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 that “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!”
Emma was published on December 25, 1815, and I’m rereading it in honour of the 200th anniversary. Soon I’ll be able to tell you more about the exciting series of guest blog posts I’m planning – kind of like “An Invitation to Mansfield Park,” the series I hosted in 2014, but shorter. The new series will begin in December of this year.
For now, I want tell you about something that occurred to me when I read about the “coincidence” that both Harriet Smith and Robert Martin were born in June.
In Anne of Green Gables, when Anne Shirley meets Diana Barry for the first time, Marilla asks if she found Diana a “kindred spirit,” and Anne launches into a rapturous monologue about her new friend. Among the many delightful things she has discovered is the fact that “Diana’s birthday is in February and mine is in March. Don’t you think that is a very strange coincidence?”
So here’s my question for you – do you think L.M. Montgomery is consciously echoing Austen here? I love the idea that having birthdays in the same month, or in consecutive months, is a meaningful coincidence.
I visited Prince Edward Island again last week and I have some new photos to share with you. What a difference a few weeks can make! (Scroll down to the bottom of this post on “Anne and Gilbert After the Happy Ending” to see photos of snow and grey skies, from my visit at the end of April).
Happy birthday to Harriet Smith today, and happy birthday to anyone else who happens to have a birthday in June (or May, or July, or February, or March).