Just call me Jane

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with a then boyfriend in Alaska, I was shocked to hear him say that Mrs Bennett reminded him of me. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last long. Mind you, I’ve never quite fallen out of love with Mr Darcy – and truth be told, I’d quite happily watch Colin Firth paint a wall.

In Jane Austen country recently,  I was reminded yet again of my life-long wish to immerse myself in that era. And while I know she set two of her novels in Bath – Northanger Abbey and PersuasionPride and Prejudice will always be my favourite. I have no problem at all imagining myself as Elizabeth Bennett, complete with bonnet, lace parasol, and razor-like wit, out for stroll with old Fitzy on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I think that when Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, she  had me in mind…

A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment. Yep, I’ve been there!

 I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library. I hear you, girl. Mine’s not excellent, but it’s not bad either.
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn? Imagine Jane on stage at the Gift of the Gab!
As for being stubborn: Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. 
How many times have I heard the right words come out of the wrong mouth: …for he is such a disagreeable man, that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him. 
Then, of course, there’s the idea that absence makes the heart grow fonder and never knowing what we might have had until it’s gone:  She was convinced that she could have been happy with him, when it was no longer likely they should meet.
I wonder if life will ever conspire to allow me the opportunity to borrow this line: You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them. Or to be able to agree a relationship on this footing: My good qualities are under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them as much as possible; and, in return, it belongs to me to find occasion for teasing and quarreling with you as often as may be.
I think I know the man she was talking about here: We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb. Should I tell him? Oh where to find the balance: It sometimes is a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him.
I fear though, that if time travel were a fixture in my world, and I could transport myself back to 1850 Bath, and conspire to meet the lovely Jane, she might indeed have written this for me: Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.
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