Quote Jane

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

woensdag 29 januari 2014

Speculation: Jane Austen's love of card games

Most social evenings in Jane Austen's time in Bath revolved around card games even though they involved a small amount of gambling. In London at the time of course, thousands of pounds could be lost in a game of whist, but in Bath the stakes were more modest.
Games such as cassino, loo, quadrille, piquet, commerce, brag, whist, vingt-un and speculation could all be played in polite society. Cassino was a game in which open cards on the table were used to make number combinations, piquet required you to make tricks, loo involved gambling tokens wherein players would bet on how many tricks they thought they could take; quadrille also trick-taking related to whist, vingt-un a forerunner of pontoon, commerce depended on certain card combinations and speculation was a gambling game that used tokens, the holder of the highest trump taking the pot.
This latter was Jane's favourite, saying of its superiority over brag: 'When one comes to reason upon it, it cannot stand its ground against Speculation'. She even composed a poem:
'Alas! poor Brag, thou boastful game!
What now avails thine empty name?
[as opposed to]... tender-hearted speculation.'
Speculation is mentioned several times by her in her writings and here in Mansfield Park we read:
'"What shall I do, Sir Thomas? [asks his wife]: Whist and speculation; which will amuse me most?" Sir Thomas, after a moment's thought, recommended speculation. He was a whist player himself, and perhaps might feel that it would not much amuse him to have her for a partner'.
Speculation had disappeared completely by the end of the century.
Commerce, a game whose aim was to finish with the best three-card combination in hand, made Jane rather uneasy because of the expense. She notes sourly in a letter when in Portsmouth:
'We found ourselves tricked into a thorough party at Mrs Maitland's, a quadrille and a commerce table... There were two pools at commerce, but I would not play more than one, for the stake was three shillings (15p), and I cannot afford to lose that twice in an evening.'
Card games occur throughout Jane's novels which reflect the mores of the time and were a quintessential part of a successful society evening.  janeausten
Austen werd geboren in Hampshire. Haar vader was een geestelijke. Het grootste deel van haar leven bleef zij in haar geboortestreek. Austen had zes broers en een oudere zuster, Cassandra, met wie zij zeer hecht was. Het enige onbetwiste portret van Jane Austen is een gekleurde schets die door Cassandra werd gemaakt en nu in de National Portrait Gallery in Londen hangt. In 1801 verhuisde de familie naar Bath. In 1802 werd Austen ten huwelijk gevraagd door de rijke Harris Bigg-Wither en zij stemde toe; de volgende dag deelde ze echter mee dat zij haar woord niet kon houden en trok haar instemming in. De reden hiervoor is niet bekend, maar Austen is nooit getrouwd. Na de dood van haar vader in 1805 woonden Jane, haar zuster en haar moeder daar nog verscheidene jaren tot zij in 1809 naar Chawton verhuisden. Hier had haar rijke broer Edward een landgoed met een plattelandshuisje, dat hij aan zijn moeder en zusters schonk (dit huis is tegenwoordig open voor het publiek). Zelfs nadat zij naam gemaakt had als romanschrijfster bleef zij in relatieve stilte leven, maar haar gezondheid ging sterk achteruit. Er wordt nu aangenomen dat zij de ziekte van Addison had, waarvan toen de oorzaak nog onbekend was. Ze reisde naar Winchester om behandeling te zoeken, maar stierf daar en werd begraven in de kathedraal.
Tot Austens beroemdste werk behoort de roman Emma. Het boek wordt vaak aangehaald vanwege de perfectie van vorm. Moderne critici blijven ook nieuwe perspectieven ontdekken op het scherpe commentaar van Austen betreffende de klasse van jonge, ongehuwde, aristocratische Engelse vrouwen in de vroege 19e eeuw.


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Fashion - Regency 1

Edward Austen Leigh wrote down this description of Jane's appearence in the years just after the family left Southampton.

"She was tall and slender; her face was rounded with a clear brunette complexion and bright hazel eyes.

Her curly brown hair escaped all round her forehead, but from the time of her coming to live at Chawton she always wore a cap, except when her nieces had her in London and forbade it."

Henry Austen said of his sister, " Her stature rather exceeded the middle height; her carriage anad deportment were quiet but graceful; her complexion of the finest texture, it might with truth be said that her eloquent blood spoke through her modest cheek." Henry applied these lines to Jane: " Her pure and eloquent blood spake in her cheeks and so distinctly wrought that you had almost said her body thought."

Austen's niece Caroline recollected: "As to my aunt's personal appearance, hers was the first face I can remember thinking pretty. Her face was rather round than long, she had a bright, but not a pink colour—a clear brown complexion, and very good hazel eyes. Her hair, a darkish brown, curled naturally, it was in short curls around her face. She always wore a cap