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|Lady Middleton & Charlotte Palmer (chapters 17 to 25)
Written by Robbin
(10/5/2006 6:12 a.m.)
Lady Middleton is all reserved elegance and Charlotte Palmer is all open good humor; they are complete opposites. There is little to consider when thinking of the relationship between these two because there is really no interaction between them. I think one of the funniest lines in the current chapters is this one which sheds some light on not only the sister’s relationship but that of the entire family.
But Sir John would not be satisfied -- the carriage should be sent for them, and they must come. Lady Middleton too, though she did not press their mother, pressed them. Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Palmer joined their entreaties, all seemed equally anxious to avoid a family party; and the young ladies were obliged to yield. (Chapter 19)
This anxiety must be extreme to motivate Lady Middleton to press anyone, let alone Elinor and Marianne who do not fawn over her children or have anything in common with her. Of course Charlotte is very silly and perhaps she has as little personal resources to entertain as Lady Middleton so the anxiety of being only a family party, which is a bit tongue in cheek, may have a great deal to do with the probability of boredom setting in rather than a particular dislike for each other—either way however, they do not wish to be alone together for the space of an entire evening.
"I am so glad we are got acquainted at last," continued Charlotte. "And now I hope we shall always be great friends. You can't think how much I longed to see you! It is so delightful that you should live at the cottage! Nothing can be like it, to be sure! And I am so glad your sister is going to be well married! I hope you will be a great deal at Combe Magna. It is a sweet place by all accounts." (Chapter 20)
I do find some surface similarities between them and Elinor and Marianne—they are in a way their own version of Sense and Sensibility. Elinor and Lady Middleton both exhibit a calm demeanor; Elinor’s demeanor is calm because despite the problems and disappointments she faces her emotions remain under control while Lady Middleton pretty much has no emotions to control. Marianne is eager but fastidious in her friendships; Charlotte is also eager but unlike Marianne is ready to approve and be friends immediately. I think the main difference between the two sets of sisters is that Elinor and Marianne have a substantial affectionate relationship and Lady Middleton and Charlotte Palmer a bland indifferent relationship. If I use my imagination I see a very talkative Charlotte and a very silent Lady Middleton saying little of import between them. ;D
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