Jane Austen and family, “Charades &c.,” London: Spottiswode, [1895]. Want to match wits with the Austens? Try number V

J. David Grey’s large donation to Goucher’s Burke Austen Collection is slowly being processed, and amid the usual editions of “Emma” or “Sense and Sensibility” in Icelandic or Persian which this “completist” collector loved, we also find the occasional small press run edition of Austeniana made expressly for Janeites. In this case, it’s an anonymous collection of charades or riddles, many accompanied by engravings giving clues before the answer key on the final page.

Number I (”Pair of Spurs”) is supplied to give an example of one considered, in 1895 at least, to be easy. Number V by George Austen, however, is presented with no solution. The photo was frustratingly fuzzy of focus, but here is a transcription: “Without me, divided, fair ladies I ween, / At a ball or a concert you’ll never be seen, / You must do me together, or safely I’d swear, / Whatever your carriage, you’ll never get there.”

If you have a suggestion, please reply, with an image if it helps support the solution! (We have a guess but don’t want to spoil the focus of the massed intellect of the Internet.)

Author: Professor Arnold Sanders, Emeritus Professor of English (2015) – Goucher College

*Note: The materials below are provided by Goucher Special Collection & Archives.