By F B Pinion
A Jane Austen better half: A severe Survey and Reference booklet by means of F. B. Pinion 1973 Hardcover 342 pages together with Index Macmillian
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Xxi; see also E. x:xxv). A 'strange business' marked the outbreak of the war with America (see p. 104); its continuation after the defeat of France in 1814 brought much anxiety to Jane (Letters, 508). Peace with France in the same year (Letters, 372, 376) must have come to her and the other members of her family much as it did to Anne Elliot; only 'the dread of a future war' could 'dim her sunshine'. War came again soon and unexpectedly, but there are no letters from Jane Austen during the period leading up to Waterloo.
Medical practice had improved considerably in the second half of the eighteenth century, but neither financially nor socially had it acquired the status to attract the sons of the wealthier classes. 'I have also scratched out the introduction between Lord P. and his brother, and Mr Griffin. A country surgeon ... would not be introduced to men of their rank', Jane Austen wrote, with reference to her niece's novel (Letters, 394). The title of 'Doctor' had no medical significance; Dr Davies, with whom the Steeles travelled to London was, like Dr Grant, a member of the Church (SS.
The more general view is less severe. It was expressed by Professor H. W. Garrod in a lecture which was a deliberate piece of detraction, 'written for a pleasant occasion and in lightness of heart', and not for publication. 1 He talked of her supreme detachment, and, with reference to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, said that Jane Austen cared for none of these things. Few can doubt that this devil's advocate knew much better, but there are countless readers who still accept the view that Jane lived the greater part of her relatively unruffled life in rural remoteness.
A Jane Austen Companion: A critical survey and reference book by F B Pinion