Hudson -- Case Barlow Farm became Permberley Place Oct. 27 as visitors stepped back into 1813 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.
The Gates Mills English Country Dancers in period costumes taught country dances to visitors at the historic farm house. Leon Jesionowski, Jerry and Elaine Gerber and Mark Eckman paired up with novice dancers in the front parlor as they went through the steps of the early 19th century dances. They also provided music and sang songs popular in Austen's lifetime between dances.
Across the hall visitors could learn calligraphy or play spillikins, a game of pick-up sticks.
Beth Smith said she has read every Austen novel three times and her favorite character is Elinor from "Sense and Sensibilities."
"She thinks things through before she does something and she takes disappointment well," Smith said of Elinor. "She and her siblings learned to cope with difficult times."
In the same room, Emma Wilson was studying copies of Austen's novels.
"I really enjoy the way she writes," Wilson said. "It's realistic."
Wilson said "Pride and Prejudice was her favorite and "Emma" a close second.
"Elizabeth Bennett speaks her mind, and I like the relationship she has with her father," Wilson said.
Melissa Prange also said "Emma" was her favorite because it was the first Austen novel she read.
"All her characters are still relatable," Prange said. "You can see them in friends or family."
Upstairs visitors could have a silhouette created.
Diane Dolzer said she loves the history of the 1800s, and Austen was ahead of her time.
"She gave us a picture of this world more beautiful than anyone," said Barbara Warner. "Her characters were deliciously flawed."
Western Reserve Archivist Tom Vince portrayed Francis Jeffrey, Esquire, editor-in-chief of the Edinburgh Review. He talked about the politics and literature of the early 19th century. He referred to Jane Austen as a "female scribbler" unworthy of any review by the Edinburgh Review. She was lucky. Lord Byron challenged Jeffrey to a duel over some of the remarks made about his writing. The duel was stopped, and both men became friends. Jeffrey was about to visit him in August of 1813 before visiting President James Madison in the United States and urge an end to the war even though Americans had won the Battle of Lake Erie.
As visitors left, they made a "tussie mussie" or knot of flowers used in 1813 to protect ladies from some of the unpleasant smells common in 1813.
Case Barlow Farm will be hosting its Doll House Exhibition Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children.
Any donations from house tours goes toward restoring the Case Barlow Barn.
For more information, go to www.casebarlowfarm.com.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing