“I will marry Mr. Papillon”


An auction will take place tomorrow, June 3, 2010, at Michael J. Bowman, Newton Abbot, in Devon, of some papers related to the career of the reverend John Rawstorn Papillon.

Of Jane Austen interest; four papers relating to the career of the Reverend John Rawstorn Papillon (1763-1837), comprising; ordination paper making him a Deacon on December 26th 1786 from John, Bishop of Rochester, two papers relating to his institution to Tunbridge Vicarage, dated 5th March 1791 and his Chaplaincy to James, Earl of Lauderdale, dated 14th February 1792, contained in an old (possibly contemporary) tin carrying case bearing handwritten label describing contents. (Papillon was a Fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge from 1788 to 1791. He became Rector at Chawton in 1802, the village where Jane Austen moved to with her mother and sister six years later. It became an Austen family joke that one day Jane would marry John Papillon. Both John and his sister, Elizabeth, appear frequently in the surviving letters of Jane Austen. It might be considered that the authoress has drawn more than a little from John Papillon in the creation of her character ‘Mr Collins’)

They were doing so well until the last sentence. Estimated price is £300-400, quite affordable for a budding Austeniana collector (though this is perhaps rather marginal).

Gentle Readers who were so kind as to peruse our piece on Catherine Knight last week will remember that Mr. Papillon was the rector at Chawton when the Austen ladies moved there, and that Mrs. Knight kindly suggested that Jane might marry the bachelor.

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