Learning from how we don’t study Austen

The Jane Austen Study

Read “Pride and Prejudice”, chapter 14, 1st half of 4th paragraph.

“Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day, has deprived the British court of its brightest ornament. Her ladyship seemed pleased with the idea; and you may imagine that I am happy on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies.”

  1. What prevents Miss DeBourgh from being in town?
  2. Think about the phrase “indifferent state of health.” What is the author trying to teach us here?
  3. What kinds of ornaments do you hang on your tree at Christmas? How might you feel if you were deprived of your brightest one? [Leaders’ note: in Austen’s time, most ornaments were made of tin. Blown glass and ribbon became a feature in the 1800s).
  4. “little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies…” How might we convey the truth of this to someone not familiar with the cultural context Jane Austen was writing in?
  5. How might we be “pleased with the idea” in our daily lives?

Before you next meet, please read Persuasion, chapter 6, paragraph 7.