Category Archives: Austen men

Austen Men in My Life

Edward Ferrars

Jane Austen’s father, George Austen, was the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and Deane. Though Mr. Austen came from a wealthy family of wool merchants, his branch eventually fell into poverty. He supplemented his family’s income by farming and taking in three or four boys at a time to teach.

By the accounts I’ve read, George Austen was an educated, hardworking man who enjoyed family discussions about politics and societal norms. He and his family debated amicably, and the atmosphere of his home was intellectually open and amusing.

Edward

Thinking of the clerics Jane wrote, I was struck by the negative portrayals of several of them. Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton leap to mind.

However, she wrote two clerics sympathetically: Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility) and Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey).

I grew up in church, I went to a religious college, and my husband, brother-in-law, and a nephew are all ministers, so I have known many “men of the cloth” very well.

One of them is a wonderful example of an Edward Ferrars.

Mr. Ferrars made a poor decision as a boy, but he was an honorable man. He committed himself to Lucy Steele. Though he fell in love with Elinor as a man and did not love Lucy, he stood by his original commitment. He tried to tell Elinor, but his sister thwarted him.

Edward Ferrars did not chase material wealth or self-importance. He was the heir of a fortune and could have served in Parliament, but he wanted a small country parish where he could make sermons and raise chickens.

He was gentle, thoughtful, and kind. He did not resent Lucy Steele or his brother when Miss Steele transferred her affections to Robert. He was happy for them, though Robert was free to marry the woman he chose, and he received Edward’s inheritance.

Edward chose to be happy in less than wonderful circumstances. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11. I’m sure everyone has problems, but the important thing is how a person deals with the problems.

No one is perfect, but when I look at my nephew, I see a happy man who loves his life. He’s an excellent husband and father. He works hard in his ministry. He earned his doctorate in theology. He’s intelligent, fun to be around, inquisitive, and forward thinking. He isn’t stuck on himself. He loves people. He’s quite handsome, too, which a man should be if he possibly can manage it.

I enjoy following him on social media, for he’s always upbeat, encouraging everyone around him. At family gatherings I try to make time to talk with him, because he uplifts me without even knowing it.

I taught my nephew when he was in the sixth grade. Now he’s teaching me.

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Austen Men in My Life

Charles Bingley

Writers borrow from their own lives when they construct their characters and circumstances. I am at my most realistic when I insert a scene or person from my own life into the story, for I can feel the emotions and describe the events very well, especially if I was experiencing strong feelings when I lived it.

Austen men

Yesterday, I was thinking of that and of the very different Darcys Laura Hile and I have written. Her Darcys are playful. They banter with cheerful Elizabeth. My Darcys are kind and courteous, but they brood. They’re moody, and Elizabeth is by turns angry, sad, happy – she’s all over the place. Like me.

I have been told that I’m dramatic. I might be.

Anyhow, I now realize that I’ve combined Austen’s characters with bits and pieces of people I’ve known throughout my life. As I processed that epiphany, I began to think of the men (and boys) I’ve known and how bits and pieces of them have made it into my characters. I knew all of them well. Some of them were classmates, some were casual dates, some were/are friends or relatives, some were boyfriends, and one is my husband.

In fact, I have known all of the Austen men. Let that sink in. I was able to think through Austen’s characters and select the man I know/knew who fit that character. I knew Darcys, Bingleys, Hursts, Wickhams, Collinses, Edwards, Toms, Brandons, Wentworths, Tilneys, Knightleys, Churchills, Mr. Bennets, – all of them.

My first boyfriend was definitely a Bingley – sweet, kind, cheerful, well-liked, lovable, unfailingly polite, popular, and courteous. I dated him for three years and never heard a cross word from him, though I’m certain he heard a few from me. Unlike Austen’s Bingley, he was very intelligent and spiritual. I think that’s why my Bingleys are always smarter and more capable than the Austen original.

Is there a Bingley in your past?

For the next few months, I plan to trace Austen’s characters, male and female (yes, I knew those, too) through my life. Please feel free to join me.

A Little Something after all these years…

 

Dy Brougham Searches for Lt.Richard Fitzwilliam
Pamela Aidan

(1815, 2 years or so after Darcy & Elizabeth are wed)

The wagon jolted and shivered over the shell pocked roads until Dy’s teeth ached and his fingers cramped in their grip on its splintery sides. Rain continued to fall in unrepentant bursts that were soaking through his oiled cape. His hat was most likely a loss, even for its protective coverings, and the cold crept into the reaches of muscle and bone, both thoroughly wracked by the paths he had been required to travel to get to the farm house in which Darcy’s cousin was said to have been deposited before Uxbridge moved out.

“Il ya la ferme de Emille. Nous sommes presque hors de la pluie damnés,” his driver tossed over his shoulder. (There is Emille’s farm. We’re almost out of the damned rain.”) Continue reading

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.

 

 

 

Dishonorable Men

Dishonorable: bringing shame and disgrace on someone or something; lacking respect or ethical principles.

History is a funny thing. It makes heroes of horrific people and villains of honorable men. I have always been interested in the different ways people view the same thing. So much can color our perception of a person or historical event.

For most of the country, the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. In the South, particularly South Carolina and Georgia, people who have lived here for generations feel differently.

William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman


The most dishonorable man I can think of who is now deceased is William Tecumseh Sherman. My father hated Sherman with a passion, and he told me stories, passed down by word of mouth, that aren’t in the cleaned-up history books. What is in the books gives credence to what my father said – Sherman was a vicious, cruel man who took pleasure in destruction. In early 1864, Lincoln made Sherman supreme commander of the armies in the West and Grant ordered him to “create havoc and destruction of all resources that would be beneficial to the enemy.” A couple of months later, with 98,797 troops and 254 cannons, Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign, declaring Atlanta to be a military encampment and eventually burning the city to the ground. He was allowed to do what no other military leader had done in our country against our own people. His men were encouraged to pillage and burn Southern homes, raping the women and killing at will. In his March to the Sea, Sherman cut a sixty mile wide swath through Georgia, destroying everything in his path. On December 23, 1864, Sherman sent a telegram to Lincoln stating that he was presenting him the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift. Following that, he went through South Carolina and North Carolina, right by the house in which I grew up. The house was spared because his soldiers used it. The orders came from Grant, but Lincoln allowed it in order to end the war.

I’m glad that the South lost the war. Had we won, our country would have been splintered and weak. However, the ends do not justify the means. There is plenty of dishonor to go around in our country’s history.

Actors who have portrayed George Wickham

Actors who have portrayed George Wickham


No Austen man comes close to the level of dishonor exhibited, in my opinion, my Sherman, but I’ll choose another military man from her works to stand by him.

George Wickham, selfish, self-centered, grasping, and despoiler of innocents is, to me, the most dishonorable of Austen’s characters. If you have limited yourself to watching the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice, you lack a full picture of his villainy. Read the book or watch the 1995 miniseries for a more complete sketching of his character.

Honorable Men – Husbands

My Mr. Knightley

My Mr. Knightley

My husband is an honorable man. He is faithful, hardworking, honest, funny, talented, intelligent, handsome, kind, humble, compassionate, and lovable. He’s known throughout the community as a dependable, pleasant person who will readily help those in need. He’s also read the Austen novels, and he watches all the film variations with me, quoting fluently. He’s handy, too. If he can’t fix it, throw it away. He has always been a wonderful husband and a superb father to our daughters.

However, he does have one fault; he’s not a good gift giver. For Christmas, he gave me an alternator for my car and had it serviced. Not exactly a ten on the romance meter. (Rest easy, ladies. I bought my own Christmas presents from him and put them under the tree. He also bought me a few more presents when he saw that I was less than thrilled. I received a portable battery charger for my phone. (Now that’s romantic, right?) In short, I married Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy.

The Mr. Knightleys

The Mr. Knightleys

Mr. Knightley is a great favorite of mine, obviously. He does what is right; he does his duty. He’s down-to-earth and sensible. In short, it’s possible that after 38 years of marriage, he could give Emma an alternator for Valentine’s Day and wonder why she isn’t thrilled. It’s also probable that after he realizes she’s disappointed, he would choose another gift, just like my Mr. Knightley did (and he might make the same mistake again in going for practicality over romance).

That’s fine with me. I’d rather have an honorable Mr. Knightley than a romantic Frank Churchill any day.

Honorable Men

In two or three weeks I will finish the third book (Forever Yours) in my second series (Yours by Design), and I’m already contemplating my next project. That line of thought led me to two questions: What makes a man honorable? Are there any honorable men today?

Two weeks ago, I mentioned Urban Meyer – not a perfect man, but an honorable one. He made a conscious decision to put his family above his career. He decided that his wife and children were more important than football. He was right, though his decision could have cost him his job. In actuality, his choice made him a better coach. It balanced the areas of his life. He’ll probably live longer as well.

I think men who are true to their beliefs (religious or not), regardless of what it might cost them, are honorable. Jane Austen was the queen of the flawed, but honorable, man.

Darcy Actors

Darcy Actors

Fitzwilliam Darcy certainly fits the bill. He recognized his pride and conceit through the humiliation of his rejected proposal, and he changed – even though he would possibly suffer in society and still not win Elizabeth.

Frederick Wentworth was another such man. The spurned Wentworth returned from the sea determined to think of Anne no more. When he raised the expectations of the Musgroves with his pronounced attentions to Louisa, he would have married her, though he realized he still loved Anne. Fortunately, Louisa fell in love with Benwick.

Wentworth Actors

Wentworth Actors

Edward Actors

Edward Actors

Another Austen hero, Edward Ferrars, held to an engagement he made when he was very young, though he did not love Lucy Steele, and he passionately loved Elinor Dashwood. Austen rewarded him for his steadfastness by having the scheming Lucy marry Robert – the man she truly deserved.

Colonel Brandon did not damage the reputation of his rival, John Willoughby, though he had both the proof and the right to do so. Once Willoughby’s true character was revealed, Brandon won the affections of Marianne, who had finally learned to appreciate a man of impeccable character more than a rogue with a handsome face.

Colonel Brandon Actors

Colonel Brandon Actors

Today’s honorable men would be found mainly in the unheralded ranks. We all can name some husbands, brothers, friends, and sons who are honorable, but who in the limelight today deserves that accolade?