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|Charlotte's Perception and Manipulation
Written by BarbaraB
(4/14/2013 1:33 a.m.)
Charlottes’ perception of Lizzy and how things would work out with Mr. Collins was greater than Lizzy’s perception of Charlotte even after Charlotte expressed her views on marriage.
Lizzy points out her visiting cousin to Charlotte at the Netherfield Ball. We never see an actual introduction as far as I can see but obviously one took place. Charlotte perceived that Mr. Collins was attempting to court Lizzy and that Lizzy was not at all allowing herself to be courted. “She [Lizzy] was teased by Mr. Collins, who continued most perseveringly by her side, and though he could not prevail with her to dance with him again, put it out of her power to dance with others. In vain did she entreat him to stand up with somebody else, and offer to introduce him to any young lady in the room. He assured her that, as to dancing, he was perfectly indifferent to it; that his chief object was, by delicate attentions, to recommend himself to her, and that he should therefore make a point of remaining close to her the whole evening.” (18)
Charlotte, I’m sure was observing all this and figured out how it was likely to all play out, that Mr. Collins would make an offer, and knowing Lizzy, that she would refuse it and, thus, imo Charlotte set about planning to set herself up as an alternate choice. Directly following the above quote: “...She [Lizzy] owed her greatest relief to her friend Miss Lucas, who often joined them, and good-naturedly engaged Mr. Collins's conversation to herself.” (18)
The next day when the Bennet household was in confusion after the resultant offer by Mr. Collins and refusal by Lizzy, Charlotte arrived in the midst of it all. She purposefully eavesdropped on Mrs. Bennet’s conversation with Mr. Collins and thereafter: “He [Mr. Collins] scarcely ever spoke to her [Lizzy], and the assiduous attentions which he had been so sensible of himself were transferred for the rest of the day to Miss Lucas, whose civility in listening to him, was a seasonable relief to them all, and especially to her friend.” (21)
“The Bennets were engaged to dine with the Lucases, and again during the chief of the day, was Miss Lucas so kind as to listen to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth took an opportunity of thanking her. "It keeps him in good humour," said she, "and I am more obliged to you than I can express." Charlotte assured her friend of her satisfaction in being useful, and that it amply repaid her for the little sacrifice of her time. This was very amiable, but Charlotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; -- its object was nothing else than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins's addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” (22)
And it worked. I do feel, however, Charlotte would never have entertained such a choice of action if she had felt there was any chance of her friend wanting/accepting such an offer.
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