afoolsfollower  asked:

Hi! Whenever I read Jane Austen I'm always struck by the fact that husbands and wives often refer to each other as 'Mr/Mrs Surname'. Do you know if this form of address was universal at that time/place and if couples used it in private as well as public? Thank you!

John Mullan touches on this in his wonderful book ‘What Matters in Jane Austen?’ and I believe the general etiquette of the time was to refer to one’s spouse by the Mr./Mrs. Surname thing as a general form of respect. Where we see this alter is in more affectionate marriages, where the husband will sometimes refer to his wife by her Christian name–however this is rarely reversed. Admiral Croft refers to his wife as Sophy, but in return she only ever calls him Admiral–but there can be little doubt of their mutual affection! Mary Musgrove calls her husband Charles, but then as a couple their levels of respect for one another are quite weak, and there is another Mr. Musgrove in her father-in-law up at the Great House, so just about everybody refers to Mr. Musgrove the younger as Charles Musgrove, to save confusion. In Mary’s case, calling her husband Charles is probably meant as a sign that she doesn’t much respect her husband.

As there aren’t any extremely private/intimate scenes between married couples in her books, we cannot know, of course, exactly what terms of address are used. It would really be determined by their own comfort levels and regard, of course. In public, however, is a different matter entirely. To even ‘nick-name’ a man by dropping the ‘Mr.’ is extremely cheeky and, as we see with Mrs. Elton and ‘Knightley’, informality bordering on the disrespectful which people in Highbury probably only put up with because Mrs. Elton is new and the vicar’s wife and they’re all going to have to get along for many years to come so best to let the little lapses slide…but it is a lapse, particuarly as Mrs. Elton has only just made everyone’s acquaintance. She’s moving too fast and being far too famliar.

Darcy and Bingley are Darcy and Bingley after a certain length of acquaintance when they are the subjects of discussion among the Bennets (particularly Jane and Elizabeth, and Mr. Bennet,) but to their faces, of course, they are always Mr. and Mr. (Of course the given name of Fitzwilliam is kind of a mouthful so fanfic tends to prefer to have Elizabeth refer to her husband as Darcy at all times. But in company she’d certainly call him Mr. Darcy.)

okay but can you imagine

Jane Austen’s Persuasion

done by Pemberley Digital

in the style of The Office

you feel me

anonymous asked:

Has anyone asked you about how you think the Austen characters would be sorted at Hogwarts? Maybe if you have done the major ones then you could do some of the minor characters?

Sorry for the delay on this one. No one ever has asked me before, so I had to put on my thinking cap and do some sorting. (Or was that a Sorting Hat and do some thinking?)

[Full disclosure, I’m a Slytherin, I’ve always wanted to be a Hufflepuff, but I have come to accept my placement and acknowledge that it makes some sense. I’ve bolded the main characters to make them easier to pick out.]


Marianne Dashwood, Mrs. Dashwood, Eliza Williams (elder & younger,) Lydia Bennet, Tom Bertram, Maria Bertram, John Thorpe, Mrs. Allan, Sir Walter Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot, Mary Musgrove, Frederick Wentworth, Louisa Musgrove, and Mrs. Smith.


Elinor Dashwood, Colonel Brandon, Margaret Dashwood, Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Jennings, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Charles Bingley, Georgiana Darcy, Lady Bertram, Mr. Rushworth, William Price, Harriet Smith, Robert Martin, Mrs. Weston, Mr. Weston, Miss Bates, Mr. Woodhouse, Isabella Knightley, Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, Mr. Allan, Anne Elliot, Charles Musgrove, Admiral Croft, Henrietta Musgrove, Mr. Musgrove, and Mrs. Musgrove.


Edward Ferrars, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Bennet, Mary Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Fanny Price, Edmund Bertram, Mary Crawford, Sir Thomas Bertram, George Knightley, John Knightley, Jane Fairfax, Henry Tilney, General Tilney, Lady Russell, Sophia Croft, and James Benwick.


John Willoughby, Lucy Steele, Robert Ferrars, John & Fanny Dashwood, George Wickham, Mrs. Bennet, William Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, Louisa Hurst, Mrs. Norris, Julia Bertram, Henry Crawford, Emma Woodhouse, Frank Churchill, Philip Elton, Augusta Elton, Isabella Thorpe, Frederick Tilney, Mrs. Clay, and William Elliot.

I find it interesting to note that the patterns I see out of this in particular with married couples is that Hufflepuffs can generally marry one another quite happily, but that [potential] matches within houses in the other three tend to be ill-advised pairings that bring out the worser qualities within their characters. Also, I will fully admit that I struggled on some of these, and could happily settle for having some in other houses. Naturally many of the antagonists have fallen into Slytherin house simply due to the overall stamp upon their characters being of a mercenary bent in novels built around a society and class which forced many to marry for money or powerful connections; but then I find that several Ravenclaw characters have a kind of supercilious elitism due to the lofty and cerebral virtues prized by stricter intellectuals–so you see a couple of ‘noble’ characters in there, as I found their strongest traits tended to be that kind of cool, dispassionate, black & white way of looking at the world. Gryffindors’ brash impulses can bring them into perilous places, and Hufflepuffs may seem like the dumping ground for characters that perhaps don’t fit in anywhere else explicitly; (but I think we can all agree that Hufflepuffs generally have good qualities that everyone can appreciate, though they may not always think to do so.)

I think all four houses show that there can be good and bad traits encompassed within the general concepts for the four Hogwarts houses, and so it mustn’t be presumed that all heroes and heroines must be Gryffindors, and all villains must be Slytherins. Plenty of Gryffindors have brushes with disaster thanks to their rash impulses and short tempers, and plenty of Slytherins may not be wholly bad people simply because they may pursue ambitions which are unlike those of their friends. The most prominent examples in the Slytherin house of my point are William Collins and Charlotte Lucas–both ambitious, both self-preserving, and both going about achieving their aims with what cunning they have. Mr. Collins is rather famously stupid by Bennet standards (and, as we are in sympathy with Elizabeth, by most reader’s standards, I would imagine,) but he is playing Lady Catherine’s game rather well, all things considered. Charlotte’s good sense perhaps helps him refine some strategies or make him less likely to expose himself to the censure of outside judgement, but if all you want is a comfortable living as a clergyman with a wealthy and powerful patroness? The reverend is on it, and so is his wife, in the end. Their characters and skillsets are by no means equal, but they are still both total Slytherins.

It’s not general personality traits like Good or Bad which necessarily pick your house for you–it’s what drives you, and how it drives you. What are your larger goals/intentions, and how do you get there?

I’m definitely willing to go into greater detail on specific characters, if anyone has any queries as to why I put them where I did.


Anne, coming quietly down from Louisa’s room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour door was open.

“Then it is settled, Musgrove,” cried Captain Wentworth, “that you stay, and that I take care of your sister home. But as to the rest, as to the others, If one stays to assist Mrs. Harville, I think it need be only one. Mrs. Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to her children; but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as Anne.”

She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing herself so spoken of. The other two warmly agreed to what he said, and she then appeared.

“You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her,” cried he, turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which seemed almost restoring the past. She coloured deeply, and he recollected himself and moved away.

- Persuasion, Chapter 12