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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Puzzle #2

I'm thinking of a story in which an anonymous "large-sized" gift is mysteriously delivered, and then some people speculate as to the possible identity of the donor, and the possible motivations, good and bad, for its having been made. Some time after the gift has been accepted, the donor of the gift returns and the donor's identity is eventually revealed, to almost everyone's great surprise. Nothing is ever quite the same again in the town.

Any guesses as to what story, what donor, what gift, and what town?

Hint: The answers have something to do with a word or words containing the letters W, O, D, H and S.


Anonymous said...

I am new to this community and the enjoyment of dissecting Austen novels. I am a severe novice but thought I would try it anyway:

Any guesses as to what story:
- Emma
what donor:
- Frank Churchill
what gift:
- piano
and what town: Weymouth (sp?)
- although this is where they fell in love, not sure if this is where the piano was sent.

This seems too easy and a part of me thinks this could be S&S but don't we know that the gift is from Col. Brandon? Maybe we do not and I need to re-read!

Thanks fr the fun!

Arnie Perlstein said...

Thanks for your answer, Kari!

Your answer is correct....but it is not the only answer-and that was what I was driving at. I realized the other day that in putting the gift of the piano in _Emma_, Jane Austen was making a very sly allusion to a very famous work of literature from long prior to her writing _Emma_.

Now that you've gotten one half of the answer, can you guess what that other story is? ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Arnie

I didn't want to spam your inbox so thought I'd leave a note here.

I purchased the entire list of recommended reading - shelling out for "Austen's Unbecoming Conjunctions" which looks AMAZING! I couldn't wait for the p/b release in 2008...

I read Colleen Sheenan's articles, which is why I am posting now.


Fantastic! Absolutely fantastic! I laughed so much, while admiring Jane's ready wit. Brilliant. I will re-read them several times and take it from there. :)

Thanks, Arnie.

StuckInABook said...

Trojan horse??

Arnie Perlstein said...

Dear Simon aka Stuckinabook,

I don't know if you saw the email I sent you yesterday, but if you didn't, here is how I replied to you:

Excellent guess, Simon!

Now, guess again, there is a second answer, in addition to the Trojan Horse! ;)

But now as I look at this thread on this blog, i see that my response was offbase, because Kari already gave that second answer already--and that was my point in posing this puzzle in the first place--that JA cleverly drew a parallel between the Trojan Horse and the gift of the piano in Emma.

Pretty cool, hunh?


Eedie F. said...

While solving my puzzle I find your puzzle! (I used Google)

I suspect it is not Frank that sends that piano to Jane Fairfax. I have just worked out that Frank has not gone to Richmond the day that Jane decides to go to the Smallridges and I think he has been to the Bates' house just before Emma arrives.

It is a very peculiar puzzle to do with the use of the English pronouns "it" and "you". I wonder if this makes sense to you and you can guess it! (Chapter 44 of Emma by Jane Austen if you are interested)

Bonne chance!...although I see you think kdesign23 is right that Frank sends the gift so perhaps it is I who is wrong?

Arnie Perlstein said...


I have known for a very long time that in the shadow story of the novel, Frank is not the donor of the piano.

Please email me at to discuss further