"And an honest and happy pride I took in it..." ~ Jane Eyre
Blog and Bloggernity
Readers, as promised, an Austenian post.
You may wish to read the context first: http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/lit/ romance/PrideandPrejudice/chap3.html
Mr. Kninely was rough-looking and doglike; he had a gruff countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine bitches, with an air of decided fashion when it came to leather Coach collars. His brother-in-law, A Naked Manatee, merely looked the mammel; but his friend Mr. Percy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, short person (as he did play Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, which is miraculous since the story has not even been written yet), handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes and three seconds after his entrance, of his having ten thousand poems a year. The gentlemen, and water mammals, pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Kninely, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be a poet; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Bloggyshire could then save him from having a most lyrical, poetic countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
Mr. Kninely had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was gruff that the ball closed so early, and howled of giving one himself at Rottsfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his friend! Mr.Percy danced only once with Miss Martypants and once with Miss Clearly, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, reciting poetry, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the poetical, most lyrical man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again, for this was a party of people who loved PROSE! Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Next, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted one of her daughters.
Thursday Next had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr.Percy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and Mr. Kninely, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.
"Come, Percy," said he, "I must have you dance, especially since they are playing a tango. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."
"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, even more so than I detest free verse, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged to British Bulldogs, and there is not another blogger in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with besides the two ladies I have danced with already, especially since I doubt any other owns a Shakespeare mini action figure."
"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Mr. Kninely, "for a Scooby Snack! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty."
"YOU are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room," said Mr. Percy, looking at Cora.
"Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her "sisters" sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable, though I do hope she prefers me to Daniel Craig. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."
"Which do you mean?" and turning round he looked for a moment at Thursday, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt ME; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who prefer Ginsberg to Shelley. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me."
Mr. Kninely followed his advice. Mr. Percy walked off to recite some Byron; and Thursday remained with no very cordial feelings toward him, but for Peej, a wonky Brit with a true English accent. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous and anything related to cutletry.
The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole party. Mr. Kninely had danced with Cora twice, and she had been distinguished by his sisters. Thursday felt Cora's pleasure. Birdie had heard herself mentioned to Miss Kninely as the most accomplished peacock in the neighbourhood; and Ryane and Lime had been fortunate enough never to be without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. They returned, therefore, in good spirits to Blogbourn, the village where they lived, and of which they were the principal inhabitants. They found Mr. Next still up. With a book of poetry by Whitman, he was regardless of time; and on the present occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the events of an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that his wife's views on the stranger would be disappointed; but he soon found out that he had a different story to hear.
"Oh! my dear Mr. Next," as she entered the room, "we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Cora was so admired, nothing could be like it. Everybody said how well she looked; and Mr. Kninely thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice! Only think of THAT, my dear; he actually danced with her twice! and she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time! Who knew that such a breed could dance the tango, salsa, and electric slide so very well?"
"If he had had any compassion for ME," cried her husband impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. O that he had sprained his paw in the first place!"
"Oh! my dear, I am quite delighted with him. He is so excessively gruff and slobbery! And his sisters are charming bitches. I never in my life saw anything more elegant than their pedigree I dare say they must have been at Westminster this past year..."
Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Next protested against any description of their shiny coats. She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the shocking rudeness of Mr. Percy.
"But I can assure you," she added, "that Thursday does not lose much by not suiting HIS fancy; for he is a most structured, romantic man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited in his verse that there was no enduring him! He walked here and quoted Shelley, and he walked there and quoted Silly, fancying himself so very great! Not poetical enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your pieces of prose. I quite detest the man."
To be continued...