This week I marked another birthday. I am a VIRGO. Some of you know what that means. Some of you are about to learn.
Horoscope.com tells us these Virgo Facts
- Symbol: The Virgin
- Element: Earth
- Ruling Planet: Mercury
- Spirit Color: Silver
- Lucky Gem: Peridot
- Flower: Sunflower & marigold
- Top Love Matches: Cancer
- Key Traits: Graceful, organized, kind
- Motto: “My best can always be better.
Smart, sophisticated, and kind, Virgo gets the job done without complaining. Virgos are amazing friends, always there to lend a hand and also lend advice. Practical Virgos are incredibly adept at big picture thinking, and planning out their life, their vacations, and what they’re going to do today isn’t a drag it makes them feel in control and secure.
Virgos have a rich inner life, and can sometimes seem shy at first meeting. A Virgo will not spill secrets right away, and it is important to earn a Virgo’s trust. But once you do, that Virgo will be a friend for life.
Virgos expect perfection from themselves, and they may project those high standards on the other people in their lives. A Virgo hates when someone lets him or her down, even if the indiscretion is minor and unavoidable, like a last-minute cancellation. Virgos never want to disappoint the people in their lives, so they may spread themselves too thin and put themselves last.
Intelligent and a lifelong learner, Virgos loves trying new things, reading books, and learning about the world. They will happily sign up for an adult-education course, and they consider an afternoon in bed with a book pretty much ideal. A Virgo prefers an evening with good friends to a huge party and values downtime just as much as socializing. This sign does not need to fill their calendar to be content.
All this talk of birthdays got me thinking about the lack of birthday celebrations in Austen’s novels. Nowadays, it is quite disheartening to have others forget one’s birthday, but it was not so for Jane Austen and her family. Most assuredly, Christmas had not the “glorious significance” as it does these days, but what of birthdays? Quite simply, as Anglicans, such humoring of a person, would have been frowned upon.
Can you think of one person in Austen’s books who even mentions a birthday? The only one which springs to mind to me is Harriet Smith in Emma. Harriet Smith is delighted by the idea that Robert Martin’s birthday is just two weeks and a day before her own. In Chapter 4 of Jane Austen’s Emma, she tells Emma “He was four-and-twenty the 8th of last June, and my birth-day is the 23d – just a fortnight and a day’s difference! which is very odd!”
As readers we know many of the characters’ ages. Lydia Bennet is but fifteen when we first meet her, but she is sixteen when she marries George Wickham.
Marianne Dashwood is seventeen at the beginning of Sense and Sensibility and is nineteen when she marries Colonel Brandon.
Fanny Price is a child when she first comes to Mansfield Park; yet, never once are her birthdays mentioned as a passing of time.
Jane Fairfax is approaching one and twenty and the prospect of becoming a governess.
Charlotte Lucas at seven and twenty has “become a burden to her family.”
Elizabeth Elliot is nearly thirty and not married, and Anne Elliot is seven and twenty when Captain Wentworth returns to claim her.
Catherine Morland turns eighteen just before Henry Tilney claims her as his wife.
Even Elizabeth Bennet must have had a birthday somewhere in the year she had taken Mr. Darcy’s acquaintance. But when? There is no mention of her chronological aging, only her emotional aging. The closest we come to knowing something of Elizabeth’s age is when she admits to being twenty to Lady Catherine. But we do not know if she was nineteen when the book began and turned twenty some time between November when she danced with Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball, or whether, like me, she is a September baby, turning one and twenty after she encounters Darcy again at Pemberley.
Is such true for all of Austen’s characters? Austen wrote from her life experiences. If she did not “celebrate” such milestones, why would her characters? Tell me what you think. Am I being bizarre or is there some truth in this assumption?
Meanwhile, enjoy this list of September birthdays celebrated by some of our favorite Austen Actors.
September 1 – Aisling Loftus, who portrayed Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
September 7 – Christopher Villers, who portrayed Tom Bertram in 1983 Mansfield Park
September 7 – Henry Maguire, who portrayed Jack Wickam in 2003’s Pride and Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy
September 9 – Hugh Grant, who portrayed Edward Ferrars in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility
September 9 – Julia Sawalha, who portrayed Lydia Bennet in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice
September 10 – Colin Firth, who portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice
September 11 – Alan Badel, who portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy in 1958’s Pride and Prejudice (11 September 1923 to 19 March 1982)
September 15 – Sabina Franklyn, who portrayed Jane Bennet in 1980’s Pride and Prejudice
September 16 – Alexis Bledel, who portrayed Georgiana Darcy in Bride and Prejudice
September 19 – David Bamber, who portrayed Mr. Collins in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice
September 22 – Billie Piper, who portrayed Fanny Price in 2007’s Mansfield Park
September 22 – Rupert Penry Jones, who portrayed Captain Frederick Wentworth in 2007’s Persuasion
September 23 – Crispin Bonham Carter, who portrayed Charles Bingley in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice
September 23 – Peter Settelen, who portrayed George Wickham in 1980’s Pride and Prejudice
September 24 – Ryan Paevey, who portrayed Donovan Darcy in Unleashing Mr. Darcy
September 26 – Talulah Riley, who portrayed Mary Bennet in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice
September 26 – Edmund Gwenn, who portrayed Mr. Bennet in 1940’s Pride and Prejudice (26 September 1877 to 6 September 1959)
September 27 – Gweyneth Paltrow, who portrayed Emma Woodhouse in 1996’s film version of Emma
September 29 – Greer Garson, who portrayed Elizabeth Bennet in 1940’s Pride and Prejudice (29 September 1904 to 6 April 1996)