Dear Readers. I am suffering from my annual case of Austen-itus. It affects me every year at about the same time causing me to speak slowly and distinctly, avoiding contractions, split infinitives or slang expressions. I find, at these times that my back is held straighter, my hair tidier and my smile shows less teeth and is bestowed upon all and sundry, even upon those who look at me oddly.
I tend not to shout or say 'what?' and I call my husband Mr.F...e and try very hard not to respond with my usual profanities when he gets on my w.... joshes me.
My dog tends to regard me quizzically when I do not raise my voice to him as he attempts to water my plants, and 'Bad Boy' in a softer, more genteel tone does not stop him chasing fledglings.
This malady is brought on by repeat showings of most of Miss Austen's works beginning with the definitive film of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle followed by Emma and then Persuasion and then last night the dreadful version of P&P with Kiera Knightly only rescued by the 'I love, love, love you' of Mister Darcy.
Each year this malady manifests itself with the symptoms I have listed here, but, thankfully it lasts but a few days...or even hours if the Master requests I revert before he is obliged to shut me in my room to recover. Already I can feel a swear word coming on...the strain is too much. And of course, Miss Austen did not smoke, did she?