A Xmas penguin, and Jane Austen

Two recent items in my mail from Chris Ambidge (both entirely G-rated): a Xmas penguin, and a quotation from Jane Austen:



#1 (penguin and polar bear) is the work of Canadian (from Hamilton ON) artist Yvonne Felix, who lives with a visual impairment; her website is here.

#2 (“indulge your imagination”) is from chapter 60 of Pride and Prejudice, in a letter from Elizabeth Bennet to her aunt about her relationship with Mr. Darcy. Some further context:

“I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt, as I ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory, detail of particulars; but to say the truth, I was too cross to write. You supposed more than really existed. But now suppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford, and unless you believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err…”

The nouning in “give a loose to your fancy” has a long history in English. In particular, in the idiom here, OED2 has

to give a loose (occas. give loose) to : to allow (a person) unrestrained freedom or laxity; to give full vent to (feelings, etc.); to free from restraint. occas. To give (a horse) the rein.

with a first cite from Dryden in 1685 and later cites from, among others, Steele, Addison, Fielding, Edmund Burke, Sir Walter Scott, and Thackeray.

One Response to “A Xmas penguin, and Jane Austen”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    The penguin-bear card is cute, even though it ignores the fact that the ranges of the two creatures do not overlap.

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