Shelves in the Closet?

While writing about getting creative with space, a classic moment from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice came to mind:

(Mr. Collins) “Lady Catherine de Bourgh herself was kind enough to suggest that these shelves be fitted exactly as you see them there.”
(Elizabeth Bennet) “Shelves in the closet. Happy thought indeed.”

I could not remember, however, if this moment took place in the book. I was struck by a burning desire to discover the truth. As it turns out, Mr. Collins does not show Elizabeth his closet with the newly placed shelves, but he does mention the shelves when he first visits Longbourn.

Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by many people he knew, but he had never seen any thing but affability in her. She had always spoken to him as she would to any other gentleman; she made not the smallest objection to his joining in the society of the neighbourhood, nor to his leaving his parish occasionally for a week or two, to visit his relations. She had even condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, provided he chose with discretion; and had once paid him a visit in his humble parsonage; where she had perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, and had even vouchsafed to suggest some herself, — some shelves in the closets up stairs.shelves-in-the-closet 2

If Lady Catherine were alive today, I’ll bet she would have had an interior design blog!



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