Police vow crackdown on Jane Austen ‘coquette’ culture
Surrey police have embarked on an ambitious campaign to try to curb the rising phenomenon of anti-social incidents involving young women emulating behaviour they’ve picked up from the novels of Jane Austen. ‘It’s happening in towns all over Britain. Young ladies are falling out of assembly rooms at night, a giggling mass of fluttering fans and heaving bosoms in tight corsets,’ said DC John Naismith, who increasingly finds himself having to disband late-night minuets on the streets of Dorking.
‘And the mouth on some of them… I recently remonstrated with one such young woman, asking her what sort of a man she hopes to attract by singing Mozart arias in the middle of the street. ‘I know not, gentle sir,’ she replied, ‘but may he have a thousand pounds a year and a sizeable estate in Derbyshire!’ Of course I threw her arse in the cells, the cheeky bitch.’
As reports of unbearably repressed sexual tension continue to dominate the headlines, victim support groups are keen to warn girls against the dangers of being overly flighty and coquettish. ‘Vulnerable young girls are leaving themselves wide open to approaches from bounders, highly inappropriate suitors and some downright villainous knaves,’ said a representative from Cadwatch, who offer a full range of counseling services to any girl who has been grossly misled as to the true nature of a gentleman’s character.
‘Every day we field calls from girls who have brought shame and disgrace upon their family name and quite ruined their sisters’ chances of making good marriages, purely on the promise of a moonlit elopement and a new bonnet.’
But many are quick to lay blame with education’s obsession with bombarding impressionable girls with images of gentler times and quaint manners. ‘It’s this stuff they read at school,’ said one mother, who is on her final warning from social services for allowing her teenage daughter to promenade unchaperoned in the Woking Peacock Centre. ‘All their mates are reading it and suddenly they’re off down Bluewater for the latest tulle-tucker. But it could be worse I suppose. On some of the streets round here, you’re lucky to go a few feet without getting caught up in a sabre duel, so we’re grateful for small mercies.’Click to send this story to a friend
Posted: Nov 9th, 2009 by Mary Evans