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The Tea Tray > In Defense of Lady Catherine

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Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments I have discovered that I rather admire Lady Catherine! Here's why:

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J. Rubino (jrubino) | 218 comments I think Elizabeth's assessment of Lady Catherine -that she had heard nothing that spoke her awful (that is awe-inspiring) from extraordinary talents or miraculous virtue) and indeed, we see that Lady Catherine doesn't even have those fundamental talents (music, for example) that most ladies had to some extent. I find her to be a meddler in the same style as Mrs. Norris, with the only difference a matter of wealth and social standing.
Austen/Elizabeth observe that she received them in a way that ensured her visitors did not "forget their inferior rank."
The matter of Anne's inheritance is interesting. Rosings was built by Sir Lewis deBourgh, and so the manner of disposing of it was up to him. It is likely that Lady Catherine talked him into an entail, rather than leaving it in his will - whenever, and why ever, it became obvious that Anne would be the only child, Lady C evidently wanted the property kept, to the greatest extent possible, in her line. So it was not entailed "[away] from the female line" by her husband. Since entails were generally written for heirs and not spouses, it's interesting that Lady C. seems to rule the roost if Rosings is, indeed, entailed upon Anne. But perhaps there is some sort of life interest.

JenniferMomLifeAsArt | 2 comments The lasting genius of Austen is that her character's have a fullness true to life... her goodies are not all good and the baddies are, only occasionally, all bad... though admiring Lady Catherine is a touch too far for me, Victoria makes some excellent points about the complexity of her character... her motivations for her daughter are, not only understandable, but follow the same lines as Mrs. Bennet's... and she was exceedingly generous to the Collins' in providing enhancements to their home and, let's face it, to entertain them... who doesn't like being invited to a fancy dinner...

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Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 506 comments The comparison to Mrs Bennet is an intriguing one. One could see the pairing as JA's dialectic on the absurdity of class distinctions. Both are fairly brainless and talentless, but because one is rich and of good family and the other not, they lead totally different lives and are respected or despised according to their circumstances, not according to their merit.

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Mary Catelli | 50 comments The depressing thought is that there were 19th century readers who thought a high-born lady like her added tone to the novel, and deplored other Austen novels for lacking them.

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Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 506 comments And what fun she must have had, mocking such people within her circle of family and friends!

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Mary Catelli | 50 comments And yet her nephew, telling how Kitty married a clergyman and Mary one of her uncle's clerks, went on to say that Mary "was content to be considered a star in the society of Meryton".

If she got over her pedantry and conceit to that extent, she could easily be as happy as her oldest sisters. Let us hope the snobbery was her nephew's.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments I appreciate this thread has lapsed a while, but as a newbie (!) I can't resist adding my tuppance-worth! So here goes: :)

What an interesting take on Lady C! I agree that we should not ignore her good points, even though they are nearly always flawed in both their motivation and effect. Yes, she does take an interest in her tenants and dependents, to their material good, but Austen also makes it clear she is highly gratified herself, and is definitely overbearing with it.

Of course, if one of the recipients is Mr Collins, then, as I think Lizzie points out to Mr D something along the lines of 'she could not have bestowed her favour on a more grateful recipient' (!). The two are obviously made for each other!

The 'pairing' of Lady C with Mrs B is definitely a fascinating insight and a new look on a familiar situation. (I can remember, a long time ago, being similarly enlightened when I read a positive critique of Mrs B, who is, after all, the only person who actually DOES anything - or tries to! - to stop her daughters ending up as poor and 'declasse' - five poor Miss Bates' in the making.....)

I've always felt sorry for poor little Anne de Burgh, and I do hope that perhaps her formidable mother might keel over with an apoplexy (caused, probably, by another full and frank exchange with Lizzie!), and leave Anne as an independent heiress, free to 'blossom' as I'm sure she could. :)

Lady C is one of Austen's 'comic' characters, but an unlikeable one for all that.

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Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 506 comments You're not the only one who feels for Anne de Bourgh--there's a whole subgenre of fan fiction stories that allow her to escape her mother and start a new life!

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Well, I hope she finds someone nice! I'm sure her cousin Darcy will be on hand to ensure she doesn't fall into the hands of another Wickam....

(ooh, there'sa possibility - Lydia dies in childbed, with the baby, Lady C has snuffed it, and Wickam spots a dastardly opportunity to be revenged on Darcy not by running off with Georgiana, but this time with newly enriched Anne De Burgh.....!)

(It's probably been done already though!)

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Austen/Elizabeth observe that she received them in a way that ensured her visitors did not "forget their inferior rank."


Doesn't Lady C suggest, with breathtaking rudeness such that you can't believe she actually said something that rude (!), that Elizabeth might play the piano in the housekeeper's room.....

SO insulting!

(Boy, does she store up Lizzie's 'vengence' by that - I would never forgive such an insult! I'd marry Darcy just to spite her!)

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QNPoohBear | 709 comments I don't have any sympathies or finer feelings for Lady Catherine. She's just purely awful. She's selfish, autocratic, condescending and not in a good way, officious and not at all generous. It behooves her to bring the Collineses over for dinner as her guests because then she can tell him what to say in his sermon. It makes her feel good that she's being generous and associating with people below her station. She does insult Elizabeth by telling Elizabeth basically to practice the piano because you're terrible at it. Then she says You can come here and practice but only in the servant's room so no one sees you.

She does not believe in education for girls in the modern sense. What she means is a proper young lady's education to make them accomplished in the manner Darcy outlines for Elizabeth at Netherfield. He adds improvement of her mind by reading, something Lady Catherine probably doesn't approve of. Reading gives people IDEAS! Ideas lead to people wanting to "rise above their station" or *gasp* marry for love/marry outside their station!

Would she not believe in entailing estates away from the female line had she a son?. Since Lady Catherine only has a daughter of course she wants her husband's property and her money to be passed to her daughter. What if she had a son and he was younger than Anne. Boys usually inherited everything regardless of birth order and I'm certain she would favor the son over Anne. Perhaps in that case, Anne might be less sickly and weak without her mother's interference!

I don't know how Charlotte puts up with Collins AND Lady Catherine.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Hard to argue with your assessment. I guess the sad thing about Lady C is that she is obviously a very capable woman, but not a nice one!

I think, actually, Charlotte may be glad of Lady C - her husband's constant sucking up and sense of being flattered by her attentions does help to get him out of the house, and therefore out of her hair!

Plus, Charlotte acknowledges to Lizzie that Lady C does have good ideas about how to keep a house clean etc, in terms of her cleaning tips. :)

I've always found Charlotte a really interesting character, and can never quite decide whether she made the right decision or not. In the end, I think she did, as her alternative was even worse - she would have perhaps not been as poor as a Miss Bates (as I think Sir William Lucas her father had put some money by, and I'm sure she wouldn't have been totally penurious, but she did have a younger sister to be looked after as well).

But by marrying Mr Collins she has definitely upped her social status and expectations (as Mrs Bennet so bitterly observes, for she is to be her successor) (and evict her from Longbourn!).

Plus, and I do think this is important, marriage was such a gamble for women (and men - think Mr Palmer and Sir Thomas Bertram, both married to idiots!)(however 'nice' their wives were), that Charlotte could have done a lot, lot worse than Mr Collins.

OK, so he was not, of course, in Mr Bennett's immortal words 'a sensible man' (!), but he wasn't cruel, or vicious, or callous or unappreciative. I think Charlotte manages him very well indeed (look at how she organises for her boudoir to be tucked away from him). And I think her good sense has the potential to rub off on him, and make him less 'not sensible' as the years go by.

Maybe, one fine day, when she is mistress of Longbourn, and has her male heir to it secure, Mr Collins might die, and she can have her own life finally?

I know the reading of PandP makes it pretty clear that Charlotte has made a mistake in marrying Mr C, but I'm not so sure, given what her reasonable alternative expectations were.

'Where does prudence end and avarice begin?' Lizzie asks - but I don't think Charlotte has strayed beyond prudence in her marriage.

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Jon  Blanchard  | 54 comments Just read the passage where Elizabeth dines at Rosings. Lady C does not suggest the piano in the housekeeper's room, but in her daughter's governess' room. "She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house." Darcy "looked a little ashames of his aunt's ill breeding."

An interesting contrast is with Mrs Norris, the other evil busybody. Whereas Lady C is awful because she has high social status, Mrs N is so evil because she has very lttle.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Ah, well, almost as insulting! And it's good that Darcy has noticed it as well - and criticises it.

Darcy's behaviour towards 'awful people' is interesting I think. He has no hesitation in condemning Mrs Bennet's vulgarity, nor Lydia's hoydenish behaviour, yet he puts up with his ghastly aunt and the even more ghastly Miss Bingley.

If he has 'true perception' - albeit, of course, a bit skewed initially about Lizzie! (as hers is of his equally!) (the entire plot driver!) - about some characters, he really ought to have 'true perception' of the others.

I can't believe he had the slightest regard or respect for the ghastly Caroline Bingley.....let alone Caroline's even more doltish brother in law.

One of my favourite aspects of the Colin Firth interpretation of Darcy was those repeated looks of grim, almost eye-rolling exasperation every time someone said or did something that annoyed him. Priceless!

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Mary Catelli | 50 comments Well, the thing is, he was already related to them.

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QNPoohBear | 709 comments I think Darcy tolerates Caroline because she's his best friend's sister. I know Edmumd Bertram couldn't see through Mary Crawford but I'm certain Darcy can see through Caroline. He sees through her behavior since he hasn't proposed! He's obviously NOT engaged to Anne or else Caroline would know and know he was taken or he could tell have Bingley tell her flat out he's promised to her cousin.

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Jon  Blanchard  | 54 comments I've just re-read the great scene between Elizabeth and Lady C.

There is nothing to be said in Lady C's favour. She enters the living room of a strange house uninvited, she make no apology, she does not introduce herself and she only acknowledges Elizabeth with a nod in response to Elizabeth first curtsying to her.

She ignores Mrs B and the others in the room.

This is exceptional bad manners or as JA would say ill breeding.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Yes, I do believe Darcy sees through Caroline, and that he only tolerates her because of Bingley (who is SO tolerant I'm sure he can't see the faults even of his own ghastly sisters!)

I hope for his and Lizzie's sake that the wretched Caroline snaffles her Marquis or whatever, to get her off their backs!

Yes, Lady C is insufferably rude, and it is a brilliantly satisfying scene, with Lady C meeting, probably for the first time in her life, someone who, gasp!, Answers Her Back!!!!!!

Does anyone recall the Laurence Olivier film version (updated to the 1830s, which I think were possibly the most hideous fashion period of all time, other than maybe the 14th century with the long curling toes and dreadful rhinocerous-style headdresses!)? Lady C is portrayed as more like the Dowager Lady Grantham, and fatally softened into someone crusty but loveable. (Not that the DLG is loveable by any stretch of the imagination, but she's a lot better than Lady C!)

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J. Rubino (jrubino) | 218 comments I think there is a similarity in desire that both Lady Catherine and Mrs. Bennet have, though from different motives. We can conclude that Anne is getting up in years for a Regency spinster - Lady Catherine tells Elizabeth that "while in their cradles, we planned the union" which suggests that the cousins were infants at roughly the same time - Darcy is 28, so Anne is probably a year or two younger (or older.) Lady Catherine obviously wants Anne to marry but from the selfish motives of preserving property. Since Rosings was built by the husband, and there is reason to believe it was entailed upon Anne, Lady C envisions a union that will see both Rosings and Pemberley preserved through her line.
Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, doesn't think along the same lines because the property is entailed away from her daughters. She wants her daughters married to keep them from sinking into poverty when Mr. Bennet dies.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments I guess it was the highest concern to any wife who had to think about what would happen if/when she was widowed. Lady C is definitely privileged in that respect, as she seems to have inherited Rosings outright, plus she knows it will go to her daughter, not some cousin as Mrs Bennet has to cope with.

We know from Sense and Sensibility that widows had NO rights at all to even going on living in the family property, let alone inheriting it, unless her husband had made provision (or there was provision agreed for her in the original marriage settlements - ie, her father had provided some kind of dowry that would revert to her for her lifetime.) It's a hallmark of the Austen 'irresponsible parents' that Mr Dashwood senior had not bothered to protect his second wife (even more vulnerable that a widow who the mother of the heir, unlike the second Mrs Dashwood). His relying on his son and the ghastly daughter in law is a sure sign he falls in to the Bad Father category for Austen.

(I've always hoped that the ghastly Fanny might die a painful death in childbed, and that the weak and malleable husband might then realise how badly he's treated his half-sisters, and make amends. And then, who knows, have a happier second marriage himself. )

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments It's always struck me as strange that Longbourn was entailed on Mr Collins, not because he 'was not a sensible man' (!!!!), but because he isn't a Bennet!

After all, if he's descended from a Bennet daughter (who'd married his father/grandfather etc), then obviously inheritance COULD go through the female line, so why can't Jane Bennet inherit Longbourn directly from her father?

There must be some good reason, as I'm sure Austen was well aware of inheritance and entail rules. But I've never read a satisfactory explanation!

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QNPoohBear | 709 comments Collins, Sr. or even his father was likely adopted the way Jane Austen's brother Edward Knight was adopted.

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Mary Catelli | 50 comments Huh. You're right. That's odd.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments That's a possibility, that he was adopted, but given how the whole inheritance business was focussed on blood lines, one would think that a female 'of the blood' (even a relatively humble ordinary gentleman with a small estate - the Bennets are clearly at the lowest end of the upper classes!)(as Lady C obnoxiously points out to Lizzie - 'Who is your mother, your father?.... to which Lizzie can (only) reply - 'Mr Darcy is a gentleman and I am a gentleman's daughter', claiming parity at that essential level)......

.....that it would be better for a blood relative, even if only a female, to inherit, rather than it passing out of the bloodline completely to an adopted male.

(I sort of assume the Knights had no children/nephews/nieces at all? And did Frank's adopted parents in Emma?)

Sometimes, when there was only a female heir, the man she married would, if not change his name, then at least double-barrel his and hers, and marshall their arms as well.

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Jon  Blanchard  | 54 comments Beth-In-UK wrote: "That's a possibility, that he was adopted, but given how the whole inheritance business was focussed on blood lines, one would think that a female 'of the blood' (even a relatively humble ordinary ..."

Beth quoted Lady C saying “ 'Who is your mother, your father?”

That’s not quite accurate. Here is the full passage. Lady C to Lizzie

“If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have brought up.”

“In marrying your nephew I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman. I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal.”

“True. You are (underlined) a gentleman’s daughter. But who was your mother?”

In other words Lizzie gets Lady C to concede they are in the same social sphere, even if the Darcys are much wealthier. But in mentioning the mother, Lady C scores her best point. Lizzie has repeatedly felt that her mother’s behaviour will discouraged suitable men.

But Lady C, who clearly doesn’t know what good breeding is, only objects to the mother on social grounds. Mr Darcy Senior was not only wealthier than Mr Bennet but better married, to an earl’s daughter rather than a small town lawyer.

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QNPoohBear | 709 comments Girls don't inherit. Period. End of story. They still don't and they didn't in Downton Abbey either, we know that from the first episode. If Mr. Bennet had had a son he intended to break the entail and sell Longbourn to give the girls money for their dowries. In the case of Jane Austen's brother Edward, there were some distant legal heirs who tried to lay claim to his inheritance. Jane was worried about losing her beloved home where she was happy and free to write her novels. The stress of the law suit along with her second edition of Mansfield Park and Emma not selling as well as she had hoped, may have caused Jane to have an Addison's crash that killed her.

About the fee entail in Pride and Prejudice

More on the Collins-Bennet relationship from the Republic of Pemberley with the information I posted above about adoption. I'm quoting that part here too

"The reason that Mr. Collins has a different surname than Mr. Bennet, even though they are patrilineal relatives, is undoubtedly that someone in one or the other of their two lines (i.e. either Mr. Bennet, his father, or paternal grandfather, etc.; or Mr. Collins, his father, or paternal grandfather, etc.) changed his surname on receiving an inheritance from a non-patrilineal relative. This was done relatively frequently among the "genteel" classes, and there are several examples of changing surname, or adding another surname hyphenated to one's original surname, among Jane Austen's near relatives (her brother Edward and his children changed name from "Austen" to "Knight" when he became the heir of a cousin and cousin's wife named "Knight"; Jane Austen's uncle added the surname "Perrot" to become "James Leigh-Perrot" upon inheriting from his great-uncle Thomas Perrot; and later Jane Austen's nephew James Edward Austen changed his surname to "Austen-Leigh" after inheriting from James Leigh Perrot and his wife)."

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Terence - thank you for going back to the text (I was too lazy!)

I can remember Lizzie being mortified by her mother (and Lydia), and yes, it is the 'weak point' in her argument, if she is going to argue on those grounds at all.

SNPoohBear - thank you for those links, which I will read at leisure! Interesting re the explanation of Mr Collins's name, but it would have been helpful for Austen to mention that - unless, of course, it was indeed so common that it wasn't worth mentioning! (That said, she makes a point of it re Frank in Emma, but maybe that is because his natural father is still alive?)

Females must have been able to inherit where no entail was involved, as it was not unusual for them to bring property to a marriage. And surely Lady C is very keen for Anne to be the heiress to both the money and the Rosings estate?

(I once asked a lawyer chum if entails were still extant in property law, and she thought not - as in, they would always be breakable. She pointed out that most estates now go into Trust - to minimise death duties etc. These days, in the UK, it is getting harder to actually disinherit any of your children, however badly behaved they are! If they can claim they are dependent on you - eg, if they are feckless idiots! - they can now apply to overturn the will and get their greedy claws in. Bah!)

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments (I think that claim may have been possible since the 1970s act called something like Marriage and Dependents Act??) (But I think it was usually applied to widows, to ensure they were not left destitute if the property passed to children?)

Tricky business, writing a will!!!!! :)

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QNPoohBear | 709 comments Girls could inherit unentailed estates but it was assumed they'd marry and their property would then pass to their husbands. In Jane Austen's time married women didn't have any legal rights. They were considered property of their husbands. If a gentleman wanted to keep his estate in the family he would usually pass it on to the next male heir ... like a third cousin from Manchester who works as a lawyer. ;-) Titles didn't usually pass through the female line with a few exceptions. Some women inherited property and passed it on to other single female relatives. I highly recommend watching Professor Amanda Vickery's At Home with the Georgians (and reading her book Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England). I want to read The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England but keep forgetting to get it when I'm at the library.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Speaking of third cousins from Manchester (who CAN you be thinking of!), I believe the current Scottish Duke of Atholl (?) is an offshoot of a family member who went off to Australia at some point. His inheriting descendent is still an Australian (as in, lives and works out there), but returns once a year, dons all the kilt etc, and is 'on show' for various ducal events around Blair Castle (including having his own private army - apparently the only one in the UK, granted, I think, by Queeen Vic), and then, ducal duties over, he removes the kilt and heads back to Oz for his 'real life'!!! I think the estate itself is all in trust etc, so he does not own it, but his son, I assume, will be the next duke etc.

I saw this on a very good (and rather sad) programme about the last dukes of Britain (I don't think they are being created any longer, only royal ones like Prince Harry)....some, very sadly, only have their titles left (and their robes and coronets!), and their massive estates are long gone. Must be very hard I think, to have the title but not the estate.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments As an aside, speaking of lawyer cousins from Manchester (!), I've been rewatching DA (I suspect the telly put them on prior to the film opening), and my fave bit is where Lady Mary (boo, hiss!) discovers that the despised and plain Jane, pathetic sister, Lady Edith is going to be a marchioness and OUTRANK HER!!!!!! Oooh, it was a sweet moment! Go Edith!

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments QNPoohBear - thank you for those links, and I will pursue them! So much fascinating material 'lifting the lid' on women's lives ....definitely 'Herstory' (not sure if that term is still used, it was in my youth).

In respect of women/property rights etc, I'm sure I remember reading in passing that when Mrs Gaskell received her royalties from her publisher, her husband helped himself to the cheque!!! She didn't have any legal title to the money she'd earned....

(I think they were relatively happily married, but even so - ooh, the cheek of it!)

(I think it's one of the reasons I like, qv, The Grand Sophy so much, that she is very keen on having her own bank account! Go Sophy!)

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J. Rubino (jrubino) | 218 comments Entails vs inheritance is an interesting issue. The fact is, women could certainly inherit real property, though, unless it was preserved in a trust, it would pass to her husband upon marriage. If a property was "free" property - that the owner could dispose of at will - he could certainly leave it to a daughter, to his wife, to any other female. She was also free to sell it. Until the Married Women's Property Act in the 1880s, legal principles of coverture gave the husband claim to the real property, income and deprived a wife of making contracts without her husband's consent.
An entail was written to preserve the property in the family line. The inhabitants of an entailed property were not owners, they were tenants for life. Most entails specified that the line was to be male. So unless there is a son, the property goes to the next male relation, however distant - Mr. Collins, or, in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the humble elderly clergyman, James Desmond, who is next in line to the Baskerville entail unless Sir Henry marries and produces an heir.
I highly recommend Wendy Moore's "Wedlock", the true story of England's richest Georgian heiress whose disastrous marriage and campaign for a divorce (nearly impossible for men and even harder for women to obtain) addresses woman and property issues. Also worth looking at the life of Baroness Burdett-Coutts, England's richest woman in the Victorian era, a spinster until age 67 when she married a man nearly 40 years her junior.

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments All fascinating stuff! Just off the top of my head, I vaguely recall that Lady Holland, doyenne of the Whigs, had either herself been married to someone else, or possibly Lord Holland was - whichever it was, and whoever needed the divorce (requiring an Act of Parliament in those days!) (so in practice only possible for toffs!), their first son was born BEFORE they could be legally married. So it was the second son (born after they were married) who became the heir to the title. It must have been very hard for the firstborn! Lady H was I think 'not received' by 'respectable' women, but ran a very lively salon from Holland House in London (bombed during WW2, and now only ruins and the orangery remains, though the grounds are now the rather lovely Holland Park south of Notting Hill - there is an open air opera season held in the summer near the remaining ruins. Bits of it are a youth hostel I think.)

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I absolutely hate Lady Catherine. How rude she was to Lizzie!

message 37: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinacz) | 55 comments Florence wrote: "I absolutely hate Lady Catherine. How rude she was to Lizzie!"

Lady C had her own mutual admiration society with her, herself and Mr. Collins. lol

message 38: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments TIna, there's a wonderful line where Darcy and Lizzie are talking as they walk around the grounds at Rosings, where Lizzie says something like 'Lady Catherine could not bestow her favour on a more grateful recipient'....even Darcy smiles at that. (Well, he does in the Colin Firth version!)

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments I think Lady C was pretty grim as a parent as well. Poor Anne. Totally crushed.

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Sienna Rose (siennanotes) | 4 comments I am disappointed with Lady C. We have heard so much good things about her from Mr. Collins and I had high expectations from her. Lady Catherine truly is capable of many things. She is smart, she is generous, she lovers her daughter, she is frank, and she values women's education. Unfortunately, you can't have everything for she has a horrible personality. She is rude to Lizzy and she emphasizes class distinction. I know she have confronted Lizzy because Lady C cares about her daughter and her family but it was still very rude. Thankfully, Charlotte carries along well with her because Lady C keeps Mr. Collins away from the house.

message 41: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments I think Charlotte knows just how to handle both Mr Collins and Lady Catherine.

I suspect, given time, she may get closer to poor little Anne de Burgh too, who definitely needs a friend, poor thing.

I'm not sure how truly generous Lady C is, though - she only does things that benefits herself, doesn't she?

Lizzie is about the only person who ever stands up to her.

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Mr Collins is very silly to like Lady Catherine so much. I think that he is just impressed by her rank in society.
It is very lucky that Lizzie is not like that - otherwise she wouldn't have married Mr. Darcy.

message 43: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Florence, it's one of the delights of the book that Mr Collins sucks up to Lady C all the time! The Colin Firth TV version does it great justice, and shows how obsequeious he is to her, and how ridiculously impressed - eg, saying how much the windows at Rosings cost!

Each of them, Mr Collins and Lady C, brings out the worst in each otehr - for our delight!

I'm sure Austen must have enjoyed creating those two characters, and especially the scenes they have together.

message 44: by [deleted user] (last edited May 29, 2021 01:04AM) (new)

I agree: Mr Collins is very entertaining and so are his affections towards Lady Catherine.

message 45: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart | 120 comments Collins is the answer to my trick question, "How does Austen use metaphors?"

The short answer is, she doesn't. The longer answer: she doesn't except for Collins' pretty speeches (and it's significant that she's making fun of Collins).

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Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments Ooh, that's an interesting issue - does Austen use metaphors??

What about the classic 'meaning to have spring again' that she uses in the autumnal walk in Persuasion, watching the farmer plough the post-crop field 'meaning to have spring again' which is surely a metaphor for Anne's own 'second spring' of love and romance!!!

You've now set a good hare running, and I shall have a think about other possible metaphors!

message 47: by Martin (new)

Martin Rinehart | 120 comments When I searched P&P for metaphors I was looking in the most obvious places. The visit to Pemberley, for example. (I was looking for descriptive passages, and even those were rare.)

I would have certainly missed the double-entendre of the farmer (literally plowing in expectation of spring) and Anne's second bloom.

message 48: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK | 1192 comments It's the only one I can think of offhand, and I probably read it in a lit.crit book at some point!!

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