I intended to have a perfect garden this year – as neat as Ted Webster’s or Maureen Gariano’s, as productive as Vettie and Jon Thomas’s, as colorful as Joan Dunphy’s. I intended to procure everyone’s good opinion. Jane Austen ruined it all. If you’ve ever been an English teacher as I used to be, you know that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice may be the most esteemed novel written in the English language. But it had never smitten me until my daughter, Alice, loaned me her BBC/A&E, 1995 Pride and Prejudice DVD this spring. With millions of women on both sides of the Atlantic, my estrogen churned. I was in love with Austen’s Darcy – (Colin Firth). Besotted. On every page I yearned that Elizabeth and Darcy would get together. From that day, an unabridged tome of Austen’s works has not left my bed or my pocket book. Alas, reading Austen, viewing the movie again and again and again were not enough. Nothing would do but to cross the Atlantic and promenade with hundreds of Austen fans in the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England. And, yes, of course, we would dress for Jane Austen’s England, 200 years ago, empire-style gowns and bonnets. So while I sewed my Regency-Era gown and pelisse (jacket) to wear at the festival’s opening Promenade in Bath, thatches of cardinal vine wrapped themselves around yellow and orange marigolds I had planted to glorify the garden path at Crows Woods. While Alice and I sewed
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