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Visiting Jane Austen Chawton, Hants By Phyllis Henry-Jordan

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I must visit Jane Austen in her family 

home at Chawton. Would she mind the world 

strutting in her garden in this busy, brazen 

present? Her bedroom is simple, no silk 

and golden baldachino, just her place to 

rest in the grace of the world. Her crypt 

at Winchester, visited by those without 

the daily bread of faith, who trample 

the Spiritus Mundi, and mostly spend their 

Sundays with the dervishes of Sufi 

and the angels of Chagall. Her spinet and 

desk, revenant forms, settle on the mind 

as quietly as the butterfly; far from the 

grimy hectoring of modern art, apart from 

the pandering and above the proselytizing, 

this artist of perfect pitch and form, 

shaped her world in perfect sentences; a 

strange bright fruit of art and knowledge, 

beautiful as the bandaged legs of stallions, 

rich as the holds of Spanish galleons.