Persuasions #6, 1984 Pages 36-39
It is two years after the conclusion of one of the six novels; the hour for morning visits is at hand. A character from the same novel comes to call on the young couple. Describe the visit. [You may take your pick of which young couple in any novel – four in Emma, for example.] The winner will be published in Persuasions 1985. Judges’ decision final. No correspondence please.
RULES: 1. Open to members of JASNA only. 2. 500 words or less. Typed double-spaced. 3. Please submit under a pen name only. Attach to your ms. an envelope with the title of your piece and your pen name on the OUTSIDE. Your real name and address INSIDE the envelope. 5. Post by September 1st 1985: JASNA “Competition”, Victoria, B.C. Canada
REPORT ON COMPETITION 1984
The number of entries was disappointingly small. There were two judges: Eileen Morris of Toronto, a former editor of Chatelaine, and Lorraine Hanaway, editor of the Newsletter for the Center for the Study of Aging at the University of Pennsylvania.
The identity of the competitors was not disclosed to the judges until after their decision was reached. We are publishing two entries since one judge thought one the best and the other second, while the other judge’s opinion was exactly the reverse (see pp. 38-39).
PERSUASION AT MANSFIELD PARK
by Keiko Parker
SCENE: A ball at Mansfield Park. Emma Woodhouse is dancing with Frank Churchill, and Mr. Darcy with Elizabeth Bennet. Lady Bertram is asleep on the sofa. Anne Elliot is seated next to her, as Mr. Knightley approaches.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: How do you do, Miss Elliot? It is always a pleasure to see you. Last time I attended a ball, at Uppercross, you were busy playing the piano so that others could dance. The music was excellent, but I was deprived of the pleasure of an intelligent conversation.
ANNE: Thank you, Mr. Knightley. At that time my object was to keep myself occupied. I did not know what else to do, since Captain Wentworth and … (hesitates).
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Ah, I understand you. It was, perhaps, one of these cases where one must think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. Let me take this opportunity of wishing you joy. I hope I am not hasty in this. Everyone talks of your engagement. It is a decided thing, is it not?
ANNE: Yes, my father has consented and (with an arch smile) has even offered to present us with one of his prized mirrors from Kellynch-hall.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Captain Wentworth is a fortunate man. There is on both sides superior understanding. He is a reading man, and you yourself have considerable taste in literature. I overheard your advice to Captain Benwick on reading.
ANNE: (In a low, feeling voice) Oh, poor Captain Benwick, to lose his betrothed under such circumstances … But I think his spirits are recovering. With proper reading, he may yet learn to be tolerably happy.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Indeed. Speaking of reading, I once saw the list Emma drew up when only fourteen. I remember thinking it did her judgment credit. I believe you have met my sister-in-law?
ANNE: Yes, what a lovely young lady Miss Woodhouse is; so clever and so open.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: (Looking undecided, but making up his mind to speak) The trouble is, Miss Elliot, how does one convey one’s feelings to a creature like her? Right now her head is full of Frank Churchill. Is it unpardonable to secretly wish that Frank Churchill had sprained his ankle in the first dance? And her schemes on behalf of Harriet Smith! Do you suppose she ever thinks of her own future, her own home, her own husband? NO! The silly girl even says she would never marry!! I wonder if I could ever be first in her affection?
ANNE: If I may say so, Mr. Knightley, it is, at least on your side, not a mere boy-and-girl affair; your heart must be understood by the lady ere long. To think otherwise is impossible.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: You are a good soul, Miss Elliot. Now the next dance is starting. (Offering his hand) Could I persuade you to dance with me?
ANNE: With pleasure, Mr. Knightley. People may talk of my loss of the first bloom of youth and of your being seven or eight-and-thirty, but our dancing days are not over. (They join the others in dancing.)
GREED AND GARRULOUSNESS
by Diana Birchall
“Who,” asked the corpulent young man, with a pompous air, “is that remarkably fine young lady?”
“Oh! Mr. Thorpe, I can tell you that,” cried Miss Bates. “That is Miss Elliot. She has been quite a fixture at Bath for many seasons, so our dearest friend Mrs. Elton tells me. Never were such neighbours! If it were not for the kindness of the good Eltons, I should never have seen Bath, I am sure. Not but that I would ever complain. I am quite happy at home, with my dear mother and Jane, when she comes to visit. But oh! how foolish of me. I was forgetting that you do not know Jane. My niece, you know, lately married to Mr. Frank Churchill, the most accomplished young woman that ever – Though I should not boast. Mrs. George Knightley is quite as accomplished as Jane, I believe. Mrs. Weston thinks so. She is a judge. But perhaps you have never been to Highbury? A very pretty part of the world, I think. And I declare that the more I travel the more content I am with home. Do not you agree, Mr. Thorpe? I am sure you are not one of the flighty young gentlemen who rush about the countryside in a barouche-landau.”
Mr. Thorpe could not contain himself. “A barouche-landau! Good God, no! I wouldn’t have one of the poky things! I like something faster, I can assure you. Why, I traded my old curricle for a new one not two days since. A dangerous rattletrap that was. I could not go from London to Bath twice in a week without some mishap. But my new curricle is another thing. Does Miss Elliot’s father have his own carriage?”
“I do not at all know,” faltered Miss Bates. “We are only slightly acquainted with the Elliots. But I understood Mrs. Elton to say that Sir Walter was a baronet.”
John Thorpe brightened up. “A baronet! Then, carriage or not, he’s sure to be rich. Miss Elliot must be worth twenty thousand pounds at least. I wonder she is not married. She’s not over young, but a baronet’s daughter, with twenty thousand pounds, or perhaps thirty, will do very well. Will you introduce me?”
“Why, to own the truth, I hardly know if she would remember me. We met her as we did you, in the Pump Room. We are not people of fashion, you know. Of course dear Mrs. Elton is very elegant, in her beaded gown – not many of the ladies in Bath can outshine her. Except Jane, of course. But Jane never comes to Bath. It might do her good, I think, for she gets severe colds. Mr. Frank Churchill takes great care of her, however. It is very remarkable. Do not you think so, Mr. Thorpe?”
“Hang it, I never met the Churchills,” roared Mr. Thorpe. “It’s Miss Elliot I want to meet.”
“Why, perhaps Mrs. Elton will venture the introduction,” said Miss Bates. “Shall I ask her?”