Wentworth Wednesday

Chapter 6
She (Mrs Musgrove, Sr) had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and the re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son gone forever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had affected her spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for him than she had known on first hearing of his death. Mr Musgrove was, in a lesser degree, affected likewise; and when they reached the cottage, they were evidently in want, first, of being listened to anew on this subject, and afterwards, of all the relief which cheerful companions could give them.

To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his name so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their coming back from Clifton–a very fine young man–but they could not say whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a new sort of trial to Anne’s nerves. She found, however, that it was one to which she must inure herself. Since he actually was expected in the country, she must teach herself to be insensible on such points. And not only did it appear that he was expected, and speedily, but the Musgroves, in their warm gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick, and very high respect for his character, stamped as it was by poor Dick’s having been six months under his care, and mentioning him in strong, though not perfectly well-spelt praise, as “a fine dashing felow, only two perticular about the schoolmaster,” were bent on introducing themselves, and seeking his acquaintance, as soon as they could hear of his arrival.


Captain Wentworth obviously cared for his crew. It was only prudent to see to the education of the “young gentlemen” who would take the steps from midshipman to lieutenant, and upward. It’s too bad that, also obviously, Richard (Dick) Musgrove was not one to take advantage of such care.

Prayer request for Gayle

Healing prayerMy sister, Gayle Mills, is in the hospital. Layne (our sister) and I took her there yesterday afternoon. Her kidneys were not doing well, and the doctor kept her overnight for  more IV fluids and observation. She required oxygen last night. I’m only my way back this morning. We hope that she will be able to come home today. I’ll keep you updated. Thanks for your prayers.

Cat-sneak and the Door of Opportunity

Photo: Bruno Cordioli (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Bruno Cordioli (Creative Commons Flickr)

Oral surgeons have two doors at their offices. One is for incoming patients–a nicely-appointed waiting room with magazines and such. And then there is the exit to the parking lot, for those who have had extractions under general anesthesia.

A week ago, my husband had a cracked wisdom tooth removed. A laughable situation really, because our positions were reversed. I, the weak and recovering-strength one, was helping him stagger to the car and then up the driveway.

Anyway, from past experience (sons with wisdom teeth) we knew about the two-door thing. When we drove up to the office, we noticed that the back surgery door was ajar. And there was this big gray cat.

Of course you know what was happening. That cat, being, well…a cat, was trying to get inside. “Oh, you,” I said. And then I noticed the string. Ha, someone inside was playing with the cat. Sure enough, one of the scrub-clad techs came out, and we got to talking.

It seems this friendly fellow is the office mascot. The staff had taken to feeding him, and Dr. TenHulzen liked him so much that he took him home as a pet. Then the cat disappeared. Four months later he showed up at the office–and that’s where he’s lived ever since. “To get back here he had to cross the 205 Freeway,” the tech marveled. And yet here he was, in one piece and happy. Cross a freeway? No problem.

Cats are like that. If a door is open, in they go. If the opening isn’t large enough, they help it along with a paw. After all, there’s food inside, and hands to scratch behind their ears or smooth their fur. A cat has every reason to give the door a try. And if he’s not welcome, he is put out. Away he goes, no big deal, to look for other open doors.

But when I come to a door that’s ajar, I stop. Should I go in? Is it okay? Usually I stay outside because unlike the cat, I am hyper-responsible and am afraid to do the wrong thing. Also, I don’t like being put out. It stings the pride, being told to leave.

What about the door of opportunity? I am afraid to go through that one too. Likewise I’m reluctant to widen the opening with a gentle push. I can learn a thing or two from Dr. TenHulzen’s office cat.

“Be a cat, Laura.” I need to squeeze my author body through narrow openings. How else will I see what opportunities are inside? Usually, it’s food, and food equals money. Who cares if I get put out? Frees me up to find other open doors. Cross a freeway? Sure, why not? It’s easy to do in the middle of the night.

So like a cat I need to try stuff. Who knows what snug opportunity I will find? Like the fellow pictured below, who discovered the perfect cat-shaped sink. Must have been made just for him. His owners must have thought so too, else why would they take a photo? Meow!

Photo: Melinda Seckington (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Melinda Seckington (Creative Commons Flickr)

Wentworth Wednesday

Chapter 5 is void of Frederick references. Anne goes to stay with Mary and is reintroduced into Uppercross society. This section is from Chapter 4, elaborating on Anne’s feeling about the break-up.

But in this case, Anne had left nothing for advice to do; and though Lady Russell, as satisfied as ever with her own discretion, never wished the past undone, she began now to have the anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne’s being tempted, by some man of talents and independence, to enter a state for which she held her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits.

They knew not each other’s opinion, either its constancy or its change, on the one leading point of Anne’s conduct, for the subject was never alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen. She did not blame Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been guided by her; but she felt that were any young person, in similar circumstances, to apply to her for counsel, they would never receive any of such certain immediate wretchedness, such uncertain future good. She was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every anxiety attending his profession, all their probable fears, delays, and disappointments, she should yet have been a happier woman in maintaining the engagement, than she had been in the sacrifice of it; and this, she fully believed, had the usual share, had even more than the usual share of all such solicitudes and suspense been theirs, without reference to the actual results of their case, which, as it happened, would have bestowed earlier prosperity than could be reasonably calculated on. All his sanguine expectations, all his confidence had been justified. His genius and ardour had seemed to foresee and to command his prosperous path. He had, very soon after their engagement ceased, got employ: and all that he had told her would follow, had taken place. He had distinguished himself, and early gained the other step in rank, and must now, by successive captures, have made a handsome fortune. She had only navy lists and newspapers for her authority, but she could not doubt his being rich; and, in
favour of his constancy, she had no reason to believe him married.

How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent, at least, were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems to insult exertion and distrust Providence! She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.

She had been forced into prudence in her youth ...

She had been forced into prudence in her youth …

How eloquent she could have been, if only she had tried. Though Anne is an honest woman, it’s interesting that when she and Frederick talk at the end of Persuasion, she dodges admitting her true feelings. She doesn’t tell him that she thinks no matter what, they would have been happier had they remained engaged. And that could have been done. Her father did not say they couldn’t marry, just that he would do nothing for them.

What Anne does say is that while she might not advise anyone in their same circumstance to break up, she thinks that she was true to her convictions and that obedience in a woman is not a bad thing. WTHeck?

Frederick has written the letter. He has apologized on the Gravel Walk talk. He has now brought up that he thinks there is someone maybe more guilty than even Lady Russell in keeping them apart. Him. And Anne, dear, thoughtful, elegant-minded Anne Elliot plays coy. Ego, thy name is Anne.

Cyberdating, Austen Style

Following Laura’s lead on cyberdating, I looked up some advice from Kimberly Novosel on Hello Giggles. Here’s Kimberly’s advice on how to select a man on a cyberdating site.

Any man who posts a picture of himself doing bicep curls: Ignore.

Any man who’s opening line to you is, “What were you for Halloween, a hottie?” ignore.

Run your own sort of IQ test. First portion: Writing skills. If his emails are casual or informal, that’s one thing, but if he uses run on sentences, incorrect grammar, or uses the phrase “hangin’ with ladies,” then that’s beyond informal. That’s uninformed. Test Two: If you ask his favorite book and he can’t even name a book, he’s out.

Watch out for the template. Make sure that the guy actually references your profile by looking for details. If he doesn’t, he’s giving you a stock answer because he’s usually rejected.

Using Kimberly’s advice, I’ve decided to have some Austen men write dating profiles and see if they pass the smell test. Can you guess which Austen characters these men are?

Austen actors

Bachelor #1

Hi, Babe. Today is your lucky day! Check out my workout video. How would you like to spend an evening hangin’ with my six-pack? We could watch the NFL channel while I tell you about my plans to open a line of gyms to help other men look as great as me. If I like you, I’ll let you invest in my business. Be sure to wear something hot and tiny. I don’t like to waste time unwrapping my presents. Oh, and bring dinner for two.

Bachelor #2

Madam, I am most anxious to meet a young woman interested in running my household. She must be lovely, industrious, intelligent, modest, frugal, soft-spoken, and willing to bow down to my employer in order to advance my career. If my employer dislikes you, I fear we shall not be able to pursue any sort of a relationship. If my employer approves, we shall marry quickly. I am tired of sleeping alone.

Bachelor #3

I am not looking for a wife, nor do I seek companionship. However, if you have sufficient money, social status, beauty, and intelligence, I may condescend to meet you. Please provide proof of all of the above in your response.

Well, ladies? Name the bachelors.




Marrying Well for Fun and Profit: Cyber Dating

Photo: Jenny Downing (Creative Commons Flickr)


“The sea hath fish for every woman.”
(William Camden, more or less)

“If I want to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex, I don’t go get a new haircut–I update my profile.”
(from He’s Just Not That Into You)

“I like you, but not in a ‘Let’s hang out off-line’ kind of way.”

My Dear Vulgarian Miss,

I see that you have an interest in on-line dating. While I salute your modern idealism, might I remind you that opening the field to all comers does not mean that you check your brains at the gate? If you wish to marry well, discretion must be your guide. Here are my thoughts:

Schedule a meet-up with your on-line paragon as soon as possible and no, Skype does not count. It isn’t wise to pin your hopes on what he appears to be, you must see for yourself. After all, who do you think wrote his dating profile? And why did he think “I love laughing” was in any way attractive?

Meet in a public spot–drive your own car–but please, don’t choose Starbucks. I suggest booking a reservation at your city’s top restaurant. If he balks at the location, so much the better. Why waste your time with a cheapskate? Or with someone who is not gainfully employed?

Be polite, be lovely and conversant, but keep your eyes open. Details matter: cleanliness of trimmed fingernails and hair, his shoes (leather with rounded, not pointed toes), and an overall sense of style. As your husband, his taste will undergo adjustment, of course. But basic fashion sense cannot be taught, and most husbands are adverse to the complete overhaul.

And then there is the conversation test. Eligible gentlemen ought to possess social skills, so we must assume that those relying on cyber dating sites might not. Allow for periods of silence. Can he step up and fill them? Watch for the awkward laugh, the washing of hands, and that telltale eye tic. Speaking of eyes, does he gaze at you and glance at the waitress? Are his eyes focused primarily on your bustline? Or even worse, on hers?

Has he Gut Expectations? A paunch now bodes ill for later years, and so does its cousin the slouch. He’s a man, not an orc! And please, does he converse only of beer and sports? What about those long walks on the beach he no doubt included in his profile? Can he name the classic movies he claims to enjoy? And does he even like cats?

When the check comes, “wallet threaten” him. Reach for your purse as if you are offering to pay, and then gauge his response closely. A man who allows you to pick up the tab will have you paying for many things when it should be the other way round! My dear, I would not like to see you, as his beloved wife, moonlighting at Sonic to pay the cable bill.

Cordially yours in the upward climb,

Sir Walter Elliot, Bart

Big Bird? Big Deal

The model, Heidi Klum went to the Emmys Sunday and this is what she wore:

Image from USMagazine.com

Image from USMagazine.com

Big Bird has been mentioned. Swiffer dusters. Easter chicks. I think it was put together by a committee. One that had no clear goals. It really doesn’t matter because Ms Klum is gorgeous. She is 42 and looks 24. As long as she shows up wearing something, who really cares?

I have to laugh, because it Mellisa McCarthy had shown up in this, the sound of the haters hating would still be reverberating in our ears.