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Written by Linden
(2/3/2003 3:04 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, M.T. The Marriage of George and Cassandra Austen, penned by Caroline
My homework for this MT includes reading `A history of Jane Austen's Family' (originally published as `A Goodly Heritage') by George Holbert Tucker. Highly recommended -- full of fascinating material, and devotes a chapter to each of her close family, as well as one to the Warren Hastings side of things.
I hadn't realised before the extent to which Cassandra Leigh was marrying down. The Austens were `respectable' (I recall Mr Bingley's father): farmers and clothiers of the Weald in Kent, but nothing out of the ordinary. Cassandra Leigh, however, was distantly related to some very notable people: the Pitts, the Churchills, and the Dukes of Chandos (not a connection to boast of: it seems he made his fortune out of war profiteering and bought his exalted title out of his ill-gotten gains).
JA's novels tend to be gloomy about the prospects for women who marry down: Mrs Price springs to mind. Odd, when her mother seems to have a happy marriage, even with eight children and not much of an income.
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