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|12th Light Dragoons and JA
Written by Captain Everett
(4/7/2003 6:35 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Brickbats and 12th Light Dragoons, penned by Cheryl
An direct connection between the 12th Light Dragoons and Jane Austen continues to stump me. It is possible she met some individuals; it's very likely she heard stories about them. Her brother Henry served as the Paymaster with the Oxfordshire Militia. Around 1794-95 his regiment spent time in camp at the Downs of Brighton; later at East Blatchington, near Newhaven (where it was involved in a mutiny in the summer of '95). The 12th were also stationed there, at least in 1795, so Henry had ample opportunity to get to know them.
The mention of the 12th, however, does stick out in JA's writing. Usually she is vague about locations other than major cities. It's the _____shire Militia in P&P. I've been unable to find any of the ships that she put her characters on ("Thrush" - William Price, "Asp" and "Lacona" - Capt. Wentworth) in any books or lists. (But the four other ships mentioned in MP are real, with either brother Francis or Charles, having served aboard them.)
So the question does remain, *why* she chose to single out *that* particular regiment? Not simply *a* Light Dragoon regiment, or a thinly veiled reference that many contemporaries might get anyway, but deliberately spelled out.
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