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|The Gardiners' Children
Written by Cheryl
(5/2/2010 11:25 p.m.)
Back in Chapter 25, we saw the Gardiners arrive to spend Christmas at Longbourn, laden with presents, which they apparently do every year ( "…who came as usual to spend the Christmas at Longbourn…. The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business on her arrival was to distribute her presents…") even though they have small children at home in London. They stayed, according to Ellen Moody's P&P timeline, for a week from Dec. 23-Dec. 31.
Now, in this week's chapters, my niggle of concern for the Gardiners' children returns when we learn their ages: "The children, two girls of six and eight years old, and two younger boys…" (ch. 42) We learn their ages when we are told that they are to stay at Longbourn in Jane's care while the Gardiners and Lizzy are on their tour of Derbyshire. Now, the several weeks away on holiday doesn't bother me at all - but Christmas… I realize that Christmas wasn't celebrated in the same way then as it is now, that it wasn't nearly as big a deal, but principally a religious observance. But if that is the case, shouldn't the parents be the ones to instruct them about it? And there are presents involved, though one presumes they gave their children their presents before leaving for Meryton. But still… presents. Does this seem odd to anyone else?
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