Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility) was born on this day in 1775. The Writer’s Almanac goes way deep talking about the author today, touching on various aspects of her life, including a posthumous homage by Rudyard Kipling I’d never connected with Austen:
In 1924 Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “Jane’s Marriage,” about Jane Austen dying and going to Heaven. It begins:
Jane went to Paradise:
That was only fair.
Good Sir Walter followed her,
And armed her up the stair.
Henry and Tobias,
And Miguel of Spain,
Stood with Shakespeare at the top
To welcome Jane –
The angels offer Jane anything she can dream of, and she says “Love,” so they find her long-lost lover, who is sitting in Heaven reading a copy of Persuasion.
She said, “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
And she wrote: “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”