A Country Gentleman

July 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm (books, diaries, estates, jane austen, research) (, , , , , )

Elizabeth Bennet made a decided coup de grace when she uttered the words, “He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal.”

In looking up the books.google link, Arthur Aspinall gives a great indication of what it was to be “a Country Gentleman”, while admitting, “It is impossible to define a country gentleman in a phrase.”

The title of the book I’ve found – about Sir William Heathcote, a firm friend of Edward Austen (later, Austen Leigh) – claims just that impossible-to-define title for this biography. You’ll find several mentions of my dear Edward in it!

william heathcote_aged6

The portrait is a close-up of one included in the book, showing William at the age of 6. William’s mother was Elizabeth Bigg, who returned after her husband’s death to her father’s home. The household at MANYDOWN, the estate of Lovelace Bigg Wither, gets many mentions in the correspondence of Jane Austen. Edward Austen mentions this lifelong friend with great love.

sir william heathcote

Sir William Heathcote, 1873

 

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