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|M.T.Jane Austen's "marriage certificates"
Written by Caroline
(2/16/2003 3:17 p.m.)
There exists, in the Hampshire County Records Office, a sheet of paper torn from Steventon Parish registers and apparently written on by the youthful JA. She marries herself off three times. First marriage is to "Henry Frederic(sic) Howard Fitzwilliam of London"; the second is to Edmund Arthur William Mortimer of Liverpool". If I recall corrrectly, (and I 'm doing this from memory, because I really cannot find anything at hand to confirm or deny) the second one has the name scratched out and the new name "Mr Smith" inserted superscript.
I find this fascinating , for several reasons- not simply because Jane was excercizing her imagination. Did she have permission to tear out the sheet of paper? Why did she choose these names? Are they simply grandiosities conjured up for a story, and then punctured with her typical realism, or did she have someone particular in mind when she wrote it? Were Mortimer and Fitzwilliam real people that she knew, or did she simply make them up?
Any thoughts? Also, does anyone know if these "documents" are dated or not? I cannot find that out, either.
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