Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen Houses and Locations’

The Georgian city of Bath plays a prominent role in Persuasion & Northanger Abbey. View several 360 degee panoramas of the city in this link. Click on the photo you’d like to see, and use your cursor to move around the picture.

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Mary Austen nee Lloyd, the wife of James Austen, was present at Jane’s death. She wrote the following passage in her diary (See image below)

17 July 1817 “Jane Austen was taken for death about ½ past 5 in the Evening”
18 July 1817 Jane breathed her last ½ after four in the morn; only Cass[andra] and I were with her. Henry came, Austen & Ed came, the latter returned home”

Read a sad but fascinating account of Jane’s final hours, Jane Austen’s Final Resting Place, at Hantsweb.
Jane spent her last days in a small house in Winchester, near a doctor of some repute. She wrote in May:

I live chiefly on the sofa, but am allowed to walk from one room to the other. I have been out once in a sedan-chair, and am to repeat it and be promoted to a wheeled chair as the weather serves.” And speaking of her illness she remarks, “On this subject I will only say further that my dearest sister, my tender watchful, indefatigable nurse has not been made ill by her exertions. As to what I owe to her, and to the anxious affection of all my beloved family on this occasion, I can only cry over it, and pray to God to bless them more and more. – Chapter XXIII, Jane Austen: Her Homes & Her Friends (John Lane The Bodley Head, 1923) by Constance Hill.

Jane died on July 18, 1817. Cassandra, Jane’s dear sister, wrote these affecting words:

Since Tuesday evening, when her complaint returned, there was a visible change, she slept more and much more comfortably; indeed, during the last eight-and-forty hours she was more asleep than awake. Her looks altered and she fell away, but I perceived no material diminution of strength, and, though I was then hopeless of a recovery, I had no suspicion how rapidly my loss was approaching.

I have lost a treasure, such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow; I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part of myself. I loved her only too well — not better than she deserved, but I am conscious that my affection for her made me sometimes unjust to and negligent of others; and I can acknowledge, more than as a general principle, the justice of the Hand which has struck this blow.

You know me too well to be at all afraid that I should suffer materially from my feelings; I am perfectly conscious of the extent of my irreparable loss, but I am not at all overpowered and very little indisposed, nothing but what a short time, with rest and change of air, will remove. I thank God that I was enabled to attend her to the last, and amongst my many causes of self-reproach I have not to add any wilful neglect of her comfort.

She felt herself to be dying about half-an-hour before she became tranquil and apparently unconscious. During that half-hour was her struggle, poor soul! She said she could not tell us what she suffered, though she complained of little fixed pain. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted, her answer was she wanted nothing but death, and some of her words were: “God grant me patience, pray for me, oh, pray for me!” Her voice was affected, but as long as she spoke she was intelligible.

Read the rest of the letter on the Republic of Pemberley website.
Click here for my previous post on this sad subject.

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… and the plan is that we should all walk with her to have tea in Faringdon.- Jane to Cassandra, 28th May, 1811

This quote comes from a four-page PDF walking guide created by the East Hampshire Council for a 4 1/2 mile walk around Chawton.

Jane fans will find this guide interesting because of the map and notations describing points of interest, such as:

Gilbert White, the 18th Century parson naturalist, lived at The Wakes in Selborne (see Selborne Literary Walk leaflet). Jane Austen refers to a special occasion of ‘Gaities’ on Selborne Common in which her own friends and Gilbert’s nephew took part.

This image shows a portion of the walking map provided in the guide, which is the best one I have seen so far of the area.

Books of interest on this topic:

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With an income quite sufficient to their wants thus secured to them, they had nothing to wait for after Edward was in possession of the living, but the readiness of the house, to which Colonel Brandon, with an eager desire for the accommodation of Elinor, was making considerable improvements; and after waiting some time for their completion, after experiencing, as usual, a thousand disappointments and delays from the unaccountable dilatoriness of the workmen, Elinor, as usual, broke through the first positive resolution of not marrying till every thing was ready, and the ceremony took place in Barton church early in the autumn.The first month after their marriage was spent with their friend at the Mansion-house; from whence they could superintend the progress of the Parsonage, and direct every thing as they liked on the spot;– could choose papers, project shrubberies, and invent a sweep.Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 50

One of the secrets to Jane Austen’s continued popularity is revealed in this matter of fact passage at the end of Sense and Sensibility about the delays in renovation of Edmund’s and Elinor’s cottage. Who among us has not felt a similar frustration with workmen who did not meet promised deadlines? Instead of waiting until work on the cottage was completed, E & E decided to go ahead with their plans to marry. They had to spend the first month of wedded bliss with friends, whereas my husband and I spent those frustrating months with our in-laws. There are many other “ah hah” moments when reading Jane’s works, which I will share with you as I come across them.

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