You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 21, 2010.

So, tonight PBS airs Persuasion starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins. This is not my favourite adaptation of Persuasion, sadly, not by any stretch of the imagination. No, my favourite is Nick Dear’s wonderfully atmospheric film  which first appeared in 1995.  The latest version contains too many oddities and anachronisms for my addled brain to compute. Too many to list here. And the sight of poor Anne Elliot running up and down the incredibly steep Bath terrain was (unintentionally) hilarious rather than touching to my eyes, I’m afraid.

Still, each to his or her own.

So,  tomorrow we begin a new season and as we have concentrated on the novels recently I thought it was time to give some space to the woman  who so inspired us. So from tomorrow, for a few days, we will concentrate on Jane;-)

The season will begin with my first post written by a Guest Blogger, Karen of Bookish NYC, who will be reviewing the Morgan Library of New York’s exhibition devoted to entirely to Jane Austen- A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy

I do hope you will join me.

Sophie Croft is possibly my favourite of all Jane Austen’s female characters. Intelligent, kind, shewd, witty and self sufficient(as long as she is near the Admiral).

Mrs. Croft, though neither tall nor fat, had a squareness, uprightness, and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person. She had bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face; though her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence of her having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem to have lived some years longer in the world than her real eight-and-thirty. Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no distrust of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to coarseness, however, or any want of good humour.

Pesruasion,Chapter 6

She is very much part of the Admiral’s world and their relationship is one of the most balanced and loving in all Jane Austens works:

The Crofts knew quite as many people in Bath as they wished for, and considered their intercourse with the Elliots as a mere matter of form, and not in the least likely to afford them any pleasure. They brought with them their country habit of being almost always together. He was ordered to walk to keep off the gout, and Mrs. Croft seemed to go shares with him in everything, and to walk for her life to do him good. Anne saw them wherever she went. Lady Russell took her out in her carriage almost every morning, and she never failed to think of them, and never failed to see them. Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a most attractive picture of happiness to her. She always watched them as long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally delighted to see the Admiral’s hearty shake of the hand when he encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs. Croft looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her.

Persuasion Chapter 18

And of course, Mrs Croft is the most travelled of any of Jane Austen’s female characters:

“What a great traveller you must have been, ma’am!” said Mrs. Musgrove to Mrs. Croft.

“Pretty well, ma’am, in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many women have done more. I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have been once to the East Indies and back again, and only once; besides being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies.”

Persuasion Chapter 8

(Map of the East Indies circa 1805 from my collection, not included in the book. Please click to enlarge it)

And it is her travels that interest me, for this recently published book, Birds of Passage edited by Nancy K Shields, details just the type of journeying Mrs Corft would have undertaken when she traveled to the East Indies, via the cape of Good Hope.  I have been waiting since Christmas for the oportunity to tell you of this book. I thought today was perfect timing with the airing of Persuasion on PSB tonight.

Birds of Passage records the journey to India made by Lady Henrietta Clive- seen on the cover of the book, above as portrayed by Sir Joshua Reynolds- and her two daughters, Harry (Hernitetta) and  Charly (Charlotte). She was married to Lord Edward Clive, son of Clive of India. Lord Edward was Governor of Madras. Accompanying them on their journey was the children’s  governess, Anna Tonelli, and her paintings of the  places they encountered on the whole expedition  illustrate this book.

This is one of the Government House and Council Chamber in Madras.

The book consists of extracts from Lady Henrietta’s diaries and letters written to her  brother, Geroge Herbert, second Earl of Powis, a rather Byronic figure. Extracts from Charly’s journals are also presented. They detail the journeys to and from the East Indies, stopping at the Cape of Good Hope en-route, and at St Helena on the return journey to England.

(Simon’s Bay, the Cape of Good Hope)

When in India Lady Henrietta and her children made a journey of over 1000 miles from Madras via Bangalore, Mysore, Coimatoor,Tranquebar and Ponidcherry, returning to Madras seven months later. Her aim was to see  the recently conquered Seringapatam and the remains of Tipu Sultan’s capital – the fall of which was part of the foruth Anglo-Mysore cmpaagin. In 1799 the English Army had attacked Seringapatam. Lady Henrietta’s original plans to vist  Seringupatam  were  postponed by Lord Mornington- Wellington’s brother, and the Governor General of India-a difficult character by Lady Hernietta’s account.

The journals are chock full of  interest for those of us  who like the teeny-tiny details of life in the early 19th century, and are of extra special interest to those of us who adore Mrs Croft, for naturally Lady Henrietta chronicles many of the sights, sounds and experiences that Mrs Corft must have shared.

The book recounts, in some great detail, life on board ship-sadly unlike Mrs Croft Lady Henrietta never felt entirely well while at sea. We accompany her while she learns Persian(the language of the India Courts) and she frequently expresses her exasperation with the limited role that women could play in this and indeed the wider world, dominated by men.

We learn from the journals what was considered  to be essential travelling equipment in India for an aristocratic party: harp and  pianoforte of course; fourteen elephants; a hundred bullocks to carry provisions and, not forgetting a train of  camels which were essential for the delivery of express messages.

The trials if family and domestic life  is also related. Unlike Sophie Croft, Lady Henrietta’s marriage was not entirely happy. Lord Edward Clive was not at all lively and was a poor intellectual match for his spirited wife. As Wellington noted-he was also part of their world in India, leading the British Army’s campaign against Tipu Sultan- Lord Edward was :

A mild moderate and remarkably reserved man having a bad delivery and apparently heavy understanding…

We learn of Lady Hernitta’s maid becoming pregnant as a result of a dalliance with an officer and  discretion is the key: mother and prospective child are treated with utmost kindness, a way life for them both being provided by Henrietta, and discretion  at home in England  being insisted upon by Henrietta to save the poor girl’s reputation. She thinks very ill of the officer involved indeed.

She was, of course, viewing India from the standpoint of 18th century British colonialists: this is not a treatise on the Indian way of life, but notes of the lives of British in India. She was interested in the people, the flora and fauna, their religion and language but clearly on her terms. In no way did she “go native” as you can see from this small extract:

March 16th 1800

We breakfasted in the commanding officer’s fort -house..I went at seven o’clock to the fort and an old pagoda, magnificent and well carved, constructed of granite now converted into a military storehouse. The sculpture is much better than any I have yet seen, some of the open work is extremely neat and well executed…I breakfasted at the commanding officer’s house and afterwards the Princes came to see me…The Padshaw begin  a legitimate son is extremely interesting. I understand that Col Wellesley was much pleased with his manners in Seringapatam….

(Map of India circa 1815 from my collection)

That being said, I adored this book,  and was grateful for the glossary explaining the Indian words Lady Henrietta used often.  If anything is lacking I would say it is  some more explanatory footnotes…but then I’ve been thoroughly spoiled by the extreme  notation of the excellent Deirdre le Faye;-)

This book is a bargain. Buy it and revel in the fascinating details with which Lady Henrietta regales us: of the plants she collects and sees, the travails of  travel by sea-leaks, mutinies, prize taking-all are recounted here;  the strangeness of travel within India itself; the social life of the British at the Cape and in India all of which would have been familiar to my favourite Austen lady, Sophie Croft.

If you are not a Wordpress member, just add your email here to subscribe to this site.

An Invitation to Visit our Sister Site: A Jane Austen Gazetteer

Visit our sister site: A Jane Austen Gazetteer

Click on the image above to visit our Sister Site: A Jane Austen Gazetteer

An Invitation to Visit our Sister Site: Jane Austen’s Letters

Visit our sister site: Jane Austen's Letters

Click on the image above to visit our Sister Site: Jane Austen's Letters

Join Austen Only on Twitter

Recently Tweeted

Austenonly on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Categories

Copyright Notice

Copyright: This site and all images and information complied within are copyright Austenonly.com unless otherwise stated/attributed.No permission is given/implied for any use of this site, the information and images contained therein, for any commercial use whatsoever. No material may be copied in any form without first obtaining written permission of the author, save that extracts of posts may be used on other non-commcerial sites on the internet, provided that full and clear credit is given to Austenonly.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content( that is, a link must be provided to the original post/image with full attribution ). The existence of the RSS or ATOM feeds in no way authorises wholesale or part transmission of posts or parts of posts to another site without prior permission being given and attribution stated. Any sites using RSS or ATOM feeds in this way without obtaining prior written permission of the author of this blog will be subject to legal action.

Currently Reading

Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas by Rebecca Smith

Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmasby Rebecca Smith

Recently Read

James Wyatt, Architect to George III by John Martin Robinson

James Wyatt, Architect to George III by John Martin Robinson

Uvedale Price (1747-1829): Decoding the Picturesque” by Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell

Uvedale Price (1747-1829): Decoding the Picturesque” by Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell

"The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse, published by Prospect Books.

"The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse, published by Prospect Books.

The Letters of Mrs Lefroy: Jane Austen’s Beloved Friend, edited by Helen Lefroy and Gavin Turner

The Letters of Mrs Lefroy: Jane Austen’s Beloved Friend, edited by Helen Lefroy and Gavin Turner

Understanding Jane Austen: Key Concepts in the Six Novels

Understanding Jane Austen: Key Concepts in the Six Novels

The London Square by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

The London Square” by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

"What Matters in Jane Austen?:Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved" by John Mullan

"What Matters in Jane Austen?:Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved" by John Mullan

May, Lou and Cass: Jane Austen's Nieces in Ireland by Sophia Hillan

May, Lou and Cass: Jane Austen's Nieces in Ireland by Sophia Hillan

An Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum” by Janette Bright and Gillian Clarke

An Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum” by Janette Bright and Gillian Clarke

Vauxhall Gardens: A History by David Coke and Alan Borg

Vauxhall Gardens: A History by David Coke and Alan Borg

Facing Beauty: Painted Women and Cosmetic Art by Aileen Ribeiro

Facing Beauty: Painted Women and Cosmetic Art by Aileen Ribeiro

Johan Zoffany by Mary Webster

Johan Zoffany by Mary Webster

Bergere,Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth Century Headwear  by Serena Dyer

Bergere,Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth Century Headwear” by Serena Dyer

The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons by Gill Perry with Joseph Roach and Shearer West

The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons by Gill Perry with Joseph Roach and Shearer West

Jane Austen's Letters (4th Edition) edited by Deirdre Le Faye

Jane Austen's Letters (4th Edition) edited by Deirdre Le Faye

Ice Cream by Ivan Day

Ice Cream by Ivan Day

Rooms With a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century by Sabine Rewald

Rooms With a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century by Sabine Rewald

Pastel Portraits of 18th Century Europe by Katharine Baetjer and Marjorie Shelly

Pastel Portraits of 18th Century Europe by Katharine Baetjer and Marjorie Shelly

The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock

The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock

The Eighteenth Century Church in Britain by Terry Friedman

The Eighteenth Century Church in Britain by Terry Friedman

Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion 1795-1815 by Christina Barreto and Martin Lancaster

Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion 1795-1815 by Christina Barreto and Martin Lancaster

Regarding Thomas Rowlandson: His Life, Art and Acquaintance by Matthew and James Payne

Regarding Thomas Rowlandson: His Life, Art and Acquaintance by Matthew and James Payne

The Omnipotent Magician:Lancelot "Capability" Brown by Jane Brown

The Omnipotent Magician:Lancelot "Capability" Brown by Jane Brown

The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, Second Edition.

The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, Second Edition.

Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England, edited by Patricia Phagan

Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England, edited by Patricia Phagan

Ralph Allen, Builder of Bath by Diana Winsor

Ralph Allen, Builder of Bath by Diana Winsor

Fashioning Fashion European Dress in Detail 1700-1915

Fashioning Fashion European Dress in Detail 1700-1915

Jellies and their Moulds by Peter Brears

Jellies and their Moulds by Peter Brears

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance

Sir Thomas Lawrence by Michael Levey

Sir Thomas Lawrence by Michael Levey

The Georgian Buildings of Bath by Walter Ison

The Georgian Buildings of Bath by Walter Ison

The Catalogue to the Chatsworth Attic Sale

The Catalogue to the Chatsworth Attic Sale

State Beds and Throne Canopies:Care and Conservation by Val Davies

State Beds and Throne Canopies:Care and Conservation by Val Davies

 The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century by Timothy Brittain-Catlin

The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century by Timothy Brittain-Catlin

The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital by Dan Cruickshank

The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital by Dan Cruickshank

London's Country Houses by Caroline Knight

London's Country Houses by Caroline Knight

Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill by Michael Snodin

Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill by Michael Snodin

Quilts 1700-2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories by Sue Prichard

Quilts 1700-2010: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories by Sue Prichard

Mrs Delany's Menus, Medicine and Manners by Katherine Cahill

Mrs Delany's Menus, Medicine and Manners by Katherine Cahill

Mrs Delany and her Circle by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts

Mrs Delany and her Circle by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts

The Brabourne Edition of Jane Austen's Letters at CUP (Vol 1)

The Brabourne Edition of Jane Austen's Letters at CUP (Vol 1)

The Brabourne Edition of Jane Austen's Letters at CUP (Vol 2)

Birds of Passage: Henrietta Clive's Travels in South India 1798-1801

Birds of Passage: Henrietta Clive's Travels in South India 1798-1801 edited by Nancy K Shields

Enterprising Women and Shipping in the 19th Century by Helen Doe

Enterprising Women and Shipping in the 19th Century by Helen Doe

Over a Red Hot Stove edited by Ivan Day

Over a Red Hot Stove edited by Ivan Day

Coke of Norfolk 1754-1843: A Biography

Coke of Norfolk 1754-1843: A Biography by Susanna Wade Martins

Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830

Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830 by Ginny Redington Dawes and Olivia Collings

Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain

Paul Sandby: Picturing Britain Edited by John Bonehill and Stephen Daniels

Silhouette: The Art of Shadow by Emma Rutherford

Silhouette: The Art of Shadow by Emma Rutherford

The Dress of the People by John Styles

The Dress of the People by John Styles

Behind Closed Doors by Amanda Vickery

Behind Closed Doors by Amanda Vickery

The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith, Chawton Edition

The Compleat Housewife by Eliza Smith, Chawton Edition

A New System of Domestic Cookery by Maria Rundell

A New System of Domestic Cookery by Maria Rundell

Austenonly Flickr

February 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
Protected by Copyscape plagiarism checker - duplicate content and unique article detection software.
Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
UK Blog Directory
wordpress counter
%d bloggers like this: