Just ahead of our audio Tale for Our Time, let me put in a word for our complementary entertainment at the other end of the day: the audio version of The Mark Steyn Show. If you haven't yet heard our Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving edition, I do hope you'll give it a listen.
Meanwhile, welcome to Episode Ten of our serialization of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. After the unfulfilled promises of Blaize Castle the other night, Veronica, a Steyn Clubber from the other Deranged Dominion (NZ), writes:
Happily the Blaise Castle Estate, and its charming folly, still stands, and could be considered properly old now, although still sadly lacking in long galleries and the like. It would be fun to visit it, but we probably have as much chance of ever seeing it in this Covid world as Catherine did!
Incidentally, I wonder why Jane Austen dropped the 's' in Blaise and replaced it with a 'z'? Did she think it looked more Gothic or did she just have a taste for eccentric spelling? One of the joys of Austen for me are all the old words and phrases, such as 'quiz' being used in its original sense of a joke or a strange person/thing, and I always have to remind myself that 'complaisant' and 'complacent' do not have the same meaning.
As for this instalment, what a wash-out for Catherine, and in more ways than one, although at least she now realises that John Thorpe is not just a tedious 'rattle' but a tricky and untrustworthy one too. His references to money, and James supposedly being able to afford a top of the range gig, still did not manage to register with her though.
Indeed, Veronica. The misspelling of "Blaize Castle" is curious, but I note that there is a Cornish village, named after the same St Blaise, that is rendered as Saint Blazey. Which is too close to the craven cockwombles of Cary Katz's vanity telly network for my liking. Anyway, in the picture at top right, that's St Catherine (in the lower left-hand corner) being tormented by St Blaise above.
In tonight's episode, Miss Austen begins with the Bath version of "Previously on Dynasty...":
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have now passed in review before the reader; the events of each day, its hopes and fears, mortifications and pleasures, have been separately stated, and the pangs of Sunday only now remain to be described, and close the week...
You can enjoy Northanger Abbey episode by episode, night by night, twenty minutes before you lower your lamp. Or, alternatively, do feel free to binge-listen: you can find all the earlier instalments here.
If you've yet to hear any of our first four-dozen Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. Or, if you need an extra-special present for someone, why not give your loved one a Gift Membership and start him or her off with just shy of fifty cracking yarns? And please join me tomorrow for another episode of Northanger Abbey.