Mansfield Park book club

Dear readers, yesterday I had a Mansfied Park book club with my friend Molly. We did a great deal of activities that took inspiration from the novel, and also did a fair amount of sitting on the couch and talking.

This is a rotrisie chicken, but we pretended that it was a dressed turkey.

“And you know what your dinner will be,” said Mrs. Grant, smiling – “The turkey – and I assure you a very fine one, for, my dear” – turning to her husband – “cook insists upon the turkey’s being dressed tomorrow.” – Volume II, chapter IV

We had a charming time eating together.

After lunch we had our wine course, but we used grape juice instead of real wine. From what I understand, in Jane Austen’s times ladies were not allowed to drink pure wine so it had to be diluted. They also could only drink wine if it was offered to them by a man. We had my father dilute our “wine” and offer it to us. He took his task very seriously, but all three of the ladies he was serving were giggling and cracking up. Men were allowed to drink undiloted alcohol, so my father consumed a glass of full strength grape juice.

“… And if Edmond were not there to mix the wine and water for her, [Fanny] would rather go without it than not.” – Volume I, chapter IV

Later in the afternoon we had tea and played Speculation, a game that is played in the book.

“Very well,” was her ladyship’s contented answer – “then Speculation if you please, Mrs. Grant. I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me.” – Volume II, chapter VII

In Speculation players can bargain to buy cards from other players. We used Smarties instead of real money.

“(Let me see, Mary, Lady Bertram bids a dozen for that queen; no, no, a dozen is more than it is worth. Lady Bertram does not bid a dozen. She will have nothing to say to it. Go on, go on.)” – Volume II, chapter VII (Spoken by Henry Crawford)

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