Posted by Laura Wallace on November 18, 1997 at 13:29:31:
In response to It might be simpler than that., written by Kathleen Ann on November 17, 1997 at 22:04:32
It is possible that the conditions to inherit only specify that, when Mr. Bennet dies the estate (Longbourn) goes to the next closest, and eldest, male member of the family. There might be no requirement that the name of the person be Bennet. Only that he be the nearest and eldest male relative of Mr. Bennet.
That's possible, of course, but it would be very unusual and contrary to traditional patrilinear descent-- which doesn't require the last names to be the same, but does require for the estate to be inherited by sons of sons (which unless there is a deliberate name-change somewhere, would result in them all having the same surname). I think that Austen would have explained it in more detail if she meant it to be something so unusual.
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