Monday, January 25, 2010
Great Moments in Fabric Literature, Vol XIII
"And we mean to treat you all," added Lydia; "but you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours at the shop out there." Then shewing her purchases:"Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home and see if I can make it up any better."
And when her sisters abused it as ugly, she added, with perfect unconcern, "Oh! but there were two or three much uglier in the shop; and when I have bought some prettier-coloured satin to trim it with fresh, I think it will be very tolerable. Besides, it will not much signify what one wears this summer, after the ---shire have left Meryton, and they will be gone in a fortnight"
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, pg 211
People sometimes mistakenly think that Jane Austen is sweet or nice or romantic, but she is really very clear-eyed and tough about a woman's place in her society.
She is also wickedly funny.
Look here how she skewers the empty-headed selfishness of Lydia with just a few lines.
Funny story about this physical book: When I was looking for another book in my bookcase, I found two copies of Pride and Prejudice. My daughter said, "Oh I bought that one in Rimini (an Italian beach resort, where she was vacationing). The only books in English that I could find were classics, so I read Jane Austen, and Treasure Island on the beach in Italy."
This may be the first documented case of Jane Austen as beach reading.