Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Miss Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775, in Hampshire, England. In honour of her 275th birthday, in conjunction with Maria Grazia's My Jane Austen Book Club, from December 16th through December 18th, we have a unique blog hop with the participants highlighting a favourite passage written by Miss Austen. Oh, and of course we have Giveaways! Please leave a comment below with your email address for my giveaway, your choice of an eBook or Print copy of Pulse and Prejudice, and be sure to continue on this special birthday blog hop!

The passage I have selected is from Pride and Prejudice; however, for some reason, it is omitted from most adaptations. Mrs. Gardiner may be my favourite Austenian character, as she and Mr. Gardiner must be the most sensible people in the entire Austen universe! In this excerpt, Miss Elizabeth Bennet - en route to Kent - visits with her aunt and uncle in London. Gracious hosts that they are, they take her to the theatre. (Below this excerpt, you can read my take on the same scene but from Mr. Darcy's point of view.)

I found this passage particularly amusing because Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner talk throughout the duration of the play (gossiping about Mr. Wickham and Miss King and discussing that fateful trip North); but in one of the annotated additions I read, I found that was common at the time. With her sage advice, Mrs. Gardiner truly is the mother Elizabeth never had, and - unlike Lydia Bennet, who believes the purpose of travel is to snare a husband - Elizabeth states that men are nothing compared to mountains. I hope you enjoy this snippet as much as I!

From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

   It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they began it so early as to be in Gracechurch Street by noon. As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a drawing-room window watching their arrival; when they entered the passage she was there to welcome them, and Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her face, was pleased to see it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were a troop of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was joy and kindness.
   The day passed most pleasantly away; the morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at one of the theatres. Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their first object was her sister; and she was more grieved than astonished to hear, in reply to her minute inquiries, that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, however, to hope that they would not continue long. Mrs. Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Miss Bingley's visit in Gracechurch Street, and repeated conversations occurring at different times between Jane and herself, which proved that the former had, from her heart, given up the acquaintance. Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wickham's desertion, and complimented her on bearing it so well.
   “But my dear Elizabeth,” she added, “what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary.”
   “Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary.”
   “If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, I shall know what to think.”
   “She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no harm of her.”
   “But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune.”
   “No – what should he? If it were not allowable for him to gain my affections because I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about, and who was equally poor?”
   “But there seems an indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her so soon after this event.”
   “A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe. If she does not object to it, why should we?”
   “Her not objecting does not justify him. It only shows her being deficient in something herself – sense or feeling.”
   “Well,” cried Elizabeth, “have it as you choose. He shall be mercenary, and she shall be foolish.”
   “No, Lizzy, that is what I do not choose. I should be sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived so long in Derbyshire.”
   “Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all.”
   “Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment.”
Before they were separated by the conclusion of the play, she had the unexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure which they proposed taking in the summer.
   “We have not determined how far it shall carry us,” said Mrs. Gardiner, “but, perhaps, to the Lakes.”
    No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful. “Oh, my dear, dear aunt,” she rapturously cried, “what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are young men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone – we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarreling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.”

And we all know what happens on that trip to the "Lakes"!

I love this theatre scene so much that I decided to include it in my paranormal adaptation of Pride and Prejudice but from the perspective of Mr. Darcy, vampire. As Miss Austen did not name the play, I selected Much Ado About Nothing because Darcy and Elizabeth always reminded me of Benedict and Beatrice. Here Darcy is coming to terms with his love for the woman whom he believes he can never have. And so I give you this same theatre scene but from Darcy's point of view. Enjoy~

   Darcy embraced his new identity of lovelorn in the weeks following the revelation, so relieved was he to harbour wholly human emotions. In comprehending that which plagued him, Darcy believed he had the power to overcome it. Yet no longer being a slave to his bloodlust proved bittersweet. Blood he could obtain, but Elizabeth lay beyond his reach.
   In attending the theatre, Darcy expected only a production of Much Ado About Nothing. Instead, he was presented with what must be an hallucination. He took a seat in his box with Georgiana at his side and the Comtesse de Calmet next to her. Fitzwilliam and Lord Calmet sat just behind. They were settling in when, over the rumble of the crowd, Darcy heard a familiar trill of laughter. A lump formed in his throat; and for a moment, he could not breathe. He thought he sensed her presence; but peering over the balustrade, he told himself it could not be. The woman with her back to him resembled Elizabeth, but she stood with a man and woman of fashion whom he did not think would be of her acquaintance. She turned around, and his chest threatened to collapse. Elizabeth. His Elizabeth. Here, in London, in this theatre. How the fates conspired for his torment! He stared too long and drew her notice; but before she caught a glimpse of him, he brought his lorgnette to his face and leaned back into the shadows.
   Soon she and her companions took their seats, and the play began. The lorgnette provided him a closer view of her in conversation—often serious, sometimes playful, always limned, full of light. Neither Elizabeth nor Darcy focused on the stage, as she directed her attention to her companion, and he directed his to her.
   As the play drew near its close, the lady with Elizabeth told her something that inspired such joy, such rapture, Darcy smiled in spite of himself. How could he have been so fatuous as to believe he wanted only her blood? This bright, lovely, vital woman; only an imbecile would not fall in love with her.
   Alas, it could never be. Had he never been cursed, never been transformed into this strange semblance of a man, their circumstance would not be changed. From his station far above her, Darcy knew she would remain there, beneath him.
   Darcy heard the words of Benedict drifting up from the stage. “I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will.”

The preceding has been excerpted from Pulse and Prejudice, the vampire adaptation of the Jane Austen classic by Colette L. SaucierAvailable now in print and eBook.
(Click here to view trailer  as featured on USAToday.com)

The blog hop ends on December 18th, 2012. Please leave a comment below with your email address for my giveaway, your choice of an eBook or Print copy of Pulse and Prejudice, and be sure to continue on this special birthday blog hop by visiting these wonderful participants:


  1. Yay, Happy Birthday Miss Jane! (a couple hours early but I don't think she'll mind)

    This is a great excerpt from P&P (both of them). I love the Gardiners, too.

    “Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all." haha

    I already have an ebook of Pulse and Prejudice so don't enter me in the giveaway. I just wanted to join in the bday fun.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Monica! Be sure to check out the post from the other participants, and maybe they will have a giveaway you don't already have. :)
      The blog hop is the brainchild of Maria Grazia, who is in Italy (the lucky duck!), so that's why I posted it early.

  2. Working my way thru the blog hop and had to stop here. I still have not had a chance to read Pulse and Prejudice, and I saw your working on a sequel. Ooh I'm behind on reading all the newer works out there. Everytime I read a excerpt from this one I keep asking myself what I'm waiting for. Thanks for celebrating JA's b-day and the giveaway opportunity.
    colleenday at hotmail dot com

    1. Good luck in the giveaway, but if you don't win, I hope that won't delay you any longer!

  3. Thanks for accepting my invitation to celebrate Jane Austen's Birthday all together, Colette.
    Happy celebration, everyone.

  4. I still haven't been able to read Pulse and Prejudice and I want to so badly! Thank you so much for the giveaway and the beautiful excerpt :)

    I prefer e-book please :)

    bitemeleechlover at gmail dot com

  5. Happy Birthday Miss Jane!!!
    Pride and Prejudice sounds really good, thank you for the chance.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the giveaway. I've wanting to read Pulse and Prejudice for a while.

    kinxsbooknook (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Happy Birthday to Ms Austen...
    Have read and throughtly enjoyed Pulse and Prejudice,
    so don't enter me in the giveaway...just
    following the birthday hop....


  8. Happy birthday, dear Jane. I would love to win the print copy of Pulse and Prejudice. Thank you for sharing an excerpt and donating a copy of your book, Colette.

    1. Dear me, I forgot to add in my email address. It's evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

  9. I like that you chose a conversation between these two ladies. I agree that Mrs. Gardiner is an awesome motherly figure in her advice and observations.

    Looking forward to reading Pulse and Prejudice come February at Dark Jane Austen Book Club! (Would love a print copy for my personal library.)


  10. Great choice. I would love to win a copy of your book. Keeping my fingers crossed. :)

    Happy birthday Jane and happy holidays to you.

    slapshinyhappy at yahoo dot com

  11. I love the times with Mrs. Gardner in them, but that particular speech of Elizabeth's about travel and the delights of nature has always been a favorite.

    That was neat getting Darcy's perspective from your story. Look forward to reading the book in its entirety.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

  12. I love this excerpt, Colette, and very much enjoyed your extract too- Happy Jane Austen's Birthday!

  13. Thanks for the except! :) And the giveaway!

  14. I forgot to mention: if I win I'd like the book form of P and P--not e-book....I'm oldfashioned that way! :)

  15. I love Pride & Prejudice! Thanks for the giveaway I'd love to win the e-book of Pulse & Prejudice! Happy Birthday Ms Austen!

  16. Both excerpts were wonderful! Even this small snippet of time spent with Elizabeth and Darcy put a smile on my face :)
    Thanks for the giveaway - I would like a print version. Thanks!


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