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|Charlotte's respect for rank
Written by Line
(5/23/2007 6:42 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Rank and consequence..., penned by Moni
In one sense, I think Charlotte does respect rank for its own sake more than Elizabeth does. She is very practical-minded, and one for planning ahead, as we have seen. On the other hand, I don't believe she thinks superior rank = superior person, as her husband and father seem to do. I don't think the two examples you cite necessarily show her toadying excessively to rank.
1) IMO, Lady Catherine is a champion conversation-hogger - to the point where it's very hard for any listener to interrupt long enough to speak to someone else. You know the type - you nod and smile, and during the few seconds that you take a breath to utter a longer sentence, she's off again, making *you* feel rude for interrupting, or if you turn your head to speak to someone else, you've missed part of what the C.H. was saying! I don't think Charlotte is deliberately leaving Elizabeth hanging for Lady C's sake.
2) I can see Charlotte running from one room to the other if the men were almost at her door. Remember that great scene in P&P3 where the Bennets are busy relaxing in their messy living room, and how quickly it's transformed before their visitors walk in? Elizabeth and Maria may have appreciated the warning more than you think! ;-) I always took the expression about "the honour they might expect" as a small touch of humourous exaggeration, myself. Also, just because Charlotte spotted the visitors coming through her husband's study window doesn't mean that she had taken over sentry duty! I'm sure she occasionally went into the study for other reasons.
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