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Written by Anielka
(2/28/2003 3:41 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Obstetrics, penned by Jack Cerf
As far as I know, only Elizabeth's death was directly connected with childbirth - and even then she had apparently given birth some days previously, got herself up and to the dinner table and managed a hearty dinner before ringing down the final curtain.
I suppose I have missed some of the second husbands. Eliza Hancock (aka Hastings) first husband died youngish in 1794. I think he was either hung or beheaded so that lends rather unfair weight to the statistics.
Grandmother Austen had in fact been married before and her first husband James/William Walters must have popped his clogs at a preternaturally early age (in his twenties).
And then there were some second wives who actually managed to outlive their husbands quite spectacularly. Grandfather Austen's second wife, the evil stepmother Sussanah Kelk lived to be 80.
The answer is that I don't think I have given a big enough statistical sample to draw any conclusions but my gestalt view of JA's family is that her nearest and dearest i.e. siblings and parents were pretty gifted in the Longevity Department. (Although big brother James did seem to have a remarkable habit of breaking limbs at inopportune moments.)
Oh if only JA had lived longer! What might Sanditon have been.........(sound of weeping and tears falling on dessicated Australian earth).
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