Jane Austen, the Captain and the Smugglers of a Tiny Island

Captain Corbet James D’Auvergne could lay claim to knowing Jane Austen. The authoress mentions him in two letters to her sister Cassandra. Read more about Captain D’Auvergne connection to Jane Austen, and his achievements as Acting Governor of a tiny island in the North Sea called Heligoland.

After a ball at the Dolphin Hotel in Southampton in December 1808, Jane Austen – proficient as ever in summing up a gentleman’s potential as a spouse – noted that Corbet James D’Auvergne was both a captain in the Royal Navy and a ship owner. The remark might have been a joke about husband-hunting, but the Captain was indeed a good catch for a lady looking for hero-material in her husband. Besides, he was still single. Any lady furthering her acquaintance with him should know, however, that he had his hands in large-scale smuggling.
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Wellington: A Hero, His Earnings, and His Score on the Marriage Market

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a man in regimentals strongly appeals to the fair sex. When he is also famous, his favour with the ladies rises. However, it is his income that makes him a desirable husband, as the novels of Jane Austen point out.

How would national icon Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, have fared on the marriage market? Was he as sought after as Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy – or even more popular? Find out here – and don’t miss the video at the end of the post!


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Jane Austen’s “Secret” Brother – Guest Post by Author Lisa Pliscou

new.Jane.3dI am delighted to have Lisa Pliscou, acclaimed author of both fiction and nonfiction, as guest writer at Regency Explorer. In her newest book, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, Lisa highlights Jane Austen’s creative development as a child and teenager. It’s a treat for me to present Lisa’s insightful post about a rather unknown aspect of Jane Austen’s life:

Jane Austen’s “Secret” Brother

Lisa Pliscou, author of "Young Jane Austen"

Lisa Pliscou

As I was making my way through a stack of Jane Austen biographies — what began as pure enjoyment and ultimately became research for my Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer — I was surprised to see that occasionally, an author would tally Jane’s siblings and end up with six.

The correct number, of course, is seven; altogether there were eight Austen children, beginning with James and ending with Charles. Jane’s older brother George, somehow, slipped between the cracks.

And why? Because he was the “defective” Austen child. Continue reading

Six Reasons Why You Should Take Part at a Jane Austen Ball

JA 1 Music fills the ball room. The English chamber orchestra The Pemberley Players strikes up. About 100 persons dressed in historical costumes dance the elegant formations of the opening polonaise, smiling and greeting each other. A glittering ball set in the Regency period begins: We are at the Grand Jane Austen Ball, pretending to have travelled in time back to Regency England.

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Making a Gown for a Jane Austen Ball

reticule and fan 2The Museum of Creativity proudly presents “An Empire-Style Ball Gown Based on 21th Century Clothes”.

I cannot determine what to do about my new Gown”, Jane Austen once wrote to her sister Cassandra. This is a feeling many of us can sympathize with. If you are going to attend a ball set in the Regency period, figuring out what to wear, where to get it or how to do it yourself is no easy task.

I am going to go a Jane-Austen-Ball at the end of this month. As I can’t sew, I tried to make the ball gown from everyday clothes I had found in my cupboard. But halfway through roughing out a concept for a modest white cotton gown, I stumbled upon a dazzling beautiful red lace in an oriental drapery. Though I knew perfectly well that I haven’t the sewing skills to handle the lace, I bought it. Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: Lyme Park – an Austen Drama in its Own Right

In this post:
• An illegitimate son rescuing the family seat
• Abduction!
• A haunted bedroom

Lyme Park is located two miles south of Disley, Cheshire.

It goes without saying that every Regency Enthusiast knows Lyme Park as Mr Darcy’s Pemberley in the Pride & Prejudice series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. But drama and romance at Lyme Park are not limited to movies. It has its own drama and romance in an incident worth a Wickham/Darcy tale.
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