Forgive me if I'm still stuck in Steventon. I don't think I will be able to follow the pace of the discussion here. How much time was planned for each period of Jane's life? Was it one month? I've forgotten.
I have been thinking of her brother Edward and the Knight's adoption of him. I can't help but wondering how it came about.
It's said somewhere that the Knights came to visit Steventon after their marriage in 1779, when Mr Thomas Knight II travelled around to introduce his new wife Catherine. And that it was then they met twelve year old Edward the first time.
They liked him and brought him with them.
It sounds a bit unusual to bring a long the boy like that on a wedding trip.
It's also said that at this time there was no intention of adoption from their side. They can't have known at this early stage that they couldn't have any children.
Anyway he was really the only one they could bring along, since James was going to university and Henry was still too young.
When did they bring the subject up to Mr Austen? It may have been a couple of years later,some time after they had asked if the boy could come and stay with them on his summer holiday, and his father had reluctantly agreed.
Remember that Edward was 14-15 at this time. And how do you go about telling a boy about such a thing? Had they asked him perhaps when he was with them?
I fancy Mr Knight speaking: "Edward, you enjoy your stay here don't you? You like to be with us, and we like you very much, you know that. And I hope that you are fond of us too. There is something we would like to ask you.
- As you know, we have no children, and sadly it looks like we will not have any, you know that happens sometimes.
What would you say Edward, if we asked you to come and stay with us as our son? - I understand that it comes as a big surprise to you that we should ask such a thing, but that's what we want. We will see that you have the best opportunities here and an education to make it possible to eventually inherit and manage the Godmersham estate. That's our plan. I haven't spoken to your father about it yet, and I don't know if he will agree to it. And of course it's up to you to decide yourself. It will only happen if you accept it naturally. You would not lose contact with your family in Steventon. You would be visiting them regularly, and they would come here. And if you think about it, as we wish you to do, in some years time you would be leaving your family anyway, if you should marry and move elswhere, so there wouldn't be a big difference.
Well, now we have told you, and I will soon talk to your father and mother about it.."
As we know it was agreed upon, and Edward was a lucky one wasn't he? He had everything served for him. And he didn't have to go to university or worry about what to do. And when he was 19 he was sent on a Grand tour of Europe. And after he came home it was soon time to marry. You almost suspect that the marriage was arranged for him too.
It's not surprising that he was a good humoured and jolly fellow.