First of all, ladies and gents, allow me to express my utmost surprise on my own silliness of not detecting the fact I am about to present sooner. Secondly, allow me to express such surprise by this one:
Oh. My. God. Oh my God. OH MY GOOOOOD!!!
Phew. There. Now, then.
In the light of my recent post re: Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy (TEPL) and his father Anthony Lefroy and their relationship with Tom Lefroy (see this post), I have suggested that the fate of Anthony Lefroy was one of the main (if not indeed THE main) reasons for Tom to leave Jane and marry the Wexford Mary Paul (there you go, name your daughter ‘Mary’ and she will marry one of the utmost important people in the history – pardon my pun!).
Now, in this post, I shall reveal a bit more of Anthony Lefroy, Tom’s younger brother. But let me reiterate what Deirdre Le Faye wrote in her Jane Austen’s Letter (page 545):
Anthony Lefroy (1777-1857) became a Captain in the 65th Regiment, the commission being purchased for him by his Langlois great-uncles. Unfortunately, Anthony married in 1798 Elizabeth Wilkin, who was considered in some way undesirable, and the Langlois family refused to provide any further financial assistance. Tom Lefroy was eventually able to obtain for his brother the position of Barrack-Master, first in Arundel and later in
Now, I’ve been wondering the exact date of Anthony’s wedding, and I was silly enough not to cross check my other reference: Cranfield’s From Ireland to Western Australia. Here’s what I found from page 9 of Cranfield’s book, which I have read before actually, but did not see the relevance. It’s #6 of the list of the children of Anthony Peter Lefroy and Anna Gardner:
Now, dear friends, lovers of Jane and Tom, let us see the date of Anthony’s wedding:
Mrs. Lefroy did come last Wednesday, and the Harwoods came likewise, but very considerately paid their visit before Mrs. Lefroy's arrival, with whom, in spite of interruptions both from my father and James, I was enough alone to hear all that was interesting, which you will easily credit when I tell you that of her nephew she said nothing at all, and of her friend very little. She did not once mention the name of the former to me, and I was too proud to make any inquiries; but on my father's afterwards asking where he was, I learnt that he was gone back to London in his way to Ireland, where he is called to the Bar and means to practise.
So, bearing in mind that:
1. Tom Lefroy had been called to the Bar since 1797 (Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy);
2. Tom went to
3. Tom helped his brother Anthony to be the Barrack Master later on after Uncle Ben Langlois cut off his financial assistance to Anthony;
4. TEPL obtained the Cadell letter, a case that, to me, has Tom Lefroy’s finger prints all over it;
5. TEPL was also the very person the old Tom Lefroy confided in about his ‘boyish love’ towards Jane Austen
I am very much inclined to propose that the main reason for Tom going to
I am also inclined to suggest that one of the reasons for Tom’s deferring his wedding with Mary (to whom he had engaged in Easter 1797) was Jane Austen. I am not in favour of the ‘study’ reason, for Tom still returned to
And, upon checking the list of Jane's letters to Cassandra in Oct/Nov 1798, I found out that there was indeed more than a month's gap of no records between 27-28 Oct to 17-18 Nov 1798. Both letters (27-28 Oct and 17-18 Nov) were addressed to Cassandra from Steventon to Godmersham. My suggestion is that Jane found out something strange about Tom (could it be that Tom already knew of Anthony's plan to get married/elope since October 1798?), and she told Cassandra about it. Or... Tom also said that he might have to leave for Ireland and there was no way they could communicate again as 'friends' afterwards.
I am interested to know what you dear friends think of the suggestions. To close this post, I shall insert an excerpt of a brotherly love poem by Millette Addison (titled Entertain Angels Unaware):
What If I was an angel?
Sent from God above.
To test man of,
His brotherly love?
You will never know,
If you never give true brotherly love
~ Millette Addison
Cranfield, R. E. 1960, From Ireland to Western Australia: The Establishment of a Branch of the Lefroy Family at Walebing, Western Australia, 1842 to 1960, Service Printing Perth.
Faye, D. L. 1997, Jane Austen's Letters, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Lefroy, T. 1871, Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, Hodges, Foster & Co., Dublin.
I just would like to add the fact from Cranfield’s book that Anthony was indeed the first offspring of Anthony Peter Lefroy and Ann Gardner that got married (November 5th, 1798), followed by Tom (March 16th, 1799) and then their sister Sarah, who married Captain Thomas Courtenay in May 9th, 1799. By the time Anthony got married in 1798, none of Tom’s siblings (including himself) was married. Hence, as Anthony was kicked out of the financial support of Ben Langlois, Tom should really come forward and save his family (including his six sisters).
I will post an article about verbatim quotes from Cranfield on this matter soon.
Pic 1: Young Tom Lefroy by G. Engleheart (1799), from the Carrigglas website
Pic 2: A portrait of two boys by David Allan (c1785), from Clacksweb.org.uk. I especially love the brotherly expression; the older boy protecting his little brother, and the mischievous smile of the younger brother. So like Tom and Anthony. The older boy was possibly James Floyer Erskine, later became the 7th Earl of Mar, and his little brother might be John Thomas Erskine, later became the 8th Earl of Mar. The interesting thing is, James was later disinherited by his father, thus John became the next Earl of Mar. The opposite of Tom and Anthony, whereby Anthony was the one who was cut off from his uncle.