Sentiment at Winchester and at
Chawton: Linda's Quest for Sophia
A Male-Voices Web Page
"Where 'dear Sensibility', Sterne's darling Maid,
From James Austen's ode to his
This is the first letter from our peerless, fearless Editor—our very own "Sophia Sentiment"—as our friend is about to board a plane to Heathrow and thence to Jane Austen's county and homes for the Winchester-Chawton Conference. On this page, we will follow her progress amongst the Jane-Austen sites, which will be related to us in a series of letters and photographic essays.
7/10/03: My Quest Begins
The preparations are over, with as much as could possibly be done for my journey. So, with journal in hand I will go forth, and send back reports as time and computer access affords.
With high hopes, determination, and a wee bit of courage I will have the good time that all of you wished for me. My highest hope is to find the real "Sophia", her countryside, neighbors, and beliefs.
The journey begins at the Memphis Airport where my daughter and grandchildren will deposit me. Giving them all a final hug, I will gather my luggage with an admonishment to watch as I walk away, because, as I step onto the sidewalk, I will take a deep breath, square my shoulders and step forward to take in the world of Jane Austen.
Yours, as you behave,
Of all things that the rest of us feel, the foremost is this: we hope that Linda will "not miss the opportunity of enjoying herself as much as possible." I hasten to add that we hope and pray that our friend will avoid dancing with the officers.—?—maybe not.
7/10/03 (continued) : My First Trip Across the Pond
Having more than an hour before the first of three flights, I decided to use the time to simply be quiet, gaze at the tarmac, and the white clouds overhead, leftovers from the early morning showers. Rather than being upset with the inconvenience of the wetness of the showers, I remembered an old hymn and decided to regard them as "showers of blessings" for my trip in spite of the fact that I was sitting next to a mid-eastern looking fellow in the waiting room; and, on the next leg of the flight I sat next to another mid-easterner reading a book in Arabic. Not to worry, all was well, as my guardian angel was with me.
The third flight from Boston to Heathrow was on an Airbus—the largest plane I have ever flown. I was in the four-abreast seating in the center section next to a lady, her 4 or 5 year-old daughter, and her husband who all had lovely English accents. Without being intrusive we chatted a bit and she gave me some good advice on several subjects. En route, we were served a supper and since I was unable to sleep, I watched a movie Down With Love before we had a light breakfast. We departed Boston as the sun was setting and landed at Heathrow 5+ hours later at dawn on Friday morning. Very strange indeed!
Yours, as you behave,
Now, just follow the yellow-brick road!
At Clare's and the Wessex Hotel
7/11/03: A Special Delivery
I made it through immigration and customs without a hitch to find Clare, a friend from RoP, waiting to whisk me off to her home for lunch. As I had been told, every one is quite nice. The strange thing was, Clare drove on the "wrong side" of the road. The beautiful English countryside looked like pictures from a book. We only stopped talking (almost) long enough to enjoy the delicious lunch she prepared.
Her daughter was home and enjoyed my southern accent. By 2 p.m. I was getting sleepy so she took me to the station to catch the train to Winchester. It was necessary to take the train because my daughter said the trip was not complete unless I took a train ride.
I took a taxi to the Wessex Hotel, unpacked, and turned on the 'telly'. My first glimpse of English TV was the programme Arthur—arrggh! (You must realize that Arthur is a children's programme that I have seen countless time with my grandchildren!)
Shortly thereafter, a Pimm's was delivered to my door compliments of Anne, another RoP friend. It was delicious. The Pimm's and a long soak in the tub enabled me to get some catch-up sleep so desperately needed.
Yours, as you behave,
I wonder, what is a "Pimm's"? Is that an officer's rank in the Hertfordshire militia? Some time after asking that question, we received this delightful note from Linda's good friend, Anne:
7/17/03: What is a Pimm's?
My Dear Sir,
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the Anne who had the Pimm's delivered to Linda's door. I live about 15 minutes drive from Chawton, about 45 minutes drive from Winchester, and I have loved Jane Austen, her life and her work since I read Northanger Abbey at age 14.
Pimm's No. 1 cup is a drink, much loved here in England during the summer. It came to the notice of some of the Pemberley ladies when they visited us last year, and Linda was fascinated by it. Linda managed to time her visit as I have been celebrating my mother's 70th birthday near Longleat in Wiltshire, otherwise I would have met her at the airport with Clare and then taken her to Winchester. So, as it looks unlikely that I will be able at last to meet Linda this week (though I'm still working on it!), I had a Pimm's delivered to Linda's door with the immortal words 'Take Every Opportunity Of Enjoying Yourself.'
Here is a link to a site about Pimm's.
As you will see, it has a long and venerable history. The gin-based cocktail that we drink MUST contain a lot of fruit (apple, orange, lemon) and some cucumber. Also sprigs of borage or mint. It is taken as a long drink, and tastes very innocuous until the third or fourth, at which point the world takes on a decidedly rosy glow.
I do hope that Linda continues to enjoy her stay here. The weather is gorgeous at the moment. And I hope so much to be able to meet her.
I remain, Sir,
Very cordially yours,
So, a Pimm's is a gin drink—that is a bitter disappointment. On the other hand, sharing a Pimm's with an officer might be just the thing. As I understand it, sharing three or four Pimm's with an officer should be undertaken with some care.
7/12/03: Touring the Cathedral—"Are you sure you are all right?"
Hello from Winchester!
I woke to find the pre-ordered newspaper (to check for local events and a TV schedule) at my door and a lovely welcoming note from Anne. Friends are the nicest kind of people.
Breakfast at the hotel dining room was especially enjoyable because the hotel "is separated only by a lane" from the Cathedral and provides a panoramic view. I felt as though I had breakfast with Jane Austen.
With map in hand I set off first thing to visit Jane's grave in the Cathedral. As it was still early only a few tourists were milling about, and I very soon found her. The largeness of the Cathedral, the quiet reverence of that moment, the realization of presence, the flowers in the niche letting us know that she is not forgotten, the wall plaque about the Memorial Window to Jane Austen, the stone markers of others graves—all came together for an overwhelming sense of loss and closeness.
I managed to keep my composure until it was necessary to inquire about the Cathedral tours. I could not speak without visibly choking up and making a spectacle of myself. Those dear Ladies, who volunteer as Friends of the Cathedral to sell tickets, act as tour guides, and operate several souvenir booths directly inside the Cathedral entrance, were very kind by offering a quiet seat to compose myself, a cup of tea, and a "are you sure you are all right?"
I rallied sufficiently to join the first tour group of the day led by a lovely Lady who was a rather fragile, senior Friend of the Cathedral. Even though she used a walking cane (only to "steady" herself, I noticed), I was doubtful she could go the distance; however, an hour and fifteen minutes later she was still going strong. She was truly amazing, not only for the amount of history she related about the Cathedral, but also her ability to make the people buried there so real and not just a name and date as in a history book. It was as if she were introducing us to her neighbors.
Never having been in such an "old" place, I found the tombs, paintings, and artifacts not only moving, but also as a personal, real connection to the very distant past. In spite of the signs of aging , it was amazing they had survived through so many years, and to be aware that people from every station in life from kings to peasants had gazed upon them.
The tours and numbers of tourists were increasing but I found a moment of relative quietness to light a candle and say a prayer for our Dear Jane. This was one of several "precious" moments.
Upstairs in the Triforium Gallery I found the silhouette of Jane supposedly made by herself, as well as sculpture, woodwork, and metal work from eleven centuries. Of particular interest to me was the Winchester Bible, especially when you think of the time spent in the making by so many artists. It is a wonder to behold.
However, there was trouble in the Library. Visitors are not allowed to touch the books. I can understand why. As for me, I have the utmost reverence in such a place. Nevertheless, the senior gentlemen who was giving me a personal tour, took a volume from the shelf since I had expressed an acute interest in it. The old style font on the spine being hard to read, I mistakenly thought the author's name looked like one of my family names. I barely had time to write the information from the title page when another very proper "Friend" happened to come in and catch us. She was polite, but firm, and my guide mumbled some excuse about my interest in the book. Just a little embarrassed, I made a polite, but hasty retreat downstairs to find a colorfully costumed visiting Choir from Bermuda beginning a scheduled performance. I sat to listen for a bit before scavenging the souvenir booths at the back of the Cathedral and leaving some "pounds" in the collection box.
Next I went through the Visitor's Centre to gather another bagful of books and souvenirs at the Gift Shop which leads to the Refectory (café, restaurant, eating place to us). Loved the food.
By then it was almost 3 p.m. I walked to the house where Jane lived her last days. The street was relatively quiet, providing time for reflection, a close inspection, and picture taking. I took pictures as I approached, and walked past it to the other side for more pictures. By then I noticed a man entering the front door. Expecting to have an inside tour, I came back and only then did I notice the small note in the window stating that the house is a private residence and not open to the public. Talk about disappointed! If you can, imagine all that afternoon, the Cathedral bells were ringing, though I haven't the faintest idea why, but they created a beautiful 'atmosphere' for the setting. Maybe they did it because I was there. Who knows.
Since the P G Welles bookstore was only a couple of doors away, I had to stop to "see what I could see". There were several shelves devoted to "Jane Austen" books, and needless to say I bought a few, well £108 worth exactly, including some for the grandchildren, of course. Thank goodness they put them in the mail for me, because on the way back I stopped by the Friends of the Library book sale and bought some more. There was time to drop them off at the hotel and run around the streets of Winchester before supper time and some more Pimms. [Did I say that?] Maybe that was why I dozed off and missed the TV programme The Story of the Novel with Claire Tomlin. Fortunately, the phone rang (my daughter calling to relate emails about the Cape arrangements) and woke me up so I did not miss Michael Wood's programme In Search of Shakespeare. It was very interesting and helped to debunk the question of 'who was the real Shakespeare?' I do hope it will be shown over here one day. Seeing the programme made me feel very "English".
Yours, as you behave,
Jane Austen (Dec. 16 1775—July 18, 1817)
Grave Site at Winchester Cathedral
7/13/03: Services at Winchester Cathedral & Friends of the Cathedral
I am now at the internet cafe called The Courtyard Cafe waiting for 11:00 am to go to Church services.
What is so strange is that I really don't feel like I am in a "foreign" country—just different. Some differences are: no air conditioning, narrow streets downtown, no street numbers on the stores, and some of the street corners don't have their names on them. I had to ask and was told "everyone already knows where the stores are, and if you don't, just ask."
Everybody walks here. I was very tired last night, and the jet lag is bothersome too, but I will trudge on in spite of a sore knee. I must have twisted it amongst all those flights.
I arrived at the Cathedral for Services in time to visit Jane and have a quiet moment before they began. Being unfamiliar with Anglican services, I was happy to see several familiar rituals take place. It was not always so, but for some time now at some point in the service every one "greets" his/her pew neighbors—a very friendly, Christian gesture. Also, some churches allow all Christians to partake of the Eucharist (or the Lord's Supper, or Communion, as I know it) and some churches don't (only church members are allowed). At this service all Christians were invited to participate, which is happiness indeed. Another custom I am used to is the Pastor shaking hands with the congregation at the end of services. I was pleased to be able to do that and express to the Pastor my appreciation for his moving sermon. Bless his heart, his happiness showed in his beaming face as I choked up.
Here is why Canon Anderson's sermon got to me. His scripture was Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23. After describing his misgivings of his not being 100% perfect in his Christian life, his daughter said something to him about how God loves sinners, too. Then the light dawned. We are just as loved, or as good in God's eyes whether we are putting out at 100%, or 60%, or 30%. He loves us all. I only learned this concept myself in the last few years and it gladdened my heart to hear it there.
Now if you want to speak of heavenly things, I topped off that lovely service with clotted cream and strawberries at the Refectory for lunch.
The afternoon was spent around Winchester with a tour of the City Museum with lots of local history and artifacts. I ended up at the King's Lounge for my very first taste of real "fish and chips". I had no idea what to expect. The menu also listed "mushy peas" as the traditional side dish. I bravely ordered and was completed delighted with everything. I have eaten fish, fried potatoes, and peas all my life, but never had they tasted like that. And yes, I had another Pimms with them. It was a perfectly beautiful, sunny day with pigeons, doves, squirrels, and other birds rambling and flitting around the Cathedral grounds. And the awareness of Jane's proximity was always with me. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Yours, as you behave,
"I really don't feel like I am in a 'foreign' country ...": that is a pleasant bit of news. On the other hand, why should we be surprised? After all, it's not as if our friend has found herself in someplace like California.
At the Chawton Estate
Linda began the day of July 16 with a short, five mile, bus trip to the Chawton homes of Jane Austen and her family. The Great House was the Hampshire seat of the Knight family; hence, the home of Jane Austen's brother, Edward Austen-Knight. The Great House had been recently restored by Sandy Lerner and was the first stop on the day's excursion.
We will follow Linda's excursion about the estate. We do that by starting at the end—the time when Linda was returning from her visit to Jane Austen's home, Chawton Cottage, to the Chawton Great House.
7/16/03: The Great House and "Chawton House Cottage"
The last delight of the day was a tour of the Great House, itself. If you look at the window directly above the entrance, I was told that that was a favorite place of Jane's to sit and read. The house was filled with portraits, old books, and period furniture. There was a gentleman in back to tell us all about the well house and some of the out buildings.
After visiting with other confrerees, I walked on past what turned out to be the "Chawton House Cottage" (not to be confused with the Chawton Cottage) and noticed a couple of workers still busy. I stopped to inquire if the building belonged to the estate. The gentleman who appeared to be directing the activity came over and enlightened me. It seems to have been a coach house at one time and they were almost finished renovating it to be a residence for Sandy Lerner. He was a handsome gentleman though he was not wearing regimentals. We had a lovely chat, however, you don't suppose—oh, never mind.
Yours, as you behave,
Chawton Great House
7/16/03: ... and to think that I had almost missed them ...
As I neared St. Nicholas Church it dawned on me that Jane's Mother and Sister were possibly buried in the churchyard and I should have a look-see. Sure enough, there they were, and to think that I had almost missed them was incredible.
You might notice the stone covering of the graves. I have seen only what is at Winchester Cathedral so I am unaware of the modern styles found in English cemeteries, but it is only in my lifetime that our cemeteries have started a fashion of putting a stone border around the grave with a gravel covering. That is why I thought their covering was unusual. As I entered the church it finally hit me that Jane, herself, had surely been there many times to worship. Again, it proved to be another time of quietness and solitude.
Yours, as you behave,
7/16/03: The Walk to and from Chawton Cottage
Because it was my only chance to visit Chawton Cottage, I regretfully skipped two afternoon sessions of the conference.
I set out alone from the Great House, though there was a group quite a distance ahead and also behind me. There was an intermittent gentle shower, and fortunately I had my "brolly" with me since I was advised to be prepared for rain. The shower brought to mind the aforementioned shower on my departure to England, so in like manner, I considered this unobtrusive dampness to be another welcome sign of "showers of blessings". It turned out to be quite true.
The shower only added to the 'atmosphere' for a quiet, reflective walk on an English country road used so many years ago by our dear Jane. The 'country' aspect was immediately evident as I passed the farm buildings with the pastures and horses coming into view. Further along, the setting and these lovely trees caught my eye as a perfect picture of an 'English' landscape. To my great surprise, I recognized this blooming Linden tree in the next clump of trees due to living in the Arkansas woods, though we used its other name, "basswood". To my utter amazement, I next came upon a cottage with a real thatched roof. On down the road was a "Jane Austen" touch in the form of a lovely house and gardens with a sign "Sanditon House" in front, very appropriately named I dare say. A short distance more and Chawton Cottage came into view. The first order of business was to get a picture of me in front just to prove "I was there".
As I reached Chawton Cottage I could not help but think that Someone had orchestrated the entire "walk". The countryside, the beautiful animals, the stately trees, the intermittent shower, and the cottages—it was all so perfect—lending an awareness to a serenity of spirit, communion with nature, and an attitude of thankful reverence. Even the few passing cars did not interfere with the quiet solitude of the walk. It all felt so surreal, and there was no one to pinch me.
Later, my return walk to the Great House just "happened" to be another solitary walk though others were coming and going. This time the horses were closer by under the trees next to the fence with a young lady tending them so I commented on their beauty.
Yours, as you behave,
7/16/03 (continued) : Chawton Cottage
Upon arriving at the Cottage, I took a minute to notice its surroundings. It is situated on a corner lot—no one ever said that before that I remember. It took several snaps to get the entirety of the opposite side of the street including Cassandra's Cup and the crossroads.
I toured the Cottage itself—of utmost importance—before walking around the grounds. The Ladies sold tickets and souvenirs and answered questions, but visitors were free to wander at their leisure through the cottage. Their only instruction was 'no pictures', and only after exiting the house did I find out they meant 'no flash pictures'. I bought a souvenir booklet with interior pictures as anything I would have tried to take without the flash would have been disappointing.
The awareness of presence permeated my entire tour. Having seen pictures of most items, it is impossible to describe such different feelings when seeing each precious object right in front of your face. For instance, it was hard to believe that those famous crosses are so much lovelier and delicate than in the pictures. If one has only ever seen pictures of portraits and landscapes in books, it is quite another matter to see the real thing. After so many years of 'traveling' via books and then to stand in front of the actual picture and see its real dimensions (some are quite large), the hairline cracks in the paint, and the facial expressions that 'come alive' as real persons is as different as daylight and dark.
Here follows a partial list of the items I saw.
- a floor to ceiling portrait of Edward Knight (1768 - 1852)
- a plaque for Philip John Carpenter who died in Italy on June 30, 1944, age 22
- a book: Mentoria or, The Young Ladies' Instructor, a gift to her niece, Jane Anna Elizabeth Austen
- another gift book: Elegant Extracts: or Useful and Entertaining Passages in Prose, Selected for the Improvement of Scholars at Classical and Other Schools in the Art of Speaking, Reading, Thinking, Composing, and in the Conduct of Life c. 1801
- pictures of handwritten pages abound
- the famous quilt made by Jane and family
While in Jane's bedroom, with another quiet shower outside, I saw:
- two small white caps
- a framed picture quoting her praises by Sir Walter Scott, Lord Macaulay, and Winston Churchill
- a photo of original verses by Jane dated February 7, 1811
- there was one exposed wooden beam across the middle of the ceiling
- a lace collar made by Jane
- a medical history photo with a new theory of her last illness: lymphoma or cancer, possibly Hodgkins disease (same symptoms)
- the wall plaster had about a foot square cut away exposing the inner studs
- and of course, "shelves in the closet", a half width shelf on the top, then a full width shelf with a semicircular wedge cut out to allow one's head to be raised up without hitting it while using the wash basin on the next shelf, and the bottom shelf held the chamber pot.
It is next to impossible to describe my feelings as I stood in that beloved room, staring out of the same window she looked out of. Since I was not allowed to use my camera to record the scene from her window on the second floor, I determined to go outside and stand beneath it to snap from that perspective, as you shall see. But first, I rummaged through the gift shop for more souvenirs.
Once outside, I walked completely around the cottage taking pictures all the while, so just follow the numbered scenes below and I will add a few comments. Scene 5 is the visitor's side entrance to the Cottage. The view in Scene 9 is looking directly at Jane's upstairs bedroom window (in the center). Scene 10 was taken standing underneath Jane's bedroom window and looking outward. That is the view from her bedroom. Scene 11 is the Cottage front as viewed from the driveway. That "front door" does not open. It has a couple of pictures hanging on the inside of it. Scene 12 is a close-up of the fenced flower bed in front. If you look closely enough, the wooden fence appears to be in need of repairs. Sounds like a worthy project for the folks at the JAS or JASNA. Scene 13 is my own personal shot of that famous façade.
It went all too quickly before it was time to board the bus for Winchester.
Yours, as you behave,
Actually, I think that the Cottage was located on a corner lot even when Jane Austen lived there. I believe it was at that juncture where the road from London split into a road to Portsmouth and a road to Winchester. I seem to remember reading that new arrivals in Portsmouth would sometimes tell one of the sailor brothers that the travelers had seen his mother and sisters in the window of the Cottage when passing by.
Back to Winchester
7/17/03: Fresh Flowers
It is now Thursday afternoon—the conference is over—and it was so wonderful, I can hardly write. Everything was great—the speakers, the weather, the city, the Cathedral—absolutely everything.
Because I have an early train to catch in the morning, I have already placed fresh flowers on Jane Austen's grave and bid her "adieu". I had wanted to go there in the morning since it is the anniversary of her death. When I got to the Cathedral I noticed that two rows of folding chairs had been placed between her grave and the Memorial Window. I thought that was odd and an inconvenience in my placement of her flowers. It wasn't until later that I found out that the Jane Austen Society was probably having a memorial service that being the reason for the chairs. If that be the case, then I am happy. Needless to say, it was hard realizing I was bringing this part of my journey to a close.
But the holiday is not yet over—on to Cape Cod. I am one happy woman!
Yours, as you behave,
Close-Up of Jane Austen
Hm-mm, no above-ground telephone poles or power lines, and I cannot see any Golden Arches or neon signs. So, how did Linda know where to go in order to buy stuff?
7/18/03: Going home
How can I ever thank Clare and her lovely family for all their hospitality to this American? I do hope they enjoyed visiting with me as much as I did with them. Another daughter was there today and she was as anxious to hear a southern accent as was her sister on last Friday. She did ask me what American boys were like. That stumped me for a minute because I did not think there was any significant difference. But then at my age, I don't really pay that much attention anymore.
Clare was the epitome of kindness. She never left me until the last possible minute at Heathrow. It was though she, among others, were specially placed there as my guardian angels. Bless you, dear Clare.
Yours, as you behave,
And so, the Male Voices' Innocent Abroad remains innocent but is abroad no more. Linda ...
... clicked together the heels of her silver slippers ...
... and will soon be back in Kansas ...
... well, back in Massachusetts anyway—that's a good part of the way to Kansas. Our happier, wiser friend has arrived in time to investigate another of our favorite authors. How can we ever forget her sentiments and acquired knowledge—we will no longer fear encountering men reading Arabic, and we are relieved to learn from Linda's photographs that we have not exported to our English cousins the American custom of "private affluence and public squalor". And, of course, we applaud our Editor's courage in carrying on in spite of her devastating knee injury suffered at Winchester. (I can't help being reminded of John Elway's final season which ended in a Super Bowl victory in spite of that detached biceps in his throwing arm.)
7/18/03: Going home
It was a long day of flying, delays, and bus rides because I did not get to the Cape until 1:00 a.m. Saturday. The bus ride from Boston to Hyannis was made quite pleasant though because I so enjoyed the conversation with my Pemberley companion who arrived at Boston later than I did. Thanks, Jen.
The scenery, cottages, and Jane Austen fans and events were a pleasant transition before returning to the "real" world.
Yours, as you behave,
This has been Lovely, but I shall take my leave now with these Parting Thoughts
Brought back to Earth with a "thud"
After having such a grand time, it was necessary to bring me back to earth, and it happened with a big "thud" that prevented me from finishing this report in a timely manner. It all started on the last leg of my flight home. After loading into the plane, we waited on the tarmac due to the weather for six hours which included returning to the terminal, unloading the plane (passengers and luggage), and then loading it back up again. I finally arrived home at midnight only to wake up to discover that a terrible storm blew threw and caused terrible damage to the Memphis area. In the next two weeks I unpacked three times because we had to find shelter with another daughter due to power outages, phones lines down, and then the air conditioner went on the blink. While recuperating from all that we had a surprise birthday party to plan and carry out, a virus in the laptop, not to mention that if it was possible for anything to go wrong, it did! It can stop now; I am back on Earth, in case Anyone up there is listening!
Showers in July
Taking those showers as heavenly signs, I was quite surprised when I stumbled across a poem Jane had written on July 15, 1817, only three days before she died, so the story goes. It is titled Venta, which is the old name for Winchester. The poem concerns St. Swithin who is the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral, and Jane picked up on the fact that some races for entertainment were scheduled on his "day". The last prophetic lines go like this:
Ye cannot but know my command o'er JulyWell, Lo and Behold, there were those showers again. It did rain in July and I almost fainted when I read that. The entire poem can be found HERE.
Henceforward I'll triumph in shewing my powers
Shift your race as you will it shall never be dry
The curse upon Venta is July in showers—'
Here are some "little" things that make for a happy journey:
Here are some "differences between here and there
Thank you, I enjoyed myself very much indeed!
I must beg forgiveness for my lack of attention in purchasing souvenirs for everyone and sending post cards because I was having such a wonderful time and thought only of taking 'every opportunity of enjoying myself'.
I do want to say a heartfelt "Thank you" to JulieW, Linden, AnneP, PeggyS, Caroline, JessicaC, Cheryl (at MV), and Diane Catherine for passing on so much wonderful travel advice, and most of all to dear Clare for just being the lovely Lady she is. If I have forgotten anyone, I assure you it is inadvertent. Also, my thanks go to my beloved Sister who worries too much and did not give her permission but "allowed" me to go overseas alone anyway.
A very special "Thank you" to Ashton for being such a kind and thoughtful Janeite Brother who offered many encouraging words and provided this space to place my recollections! I am especially appreciative of his calling me an "Innocent Abroad" – that warmed the cockles of my little ole heart. Mere words are truly inadequate to express the gratitude and joy in my heart for so many lovely memories. I shall return to England many times in my 'mind's eye' as I read these pages again and again.
"Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone – we will recollect what we have seen."
Pride and Prejudice – Chapter 27
Join still another Male Voice, Ray Mitchell,
in his search for Jane Austen.
A century before Linda's quest, there was
Constance Hill's Exploration of Jane Austen's County (1901)
Constance Hill did not have a camera, but Ellen Hill
did have a sketch book—don't miss this one!
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