In Jane Austen’s day, the hearth was the center of family activity after dinner. The hearth, with its warmth and light, was the place to relax together after the day’s work was done, a bright, comfortable, cheering atmosphere that pushed away the dreariness of their non-electric lit nights. The ladies did their needlework as conversation took hold. Someone might have read aloud or played an instrument. This place, the hearth, warmed their heart, soul, and body. It was the way these people enjoyed companionship and kept their souls knitted together.