Every Sunday evening for the next three months, your local PBS station is airing new and old adaptations of Jane Austen’s work plus a biopic on her life. I just needed to make sure you knew.

Visit the main site to learn all the ins-and-outs of schedules, stars, etc. If it’s not enough to feed your Austen-adaptation obsession, be sure to visit the Becoming Jane blog for all the You-Tube interviews, previews, trivia, etc., you could possibly want.

Last Sunday featured a new adaptation of Persuasion (at least for us in the U.S.) and I thoroughly enjoyed a tall, blond version of Captain Wentworth paired up with a less meek Anne Elliot. The feature sped by in a quick ninety minutes, so the tense chemistry was thick from the start.

However, it is the scenery, costumes, language, and manners of these period pieces that take my breath away. I submerse myself in them like a warm bath at the end of a long day. When Frederick and Anne see each other for the first time, I switch between the expressions on their faces and the larkspur in the milk-white pitcher sitting in the sunny corner of the window-seat next to the small-paned leaded window. My heart reaches out in memory to my own youth when Anne weeps over believing Frederick will marry someone else; yet that same heart now longs for the pastoral beauty of England to be more of an everyday occurrence. And of course, I’m always on the lookout for scenes with tea, of course.

Again, I find it ironic that the resurgence of the afternoon tea ritual means Victorian tea rooms are springing up throughout America. Yet, it is the Regency period so many of us love, the time BEFORE Queen Victoria. Maybe it explains why the afternoon tea party is often stereotyped as stuffy and stiff. But the empire-waist is returning to fashion, so maybe there’s hope of relaxed, yet elegant tea times after all.

Speaking of Queen Victoria, I want to make sure all my readers also know of the return of the magazine by the same name. I’ve received the first two issues and it only comes out six times per year. I do find the magazine a little slim for the price. However, nothing beats Victoria for the photographs portraying the art of a time period filled with beauty. The Jan/Feb cover , for example, features a beautifully handwritten letter with an old-fashioned ink pen written on a desk shared with antique books. Click on the Victoria Magazine link for a picture.

Victoria Magazine‘s Editors also published a book I own, The Pleasures of Tea: Recipes and Rituals. As much as I enjoy blogging, and the energy of the Internet community, I readily admit I cannot replicate the beauty of sitting down with a book like this. My favorite tea books, including this one, are those with full-color photographs. Losing myself in the tea world this way inspires me when I get tired of trying hard to keep it beautiful in a Wal-mart world.

On that note, allow me to leave you today with some Austen language for your winter evening:

“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 F. W.

“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.”


Are you watching Masterpiece Theatre?