Sunday, December 12, 2010

A proud first liner

Sorry it has been so long!

I keep on meaning to blog, and I keep on being taken over by work, calls, doing the washing or the washing up, cleaning, the boys' activities, etc. The list goes on. Anyway, when I had the chance to read some of the paper last weekend, I was delighted to come across someone's (sorry, can't remember who - Maggie Alderson, I think!) list of favourite books.

You know how I love a good first line of a book. Well, you would know if you have been reading this blog! Anyway, Maggie (or whoever it was, sorry, I did not tear that bit off because at the time I thought I would remember!) listed Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as one of the books that she most enjoyed. And here's why:

"I'd heard of this book, which I picked up one dull Sunday afternoon in the playroom of my family home when I was about 11, but didn't really know what it was about. That legendary first sentence fizzed in my brain like a soluble aspirin in water and as the meaning of it became clear, I realised that this was a grown-up book that I could read and understand and enjoy. Finishing it - and adoring it - gave me the confidence to embark on a great adventure of devouring classics."

I have read this book too - many years ago, and needless to say am about to rush off to the book case (which I meant to do last week when I tore this section out of the newspaper) to find that opening liner! Hang on a sec, while I go and find it!

Would you believe it? I have Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, but not Pride and Prejudice!! Incredible. I will buy a copy tomorrow if I get the chance ... in the meantime, thanks to the WWW I have tracked down the opening few paras for us to enjoy!
Dreaming on, as ever,


Chapter One – Pride and Prejudice

IT is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Do not you want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.

You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”


“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a
year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

“How so? How can it affect them?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”
I only hope that times have changed, and people marry for love!

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