This is a fictional story with fictional characters—the story/content/text have been copyrighted (2016). During the project, I revised the story and expanded it into a short one act play. Many thanks to all in the WordPress community for their support via likes and follows, and to poet Brian Walker for his kind words & re-blog. And thanks to my friends Raquelle and Maria and to the sole unknown/kindred spirit who also followed the story by email from Australia (I think). Thank you all! For more of writing on Jane Austen or my other literary and non-literary thoughts please visit: https://shaldenandneatham.wordpress.com
Janine, Unfortunately, I keep hitting walls here, but I have managed to finish Pride and Prejudice and have a few questions for you about the Darcy v. Wentworth debate, but they will have to wait. I am still working to see if we can save the base library here before I depart, Anthony
Anthony, This time had a lot of help. Friends from book club (Bookcrossing), from work and my family too. You know how you ask for something and people say: “oh sure.” But then they just forget about it. Well was organized enough that it didn’t happen. Everyone has contributed something. Took a couple of trips to the postal station to but it’s all been sent now. Cannot imagine how hard it must be for all of you so far away from your friends, family and all you know that is familiar during this time of the year.
Holiday shopping can be a project but have finished. This year I sent my former A.P. English teacher Mr. d., a copy of Vonnegut’s Mother Night. Recently learned he had not read any of Mr. Vonnegut’s books, but he admitted to seeing parts of the film version of Slaughterhouse Five. My original plan was to send him Cat’s Cradle but I could not locate it and chose Mother Night instead — thinking he might appreciate the World War II connection. Later did locate Cat’s Cradle. Was over with the “Naughty or Nice” section of staff recommendations.
Enclosed for you is a copy of Pride and Prejudice by Austen. This is the first Austen novel I read. Was back in college, juggling novels for different required classes; wondering why everyone was worried about everyone’s honor. Almost ten years later read it again and really got how it nails and rifts on human nature. Every year try to re-read it around the winter holidays. Be well and take care of you, Janine
Dear Janine, We got your latest drop and I’m sending you the address for Officer X our ice hockey guy. He was very happy with the book and you will be getting a direct communication from him. He has to travel between our bases and a couple of others and he hates it because he says that there is always shooting at him. We are in a lull here with some long nights, so I am almost finished reading Mansfield Park. Thanks, Anthony
Dear Anthony, Have received a very lovely thank you communication and happy to report that your requestor was amused by the romance novels and also appreciative of the Silko novel and for the tea and chocolate. Enclosed for your hockey fan please find the book: Boys of Winter, which chronicles the United States ice hockey team’s path to the Olympic gold medal in 1980. And may not have mentioned it but I’m from a hockey town, in fact the 1980 team captain came from our town, and still lives here. If you send me your squad member’s name — will try to obtain an autographed photo for him.
As for Fanny she wasn’t sent away to Mansfield Park because she was a bad child. Many families on the poorer side had many children and they would often send the children away to live with relatives with more money especially if those relatives did not have children of their own. This actually happened in Austen’s own family, one of her brothers was sent to live away and then was adopted by some wealthy cousins. Years later, Jane, her mother and sister Cassandra were able to live on a cottage of one his estates – similar but not exactly like the Dashwoods’ circumstances Sense and Sensibility. Hope you are well, Janine
Dear Janine, Thank you for the last drop. The library has helped me, and many others here on this base. It means a lot to us. I have started to read Mansfield Park, and I don’t really understand why Fanny was sent away there? Is it because she was a problem child or some sort of punishment for bad behavior? I didn’t think she seemed like a wild child. Also I have received a request from one of my newer squad members for books or anything related to ice hockey. Communications are going down for a few days. Thanks, Anthony
Dear Captain Anthony, Completely understand not wanting to upset your sister. You can always tell me whatever you need to say or would like to think out on paper.
Separations are anything but easy. Austen wrote a lot of about them in her letters. Sure it is difficult for you to be so far away from Lilyana, Rafael, your sister, family, friends and all you know that is familiar.
On a completely different note — years ago traveled and visited Bath as part of a larger tour of England. It was lovely but they did not play up the Austen connection. Recently online have read a literary travelogue about how now there is a tourist centre in Bath with a nice tearoom, and themed walking tours. Many of the readers have posted and recommended the tearoom’s scones at the tourist centre and then digressed on why Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, is the most popular Austen hero. Have to say I’m in agreement with many of these younger Janeites who favor Captain Wentworth from Persuasion and have duly started a little movement of their own in creating hashtag: #TeamWentworth.
Enclosed is a copy of Austen’s novel Mansfield Park, which again features this heroine, named Fanny that many Janeites love to discuss and disagree about. This book is also considered by some to be Austen’s most political novel, because she eludes to the war and also to slave trading and the funds associated with it.
Your friend, Janine