I first encountered Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth in the 1995 BBC TV-film adaptation starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds and I instantly fell in love with their story. I love Sense & Sensibility, Emma and Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth is my one and only Mr. Darcy as far as I'm concerned), but Persuasion would have to be my favorite of the ones I know. I've yet to read or watch Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park. I also have a couple of "short" stories also by Austen on my Kindle that I'm eager to find time to read.
But...there is not a time I’ve watched Persuasion since then that I have not rooted for their happily ever after and zipped through a box of tissues in tears because it's a beautiful story of love finding it's way back home and how strong two people's emotions can be, even when they've been separated by time, distance, place in life, and the persuasion of others against what they know in their hearts is right and true. This is a true-love-is-eternal story- feelings don't just disappear even if you have to go your separate ways. Sometimes, if you're lucky enough, you might just be able to find that love again. And sometimes it's better that you let go when you did...
Years ago, an EX, knowing my penchant for all things writing related, especially favorite literature, had gone out of town for work related training. I can't remember if it was when he went Atlanta or when he went to one of the training facilities in Tennessee, but we hadn't been apart much of our relationship and when he was gone on those long trips, it was usually for a few weeks at a time and we missed each other dreadfully and he'd call me when he could. On one of those trips he came back with all kinds of sweet little gifts for me that were Coca-Cola Polar Bear-related (something else that was a favorite of mine)- a cool ink pen with a matching diary and a deck of playing cards.
Another time, he went shopping at a bookstore, I believe it was a Waldenbooks, and he came home with this beautiful three-volume leather bound set of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen for me, just because. When I finally read the book I had an even deeper love of the story because the adaptation to film presented the story beautifully and brought those already vivid characters and their love to life on the screen.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen, 3 Volumes
Tally Hall Press, 1996
This is a very attractive 3 volume leather bound set of “The Complete Novels of Jane Austen” published by Tally Hall Press, Ann Arbor in 1996. The books in the set are:
Volume 1 - Sense and Sensibility & Pride and Prejudice; Maroon Leather
Volume 2 - Mansfield Park & Emma; Dark Blue Leather
Volume 3 - Northanger Abbey & Persuasion; Black Leather
Each book is bound in different color full leather covered boards and features raised ribs on the spine, gold gilt on spine and cover, gilded edges, satin ribbon markers, and marbled endpapers.
A few of my favorite quotes-"A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman! He ought not; he does not."
"I mean while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."
and best of all- Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne, which always, ALWAYS, makes me cry....
"'I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
'I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.'"
Needless to say, it was a gift that brought tears of appreciation and love at the time. Even now, when I look at them and feel the weight of them in my hand, I still appreciate what a thoughtful loving gift it was, even though that relationship ended a long time ago. Those relationships in the past help shape our present selves whether we like to admit it or not. I think a lot of people look back on old relationships and see only the bad parts, but to me, there's still room in this ol' heart to remember that there were also redeemable qualities about the other men in my past that made me love them, and if not for where I was then and the road I traveled since, I would not be where I am or WHO I am today.