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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My best quiz yet: The Lawyer of Highbury

[those who saw me speak to the JASNA-NYC branch in May, please hold your fire, and keep the secret of the answer until I disclose it tomorrow, so as to give others a chance to try to figure it out]

What is the connection among the following three seemingly completely unrelated bits of Austeniana?

#1: my recent string of posts about my speculation, based on the intersection of textual evidence from _Emma_ and _MP_, on the one hand, and from historical data, on the other, that the young Phila Austen may have been a prostitute in London from age 15 to 20, before she was transported by ship--whether voluntarily or not--to India.

#2: The following charade attributed to Henry Austen:

“I with a Housemaid once was curst,
Whose name when shortened makes my first;
She an ill natured Jade was reckoned,
And in the house oft raised my second,
My whole stands high in lists of fame,
Exalting e’en great Chatham’s name.”

The answer given by David Selwyn for this charade is "pat" + "riot" = "patriot". As the online expression goes, ymmv, i.e., your mileage may vary. _My_ mileage _does_ vary! Hint: think about the names of the housemaids in _Emma_.

#3: The following two passages in _Emma_ which pertain to the family of the lawyer of Highbury:

Ch. 26: "The party was rather large, as it included one other family, a proper unobjectionable country family, whom the Coles had the advantage of naming among their acquaintance, and the male part of Mr Cox's family, the lawyer of Highbury."

Ch. 27: [Harriet]: “...The Coxes were wondering last night whether [Jane] would get into any great family. How did you think the Coxes looked?......They talked a great deal about [Robt. Martin], especially Anne Cox... Miss Nash thinks either of the Coxes would be very glad to marry him."

...[Emma] "She meant to be impertinently curious, just as such an Anne Cox should be."

My answer, and explanation, will be posted tomorrow morning EST--bonne chance!

Cheers, ARNIE

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