This was supposed to be about Jane's early years. But what can an amateur like me add to what is already written? Not much,it will be mostly questions.
It is still a bit unclear whether it was in 1768 or 1771 that the Austen family moved to Steventon. If it was 1768, then a number of her biographers have got it wrong. But there may be something that is known to have happened in that year and wich can be connected to the event and prove wich year it was.
Let's assume it was 1768. Then they had three sons, James 3,George 2, and Edward 1 year old. Had poor George already been placed in a foster family? Perhaps not yet. But Edward was probably out in 'a good family' his first year.
And then in 1771 the fourth son Henry was born. And then followed Cassandra in 1773 and Francis the year after. And as the last in that row Jane in December 1775. I wonder how it worked with a new child coming each year? I suppose Mrs Austen left the first child to be taken care of, and when she had the next child she left that and brought home the first, and so on..
What do we know about this time? Well, that Mr Austen did not have much of an income. He had to borrow large sums from his brother in law James Leigh-Perrot, wich he had some difficulties in paying back.
But in 1773 he also got the benefice of Deane and he started to receive pupils. And that was something he continued to do for many years. So there must have been one or several boys living in during most of the following 25 years.
I've been wondering about the education they and the Austen boys got.
The boys could be of varying ages so the tutoring must have been
adapted to their various ages. And was the Austen taught together with the in-living boys? If it was practical, why not. These boys were in no way inferior(i mean in class) to the Austen boys.They came sometimes from fine families such as the young Lord Lymington who's father was Lord Portsmouth.
(And how could he be Lord L. when his father was Lord S.? Can anyone explain that).
But later on when the girls had grown a bit older I think they must have found it quite fun to have the boys there. And the boys I'm sure found their stay at Steventon less boring because of the girls. Although I can't imagine any closer contact between them.
One question is why were the boys taught at home and the girls sent
awy to schools? It was usually the other way around. I belive that was for both economical and practical reasons. The girls had probably been taught reading and writing at home, but for the rest of their education, Mr Austen simply had no time, and also there could be some things they learned at school that they couldn't get at home.
Perhaps someone knows what girls learned at such schools that Jane and her sister went to?
There is one other thing that I have a question about. It seems that boys went to university very young, James went when only fourteen.
So what were the requrements for being allowed entrance to the university? I suppose they needed some proof of qualifying education.
But at only fourteen it couldn't have been very high.
In those times a lot of things seems to happen when people are very young. Francis and Charles were sent to Naval School when only twelve.