Monday, June 13, 2011

Vexed.

There are many lovely, profound, humour-filled phrases and passages in Jane Austen's novels:

"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." (Pride and Prejudice)

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." (Northanger Abbey)

"I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other." (Emma)

"Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings." (Mansfield Park)

"My idea of good company...is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.' 'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company, that is the best." (Persuasion)

"Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can." (Pride and Prejudice)

In theory, being married to a man who quotes Jane Austen should be wonderful. However, over the last few weeks my husband has assuaged me of this notion. Mr Wrath has latched on to a particularly amusing -- in his estimate -- quote and utters it every chance he gets:

"I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Of what are you talking?"

On the one hand, my husband is a genius for employing this phrase. He knows I love Austen. He knows that it's best to diffuse a tense situation (ie the practicalities of him building a fence vs. my desire to see a pretty fence when I glance out the kitchen window) with good humour.

On the other hand, it's bad enough knowing that the Austen hero I most closely resemble is Elinor Dashwood. But to be cast as Mrs Bennet by my own spouse? It's too much. It is as if he takes delight in vexing me. Has he no compassion for my poor nerves? Oh, how I suffer.

6 comments:

  1. My grandmother has a fainting couch. I have often wished to wear long flowing dresses and drift gracefully onto the faintin' couch with a cold compress for my eyes to avoid the difficult elements of relationships. Nerves, indeed.

    Like this one, but in black tufted leather:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-carved-oak-claw-foot-FAINTING-COUCH-sofa-chaise-/220786561652?pt=Antiques_Furniture&hash=item3367e79274

    ReplyDelete
  2. He should totally be charged with malicious use of inappropriate Austen.

    Did your high school go through that period in grade eleven where you study Julius Caesar and then everyone goes around shouting 'you blocks! you stones! you worse than senseless things'? Or did I just go to a really geeky high school?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love Jane Austen, and I have to tell you, I think Mr. Wrath is pretty cool for that quote. One thing I love about Austen is how the characters are all "I understand you completely" or "I have not the pleasure of understanding you." I kind of wish my husband would use that quote.

    On second thought, that might get kind of irritating.

    Elinor is not so bad. At least you're not like Kitty Bennet. Or Mary! Mary would be worse. Or Mrs. Elton! Eeeeeee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think Elinor is a fine association. Anyway, you lost me at Mr. Wrath quotes Austen.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Take to your room with a fit of vapours, my dear! Shall I send you a new bonnet to cheer you? Oh, alas! The postal strike interferes!

    bibliomama - we did that!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just posted about your post here. How is it that I've never read a book by Jane Austen? I really would like to know.

    Your husband is hilarious (based on this post) and now I will forever picture him as Mr. Bennett reclined in his chair.
    "I am quite at my leisure."

    ReplyDelete