We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

Jane Austen's Aunt Jane probably stole that lace · 21 March 08

Dear Marianne,

My spirits have been cheered this evening by going over to the online magazine of the Jane Austen Center (a costume museum, study center & Jane Austen shop in Bath) to see placed there an essay I wrote in the form of a posting to Austen-l in which I argued a candid examination of all the evidence and circumstances of the case suggests that Jane Austen’s aunt, Jane Leigh-Perrot probably stole a card of lace she was accused of stealing. The editor has introduced my argument with a brief life and history of the biased presentation of Mrs Leigh-Perrot’s arraignment & trial. She accompanies my essay with appropriate illustrations, a map of the incident in the shop, & a brief biography of me at the close.


Posted by: Ellen

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  1. I really like the quotation from from Northanger Abbey very much, but it’s not a reflection of Jane Austen’s own grasp on how her aunt saw her pilfering. Two are found in MP:

    From Mansfield Park:

    ”’What else have you been spunging?' said Maria ... [four beautiful pheasant’s eggs]" (Vol I, Chap 10)

    “Mrs Norris contrived to remove one article from his sight that might have distressed him … [the green baize curtain]" (Vol II, Chap 3)

    Note how small these exquisite things are too.

    Elinor    Mar 22, 11:07am    #
  2. From Carol Dorf:

    “An interesting analysis, Ellen. I also like the way you connected it with the characters in Austen’s fiction.

    Elinor    Mar 22, 11:07am    #
  3. From Janet McCann:

    "Thanks, Ellen—this is really fascinating. Janet”
    Elinor    Mar 22, 1:41pm    #
  4. From Clare:

    “I’ve read this a couple of times now, it’s a good essay, but that’s to be expected from Ellen. It’s a nice website too, so congratulations to Ellen.

    Elinor    Mar 23, 6:56am    #
  5. From Diana Birchall:

    “Doesn’t your piece about Mrs. Leigh-Perrot’s lace look great! It’s an interesting and informative read, taking that story to a depth it doesn’t usually get, and don’t the Regency World/JA Centre people illustrate things prettily?”
    Elinor    Mar 23, 7:09am    #
  6. Congratulations! The piece is really interesting and also presented to look good in the online magazine, with all the illustrations. I’m sure it will have a lot of readers.
    Judy    Mar 24, 3:37am    #
  7. From a friend and editor of Jane Austen’s World:

    “I also wanted you to know I read your post about Ruby in Paradise, and I am going to rent the movie from Netflix. Ashley Judd is one of my favorite actresses, so I don’t know how I missed this movie. In addition, I find your conclusion about Mrs. Leigh-Perrot taking the lace fascinating and plausible. Jane Leigh-Perrot had no reason to take it, but as we all know, shoplifting has nothing to do with the ability to pay for an item or not. Sometimes the thrill of getting away with something forbidden is enough …”
    Elinor    Mar 24, 6:36pm    #

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