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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Jane in June" from Amanda Grange

I thought we'd kick things off with a nice little piece from a rather well-known Janeite, Amanda Grange.  Here, for your Janeloving pleasure, is her piece, Jane in June ~

I love the idea of a Jane in June event, and so I thought I would literally write about Jane in June. My inspiration comes from one of Jane Austen’s letters, written on June 30 1808:

Godmersham, Thursday June 30 1808
I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy.

It could not have been a better day for a picnic. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and a number of colourful rugs were spread out beneath the trees. A variety of delicacies spilled from picnic hampers, and gentlemen in tailcoats and breeches handed ices or glasses of French wine to the ladies.

Jane Austen, clever and lively, was sitting a little apart, talking to her brother Edward. As her eyes drifted over the large house and the extensive grounds, she said, ‘How lucky it was that our cousins took a fancy to you and left you their estate. I am sorry they had no children of their own, but it turned out well for us. Now you own Godmersham Park, and I have somewhere remarkable to visit. And to think, if Papa had had his way, it might never have happened.’

Edward smiled. When his wealthy cousins, the Knights, had invited him to stay with them as a boy, Mr Austen had been worried that Edward would fall behind with his Latin! Mrs Austen, more clear sighted, had said to him, 'I think, my dear, you had better oblige your cousins and let the child go.'

It was a good thing she had been so sensible, because it had led to the Knights making Edward their heir, so that instead of growing up as the son of an impoverished clergyman he had been lifted into a world of riches. And now, here he was, enjoying the picnic, the master of all he surveyed.

His eyes fell upon a gentleman who was watching Jane. Although she was now thirty-two, with a broken engagement and a tragic love affair behind her, she still attracted attention.

On a sudden impulse Edward said, ‘Tell me, Jane, do you miss him?’
Jane said quietly, ‘Who?’
‘The man you met by the sea, when you were on holiday. Cassandra told me about him, that he fell in love with you, but that he tragically died before matters could progress any further. Is it true?’
‘I did not know Cassandra had told you of it. But yes, it is true. And yes, I miss him,’ she said.
‘Would you have married him if he had lived long enough to ask you?’ asked Edward.
‘Yes, I would,’ said Jane.

She was silent for a few minutes but then she roused herself and said, ‘Never mind, it was a long time ago and I have much to be thankful for. I have my family and friends – and I have Mr Darcy!’
Edward laughed, glad that she had shaken off her low mood, for he had begun to blame himself for raising the subject on such a beautiful day.
‘You are still writing your book, then?’ he asked.
‘Yes, I am still writing it, though no one seems to want to publish it.’
‘One day they will,’ said Edward.
Jane smiled.
‘Thank you, dear brother, for that vote of confidence. Now if only I could persuade the publishers to share your view of things I would be quite content. Perhaps they will look more kindly on my other books. Perhaps, in two hundred years time I will be famous!’
‘But for now, dear sister, enjoy the moment, and let me fetch you an ice.’

Note from Amanda Grange. In case you are wondering, Jane Austen’s brother really did inherit an estate much like Pemberley from wealthy cousins, and Jane really did fall in love with an unknown gentleman, who tragically died soon afterwards. And yes, she did have difficulty in finding a publisher for Pride and Prejudice! 

Amanda Grange is the author of about a million* Jane-inspired books, among them Mr Darcy's Diary (and other Diary books) and Mr Darcy, Vampyre.
Visit her website and learn more about all of them! 
And maybe, just maybe, pick one of them up to read during Jane in June!

*actual amount of books by Ms. Grange may vary...


  1. Thank you Amanda for this unique post about real Jane on a day in June 1808. Lovely, indeed!

  2. Excellent! Per usual, sweeeet piece Amanda!

  3. Excellent! I love Amanda Grange. Mr Darcy, Vampire was an enjoyable read. Great way to kick off Jane in June!

  4. What a bittersweet post. It's a great reminder of the woman behind the books.

  5. Glad you liked it!

    I've just found out that Mr Darcy, Vampyre has been nominated for
    'Best Austen inspired book Published in 2009' in the Jane Austen Awards. There are five other categories, too, things like, 'Who is your favourite Emma?' If you'd like to vote, this is the address:

    Have fun!

  6. Lovely post, Ms. Grange! How I wish we knew more about that mysterious mand an Jane Austen's relationship with him!


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