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|An establishment /reaction to Wickham.
Written by Mandy N
(2/5/2004 7:36 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Clarifying Darcy's letter, penned by Art
An establishment is a formal name for a household. It need not be presided over by a lady companion. It is normally a large house with the mistress and master and possibly their family, which may include older relatives and a hierarcy of servents. On a country estate a steward administers day to day matters among servants. At an establishment like Netherfield; servents will include footmen, housemaids, scullery maid, Miss Bingley's two (?) maids.There may have been a butler but a Regency butler wore a leather apron rather than the tailed coat of the Victorian butler. I don't know if Mr Bingley had a valet to keep his clothes in order and fill his bath. There would be estate workers as well.I think the Head Gardener was the most important outside servant responsible to the steward. There were 'small establishments' as well.For e.g some large farmhouses were called 'manor houses' and if you had 3 indoor servents and 5 acres, you had an establishment! It is really a flexible term and also relates to the British establishment in general- Houses of Parliament, Law courts,Eton school, Oxford and Cambridge, gentlemens' clubs, British museum, Tate Art Gallery and afternoon tea, polo, and riding are estalished social practises for the upper middle and upper classes. Marriages are still made to establish connections or for money in the aristocracy. It's all very interwining and really a subject for L&T board :)... Pertaining to your question, I think Darcy was so sickened at his chance discovery he probably couldn't bear to even look at George Wickham let alone speak to him. If Darcy felt obliged to make communication, I guess he felt he could only do so by writing. Actually in P&P2, don't Darcy and Wickham exchange words after the Ramsgate discovery? Pardon length of post.
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