Sunday, October 4, 2009
My visit with Jane
It has been 11 years since I last visited London. This time around was just as enchanting as the first time. I knew right away that I had to visit a tiny town 45 minutes outside of London called Chawton in Alton, Hants. This is the place where Jane Austen called home for the last 8 years of her life. Where she experienced life and then wrote about it. I cannot even explain in words how much this particular visit excited me.
When my sister and I arrived, I could hardly contain myself. We asked the cabby who was outside the train station to please take us to Jane Austen's house. He replied jokingly, "I will take you to Jane's house but she ain't home". But something told me she was there in so many ways. Ten minutes later we were dropped off in front of the most enchanting brick building that was being hugged by beautifully colored flowers.
We walked in and were immediately greeted by the loveliest two ladies who were just as excited to see us as we were to be there. Into her home we went. Into her life where she watched society and its "follies and inconsistencies" with a fine eye.
When I saw Jane's writing table and chair I was silenced to just stand there and envision her creating her characters one heroin at a time. So unbelievable. But the more I was in the house the more I felt a peace and a sense of calm. She was happy here with her mother and sister, Cassandra.
I think I could have stayed there all day. But I took my last moments in the garden and realized I had just experienced one of those moments you check off your life long list of things to do. This was a big one.
"Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can" Jane Austen