While perusing his collection entitled t.c. boyle stories, "I Dated Jane Austen", found in the "love" section, caught my eye. Written in 1977, it tells of Boyle's date with our beloved Jane. He arrives at the Austen residence (dressed in 70's attire), and is shown into a parlor to meet Reverend Austen.
I could see it coming with the certainty and illogic of an aboriginal courtship rite: a round of polite chit-chat.
The Reverend cleared his throat. "So what do you think of Mrs Radcliffe's new book?"
Soon it's time to head out to the movies.
There really wasn't much room for Cassandra in the Alfa Romeo, but the Reverend and his troop of sons insisted that she come along. She hefted her skirts, wedged herself into the rear compartment and flared her parasol, while Jane pulled a whit cap down over her curls and attempted a joke about Phaetons and the winds of Aeolus. The Reverend stood at the curb and watched my fingers as I helped Jane fasten her seat belt, and then we were off with a crunch of gravel and a billow of exhaust.
The juxtaposition of 70's hip with 18th century manners is quite humorous.
As you might expect, things don't go exactly as planned at the movies. Boyle decides to take the Austen sisters clubbing instead, and you'll never guess who they run into!
As it turn out, you don't have to guess. This story, in it's entirety and complete with illustrations, can be found on the author's website. Click here to read it. It's short and just a lot of fun!
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