Tag Archives: Mr Darcy

Jane Austen’s Christmas Heaven


The striking circumstance about Christmas two centuries ago is what was missing – no Christmas trees, no decorations apart from some holly and ivy, no Christmas cards, no Christmas cake, no Christmas crackers, no Christmas pudding – apart from plum pudding. This was mainly a time for giving charitable gifts. Jane Austen and her contemporaries would not recognise today’s huge commercial Christmas. But if we try to imagine her being teleported into today’s world, then after recovering from the shock, surely she would approve of books being given as gifts? Books were then very expensive – Emma was originally published in three volumes costing one pound and one shilling (£1 1s), about a month’s wage for an agricultural labourer or servant. Today, Emma can be purchased for the price of a cup of coffee.



What Jane Austen would find totally unbelievable is that not only are her own books available to buy some two centuries later, but also numerous books about her and her era. By now, you would imagine Continue reading

Mr Darcy’s Wet Shirt

It is tempting to imagine that Jane Austen may have made use of some of the tales that she heard Captain Benjamin Clement recounting at dinners and other social events at Chawton in Hampshire, making us grateful that he was rescued from drowning at the Battle of Trafalgar (see our blog post below on Mansfield Park 200 years). Many people in England were unable to swim, though it was becoming popular at seaside resorts, usually for health reasons.

Sea bathing using a bathing machine

Sea bathing using a bathing machine

Swimming was certainly not encouraged in the Royal Navy for fear of unhappy seamen swimming off to freedom. But the most famous scene in the 1995 BBC TV series of Pride and Prejudice is where Continue reading