Jane Austen, patroness of civility
I invoke thee
By Jane and Elizabeth Bennet
I summon thee
By Elinor Dashwood
I call thee
By Mr. Knightly, Colonel Brandon and Mr. Darcy in the final chapters of Pride & Prejudice
I beseech thee
Bless this farewell dinner party in Laura'a honor
Keep dysfunctional tongues mild and kind
Let conversation be civil
Turn barbs to compliments
Let those who cannot think of anything appropriate to say
confine their remarks to weather and the state of the roads.
So Mote It Be!
It worked. The party Laura was dreading, the one to which Bevin and I were implored to come as a buffer zone, was actually quite pleasant. Everyone was on their best behavior, and aside from a distressing moment involving a story about Laura's mother's wiener dog falling out the car window (she says it's fine), things went smoothly.
Thank you Miss Austen. Whether it was Jane, the full moon, or merciful providence, the farewell dinner is now a pleasant memory. Well done.