Caroline asked who was Martha Lloyd?
The history of the family background is interesting, with the story of the grandmother 'the cruel Mrs Craven', but this story is too long to tell now.
In short when Mr Lloyd died Mrs Lloyd found herself in the difficult position that so many women married to vicars had experienced.With three alternatives to avoid the poorhouse. The husband might have left money, ask for help from relatives, or find a new husband.
Why was Mr Austen willing to help?
Martha Lloyd's younger sister Elizabeth had married Fulvar Craven-Fowle who had been a pupil to Mr Austen. And it's likely that it was because of this connection that Mrs Lloyd and her two unmarried daughters were offered to stay at the Dean parsonage wich now stood empty.
And from there on the friendship developed. And of course later they would become even more close with the marriage between the youngest Lloyd girl Mary and James Austen.
About the Lloyd sisters it says the following:
"the daughters of the Rev.Noyes Lloyd of Enborne, received rather less education... their mother taught them to read, but only by guiding them through the Psalms and through daily portions of Scripture - no other books were thought of. Peripatetic masters came to the house to teach them writing and arithmetic. They learnt no French. The result could hardly have been predicted, for Martha Lloyd became interested in reading and looked forward to discussing books with her friend Jane
Austen, whereas it was the latter's view that Mary Lloyd, who became her sister-in-law, never willingly read a book in the whole of her life." There's one reason for Janes sometimes cool attitude towards Mary. There are other reasons, but more about that another time.
But despite her being mentioned often in Jane's letters she remains anonymous. As a person she is almost a blank page just as Jane's sister Cassandra is. But I'm glad that she after all those years of loyalty to the Austen family at last got her reward.She married Francis-William the Post-Captain who would become an Admiral and was knighted, so she became Lady Austen. Who would have though it, not even Jane!
After Jane's death Cassandra gave her the topas-cross that had been a gift from Jane's brother Charles. It's now on display at the house in Chawton.
I think she is buried at the same place as F-W Austen, Wymering, Portsmouth.