Monday, December 20, 2010

Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women, Sermon I, Page 12

Parents now a days almost universally down the lowest tradesman or mechanic who to ape his superiors strains himself beyond his circumstances send their daughters to Boarding schools.  And what do they mostly learn there? I say mostly... they learn chiefly to dress to dance to speak bad French to prattle much nonsense to practise I know not how pert conceited airs, and in consequence of all to conclude themselves accomplished Women?

11 comments:

Jillian said...

Is that Tom Hollander in the pic? Nice!

Alexa Adams said...

I never thought to read Fordyce before, but now I know I must. Your particular quote will most likely end up in the mouth of Mary Bennet in my second book, as a defense of her own education. Fabulous!

Heather Carroll said...

@Jillian, I hear his voice in my head whenever I read the book!

@Alexa, You can def see where Austen got Mr Collins from when you read it!

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

Oh lord Mr. Collins all over it. It sounds like a description of the scrambled education that Harriet Smith received at Mrs. Goddard's School in Emma!

Vinery said...

Fordyce seems to be an insufferable old grouch, and a snob, too. I give him a big nose-thumb!

Vic said...

Finally I was able to add your blog on my blog roll. Took enough time!

Heather Carroll said...

Oh yes, he was a sexist old coot which makes for endless entertainment in reading his sermons...in small doses for sanity's sake.

@Vic, Oh dear is that because of the mysterious feed issue that I can't seem to figure out?

Margravine Louisa said...

valleygirls, anyone?

Lady Webster said...

I suspect he was scorned a time or two in his youth, hence the biting edge that overwhelmed his writing. Unfortunate for him.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo said...

Uh, I'll just interject to partially second Laurel Ann here, and say that I think that rather than meaning us to think that Mr. Collins was to be mocked for approving Fordyce's sermons over novels (when asked to read to the Bennet family after dinner) that Aunt Jane is being far more subtle in her satire. That Lydia and Kitty are astonished by his choice is a negative comment on them, and that Mr. Collins quickly gives up reading the text when Lydia subsequently interrupts him is a comment on *him* not upon Fordyce's sermons. Everything quoted on this blog, and the few other extracts I've read of Fordyce's, seem to me to be more in keeping with Jane Austen's ethics and mores than not. Aunt Jane is an 18th century Anglican clergyman's daughter, not a modern relativist. Fordyce's opinion her is echoed stronglyi by Aunt Jane in Emma, as well as several other places in her novels. Stop sneeringg at Fordyce - in fact, I'd say you maybe should stop sneering at Mr. Collins, and rather pity and sympathize with him. He had a hard row to hoe, the entail aside, you know..

Anonymous said...

@Bernal Diaz del Castillo, I totally agree with you when you said that Lydia and Kitty's slighting of the Sermons reflected badly on their morals and manners, since it is both rude to interrupt another whilst he is reading, and Fordyce also had some ideas about "the accomplished woman" which reflected Austen's. However, if she really thought so highly of Mr Fordyce, why would she make Collins read him? Why not attribute his wisdom to a character who is not described as "not a sensible man"? Don't forget that Fordyce's presbyterianism was a lot more pious and strict than Austen's Anglican upbringing!