Category Archives: Romania

Pride and Prejudice characters: Charlotte and Mr. Collins

Charlotte & Collins

For a woman who came from a family of clergymen — her father, two brothers and four cousins wore a collar — Jane Austen certainly enjoys poking fun at them in her novels. And Pride and Prejudice’s  Mr. Collins is her most ridiculous clerical caricature. How on earth does sensible Charlotte wind up with such a buffoon?

A clergyman was a professional, just like a lawyer or doctor. He made his living in the pulpit, not at the bar or in the examining room, but he still needed to be a well educated man. Add to that a vicar needed have a high moral standard, be a good speaker and have compassion for the poor and needy.

David Bamber is Mr. Collins  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

David Bamber is Mr. Collins in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Instead we get conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly, self important Mr. Collins. He is a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, a social climber with a very good opinion of himself and his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

He comes to Meryton to visit the Bennets. As closest male relative he is set to inherit the Longbourn estate on Mr. Bennet’s death. That is something, to his credit, that he feels some guilt over. So he decides to marry one of the five Bennet sisters. Jane is all but engaged to Mr. Bingley so he sets his sites on Lizzie.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Poor Lizzie receives two of the worst proposals  of marriage in literature. The first is from Mr. Collins. He wants to get married because:

  1.  as a clergyman it would set a good example to the parish.
  2.  it will add to his happiness.
  3.  it is “the particular advice “ of Lady Catherine.
  4.  he has a violent affection for Elizabeth

Of course he doesn’t expect a rejected. For one thing he’s SUCH a catch, and for another he’s chosen well. The girls are desperate and he has them in a corner.

He literally can not believe that she declines his offer. Neither can her mother. And for a while Longbourn is long born with strife.

Queue Charlotte.

Charlotte Lucas is plain, pragmatic, good-tempered, funny, sensible, intelligent and unromantic.  She is 27 years old and Lizzie’s intimate friend. She’s such a good friend, in fact, that she comes to the rescue when Lizzie refuses Mr. Collins. She keeps him in good humor by listening to him and, one assumes, diverts him, making sure he’s out of ear shot of the shouting Mrs. Bennet and the giggling Lydia and Kitty.

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lizzie thanks her friend,  but “Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; — its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” With a little encouragement on her part Mr. Collins transfers his ‘violent affections’ form one lady to the next and…

”In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both… he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men… and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.”

Lizzie is surprised that Mr. Collins could so quickly change his mind  and settle on another life partner. But she is astonished that Charlotte could accept his proposal.  Charlotte reminds her however that she is…

”not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”

In some ways Charlotte winds up in same situation as Mr. Bennet in the marriage department. Neither of them respect or love their partners. And both do what they can in daily life to avoid interacting with their spouses Mr. Bennet shuts the door to his library, while Charlotte sits in her parlor and encourages Mr. Collins to work with his bees or visit Lady Catherine.

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

At the end of the novel Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins informing him that — despite warning to the contrary by both Collins and Lady Catherine — Lizzie and Darcy are soon to marry. Mr. Bennet advises Mr. Collins to  “Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.” If Mr. Collins heeds this wise advice he’d shift his alliance to Darcy who would never put up with the vicar’s toady behavior. That, combined with Charlotte’s even handed temper–which (hopefully) would rub off on Collins–MIGHT make him a more tolerable fool.

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Here’s a clip of the wonderful Julia Cho and Maxwell Glick in a scene from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…

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Thought of the Day 10.29.12 Marie of Romania

Love, Faith, Courage with these three we can win the world..”

–Marie of Romania

Marie Alexandra Victoria, Princess Marie of Edinburgh, was born on this day at Eastwell Park in Kent, England in 1875. Today is the 137th anniversary of her birth.

She was the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred of England and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia and the granddaughter of Queen Victoria  on her father’s side and of Tsar Alexander II on her mother’s side. Because of  her double royal lineage she was considered highly suitable for a Royal match of her own.

When Marie was 17 she was married to Prince Ferdinand of Romania, a German raised nephew of King Carol I of Romania in Sigmaringen German in 1893. Ferdinand was 27 at the time. They had 6 children. Three boys and three girls. However, the marriage was not a happy one and The Princess took a lover, Barbu Stirbey. It is likely that Mircea (and possibly Mignon and Ileana) were Stirbey’s.

In 1914 King Carol I died and Ferdinand took the throne. Marie became Her Majesty the Queen of Romania but the couple were delayed in becoming the King and Queen until after World War 1.

During the War Princess Marie influenced the country to side with the Allies (and away from the Germans), she volunteered with the Red Cross  and nursed the sick and wounded. Her book My Country raised money for the Red Cross.

When WWI was over and the Allies were trying to figure out how to partition Europe and scold Germany, Marie herself went to Versailles and represented Romania. She wooed the ministers so much that they gave back territory that Romania had lost and promised not to partition her. [GEH — Queen Marie of Romania Study Notes]

Queen Marie [Image courtesy Alexanderpalace.org]

Ferdinand and Marie were finally crowned in 1922. She was determined to be a modern queen.

A Queen who was not stuck in the Victorian time warp like Queen Mary of England, and a Queen who listened to her people and made herself available to her people. [Ibid]

Queen Marie was very popular and travelled through out Europe and the US.

The Queen, on the right, traveling in Europe. [Image courtesy Alexanderpalace.org]

Although she was close with her younger children she was never on good terms with Crown Prince Carol (who became King Carol II after Ferdinand’s death in 1927). After Carol’s coronation he excluded his mother. She remained the Romania and wrote her two-part memoir, The Story of My Life. 

She died after a sudden illness in 1938. Following the Queen’s instructions her heart was removed from her body and kept at a cloister at Balchik Palace. The rest of her remains were interred with her husband.


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