Maybe it wasn't
Posted by Linden on February 11, 1998 at 17:55:47:
In response to Visiting Pemperley, written by Constanza on February 10, 1998 at 15:33:00
] Was it customary for strangers to go and visit other people's houses, like the Gardiners in P&P? Was it only allowed when there was nobody at home? Was everybody admitted? Help, please!!!!
Theres a contrived feel to this in P&P. JA is very careful to say that they have visited other stately homes - she wants to minimise the raging co-incidence of Lizzy meeting Darcy just at the right time.
Is there any record outside P&P of strangers touring houses? If it was normally done, it would seem an obvious plot device for getting people to meet outside the normal circle of acquaintance. So if nobody but JA mentions it, maybe the Gardiners' activities were unusual.
I doubt if everybody was admitted: they'd have to be gentry (or looking as if they were, like the Gardiners). You can't imagine your average agricultural worker being given much of a welcome in Pemberley.
It's not like the current practice of guided tours, run by the National Trust or the few remaining owners of stately homes. That's done as a means of raising revenue to pay for the upkeep of the place, or pay off death duties.
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