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Anne de Bourgh, Basic Character Information

Anne de Bourgh is the daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her mother expects her to marry her cousin Darcy though we are not told her opinion on the subject.

Basic Information:

Age: Unknown, but somewhere around Darcy’s age

Primary Residence: Rosings Park in Kent

Parents: Sir Lewis and Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Other Family: Anne de Bourgh is the granddaughter of a previous earl of —, and the niece of the current earl of —. She is cousin to Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Colonel Fitzwilliam’s elder brother. She was apparently named for her now-deceased aunt, Lady Anne Darcy.

Physical Characteristics: Maria Lucas wonders at how “thin and small” she is. Elizabeth sees her as being pale, thin, small, sickly and cross with insignificant (though not plain) features. Mr. Collins describes her as having a “sickly constitution” and “indifferent health” but being otherwise charming, that she would adorn the rank of duchess rather than be adorned by it, that her health has “deprived the British court of its brightest ornament” and quotes Lady Catherine in saying that she is “far superior to the handsomest of her sex; because there is that in her features which marks the young woman of distinguished birth.”

So basically, we know that she is thin and small and suffers from poor health of some sort.

Personality Characteristics: We don’t know much about her besides that she is typically quiet and apparently is fond of driving her pony cart and that she occasionally stops to speak with Charlotte Collins, but rarely goes into the house. Anne de Bourgh does not have any direct dialogue in the text to let us know more about her.

What to call her:

  • Anne – close friends and family
  • Miss de Bourgh – everyone else, as Anne is the only daughter it is always correct to address her as Miss de Bourgh (see this post for more information).  She does not get to use the title of “lady” because her father was not an earl, marquess, or duke.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Anne is about Darcy’s age, since they were in craddles at the same time. 😉

    The description of Anne is from Lizzy’s POV. I’m not sure it can be trusted as objective. We also have Collins’s description of her as the opposite extreme.

  2. Good points, I’ve updated the entry to reflect your information and to include Mr. Collins’s opinions on her beauty. I’m rather ashamed that I didn’t consider Elizabeth’s bias as I have generally held that the portrayal of Lady Catherine is biased because we see it through Elizabeth’s perspective.

  3. Nothing to be ashamed of! Austen leads us astray all the time, no doubt having great fun while at it. I still imagine her writing and thinking how much she'll mess in people's heads. Basically the entire P&P is written in such a way that everything would seem different on first reading.

  4. I Personally do not feel that Anne is at all sickly. Her mother is so overpowering and controlling that Anne has to find a way to protect herself from her mother's outbursts. Better to yes her to death. Anne is definitely does not have as strong a character as her mother. Or does she??? Her companion Mrs. Jenkinsen is her confidant perhaps if (which I plan on doing) Anne's character was developed more and we heard conversations between her and Jenkinsen, we may see a whole different Anne. Maybe an Anne who can finally fight back.

  5. I believe that it is implied that Miss de Bourgh is the result of past inbreeding. The first indication is that the family clearly prefers (as is consistent in the text) that one would select a mate from one's own first cousins. The second is that Lady Catherine refers to her daughter's "birth" as "superior" and "handsome[ ]", indicating that it is the nature by which she was conceived (rather than of her upbringing, which would perhaps be stated in a different manner) that allows for her appeal.

    Keeping marriage–and therefore inheritance–'in the family' was strongly desirable to many noble families. A theme of the text is Creating Alliances between families, and ensuring that the alliances were fortuitous. Unfortunately this resulted in duplication of genetic code, and would occasionally result in an individual's having a "sickly constitution".

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