Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day and Card Giveaway

I have never been hugely enthusiastic about this holiday. As a child, it was largely the occasion of pain and embarrassment, and as an adult it has been little more than an excuse to eat out. Not so anymore, now that there is a little girl in the house. May my daughter will always feel the enthusiasm she currently displays for Valentine's Day, but even if its glory fades in her mind with the years, she has inadvertently reignited it in mine.

Amidst my toddler centric crafting (I've cut more pink and red hearts out than I can count, and not only paper, but also felt, fabric, and gingerbread), I was inspired to put together a set of Pride and Prejudice inspired valentines, which it will be my great pleasure to bestow upon one of you. My original intention was to do one card quoting each hero, but I was stymied by the rapid realization that only a couple of Austen's heroes make great declarations of love, and Mr. Darcy's is during his failed proposal. I can, however, dwell on those few, most cherished moments in Austen's novels, when the hero expresses those sentiments which we have all been aching to confirm.

First, I must have my Mr. Darcy moment:
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." 
How Elizabeth does not melt, no matter how boorish the subsequent diatribe, always astounds me. So simple, so succinct, and so perfect.

Next, Mr. Knightley's speech:
"I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.--"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.--You hear nothing but truth from me.--I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.--Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.--But you understand me.--Yes, you see, you understand my feelings--and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice."
Cannot make speeches, indeed! Would but all men be so eloquent, fewer ladies would have tepid feelings about Valentine's Day.

And last but never least, Captain Wentworth's letter:
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.
Those who think Austen lacks passion must have missed Persuasion, because not even Mr. Rochester makes such a heartfelt declaration (or if he does, it is only after pursuing those mind games and insincerities an Austen hero would abhor, and which cannot add to a lady's happiness). To be the recipient of such unreserved sentiments, especially from such a man, would make anyone's Valentine's Day blissfully perfect. Gravel Walk, here we come!

Regarding the other heroes, I'll say only that I desperately wish I had such a moment to quote fro Mr. Tilney, and that I am really rather happier not hearing such sentiments from either Mr. Ferrars or Mr. Bertram.

What do you consider Austen's most romantic moments? Tell me all about it in a comment below, including your email address, and you may be the recipient of this handcrafted collection of Valentine's Day cards:

This giveaway is open internationally through February 22nd. I'll announce a winner on the 23rd. Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Ooh, beautiful cards! I'm impressed that you made them by hand. They're so quaint.

    I have to say my favorite declaration of love is definitely Captain Wentworth's. To me "Persuasion" is by far Jane's most romantic novel. *big dreamy sigh* I love that, even through all those years, they only nursed feelings for each other (despite their best efforts) and were able to overcome distance, time, and their own mistaken judgements. All of that gets beaten by love! That's nice to read. And that letter. Ugh. Jane, you're making men look bad! Not that they needed it, but now it's worse =\ That letter does things to my insides.

    Oh, now you've got me pining for a Tilney declaration. I think that would have been one of the better ones. I always liked that he and Knightley were two of the more light-hearted Austen heroes, and so snarky and witty to boot.

    Oh, and my email is:

    1. She does make men look bad. My poor husband - there is no hope for him. He REALLY can't make speeches. Fortunately, his actions speak louder than words, though a fervent declaration would have been a wonderful memory to hold on to through the years. Instead, I think I'm the one who proposed. Oh well.

      Thanks for entering! It's always enlightening to hear your thoughts.

  2. The Captain's letter is definitely THE best written letter. Ever. My heart melts ever time I read it.


    1. It is amazing. As I get older, I find I have less and less tolerance for Wentworth's behavior in the beginning of the novel, but the letter always melts my resentment. I'm a sucker for a passionate man.

  3. Great cards! Persuasion is my favorite, party because of Capt. Wentworth's letter. Nothing like a love that has stood the test of time.


  4. Hi Jade. Thanks! This is turning into a Wentworth party, no shabby thing! I wonder if Jane ever received a letter like that. It has the ring of truth.

  5. Oops!

    SANDISUE left the following comment (I accidentally deleted it - sorry!):

    Although I get butterflies while reading Capt. Wentworth's letter, it still does not compare to the epitome of love expressed, Darcy's declaration. I love the cards. They will be timeless.

    1. Thanks! I prefer Darcy's declaration, too, though that letter is something special.

  6. I'm always amazed at how beautifully Jane Austen wrote these timeless words of love, and wonder HOW she could do it. Did a man ever utter such words of love to her? Who were the real men who inspired her to write these? If it was a real man, did he disappoint her - and then how could she recover from such a loss and still write of true love?