A trip to our dentist often involves long waiting times, so taking along something sustaining to read is essential. As I left the house on my way to my check-up this week, I grabbed an issue of the wonderful Slightly Foxed magazine – and in the waiting room, settled my jittery attention on an enjoyable, stirring article about Jane Austen (Plain Jane? Plain Wrong by Daisy Hay – Winter 2009 Issue, No. 24). Just a few minutes later, I was stifling an urge to laugh out loud (seemed too incongruous in the silence of collective dread all around me…) when I read:
[Jane Austen’s] notebooks demonstrate that she enjoyed collecting the views of her more censorious friends and neighbours, including one Mrs Augusta Bramstone who ‘owned that she thought S[ense] and S[ensibility] and P. & P. downright nonsense, but expected to like M[ansfield] P[ark] better, & having finished the 1st vol – flattered herself she had got through the worst.’
That’s just so Jane! Sending brimstones…erm…sorry Bramstones of criticism sparking back at herself, with such a lightness of heart, even glee. And doesn’t the brimful Mrs Augusta B just come alive in those few short lines?
I’ve read this before, but finding it again in the Slightly Foxed article, came just at the right moment… The power of Jane; inspiring perspective and laughter – even in a dentist’s waiting room! Brilliant!
…As is Slightly Foxed; a place to find many a reading gem…