Did Poe really escort Harriet Jacobs home after attending the performance of Fashion with Willis?
A. No. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet says, “In the spring, sad news came to me. Mrs. [Willis] was dead. Never again, in this world, should I see her gentle face, or hear her sympathizing voice.” And in the next paragraph: “We sailed from New York, and arrived in Liverpool after a pleasant voyage of twelve days.” This implies that Harriet was not in New York when Mary Willis died but that she came down in preparation to sail with Willis and his surviving daughter for England six weeks later. (In the novel Willis decides to go to Boston instead of England, but, in actuality, he went to England where he stayed for about eight months. For purposes of novelistic continuity, it was important that Will not disappear from the scene.) It is remotely possible, therefore, that Poe met Harriet Jacobs, but there is no record of such a meeting.
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- Did Poe really escort Harriet Jacobs home after attending the performance of Fashion with Willis?