In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet spent a few nights at Netherfield Park so she could nurse her ill sister, Jane. The first evening, after Jane had finally fallen asleep, Elizabeth ventured downstairs to join Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, his … Continue reading
Ever wish some Regency rules of etiquette still applied today? Me, too!
Please join me on the Austen Authors blog to talk about manners and rude people (in the nicest way possible, of course). 🙂
Hello, and happy Saturday to you!
Today I’m on the Austen Authors blog, talking about Fitzwilliam Darcy, the hero of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Was Darcy a meddling busybody, as Elizabeth Bennet supposed?
Or was he just a nice guy who tried to take care of the people he loved?
Click here or on the icon below to read the post and have your share in the conversation!
On October 21, 1805 the Battle of Trafalgar was fought between the English Navy and the combined fleets of France and Spain. England’s chances for victory were slim. The British force had twenty-seven ships; the enemy had thirty-three. But England’s … Continue reading
A happy Saturday to you!
I’m posting on the Austen Authors blog today, talking about social media in Jane Austen’s time. Please join me!
I love to walk. My daily walk lasts about an hour. When the weather is bad I walk on my treadmill. On good weather days I take to my neighborhood sidewalks, and sometimes I walk in circles around the quarter-mile track at the high school.
It’s an hour out of every day when I can simply enjoy the movement of my body in the fresh air. But most of the time, when I walk, I think. I’m often amazed by how many problems I solve, bad moods I correct, and bright ideas I come up with just by walking.
In that respect, I think I have something in common with Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Elizabeth loved a good walk. She walked to Netherfield Park, “crossing field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity.”
She often walked to Meryton with her sisters, sometimes to visit their aunt, or to get Mr. Collins out of their father’s study, or “to inquire if Mr. Wickham were returned, and to lament over his absence from the Netherfield ball.”
But it wasn’t until she went to Hunsford to visit her cousin Mr. Collins and his wife Charlotte that we get a real sense of the joy Elizabeth felt when she went on one of her “solitary walks.”
There was a good reason for that. The imaginary village of Hunsford was located in the very real county of Kent; and Kent is known as The Garden of England.
It’s a lush county with fertile soil; for centuries Kent has been home to a myriad of fruit and hops farms.
Sovereigns and aristocrats built castles and magnificent country retreats amid Kent’s beautiful landscapes, and in the story, Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s Rosings Park is among those country estates.
In the spring—the very time of year in which Elizabeth arrived in Hunsford in the story—Kent is in bloom. “The weather was so fine for the time of year that she had often great enjoyment out of doors.”
And being an avid walker, Elizabeth quickly found her own favorite course for walking about the Kent countryside:
Her favourite walk, and where she frequently went while the others were calling on Lady Catherine, was along the open grove which edged that side of the park, where there was a nice sheltered path, which no one seemed to value but herself, and where she felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine’s curiosity. In this quiet way, the first fortnight of her visit soon passed away.
If Elizabeth’s walks were anything like mine, she relished her time alone in the out-of-doors, where she could simply enjoy her surroundings in peace. It’s no wonder, then, that she was a little miffed when Mr. Darcy intruded upon her walks:
More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought, and, to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! Yet it did, and even a third.
Poor Elizabeth had to change her walking course to avoid meeting him again. But even after taking that extraordinary step, Darcy still found her on the morning after she rejected his offer of marriage:
“I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. Will you do me the honour of reading that letter?”
That scene, when Darcy hands his letter to Elizabeth near the grove of trees, is one of my favorite scenes in Pride and Prejudice. It’s a pivotal moment in the story; and it seems fitting that Elizabeth should read the letter while she’s on one of her solitary walks and can absorb the letter’s revelations without interruption.
I don’t walk in a setting as lovely and peaceful as the Kent countryside, but I still enjoy my daily walks. And like Elizabeth, I guard my solitude as I walk (saying a friendly “hello” or “good morning” to passersby notwithstanding). I return from my walks refreshed and comforted, and that, I think, was Elizabeth’s experience, too.
After re-reading the passages in Pride and Prejudice that describe Elizabeth’s walks, I realize that, like me, there must be other Elizabeth-style walkers in the world.
How about you? Are you a walker? Do you walk with friends or do you have a “love of solitary walks” like Elizabeth Bennet? Where do you enjoy walking?
I’m working on a new story; it’s a variation on Pride and Prejudice that centers on the mayhem caused by Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. Some of the scenes will take place in the London home of the Gardiners in Cheapside. … Continue reading
200 years ago today, Jane Austen passed away. She left behind an enduring legacy of much-loved novels and correspondence that—to this day—still captivate readers and inspire writers. Around the globe today are celebrations of Jane Austen’s life and works. If … Continue reading
Lydia Bennet was fifteen years old when she fell under the spell of George Wickham in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Willful and foolish, she eloped with Wickham less than a year after making his acquaintance, leaving her family stunned … Continue reading
When I first began reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, I was intrigued by the world she created. Prior to reading her novels I never gave a thought to how people really lived in the early 1800s, even though I’ve always … Continue reading