Yesterday I was guest speaker for our Southern Highlands group, JASH. They are a lively and friendly group, but I was still surprised to find about twenty ladies waiting to hear me, and to be assured there are at least ten more who are active members. So what are we doing wrong here in Canberra, a much bigger area?

That’s the new mystery … any ideas?

I did solve one mystery: the identity of the lady I mentioned hearing about, who was supposed to run a JA group. I’m almost certain now that this was Adrienne Bradney-Smith, a JASH member but not their president as they don’t have a hierarchy. Adrienne is well-known to JASA; she and her husband provided the musical entertainment at JASA’s birthday dinner. Mary, I think you were there?

Adrienne had solved another JA mystery: the identity of the artist of a small sketch of Steventon Rectory which hangs in Chawton Cottage. Thought to be by Anna Lefroy, Adrienne’s research proved it to be by Ben Lefroy. I vaguely remember reading something about this but can’t place it.

I’ve also found out about so-called ‘Pride and Prejudice Day,’ when Anna and I both received messages. Sue was right in thinking it was 28th January, when P&P was first published. What happened in my case was that Brisbane’s ABC Classic FM Breakfast Show, suitably hosted by one Emma, challenged its male listeners to¬†approach a female friend and speak Mr Darcy’s immortal words: You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you … and then report on their reception! Anyone who had anything really interesting to report would be rewarded with a CD.

Sadly for my Brisbane friend, we were at the coast and all he got was the answering-machine. Happily for me, I recognised his voice … and so did Rupert!

Isn’t it wonderful to think how famous Our Jane has become!


4 Responses to Mysteries

  1. jessiet1 says:

    Glad you solved some mysteries, Julia. Adrienne wrote an article ‘Art and the Austen Family’ published in June 2009 ‘Sensibilities’ in which she discussed, inter alia, the Steventon Rectory sketch so that is probably where you read it.

  2. juliae1 says:

    Thanks, Jessie. I often don’t keep Sensibilities so cannot look it up. Sounds as if it deserved a rather wider publication.

  3. jessiet1 says:

    Oh dear, Julia. If you knew what blood, sweat and tears (well, no tears, really) went into producing Sensibilities you would treat each and every volume as though it were a first edition – which, come to think of it, each is. I find them a very valuable resource.

  4. juliae1 says:

    Yes, it’s very sad, but there is only so much space. I subscribe to five (at least) other magazines, three of them literary … now that I see that written down, I must consider down-sizing even more!
    I must also see what is available from JASA on-line.

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