Several weeks ago, it was announced that J. K. Rowling lamented pairing her characters Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in her phenomenal “Harry Potter” series. With the mega-famous author’s disclosure and new documentation come to light, it would appear that writerly regrets are not uncommon.
Professor Edith Gernstrand, current holder of the Jane Austen Chair at the Glumly School of Romantic Regret in Detroit, Michigan stated when she saw social media’s wild response over Rowling’s admission, and that much of the reaction was negative towards Rowling, she decided it was time to seize the opportunity and let the reading public know that writers many times think better of decisions about their characters once the glow of writing the story is over.
“On her deathbed, Miss Austen reconsidered her literary pairings of Miss Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram, Miss Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, and particularly that of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. In her last hours, Jane struggled with her conscience and finally asked that her nurse take down her thoughts on the subject.”
The document was read to academics gathered to debate a proposal that would petition the United Nations to require all writings using Austen’s characters, “be they sequels, prequels, alternative universes, zombie or monster-based, contemporary, well-written or badly mauled,” be submitted to a blue-ribbon panel of scholars (to be determined later) for approval. “We are the crème-de-la-crème and are determined that Jane’s memory be upheld with dignity and standards that guarantee the hoi-poloi not sully the perfection of her works. “I am familiar with every aspect of Jane’s works and am sure that my proficiency would impress her very much.”
When asked if Miss Austen would approve of her referring to Miss Austen as “Jane,” the Professor declined comment.
The document in question was found in a box of letters in a second-hand shop in Arlington, Texas. “All this crap come to me from an estate sale. All the good stuff was gone, so I bid on the last of it hopin’ to find somethin’ worth my time,” said Tom Waterford, a junk dealer. Waterford’s daughter read all the letters and was intrigued by this one in particular. After contacting several documents experts, it was determined that the paper and ink were indeed contemporary to Miss Austen. “Now whether or not this rubbish is really what Jane Austen thought, I leave that to the nattering academics,” an unidentified source was quoted.
Is this really how Jane Austen felt? We may never know, but following is from the testament that threatens to shake the Austen world:
“I hope to find peace by having my thoughts written down. I am half agony, half hope that my soul will find rest afterwards. Lady Catherine was right. The idea that Miss Bennet would be suitable for Darcy and not a blight on the family is preposterous! What was I thinking? Not only them, but the idea that dashing Captain Wentworth would think another thought about an Anne Elliot after escaping the clutches of her family is foolish and a crime against romantic sensibilities. And saddling poor Fanny Price with Edmund Bertram! Hadn’t I punished her enough? None of these couples is suited the least. The ridiculous ideas I have put in the heads of others of my sex is unconscionable. My fondest hope is that my work disappears on my death. I wish so much that …” Miss Austen’s words ended at her death.