by Jane Austen
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Persuasion Society and Class Quotes Page 4

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Quote #10

Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately gratified by the circumstance. It was creditable to have a sister married, and she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn; and as her own sister must be better than her husband's sisters, it was very agreeable that Captain Wentworth should be a richer man than either Captain Benwick or Charles Hayter. She had something to suffer, perhaps, when they came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a future to look forward to, of powerful consolation. Anne had no Uppercross Hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family; and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a baronet, she would not change situations with Anne. (24.5)

Mary's view of class – where it's not only about how your relations compare to other people, but also about how you compare to your relations – requires a balancing act. She wants Anne to do well so that Mary is pulled up by her success, but not so well that Mary looks bad by comparison.

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