Jane Austen is one of the ten reasons I’m glad I’m alive. Or maybe even one of five, right up there with love, the silliness of cats, and morning light in the trees.
When I think about Jane Austen I feel gratitude for her wisdom, wit, and genius; her stories are about all of us, and her characters are all of us. (Have you ever caught yourself sounding horrifyingly like foolish, vulgar Mrs. Bennet or pedantic Mary? And haven’t we all been Emma Woodhouse at her very worst moment?)
Jane, being Jane, understood the part gratitude plays in love:
“But above all, above respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of goodwill which could not be overlooked. It was gratitude; gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, but for loving her still well enough to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection.…Such a change in a man of so much pride exciting not only astonishment but gratitude–for to love, ardent love, it must be attributed…”
“If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth’s change of sentiment will be neither improbable nor faulty.”
“Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.”– Pride and Prejudice
We too are sensible of deep gratitude towards Jane Austen for bringing us brilliance, irreverence, and laughter in six of the greatest novels ever written.