I am moving to West Virginia and this song is being sung everywhere! John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads,” wasn’t on my radar before but it sure is now. Even my 8th-grade daughter’s friends–who are generally unaware of cultural touchstones prior to 2018–are singing it! I’m not complaining though, it’s just been unexpected.
I’m glad to be moving to a state that has a sense of identity and patriotism. (Is it patriotism if it’s for a state? What’s the word I’m looking for?) Anyway, I *think* Californians have a sense of identity, but… I honestly couldn’t tell you what it is. A vague sense of doom mixed with good weather and celebrity-related pride? 🙂 Maybe that’s just LA. I’m going to miss it all for sure, but I’m excited to move to the land of “Almost Heaven!”
In road-related thoughts, I put together 5 of my favorite Jane Austen moments on country roads! Which are your favorites? What did I miss?
5. Emma: Harriet and Emma with the gypsies on the road just outside Highbury. This is #5 on my list because I like it–the drama of gypsies is one of the few ‘action’ moments of the book!–but I’m not terribly fond of Frank Churchill. I used the moment a little differently in “From Highbury with Love” by letting Lizzy and Jane Fairfax and Darcy be involved!
4. Mansfield Park: I don’t have a particular moment here, but Mansfield Park is interesting in its details. The environment feels richly developed and described, even more than some of her other novels. For instance, Mrs. Norris says, “between ourselves, coachman is not very fond of the roads between this and Sotherton: he always complains bitterly of the narrow lanes scratching his carriage, and you know one should not like to have dear Sir Thomas, when he comes home, find all the varnish scratched off.”
Maria responds, “That would not be a very handsome reason for using Mr. Crawford’s…but the truth is, that Wilcox is a stupid old fellow, and does not know how to drive. I will answer for it that we shall find no inconvenience from narrow roads on Wednesday.”
3. Sense & Sensibility: Poor Marianne! Generally Marianne’s rambles were not on a road, but there was much coming and going in this one, perhaps the most in any of her books as far as characters traveling to different locations! And poor Marianne did sometimes deign to use a road. Cleveland “had its open shrubbery, and closer wood walk, a road of smooth gravel winding round a plantation led to the front…” And Marianne, in her “precious, invaluable misery…rejoiced in tears of agony to be at Cleveland; and as she returned by a different circuit to the house, feeling all the happy privilege of country liberty, of wandering from place to place in free and luxurious solitude, she resolved to spend almost every hour of every day while she remained with the Palmers, in the indulgence of such solitary rambles.” I love Marianne.
2. Persuasion: Captain Wenworth getting Anne a ride home on the carriage! “The walking party had crossed the lane, and were surmounting an opposite stile, and the Admiral was putting his horse in motion again, when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say something to his sister. The something might be guessed by its effects.” “[H]e had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it…” <happy sigh>
1. Pride and Prejudice: The Letter!! “After walking two or three times along that part of the lane, she was tempted, by the pleasantness of the morning, to stop at the gates and look into the park… She was on the point of continuing her walk, when she caught a glimpse of a gentleman within the sort of grove which edged the park; he was moving that way; and, fearful of its being Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreating.” I really like that moment when he catches up to her. I also love all the adaptations that make that moment on the lane a conversation instead of a letter!
What are your favorite road-side scenes? I didn’t even get to the breakdown that happens at the beginning of Sanditon!
Take me home, country roads….!