I’d like to welcome all of you coming over for Jane Austen’s Birthday Hop, organized by the lovely Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club fame. I have a child with a December birthday and so greatly admire the courage of any woman, with the holidays looming, willing to pull something like this together! Thank you, Maria.
Maria asked that we post our favorite page from our favorite Jane Austen novel. Any of you who know me already know my Austen passion is Persuasion. !Shameless self-promotion alert!: I wrote None But You and For You Alone–available from Amazon–which are Persuasion from hero, Frederick Wentworth’s point-of-view. I am a Frederick Fangirl for life and have come to enjoy Anne Elliot’s company like that of an old friend. (Yeah, I’m kind of batty when it comes to Austen.) I am a sucker for the love-lost-love-regained themes in Austen’s last novel.
For those of you unfamiliar, Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth who were parted by her family eight years previous to the beginning of the book. He wasn’t good enough for her at the time but went on to have great career—the Royal Navy—and monetary success. Her family’s fortunes are dropping like a stone and she is in danger of becoming an old maid. They meet again and to say that awkwardness is also a theme of Persuasion would be an understatement.
Here is a my favorite passage from early in Chapter 4: —Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail. They were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love. It would be difficult to say which had been happiest; she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.
At first blush this might hint that Frederick took what he could get because he was bored. But the last sentence makes it clear that he was as deeply charmed by her, and her acceptance of his proposal as any man could be.
At the end of Chapter 23, Anne and Frederick are now engaged, but enjoying their secret in the midst of a card party being held at the home of Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot. Frederick has told Anne he considered writing to her two years after they parted and asked if she would have responded to his overtures: “Good God!” he said, “you would! It is not that I did not think of it, or desire it, as what could alone crown my other success. But I was proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes and would not do you justice. This is a recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself. Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is a sort of pain, too, which is new to me. I have been used to the gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards. Like other men under reverses,” he added with a smile, “I must endeavour to subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”
I love this passage because it shows Wentworth is willing to admit his pride and apologize for the pain it caused her. And, I particularly enjoy the last, self-deprecating line. Austen is kind enough to give us heroes who acknowledge their faults and then apologize. Now whether or not they change is something she left for later writers to determine.
If you’re new to Austen and haven’t read Persuasion yet, I’d encourage you to do so in the coming year. Not only is the love story wonderful, but Austen’s sharp observation of foolishness is in top form in the character’s of Sir Walter Elliot and in Anne’s younger sister, Mary Musgrove. There is also a wicked cousin, William Walter Elliot how has all the makings of a first-rate sociopath.
Thank you for stopping by. Before you go, have a look around. The ladies of Jane Started It! offer some great free fiction and humorous posts galore. When you have finished, below is the list of Hop participants so you can travel on.
Take care—Susan Kaye
1.My Jane Austen Book Club
3.Jane Odiwe Jane Austen Sequels
5.Random Bits of Fascination
6.Dark Jane Austen Book Club
7.Indie Author Meets Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
8.El Sal?n de T?
9.Susan Kaye at Jane Started It!
10.Austenprose: A Jane Austen Blog
12.Sharon Lathan, Novelist
13.Kinx’s Book Nook
14.A country dreaming mum
15.Sally Smith O’Rourke
17.The writings and ramblings of Colette Saucier