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A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

June 05, 2021 05:00PM
No true villains, only Austen's men of less than heroic quality for this version of Rumplestiltskin.

Bluff (Lady Susan)


The miller had a beautiful daughter who was very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud of her, that he one day told the king that his daughter could spin gold out of straw.

It was natural for the men to comment on the female contingent of the Mainwaring house party when separating after dinner. "She performs very well," was Mr. Smith's enigmatic answer to Sir James Martin's peons in favour of Lady Susan, causing him no little consternation.

"Truly? But I have not heard her play or sing yet."

"There are other abilities women may cultivate."

Martin considered, but soon gave up the riddle. "At any rate, I have heard enough of Miss Vernon to believe she is her mother's daughter in every respect. A glass to the loveliest, most talented of girls!"

Mr. Smith politely raised his own, but demurred from saying more than, "If she is of the same constitution, I surrender all the joy of meeting to yourself."

Bid (Sanditon)


"What will you give me," said the hobgoblin, "to do it for you?"
"My necklace," replied the maiden. He took her at her word, and sat himself down to the wheel.

"Do you wish for more toast?"

"No, thank you." Miss Haywood was not looking at him, in that sly way of hers, but Arthur Parker was cheered that she had once more accepted him as a companion for tea.

"If you will give me your cup, I will be glad to refill it."

"Thank you, I am just finishing."

He strove to think of what either of his brothers might do in the circumstance. But he was distracted by the wheel of cheese laid out, and what luck! It appeared Miss Haywood was similarly preoccupied.

It was very easy to secure even more time by her side, as he cut slices and courted her smiles.

Flush (Persuasion)


The king was greatly delighted; but still he had not enough. So he took the miller’s daughter to a yet larger heap, and said, "All this must be spun tonight; and if it is, you shall be my queen."

Bath was proving as beneficial as predicted. Elizabeth, of course, always looked her best. But one morning Sir Walter Elliot was pleased to note Mrs. Clay's improvement.

"But you must not settle for mere health; more can and should be done. There are creams and remedies for any number of blemishes. I will have a list drawn up."

"You are too kind, sir."

"Nonsense," he said on cutting her another slice of cake. "If you were a mere guest, of course it might be exceptional, but after so long with us you must consider yourself of the family party."

She offered a demure bow of the head while daintily consuming as much of the sideboard as could be brought to her plate.

Forfeit (Pride and Prejudice)


"Then say you will give me, the first little child that you may have when you are queen." As she knew no other way to get her task done, she said she would do what he asked.

"You must feel indebted for Lady Catherine's kind notice of our nuptials," Mr. Collins comforted his betrothed as she read the letter so thoughtfully penned and entrusted to him for delivery. He was filled with pride as she nodded with all suitable reverence, although she did hazard a question:

"Is she taken to rhetorical devices? I mean, is the lady given to witticisms?"

"Oh, no: what Lady Catherine states, she means most emphatically."

"Then her injunction on the number of children we might have is a ... recommendation?"

"To put it politely, though I consider her ladyship's advice so sound as comprise the authority of a command."

Miss Lucas made no further comment, by which Mr. Collins understood that in this matter—as in all others—they were of one mind.

Deal (Sense and Sensibility)


At the birth of her child she grieved, and said she would give him all the wealth of the kingdom. "I will give you three days’ grace, and if you tell me my name, you shall keep your child."

When solicited to say whether their newborn son appeared ill, Mr. Thomas Palmer made bold to disagree with his wife. Were not all babies red and fussy?

He then had the mortification to discover he had accidentality agreed with his mother-in-law, an event so rare he looked twice at the child to see if it was in worse health than originally imagined.

The pent up emotions of new fatherhood must have some release, even if it was only annoyance at summoning medical aid he was still doubtful of needing. He was even more vexed, when said man arrived, not to give the boy's name correctly.

During the examination, Mr. Palmer decided it was a fair trade of funds to gain two or three hours' escape at his club.

Discard (Northanger Abbey)


One of her messengers said, "Yesterday I saw a little hut; and round about the fire a funny little dwarf was dancing and singing: "Merrily the feast I’ll make. Today I’ll brew, tomorrow bake!"

On finally ending his engagement, James Morland was as despondent as any lover could be. The entire world was without sympathy for him, even the weather: his trip back to Oxford encompassed only clear, sunny skies.

Indeed Morland was unprepared for Thorpe to visit him so soon after his arrival, and was pained to tell that cheerful soul his celebratory spirits were in vain: there was nothing to toast.

"The deuce!" his friend exclaimed, "but, hey-day, what about your sister?"

It was unfortunate, Morland later realized, that he only remembered Catherine at this moment due to this insincere inquiry. But he at least had the consolation that his letter, though delayed by a day's selfish regret, was nevertheless started in earnest the moment it entered his head.

Declare (Mansfield Park)


"Can your name be Rumplestiltskin?" said the lady slyly. The little man cried and dashed his right foot in a rage.

On his sickbed, Tom discovered he had been wont to use the word "pain" too loosely. Mere annoyances were nothing to the suffering of true illness.

And it turned out pains might be felt on behalf of others. When well enough to join the family, Tom realized Fanny might have wants same as any other lady. It was a revelatory, heady moment, and in the next instance he bade his mother release her for a restorative walk.

The other Miss Price (Sarah? Sally? something) approached him afterward, eyeing him with suspicion. "And are you Mr. Thomas Bertram?" she asked eventually.

"Why yes," he answered with a nettled frown, and had a second epiphany: he might be able to endure the full weight of his name after all.

A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

MichelleRWJune 05, 2021 05:00PM

Re: A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

Shannon KJune 06, 2021 07:04AM

Re: A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

Lucy J.June 18, 2021 03:26AM

Re: A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

MichelleRWJune 19, 2021 04:08PM

Re: A Bit of the Rattle: Jane's Jacks and Knaves

MichelleRWJune 12, 2021 05:34PM


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