Some proper person

BurneyThis week we’ll be taking a slight diversion from Austen to look at one of the books that inspired her — Fanny Burney’s Cecilia.  This is a book Austen loved, and she snagged the title for Pride and Prejudice from one of its pages.  I’m immersed in it now, and loving it (although I agree with Burney herself that it could have used one more edit).

Cecilia is a nearly-perfect heiress, whose near relations have all passed away.  But she can only keep her fortune if the man she marries agrees to take her name.  And young Delvile, whom she adores, has a difficult time conquering his family pride, his name being the one barrier to their happy union.  (Though perhaps I’m giving away too much.)

Today, here’s a bit from the spiteful old Lady Margaret, whose husband hopes she will die soon so he can propose to Cecilia:

“I never saw any thing eligible come of young women’s having houses of their own; she will do a much better thing to marry, and have some proper person to take care of her.”

Cecilia, volume 4, book 7, chapter 1

Frances d’Arblay (‘Fanny Burney’) by Edward Francesco Burney

© National Portrait Gallery, London.


Filed under Inspiration, Other books and writers

4 Responses to Some proper person

  1. Thank you for mentioning this book ~ I’ll have to find it for my daughter and myself to read. Both of us are Jane Austen fans and would be interested in what interested Jane.

  2. bonnie buckingham

    THAT is so interesting Lori!~
    I didn’t know that.
    Hope you are well~

  3. Oh, don’t worry, Fanny Burney gave away half the plot in the first chapter. 😉 It’s a great book, though, and I saw SO much of P&P and S&S in it–not really plot elements so much as a general feeling and a zany sense of humor.

  4. I agree! I see so much of Austen’s inspiration here. Although, I’m getting toward the end, and it’s driving me batty, all the meaningless conversation. I just want to know what happens! I think Jane must have felt that way as well, and took that lesson to make her own more compact.