Written by Chris Long
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Here follows a hitherto lost extract from the diary of Jane Austen, discovered by Christopher Long:

Dear Diary,

Today I was taking my morning constitution with Papa, when he told me that he had some business to attend to at Mr Henry Miggins' Cornershoppe. After a brief conversation with Mrs Miggins, during which we exchanged pleasantries about the weather, Papa and I alighted upon the establishment.

Once inside, Papa was discussing some business with Mr Miggins and I strolled around the shop, looking at the various curiosities and trinkets, which they had for sale. It was during this aimless wandering that my ears suddenly happened upon strange music. When Papa had concluded his business, I was so bold as to approach the counter and say to Mr Miggins "Pray tell, what is this strange music?" as I was not familiar with the tune. The only things I had heard around the house were the familiar strains of Beethoven and Mozart, and a bit of Vivaldi when Mama was hosting one of her most excellent dinner parties, and trying to marry me off to a steady wave of young suitors.

Mr Miggins replied that it was "The Killers," the latest thing from Paris! He then went on to explain at length how he had been in Paris for the summer season and had been taken by his cousin to an establishment called H.M.V, in which they sold all manner of harpsichord music. Dear reader, I was impressed, but was a little taken aback at the name "The Killers". I mentioned this to Papa, saying that it was a quite inappropriate name for a group of young gentlemen, and now they would never get a wife. This was reinforced by them repeating, "somebody told me that you had a girlfriend" - however, they did not say whom, which was quite scandalous. I was quite repelled at first, however, I have to admit that as I wandered among the trinkets I became quite enchanted.

I told Papa how I was quite partial and I must buy the score forthwith, for I should die if I did not possess it! We parted with our money (a whole three shillings and tuppence). After we purchased the sheet music, Mr Miggins mentioned that his son Alfred has many other such compositions of different young men. To my shame, I felt quite faint and had to leave the establishment forthwith, for I had thought Alfred to be an utter bore. However, with this new revelation, my mind was quite changed! I could not wait to take the music home and play it to Mama, and see if the string quartet could learn it for the next dinner party.

Jane Austen, Year of our Lord 1795

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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