Snow on the Ground! ~ ‘What is to Become of Us?’

Jane Austen on March 7, 1814, from London to Cassandra in Chawton:

Monday.  Here’s a day! – The Ground covered with snow!  What is to become of us? – We were to have walked out early to near Shops, & had the Carriage for the more distant. – Mr. Richard Snow* is dreadfuly fond of us.  I dare say he has stretched himself out at Chawton too.

Ltr. 98, 5-8 March 1814, p. 259 [Le Faye]

*Le Faye notes Austen’s use of the mythical personifications of winter weather: Jack Frost and Dick Snow [perhaps another reason she does not like the name “Richard”?] 

The Brighton Mail, Sunday, December 25th 1836 (R. Havell)


Here’s my own take on the “Ground covered in snow! – What is to become of us?” indeed!”

Picnic anyone?


Image:  F. Gordon Roe, Sporting Prints of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries.  NY: Payson & Clarke, 1927.

Copyright @2011, Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont

10 thoughts on “Snow on the Ground! ~ ‘What is to Become of Us?’

  1. Half of the USA is covered in snow.

    Where I am, Dallas, TX, we received six inches of snow today and starting on Feb 1st it was three days icem. Ah…snow on top of ice. The question going off in my head over and over was, “how much longer?” Though God had plans to release the snow and such which dulled some of the Super Bowl activities, it did not keep me in doors at all.:)


    • Hi Kim – yes, this has been quite the winter for all of you in the southern part of the country – good for you to just go outside and enjoy it! – what else can one do really?! I always loved this hyperbolic statement of Austen’s – “What is to become of us!” – I bet she went out and played in it too…

      Thanks for stopping by – hope your snow is rapidly disappearing!


  2. Can you only imagine the horror of waking up in the early 19th century to a ground covered in snow?!
    With no promise of a snow removal crew?

    People would literally be trapped inside their homes, unless they tried to force their poor horses to plow through it.
    Whereas today, we panick and grab every bread loaf and pack of toilet tissue in sight! But without their excuse. ;)


    • Yes, how we depend upon our snow removal teams! – The picture of the Mail Coach plowing through the snow says it all. I recall in the 1970s getting snowed-in while visiting friends in southern New Jersey of all places, certainly not early 19th century England! but all we could do was go outside and make snow angels with the kids and wait for the snow to melt – it took a few days – it was delighful! – it is still like this in the Southern states, as this winter has proven…!

      Thanks for visiting TaraFly!


  3. Oh, dear. We have had a “normal” winter, which means that temperatures remain largely above freezing. While the white fluffy stuff looks beautiful, I am glad I am viewing your images from south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Cute pup.


    • Hi Vic – even your area have seen some odd quirky weather this winter – but as you say, at least above freezing! – one does wonder why ANYONE, at least in their right mind, lives north of the Mason-Dixon line!

      Thanks for stopping by,


  4. My goodness, Deb….if we had that amount of snow in England, I hate to think how long it would take to get the roads cleared. Our snow came in December, but as “Candlemas was Fair and Bright” it seems set to come back again.

    Your sweet dog seems to be enjoying it.

    My son is very envious!(of both the snow and the dog!)

    Keep warm!


    • Hi Julie – ahh! it continues – I should publish an update photo of the height of the outdoor table ice cone today! – I know you have had a snowy winter, London shut down, etc. – hope that it is NOT set to come back again – despite the fun of it all…

      Thanks for visiting Julie – check back occasionaly if you would to be sure I am not buried under some pile of snow somewhere!


    • And still more since those photos! – Nice to hear from you Jane – your interview on ‘Jane Austen’s World’ was wonderful – ‘Mr. Darcy’s Secret’ intriguing – and your ‘work in progress’ an anticipated addition to my TBR pile!

      Thanks for stopping by!


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