Weird but probably true...
Posted by Yvette on July 09, 1998 at 21:04:32:
In response to What JA thought would happen in the Watsons..., written by Kate on July 09, 1998 at 09:08:14
] "Austen left hints as to how Emma's story was to unfold: according to Cassandra, Emma was "to decline an offer of marriage from Lord Osborne, and much of the interest of the tale was to arise from Lady Osborne's love for Mr Howard and his counter affection for Emma, whom he was finally to marry" (It is not clear whether the "Lady Osborne" here refers to Lord Osborne's sister, Miss Osborne, or his widowed mother.)
] Would have been a bit weird if Lady Osborne snr had been after Mr Howard...
When I first read that comment in my edition of The Watsons, I automatically assumed that "Lady Osborne" referred to the widowed mother. I think if JA had meant Miss Osborne, Lord Osborne's sister, she would have said "Miss Osborne" instead of "Lady Osborne".
Although Mr. Howard was only "a little more than thirty" and Lady Osborne was "nearly fifty", I think it is quite possible that she would have been attracted to him - especially since he was "an agreeable-looking man" and probably quite intelligent. Of the females of the Osborne party, Lady Osborne "had by much the finest person; - though nearly fifty, she was very handsome, and had all the dignity of rank". She would not have thought herself too old for or unworthy of Mr. Howard. She probably would have been surprised when Mr. Howard chose to marry Emma instead of her, since it would have been a good match for him (in terms of power and money).
In regards to the difference of age - it was probably quite uncommon for an older lady to marry a younger man in JA's time, but not impossible. In Lady Susan, Lady Susan is twelve years older than Reginald (the young man she nearly marries) and I'm pretty sure she is about ten years or so older than the young man she actually ends up marrying.
Try reading Emma Watson: The Watsons Completed by Joan Aiken. In it, Joan Aiken follow through with the idea of Lady Osborne being in love with Mr. Howard.
There are reviews for this book on
The Jane Austen Sequel Page
and I wrote a summary/review which is located in
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