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Written by Stephanie
(3/13/2013 2:11 p.m.)
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. (ch. 30)
Why would they hear the door-bell? Would Mr. Collins ring the bell to enter his own house? Would a servant need to be called to do honour to the guests, so this, despite being called a 'door-bell,' is really servants' bell?
In Northanger Abbey, ch. 28, Catherine and Eleanor hear the 'house-bell,' and assume it is the arrival of Eleanor's eldest brother, and later discover it to be Eleanor's father, instead. Is this a door-bell, too? Would the returning proprietor, or his heir, need to ring his own house's bell, to beckon servants, or to give notice that their rooms need to be readied, etc.?
I have been having fun, thinking of Hunsford and Northanger Abbey having a little bell over the door to notify the inhabitants of the door opening, like a little, family-owned shop today! If anyone knows the reality of this detail, I am metaphorically all ears!
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