Posted by Laura W on December 01, 1997 at 14:07:48:
In response to Uniforms, written by Constanza on November 28, 1997 at 16:15:43
] ] I was quite amused to recall that Jane Austen included scenes of Lydia and Kitty shopping regularly in Meryton for things they didn't want or need.
Actually, Austen notes that they frequently walked to Meryton to buy hats and visit their gossipy aunt before the regiment ever showed up:
"The village of Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton; a most convenient distance for the young ladies, who were usually tempted thither three or four times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt, and to a milliner's shop just over the way. The two youngest of the family, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly frequent in these attentions; their minds were more vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better offered, a walk to Meryton was necessary to amuse their morning hours and furnish conversation for the evening; and however bare of news the country in general might be, they always contrived to learn some from their aunt. At present, indeed, they were well supplied both with news and happiness by the recent arrival of a militia regiment in the neighbourhood; it was to remain the whole winter, and Meryton was the head quarters."
What made me notice the "shopping then as now" parallel is the scene in P&P2 where Kitty and Lydia come to meet Lizzy and Maria on their way home from Rosings. Lydia holds up a bonnet to show to Lizzy and says, "what do you think? It's very ugly but I thought I might as well buy it as not." She intends to re-work the bonnet but it demonstrates the folly of window shopping, and also shows Lydia's lack of understanding of the value of money.
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