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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

P.S. re Mrs. Elton always wearing a lace veil or bonnet

 
 Yesterday, I posted my initial thoughts about Mrs. Elton and her striking predilection for wearing lace veils:
 
 
http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2014/12/if-you-could-see-mrs-eltons-face.html
 
  
Diane Reynolds responded in a variety of interesting ways, first with this: 
"I am trying to envision Mrs. Elton going around veiled all the time. The idea makes me laugh and could be a part of a comic filming of Emma, but I just can't see it as JA's intent."

Diane, excuse me if I don't entirely believe you, I think you're on the fence about this one.. I.e., it makes you laugh, I suggest, because the possibility intrigues you.

And actually, I only just realized that Diana has slid something very clever into her post this morning that supports my theory further:

"I'm also thinking that Mrs. Elton's "very few pearls, very few lace veils," is not necessarily a comment on anything resembling a typical @1800 wedding, but her own aspirational materialistic nature!  (And why is that in the plural?  Pearls yes, but if the bride didn't wear a lace veil, who else would?). "

To answer Diana's parenthetical question, MRS. ELTON WOULD! Just as she tries to steal the show from Emma at the Crown Inn ball (Queen of the Evening, lace, etc.) Jane Austen keeps subliminally injecting this idea that Mrs. Elton's face has not been seen by anyone .And in that Crown Inn scene, I also just noticed that JA again reminds us that people are STILL curious to get a look at Mrs. Elton, even though she has been in Highbury for a while already. It means that every Sunday people see her in church wearing a lace veil. 
 
 
Diane also wrote: "But it could perhaps point to a Moorish or Muslim subtext, especially with Miss Bates talking about Aladdin's lamp. Maybe Augusta is part Arab? Maybe that has something to do with her gipsy party to pick strawberries ... of course, I am being facetious ... "

Oh, no, you're not, you just are ambivalent, but you can't resist bringing
forward this wonderful additional element---of course Miss Bates just happens to mention Aladdin's Lamp (under cover of praising Mr. Weston for his genie-like transformation of the Crown Inn into an Arabian Nights d├ęcor) RIGHT AFTER she praises Mrs. Elton for her lace, Queen of the Evening (which is an echo of the Queen of the NIGHT, from The Magic Flute, who wears black). And yes, the gipsy party is absolutely part of JA's subliminal clueing. Arab, Gipsy, African, they are all dark skinned groups, and ALL associated with Mrs. Elton in particular.

And...it's interesting to think of the contrast in this regard between Mrs. Elton, on the one hand, and Emma Harriet and Jane on the other, who are all
light skinned. Frank in particular takes special pleasure in noting how pale Jane's neck is, almost as if to say "NOT like Mrs. Elton!"

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

The OED is wrong AGAIN --Jane Austen didn't coin "sponge-cake" either!

Just to see, I went back to the OED's Twitter feed, and went backwards in time from the present to find their latest Tweet in which they made a claim of word usage priority for a famous person.

It didn't take me long, here's the Tweet the OED sent out 2 weeks ago, on the occasion of JA's birthday:

"#*OnThisDay* in 1775, Jane Austen was born. Did you know that she currently provides the OED with the earliest reference to sponge cake? "

I remembered having looked into that some years ago, and a quick check of my files revealed that I noted the following in May 2012 as I was looking at Jane Austen's Letter 52 dated June 17, 1808:

"JA wishes CEA “had not a disagreeable evening with Miss Austen (age 40) and her niece (must be still a girl). You know how interesting the purchase of a sponge-cake is to me.” That sounds to me like she is saying they are spongers, whose affections have been bought by a powerful person!  So how fittingly ironic that a term JA coined to describe a person became a universal term for a kind of cake!...In the 1807 /Mirth and Metre, A collection of Songs Sonnets Ballads and Bagatelles /written by Charles Dibdin (and we knew his name as one that JA knew well!), on P. 125, in the midst, alas, of an anti semitic doggerel, I read:

“A pastry cook said, the Jew was a CAKE to give himself a bad character; but he found the world full of CAKES. He called a beau a SWEET CAKE; a lover, a HEART CAKE; a prude, a LEMON CAKE; and a wit, a SHORT CAKE; a doctor, a WORM CAKE, his patient, a BATH CAKE; a lawyer, a SPONGE CAKE, his client a PAN-CAKE; a courtier, a PUFF CAKE; a citizen, a PLUM-CAKE….”
So the timing is just amazing, obviously JA got the idea from that book."

[me again in the present] Yes, it surely is no coincidence that Dibdin's book is published in 1807, and then JA, less than a year later, writes a letter using the word sponge-cake in an anthropomorphic sense, EXACTLY as Dibdin coined a cake-term for a dozen different kinds of persons/cakes. Her satirical eye had been caught by his satirical lexicon of people as cakes, and she must have shared a laugh with Cassandra over it when they read  it --- hence it made a convenient code for describing CEA's visit to their relatives who apparently were ripe for satirizing.

Here's the URL for the Dibdin book in Google Books so you can see the 1807 publication date plain as day at the beginning:

https://books.google.com/books?id=3yNYAAAAcAAJ&pg=PP7&dq=%22Mirth+and+Metre%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xSajVKaoGdDooATj6oGYBw&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Mirth%20and%20Metre%22&f=false

The doggerel about people-cakes is on ppg. 124-5.

And, again, this tells us that the OED is, as of two weeks ago, STILL not looking at Google Books in order to make their listings correct!

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode onTwitter

If you could see Mrs. Elton’s face through her lace veils and through Jane Austen's eyes, instead of Emma's…..what would you see?



 The group read of Emma in Janeites & Austen L appears to have stirred up stuff that’s been brewing in my subconscious for a while, and the latest such bubbling up has to do with my realizing that Jane Austen emphasized Mrs. Elton’s lace veils for a reason—a quick check of all the passages in the novel which pertain to her appearance confirmed to me that (unlike the case with every other young female character in the novel) we never actually get any objective report of what her face looks like! We don’t have the slightest idea.

Think about that bold assertion as you consider each of the following:

In Chapter 22, we have a great deal of apparent description of Mr. Elton’s new bride, even before she shows up---but it’s all vague gossip and hearsay, such as “The charming Augusta Hawkins, in addition to all the usual advantages of perfect beauty and merit, was in possession of an independent fortune, of so many thousands as would always be called ten”.

Then she arrives and we read: “Mrs. Elton was first seen at church: but though devotion might be interrupted, curiosity could not be satisfied by a bride in a pew, and it must be left for the visits in form which were then to be paid, to settle whether she were very pretty indeed, or only rather pretty, or not pretty at all. “

Now, why is it exactly that “it must be left for the visits” “to settle” how pretty she was? On first reading, that would be mysterious, but not on rereading—we realize from what Mrs. Elton says at the very end of the novel, about the wedding of Emma and Knightley (“Very little white satin, very few lace veils; a most pitiful business!”) that she is almost certainly wearing a lace veil then, hence her face cannot be clearly seen.

Then Emma pays the necessary visit, and we read this: “The visit was of course short; and there was so much embarrassment and occupation of mind to shorten it, that Emma would not allow herself entirely to form an opinion of the lady, and on no account to give one, beyond the nothing-meaning terms of being "elegantly dressed, and very pleasing." She did not really like her. She would not be in a hurry to find fault, but she suspected that there was no elegance;—ease, but not elegance.— She was almost sure that for a young woman, a stranger, a bride, there was too much ease. Her person was rather good; her face not unpretty; but neither feature, nor air, nor voice, nor manner, were elegant. Emma thought at least it would turn out so.”

What is that Emma “was almost sure”, and why did Emma think “at least it WOULD TURN OUT SO”??  It sounds to me like JA is making sure we have a fair chance to realize that Emma has visited Mrs. Elton but has not in fact gotten a good look at her face, as Emma leaves still guessing, and that could include whether “her face” was “not unpretty”.

Then we come to three later passages, which make me even more suspicious about whether anyone ever sees Mrs. Elton’s face unobscured by a lace veil or other large covering to hide her face. Consider:

Ch. 34: “Mrs. Elton, as elegant as lace and pearls could make her, [John] looked at in silence …” ---of course the “lace” refers to the lace VEIL she wears.

Ch. 38: “…Stop, stop, let us stand a little back, Mrs. Elton is going; dear Mrs. Elton, how elegant she looks!—Beautiful lace!—Now we all follow in her train. Quite the queen of the evening!—“
And that time it was Miss Bates brings attention to Mrs. Elton’s lace veil. Seems like a lace veil is for Mrs. Elton like an AMEX card today—she doesn’t leave home without it!

And, to be sure we don’t miss it, how about this, as Mrs. Elton plans the summer outing to Donwell Abbey, an event that a woman simply cannot wear a lace veil to:

Ch. 41: "That's quite unnecessary; I see Jane every day:—but as you like. It is to be a morning scheme, you know, Knightley; quite a simple thing. I shall wear a large bonnet, and bring one of my little baskets hanging on my arm. Here,—probably this basket with pink ribbon. Nothing can be more simple, you see. And Jane will have such another. There is to be no form or parade—a sort of gipsy party.

A large bonnet would have the same fuction as a lace veil, the better to hide a face—just as—not coincidentally, I assert---Jane Fairfax wears pelisses and shawls and other clothing in that same very warm weather, the better to hide a large belly, my dear…..

Which leads to the real question-what exactly would Mrs. Elton be hiding about her face? Of course, one real possibility would be that she had smallpox scarring, like the Austen family member who did, who was in many ways Jane Austen’ s model for Mrs. Elton—Mary Lloyd Austen.

But I think there’s another possibility which came to my mind when I suddenly found myself humming the words from “If You Could See Her” from Cabaret:

Emcee (appearing with a Gorilla)

I know what you're thinking:
You wondered why I chose her
Out of all the ladies in the world.
That's just a first impression,
What good's a first impression?
If you knew her like I do
It would change you're point of view.

If you could see her through my eyes
You wouldn't wonder at all.
If you could see her through my eyes
I guarantee you would fall (like I did).
When we're in public togtheer
I hear society moan.
But if they could see her through my eyes
Maybe they'd leave us alone.

Spoken: (There you are my liebling. Your favourite!)
How can I speak of her virtues,
I don't know where to begin?
She's clever, she's smart, she reads musics
She doesn't smoke or drink gin (like I do).
Yet when we're walking together
They sneer if I'm holding her hand.
But if they could see her through my eyes
Maybe they'd all understand.
(Emcee and Gorilla dance)
Why can't they leave us alone.

Seriously, think about it…In Sanditon, we have the young biracial heiress Miss Lambe—Miss Hawkins was from a rich Bristol family, meaning they probably made their fortune in some way from the slave trade. Might Miss Hawkins be the “Harriet” of the family—an illegitimate daughter of a rich man sired on an African slave?

That would make Mrs. Elton’s comment about being “a friend of the abolition” particularly ironic, if she herself were biracial! And it would then make sense that she would be hiding her facial appearance, so as not to have her racial background be too obvious.

Of course, those with eyes and brains would know, but Mrs. Elton would not be the first character in the novel to have the truth known about her by others, BUT NOT BY EMMA. That is the running joke of the novel—Emma really is globally clueless! One of the joys of rereading the novel is to occasionally spot another one of Emma’s blind spots!

And finally, it would make sense if Mr. Elton—he who is described at one point as “spruce, BLACK, and smiling”—married a biracial bride in casually racist Regency Era England. Maybe part of what made Mr. Elton so unacceptable a marital candidate for a woman of means (as opposed to the illegitimate Harriet) was the dark color of his skin?

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

Charles Dickens and his chronically bored intellectual adversary



Ever since the advent of Google Books some eight years ago, I’ve been proclaiming the utter obsolescence of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), given that anyone anywhere in the world can go to Google Books any time, and, using its date range function, quickly determine the earliest published usage of many words in the English language.  As I will show you, below, apparently the news about Google Books has not yet reached the OED, which is a poignant irony, suggesting that the OED has not yet gotten the proverbial memo.

Two weeks ago, I read a passing mention in a blog post asserting that the OED credits the first published usage of the noun “boredom” (but not the related adjective “bored” which came much earlier) to Charles Dickens in his novel Hard Times. Sure enough, I Googled and found that the OED Tweeted the following on 9/5/11: “The word 'boredom', in the sense of 'the state of being bored', was first used by Charles Dickens in Bleak House (1853).”

Given my skeptical attitude toward the OED, I checked Google Books on this one, and in very short order, I deduced, by my usual literary sleuthing methods, that Dickens not only was NOT the coiner of the word “boredom”, but that Dickens had actually tried, eleven “hard” times in that novel, to tell the reader—in code---who the coiner was. You see, Dickens used the word “boredom” as a parody of that earlier published author’s original usage! Read on to find out the identity of that very famous first user, who has been unjustly ignored by the OED for nearly two centuries!

To begin, although Dickens used the word “boredom” twice in Hard Times, he used the word “bored” nine times in the novel as well! And the most curious part of these eleven usages is that they are ALL used by a single character in the novel—the dandy and politician, James Harthouse. Here they all are, you will quickly get the drift of his defining character trait:

‘You must be very much BORED here?’ was the inference [Harthouse] drew from the communication.
…Now, this gentleman had a younger brother [Harthouse] of still better appearance than himself, who had tried life as a Cornet of Dragoons, and found it a BORE; and had afterwards tried it in the train of an English minister abroad, and found it a BORE; and had then strolled to Jerusalem, and got BORED there; and had then gone yachting about the world, and got BORED everywhere. 
‘I have not so much as the slightest predilection left.  I assure you I attach not the least importance to any opinions.  The result of the varieties of BOREDOM I have undergone, is a conviction (unless conviction is too industrious a word for the lazy sentiment I entertain on the subject), that any set of ideas will do just as much good as any other set, and just as much harm as any other set.  There’s an English family with a charming Italian motto.  What will be, will be.  It’s the only truth going!’
… ‘Tom is misanthropical to-day, as all BORED people are now and then,’ said Mr. Harthouse.  ‘Don’t believe him, Mrs. Bounderby.  He knows much better.  I shall disclose some of his opinions of you, privately expressed to me, unless he relents a little.’
The next morning was too bright a morning for sleep, and James Harthouse rose early, and sat in the pleasant bay window of his dressing-room, smoking the rare tobacco that had had so wholesome an influence on his young friend.  Reposing in the sunlight, with the fragrance of his eastern pipe about him, and the dreamy smoke vanishing into the air, so rich and soft with summer odours, he reckoned up his advantages as an idle winner might count his gains.  He was not at all BORED for the time, and could give his mind to it.
Mr. James Harthouse passed a whole night and a day in a state of so much hurry, that the World, with its best glass in his eye, would scarcely have recognized him during that insane interval, as the brother Jem of the honourable and jocular member.  He was positively agitated.  He several times spoke with an emphasis, similar to the vulgar manner.  He went in and went out in an unaccountable way, like a man without an object.  He rode like a highwayman.  In a word, he was so horribly BORED by existing circumstances, that he forgot to go in for BOREDOM in the manner prescribed by the authorities.
…Dear Jack,—All up at Coketown.  BORED out of the place, and going in for camels.

From the above, it is clear why Dickens caught the eye of the OED in the first place—after all, he had made James Harthouse’s boredom a leitmotif, the signature comment of this not very sympathetic character, who was described as follows by Agustin Coletes Blanco in a 1985 scholarly article that also picked up on the “boredom” drumbeat:

“Harthouse combines the ’indolence of his manner’ and his ‘accessions of BOREDOM’ with a cultivated languor and a ‘lightness and smoothness of speech’. Like Bounderby and Mrs Sparsit in their respective ways, he uses the system for his own ends -till he is adequately disposed of by Sissy. A sarcastic account of his background is displayed by the author in book II, chapter 2. He belongs to the kind of people who ‘yaw-yawned’ in their speech, ‘in imitation of fine gentlemen’. Before “'going in' for statistics”, he had tried life ‘as a Cornet of Dragoons, and found it a BORE; and had then strolled to Jerusalem, and got BORED there; and had gone yatching about the world, and got BORED everywhere’. In short, he is both the aristocratic counterpart of the Utilitarians and a social parasite. Once again, his speech will be in accord with his personality….”

But here’s the funny part---because of what I had found in Google Books when I first checked for the earliest usage of “boredom”, I already knew in my gut who the fictional James Harthouse was a parody of! You see, the novel which first used “boredom” was entitled The Young Duke, it was published in 1829 (24 years before Hard Times), and here is the relevant passage:

“The House had just broken up, and the political members had just entered, and in clusters, some standing and some yawning, some stretching their arms and some stretching their legs, presented symptoms of an escape from BOREDOM.

Did you also notice that this usage occurred in a passage about politicians? And isn’t Dickens’s James Harthouse also a politician in the House of Commons? Hmm….

And now I will put you out of your misery, and finally reveal to you the name of the author of The Young Duke—it was a young politician who dabbled all his life in writing fiction as well as making a rather greater name for himself as a politician, achieving the pinnacle in 1868 (two years before Dickens died) of the Prime Ministership---Benjamin D’Israeli!!!!

And so I was not in the slightest surprised this evening when a quick further Google Books search revealed the following scholarly observation, which, as far as I can tell, was not based on the keyword “boredom”, but on character-driven analysis:

The Alien in their Midst: images of Jews in English literature by Esther L. Panitz, 1981
P. 112: “James Harthouse of Hard Times was a caricature of that dandy who helped shape England's destiny, Benjamin Disraeli….”

So, why would Dickens parody D’Israeli? That’s a topic for a full article in itself, but to give you a taste of an answer, read the following 2012 blog post by Peter G. Hilston, who definitely had no idea about the “boredom” connection:

“Dickens and Disraeli on discontent”

For those who don’t want to read his whole post, here are the relevant highlights:

“I recently read “Hard Times” (1854), Charles Dickens’s only attempt at a novel about the industrial north of England, set in a cotton-manufacturing city he calls “Coketown”. Opinions of the novel have differed widely: in George Orwell’s long essay on Dickens we are told that the great Victorian historian Lord Macaulay refused to review the book because of what he saw as its “sullen socialism”, whereas Lenin was revolted by Dickens’s “bourgeois sentimentality”. In my opinion, Lenin was much closer to the mark than Macaulay. I found it a deeply irritating book, with a ramshackle plot, ridiculous characters, and a complete absence of any ideas for remedying the faults and abuses Dickens portrayed. As a corrective I reread a contemporary novel covering similar ground: “Sybil” (1845) by Benjamin Disraeli. I would like here to compare and contrast the two books.
...Let us turn to Benjamin Disraeli: the only British Prime Minister to have been also the author of several novels. In the 1840s, when he was already a Tory Member of Parliament (at this point representing Shrewsbury, in Shropshire) he produced a trilogy: “Coningsby”, “Sybil” and “Tancred”; the third being the least satisfactory. His motives for writing were mixed. In the first place, he needed the money: for most of his career he was plagued by debts, which at this time amounted to about £20,000 - at least half a million in today’s terms. Secondly, there were political ideas he wished to put forward, and which he does at length in the trilogy. He was associated with a group of youthful aristocrats known as “Young England”. Their theories sound very silly nowadays, but at the time they were considered important enough for Karl Marx to jeer at them in the “Communist Manifesto”. Particularly they were hostile to their Conservative party leader, Sir Robert Peel (Prime Minister 1841-46), whom they accused of betraying old Tory principles. Disraeli, who was neither an aristocrat nor young (he was born in 1804, eight years before Dickens) produced such ringing phrases as “A Conservative government is an organised hypocrisy”, and, in “Coningsby”, “A sound Conservative government - Tory men and Whig measures”. In 1846 Disraeli was to play a leading role in splitting the party and bringing down Peel’s government: an action which left the Conservatives without a Parliamentary majority for the next thirty years.
Most of Disraeli’s novels centre upon an upper-class young man making his way in politics and high society; “Sybil” being the only one where he ventured to set scenes in the industrial north.
…Disraeli’s characters, though not as memorably depicted as Dickens’s, are much more believable as people…Rather surprisingly, there is more overt Christianity in Disraeli’s novel than in Dickens’s: Disraeli portrays Walter Gerard and his daughter as dedicated Catholics, and among his minor characters there is a strong-minded vicar who is prepared to stand up to the upper-class bullies.
As an experienced politician, Disraeli knew how things actually worked, whereas Dickens never bothered to find out, but simply took refuge in satire. Dickens is contemptuous of Parliament and dismisses M.P.s as “national dustmen”; though many today would see the time as a golden age of political giants: Palmerston and the young Gladstone, as well as Peel and Disraeli himself. Dickens is thus incapable of matching the lethal scene where Disraeli portrays Peel (called simply “the gentleman in Downing Street”) instructing his factotum, who is given the thoroughly Dickensian name of Hoaxem, to give two completely contradictory messages to two different visiting delegations, and particularly to be “ “Frank and explicit”: that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others.” This is far more damaging than Dickens’s crude abuse!” END QUOTE FROM HILSTON BLOG POST

In conclusion, it is a final irony of the above that Dickens and Disraeli, by virtue of an irony of surname spelling, have entries one after the other in The Oxford Companion to Charles Dickens.
If you read Disraeli’s entry on p.181 thereof, you will learn that Disraeli, when asked in 1857 whether he had ever read anything by Dickens, replied in the negative, “except extracts in the newspaper.”

I am not sure I believe D’Israeli on that one, but if it’s true, then that’s a good thing, I suppose, because I don’t think “boredom” would have described his response had he seen himself in the character of the “bored” James Harthouse in Hard Times!

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

P.S.: I am Tweeting the link for this post to the OED, let’s see if they change their entry and acknowledge me for pointing out their error.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The answer to my little literary quiz with a twist



The answer to my (yes, trick) question is that there are two good answers, either:
Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (MP)
OR 
a combination of Dickens's 2 novels written consecutively in the early 1840's, sandwiched around his US  trip when he witnessed slavery firsthand: Martin Chuzzlewit (MC) and Barnaby Rudge (BR)—with one additional item from Edwin Drood (ED).

I royally screwed up my presentation of the ten points, however, as you can see. My error occurred as I added items from BR and ED to my list that initially only had items from MC, and then I had a senior moment (okay, I'm 62) and just forgot to mention that rather important point in all but one of the points re: BR.

So, having bollixed up the quiz, I will endeavor at least to get the explanation correct in all respects!

My point in noting this striking parallelism is that this confirms, to my satisfaction, my suspicion since several years ago that Dickens had MP strongly on his mind in the early 1840s while writing MC and BR, and in particular Dickens must have deduced Jane Austen’s reason for naming her novel MANSFIELD Park, and he chose to demonstrate that awareness covertly in these two novels of his, and his alluding to Lovers Vows two decades later in ED also suggests to me a long-continuing interest in Mansfield Park.

And, one final point—I believe Dickens also picked up on Jane Austen’s sexual innuendo in Point FIVE, below, pertaining to her subtle double entendre on “hand-organ”,  and then Dickens chose to amplify that sexual double entendre by making Tom Pinchs’ “organ” a running joke throughout the entire length of MC!

With that prelude, here goes:

ONE:  It has a married couple Mr. and Mrs. Norris.
In MP, this is obvious, as Mrs. Norris is a major character, and her husband Mr. Norris is well known for his one action in MP, which is when he dies.
In MC, each member of the Norris family is named in one scene, and Mr. Norris reappears later.

TWO:
Mrs. Norris has contempt for those who are enslaved (whether literally or metaphorically).
In MP, Mrs. Norris has contempt and other bad feelings for Fanny Price, who is the poor cousin who acts as a de facto house slave for much of the action.
In MC, Mrs. Norris, along with everyone in her family, make horribly racial slurs about enslaved blacks in their collective scene.


THREE: Colonial slavery is mentioned at certain key points, but is not central to the story.
In MP, of course, Sir Thomas owns a slave plantation in Antigua.
In MC, there is discussion of slavery, as noted above.

FOUR: There is a reference (which may or may not be explicit) to strange business in America.
In MP, that’s the cryptic statement that Tom Bertram makes to Dr. Grant.
In MC, there is, as noted above, discussion of slavery in the United States.

FIVE: A man who plays on an organ, and children dance to his music.
In MP, you have this scene where William Price reminisces about dancing with sister Fanny to music from a hand-organ:
"I should like to go to a ball with you and see you DANCE. Have you never any balls at Northampton? I should like to see you DANCE, and I'd DANCE with you if you would, for nobody would know who I was here, and I should like to be your partner once more. We used to jump about together many a time, did not we? when the HAND-ORGAN was in the street? I am a pretty good DANCER in my way, but I dare say you are a better." And turning to his uncle, who was now close to them, "Is not Fanny a very good DANCER, sir?"
Fanny, in dismay at such an unprecedented question, did not know which way to look, or how to be prepared for the answer. Some very grave reproof, or at least the coldest expression of indifference, must be coming to distress her brother, and sink her to the ground. But, on the contrary, it was no worse than, "I am sorry to say that I am unable to answer your question. I have never seen Fanny DANCE since she was a little girl; but I trust we shall both think she acquits herself like a gentlewoman when we do see her, which, perhaps, we may have an opportunity of doing ere long."
"I have had the pleasure of seeing your sister DANCE, Mr. Price," said Henry Crawford, leaning forward, "and will engage to answer every inquiry which you can make on the subject, to your entire satisfaction. But I believe" (seeing Fanny looked distressed) "it must be at some other time. There is one person in company who does not like to have Miss Price spoken of."
True enough, he had once seen Fanny DANCE; and it was equally true that he would now have answered for her gliding about with quiet, light elegance, and in admirable time; but, in fact, he could not for the life of him recall what her DANCING had been, and rather took it for granted that she had been present than remembered anything about her.
In MC, you have this scene which includes reminiscence of Tom and sister Ruth dancing:
So, with a smile upon thy face, thou passest gently to another measure—to a quicker and more joyful one—and little feet are used to DANCE about thee at the sound, and bright young eyes to glance up into thine. And there is one slight creature, Tom—her child; not Ruth's—whom thine eyes follow in the romp and DANCE; who, wondering sometimes to see thee look so thoughtful, runs to climb up on thy knee, and put her cheek to thine; who loves thee, Tom, above the rest, if that can be; and falling sick once, chose thee for her nurse, and never knew impatience, Tom, when thou wert by her side.
Thou glidest, now, into a graver air; an air devoted to old friends and bygone times; and in thy lingering touch upon the keys, and the rich swelling of the mellow harmony, they rise before thee. The spirit of that old man dead, who delighted to anticipate thy wants, and never ceased to honour thee, is there, among the rest; repeating, with a face composed and calm, the words he said to thee upon his bed, and blessing thee!
And coming from a garden, Tom, bestrewn with flowers by children's hands, THY SISTER, LITTLE RUTH, AS LIGHT OF FOOT and heart AS IN OLD DAYS, sits down beside thee.

SIX: Lord Mansfield’s 1772 Somersett decision is strongly hinted at but never explicitly referred to.
In MP, it has been argued many times since Margaret Kirkham first claimed that the novel’s title and eponymous estate was named for Lord Mansfield, and the slavery subtext of MP suggests that famous and very influential legal decision.
In MC, we read the following broad hints in two different passages at the famous language of the Somersett decision:
“He likewise stuck his hands deep into his pockets, and walked the deck with his nostrils dilated, AS ALREADY INHALING THE AIR OF FREEDOM WHICH carries death to all tyrants, and CAN NEVER (UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WORTH MENTIONING) BE BREATHED BY SLAVES. An English gentleman who was strongly suspected of HAVING RUN AWAY FROM A BANK, with SOMETHING IN HIS POSSESSION belonging to its strong box besides the key, grew eloquent upon THE SUBJECT OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN, and hummed the Marseillaise Hymn constantly.”
“Mr Pecksniff's house is more than a thousand leagues away; and again this happy chronicle has Liberty and Moral Sensibility for its high companions. Again it BREATHES THE BLESSED AIR OF INDEPENDENCE; again it contemplates with pious awe that moral sense which renders unto Ceasar nothing that is his; again INHALES THAT SACRED ATMOSPHERE which was the life of him—oh noble patriot, with many followers!—who dreamed of FREEDOM IN A SLAVE’S EMBRACE, and waking sold her offspring and his own in public markets.

SEVEN: Lord Mansfield’s real life is also strongly hinted at.
In MP, it has been argued many times since the late 90’s (and is shown in the recent movie Belle) that Fanny Price is a representation of Elizabeth Dido Belle Lindsay, the biracial grandniece of Lord Mansfield.
In BR, which of course is focused on the Gordon Riots in 1780, Lord Mansfield’s key role in that event is mentioned prominently.

EIGHT: There is specific reference to the burning of books in anger.
In MP, Sir Thomas Bertram burns all copies of Lover’s Vows in anger after his return from Antigua to find his children and their friends staging a home theatrical of Inchbald’s adaptation of Kotzebue’s original play.
In BR, a key point is made about the burning of Lord Mansfield’s priceless library of books by the rioters.

NINE: The novelist alludes to Inchbald's Lovers Vows (but not necessarily in the same novel as the rest of these)
In MP, as noted above, the Lover’s Vows home theatrical is a central episode.
In ED, there is a strong veiled allusion to Lover’s Vows, as noted by Robert Langton in his bio about Dickens’s youth:
In this story again there is evidence of the results of the early readings at Chatham. The Princess Puffer (who dealt in opium) asks both Edwin Drood and Mr. Datchery for a specific sum of money, three-and- sixpence, and in each case succeeds in getting it. Mr. Datchery, however, remarks, "Wasn't it a little cool to name your sum? Isn't it customary to leave the amount open? Mightn't it have the appearance, to the young gentleman—only the appearance— that he was rather dictated to?"
In Mrs. Inchbald's Lovers' Vows, Act III, Scene 1, Baron Wildenheim is asked by a supposed beggar to give him a dollar, and the Baron replies, " This is the first time I was ever dictated to by a beggar what to give him." “

TEN: There is an important character named Tom who is of an artistic nature.
In MP, of course this is Tom Bertram, the eldest son of Sir Thomas.
In MC, of course this is Tom Pinch, who of course is also the organist.

And there you have the ten points which show Dickens really was a closet Janeite, at least when it came to Mansfield Park.

Cheers, ARNIE
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