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|Charles Powlett (Letter 13)
Written by Robbin
(9/2/2005 9:17 p.m.)
“Charles Powlett gave a dance on Thursday, to the great disturbance of all his neighbors, of course, who, you know, take a most lively interest in the state of his finances, and live in hopes of his being soon ruined.”
The biographical index (letters) says that CP later indulged his neighbors because “…his extravagant habits obliged him to flee to France in 1827, following his wife’s death, and he died at Brussels in 1834.” An anonymous biographer said in a premature obituary notice that he was cheerful, benevolent, conscientious, and virtuous…quick apprehension, and an excellent memory; but he was somewhat deficient in judgment and profundity…opinions apt to run to extremes, and to be lightly taken up and lightly abandoned…a little too free of his advice, which was given with a self-sufficiency not always well received.” The picture of affable but foolish man—states the index.
At first I looked him up in hopes of finding out why people would “live in hopes of his being soon ruined” and I was surprised that I found so much that interested me and seemed to answer my wondering. He seems to be almost half Sir Lucas and half Mr. Collins (P&P) and I should think a man of that combination would turn a few heads.
The index also noted that “he was brought up…largely at the ducal home of Hackwood Park, where he became acquainted with rank and fashion in abundance, which somewhat unsettled him for the sphere to which his ill-starred fortunes destined him.” & “Although a number of his letters written between 1789-1801 survive in the Powlett archive, in which the Lefroys and Lyfords are mentioned, unfortunately there are no references to the Austens.”—for this I can hardly forgive him, perhaps his rank and fashion in abundance kept them from his notice.
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