Jane Eyre, the heroine of Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is not pleased being stuck in contemporary NYC during #Covid-19. As spring commences she longs to be back in Thornfield Hall, dodging madwomen and strolling through the surrounding woods, picking flowers to make into medicine and jewelry. Jane’s favorite wildflower has always been #Queen Anne’s lace.
Queen Anne herself was the last of the Stuart monarchs, reigning only five years (between 1702-1707). Best-known today as the gouty, rabbit-loving lesbian from the film The Favourite, where she is played by Oscar winner #OliviaColman, the real Anne was probably quite likable in person. She enjoyed making lace, as well as wearing it, and so the lacy flower with a purple central bloom–supposedly Anne’s “blood” when she pricked herself on a bobbin–came to bear her name. Queen Anne’s lace is a member of the carrot family; in Victorian times it was made into tea to cure stomach ailments and utilized to end unwanted pregnancies–neither method is recommended today! Even then its use was dangerous as there is a element of poison to this delicate flower; if held too near the face it can cause rashes.
Jane recently discovered this classic poem, written in 1874 by Mary Leslie Newton. She can already recite it by heart:
Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has washed her lace
(She chose a summer day)
And hung it in a grassy place
To whiten, if it may.
Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has left it there,
And slept the dewy night;
Then waked, to find the sunshine fair,
And all the meadows white.
Queen Anne, Queen Anne, is dead and gone
(She died a summer’s day),
But left her lace to whiten on
Each weed-entangled way!