What is right to be done cannot be done too soon.
Jane Austen, Emma (vol. II, ch. 4)
Tim, this just inspired a new cyber-sampler!
Loved this, Adriana!
What’s funny about that quote in context is that Frank is chomping at the bit to see his beloved Jane but is pretending, “Well, I suppose I SHOULD go pay my respects to Miss Farfax…” and his dad is urging him to do the polite thing and go. Once again a father has the wool pulled over his eyes! But there is a lot of truth in that quote: it’s never too soon to do right!
Yeah, Frank’s in a high-powered dissembling mode. I think it makes Mr. Weston’s comment all the more pointed, even though inadvertently so, because Frank is doing so much that is wrong in how he interacts with others!
It’s been so long since I’ve read any Jane Austen that I can hardly remember the storyline of Emma. I think I need to reread it soon. What a wonderful thought Austen had here.
It’s such a great story, Laura, that i come back to it for a re-read every so often. Then again, I read through all six of her novels every few years!
That’s quite amazing that you do that, Tim!! I re-read them very regularly as well. I have a stack of JA on my beside table and find them perfect bedtime reading; they are well-written enough to remain interesting after multiple reads, yet the slow pace & speeches have a very soothing effeczzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
At the moment I’m enjoying the hospitality of the Coles, while Emma and Mrs. Weston talk over the prudence (or lack thereof) in a match between Mr K and Miss Fairfax. Poor Emma doesn’t know her real motivations!
In Jane’s era right and wrong were pretty clear. Tragically, the case is not quite so today. And doing ‘good’ is often confused with doing ‘right’. Here’s to Jane, not quite as classical as the Bible, but nearly as endearing (BTW: I have a prayer composed by JA that hangs in my study (there are many JA fans and many who follow Christ so I will post the complete prayer):
“Give us grace almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Thou art everywhere present, from thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain. –
“May we now, and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words and actions during it, and how far we an acquit ourselves of evil. –
“Have we thougth irreverently of thee, have we disobeyed thy commandments, have we neglected any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline us to ask our hearts these questions oh@ God, to sabe us from deceiving ourselves by pride or vanity —
“Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference — Hear us almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed us, and taught us, thus to pray — Amen.”
Perhaps she has evoked in us a sense of what is ‘right’ rather than of what is ‘good’?
I love that prayer, Sarah. Jane Austen’s line about doing right reminds me too of Paul in Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
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