English: Sixth Form Trip to Jane Austen's House

English: Sixth Form Trip to Jane Austen's House

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bonnet and a flimsy nightie lead one to skip merrily beneath the trees of Hampshire. And so it was that a group of funky 21st century teenagers found themselves cavorting across Jane Austen's lawn, (the private hope to see Colin Firth's dashing figure astride a handsome stallion slowly diminishing with the progression of the day.) A surprising turn of events and certainly not the expected outcome of choosing A level English.

The charming village of Chawton mirrors the setting of Jane Austen's novels. The delicate nerves of Mrs Bennett would have been soothed by the prospect of such a delightful visit from the messrs White and Cheshire but perhaps somewhat alarmed by the intrusion of so many young attentive females threatening to outshine her daughters.

A clearly male dominated society ensured Jane's brother Edward's possession of the splendid mansion on the hill, while the lonesome ladies of leisure, his mother and sisters, amused themselves in their humble abode down the lane.

Their modest indulgences were enjoyed by all as we sampled quills and handled charming artefacts: an ear wax spoon, a snuff box and a teacup, scrutinised in detail with wise nods and a knowing gaze. A small spinet, winding corridors and snug rooms provided entertainment until luncheon.

Edward's estate exudes magnificence and luxury, overlooking the pride of the British countryside. Browsing the endless shelves of the library in quiet hope to spot a novel of familiarity, it was far too easy to feel more than a little under-read. The stern portraits and panelled walls of the dining room and alarming mustard colour of the brocaded curtains added to the wealth and grandeur of the impressive rooms.

Our day ended with the dainty steps of regency dance, thumped out by the whole company in an enthusiastic and rowdy finale with flushed cheeks (no smelling salts required.) An altogether delightful day.

Anna Moody

Bloomsbury House