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Archive for January, 2009


Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Saturday, January 23rd, 1802

Kitty and I took great pleasure in snubbing George Wickham today, as we walked through the High Street in Meryton. He was walking along with Mary King at his side, swaggering along on the opposite path with an air of self congratulation. On seeing us, he raised his hat and waved. Perfectly affronted, we immediately looked away and took refuge in Brown’s, where we spent a pleasant half hour trying on all the new bonnets. During our sojourn, we made the observation that Mr Wickham and Mary King could be seen through the elegant bow window of Holland’s Coffee House, partaking of hot beverages and cake, whilst enjoying the company of Mr Denny, Mr Chamberlayne, and Mr and Mrs Nicolson. There was no sign of Captain Carter and I must add that I was grateful for that small mercy.

As we were peering through the glass which contorted the view somewhat, Miss Brown said that if we were satisfied that there was nothing to tempt us, she would like to be able to close the shop for an hour in order to take some nuncheon. In any case, she only had two bonnets worth a second look, a silk with red cherries and a straw with plaited ribbon. After coming to the conclusion some minutes later, that neither were to my taste (or pocket), we left, taking great care not to look directly into Holland’s where we knew the party were seated.

Moments later, I heard footsteps running up behind us. I turned, fully expecting to see George Wickham but it was my friend, Emma Nicolson, entreating us to join them for some refreshment. Before I had a chance to speak and comment on the indecent haste with which some people drop firm friends to acquire new ones, Kitty answered for us both. She said we were much obliged but were expected at our Aunt Philips’s and were already late on account of having spent the better part of the morning in the employment of choosing a new bonnet. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and were on our way, Kitty marching me up the road before I had a chance to say anything very much at all.

So we have seen confirmation of all the rumours for ourselves and have decided that this evidence of Mr Wickham’s partiality to Miss King’s company (and her nasty freckles) need not be related to poor Lizzy who can have no idea how brazenly they are sporting themselves about the vicinity.

Lydia Bennet

Kitty and Lydia image from the movie, Pride and Prejudice

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Saturday, January 23rd, 1802

Kitty and I took great pleasure in snubbing George Wickham today, as we walked through the High Street in Meryton. He was walking along with Mary King at his side, swaggering along on the opposite path with an air of self congratulation. On seeing us, he raised his hat and waved. Perfectly affronted, we immediately looked away and took refuge in Brown’s, where we spent a pleasant half hour trying on all the new bonnets. During our sojourn, we made the observation that Mr Wickham and Mary King could be seen through the elegant bow window of Holland’s Coffee House, partaking of hot beverages and cake, whilst enjoying the company of Mr Denny, Mr Chamberlayne, and Mr and Mrs Nicolson. There was no sign of Captain Carter and I must add that I was grateful for that small mercy.

As we were peering through the glass which contorted the view somewhat, Miss Brown said that if we were satisfied that there was nothing to tempt us, she would like to be able to close the shop for an hour in order to take some nuncheon. In any case, she only had two bonnets worth a second look, a silk with red cherries and a straw with plaited ribbon. After coming to the conclusion some minutes later, that neither were to my taste (or pocket), we left, taking great care not to look directly into Holland’s where we knew the party were seated.

Moments later, I heard footsteps running up behind us. I turned, fully expecting to see George Wickham but it was my friend, Emma Nicolson, entreating us to join them for some refreshment. Before I had a chance to speak and comment on the indecent haste with which some people drop firm friends to acquire new ones, Kitty answered for us both. She said we were much obliged but were expected at our Aunt Philips’s and were already late on account of having spent the better part of the morning in the employment of choosing a new bonnet. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and were on our way, Kitty marching me up the road before I had a chance to say anything very much at all.

So we have seen confirmation of all the rumours for ourselves and have decided that this evidence of Mr Wickham’s partiality to Miss King’s company (and her nasty freckles) need not be related to poor Lizzy who can have no idea how brazenly they are sporting themselves about the vicinity.

Lydia Bennet

Kitty and Lydia image from the movie, Pride and Prejudice

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Calling all men! (As Lydia would say!) Look here – I know there’s still a couple of weeks left until Valentine’s day, but I wanted to draw your attention to the lovely work of Jean Judy and her blog about Jane Austen which features her lovely jewellery. I first discovered her work on Ms Place and Laurel Ann’s lovely blog and couldn’t get an e-mail out quickly enough to ask her to make me one after I’d dropped some large hints to my husband about February 14th! Here’s a sneak preview of my beautiful bracelet (underneath) which features Sense and Sensibility on one side of the medallions and a selection of my own paintings on the other. I asked for spring colours – I love blues and greens and I think it’s beautiful.

I’m not sure I will be able to wait until Valentine’s day to wear it.

Here’s my lovely husband with a couple of gorgeous girls – my sister and my daughter.

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Calling all men! (As Lydia would say!) Look here – I know there’s still a couple of weeks left until Valentine’s day, but I wanted to draw your attention to the lovely work of Jean Judy and her blog about Jane Austen which features her lovely jewellery. I first discovered her work on Ms Place and Laurel Ann’s lovely blog and couldn’t get an e-mail out quickly enough to ask her to make me one after I’d dropped some large hints to my husband about February 14th! Here’s a sneak preview of my beautiful bracelet (underneath) which features Sense and Sensibility on one side of the medallions and a selection of my own paintings on the other. I asked for spring colours – I love blues and greens and I think it’s beautiful.

I’m not sure I will be able to wait until Valentine’s day to wear it.

Here’s my lovely husband with a couple of gorgeous girls – my sister and my daughter.

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My dear friend Jenny bought me some gorgeous books for Christmas – she finds the most wonderful books. I have so enjoyed them, particularly reading about the early life of the illustrator Ernest H Shepard. He is best known for his illustrations of Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows – my favourite illustrations as a child were the ones he drew for A A Milne’s children’s poetry books, When we were very young and Now we are six.
The books I’ve just enjoyed were written by Shepard himself and have illustrations on almost every page – Drawn from Memory and Drawn from Life. He was born in 1879 living through the last years of the Victorian age and well into the 20th century and was still illustrating books as late as 1971. His voice is so clear in the books prompting many visuals in the imagination and the illustrations are like a window into his mind to a past that is gone forever. These biographies tell the tale of his childhood, schooldays, his artistic training and of growing into a young man and falling in love with his first wife. The women in his life were clearly adored. There’s a lovely description of his mother wearing a particular favourite dress of his accompanied by an illustration of the lady dressed to go out.

What I didn’t know was that his daughter Mary Shepard was the illustrator of Mary Poppins, another favourite book of mine. Although both artists each had their own individual style I think they both had that talent for creating another world you can believe in with a quirkiness and attention to detail that I love.

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My dear friend Jenny bought me some gorgeous books for Christmas – she finds the most wonderful books. I have so enjoyed them, particularly reading about the early life of the illustrator Ernest H Shepard. He is best known for his illustrations of Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows – my favourite illustrations as a child were the ones he drew for A A Milne’s children’s poetry books, When we were very young and Now we are six.
The books I’ve just enjoyed were written by Shepard himself and have illustrations on almost every page – Drawn from Memory and Drawn from Life. He was born in 1879 living through the last years of the Victorian age and well into the 20th century and was still illustrating books as late as 1971. His voice is so clear in the books prompting many visuals in the imagination and the illustrations are like a window into his mind to a past that is gone forever. These biographies tell the tale of his childhood, schooldays, his artistic training and of growing into a young man and falling in love with his first wife. The women in his life were clearly adored. There’s a lovely description of his mother wearing a particular favourite dress of his accompanied by an illustration of the lady dressed to go out.

What I didn’t know was that his daughter Mary Shepard was the illustrator of Mary Poppins, another favourite book of mine. Although both artists each had their own individual style I think they both had that talent for creating another world you can believe in with a quirkiness and attention to detail that I love.

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In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Margaret Dashwood, the youngest sister has a minor role. We learn in chapter one that she was a good-humoured, well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne’s romance, without having much of her sense; she did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.

At thirteen Margaret is too young to be ‘out’ and we only see glimpses of her as she observes her sisters’ behaviour. She does not miss a trick; telling Elinor that she thinks Marianne is engaged because she has witnessed Mr Willoughby stealing a lock of her hair. I love the following extract, which shows how keenly Jane Austen observed the foibles of the young.

Margaret’s sagacity was not always displayed in a way so satisfactory to her sister. When Mrs. Jennings attacked her one evening at the Park, to give the name of the young man who was Elinor’s particular favourite, which had been long a matter of great curiosity to her, Margaret answered by looking at her sister, and saying, “I must not tell, may I, Elinor?”

This of course made everybody laugh; and Elinor tried to laugh too. But the effort was painful. She was convinced that Margaret had fixed on a person, whose name she could not bear with composure to become a standing joke with Mrs. Jennings. Marianne felt for her most sincerely; but she did more harm than good to the cause, by turning very red, and saying in an angry manner to Margaret, –

“Remember that whatever your conjectures may be, you have no right to repeat them.”

“I never had any conjectures about it,” replied Margaret; “it was you who told me of it yourself.”

This increased the mirth of the company, and Margaret was eagerly pressed to say something more.

“Oh! pray, Miss Margaret, let us know all about it,” said Mrs. Jennings. “What is the gentleman’s name?”

“I must not tell, ma’am. But I know very well what it is; and I know where he is too.”

“Yes, yes, we can guess where he is; at his own house at Norland to be sure. He is the curate of the parish I dare say.”

“No, that he is not. He is of no profession at all.”

“Margaret,” said Marianne, with great warmth, “you know that all this is an invention of your own, and that there is no such person in existence.”

“Well, then, he is lately dead, Marianne, for I am sure there was such a man once, and his name begins with an F.”

My new book, Willoughby’s Return, starts three years after S&S finishes and at eighteen going on nineteen, I thought it was time to give Margaret a heroine’s role. Her story is intertwined with that of Marianne’s who encourages Margaret to follow her heart.

Willoughby cutting Marianne’s hair by Brock

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