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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yet another Jane Austen Quiz

 Unlike most of my prior quizzes, which have presented a dozen different story elements as clues, and asked which work(s) of fiction fits all of them, my quiz today has just one giant clue. The passage which I have quoted below is from the short Jane Austen epistolary story, “Love and Freindship” (her misspelling!), which Jane wrote before she was 15 years old, in 1790. It is taken from a letter written by Laura, one of the young heroines of the story, who has a rather pronounced tendency toward hyperbole  and “sensibility”—i.e., she is a drama queen in the extreme!

My quiz question has two parts:

In the following quoted passage from “Love and Freindship”:

what very famous work of literature did Jane Austen covertly allude to?  AND

what very famous real life historical figure did Jane Austen covertly allude to?

Hint: If you skim through my posts from the past 2 weeks, you will find both of the answers, but in different contexts.

Good luck, my fellow literary sleuths!:

“…As soon as we had packed up our wardrobe and valuables, we left Macdonald Hall, and after having walked about a mile and a half we sat down by the side of a clear limpid stream to refresh our exhausted limbs.  The place was suited to meditation.  A grove of full-grown Elms sheltered us from the East--.  A Bed of full- grown Nettles from the West--.  Before us ran the murmuring brook and behind us ran the turn-pike road.  We were in a mood for contemplation and in a Disposition to enjoy so beautifull a spot.  A mutual silence which had for some time reigned between us, was at length broke by my exclaiming--"What a lovely scene!  Alas why are not Edward and Augustus here to enjoy its Beauties with us?"
"Ah!  my beloved Laura (cried Sophia) for pity's sake forbear recalling to my remembrance the unhappy situation of my imprisoned Husband.  Alas, what would I not give to learn the fate of my Augustus!  to know if he is still in Newgate, or if he is yet hung. But never shall I be able so far to conquer my tender sensibility as to enquire after him.  Oh!  do not I beseech you ever let me again hear you repeat his beloved name--. It affects me too deeply --.  I cannot bear to hear him mentioned it wounds my feelings." "Excuse me my Sophia for having thus unwillingly offended you--" replied I--and then changing the conversation, desired her to admire the noble Grandeur of the Elms which sheltered us from the Eastern Zephyr.  "Alas!  my Laura (returned she) avoid so melancholy a subject, I intreat you.  Do not again wound my Sensibility by observations on those elms.  They remind me of Augustus.  He was like them, tall, magestic--he possessed that noble grandeur which you admire in them."
I was silent, fearfull lest I might any more unwillingly distress her by fixing on any other subject of conversation which might again remind her of Augustus. "Why do you not speak my Laura?  (said she after a short pause) "I cannot support this silence you must not leave me to my own reflections; they ever recur to Augustus." "What a beautifull sky!  (said I) How charmingly is the azure varied by those delicate streaks of white!" "Oh!  my Laura (replied she hastily withdrawing her Eyes from a momentary glance at the sky) do not thus distress me by calling my Attention to an object which so cruelly reminds me of my Augustus's blue sattin waistcoat striped in white!  In pity to your unhappy freind avoid a subject so distressing." What could I do? The feelings of Sophia were at that time so exquisite, and the tenderness she felt for Augustus so poignant that I had not power to start any other topic, justly fearing that it might in some unforseen manner again awaken all her sensibility by directing her thoughts to her Husband.  Yet to be silent would be cruel; she had intreated me to talk. From this Dilemma I was most fortunately releived by an accident truly apropos; it was the lucky overturning of a Gentleman's Phaeton, on the road which ran murmuring behind us.  It was a most fortunate accident as it diverted the attention of Sophia from the melancholy reflections which she had been before indulging.  We instantly quitted our seats and ran to the rescue of those who but a few moments before had been in so elevated a situation as a fashionably high Phaeton, but who were now laid low and sprawling in the Dust.  "What an ample subject for reflection on the uncertain Enjoyments of this World, would not that Phaeton and the Life of Cardinal Wolsey afford a thinking Mind!" said I to Sophia as we were hastening to the field of Action.  She had not time to answer me, for every thought was now engaged by the horrid spectacle before us.  Two Gentlemen most elegantly attired but weltering in their blood was what first struck our Eyes--we approached--they were Edward and Augustus--. Yes dearest Marianne they were our Husbands.  Sophia shreiked and fainted on the ground--I screamed and instantly ran mad. We remained thus mutually deprived of our senses, some minutes, and on regaining them were deprived of them again.  For an Hour and a Quarter did we continue in this unfortunate situation--Sophia fainting every moment and I running mad as often.  At length a groan from the hapless Edward (who alone retained any share of life) restored us to ourselves.
Had we indeed before imagined that either of them lived, we should have been more sparing of our Greif--but as we had supposed when we first beheld them that they were no more, we knew that nothing could remain to be done but what we were about. No sooner did we therefore hear my Edward's groan than postponing our lamentations for the present, we hastily ran to the Dear Youth and kneeling on each side of him implored him not to die--. "Laura (said He fixing his now languid Eyes on me) I fear I have been overturned." I was overjoyed to find him yet sensible.
"Oh!  tell me Edward (said I) tell me I beseech you before you die, what has befallen you since that unhappy Day in which Augustus was arrested and we were separated--" "I will" (said he) and instantly fetching a deep sigh, expired. Sophia immediately sank again into a swoon.  MY greif was more audible.  My Voice faltered, My Eyes assumed a vacant stare, my face became as pale as Death, and my senses were considerably impaired. "Talk not to me of Phaetons (said I, raving in a frantic, incoherent manner)--Give me a violin.  I'll play to him and sooth him in his melancholy Hours--Beware ye gentle Nymphs of Cupid's Thunderbolts, avoid the piercing shafts of Jupiter—Look at that grove of Firs--I see a Leg of Mutton--They told me Edward was not Dead; but they deceived me--they took him for a cucumber--" Thus I continued wildly exclaiming on my Edward's Death--. For two Hours did I rave thus madly…”

END QUOTE FROM “Love and Freindship”

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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