|Drawing by Cassandra 1810|
Before we start the party, it might be good to remember some highlights of the last six years. Of the 28 HGs who started out in 2011, these are the stalwarts who are left:
Me, Katherine Langrish, Adèle Geras, Caroline Lawrence, Michelle Lovric, Marie-Louise Jensen, Sue Purkiss, Penny Dolan, Celia Rees, Imogen Robertson and Leslie Wilson.
Of the rest, some have come and gone during that time and are much missed, including Harriet Castor, Linda Buckley-Archer, Louise Berridge, Manda Scott, Tanya Landman, Clare Mulley - oh too many to name.
Those who have left often return as guests or stay on as Reserves.
There are long periods of stability but then suddenly we might get 3 or 5 resignations close together, always for reasons of overwork or over-commitment. If you want to know the current list, do go to our About Us page.
And we've had some terrific guests, including Sally Gardner, Kevin Crossley-Holland (our first History Boy!), Tracy Chevalier, Hilary Mantel, Alison Weir, John Guy and Helen Castor
Those who have been guests often become full-time History Girls!
On 18th the History Girls will be having a full JA celebration here but since we are also making much of six years of writing posts for your delectation, we thought we might invite Jane and some of her characters along today.
We wondered who would be most fun at a party and I came up with:
Mary and Henry Crawford (I know, I know)
Mr and Mrs Weston
The Bennet sisters apart from Mary
Willoughby and Wickham (because every party needs a couple of villains - see the Crawfords above)
Sir John Middleton
The Musgraves, pre-accident
Let's have the party at Chawton. It's a bit small for us all to crowd in but this first of July date is sunny and warm in Austenland, so we can spill out into the garden.
This is our menu:
White soup (Mr Bingley's Ball at Netherfield Hall)
Roast partridges with bread sauce ad roast venison (Mrs Bennet at Longbourn)
Soused lamb and pigeon pie (Mr Knightley)
Veal and ham "cake." (Sir John Middleton)
Roast pork with onions, sweetbreads with asparagus, minced chicken (Emma Woodhouse, discreetly disobeying her father's preferences)
Ragout of veal, haricot mutton (Jane herself)
Strawberries (Mr Knightley's picnic)
Mince pies (Mrs Musgrave)
Sponge cake, Compote of apples (Mrs Bates)
Rout cakes (Mrs Elton)
Cherries en chemise (Mrs Jennings)
Whipped syllabub (Jane herself)
Buttered apple tart (Emma Woodhouse)
Stilton, North Wiltshire cheese, celery and beetroot (Mr Elton)
To drink? Mr Weston's good wine, of course! And some sweet Muscat from Mrs Jennings.
And if none of the fare above appeals, do feel free to bring your own.
We must have some music, of course. We are spared being delighted by Mary Bennet because we meanly didn't invite her, but who else can play? Oh Frank Churchill seems to have sneaked Jane Fairfax in and she is a far superior player.
I think we'd better have some dancing. Try this Napoleonic Cotillon and Reel
Or if you fancy something less sedate, this Sir Roger de Coverley
Oh dear, we have some gate-crashers!
I had already spied Mr Woodhouse in the corner (for Emma wouldn't come without him) supping some gruel and toying with a soft-boiled egg, but he's harmless enough, only concerned that you should all be wearing enough shawls. Though it's a fine day, remember.
No, but word has got round about the party and Lady Catherine de Burgh has rapped imperiously at the door, accompanied by her toady, Mr Collins.
Shall we let them in?
Let us know in the Comments below who exactly you think it would be nice to see here and who can be ever so politely refused entry.
I'm going to see how many ex-HGs and guests I can get to come and join us.