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|"...the mysteries of Inman-ism"
Written by Elizabeth K
(1/25/2010 9:21 a.m.)
According to a note by Brabourne (p. 389 of Le Faye edition) "Mrs Inman was the aged widow of a former clergyman at Godmersham, who lived at the park-keeper's house ('Old Hills') and it was one of the 'treats' of the Godmersham children to walk up to her with fruit after dessert. She was blind, and used to walk about the park with a gold-headed walking-stick, and leaning on the arm of her faithful servant, Nanny Part".
JA writes of "the poor old lady [being] as thin & chearful as ever, & very thankful for a new acquaintance" - altogether quite a pitiful-sounding lady, and perhaps lonely and not very well-off, as JA speaks of her being glad of a new acquaintance and of being 'thin'. A lady similar to Mrs Bates perhaps.
One sentence which interests me is the one about John Bridges, JA wrote that she finds him "grown very old & black" - I have noticed that 'black' is used numerous times in her letters and novels to describe appearance, (for example, in MP Henry Crawford is described "absolutely plain, black and plain" and in Emma, "Mr. Elton, spruce, black, and smiling, was with them instantly") and I always thought it meant hair colour, but that doesn't seem to fit here. Does she mean skin colour, perhaps, in her description of John Bridges?
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