This week is Jane Austen’s birthday (she’ll be turning 241, happy birthday, Jane!) and to celebrate, we’re imagining how some of her most beloved characters might make use of one of our more Austenian modern conveniences: the Missed Connections boards on Craigslist. What if, instead of being forced to stoically endure their tumultuous feelings, Jane Austen’s characters were able to empty their hearts out onto the internet? Below we imagine what some of their posts may have looked like.
Dance partner - m4w
We met at the ball the other night, and I commented I should throw one at Netherfield Park. You were there with your sisters, I was accompanied by my sister and a friend. My friend was rather churlish; sorry about that. We each danced with others, but I danced with you twice. You were the only one I danced with twice, which I wouldn’t mention, except that I wasn’t sure you were aware of it, and I wanted you to be aware. I would very much enjoy the opportunity to dance with you again, for you are the most beautiful creature I ever beheld.
Second chance - w4m
Seven years ago, we were in love. I broke it off, for reasons that seemed persuasive at the time, but are less so now. You are a captain now, and held in great esteem by all who know you. Recently, you came to be at Kellynch, and once again, our paths crossed. You told a tale of being caught in a storm, and laughed as you said no one would have thought of you if you were lost. But you were wrong. It has been seven years, but I assure you, even now, you were very, very wrong.
Norland Park - m4w
My sister and her husband are the new owners of the house that, until very recently, was yours. When I came to visit them, you and I became acquainted and, in my estimation, got on quite well. My situation is complicated, as I probably should have told you, and you left before I was able to be completely forthright with you. But you should know that no matter what my circumstances, I have greatly enjoyed your company, hold you in the highest esteem, and very much wish to continue your acquaintance in whatever capacity I may.
New light - w4m
We grew up together from the time I was ten, you and I. I was quiet and shy, but you were kind to me, and helped me accept my new home. When we got older, you fell in love, or at least I believe you did. I tried to fall in love, but it wasn’t meant to be. I suppose yours wasn’t either. Now we are both on the other side of those first loves, and I find my thoughts drifting to you. As children, you helped me find my home. I can’t help but wonder if now, as adults, you’re meant to do it again.
Reformed heckler - m4w
Some time ago, you decided to play matchmaker for every poor soul around you who hadn’t yet found love. I was the one who doubted you, who teased and cajoled you, who thumbed my nose at your schemes and told you they would never work. Sometimes I was right. Sometimes I was not. But something unexpected happened in the midst of all my heckling, and that is that I discovered I wanted you to make a match for me. Not with one of your friends or confidantes, though I suspect such a match may prove to be simpler than the one I seek. No, the match I wish for myself isn’t with any of the souls you’ve been pushing so hard toward love, but is, in fact, with… you.