WANTED: Country home, not too Gothic and not too far from town, in a nice neighborhood of at least five-and-twenty families and the possibility of balls at least monthly. Good library space, land to wander in search of romantic adventure, and probably a letter-writing desk required. Slightly hysterical neighbors preferred.
In other words, it’s moving season here at Austenacious! Mrs. Fitzpatrick has moved to the sea–basically to the California equivalent of Lyme, so that’s nice as long as she doesn’t fall off the seawall–and is probably a) without the internets and b) buried in boxes as we speak. (It’s rather far from her Beloved Sisters, actually, but what is fifty miles of good road?) I, Miss Ball, have agreed to take new quarters after spending the season in the country with Mr. and Mrs. Ball, but have not yet taken possession of the place. One hopes the neighbors are all atwitter (if not <a href=”http://twitter.com/#!/austenacious”>aTwitter</a>), especially those with single gentleman children. And by “children,” I do not exactly mean “children.”
I feel like Jane gets the experience of moving house–perhaps the upsides, but definitely the stress of it. After all, she moved a number of times: to Bath, within Bath, and eventually to Chawton, plus ferrying back and forth to school as a child. And she certainly internalized the experience: people move all the time in Austen! Both Fanny Price and Catherine Morland move (permanently or temporarily) away from home; Charlotte Collins moves to Rosings, while Lydia Wickham (nee Bennet) only comes to visit and rub her sisters’ noses in…uh, whatever it is she’s got going. Sense and Sensibility is, in the beginning, basically a novel about downgrading houses. I think it’s safe to say, taking her body of work into consideration, that Jane considered moving traumatic. Maybe it’s because she never experienced the thrill of the Craigslist hunt and the joy of her own parking space, but it’s nice to carry a little bit of Jane (not to mention a Little Jane) as we go from place to place.
In the mean time, may you all have spacious living rooms and exactly the kind of flooring you prefer!