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Janegibbons
Jane Gibbons
Medium: Television, Book
Also known as: Jane Sharpe
Nationality: British
Rank: n/a
Appearances: Sharpe's Regiment, Siege, Revenge
Actor: Abigail Cruttenden
Jane Gibbons is first mentioned in Sharpe's Eagle, in which Sharpe encounters her sadistic brother, Christian. After Gibbons' death at the hands Patrick Harper, Sharpe finds he had been wearing a locket containing a miniature of Jane, signed "God keep you. Love, Jane" and wonders if she knows what kind of man her brother was. Sharpe keeps the locket as a talisman. She is later mentioned as having met Sharpe while he was briefly in England, but does not actually appear until Sharpe's Regiment, when Sharpe and Harper are again in England.

She makes her debut in Sharpe's Regiment where Sharpe and Harper encounter her while in England investigating the apparent disappearance of the South Essex Regiment's Second Battalion. The battalion is being used for illegal soldier auctions (crimping) by Jane's uncle Sir Henry Simmerson, an enemy of Sharpe's. Jane herself is eking out a miserable existence in Simmerson's country house, unwillingly engaged to the battalion's arrogant and incompetent commander, Bartholomew Girdwood. She explains to Sharpe that her parents died when she was thirteen, and she went to live with Simmerson and his wife, her mother's sister. Since her father was a commoner, Simmerson considers her an embarrassment, and keeps her away from high society. After Sharpe puts an end to the auctions, he takes Jane back to Spain with them where they marry.

Jane plays only a small role in Sharpe's Siege in which Sharpe is alarmed to discover she has been visiting his friend Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hogan, who is sick with fever, and fears she has been infected. When he returns from the mission that is the main focus of the book, he finds that she was well.

In Sharpe's Revenge, with the Peninsular War nearing an end, Sharpe sends Jane back to England to procure a house in the country, as he had long dreamed of retiring to Devon. Disliking the idea, she instead buys an expensive and gaudy London town house, and is then seduced by the swirl of high society previously denied her. Her realization that Sharpe is utterly unambitious rankls, and the thought of living in rural rustication distasteful. She wants instead to travel in London society. As the wife of a war hero, those doors would be open to her. She decides she knows better how to direct their lives than he, and ignores all his instruction. She allows herself to be seduced by her own selfish desires, directed by avarice, ambition, and a measure of stupidity.

When she hears Sharpe has been arrested on suspicion of theft of Napoleon's treasury, she immediately thought first of the money she had removed from her husband's agents and deposited in a banking house. The Judge Advocates office wanted to know where Sharpe had come by his wealth - 18,964 pounds 14 shillings and eight pence was a very substantial sum. She wrote Lord John Rossendale to advise her on how to protect her assets, but not her husband. Eventually, the pair entered into an affair that was less than discreet.
Janeandrichard

Richard and Jane Sharpe

The affair is discovered by Peter D'Alembord when he calls on Jane with a message from Sharpe, Later Harper attempts to contact her, during which Jane gleefully watches as Rossendale horsewhips Harper. When Sharpe's name is cleared, Jane and Rossendale are fearful he will come looking for them. But after his letters go unanswered, and news of Jane's betrayal carried to him, Sharpe never spoke to her again.

Jane accompanies Rossendale to Belgium in Sharpe's Waterloo, but finds herself shunned by society as an adulteress and Rossendale's mistress. She attends the Duchess of Richmond's ball with him where Rossendale has a violent encounter with Sharpe. Sharpe tells the terrified Rosendale that he "...could keep the whore, but where's my money?" within her hearing, but when Rossendal collapses before Sharpe's fury, Sharpe left without a word to her. They never met again.

Jane later obliquely suggests Rossendale to kill Sharpe using the confusion of battle so that they may marry.

She told no one that she is pregnant with Rossendale's child, an idea that appalls her. At the end of the book, she is left to await the news of Rossendale's death at Waterloo.

The fate of Jane and her child remains unknown.

TelevisionEdit

Jane's character arc stays close to that of the novels. She and Sharpe are familiar with each other in Sharpe's Regiment but she has not been mentioned previously, and how they met before is never stated, although her brother appears in the television version of Sharpe's Eagle, he is not mentioned there and indeed their relationship is never explicitly confirmed (although it can be inferred from their shared surname and uncle in Simmerson).

In Sharpe's Siege, Jane does contract fever, rather than Sharpe merely fearing she has, and is already ill when he leaves. When he returns, he finds her recovered, thanks to Wellington acquiring some quinine from the Spanish. She is also seen working as an assistant to the regimental surgeon, Kenefick, and her wedding to Sharpe, unlike in the books, occurs onscreen.

In Sharpe's Revenge, she allows Molly Spindacre to convince her to leave Sharpe and start spending his money. The pair of them withdraw every penny from Sharpe's accounts, and procure a grand townhouse. Once removed from him, she finds she prefers life in Town to life as a soldier's wife. When Sharpe is arrested, she allows herself to be seduced by Lord Rossendale, preferring his suave and charming manner to Sharpe's blunt and simple one.

In addition to the television adaptations of the four novels she appeared in, Jane also appears in stories unique to the television series, which are not based on Cornwell novels. In Sharpe's Mission, she is shown to already be disenchanted with the soldier's life, and is easily seduced by the arrival of the superficially cultured poet Shellington. She appears to contemplate an affair with him in Sharpe's absence, but sees through him when Harris reveals that the poem he has supposedly written about her is plagiarized, and reconciles with Sharpe at the end.

In Sharpe's Justice, Jane accompanies Rossendale to a property left to him by a recently deceased aunt, and in doing so encounters Sharpe, who is in the area commanding the Scarsdale Yeomanry. Jane and Rossendale seem eager to take advantage of Sir Willoughby Parfitt's schemes to bankrupt and buy out mills, but fail when Sharpe exposes his methods. Afterwards, Jane tells Sharpe that Rossendale will obtain him a release from his post in exchange for him leaving them alone. Sharpe responds that he'll do that anyway, and the next time he sees Rossendale, he'll kill him.

TriviaEdit

  • Bernard Cornwell never gave any indication as to Jane's fate other than to say her ending would be a bad one.
  • In his book, The Sharpe Companion, Mark Adkin claims Jane died in 1844, but this has not been confirmed by any canon novel.
  • Abigail Cruttenden and Sean Bean married after meeting on the show and had a daughter together. They have since divorced.