How is it, do you think, that Jane Austen hit on so many lessons that we need to hear, not just once, but over and over again? From Persuasion:
Mr. Musgrove made a point of paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the children on her knees, generally in vain. It was a fine family-piece.
Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have deemed such a domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves . . .. But Mrs. Musgrove . . . concluded a short recapitulation of what she had suffered herself, by observing, with a happy glance round the room, that after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home.
Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters; and sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather than their quantity. When Lady Russell, not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon . . . amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newsmen, muffin-men, and milk-men, and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint. No, these were noises which belonged to the winter pleasures: her spirits rose under their influence; and like Mrs. Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet cheerfulness.
Anne did not share these feelings.
Other people are not like ourselves; they like other things, and that’s OK. You’d think we’d have figured that out after 200 years, (and I’m sure she was not the first with this message), but it seems that everyone has to discover this for themselves, if they ever do discover it. But I think this is one truth that good fiction helps us discover. What do you think?
I hope you are enjoying a little quiet cheerfulness of your own, whatever it might be.