Hudson’s celebration of Pride and Prejudice’s 200th anniversary kicked off yesterday with the transformation of Case Barlow Farm into Pemberley. The farmhouse hosted such activities as calligraphy practice, Regency games (I was hoping for whist, but it was a pick-up-sticks sort of game instead), silhouette drawing, and tea and scones.
I enjoyed calligraphy best of the sitting down sort of activities. I have horrible penmanship, but my calligraphy lettering came out much better than expected–which isn’t, of course, to say it was beautiful, but it wasn’t half bad. It was fun to write with a fountain pen and I have to admit that my handwriting might be a bit better if I had the patience to practice and maybe an inkwell.
There was also a speaker who dressed as Lord Jeffrey from the Edinburgh Review for his talk. He spoke on politics and literature. The speech was humorous, but I actually enjoyed speaking with “Lord Jeffrey” afterwards more because he shared some interesting information about the character he had played for his lecture and the Edinburgh Review.
Oh yes, and then came the dancing.
(Here’s another picture of me–the young lady in the yellow sweater–dancing and laughing and having fun, fun, fun.)
I’ve done country line dancing at a party once before and other miscellaneous group dances like the Electric Slide at my high school prom. That’s about it for me and dancing. In spite of strangers asking me if I dance (apparently my resting stance is similar to that of dancers–I don’t understand it at all), I’m not a dancer. Still, I wasn’t going to let that detour me from making a fool out of myself and enjoying an attempt at Jane Austen-esque dancing.
And I did love to the English Country Dancing. (It’s so proper and elegant.) I danced three dances in all—each with different partners. The first dance was relatively easy and I actually got the hang of it, but the second two were much more complicated with more twirling and dancing with others’ partners. The last dance was so insane that I ended up switching partners spontaneously once and had difficulty getting back to the correct side of the dance floor on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately, there were no Mr. Darcys or Mr. Knightleys present. For the last two dances, I danced the male part and I have to say it is a bit difficult to get in the true spirit of things when you don’t feel comfortable staring flirtatiously at a strange woman (or, as the case in one dance, your mother) standing across from you. Of course, that only made it more fun in the end because we were all giggling and laughing at the figures we cut on the dance floor. No one but the hired instructors made a good show of it and that was just fine.
After the dancing, we finished up the day with raffles being drawn (I won a three tea cups and a creamer!) and the making of tussie mussies. I had made tussie mussies for display at Hower House several years ago when I interned there so it was nice to revisit the art. Unfortunately, my tussie mussie didn’t turn out too well. Apparently, I’m a bit out of practice.
Overall, I just loved the Jane Austen Celebration. It was a blast to be able to try out calligraphy with fountain pens and eat scones and tea. The dancing, of course, was my favorite part, but it did make me confront the fact that I would have had great difficulty catching a man through my skills on the dance floor back in Regency time. I am definitely no Elizabeth Bennet.
(My tussie mussie!)