I'm glad she didn't. Just imagine the problems it would have caused. 'I seriouthly think Elizabeth Gifford has thet off to purchathe a new dreth in Bath' would have been a mouthful for people to say at polite functions, especially while eating and trying to look eligible at the same time. And spitting gobfuls of Cook's 'vanilla shape' all over the new blue silk with a lace collar worn by your conversational partner isn't really what people expect from the average Austen plot-line.
Anyway, here's the story from the Telegraph, if you hadn't seen it.
Evidence that the best of us fall fowl of spelling and punctuation at time's
It's all very well, though, this Gifford geezer mucking about with Our Jane's writing. But what's the betting he went a bit overboard with his red quill and changed all kinds of things she wrote, presuming they were errors and not deliberate? For instance, I've always had my doubts about 'Sense and Sensibility'. I reckon old Giffy boy looked at her original title, thought it sounded strange, changed the spelling and punctuation to what we now have, then had to make all kinds of alterations to the plot-line as well to make it match.
And we could have had the original .....
Send Sand - Send Sybil 'er Tea
A charming tale of Georgian life in which a mother and three daughters have to move to a smaller house in the country - so small, in fact, that when they are all in one room together, they have great difficulty avoiding one another's fourteen-foot wide dresses. The eldest daughter, Elinor, is a sensible soul and always the voice of reason in times of crisis such as when someone pays them a visit when they are not sitting Bolt Upright.
Sybil, the middle daughter, is a pain in the butt, and although Elinor tries her hardest to put up with her moods and tantrums, in the end it all gets a bit too much. Things come to a head when Sybil falls in love with someone completely unsuitable and moons about all day reciting from a tatty book of poems and refusing to listen to her older sister's advice. She also keeps moaning about the food Mother cooks, saying she's too in love to have an appetite and that she can't eat anything. Even her younger sister, Margaret, says, 'Sybil! You're being unreasonable!' which startles everyone, because Margaret never usually got to say or do much at all.
Eventually, Mother, Elinor and Margaret hatch a plot to make Sybil see Sense (spot the sybilance?). They persuade her to wander out into the countryside for a picnic and because she knows that it's highly likely handsome landowners will be trotting around the lanes on their horses looking for lakes or storms so that they can look damp and delicious in the TV adaptation, she agrees. Elinor tells her that they will get a servant to come along in an hour or so with her carefully-prepared tea which will be some really special SANDwiches which she is bound to have an appetite for after a long walk. (Cue elegant 1800s-style female tittering behind hands from Mother and Margaret.)
Gullible as heck, as well as a whining nuisance who should have been shot by a gamekeeper with a bad aim in Chapter 1, Sybil skips off with her book of poetry and sits under a tree, awaiting her tasty picnic which duly arrives and which she unwraps with anticipation and tucks into in a very unGeorgianladylike manner. Five minutes later, sobbing, and trying to get sand out from between her teeth with torn-out pages of her poetry book, because no one sent a drink with the picnic so she could rinse her mouth, she realises that her family may be trying to tell her something and vows to change her ways.
Fortuitously at that point, the heavens open and a rainstorm begins, so heavy that Sybil bends back her head and opens her mouth wide so that she can collect raindrops in it and swill out more of the sand. She closes her eyes while she does this and therefore, unfortuitously, doesn't see a muscled hunk of a man with a jutting chin and bows on his shoes (this combination went out of fashion, thankfully) arrive on a sweating black horse. However, he takes one look at this female collecting rainwater in her gob, assumes she has escaped from a local asylum, and gallops off again just as Sybil opens her eyes.
Peace is restored to the household, although it is a while until Sybil can face eating anything in between two slices of bread.
|Hm. Should I give old Giffo a call and make sure he's not messed about with 'Send Sand - Send Sybil 'er Tea'? Especially after that muck-up with Man's Field Prank. No, I'll leave it. What harm can he do?|