|C.E. Brock circa 1898|
The rest of the watercolors from Emma
Not to hog the blog, so to speak, but I’m almost beside myself about Jane Austen’s Emma and am more surprised about that than anyone. In fact, this has been so pleasurable that I read the first four chapters, felt like I was being rushed, so I started over from the beginning.
The long forgotten pleasure of slowly savoring each delicious sentence of a book is gift from Miss Austen. She's already given me others, and I’ve only really Read (capital R) two chapters.
Until this slow read, I couldn’t have told you why women in particular seem to love Austen. Now I know. I read this enlightening passage of Emma out loud to my husband last night as he watched football, and though we aren’t one of "those" couples, he did have the good sense to nod and grunt affirmatively in all the right places.
Austen was forty when she wrote Emma, if Wiki is to be believed and the wisdom of years comes through in her evaluation of what constitutes happiness within a mature relationship or in the case of the above passage, the lack of said same. It should be laminated and stuck into every bridal magazine ever published. In fact, (spoiler alert *waves at DeLynne) I might take this up as my personal mission, which tells you I have yet to learn the pitfalls of meddling in other people’s lives and should keep reading.
The other thing that has surprised me is that Austen is a mistress of devastatingly subtle humor. I don’t know if humor was her intention, but funny is funny. I cannot tell you how very much I truly want to “throw” some offensive someone “off with due decorum” and to disapprove of their “sort of spirit” with Austen's level of understatement. No one in particular, yet, but that is a social art worth cultivation, to my mind. The beauty of it is that they wouldn’t know they’d been insulted until they were far enough away to discourage retaliation. What’s not to like??
Here I invite, encourage, prod and meddle. Read Emma with me if you haven’t already. Read it again if you have. If nothing else, you’ll find you can call someone a whining hypochondriac without them taking offense. Just use the word valetudinarian and leave off the whining part.