Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|The death of Elizabeth
Written by Elizabeth K
(1/30/2010 8:24 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Letter #58: Sad News, penned by kathleen (elder)
“…the sad news reached us last night, but without any particulars…We have felt, we do feel for you all – as you will not need to be told – for you, for Fanny, for Henry, for Lady Bridges, & for dearest Edward, whose loss & whose sufferings seem to make those of every other person nothing” (Le Faye, no. 58)
Elizabeth's death was unexpected; on the 28th September, Fanny, who was fifteen years old at the time, wrote in her diary, “About three in the afternoon to our great joy, our beloved mother was delivered of a fine boy and is going on charmingly”. The following Saturday the baby was named Brook-John but three days later, Elizabeth suddenly died.
According to Amanda Vickery, “…perinatal complication was probably the single most common cause of death in women aged twenty-five to thirty-four, accounting for one in five of all deaths in this age group” (Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England, p. 98).
For Elizabeth’s death, “the doctor could offer no explanation; she had eaten what Fanny called a hearty dinner only half an hour before the end. She was thirty-five: a well-to-do, well-born, well-looked-after woman who had married for love at eighteen, and had been pregnant almost permanently ever since” (Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life, p. 208).
With the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth in the Georgian era, Mrs. Austen was lucky to have eight children, all of whom were healthy except George, and continue to be in good health herself.
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.