Sunday, 15 December 2013

Happy Birthday Jane!

December 16th is the day, more than any other, that we think and remember Jane Austen, for that was the day that she was born.

On the following day, December 17th 1775, Rev. George Austen wrote to Mrs.Walter (wife of his half-brother William Hampson Walter.)

"You have doubtless been for some time in expectation of hearing from Hampshire,and perhaps wondered a little we were in our old age (he was 44 and his wife Cassandra was 36!!) grown such bad reckoners but so it was, for Cassy certainly expected to have been brought to bed a month ago: however last night the time came,and without a great deal of warning,everything was soon happily over.We now have another girl,a present plaything for her sister Cassy and a future companion.She is to be Jenny,and seems to me as if she would be as like Henry as Cassy is to Neddy. Your sister thank God is pure well after it..."

Jane (not Jenny) was privately baptised the day after her birth but,as the winter of 1775-6 was one of the bitterest for many years, she was not taken to Steventon Church for a public christening until April 5th 1776.

By Eileen Collins Cork.