of John Thorpe. [We have seen the type in Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, Frank Churchill in Emma, Tom Musgrave in The Watsons, etc.] Each causes the heroine a great deal of pain and a lesson in humility. The heroine is wooed by the bounder, but ends up giving her heart to the prig [Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, Mr. Knightley, and Lord Osborne, respectively].  

Resources: 

Fuller, Miriam. “Let me go, Mr. Thorpe; Isabella, do not hold me!”: Northanger Abbey and the Domestic Gothic. JASNA.

Merrett, Robert. Consuming Modes in Northanger Abbey: Jane Austen’s Economic View of Literary Nationalism. JASNA.

Schaub, Melissa. Irony and Political Education in Northanger Abbey. JASNA

Spark Notes 

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