Sunday, 3 August 2014

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 276

My partner and I just returned from a walk up the hill sort of behind our house, about 35 minutes up and 25 minutes down, with extra time to arrive there which took us in total two hours of a healthy walking regime.  My legs and ankles are very sore at the moment, but I enjoyed the walk (okay, I panted and struggled to breathe, but I still thought it was a good exercise). Then I thought about Austen heroines and characters who loved walking or doing any physical exercises, and my mind naturally wondered to Elizabeth Bennet and her walking three miles to Netherfield to visit her sister.

Keira Knightley as Lizzy Bennet (PP 2005) having a walk

Hence, here’s the excerpt from Pride and Prejudice Chapter 7. Elizabeth, upon learning that Jane was ill, set to Netherfield, accompanied by Catherine and Lydia until Meryton (the other two also loved walking, especially due to the prospect of meeting young, handsome officers in scarlet coats at the said destination). But of course, not before dear Mrs Bennet’s objection.

``How can you be so silly,'' cried her mother, ``as to think of such a thing, in all this dirt! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there.''

``I shall be very fit to see Jane -- which is all I want.''

``Is this a hint to me, Lizzy,'' said her father, ``to send for the horses?''

``No, indeed. I do not wish to avoid the walk. The distance is nothing, when one has a motive; only three miles. I shall be back by dinner.''

``I admire the activity of your benevolence,'' observed Mary, ``but every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what is required.''

``We will go as far as Meryton with you,'' said Catherine and Lydia. -- Elizabeth accepted their company, and the three young ladies set off together.

``If we make haste,'' said Lydia, as they walked along, ``perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter before he goes.''

In Meryton they parted; the two youngest repaired to the lodgings of one of the officers' wives, and Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary ancles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.

I wondered how long did it take for Elizabeth to reach Netherfield. A little over an hour?
So, how is your Sunday so far? Any exciting exercise? Or reading your favourite book? Or watching a long-awaited movie at the local theatre? Whatever it has been, I hope you enjoy this weekend.

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