I love JA and this particular novel of hers for many reasons, one of them being its rellavance to the 21st century, even though some of us, myself included, never read most gothic novels, except to be able to appreciate Austen's mockery of them in this priceless work. I never set foot in Bath, and am certainly unlikely to dance it the upper or lower rooms!
however, this novel is rellavant in many ways and I'm about to prove it in this post I've been thinking over since this GR started. A small occurrence of seemingly little matter prompted me to actually get to it. My mother discovered an old friend of hers in one of the social networks, facebook I think and then asked me to find her on skype, which I gladly did, for I love observing people's interactions, not unlike a certain lady from another of JA's novels. To make sure the connection wouldn't drop, I sat by mother for a half hour or so and listened to this rather interesting conversation , and what did I find? It may as well have been Mrs. Allan and Mrs. Thorpe talking on that bench in bath! People have always been, and always will be more anxious to hear themselves talk than listen to another thing in creation, which Austen demonstrates so admirably in chapter 4.
"Their joy on this meeting was very great, as well it might,
since they had been contented to know nothing of each other for the
last fifteen years. Compliments on good looks now passed; and,
after observing how time had slipped away since they were last
together, how little they had thought of meeting in Bath, and what
a pleasure it was to see an old friend, they proceeded to make
inquiries and give intelligence as to their families, sisters,
and cousins, talking both together, far more ready to give than to
receive information, and each hearing very little of what the other said..."
My mother and her friend are not as lucky in one circumstance, for they both have children so the passage right next to the one quoted above is less applicable in their case, more's the pity!
" Mrs. Thorpe, however, had one great advantage as a talker,
over Mrs. Allen, in a family of children; and when she expatiated
on the talents of her sons, and the beauty of her daughters, when
she related their different situations and views--that John was
at Oxford, Edward at Merchant Taylors', and William at sea--and
all of them more beloved and respected in their different station
than any other three beings ever were..."
Well-spotted, indeed! I've always observed that people turn into paragons when described by their parents, particularly mothers, in fact, I bearly recognized that this admirable, accomplished person my mother was elaborating so enthusiastically about was none other than myself!
I think this is why I fell in love with JA at first sight, so to speak, her comments and observations are not outdated, for she draws on human traits that will predominate as long as people continue to interact, boast and exagerate to their heart's content!