Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

To Our Readers

The proclamations of love on Valentine’s Day are usually romantic. Though, these days were are required to consider those who are not entangled as such. I’m an agnostic when it comes to Valentine’s Day. My husband has already bought me flowers, and gave me a great, very kitchy card last night. I am still befuddled that he even puts up with me.

So, considering my ambivalence towards the day, and that I am chronically ill-prepped these days, here’s a token of our appreciation:


Thank you for the time and attention you so graciously give us. It’s more than we deserve.


Those Bennet Valentines

Image: liz west (Creative Commons Flickr) of an illustration by James Montgomery Flagg

Image: liz west (Creative Commons Flickr) of an illustration by James Montgomery Flagg

What better way to spend a winter’s morning than making Valentines? The Bennet girls have been busy. Ah, but will they be bold enough to post them? Let’s take a peek:



Roses are red, violets are blue.
Who is my Valentine?
Is he you, you, or you?
I do love a red coat,
My favorite hue.
When I make up my mind
Then my love will be true.



I read aloud and pour out tea,
And yet you seldom notice me.
I sing and play as well as the others;
My nerves are nothing like my mother’s!
A parsonage is where I’d shine,
Mr. Collins, be my Valentine!



You officers are such good friends
But you haven’t any money.
I dream of someone rich and fine
Who’ll dare to call me “Honey.”



The finest, dearest, kindest man
(in addition to dear Father)
Has come my way; is this God’s plan?
My patient heart’s a-flutter!



Violets are blue, like the penstemon.
I asked for True Love and was given a Lemon.
Yes, you are richer than Tom, John, or Harry.
But you’re still the last man
I ever would marry!

Southern Fried Austen

Y’all Ain’t Right

Lizzy and Jane Bea met Caroline for lunch at the Pig ‘n Vittles the day after Valentine’s Day. Caroline was hankerin’ for a smoked pulled pork barbeque sandwich, but Lizzy wanted smoked grilled chicken, and Jane Bea opted for Brunswick stew on account a her upset stomach the night afore. PignvittlesP & V sign


Caroline: This red slaw is to die for, y’all.

barbecue sandwich

Lizzy: I can’t wait for the homemade banana puddin’ at the end. Oh my goodness gracious Rachel, it’s worth waitin’ every minute for. Pass me that hot sauce.

Jane Bea: Good grief, girls. Y’all got holler legs? It’s all I can do to eat what I got. The pork in this stew is just as good as what Charlie and I ate here last night, and it’s cheaper. I shoulda stuck with a pimiento cheese sandwich.

grilled chicken

Caroline: What’d you guys have? My whole plate is just $5.99.

Jane Bea: Charlie put on the dog and bought us them foreign hot dogs from Korea. Between that and the beans, my stomach was making thunder all the way through that zombie movie. I won’t never eat that rotten stuff they put on that barkin’ dog agin. I just wish it had stayed in Korea. I spent half the night on the commode, tore up from the floor up.

Caroline: Did you and Charlie play smacky-mouth when you weren’t on the pot, or did you watch the zombies eat people?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


Jane Bea: Now, you just back that pickup truck up, Caroline. I ain’t about to tell anything I did with Charlie to his sister. And nobody ate anybody at the drive-in, but that was one strange movie. All them girls flyin’ around with swords, whacking the heads off those eat-up people. That Bingley guy was hotter’n all get out, but he was dumb as a sack a hair. Bless his heart. Made the man playin’ Darcy look downright pitiful in the looks department, even if he was a cotton-pickin’ ninja, jumpin’ around all over the place, savin’ that ‘Lizbeth girl’s life. She looked doggone good in that leather suit. I might hafta get me one a those. I think Charlie liked it. He was grinning like a goat eatin’ briars. Bingley

Lizzy: Why, Jane Beatrice! You ain’t right! You all’d wear a leather suit to please a man? Gonna get a Harley, too?

Jane Bea: That’s enough about my Valentine’s date. What happened at the monster truck rally? You gals meet Charlie’s friend?

Lizzy: Shore did. That man was all stuck on hisself. He’s better lookin’ than any man has a right to be, but he was too big for his britches, if you ask me. So rich he buys another boat when his gets wet.

Caroline: ‘Lizbeth Frances, you ain’t got the good sense God gave a goose, and ain’t nobody askin’ you. You just all green-eyed ‘cause he paid me more attention than he did you. If you’d put a clamp on that barbed-wire tongue, he might a jawed a little with you, too. Mama always told me I could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. He was fearful handsome, Jane. I couldn’t watch the rally for lookin’ at him.

Lizzy: He thinks ‘cause he went to some fancy schmancy school and learned to talk like a Yankee that he’s better’n us dumb Southerners.

Jane Bea: Oh, no, Lizzy. What’d you say to him?

Lizzy: I told him I may talk slow but that don’t mean I’m stupid.

I May Talk Slow

Jane Bea: Good grief! You’d fight with a empty house, girl. Did he like your new outfit, Caroline?

Lizzy: (snorts) He wasn’t impressed as much as the rednecks waitin’ in line at the porta potties. Them guys were drunker than Cooter Brown. Their eyes musta been floatin’.

Caroline: Well, ain’t you just funny as a three-legged dog in a horse race! Them good ole boys wont that drunk. They just knew a good thang when they seen it.

Lizzy: They hollered at you, and you lit up like a Christmas tree. ‘Course you don’t think they was drunk. And they shore seen plenty of you. We all did. That little number you had on was so tight you musta used a whole can of W-D 40 and a shoehorn to get into it.

9dfb3dd2c60726a8be43966c611f4b2cCaroline: Just ‘cause I don’t wear farmer jeans like you don’t make me a loose woman. That dog won’t hunt. I’ve had enough a yore mouth, Lizzy. I’m goin’ home. I feel like I been rode hard and hung up wet. I’m gonna take me a nap. I’ll see you tomorra, Jane. Lizzy, I’ll see you when I see you.

Lizzy: Don’t let the screen door hit you in the rear end on the way out.

Jane Bea: Why you always gotta fuss with Caroline? The way you two carry on, you’d think y’all were kin folk.


Lizzy: She fusses with me, too, and she can just kiss my grits. I don’t know what in tarnation she’s gets so riled up about.

Jane Bea: (shaking her head) Y’all two ain’t right. You just ain’t right.

Pride & Precedence: What Valentine?

An advice column by Persuasion’s own Mary Musgrove


It’s beginning to look a lot like Valentine’s Day. Or so says a popular song from your era, adapted for the occasion. And this could very well be the case in the Metropolis, where the shops are filled with fashionable gifts for ladies.

But here in the village shop, we are lucky if there is a stack of flowered cards for sale. These are sent to sweethearts or to officers away in the war. But I say, why not to one’s devoted and hard-working wife?

And if one is spending money on a card, why not a box of chocolates instead? Candies are just as temporary, here today and gone tomorrow, and are much more enjoyable than words on paper.

And if one is buying chocolates–which are not good for the figure–why not lay out a bit more for a gold necklace or a gown? One should spend money on items that will last, I say. Or at least for something that the receiver will enjoy.

Try as I might, my husband ignores my hints and suggestions. I might as well be speaking to the wind.

But if the boys ask for something, he immediately complies: a pig-a-back ride or a tramp in the woods or a trip to his kennels to see the new puppies. Sometimes he will spend pennies for sweets.

A not so subtle hint

My husband is immune to subtle hints

I suppose I ought to prompt the boys to ask for a present for me. Ah, but Little Charles is as mulish as his father. And Walter is too young to properly say ‘gown’ (or ‘gloves’ or ‘spring bonnet’). I might have to settle for a new ‘hat.’ But that lisp of his is troubling. It would be very like Charles to give me a ‘cat’ instead.

No one knows what I suffer.

According to Charles, I have enough in my quarterly allowance for gowns and such, and should not be hinting for gifts. He has no idea. The prices here are a scandal! A lady cannot go about wearing rags!

Unless my husband wises up, I shall have to settle for a Valentine’s bouquet–gathered by him at the last desperate minute from the meadow. But only if the daffodils or bluebells bloom early. Last year it was a sad little clump of winter aconites.

But really, what good is a Valentine’s token if one’s neighbors do not see it? So I must go to the trouble of arranging a dinner party in order to display Charles’ bouquet, straining the household budget even more. It would be so much simpler if he would buy a proper gift in the first place.

To help my husband remember the holiday, I am teaching the boys this nursery poem:

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.

I do not think much of Fortune’s choice for me, but one does what one can. I trust your Valentine will do better at gift-giving.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross

Have you discovered Mercy’s Embrace?
Romance, adventure, and Jane Austen’s ‘Other Elizabeth’ are waiting …

Poem is from Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784)
Mary’s “portrait” is Afternoon Stroll by Giovanni Boldini

“He don’t wanna be lonely tonight”

Desperate man-seekers never fare well in Jane Austen’s novels. Isabella Thorpe, Maria Bertram, and Elizabeth Elliot almost deserve the scorn they receive.

Photo Credit: David Goehring (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo Credit: David Goehring (Creative Commons Flickr)

But hey, if you’re pining for a boyfriend this Valentine’s Day, Craigslist has you covered. From today’s listings for the Portland, Oregon metro area, here are fellows are ready, willing, and available.

I wish I were making these up, truly. I must tell you that these are by NO means the weirdest ads. Here goes.

Breakfast at a dive bar, he says. Up early and have the weekend off. I have no valentine to love on, on this day of love. 🙂 sooooooo! I’m looking for a chill sweetie to get puffy with and go get breakfast at a dive bar. who’s in? (Not making this up.)

Photo Credit: Liz West (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo Credit: Liz West (Creative Commons Flickr)

Valentine’s with someone, he says. I know what you already think, a guy posting on Craigslist is pathetic…and you’re right. I wouldn’t be here if was Cristiano Ronaldo. I’m a average 7- to 3:30 warehouse guy. I made $120,000 last year but I’m still nothing you would ever brag to your girlfriends about. I fish,shoot,snowboard and all that other redneck sh*t, but I also love fine wine,and all that other stuff. Single mom’s do not apply. (Not making this up.)

I am real, it’s Valentine’s Day. The bane of every single person, he says. I am searching for a young woman who is interested in dating older guys. I would love to have a regular intimate encounter, dinner, watch a movie, enjoy Portland, date and have some awesome sex. Me- I just turned 50, 3 wks ago, do not look or feel 1/2 century old, in good shape, no six pac but not fat either. I am single, young at heart and very active. I am well educated, professional and would enjoy the company of a younger woman. I am established, mature, kind and open to many things. I love music, movies, cycling and board games. You- 25-38 hwp, open and mature. Please be active- cycling, running, yoga. Let’s have dinner and enjoy stellar conversation, a glass of wine. Please be non smoking, stable, drug, disease free, employed. (Not making this up.)

Alas, this one is a fictional fellow.

At least Mr Darcy does not demand someone who is slim

Seeking decent live-in girlfriend, he says. Decent, romantic, creative, educated man who is not into dating seeks love and affection from a good woman, preferably < 40 yo, who is goal-oriented, warm, and searching for stability in her life. If we seem compatible, you can come and live with me (very nice place) as housemate-friend without sexual intimacy 'til we connect. Only petite, healthy, non-felon, educated women need to respond, and be ready to identify themselves. (Not making this up.)

Then I got on the wrong page and found this dandy ad from a woman. Because it’s good for a girl to know what she wants, right?

Seeking a well-groomed companion with hair, she says. Seeking sophisticated traveler who knows about behavioral psychology. It works best if you were raised with older sisters and you liked your mother….Energetic, problem-solving, outspoken, vivacious lady, slim and trim, seeks a trim man companion for outings and beach exploration. Family is not here, and I seek someone who also has no primary family but likes winter surf watching, to dance, and to see the magnificent coast. I am refined and a creative artist who likes a well groomed companion with hair….Do not contact me if you have heavy drama going in your life with multiple people pulling on your every nerve and spare moment, and you are exhausted. I seek someone who is REALLY available and not too many really are. Let’s have fun. I am way past 50 and you can be way past 50 IF you are IN SHAPE and have a nice smile! Men in their 40s frequently want to talk with me when I’m out. No smoking/drugs/felines or ex-wife, illness caregiving, child or grand-child drama. (SO not making this up.)

Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember, there are worse things than being lonely tonight…

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.