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|Why don't they like Lady Middleton?
Written by Barbara
(9/19/2012 10:24 p.m.)
I can never read through this section of the book without feeling that the Dashwood ladies are a little too particular about which people they will approve of or not.
When they very first arrive at Barton, Sir John comes to see them, but we find that "Lady Middleton had sent a very civil message by him, denoting her intention of waiting on Mrs. Dashwood as soon as she could be assured that her visit would be no inconvenience."
Then when they meet her, although they find she has graceful, elegant matters and is 'perfectly well-bred' , they are put off by her because she lacks Sir John's 'frankness and warmth' and that she was "reserved, cold, and had nothing to say for herself beyond the most common-place inquiry or remark."
Does this not seem a little harsh? These are her husband's relatives, not hers. He has met them before (when he went to Stanhill) and she hasn't. This is the first time they have met. Not everyone has a naturally outgoing personality such that they are instant fast friends with someone they only just met. To me, her reaction seems pretty natural and the Dashwood ladies seem like they are not giving her a fair chance.
Then, when they go over to Barton Park, although they find the house has elegance and they are met with hospitality, the judgement is that Sir John and Lady Middleton "strongly resembled each other in that total want of talent and taste which confined their employments, unconnected with such as society produced, within a very narrow compass. Sir John was a sportsman, Lady Middleton a mother. He hunted and shot, and she humoured her children; and these were their only resources."
Again, I'm wondering exactly what they expect from someone they just met? Lady Middleton has four young children aged six and under. I think it is pretty natural that they would preoccupy her a great deal!
I'm not really defending her, just wondering if maybe our Dashwood ladies, much as we love them, are a little snobbish towards people who don't behave socially as they do?
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