by Brenda S. Cox
“Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself”–Pride and Prejudice
At a JASNA Symposium last fall, I was privileged to see early editions of some of Jane Austen’s works at Emory University’s Rose Library. I was enchanted by the “Peacock Austen.” This version of Pride and Prejudice was published in 1894. I laughed at the illustrations by Hugh Thomson; I never knew they were so funny!
The other copies of Jane Austen I currently own are either digital or academic versions. However, when I saw that I could get a reproduction of the “Peacock Austen,” I had to buy it.
What a joy reading this book was! The text, of course, delights my soul as always, but the pictures add even more fun. Thomson obviously understood the story very well, as his illustrations show.
My reproduction of this book was published by Logic and Light in 2013. It says, “The text of this work, as well as the illustrations, are in the public domain.” So I have scanned some of my favorites to share with you. I hope you will enjoy them. I recommend the whole book!
In later weeks I’ll share a few more delights from Pride and Prejudice, The Peacock Edition, Revived. Hugh Thomson carefully researched his illustrations, and we’ll see some of what he shows about Austen’s times. I highly recommend you get the book, though, and enjoy the illustrations as you read the beloved story.
I can’t say that with Jane Austen, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Without her words, these pictures wouldn’t mean much. But, the right pictures do add extra joy to her stories! And they helped me slow down and relish each page. Wishing you much joy today, in what you see, what you hear, and what you read.
“You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? I will not be alarmed though your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
“I shall not say you are mistaken,” he replied, “because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own.”
Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, “Your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordshire—and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too—for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your relations to hear.”