The Wentworths: Father and Son'
Miegunyah Press, $39.95 hb, 311 pp
Jane Austen’s aunt was once at risk of transportation to Botany Bay for shoplifting. It is piquant that Austen named two of her major male characters Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth in Sense and Sensibility, because a leading inhabitant of New South Wales in those years was D’Arey Wentworth, disreputable but acknowledged kinsman of Lord Fitzwilliam. D’Arey Wentworth’s career smacks more of Georgette Heyer than Jane Austen, since he was a highwayman four times acquitted. Rather than push his luck further, he went, a free man, as assistant surgeon with the Second Fleet in 1790. As a young teenager Jane Austen may have read about him in the Times.