So the World Cup has arrived… and I’m a bit fed up with it already. Fortunately, I don’t need to watch any of the matches because I’m going to get a full analysis from my work colleagues every morning anyway. The only team I’m really interested in is Colombia, because I picked them in the office sweepstake and have a whole £2 riding on them. Vamos Colombia!
I’ve got a couple of stock football phrases I use occasionally to make it look like I know what I’m talking about, so if you ever hear me confidently say, ‘I think the ref had a mixed game’, or ‘Did you see that ludicrous display last night?’ (thank you, The IT Crowd for that one) you can be fairly sure I have no idea what happened, and it’s almost certain I didn’t even watch the match.
Anyway, in a small rebellion, for today’s post I’ve turned to an author whose works are about as far from the World Cup as you can get – Jane Austen. As regular readers will know, I do love a bit of Mr Darcy, but it doesn’t stop there; I’m a fan of all Jane Austen’s books, even though they’re all essentially the same story, and even though one of them has Fanny Price, the most annoying woman in fiction. In fact I’ve often wished that I was around in those days, as it seems to have been much easier to find a husband – either you let your parents choose for you, or you went out in a storm, caught a cold, nearly died and got rescued by a handsome stranger. (And if anyone tries to tell me that’s not really how things were, I won’t believe you.) There’s nothing too taxing about a Jane Austen book – you pretty much know what’s going to happen in advance, and I think it’s safe to say it’s a lot less stressful than watching England play football – although so are most things.
So here are ten of my favourite Jane Austen quotes to get you in the mood:
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” (Northanger Abbey)
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Pride and Prejudice – Come on, I had to include this one.)
“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” (Mansfield Park)
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.” (Sense and Sensibility)
“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.” (Pride and Prejudice)
“The company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.” (Persuasion)
“If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next.” (Emma)
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, it is what we do.” (Sense and Sensibility)
“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” (Mansfield Park)
And finally, just because it makes me giggle:
“Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my example, and take a turn about the room. I assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude.” (Pride and Prejudice)
Now I’m off to take a turn about the room, and see if it really is that refreshing. Enjoy the World Cup if you’re watching, and good luck getting through the next month if you’re not. If you’re not much of a reader, and assuming you can gain control of a TV, I prescribe a Pride and Prejudice marathon (the Colin Firth version, obviously). With ice cream. Works every time.