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. ‘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.
‘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.’
‘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.’