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|Other people involved in theatricals
Written by Caroline
(2/21/2003 7:30 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, "High life at Steventon", penned by Leif G-n
I cannot make out if Tom LeFroy was involved in the theatricals or not- and if so, whether he and Jane were attracted to each other as a part of this... there is a hint of this in the Nokes biography, but nothing really definite, and I really wonder if there is any basis to it at all.
More recent biographers have made great hay out of the correspondence between two Austen cousins- Eliza Hancock/de Feuillide and Philadelphia Walter. It is really illuminating on the part of the plays. Eliza, who is encouraging the theatricals, was small, dark, pretty and sophisticated, used to London and Parisian life, and all-out for entertainment of any kind, and is most determined not to takek "no" for an answer. She was also flirting with two Austen brothers at a time. Philadelphia (I don't know what she looked like) was missish, prim and shy, refusing point blank to act in these theatricals. There is definitely more than a whiff of Mary Crawford and Fanny Price about this whole episode. It's hard to push it further, though... there's no suggestinon that Phila was secretly in love with James or Henry, or anything like that. I don't catch any sign of Mr Austen being either absent or disapproving of the plays, either. On the contrary, he seems to have approved of them in the old-fashioned way of plays being the moral guides for the masses - as Aristophanes was careful to point out centuries before.
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