Sunday, 25 September 2011

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 168

This week’s quote is from Sense & Sensibility, Volume III Chapter X, Penguin Classics 2003 edition. Elinor and Marianne had returned back to the Barton Cottage after Marianne’s illness. The sisters were having a walk.

The sisters set out at a pace slow as the feebleness of Marianne in an exercise hitherto untried since her illness required; -- and they had advanced only so far beyond the house as to admit a full view of the hill, the important hill behind, when, pausing with her eyes turned towards it, Marianne calmly said,

"There, exactly there" -- pointing with one hand, "on that projecting mound, -- there I fell; and there I first saw Willoughby."

Her voice sunk with the word, but presently reviving she added --

"I am thankful to find that I can look with so little pain on the spot! -- shall we ever talk on that subject, Elinor?" -- hesitatingly it was said. -- "Or will it be wrong? -- I can talk of it now, I hope, as I ought to do."

I have been in many situations where the act of mere looking at the spot of event gave me pain. But healthy intentions to heal, coupled with sufficient time, doth the trick. As I return back to my home island, I often drove by places that were too painful for me to look at in the past. I’m very grateful that those places are now just places for me. Nothing more, nothing less. Healing takes time, but when we set our purpose and actions on that matter, healing does happen.

Picture: Willoughby carrying Marianne after the accident, by C.E. Brock (

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 167

I have been away from the blog for a while and it is nice to be back.
Whilst I was away (in India) I did lots of self reflection as you can imagine and I realised just how busy my mind is and how I now endeavour to live my life with more calm. I am sure that will change swiftly with the return to the normal pace of life though.
These thoughts led me to my quote this week taken from Emma.
Emma is out shopping with Harriet and is led to the window as Harriet is "tempted by everything and swayed by half a word."

Emma is amused by what she sees and I like Jane Austen's observation of her mind:

"A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer."

I think that Emmas mind is always lively but less often at ease, but in standing watching the world she has found some calm and is content. However, sometimes it is just easier if we see nothing as this eliminates the pressure to process and contemplate what we see. I like the "can see nothing that does not answer" line as I think that this illustrates Emma's mental overactivity as she often has a habit of making something out of nothing - we see this throughout the whole novel.

It sure is tiring to have a lively mind. But also rather exciting.

Pic: Emma and Harriet

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tom Lefroy Quote – Week 10

We have left behind Tom Lefroy for a while, so it’s time to revisit some of Tom’s personal aspects: gardening. Taken from his son’s (i.e. Thomas Lefroy) note in the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy page 51:

He had a great taste for gardening in early life, which induced him soon after his marriage to take a lot of ground in Leeson-street, (then on the outskirts of Dublin). On this lot he built the house which continued to be his town residence up to his death, enclosing a garden of about half an English acre; and here after he gave up going Circuit, he constantly spent a great part of his evenings during the spring and summer months in pruning his fruit trees and other garden work. I have still vividly before me our whole merry-hearted group – parents and children sallying forth into the garden after dinner, the youngest as well as the oldest taking share in the busy task of weeding borders, watering flowers, cutting shreds, or sitting at his side while he pruned the fruit-trees, and reading the pretty story book which he had bought on his way from Court in order that the evening might not pass without profit as well as pleasure.

Sigh…Beautiful… is it not? Reminding me that I must buy more flowers and shrubberies for my tiny weenie garden.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 166

My apologies for the near-last-minute instalment of the quote this week. I’ve been inspired by Sense & Sensibility for a few days, hence the quote is from this dear book. The Dashwoods and Edward Ferrars were talking about what to do when they have more than enough money. Something that Mrs Dashwood and Elinor said rang true to me today. Page 91 (Chapter 17 Penguin 2003 edition):

“I should be puzzled to spend a large fortune myself,” said Mrs Dashwood, “if my children were all to be rich without my help.”

“You must begin your improvements on this house,” observed Elinor, “and your difficulties will soon vanish.”

I like Elinor’s tongue-in-cheek observation. However, was it possible to renovate a rented property back in those days? I would think so, no? I wonder whether the Dashwood eventually bought the Barton Cottage from Sir John Middleton. I don’t recall reading it, but I of course can be wrong. I did find that the last page of the book explained that Mrs Dashwood remained in Barton Cottage.

At any rate, methinks home improvement is a very exciting project. I haven’t got enough cash flow to buy some new furniture for my rented place, but I did some gardening today. Not a 'home improvement' in the sense of renovation, but certainly seeing those greeneries at my backyard improved my mood!

Pic: Janet McTeer as Mrs Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility 2008