But when you think of it, Mrs. Goddard is a pretty amazing woman. She is a widow who has managed to not struggle in poverty but become a mistress of a school-not a college or upper education, but a really pleasant place for kids to learn some skills and live and grow.
“Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a School-not a seminary, or an establishment…where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity-but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price.”
She has a house and garden, feeds the children good food (that in itself is an amazing kindness-think of Jane Eyre and the slop they eat), let them have freedom to play in the summer, etc. All I could think when reading this was all the horrible girls schools you read in fiction-Jane Eyre’s terrifying experiences, the way everyone bullies and looks down on Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, the mean Miss Minchin in A Little Princess, etc. I would much rather go to Mrs. Goddard’s than any of those other ones.
I mean Becky is treated horribly for having a mother who was a dancer/actress (often a codeword for prostitute), but her parents were known and married. With Harriet, she doesn’t know who her father is-but she isn’t treated badly or excluded like Becky, at Mrs. Goddard’s Harriet and any girl there can have a happy and pleasant time.
I also think that for Mrs. Goddard this school isn’t just financial security, but for someone who never had children of her own, she can enjoy mothering all these girls.
I just love how in all of Austen’s stories she creates these wonderful characters and makes them so alive. Mrs. Goddard is not in the book a lot, but in it enough for ant to appreciate her.
So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.
At first I was what? Emma?
If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?
The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.
Let’s spill the tea.
It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them.
So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery.
But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?
Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery.
So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?
Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?
Time to get on the case!
So the definition of mystery is:
Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.
In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey.
The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?
Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie.
Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?
Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?
And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?
And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?
I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.
What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?
So back in 2015 I started going through Emma to celebrate her 200th anniversary.
I paused her to go through Northanger Abbey and Persuasion for their anniversary years, but have decided to throw her back into the mix with the others.
So as I was reading, I was thinking what a boring life Emma must have been living at the time “her story” starts.
So Emma and her sister were raised by a father who doted on them and the governess Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor was more a sister than an elder, so I imagine the girls must have had a lot of fun together.
But then Isabella married John Knightley and there was just the two girls.
And then Miss Taylor married…leaving Emma alone with a hypochondriac father.
And who did her father have for constant companions?
Besides her father, Miss and Mrs. Bates. Now Mrs. Bates is very old and Miss Bates is a kind, sweet woman but to Emma she is also dull, older, and not one Emma could have interesting conversation with.
And who else? Mrs. Goddard, the woman who owns and runs a boarding house. Also kind, caring, but much older than Emma and another she would find dreadfully dull.
Yes these were the ones that Emma spent most of her days with after the marriage of Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston.
Now what about Mr. Knightley, you may ask? Yes, it is true that he and Mr. Elton visited but…
“…Mrs. and Miss Bates, and Mrs. Goddard, three ladies [were] almost always at the service of an invitation from Hartfield, and who were fetched and carried home so often…” –Emma, pg 17
“These were the ladies that whom Emma found herself very frequently able to collect…She was delighted to see her father look comfortable…but the quiet prosings of three such women made her feel that every evening so spent was indeed one of the long evenings she had fearfully anticipated.” –Emma, pg 18-19
Ugh, I’m so bored!
No wonder she plunges herself heart and soul into breaking up Harriet and Robert and matching up Harriet and Mr. Elton. She bored out of her socks! Can you imagine spending every day for long periods of time with Miss Bates?
And then triple that with Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Goddard.
I think I’d be going mad for anything else to bring “excitement” into my life.
This made me think of when I was a child and mother brought me to all kinds of adult functions. She is a pastor and we had to go to everything, and I remember being bored out of my skull and wishing there was another kid there to do things with.
Good thing I had my books-
As I grew older I learned to take part in the conversation and grew less bored with being with people not in my years-but then again none of the people I have spent long periods of time with were as difficult to be with as Miss Bates.
Poor Emma-especially as one who doesn’t really play, read, sing, paint, embroider, etc-she has no escape. NO escape that is, except meddling!
For those of you who follow me on facebook, I promised and am going to deliver.
It has been a while since we have talked about this show so let’s do a quick review. P.D. James, famous mystery writer, decided to write a Jane Austen mystery set years after Pride and Prejudice in which a murder occurs and Darcy, Wickham Colonel Fitzwilliam, are all suspects. Lots of people loved it. I read it and hated it. If you would like to read the full review of the book, go here.
A Jane Austen mystery
So when they made a TV series, everyone was talking about it. I however was not jazzed, as I hadn’t enjoyed the original source material, but was finally convinced to do it as I would be able to review something Jane Austen for Horrorfest. I was actually surprised by the mini series and enjoyed it much more than the book.
I know, scandalous bit hey-being honest. I then reviewed the second episode a few months later, and planned to finish the last one during Horrorfest VI, but that ended up being a disaster-so here we are.
Just keep moving foward
So the story thus far- Episode I: ALL HOPE IS DASHED-it is Christmastime and Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, their son, Georgiana, the Bingley family, and Bennets are all getting ready to celebrate the Queen Anne’s ball. Colonel Fitzwilliam has money now and is interested in Georgiana, but she is in love with someone else. Also, there is a creepy story about a ghost in the woods surrounding the Darcy estate, just fyi. Everything is fine until Lydia shows up, with Wickham-something they were never supposed to do. But even worse their friend Captain Dennys is DEAD! MURDERED! Who killed him? (Full review click here)
Then we have Episode II-WICKHAM STRIKES BACK-So things are not going well. Stress, tension, hysterics abound in the Darcy house. Wickham is jailed and as Darcy’s brother-in-law is constantly asking him for things to help his stay, and Darcy delivers. Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship is under serious strain, and poor Georgiana-all trauma coming back. In the previous episode there was mention about their butler who has an ailing son. Elizabeth goes to visit with them and discovers they have some serious secrets. Wickham is trying to use his jailed time to make money off his “story” but no matter what the money or things-swears up and down that he did not kill his friend. But if not him, then who? We end with Wickham to go on trial; shouting by all; and a fade to black! (Full review click here)
So let’s see how this one will shape up. I have to say I really enjoyed the last episodes and hoping (fingers crossed) they deliver with this one.
So Wickham is in jail finally realizing that things may not turn out well. Charm can only get you so far and you can’t talk your way out of everything Eventually it catches up to you.
It turns out that the butler’s daughter who was caring for her nephew was lying about that, as she is unmarried, and the baby is her son and Wickham the father.
Seeing her in the courthouse brings back memories of their time together-and also what having this means for his future. For Louisa, she considers killing herself now that she knows they wont be a big happy family. Her Freddie is actually Wickham, a married man.
Wickham wasn’t the only one who noticed Louisa. Sir Selwyn, the magistrate, is very interested in what went on at the trial with Wickham/”Freddie”. They have to reveal to him the truth.
Not good for you man not at all.
Darcy goes to see his dreaded brother-in-law. Wickham has decided to go to America-to get away from the scandal, that is if he goes free.
A while back I did a post on Jane Austen’s aunt who was arrsted for shoplifting and had to jailed until her case went to trial and Mrs. Austen wanted to send Jane to stay as “a comfort”. Imagine if Jane really had to live with her aunt be stuck in on of these cells. yuck
Wickham wants Darcy to keep quiet about his extramarital affair, but Darcy is honorable. He won’t lie. But Wickham asking him too, I can’t help but wonder could there be something here that relates to Denny’s death?
Now Louisa’s family is afraid that Darcy will do something, it is Elizabeth’s sister who is Wickham’s wife. Or worse-what if her father finds out?
Elizabeth questions Louisa to see if she can shine any light on what happened. Louisa was supposed to give the baby Georgie to Eleanor a friend of Wickham’s. She last saw her the day of the murder-she looks just like the woman Elizabeth saw in the woods!
She was there with Captain Denny, who Louisa thought at first was Wickham. You know soldiers-from a distance they all look alike.
The woman wanted Georgie, but Louisa refused. She didn’t want to sell her child off she wanted a family-husband father, etc. William, the ill son, is upset about what happened that day. He reveals another clue to this mystery-there was a third person in the abbey.
That’s why he’s been so sketchy.
Elizabeth asks the housekeeper if she knows of anyplace where they can send Louisa’s child-she has a sister near Highbury-could it be Mrs. Goddard from Emma. hmmmm…
Sir Selwyn is looking into more about Wickham’s case. He is a man that looks into everything and anything.
Darcy and Elizabeth are actually talking for once-but just the trial. Elizabeth once again tries to have him see that to him that Col. Fitzwilliam is hiding something-that he was there. But Darcy won’t listen. It is his closest friend and cousin.
That’s my best friend.
Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgina are talking about the future. If Wickham is convicted-all proverbial hell will break loose…but Colonel Fitzwilliam doesn’t stay on that topic for long-he has other things to speak of-marriage.
Georgiana accepts even though she does not love him. Her fear of the future and protectiveness of the Darcy name and Pemberley has caused her to choose safety over the man she really loves.
The next morning Darcy leave early, Elizabth still in bed, and finds a horse in his woods! It is Sir Selwyn investigating the woods. Sir Selwyn wonders if maybe that Denny was running not from Wickham, but to somewhere. Hmmm???
Darcy goes to the trial with trepidation. Newsboys selling papers with the headline “The Wicked Mr. Wickham” Finally someone gets it right! How weird is that the man Georgiana loves, Henry Alveston, defending the man who tried to kidnap and abuse her.
The crowd is very against Wickham-it does not look good.
Okay, let’s stop for a breather here. I’ve read the book. I know exactly how it ends-but I have to say this series is so well done I am getting tense too and full of “What’s going to happen next?”, “Will he get out of this?”, “Who killed Denny?” Bravo, BBC, Bravo.
The woman-Elizabeth and Louisa saw-is in the courthouse Darcy recognizes her-it was Georgiana’s nurse. The one that conspired with Wickham to squirrel her away! What does this mean?
Lady Catherine arrives. UGH!
Wickham is behaving much better at his actual. He’s not so pompish and foolish. The death of his friend has hit him too. You can hear how sad he is over the loss.
Wow-Matthew Goode, you actually made feel bad for Wickham. I still want to punch you in the face-but I might feel a twinge of guilt after doing it.
Lady Catherine is doing a number on Elizabeth. And of course it is all Elizabeth’s fault-Wickham would be out of their lives if it weren’t for her family. But the biggest surprise is Lydia-the very presence of Mrs. George Wickham sends Lady Catherine packing. Too bad Elizabeth did not have her with her when she visited Mr. Collins and Charlotte.
The prosecuting attorney brings up the debts Wickham acquired as a way to stain his character. This courthouse is turning into a mockery. Outrage. Objection!
After court Darcy storms off to follow Eleanor Younge. It turns out that Eleanor is Wickham’s sister. What? In the book she was in love with him. That threw me.
She wanted to adopt George-but Mr. Denny ruined it with his offering Louisa money. Darcy wants nothing to do with Eleanor after what she did to Georgiana, and Eleanor feels the same way.
But Darcy finds out that Elizabeth is telling the truth and Colonel Fitzwilliam was lying to him. Colonel Fitzwilliam went to Eleanor. Oh no-Darcy’s favorite guy fell off his pedestal. Now he wants the truth from Col. Fitzwiliam.
Wickham came to Col. Fitzwilliam. He decided to go Eleanor to pay her to take the baby-free the Darcy’s from Wickham. And then…oh no-Colonel Fitzwilliam just— oh no he did not say that about Georgiana. Hurry, Darcy-punch him too.
Col. Fitzwilliam how dare you talk about Georgiana as if she was “damaged gods” tainted” how Georgiana should be happy you would “take her” Oh my-oh my how dare you, how dare you, how dare you-you-prick Like she’s AAAAAAGHH-words can’t describe my anger at you. Get outta here rrrrrggggHHHH
Aw, Darcy apologizes to Georgiana. He feels bad. Its hard when you are a brother who is more a father, that line is a hard one to walk. Now go make amends to your wife.
I love the shot of when he says he is sorry that Elizabeth is above him and he is looking up to her. So much is how everyone comments on how Elizabeth’s family is below the Darcy’s and often he is above her. I thought it was a good way to show equal footing and almost a “I’m on my knees, pretty please forgive me” move while still being classic Darcy.
Darcy admits to Elizabeth he thinks Wickham is guilty. And that if this comes out-as it probably will-things do not bode well for either family. The next day Darcy goes to Alveston to discuss him. Oh Alvestan, such an idealist-he believes in a fair trial while the judge and prosecutor are clear who was guilty from day one.
Now I might not like Wickham and I wish he could pay for his crimes against women, but he shouldn’t hang if he didn’t commit the murder. Im such a Darcy-justice must rule not feelings.
Darcy takes the stand and things do not look well. Especially as Wickham said he killed Denny it as his fault. Darcy is stoic and strong-but oh things look bleak.
Elizabeth and Lydia are going to have a talk…about Wickham. But Lydia already knows-she doesn’t need hear it from her sister. She knows her husband.
The Jury return!!! What will there verdict be???
They find him to be…
Guilty! He will hang.
Guilty????!!! What?? Huh??? I don’t know what will happen next? Is this a dream??? No??? Guilty??
Eleanor leaves and Darcy follows. She is running and leaps into traffic-killed by horses running her over.
Guilty Wickham? Whaaaaaaaaaa….
Will is also dying. But he won’t see anyone. Elizabeth and the Reverend find it odd and go to speak to him. When they see him, he’s momemts away from his death and he finally tells the truth.
Captain Denny came the night of the murder. Will saw the uniform and believed him to be Wickham. Will was so angry that he had taken his sister’s virtue and ht him hard. Dennys’ staggered as he walked and fell down the hill-smacking his head on a rock and that causing his death.
I’m in shock
Will thought Wickham would get off-but he can’t allow a man to die for the crime he committed. He confesses and writes it out, signing it with witnesses.
We then see Wickham and Lydia.
Oh Wickham and Lydia, these two are cut from the same cloth. It is sweet seeing them together like this. Actually being loving and kind-caring for each other deeper than what they can get out of the other. Very sweet-shows another side of the two.
Elizabeth and Will’s father set out to Derby. Will they make it in time? Or is Wickham a dead man walking? Run Elizabeth, run. This feels like that moment in Pocahontas when you are like will she get there in time. Every second seeming to fly by and last forever at the same time.
Back at Pemberley–you know I just realized the book takes place at Christmas but BBC there’s no snow.
The two-Lydia and Wickham-all is well. They head off to America to flee scandal and cause more trouble.
Louisa keeps the baby, she and her family raising it-naming him after her brother.
And Henry Alveston rides to see Georgiana, in Henry Tilney fashion on a horse-to ask of her hand.
And Elizabeth pregnant.
Good job BBC, I enjoyed that tremendously. The only actor I did not like was Elizabeth’s. I thought she was just missing that spark. She always seemed tired, worn out, and too quiet.
And I have to say Matthew Goode was amazing! I have never felt so incredibly sorry for a character, yet at the same time hated his guts and wanted to punch him. He did amazing making Wickham so multi-faceted and giving him those little bits of humanity in the jerkiness and prickness of it all.
Fully amazing!!! A must watch!
And just a quick apology if I don’t get a chance to edit this before it posts tomorrow-I hope it isn’t too addled sounding.
A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh
So you all know that I’m not really into diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistles, letters, novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).
And that is what this book is about. It is a view of the novel Emma told in letters. But the letters aren’t between Emma, Harriet, Jane, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Weston or Mr. Knightley. Instead the author choose to tell the story from Mrs. Goddard’s point of view, the headmistress of the school that Harriet attends.
I know. At first I didn’t want to read this book. Mrs. Goddard is hardly even in the story except when she brings Harriet to meet Emma and start the two’s friendship. I couldn’t fathom why they would pick her over any other character.
In fact, the story is told between Mrs. Goddard and her sister Mrs. Charlotte Pinkney, who is living in London after a hasty marriage.
I’m not sure about this.
I wasn’t sure if I would like it but decided to start reading so I could post a review.
So I read it and…
I was so surprised but I loved every page of it and couldn’t stop reading.
The characters were amazing. Mrs. Goddard is very sensible and tries to provide a good home for the girls at her school. She cares heavily for each one and tries to help them as much as she can. She even cares deeply for her staff, as when one maid gets pregnant and the father won’t marry or take care of her-Mrs. Goddard helps her out and keeps her job open for her return.
Mrs. Pinkney has always been happy and a spendthrift. After her husband died and she was left with his debts, she married quickly to the wealthy family friend, Mr. Pinkney. At first she is upset, angry, whiney, and just unhappy as she is still grieving the changes in her life and that her new marriage isn’t so fun and flitty: Mr. Pinkey is more concerned over finances than anything else. She is bored and lonely and instead of working on her marriage devotes all her time to writing her sister.
Mrs. Goddard writes to her everything that is happening in Highbury, even though she thinks the news to be nothing and rather dull.
But Mrs. Pinkney gets caught up in the tales and the story of Emma. Besides that she befriends a young girl, Charlotte, from the school next door (a horribly run establishment). Having her lightens up the home and brings Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney together as they both enjoy Charlotte’s company. They even take her to Bath.
Scene of Bath from Persuasion
There Charlotte meets a sailor and begins correspondence with him. Mr. Pinkey’s Admiral friend also agrees to look into whether Charlotte’s father is still alive, if survived the storm that took his boat.
As Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney draw closer together, he too becomes interested in the news of Highbury and the story of Emma.
Now I read an article not to long ago how Emma is a mystery, but thought nothing of it as it didn’t really seem like a mystery to me.
But then in this book Mrs. Goddard, Mrs. Pinkney, and Mr. Pinkney all collaborate to figure out different elements of the story. Who is Mr. Elton really after to be his wife?
Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith?
Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him?
Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano?
Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends?
Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?
And much more. The three are on the case:
I thought it was fantastic story telling. Joan Austen-Leigh knows how to have the perfect balance of the original characters:
With brand new, interesting, and fun characters
It was fun, captivating, and as said before, a real page turner.
I highly recommend it for any Jane Austen or Emma fan. This is one book that you shouldn’t miss out on.