Friday, August 31, 2018

A Persuasion Fashion Show

"If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds, and grow coarse, I would send her a new hat and pelisse." Persuasion chapter 15

Event:       JASNA CWNY September Meeting
Topic:       A Persuasion Fashion Show that will be presented at the 2018 AGM by Lisa Brown, former Regional Coordinator
When:       Saturday September 15, 2018 at 1 pm
Where:      Pittsford Barnes and Noble, Community Room

Let other pens dwell on the fashions of the Regency. I certainly do not find the topic odious in any way, but I know better than to write on something about which I know very little. Fashion is much too important a part of Jane Austen's work to leave it in inexpert hands. Lisa will provide us with a sumptuous view of the fashions relevant to Persuasion.

Perhaps we will hear about a pelisse or a gown:

“"How is Mary looking?" said Sir Walter, in the height of his good humour. "The last time I saw her she had a red nose, but I hope that may not happen every day."

"Oh! no, that must have been quite accidental. In general she has been in very good health and very good looks since Michaelmas."

"If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds, and grow coarse, I would send her a new hat and pelisse."

Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a gown, or a cap, would not be liable to any such misuse, when a knock at the door suspended everything.  Persuasion chapter 15

Or, maybe about boots:

"The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr. Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs. Clay; she would hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne's..." Persuasion chapter 19

However, it must be acknowledged that the most pivotal moment in the book revolves around an article of men’s clothing, a pair of gloves in fact.

“Mrs. Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his letter with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated air, which shewed impatience to be gone. Anne know not how to understand it. She had the kindest "Good morning, God bless you!" from Captain Harville, but from him not a word, nor a look! He had passed out of the room without a look!

She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened, it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves, and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, he drew out a letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a time, and hastily collecting his gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs. Musgrove was aware of his being in it: the work of an instant!

The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to "Miss A. E.--," was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily.” Persuasion chapter 23.

Perhaps the gloves looked like the pair worn by this gentleman.

At any rate the question remains. Did Captain Wentworth actually forget his gloves or was this merely a ruse de guerre? Perhaps the gloves were left deliberately or maybe hidden up a sleeve. As a frigate captain Wentworth would have been familiar with many stratagems to cover his intentions. On the other hand, he was clearly in heavy weather with a lee shore emotionally. 

Please join us for what promises to be a glorious show of Regency fashions.