Just Jane

So you all know that I love Jane Austen, she’s the best.

So whenever I find anything that has to do with Austen I snag it.

So one day I was perusing the local bookstore on my day off. The day before had been an extremely hard day so I wanted something to help me feel better.

You know nothing makes me happier than reading.

As I was perusing the shelves, I spotted a book about Jane Austen and just had to purchase it and read it.

I then put it on my to-read pile and forgot all about it.

But as I was moving, I went through my to-read pile and had to read it.

Just Jane (Ladies of History #2) by Nancy Moser

So the book begins with Jane Austen as a young lady at a ball and her infatuation with Tom Lefroy, the man she based Mr. Darcy and Captain Fredrick Wentworth, going all the way to her death, following the completion of Persuasion. 

The book is an intense delight and I recommend it for any Austen fan. Moser is able to blend the historical context, the quotes from her letters, and out it all together in a fun and intriguing narrative that I couldn’t stop reading.

We get to see inside Austen’s head, and view her process and take the path of her life and creation of her amazing books.

We get to experience her heartache, sadness, grief, etc. I love how Moser captures her essence as a girl trying to figure out her future, try to find love, find her place in her family, and worry about what she can do to help her household along with her as an author-the creative struggles, the pains and long journey of bringing an idea into a real novel, and the sorrows and joy of printing process.

We also get a great view of her family, the research done well and bringing certain things I had not known to my attention, and blogging of course.

Moser never claims that one fictional character is solely based on Austen or those she knows-instead she leaves it open to the reader as there is a delight in spotting what real life situations or people could be different characters or events that occur in the book.

It beautifully shows the Regency period, the things we see in films that makes us want to go back, along with detailing the realities that we are happy we no longer have to face.

There will be many posts that have come or will be coming in the future that have to do with something that caught my eye in the reading.

So once again, let me say-if you love Jane Austen and you want something that has life over just the facts, this book is for you. It was a great read and kept you wanting to see what happened next and read more about Jane’s real life and her family.

“Four, five people have been so honoured?’ She shook her head. ‘Tis deplorable, Jane. Hundred, yea even thousands, must enjoy your work.” pg 117

For more on Jane Austen’s life, go to Jane, Jane, Jane: A Jane Austen Biography

For something interesting from Just Jane, go to By the Sea

For more Regency Era, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 2, The Ties That Bind

By the Sea

So I was reading Just Jane by Nancy Moser and at one point in Jane Austen’s life she traveled to sea. Later she, her mother, sister, and friend actually moved by the sea and lived there for a while.

They talk about sea-bathing and the sea-bathing machines they would use.

Sea-bathing machines? What?

So sea-bathing started in the later 18th century, prescribed by two eminent doctors, Dr. Russell and Dr. Crane. By Regency times it was super popular.

So like in today’s world, when people go swimming, or sea-bathing, we just jump right in, or tread a little in the water. But not back in Regency times.

wow

Instead they would go into a bathing machine, a large carriage like structure. There the bathers would change into their bathing suits and a horse would pull the carriage into the water.

When the reached the desired depth, the horse would be unhitched and go back to land, or take a carriageful of bathers that had finished back to land.

As the women and men would change in the machines, they were not shared by the sexes but divided between the two. Most often men and women bathed on completely different beaches as women wore muslin shifts, and men wore drawers or were naked.

By 1815 there were 40 bathing carriages and were busy nonstop between 6am-12pm every day.

Doctors prescribed being dipped into the water for one’s health. Often sturdy women were the dippers, traveling with the bathers in the carriage and dipping them so many times under the water. Kind of like being baptized, but more than three times.

For more information, go here

For more on Jane Austen’s life, go to The Curious Case and Crime of Jane Leigh-Perrot

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

The Curious Case and Crime of Jane Leigh-Perrot

In 1799, Jane Leigh-Perrot went on trial for theft, a serious crime that could result in death. Stealing lace, believe it or not, was a capital crime that at worst-ended in hanging, and at best sent to Australia.

She managed to escape this fate, but really laid the defense on thick. Was she always innocent and won justice? Or a guilty woman using wealth as her golden ticket to freedom?

Hmm…

Why do we care about this woman?

I don’t know…

She is Jane Austen’s aunt.

Yes, so I’ve been reading the book Just Jane by Nancy Moser, and when it got to this part I was blown away and had to do more research.

So Jane’s first visit to Bath, an experience she later used in Northanger Abbey, was all because of her aunt of uncle. Like the characters in her novels, Jane had a wealthy family member that brought her along on a trip.

Jane visited in 1797 and while it was a fruitful trip, for us readers, she wasn’t too into it. Two years later the Austens received the news that the very aunt who took Jane on the trip, Aunt Jane Leigh-Perrot, was arrested, living in jail, and on trial for thievery.

So what caused a wealthy woman to ever be in a situation like this?

Huh?

Well, she had stopped at a shop to pick up a length of black lace. When she was leaving, she was asked by the shopkeeper to see her bag and inside was the black lace and a seam of white lace worth 20 shillings (£1)

What?

Jane Leigh-Perrot said it was a mistake by the shopkeeper, while the shopkeeper said it was shoplifting. Jane Leigh-Perrot was arrested the next day and had to be in jail for 8 months!

Wait a sec, let’s be real. Jane Leigh-Perrot was a wealthy woman, because of her husband and family influence she didn’t have to stay in the jail but stayed with the jailer’s family.

While that was better than the jail, it still wasn’t the standards she was used to. Not only did Jane Leigh-Perrot stay, but her husband stayed with her.

“Vulgarity, Dirt, Noise from morning till night…Cleanliness has ever been his greatest delight, and yet he sees the greasy toast laid by the dirty children on his knees, and feels the small Beer trickle down his Sleeves on its way across the table unmoved.”

When Mrs. Austen found out about her sister-in-law she wanted to send both her girls to comfort her.

Luckily, Mrs. Austen’s brother declined the offer and Jane didn’t have to spends months in “jail”. We might have had a much different novel if she did.

Catherine Morland in prison

The trial came and went, justice was served swiftly and Jane Leigh-Perrot was declared “not guilty” and the whole thing hushed up.

So did she do it?

Hmm…

Well let’s take a look. What goes against her ever being a thief? What is for the idea of her being a thief?

AGAINST: She’s a wealthy woman? Why would she bother stealing when she could afford as much ribbon as she wanted.

FOR: Being wealthy is no excuse. How many times have we read stories about wealthy people and stars doing things like this. Sometimes their ego gets in the way of their good choices.

AGAINST: Mr. Filby, the man who accused Jane Leigh-Perrot, later tried to blackmail the Leigh-Perrots. What honest man would resort to blackmail?

FOR: Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory (the shop owner) went several days in a row to the magistrates to try and have them arrest Jane Leigh-Perrot, with what seemed like no avail. Could it be they were tired of never getting justice and went after their own kind of justice?

AGAINST:The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. Did he purposely put it in?

FOR: The detail drawing of the shop that was used in the trial show that the places the lace was hanging there was no way the clerk could ever have “mistakenly” grabbed the wrong color. It was purposely taken. By Jane Leigh-Perrot?

AGAINST: The Leigh-Perrots were respectable citizens with philanthropic tendencies, while Mr. Filby and Miss Gregory were having an extra-marital affair.

FOR: The Leigh-Perrots hired four lawyers to defend them and paid £2000 for character witnesses. Why would they spend so much?

AGAINST; Others came forward and said that the same clerk, Mr. Filby, put things in their bags.

FOR: Another shopclerk said he saw Jane Leigh-Perrot take the lace.

So did she or didn’t she? We may never know.

Oh, well

To read more, click here.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen Eyes

For more Jane Austen on trial, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more posts, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed