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|Charlotte still has sense…
Written by Robbin
(5/24/2007 7:47 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Charlotte's respect for rank, penned by Line
I agree that Charlotte does know the difference between superior rank and superior persons and she has separate acclaim for both when need be. I agree Lady Catherine is a conversation hog and that Charlotte is not purposely ignoring Lizzy. Perhaps dinner at Rosings comes with a lecture followed by a question and answer session. Lady Catherine does all the lecturing and questioning and everyone else does all the listening and answering except for compliments being directed at the hostess.
Her daughters listened in silence to this effusion, sensible that any attempt to reason with or sooth her would only increase the irritation. She talked on, therefore, without interruption from any of them, till they were joined by Mr. Collins, who entered with an air more stately than usual, and on perceiving whom she said to the the girls, "Now, I do insist upon it, that you, all of you hold your tongues, and let Mr. Collins and me have a little conversation together."
Elizabeth passed quietly out of the room, Jane and Kitty followed, but Lydia stood her ground, determined to hear all she could; and Charlotte, detained first by the civility of Mr. Collins, whose inquiries after herself and all her family were very minute, and then by a little curiosity, satisfied herself with walking to the window and pretending not to hear. In a doleful voice Mrs. Bennet thus began the projected conversation: -- "Oh! Mr. Collins!" (Chapter 20)
I did not think of Charlotte taking over sentry duty while Mr. Collins was at Rosings paying his respects, I hope she has not but otherwise it is a lucky coincidence she saw them coming. It is not a far-fetched idea and I think Charlotte makes her luck rather than waiting around for it to find her. Remember when Charlotte showed up during the confusion at Longbourn after Lizzy rejected Mr. Collins and to satisfy her curiosity remained in the room to overhear Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins talking.
There were two nephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for Mr. Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitzwilliam, the younger son of his uncle, Lord -- -- , and to the great surprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, the gentlemen accompanied him. Charlotte had seen them from her husband's room crossing the road, and immediately running into the other, told the girls what an honour they might expect, adding --
"I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me."
Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment before their approach was announced by the door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen entered the room. (Chapter 30)
Charlotte knows Mr. Collins has gone over to pay his respects to Lady Catherine’s nephews and if he stays only for the obligatory fifteen minute visit then she would not have to be watching for long, she may only need to check every now and then when she estimates he will be returning. News is news, right—even if it comes from Mr. Collins. It is possible Charlotte was doing something other than sentry duty in Mr. Collins book room but it is also possible she was. Looking closer at the description of this passage what I note is that everyone is surprised at the visit and Lizzy has barely enough time to disclaim all right to the compliment before they are at the door. I think you are probably right that Charlotte wanted to be in place in a tidy parlor before the gentlemen enter the room and that is why she ran—that makes sense and relieves Charlotte of some silliness. How gratifying. ;D
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