Friday, 8 April 2011

Pilgrimage

Visiting the place where Jane Austen actually sat and wrote her incredible novels is a dream come true for many of our visitors. Often they have read Austen and dreamed of Darcy since they were young and have been waiting for this moment for many years. A unique connection is made when you step inside her house and look out of her bedroom window. You glimpse how she might have lived and worked, and can begin to understand the women behind the novels.

People travel across the globe just to spend a few hours in her home. It has a magnetic pull on anyone who has once imagined themselves as Lizzie Bennet or Marianne Dashwood. Being inside the house lets you share moments with Jane Austen you can literally walk in her footsteps and experience what she may have felt.

Comments flood the visitor book with praise and thanks, and reveals what an emotional experience it is to many people.

"I am so glad I have finally managed to visit this wonderful place after three years of waiting"

"Wow it's so hard not to cry!"

" A wonderful and emotional experience to walk in the steps of Jane Austen for a short time!"

"a dream come true"

"lovely living tribute to someone I wish to get to know better"

It seems that for many people being in her home is part of an ongoing relationship that they develop with her as not only an author of their favourite books but also as a woman. Recently Isabel and I have found a few gifts and offerings to Jane and the house. I found a carefully made fan of hearts hung on a door handle in The Austen Family room. Each heart has a name of a character from Sense and Sensibility and they rotate to align with different people.





Isabel found this letter to Jane yesterday in the bedroom...



Who knows whether Jane receives these letters and offerings, but the staff at the museum love them! And it reminds us how lucky we are to work metres away from where the magic happened.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who has felt the urge to cry. As a devoted fan, the first time I visited 10 years ago, I cried twice. When I went back again last fall, I was able to control myself, but it wasn't easy!

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  2. I almost cry whenever I read a post in this blog, and feel the Austen Magic radiating from the screen and take possession of my heart... What will I do if I ever happen to come to Chawton and put my feet where She used to tread, inhale the air that She used to breathe, lay my hands on the things She used to touch?... and finally see the small writing table where She used to sit?...

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  3. I was there two years ago, wish I'd have thought to leave dear Jane a token of appreciation!

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