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|You are very kind,
Written by nan duval
(5/10/2010 10:54 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The odious Mr. Collins, penned by Cheryl
but I don't own the letters, though they are my focus. This week's readings are particularly rich in them so I'm happy to see this discussion kicked off. I'm going to throw in my current two cents but I hope to be able to come up with more later.
You are absolutely right in your choice of words. What word better describes the sentiments in this letter than "odious" except maybe hypocritical. The opening itself is the set-up for a sucker punch: "I feel myself called upon, by our relationship, and my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under..." so one might think he will offer hopeful thoughts about good outcomes, or at least ultimate redemption, but NO! "in your present distress, which must be of the bitterest kind, because proceeding from a cause which no time can remove." Then comes, "No arguments shall be wanting on my part that can alleviate so severe a misfortune--or that may comfort you...The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this." Where are the comforting arguments? Then after he has admitted he can't decide if the fault is the parents' for "a faulty degree of indulgence" or that Lydia (that hussy who didn't want to listen to Fordyce's sermons) "must be naturally bad." Then he kindly informs them that he is doing his best to extend the gossip mill from Hertfordshire to Kent "...Lady Catherine and her daughter, to whom I have related the affair." Then he gleefully contemplates the likelihood of ruin of any marriage prospects to the other girls & "congratulates himself on his escape" (to quote P&P2) & ends with the admonition "to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offence."
If anyone can find one shred of common humanity, let alone Christian charity, in this missive I'd like to hear it. I understand that the sentiments regarding lost or fallen women were common at the time and in many places still are--but they are not the attitudes of true religion--which is what I think JA was saying here.
Mr. Collins makes me feel sorry for God who had no say in hiring him.
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