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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Wildest Jane Austen Quiz Yet

 OK, I’ve presented Jane Austen quizzes in the past, but I feel safe in suggesting that this one I am about to present, below, is the most improbable (and perhaps also significant) one yet.

Without further ado, please read the following ten short passages from Jane Austen’s fiction, which will be followed by the Quiz Question:


“Having amused herself some hours, with this song & her own pleasing reflections, she arose & took the road to M., a small market town, of which place her most intimate freind kept the Red Lion. To this freind she immediately went, to whom having recounted her late misfortune, she communicated her wish of getting into some family in the capacity of Humble Companion. Mrs. Wilson, who was the most amiable creature on earth, was no sooner acquainted with her Desire, than she sat down in the Bar & wrote the following Letter…”


Highbury, the large and populous village, almost amounting to a town, to which Hartfield, in spite of its separate lawn, and shrubberies, and name, did really belong, afforded her no equals.

"And when she had come away, Mrs. Martin was so very kind as to send Mrs. Goddard a beautiful goose—the finest goose Mrs. Goddard had ever seen. Mrs. Goddard had dressed it on a Sunday, and asked all the three teachers, Miss Nash, and Miss Prince, and Miss Richardson, to sup with her."

"I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! but I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house as I am of Hartfield; and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's."

To Miss—
    My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings,
      Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
    Another view of man, my second brings,
      Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!
    But ah! united, what reverse we have!
      Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown;
    Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave,
      And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
      Thy ready wit the word will soon supply,
      May its approval beam in that soft eye!

“No, sir," replied his son, laughing, "I seem to have had it from nobody.—Very odd!—I really was persuaded of Mrs. Weston's having mentioned it in one of her letters to Enscombe, many weeks ago, with all these particulars—but as she declares she never heard a syllable of it before, of course it must have been a dream. I am a great dreamer. I dream of every body at Highbury when I am away—and when I have gone through my particular friends, then I begin dreaming of Mr. and Mrs. Perry."

It was hot; and after walking some time over the gardens in a scattered, dispersed way, scarcely any three together, they insensibly followed one another to the delicious shade of a broad short avenue of limes, which stretching beyond the garden at an equal distance from the river, seemed the finish of the pleasure grounds.—It led to nothing; nothing but a view at the end over a low stone wall with high pillars, which seemed intended, in their erection, to give the appearance of an approach to the house, which never had been there.

“…M and A -- Em-ma. --…..I do not say when, but perhaps you may guess where; -- in the building in which N takes M for better, for worse."

“…You will be glad to hear (inclining his head, and whispering seriously) that my uncle means to give her all my aunt's jewels. They are to be new set. I am resolved to have some in an ornament for the head. Will not it be beautiful in her dark hair?"

In this state of suspense they were befriended, not by any sudden illumination of Mr. Woodhouse's mind, or any wonderful change of his nervous system, but by the operation of the same system in another way.—Mrs. Weston's poultry-house was robbed one night of all her turkeys—evidently by the ingenuity of man.


OK, and now, here is the Quiz Question:  

What is the manuscript that connects to the above-quoted passage from her juvenilial Henry&Eliza, and also to all  of the nine above-quoted passages from Emma?

First hint: the name of the author of that manuscript is itself another connection to Jane Austen, and is actually the connection that I first took note of, which so intrigued me that it led me to discover all of the above textual connections.  As far as I have been able to discern from diligent searching, I am the first to discover and take note of these connections, even though they have been hiding in the plain sight of a fair number of literary scholars for a number of years.

Second hint: As Jesus (as reported by the Evangelist Luke) concludes, what was lost is now found...after a few centuries.

I’ve tried to make this Quiz solvable, by giving you the two extra hints, which, as in a scavenger hunt, give you a fair chance of determining the name of the author, which will then enable you to seek out the ultimate Quiz Answer.

I promise you this---the Quiz Answer raises important questions not only about Jane Austen’s authorial agenda and methodology, but also about the balkanization of literary scholarship, which allows significant connections to remain undetected, because one “hand” doesn’t know what the other hand already holds.

I will give the answer next Monday, June 17, at 10 am EST, unless someone gives the answer sooner.

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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