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Sister, Sister: Cassandra and Jane

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Caitlyn Barnes

on 21 April 2014

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Transcript of Sister, Sister: Cassandra and Jane

Sister, Sister: Cassandra and Jane
The Girls
Cassandra Elizabeth Austen
Born January 9, 1773
Jane Austen
Born December 16, 1775
2 years younger, but with 6 brothers
Became fast and close friends
Father, Rev. George Austen, taught the children education was important
Ran a boarding school in Stevenson
The girls were also educated
Piano, drawing, etc.
1783, the sisters moved to Southampton
Lived with Mrs. Crawley
Sister of one of their uncles
Infectious disease caused return home
1785-1786, moved to Reading
Abbey boarding school
Mrs. Goddard’s school in Emma
Jane may have been too young
“if Cassandra’s head had been going to be cut off, Jane would have hers cut off too”
Cassandra's Engagement
1794, engaged to father’s former student, Thomas Fowle
Long engagement
Waiting for a family in Shropshire to be available
Thomas joined military as army chaplain & sent to Caribbean
Yellow Fever—died 1797
Inherited £1000 & never recovered
Both never married
Assumed from this stemmed their closeness
Rarely apart
Wrote daily when separated
After Jane’s illness, they made final move to Winchestor, Alton to be near doctors.
Jane’s death in 1817 was hard on Cassandra
Destroyed many letters—only 160 survived, but none before Jane’s 20th birthday
Life Without Jane
Returned to Chawton
Mrs. Cassandra Leigh Austen died 1827
~1828, Martha Lloyd married Frank, Cassandra’s younger brother
Lived alone until her death in 1845 at 72
Best source on Jane Austen as a person
Two authenticated portraits
Other writings
Oral record
Caitlyn Barnes
Spring 2014
Full transcript