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Noting a notable woman
Somewhat fittingly, another act of -- well, if not kindness, at least civility -- involves Jane Austen, a genteel author who wrote anonymously because women in the England of her time simply did not bring public attention to themselves.
Last spring, the Bank of England set off a bit of a tempest when it announced it would drop one of the few women -- social reformer Elizabeth Fry -- on its currency.
In a stiff-upper-lip type protest, tens of thousands of people signed a petition questioning the message that lack of representation would send to young women (only the indefatigable Queen Elizabeth II would remain on official currency).
British lawmakers, in turn, asked the bank to reflect upon its decision. Judiciously, the venerable institution agreed that the critically acclaimed Jane Austen "certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes."
Austen, who kept a very private profile as a novelist -- she used the byline "By a Lady" -- might have nodded demurely. But her comments on money and fortune remain sharp 200 years later. In "Mansfield Park," she wrote: "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of."
Above: Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney speaks at the presentation of the concept design for the new 10-pound banknote featuring author Jane Austen.
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