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Written by Mrs Elton
(3/26/2013 3:54 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, How to keep out the riff-raff?, penned by Salazaar Slytherin
Dearest Sir Slytherin,
I know your horror of upstarts! I had formed an aversion to them even in my maidenhood. At Maple Grove, my brothers seat, such persons were not to be borne. As my brother, Mr Suckling, would say 'A Barouche-Landau can only carry four in perfect comfort' - your friends would do well to remember that, dear Slytherin.
For all its charms, I do not recommend entire seclusion; I am no advocate for entire seclusion, on the contrary, when people shut themselves up entirely from society, it is a very bad thing; and those who do not mix much in the world can become sadly undiscriminating in their choice of associates.
Since my Caro Sposo has transplanted me, I have become Lady Patroness to a country neighbourhood in Surrey (the Garden of England, you know), and have seen how seclusion has lead to young people in my new neighbourhood becoming sadly undiscriminating in their choice of associates, and when they do go into society, putting themselves forward, with no notion of what is due and shockingly easy manners. It is really quite disgusting!
Here is Mr. Weston, quite a leader of fashion in this place, yet with only one drawing room. The Perrys and the Gilberts are used to following his example, playing cards with broken packs and deputising some sorry groom or nursery-maid to serve cheese and toast at eight (no ices here!) and hurry the guests away before their time.
Mr. Weston himself seems to much influenced by one Mr Woodhouse, a dear old beau whose health prevents his mixing even in this contracted society. The old darling quite flatters me with his favour, and shares my views on Highbury rout-cake, and yet I hardly know how, as he has none such at his board, and he never dines out. Indeed, the dinner he held in my honour was the talk of the town, a dazzling triumph, shewing all those who doubted his seclusion could be penetrated even by Mr Elton and his bride (we really are quite the fashion). And he joined our gay gypsy party at Knightley's. I will get him at Bath yet, mark my words.
A vast deal may be done by those who dare to act. Those of us who are expected to Lead in society have a duty to Act. Dear Slytherin, you must form a club, develop the charms and accomplishments of the select few, and show how things are properly done, and put upstarts in their place.
What would become of your protette otherwise? I have in my care a sweet, interesting creature. So mild and ladylike -- and with such talents! I assure you I think she has very extraordinary talents. Oh! she is absolutely charming! Without my patronage, such talents as her's would blush unseen, but I will not suffer them to remain unknown, and have found her an excellent situation.
There is, too, in this village, a disgraceful young lady who has found a sense of self-consequence supported by the lowest kind of acquaintance imaginable (I mention no names, you see, subtle as a minister of state). Imagine, this chit, this impudent flirt, attempting to impose a person of no consequence at all, on our parish. She seems to rejoice in poor Mr Weston's throwing himself away on the person who superintended her education.
While I think Mrs Weston is an excellent creature, with a truly gentlewoman-like air, Mr Weston is connected to the Churchills of York, who cannot be expected to rejoice in such a connection, although the poor man did not seem to expect the snub and feels it sorely. I daresay the young lady who contrived the match calculated only that she would snare the young heir of Escombe, without a thought of what the Westons must endure.
This impudent flirt could not be prevented from imposing herself upon a little exploring party that Mr Weston and I had devised to amuse the few, behaving indeed as if she presided over us all, but I persevered and with a great deal of careful judgement and exemplary manners, I shewed her what reception she should expect in the first spheres.
I quite cut her down to size, she and her vulgar hangers-on slunk off quite shame-faced, let me tell you! No dinner invitation for her, I can assure you. You will find no persons of obscure origin or former servants among my guests.That is how you show the world what is your due.
Select the best, reject the rest.
The Rev. Mrs Philip Elton
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