Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beauty...and the Beast?


"Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great." - Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen

This is from the newest adaptation of Sense & Sensibility staring the lovely Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood. I love these shots of her in this dress and shawl during the scene at Allenham with Willoughby. Truly and beauty and perhaps a beast of a man? This thought just came to me. Willoughby is actually my favorite of Jane Austen's "villians", he's so horrible yet so pitiable at the same time. If only he was brought up better, had better guidance, if only Eliza was kept better track of, if only Willoughby had money enough to marry her at once. He'd a monster, but and interesting one. I've considered writing a story of his life, but it would be rather sordid so I'll leave it to others.

This adaptation is beautiful by the way and I beliveve the characters were perfectly cast. I'm thinking it's the best yet even though I'll always love Emma Thompson's adaptation.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anne in Bloom


"Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming, silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of seven-and-twenty, with every beauty excepting bloom, and with manners as consciously right as they were invariably gentle..." Jane Austen's Persuasion

One particularly lovely part about actress Amanda Root portraying Anne is that she literally changes onscreen from a pale old maid with a red nose and blooms into a healthy, bonny bride. She is so lovely especially right at the end when she starts to smile more and curl her hair a bit.

Check out the transformation with some of my favorite shots of Anne:

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Anne leaving Kellynch - yes her nose is actually red!

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Anne taking a closer look in the glass - not quite what Captain Wentworth would remember.

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Sea air at Lyme is good for the complexion - or is it literary chats with Captain Benwick, or being admired by a stranger on the beach, or is it being in love?

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Anne enjoying of Mrs. Smiths gossip and good spirits - are those rosy cheeks I see?

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Anne shortly after seeing Captain Wentworth in Bath - she wears the same earrings quite a bit but they are nice.

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Mrs. Wentworth, the picture of a beautiful blushing bride. Now that's a transformation!

(a weekend of rest is just what I needed)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at Uppercross

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"But Mrs. Musgrove, who got Anne near her on purpose to thank her most cordially, again and again, for all her attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what she had suffered herself, by observing, with a happy glance round the room, that after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home."

And this is Mrs. Musgrove's idea of "a little quiet cheerfulness" :
"Immediately surrounding Mrs. Musgrove were the little Harvilles, whom she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them. On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to he heard in spite of all the noise of the others. Charles and Mary also came in, of course, during their visit; and Mr. Musgrove made a point of paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the children on her knees, generally in vain. It was a fine family-piece."

Lady Russell's idea of "a little quiet cheerfulness" is widely different.
"I hope I shall remember, in future," said Lady Russell, as soon as they were reseated in the carriage, "not to call at Uppercross in the Christmas holidays."

"When Lady Russell, not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newsmen, muffin-men, and milk-men, and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint. No, these were noises which belonged to the winter pleasures: her spirits rose under their influence; and like Mrs. Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet cheerfulness."


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Carol


I've really been enjoying Charles Dickens stories quite a bit lately and I know The Muppet Christmas Carol isn't the closest adaptation but it's one movie that my family and I love to watch this time of year.


I'd call it "period" in the sense of Muppets dressed in Victorian costume. It may be a bit unconventional but the point of Dicken's novel comes across clearly and it's a great family film.


The bittersweet tale of Scrooge's love Belle is portrayed very sweetly with a lovely song "When Love is Gone".


Humor, singing and dancing abound in this family friendly funny film. Just another of the good things in life that make you laugh and cry at the same time. If you haven't seen it yet I suggest a good dose of Christmas cheer! :)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking Out to Sea

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"The day was uncommonly lovely. It was really March; but it was April in its mild air, brisk soft wind, and bright sun, occasionally clouded for a minute; and everything looked so beautiful under the influence of such a sky, the effects of the shadows pursuing each other on the ships at Spithead and the island beyond, with the ever–varying hues of the sea, now at high water, dancing in its glee and dashing against the ramparts with so fine a sound..."

Almost done with my Christmas shopping. I found the most lovely handmade earrings online made by a seller on Etsy. Wickedpen has a series of "Jane Austen earrings" which are just exquisite! I bought this one-of-a-kind pair for my friend Amanda. I love old-fashioned items like this, it reminds me of a bygone era. :)


Saturday, December 20, 2008

In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Room

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"The East room, as it had been called ever since Maria Bertram was sixteen, was now considered Fanny’s, almost as decidedly as the white attic: the smallness of the one making the use of the other so evidently reasonable that the Miss Bertrams, with every superiority in their own apartments which their own sense of superiority could demand, were entirely approving it; and Mrs. Norris, having stipulated for there never being a fire in it on Fanny’s account, was tolerably resigned to her having the use of what nobody else wanted, though the terms in which she sometimes spoke of the indulgence seemed to imply that it was the best room in the house."

I don't really like this 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park but who does? A few of the characters were cast well but most just weren't right at all. I've said many times that this movie would have been so much better had it not suppose to have been a Jane Austen adaptation. If only the names had been changed to protect the innocent Mansfield Park characters from accusations of slavery, seduction, and same gender lovers! The best thing about this film is the music, such a lovely and lively score. It's too bad too because they could have done so much.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just Friends

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" How long had Mr. Knightley been so dear to her, as every feeling declared him now to be?" - Jane Austen's Emma

This adaptation is good but not my favorite. I really enjoyed the humor between Emma and Mr. Knightley and Harriet's simple minded ramblings. The casting wasn't the best, I did really enjoy Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, Jeremy Northam as Knightley (perhaps a bit too handsome but a true gentleman), Juliet Stevenson as Mrs. Elton (love her ramblings, she's so horrid!), and Sophie Thompson and Phyllidia Law as Miss and Mrs. Bates.
All other castings were rather silly or overdone in my opinion. I was very dissapointed with Ewan McGregor as Frank Churchill, he didn't have much screen time and was a bit corse instead of being chraming. I did have fun watching Alan Cumming as Mr Elton but he wasn't quite charming enough.
Costumes were lovely and so was the scenery but they were also a bit too theatrical, big screen and overdone for Jane Austen's tiny Highbury. The music was lovely and the script was closer to the book than I would have expected for a big screen adaptation.

I love the story of Emma, though it's not my favorite Jane Austen. I've always viewed Emma as a mystery of sorts where the truth is not discovered even by Emma until the very end when they work out the details of what actually had taken place. The friendship that developes into a deep and abiding love is just how I'm praying the Lord will work in my life when the time comes.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home is Best


"Ah! there is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort. Nobody can be more devoted to home than I am." - Mrs. Elton, Jane Austen's Emma

I know in my last post I mentioned that I'd give my opinion of this adaptation of Emma but now it come to the point I've decided to wait at least one more post.

I've been thinking how very much I love my home. I'm an unconventional girl, I was home schooled from kindergarten up and graduated just three years ago. I wasn't able financially to go to college or Bible school right away. At the time I saw it as a blessing because my family had just been through a long time of unemployment and financial difficulties which caused us to be on the road quite a bit. I was glad that we were finally settled, dad had a good steady job and that we could all be together. The Lord blessed with my first full time job where I cared for a christian friend's mother who had dementia. My second job was similar and during the summers I worked at Christian camps. The work I am now doing is a more secular environment where I care for Alzheimer's residents. I praise the Lord through all of this that I am still able to live at home and am blessed by godly parents and siblings who love me and that we enjoy such close relationships. Because of my busy work schedule I've been realizing lately how good it is to just relax and talk with my family. Home is such a lovely place for me, I hope it is for you as well.

I recently ran across this poem entitled 'Song' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.

A special thank you to The Edtrix from Ribbons of Light for the award! :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pretty as a Picture

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"The sitting began; and Harriet, smiling and blushing, and afraid of not keeping her attitude and countenance, presented a very sweet mixture of youthful expression to the steady eyes of the artist. But there was no doing anything, with Mr. Elton fidgetting behind her and watching every touch." - Jane Austen's Emma

What a picturesque scene is laid before us. What genius!

"You, sir, may say any thing," cried Mr. Elton; "but I must confess that I regard it as a most happy thought, the placing of Miss Smith out of doors; and the tree is touched with such inimitable spirit!"

Miss Smith out of doors, just the place Mr. Elton would always wish Harriet to be if he was within door. What a coxcomb Mr. Elton was!

My opinion of this adaptation tomorrow...


Beautiful Hands


The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally, in an unpremeditated little ball. ...Anne, very much preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country dances to them by the hour together: a kindness which always recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove more than any thing else, and often drew this compliment -- "Well done, Miss Anne! very well done indeed! Lord bless me! how those little fingers of yours fly about!"

Hands are very fascinating to me and quite beautiful. Faces can be altered with make up or surgery but "hands never lie" as my father says. My father is very good at telling a woman's age by looking at her hands.
I myself enjoy a good handshake - firm, almost rough and sincere not weak and limp (these features are particularly awful in a man's handshake). I enjoy seeing an older man's hand rough with work such as a farmer or carpenter. And one of the joys of working with elderly women particularly is seeing how beautifully wrinkled their hands become through a full life of caring for others.

Below are the hands of my friend Miss Velma who I cared for this Spring. Her's are hardworking hands and the hands of a woman of faith.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Turn Around


"And it was soon over. In two minutes after Charles's preparation, the others appeared; they were in the drawing-room. Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a bow, a curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all that was right; said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark an easy footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a few minutes ended it." - Persuasion

After so many years separation Anne and Frederick's first meeting after so many years was not at all as she had pictured. "A bow, a curtsey passed..." and that was all. Silence and an uncomfortable feeling fill the space between them. He hardly looks at her. They are both hurting so much.

"It is over! it is over!" she repeated to herself again, and again, in nervous gratitude. "The worst is over!" - Anne Elliot, Persuasion


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Box of Memories


"No one had ever come within the Kellynch circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he stood in her memory." - Persuasion

And what a great Captain Wentworth actor Rupert Penry-Jones was in the ITV adaptation of Persuasion. I didn't really like this adaptation very much and perhaps I was so critical because Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I love the BBC Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root adaptation. The story was cut short and the story line was changed which was quite dissapointing. Casting was a bit off at times as well, Sally Hawkins as Anne was alright but she's so very plain at times. Rupert Penry-Jones was well cast, perhaps not quite rugged enough, but the script was cut so it didn't show Captain Wentworth's genius or wit as well as it could have.
I also enjoyed Tobias Menzie's preformance as Mr. Elliot, he was very charming and really had Anne fooled it seemed. The other characters were alright but not the best. I did like Henrietta and Louisa in this one but other characters were just passe.
There was some beautiful scenery in this film and it was fun but still a bit dissapointing.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turn Back


"They must think it so strange, so rude of me! To go by them, too, without saying a word!" - Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey

I thought this was a really lovely shot of Eleanor and Henry as they turn back from their walk to see Catherine driving with Mr. Thorpe. Eleanor's bonnet is quite elegant, in fact everything about Eleanor Tilney is elegant. Eleanor is one of my favorite characters in Northanger Abbey, I love her almost more than Catherine!

"Miss Tilney had a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable countenance; and her air, though it had not all the decided pretension, the resolute stylishness of Miss Thorpe’s, had more real elegance. Her manners showed good sense and good breeding; they were neither shy nor affectedly open; and she seemed capable of being young, attractive, and at a ball without wanting to fix the attention of every man near her, and without exaggerated feelings of ecstatic delight or inconceivable vexation on every little trifling occurrence."

Were I write the story of Eleanor Tilney I would entitle it 'More Real Elegance'.
Elegance in an Austen character is often prized, it encompasses, as the quote above points out, quite a bit of virtue and not just pedigree or a pretty face.

Note: I've updated the side list of Old Fashioned Movies and they are all linked to their IMDb page. Please note that though I recommend all of them some may not be appropiate for families to view. A few are just "period" in costumes only.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Reader

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"But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives." - Northanger Abbey


Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Large Family


"Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any."
I come from a small family with three children and very much admire families that have five, six or more children. Large families seem so often to be known as loving and giving. Having many siblings children seem to learn more readily how to look out for each other, care for the younger children and often how to be content with less. Catherine Morland really had a wonderful world to grow up in filled with all the innocent pastimes a child could imagine and all the plain thinking her parents taught her.

We are told the names of five of her siblings: of her three older brothers James
"...I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again — I do like it so very much. If I could but have Papa and Mamma, and the rest of them here, I suppose I should be too happy! James’s coming (my eldest brother) is quite delightful — and especially as it turns out that the very family we are just got so intimate with are his intimate friends already. Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” - Catherine Morland

and Richard,
“My dear Catherine, I am afraid you are growing quite a fine lady. I do not know when poor Richard’s cravats would be done, if he had no friend but you. Your head runs too much upon Bath; ..." - Mrs. Morland

Sarah who was a year or two younger than herself
" Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the “Beggar’s Petition”; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did."

"Sally, or rather Sarah (for what young lady of common gentility will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can?), must from situation be at this time the intimate friend and confidante of her sister."

and the two youngest George and Harriet.
"The chaise of a traveller being a rare sight in Fullerton, the whole family were immediately at the window; and to have it stop at the sweep–gate was a pleasure to brighten every eye and occupy every fancy — a pleasure quite unlooked for by all but the two youngest children, a boy and girl of six and four years old, who expected a brother or sister in every carriage. Happy the glance that first distinguished Catherine! Happy the voice that proclaimed the discovery! But whether such happiness were the lawful property of George or Harriet could never be exactly understood."

There was one other older brother and then three younger siblings between Sally (age 16) and George (age six). These younger siblings I would assume to be all boys because at the time of Catherine's arrival from Northanger Abbey there was only "Her father, mother, Sarah, George, and Harriet, all assembled at the door to welcome her with affectionate eagerness..." and no other siblings. Since Morland girls were all educated at home it would seem likely that the house was fairly empty because the boys were away at school.

One might assume that the Morland's children would have names similar to the Austens - here they all are according to me:
Richard (after Rev. Morland as George Austen was named after his father Rev. Austen)
Catherine (instead of Cassandra who was hardly ever called Cassie as Catherine is never called Kitty)
Sarah "Sally" (plain like Jane, Jane Austen was called Jenny in her infant years)
Harriet (not sure about having a Henry and a Harriet, perhaps a John instead of a Henry?)

Just my silly fancy but much fun!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness - Contentedness


Content just to hang on Edmund's arm and his every word. What a fool he was to think only of Miss Crawford and not to recognize Fanny's superiority at first.

"I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people. I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as Fanny herself could desire."

How thankful Fanny was when the change did happen. She was so very blessed to have grown up at Mansfield Park, even though it was not always as pleasant as she could wish. Edmund alone had the strength of character, heart and understanding that Fanny deserved.

"With such a regard for her, indeed, as his had long been, a regard founded on the most endearing claims of innocence and helplessness, and completed by every recommendation of growing worth, what could be more natural than the change? Loving, guiding, protecting her, as he had been doing ever since her being ten years old, her mind in so great a degree formed by his care, and her comfort depending on his kindness, an object to him of such close and peculiar interest, dearer by all his own importance with her than any one else at Mansfield, what was there now to add, but that he should learn to prefer soft light eyes to sparkling dark ones."

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day with those you love. Don't forget during turkey and all the fixing to stop and count your blessings, as the hymn says " them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Empyt Room


“I am very sorry,” said she inarticulately, through her tears, “I am very sorry indeed...If it were possible for me to do otherwise” said she, with another strong effort; “but I am so perfectly convinced that I could never make him happy, and that I should be miserable myself.” - Mansfield Park

Having just received a strong reprimand from Sir Thomas for refusing Mr. Crawford, Fanny pours out her grieving heart to her empty east room. And what a picturesque room!


Under the Umbrellas

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“I only wonder how the good people can keep it up so long. They had need be all in love, to find any amusement in such folly; and so they are, I fancy. If you look at them you may see they are so many couple of lovers—all but Yates and Mrs. Grant—and, between ourselves, she, poor woman, must want a lover as much as any one of them." - Tom Bertram, Mansfield Park

I didn't particularly like this adaptation. I thought several of the characters were very well cast (with the exception of Fanny) and they did a fairly good job of condensing a long book but it still needs a good miniseries like S&S had. I'd perhaps even settle for Andrew Davies adapting it (this is one he hasn't done yet, this and Persuasion).


Friday, November 21, 2008

Thinking Things Over

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A long walk around Rosings reading Mr. Darcy's letter...all is revealed and things are not as they seemed.

"Her feelings as she read were scarcely to be defined. ... She read with an eagerness which hardly left her power of comprehension, and from impatience of knowing what the next sentence might bring, was incapable of attending to the sense of the one before her eyes."

I think I shall switch after this and go on to another film probably coming back to P&P at a later date.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


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"I begin to be sorry that he comes at all," said Jane to her sister. "It would be nothing: I could see him with perfect indifference; but I can hardly bear to hear it thus perpetually talked of. My mother means well; but she does not know -- no one can know -- how much I suffer from what she says. Happy shall I be when his stay at Netherfield is over!"

The elegance of the room and of Jane's figure standing looking out is just so picturesque.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Long Walk

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Nothing beats a long walk in the country with...Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, you guessed it our next film is P&P95 with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. My favorite P&P adaptation, I always forget how lovely and complete this adaptation is until I watch it again or see another screencap from it. The acting is very talented, costumes stylish for the period (they certainly don't have ugly clothes even though they might have made them themselves!), music and dancing are excellent, screenplay very extensive and takes the time to include so many details, and the scenery is amazing!

Above we see Elizabeth Bennet out for a walk along a lazy lane enjoying herself immensly and not doubt is her beauty heighted by the exercise! I love the colors in this particular scene, so simple and natural and much like autumn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Afternoon Tea

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"Very like Maple Grove indeed! She was quite struck by the likeness! That room was the very shape and size of the morning-room at Maple Grove; her sister's favourite room." Mr. Elton was appealed to. "Was not it astonishingly like? She could really almost fancy herself at Maple Grove."

Here ends my screencaps for this adaptation of Emma though there is so much more I could do! Such a lovely film but I want to get to others.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sweets of Friendship

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"Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does." - John Knightley, Emma

The above quote is true though I will always prefer friendship to money. The freedom to talk about anything is the thing I most prize about friendship. Here Emma and Mrs. Weston (poor Miss Taylor!) enjoy a walk in the Hartfield gardens enjoying the Sweets of Friendship.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Afternoon at Donwell Abbey

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Here begins a new series of post which I'm entitling 'Surprised By Beauty'. I had set my screensaver to circle through my photos and I had forgotten what lovely screencaps I have obtained from various places and then again what beautiful films have been made of Jane Austen's novels. Surprised By Beauty is a collection of screencaps that feature stunning or just artistic scenes from the adaptations of Jane Austen's novels and perhaps I'll do some from other period films.

Today's screencap is from the A&E Emma starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong. This is actually my favorite adaptation of Emma because of it's simple story line, perfect casting, intimate settings for the scenes (everyone seems to be in everyone else's pocket, mainly in Emma's), and great contry dancing perhaps the best I've seen in a JA adaptation.
Here Emma is enjoying the beauty of Donwell Abbey which unbenonced to her will be her future home (after her father passes on at least). I love how at home she seems to be here and how at home her father is made to feel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old-Fashioned Lady

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"A policeman asking questions puts people on their guard, but an old lady asking questions is just an old lady asking questions." - Miss Marple

Simple, insightful, sweet and old-fashioned to the bone is Miss Jane Marple. I adore Agatha Christie's writings and Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot I know by heart. In my work with the elderly I've come across many dear hearts but often when reading Miss Marple I have a desire to be a companion to her, what a useful friend she would be!

This is just to tide you over till I'm able to post the first of my special project 'Surprised By Beauty'.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Love My Love In Secret


My Sandy gied to me a ring,
Was a' beset wi' diamonds fine;
But I gied him a far better thing,
I gied my heart in pledge o' his ring.

Chorus.-My Sandy O, my Sandy O,
My bonie, bonie Sandy O;
Tho' the love that I owe
To thee I dare na show,
Yet I love my love in secret, my Sandy O.

My Sandy brak a piece o' gowd,
While down his cheeks the saut tears row'd;
He took a hauf, and gied it to me,
And I'll keep it till the hour I die.
My Sand O, &c.

-1789, Robert Burns
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