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|Swept off her feet by Mr. Collins
Written by Robbin
(5/2/2010 1:28 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, How happy is Charlotte? (long), penned by Anne-Marie
I think Charlotte is attentive to Lady Catherine because “there might be other family livings to be disposed of” (Ch. 30) just as she thinks Darcy would be a better husband for Lizzy because he has “considerable patronage in the church” (32). Charlotte has a mercenary outlook. I agree he is a pill but I do not see where Charlotte, as you said “has been swept off her feet by Mr. Collins' attentions”. Her thoughts do not support it:
The stupidity with which he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from any charm that could make a woman wish for its continuance; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained. (Ch. 22)
Charlotte was thinking of Lizzy impressing Darcy at the Netherfield ball so her “kind” schemes for Lizzy in Ch. 32 do not seem to be the result of wedded bliss:
When the dancing recommenced, however, and Darcy approached to claim her hand, Charlotte could not help cautioning her in a whisper not to be a simpleton, and allow her fancy for Wickham to make her appear unpleasant in the eyes of a man of ten times his consequence. (Ch. 18)
I think Darcy wants to talk of marriage to Lizzy in Ch. 32. He does not say Charlotte looks happy rather the house is comfortable and Mr. Collins is fortunate in his choice. They so not mean the same thing.
In MP, Ch. 4, Mrs. Crawford, the admiral’s wife is very unhappily married and schemes with Mary and some female friends to trick Henry into marrying one of them. At least one unhappily married woman in JA not only wishes but tries to help her friends find husbands.
Mr. Collins invited them to take a stroll in the garden, which was large and well laid out, and to the cultivation of which he attended himself. To work in his garden was one of his most respectable pleasures; and Elizabeth admired the command of countenance with which Charlotte talked of the healthfulness of the exercise, and owned she encouraged it as much as possible. (Ch. 28)
I think Charlotte does think gardening is good for Mr. Collins health and I am sure they do need vegetables however Charlotte could have another purpose as well. I have always thought Lizzy saw something in Charlotte’s countenance which suggested she encouraged Mr. Collins to tend his garden to keep him busy out of doors where she is not.
As I read Ch. 30 Lizzy does not give Charlotte credit for setting up Mr. Collins book room “which fronted the road” but for choosing the least agreeable room for her common use. A room in which “they could distinguish nothing in the lane” and he does not want to be in for fear of missing a carriage. If Charlotte was not trying to avoid Mr. Collins then I think she would have chosen the room with the pleasanter aspect for her use.
At the Netherfield ball Mr. Collins informed everyone that a clergyman must be attentive to “the care and improvement of his dwelling, which he cannot be excused from making as comfortable as possible” (18). As all Charlotte asks for is a comfortable home perhaps this piece of news was of particular interest. I think Charlotte is content with the house and all its wondrous improvements but I do not see where she is thrilled with her husband. (:D)
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