Speaking Well Enough to Be Unintelligible

Programming note: Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll be hosting another audio edition of Steyn’s Song of the Week on Serenade Radio in the UK at 5.30pm British Summer Time (that’s 12.30pm North American Eastern/9.30am Pacific). You can listen from anywhere on the planet by clicking the button in the top right-hand corner here.

Afterwards right here at SteynOnline we will present a brand new Sunday Poem – because video poetry is where the big bucks are.

Meanwhile, we continue our voyage from th48 in our latest Tale for Our Time: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Suzanne Molineaux, a Connecticut member of The Mark Steyn Club says:

Dear Mark,

The way in which you bring to life all the characters of Northanger Abbey makes me wish the book would never end. I look forward to it as the perfect end to each day.

Thank you, Suzanne. On the other hand, Nicole Timmerman, a Steyn Clubber from the francophone quartiers of eastern Ontario, is finding it all a bit of a snoozeroo:

I’m a big fan of Regency romances, especially of Edith Layton, Mary Balogh and Georgettte Heyer. But I have to say I find this first novel of Austen’s very boring. A nice portrait of a braggart and of a superficial friend but I long for some real action. Perhaps the next episode?

Oh, dear. I really am going to have to edit in that CGI battle scene. Then again, two years ago Nicola was bored on an almost industrial scale by my reading of Erskine Childers’ The Riddle of the Sands, and it’s since proved one of our most popular tales.

In tonight’s episode of Northanger Abbey, will there be the “real action” Nicola demands? Well, I like Jane Austen for the small pleasures, such as this exchange between Catherine (who starts it off) and Henry:

“I do not understand you.”

“Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well.”

“Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”

“Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language.”

That’s very droll from a young lady who started Northanger Abbey when she was about twenty-three. She’d be very amusing on talk-shows, but, leading a somewhat sheltered life in the country, wasn’t doing a lot of that.

If you’re a member of The Mark Steyn Club you can hear my reading of Part Fourteen of our serialization of Northanger Abbey simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here – so you can choose whether to listen each night twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, or save them up for a weekend binge-listen now that Netflix et al have exhausted all their pre-lockdown stock of watchable telly.

~Membership in The Mark Steyn Club is not for everyone, but it helps support all our content – whether in print, audio or video – and keeps it available for everyone, around the world. And, aside from Tales for Our Time, being a Steyn Club member does come with a few other benefits:

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To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here – and don’t forget our special Gift Membership. Please join me tomorrow for Part Fifteen of Northanger Abbey – after our Sunday Poem and Song.

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