Thursday, November 16, 2017

Christmas in the Regency

"I remember last Christmas at a little hop at the park, he danced from eight o'clock till four..."
Sense and Sensibility chapter 9

A presentation by our own Lisa Brown

Event:   A Jane Austen Christmas: Yuletide Traditions During the Regency Period 
                 by Lisa Brown
When:   Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Where:  Fairport Historical Museum
                 18 Perrin Street
                 Fairport, NY 14450
Cost:       Free and open to the public

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Exile of Maria Betram Rushworth

Fanny Gets a Shock
Event:   JASNA CWNY November Meeting
Title:     The Exile of Maria Bertram Rushworth:
                Adultery, Separation and Divorce in Regency England by Lisa Brown
When:   Saturday, November 18 at 1 pm
Where: Pittsford Barnes and Noble, Community Room

In the illustration above, Fanny learns about the liaison between Maria Bertram Rushworth and Henry Crawford. She reads:

"it was with infinite concern the newspaper had to announce to the world a matrimonial fracas in the family of Mr. R. of Wimpole Street; the beautiful Mrs. R., whose name had not long been enrolled in the lists of Hymen, and who had promised to become so brilliant a leader in the fashionable world, having quitted her husband's roof in company with the well-known and captivating Mr. C., the intimate friend and associate of Mr. R., and it was not known even to the editor of the newspaper whither they were gone." Mansfield Park chapter 46

Fanny is shocked to her core.

The horror of a mind like Fanny's, as it received the conviction of such guilt, and began to take in some part of the misery that must ensue, can hardly be described. At first, it was a sort of stupefaction; but every moment was quickening her perception of the horrible evil. Mansfield Park chapter 46

Mr. Price had his own view of what should befall Maria.

"But, by G--! if she belonged to me, I'd give her the rope's end as long as I could stand over her. A little flogging for man and woman too would be the best way of preventing such things." Mansfield Park chapter 46

Jane Austen has a less physically abusive, but, perhaps, more emotionally difficult punishment for Maria.

It ended in Mrs. Norris's resolving to quit Mansfield and devote herself to her unfortunate Maria, and in an establishment being formed for them in another country, remote and private, where, shut up together with little society, on one side no affection, on the other no judgment, it may be reasonably supposed that their tempers became their mutual punishment. Mansfield Park chapter 48

Shocking as it was, these sorts of things did happen in Regency England. Marriages did not always succeed. What actually happened to women like Maria Rushworth? Did women, who had no legal existence, have any options? Come and hear Lisa Brown discuss all this in her talk "Adultery, Separation, and Divorce in Regency England."