Monday, April 5, 2021

S&S Read-Along: Ch. 25 & 26

Hey, check it out!  We're past the halfway mark for this book!

You know, Mrs. Jennings may be a gossipy old busybody, with a tendency to use uncultured language and talk about improper subjects... but she has a good heart, and a good sense of humor too!  She's generous, kind, considerate of the physical comfort of others, and really does look after the young ladies in her care.  She gives Elinor and Marianne full permission to "laugh at my odd ways behind my back" (p. 284) and is generally just... a fun person to be around, as long as you don't have any secret sweethearts to get teased about.

According to my annotated copy, Barton would be about 175 miles from London, and if carriages and such usually traveled at a rate of about 8 miles an hour when on good roads... it would definitely take them several days to get there.  They're not just being lazy and poky.  Can you imagine spending nine or ten hours a day in a jouncing, jostling carriage?  For two and a half days?  Oh man, no wonder Elinor was a little reluctant to go!

But we get to London at last.  And are promptly visited by Colonel Brandon.  The plot proceeds apace. 

Discussion Questions:

1.  I think this is the only Austen book where the heroines get to travel to London.  But London was an exceedingly popular and important place to go.  Jane herself traveled there many times.  Any thoughts on why she didn't set more book scenes there?

2.  Have you ever traveled in a horse-drawn vehicle? 

8 comments:

  1. I can't imagine traveling like that.
    I think it's weird that she didn't use London more. I've only been there once but I fell completely in love with it.

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    1. Skye, it would not be fun.

      I do find it interesting that she used Bath in two books, when she disliked Bath so much, and only used London in one, when she liked London quite a bit. Hmm.

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  2. Perhaps Austen didn't feel familiar enough with London to place an entire story there. Or perhaps she simply really liked the country setting? I know London was very popular among the wealthy, but was it as popular among the authors of the time?

    I confess, I finally broke down and began reading the book faster than the read along pace. It was the long Easter break that did it. I have primarily been listening to the audiobook, and there were too many opportunities when I wanted to listen to an audiobook, and then I got curious what would happen next.... should finish soon

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    1. Roxann, that could be, that she hadn't lived there and had only visited. And she did love the country.

      That's fine if you finish it faster than we do. I could read the whole thing for fun in a few days myself... but the posts take me twenty minutes or more to write up, and so we're just constrained by my lack of free time, lol.

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  3. 1.  I think this is the only Austen book where the heroines get to travel to London.  But London was an exceedingly popular and important place to go.  Jane herself traveled there many times.  Any thoughts on why she didn't set more book scenes there?

    - Possibly because she wanted to focus more on the lesser known country life that was similar to her own upbringing.

    2.  Have you ever traveled in a horse-drawn vehicle? 

    - No, but I've always wanted too!

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    1. Ivy, that's probably part of it. She certainly preferred country life to city life.

      Definitely grab the chance to take a carriage ride of some sort sometime! They're lovely. But not for 8 or 9 hours in a row...

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  4. 1. I think this is the only Austen book where the heroines get to travel to London. But London was an exceedingly popular and important place to go. Jane herself traveled there many times. Any thoughts on why she didn't set more book scenes there?

    Jane Bennet gets to as miserably as Marianne visit London, but she's not quite a heroine?

    It is nice that London isn't focused on so entirely whereas all the Georgette Heyers novels seem to focus SO much on London (not the same, but still).

    2. Have you ever traveled in a horse-drawn vehicle?

    Yes a carriage for part of a Light Up the town Christmas ages ago. It was very slow and on nicely paved city roads, so definitely not as bumpy as Marianne and Elinor would have likely had to endure

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    1. Livia, true, Jane does go to London... but we don't really get to see that trip. I meant more, this is the only book where we get to go along. I mean, Lydia and Wickham and Mr. Darcy all go to London too. And Frank Churchill goes there to get haircuts. Mr. Elton goes there to get a picture framed. But all of that happens off-page, as it were.

      I've only read 3 Heyer books, and only 1 of those took place in London, so I didn't realize that. (One of the others took place in Bath, and the third was in a country manor somewhere.)

      Yeah, carriage rides on modern roads are lovely!

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What do you think?

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