Whose Mother Is She?


With it being Mother’s Day, I started thinking about the mothers portrayed in Jane Austen’s novels: Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Morland, Mrs. Dashwood, and Mrs. Price.  Not exactly an exemplary group, but at least they lived to see their children to adulthood.  Two others did not.  We know almost nothing about Emma Woodhouse’s mother, who is only said to have died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses.   There’s more information given about Anne Elliot’s deceased mother, Lady Elliot, and her surrogate, Lady Russell

You’ve read Jane Austen.  How well do you know her characters?  Can you recognize the six ladies named above from their descriptions and their words?  Take the quiz below.  (To make it a bit more challenging, I’ve added a lady of my own creation: Mrs. Walker, mother of the heroine of For Myself Alone.)

1) … an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if thy might be pardoned the youthful infatuation that made her (Mrs. So-and-so), had never required indulgence afterwards. She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability…

2) … a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and what is more remarkable with a good constitution … (She) did not insist on her daughters being accomplished … (She) was a very good woman, and wished to see her children every thing they ought to be.  “Well, we must live and learn; and the next new friends you make I hope will be better worth keeping.”

3) She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper.  When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous.  The solace (of her life) was visiting and news. “My dear, you flatter me.  I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now.”

4) an eagerness of mind …which must generally have led to imprudence; she had yet to learn how to govern her feelings; strikingly like her daughter, she was everything good except prudent.  “It is yet too early in life to despair of such an happiness. Why should you be less fortunate than your mother? in one circumstance only… may your destiny be different from hers!”

5) She was a woman rather of sound than of quick abilities … with a delicate sense of honour … a benevolent, charitable, good woman, and capable of strong attachments; most correct in her conduct, strict in her notions of decorum, and with manners that were held a standard of good-breeding.  “Upon my word…I should not have supposed that my opinion of any one could have admitted to such difference of conjecture…”

6) … being out in company was one of the chief pleasures of her life … an excellent mother … neither troubled by disappointed past expectations nor misgivings for the future.  “Men are generally hopeless when it comes to such things in any case.  I depend entirely on you for a full account.”

7) (she) could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment … eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed… Her heart and her time were already quite full; she had neither leisure nor affection to bestow …Her disposition was naturally easy and indolent … “I do not think I am so difficult a mistress to please – and I am sure the place is easy enough, for there is always a girl under her, and I often do half the work myself.”

Have do have it figured out?  Check under “comments” for the answers and reward yourself with chocolate if you got them all correct … or even if you didn’t.

About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
This entry was posted in fun & games, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Quotes, Shannon Winslow's writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Whose Mother Is She?

  1. And the answer is ….. 1) Lady Elliot, 2)Mrs. Morland, 3)Mrs. Bennet, 4) Mrs. Dashwood, 5) Lady Russell, 6) Mrs. Walker, 7) Mrs. Price. How did you do?

  2. Awesome test! Not very easy. I really enjoyed doing it. By the way, 7 out of 7 correct 😀
    You are right, we should pay more attention to mothers.

  3. Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for leaving a comment.

  4. Lori Mulligan Davis says:

    Thanks for a fun few minutes. I wish you had not used two from Persuasion, instead of Mrs Weston or Mrs John Knightley from Emma. I love Lady Russell but surrogate mothers are not mentioned as possibilities so people who don’t recognize quotes might not know she was even a possible choice. Otherwise, fun!

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