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


pnp 2sm

"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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Love In The Guise Of Friendship


Your friendship much can make me blest,
O why that bliss destroy!
Why urge the only, one request
You know I will deny!

Your thought, if Love must harbour there,
Conceal it in that thought;
Nor cause me from my bosom tear
The very friend I sought.

-Robert Burns, 1788

Painting 1899 by Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922) entitled 'Off'.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Degrees of Separation in Period Films

I'm addicted to period films and really have nothing better to do tonight then to mark out degrees of separation between actors and films. I would recommend all of these to you as great films and pieces of literature if you've never seen them before. No pictures this time but have fun anyway!

10 Degrees of Separation
Felicity Jones was in Northanger Abbey with
JJ Feild who was in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby with
Charles Dance who was in Bleak House with
Carey Mulligan who was in Pride & Prejudice with
Rosamund Pike who was in Wives & Daughters with
Justine Waddell who was in Mansfield Park with
Hugh Bonneville who was in Miss Austen Regrets with
Olivia Williams who was in Emma with
Samantha Bond who was in Mansfield Park with
Sylvestra Le Touzel who was in Northanger Abbey with
Felicity Jones!

9 Degrees of Separation
Colin Firth who was in The Importance of Being Earnest with
Dame Judi Dench who was in Cranford with
Simon Woods who was in Pride & Prejudice with
Keira Knightley who was in King Arthur with
Hugh Dancy who was in Daniel Deronda with
Jodhi May who was in The Mayor of Casterbridge with
Ciaran Hinds who was in Persuasion with
Simon Russell Beale who was in An Ideal Husband with
Rupert Everett who was in The Importance of Being Earnest with
Colin Firth!

9 Degrees of Seperation
Jeremy Northam was in The Winslow Boy with
Gemma Jones who was in Sense & Senibility with
Emma Thompson who was in Much Ado About Nothing with
Richard Briers who was in Victoria & Albert with
Jonathan Firth who was in Middlemarch with
Rufus Sewell who was in Amazing Grace with
Ioan Gruffudd who was in The Forsyte Saga with
Corin Redgrave who was in Persuasion with
Sophie Thompson who was in Emma with
Jeremy Northham!
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