Like the Freemasons, Janeites are a welcoming fraternity. To join, all one need do is acknowledge the Supreme Being and Sacred Author and swear upon a book of Holy Writ. Our harmonious body welcomes all colors and, unlike the Grand Lodges of England and the United States, both sexes. We do, however, possess certain norms of conduct, universally if not formally adopted, the most important of which is that Pride and Prejudice is not to be venerated to the exclusion or neglect of the Prime Mover's other works.
Yet another thing that distinguishes the Janeite fellowship from practitioners of the Craft is our insistence on conducting our affairs in public. This includes expulsion. According to the New York Times, Rep. Mark Takano of California is an avowed Janeite. Here is a list he supplied to that newspaper of the "Top 5 Jane Austen Characters":
1. Elizabeth Bennet
2. Charlotte Lucas
3. Elinor Dashwood
4. Mr. Bennet
5. Mr. Darcy
I would not cast aspersions upon a fellow wearer of the Hampstead Apron, but this is a very grave matter. Poor Elinor Dashwood, tossed indifferently among the names of four characters from the same novel, one of them, that of Miss Lucas, of only middling distinction! Could it be that, like Salome Anderson, who hid in a lodge that she might join the Order of the Eastern Star by deceit, Takano is a Profane and a Cowan, one seeking to obtain the sacred honors of our fraternity without knowing the words?
In a spirit of polite fraternity, I invite him to disavow this execrable list and to revisit Persuasion and Mansfield Park and the noble names of Anne Elliot and Fanny Price!