This week's blog-off topic:
You are allowed, through the miracles of science, to travel into the past for a span of no more than 24 hours. You are allowed to take with you ONE piece of current modern technology with which you may change the lives of ONE family that you can visit during your stay. Assuming that there are no long-term, widespread disastrous outcomes from this altering of the timeline, when and where would you go, what piece of technology would you take with you to leave with them and why, and what do you think the experience would be like?
I am a little breathless from my journey, and giddy at what I might accomplish. Toying with England's history? Yes. Do I believe it is for the greater good? Undoubtedly. I only hope I am right.
I brush at the folds of my pale yellow day dress, thankful for the fancy dress parties that keep costume hire shops in business. A soft green pelisse is draped over my left arm, and in my right hand I clutch a patterned travelling case. Its contents are not much to look on, but in 1816 they will bring about a miracle.
I knock at the door of a house in Winchester. “I'm here to see Mr. Lyford, if you please. I've come a long way to give something to him.”
The butler is sceptical, but I hand him a card I've had specially designed for this trip, and it seems to place me in higher estimation. I wait in the entry for several moments until he returns.
“If Miss could follow me to the East parlour, please.”
After an interminable ten minutes, the butler's tones announce his master's arrival. I stand to greet Mr. Lyford, and he takes my hand. The butler remains at the edge of the room, for propriety's sake.
“Dear sir,” I begin, “though I am a stranger to you, we have a common...friend. The lady in question is in poor health, and if you will accept a gift from me, you can make her well again.”
We talk for a quarter of an hour, but I know I cannot waste this man's time. I explain as simply as I can, and Mr. Lyford nods, his only sign of bewilderment the widening of his eyes. “Well,” he says gruffly, “I daresay it can't do any harm. Hydrocortisone tablets, you say?”
I can see his interest is sparked. “From what I have heard of her condition, these tablets will help her regain her strength and relieve her pain. I know she is fond of dancing. Can you begin her treatment immediately?”
Mr. Lyford smiles. “I am to take the coach to Chawton tomorrow. Leave the tablets with me, my dear. I shall see to it that she takes them properly.”
“Thank you. You do me a great service.” Barely able to contain my elation, I take my leave.
My first stop in modern-day Australia is the bookshop. Amongst the familiar classics rests a seemingly innocuous title: Sanditon. Beside it are three other titles that were not previously part of the English literary canon – and they are by Jane Austen.
NB: Shameless promotion of my favourite P&P quote: "To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love." And who knows? Maybe, since she now lives past 41, she will dance and fall in love again.
For more information about Jane Austen or Addison's Disease, please visit the following links.