P&P: Behind the Scenes: A Party at the Philips — 17 Comments

  1. Very interesting missing chapter. It seems so entirely plausible. Mrs. Phillips’ reaction is humorous, although she would be pushing for the match as much as Mrs. Bennet. Charlotte has always impressed me as being observant and practical. You have brought this out here. I love Charlotte’s observations and how sje observed Lizzy’s reactions to Collins. The rapidness of the upcoming engagement is not surprising. Thank you for a lovely post.

  2. This was a wonderful chapter. You managed to make Mister Collins almost likable, and you gave us a glimpse into how Charlotte came to accept him eventually. I always felt that her acceptance in P&P was terribly jarring as well as extremely practical. Here we get a little insight into Charlotte’s thought process, and it is entirely pomprehensible. I now have a better understanding of two characters, and I can see how and why Charlotte made her decision. It also gives us a glimmer of how she managed him later on, and it is clear that with nine brothers, Charlotte has a better, if slightly jaundiced, understanding of men than Elizabeth does. Elizabeth has her quirky father and the men in their social circle as a point of reference, but on a daily basis, doesn’t see them as often as Charlotte does. Charlotte sees men more as they are and has a much clearer understanding than Elizabeth who is sometimes too clever for her own good. What I especially enjoyed was that these two characters came into their own, and became more than plot devices. They will still be driving and furthering the plot in their way, but behind that, I will see them as real three dimensional people. Despite Mister Collins oddities and exasperating gaffes, he will be someone to stand by a woman who was frequently overlooked. I really enjoyed this peek into Charlotte’s heart and mind. She is a woman who provides balance for her friends and family, and that very quality makes it so easy for them not to see who she really is. I love how intuitively you understand these people, and make it easy for us to understand them too. Despite having read Austen and a lot of fan fic over the years, I still managed to miss what was always there. I will never see them or judge them in the same way after this. Like Elizabeth, I have a lot to learn!

    • Thank you Mari! Getting past the plot device and trying to create fully formed characters was exactly what I was going for with this scene. It is so easy to make them caricatures, with their very distinct and peculiar traits. I wanted them to be characters.

      I agree that their engagement in the original is jarring, if practical. It is a fascination plot twist, but it always kind of bugged me as happening a little out of the blue. It was a treat getting to be in Charlotte’s head, exploring why it all panned out the way it did.

  3. Yes, Charlotte’s quick and insightful mind weighs Mr. Collins in the balance more than fairly. She sees which way the matter lies with regard to Jane and Lizzy (as her mother points out quite astutely), and Charlotte later proves her mother’s perceptive observations as she plays whist with Mr. Collins, weighing every word. She obviously notes the elements of the ridiculous about him–which is all that Lizzy sees or cares to see–but she also peers into his mind and heart, noticing his joy and satisfaction and his willingness to be led (as her mother observes when they first meet him). Lady Lucas’s vast experience with *nine* brothers explains her adroit sizing-up of Mr. Collins at their first meeting, an occurrence which embarrasses Charlotte but later she takes into account as she plays cards and finds him teachable and willing to follow her lead.

    Brilliant writing, Maria Grace–it explains soooooo much about how Charlotte was able to pursue Mr. Collins so immediately. And she is obviously the best match for Mr. Collins, far more so than Jane, Lizzy, or even Mary who may or may not have the acumen to lead him without his awareness of the situation. 😉

    Thank you for this insightful and amusing glimpse into the machinations at a seemingly-innocuous card party…. 😉

    Susanne 🙂

    • Thanks, Susanne. I really do think Charlotte would have thought enough of her friendship with Elizabeth to defer to Elizabeth had Elizabeth been willing to accept Mr. Collins. Since that was clearly not the case, she felt free to move in quickly. I’m glad this was able to explain Charlotte a bit and make the whole situation a little more relatable.

  4. I really enjoyed this insight into Charlotte, especially the conversation with her mother. As a missing scene, it really adds a much needed explanation rather then simply expanding on favorite parts of the existing story. Thank you so much for your imaginative peek into Charlotte’s point of view.

  5. Interesting fill-in to canon. Even in the movie versions we see Charlotte with her own sitting room while she encourages Mr. Collins to be in his garden and he, of course, has to visit Lady C. daily and has to sit in his library/book room to watch the front road in case Lady C. drives by or drops in. So Charlotte is a manager. And security is what that day-and-age was all about. Wise woman, from that viewpoint.

    • I have always wondered if Charlotte also ended up managing Lady Catherine to a certain degree. It would be interesting to explore how that relationship ended up looking over time. Thanks Sheila!

  6. Thanks for a very insightful evaluation Mari! I agree with you completely on every point you made. I wish I could have written such an excellent comment!! You really put to words all my thoughts on this lovely little snippet.
    I really enjoyed all of Charlotte’s thoughts and the bit of humanization of Mr. Collins.

    • Thanks, Sue. I think it is really easy to make Mr. Collins a caricature rather than a character. While that is fun, I think it is interesting to explore how he might have looked as a real person. Sometimes seeing someone through another’s eyes can shed some real insight. You guys are making me seriously think about developing this little bit further…hmmm…

  7. I concur with the others that you have done a wonderful job showing how Charlotte could have come to accept Mr. Collins so quickly and with such confidence. Even if she was just being practical in accepting him, it would have been natural that she have some trepidation if she hadn’t already seen some glimmers of hope for a good life with him. Your scene showed just how that could have come to be.

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