JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 22 – The Captain, It Turns Out, Is Quite The Austenite
Jon Honorbright was not the thing that didn’t fit in this picture.
“Jon Honorbright, ma’am,” he added. “Your captain, for the duration of this voyage.”
“Really, Captain?” she asked, raising one fair eyebrow in his direction. (And, good Lord, whoever it was who had taken that famous likeness — Cassandra, one presumed, most probably — had done a cracking job.) “You surprise me,” she added primly. “It has seemed, in the few days since I woke up aboard this extraordinary enterprise, that any little fame I had once achieved — in my natural space and time, my God-given life-span — had quite ebbed away.”
The little smile she gave him was tight, and slightly sad. But mostly tight. Well, of course, Jon thought. In her own time she had been quite a personage. A full set of her novels in the Prince Regent’s summer palace, and all that fol-de-rol. Nothing to the obsessive cult built up on Old Terra after her death, of course. But still, quite enough of a celebrity to feel the sting of its absence.
Jon could make all kinds of allowances. And besides. Jane Austen.
“No, no, not at all,” he urged her, quite heedless of the amazed, twitching looks he could see — no, feel — Laura giving him. As if he were some kind of a philistine, and couldn’t possibly have a favourite writer, a passionate interest in any kind of literature. Or, damn it, perhaps it was Laura who was the philistine, and simply amazed at anyone at all evincing any kind of bookish enthusiasm.