I found DVDs of the BBC miniseries at Costco this weekend, for a ridiculously low price. Five Jane Austen DVDs followed me home, indeed they did. So, yesterday while doing laundry and ironing and all the rest of the housework, I watched Mansfield Park, the longest of the five. It makes me happy.
It's not that they're beautiful people, or even especially inspired acting or directing. However, the British accents and the authentic scenery do a great deal to put across the flavor of the stories. So does the relaxed pace of the miniseries. And, of course, in five and a half hours, there had to be a few moments. When Edmund took his leave and kissed Fanny's hand, it was so good it sent shivers down my spine. Then again, I've always been a sucker for that kind of thing, when it's done properly.
There's a great deal of the old-fashioned proper British lady buried within me, at constant odds with the feminist, leaving in charge the girl who's just one of the guys. I want to have my hand kissed, I want to live in a time when everyone dances. I want to have gentlemen hold doors from me and bring me drinks at parties and generally want to do things for me. On the other hand, I won't let anyone tell me I can't do something, even if it's something I don't want to do. I can walk and sit comfortably in an ankle-length skirt, and reasonably well in one that's floor-length. Yet I can also sprawl on the floor. In fact, I can sprawl on the floor in a skirt - as long as it's not too short or too tight, that's not so hard. And while God knows, I often keep up with the worst of the crass and off-color conversations, at least some of the time I'm embarrassed by it. I'm constantly seeking a higher standard of grace and elegance. Some day, perhaps I won't disappoint myself.
I'm thinking, now, about what makes a lady in contemporary society. No conclusions as of yet.