Everything is better with a little Jane Austen.
Even subway rides. Which is perhaps why I try to read one Jane Austen ride every summer. It makes New York a little prettier, the subway rides a little less humid, sticky and otherwise miserable.
This summer’s selection is Emma. I find myself sitting up straighter as I read it, hoping to become a woman of fine carriage. Who I am trying to impress, I have idea, since there certainly are no worthy gentleman to be found on the F train. Particularly the sweaty little man who tried to ram into me yesterday to beat me into the train.
“What a truly hateful little man!” I exclaimed. I really did. If I had gloves, I probably would have used them to slap him across the face. But I had only a computer bag and an impossibly large purse. So instead I walked haughtily into the train, giving Hateful Little Man withering stares, the likes of which I’m sure he never saw before. I’m sure he is still writhing about in pain on the train platform.
Who couldn’t use a little Jane? What relationship couldn’t use a man telling his beloved “you have bewitched me body and soul?” Whose life would not be better with starting every morning with a long invigorating walk though the woods? And who can forget the world’s best insult of all time (perfectly delivered by Dame Judy Dench in the film version of Pride & Prejudice) “Madam, you have a very small garden.”
Perhaps instead of those poems the MTA posts in the subways, they would do better to post a snippet or two of Jane. People might actually read them. And learn a little something about well, being nicer to each other. Or at the very least, polite with their insults.
My complexion is pinkening at the very thought of it.