On seeing my first blog, TanGentle wrote, ‘looking forward to your streams of consciousness’.
Well – the phrase ‘stream of consciousness’, naturally makes me think of Jane Austen, why? Simply because what is just about the first piece of stream of consciousness writing is to be found in Emma.
Emma and her friends are picking strawberries at Donwell Abbey.
Strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or spoken of.
“The best fruit in England – every body’s favourite – always wholesome. – These the finest beds and finest sorts. – Delightful to gather for one’s self – the only way of really enjoying them. – Morning decidedly the best time – never tired – every sort good – Hautboy infinitely superior – no comparison – the others hardly eatable – Hautboys very scarce – Chili preferred – White Wood finest flavour of all – price of strawberries in London – abundance about Bristol – Maple Grove – cultivation – beds when to be renewed – gardeners thinking exactly different – no general rule – gardeners never to be put out of their way – delicious fruit – only too rich to be eaten much of – inferior to cherries – currants more refreshing – only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping – glaring sun – tired to death – could bear it no longer – must go and sit in the shade.”
One other area where Miss Austen was an innovator was talking about sport, her heroine, Catherine Morland was a tomboy who;
Preferred cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books – or at least books of information – for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story, she had never any objection to books at all.
Until very recently this was the earliest reference to the sport of baseball (this is still the first reference to a woman playing the game). However recent research has discovered earlier references to the sport. The first person known to have played baseball, was Frederick, Prince of Wales at Walton on Thames in 1749. He was also keen on cricket and possibly died as a result of being hit by a cricket ball. A spoof epitaph on him ran.
“Here lies poor Fred who was alive and is dead,
Had it been his father I had much rather,
Had it been his sister nobody would have missed her,
Had it been his brother, still better than another,
But since it is Fred who was alive and is dead,
There is no more to be said!”