Miss Charlotte Bartlett

February 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dame Maggie Smith as Miss Charlotte Bartlett (right)

Rooms with character

Speaking of spaces dedicated to characters, no character is as deserving of such a space as Charlotte Bartlett—Lucy’s older, financially disadvantaged cousin-cum-chaperone. Throughout the novel, Charlotte makes every attempt to keep her charge from entangling herself with the younger Mr. Emerson… or does she?


He whispered: ‘Is it this? Is this possible? I’ll put a marvel to you. That your cousin has always hoped. That from the very first moment we met, she hoped, far down in her mind, that we should be like this—of course, very far down. That she fought us on the surface, and yet she hoped. I can’t explain her any other way. Can you? […] She is not frozen, Lucy, she is not withered up all through. She tore us apart twice, but in the rectory that evening she was given more than one chance to make us happy. We can never make friends with her or thank her. But I do believe that, far down in her heart, far below all speech and behaviour, she is glad.’

‘It is impossible,’ murmured Lucy, and then, remembering the experiences of her own heart, she said: ‘No—it is just possible.’ (195-196)

Despite her fusty appearance, it turns out Charlotte is something of a romantic herself. A guest room in her honor will feature fabulous fabrics from Gretchen Bellinger in varying shades of brown.

Before she could speak, almost before she could feel, a voice called, ‘Lucy! Lucy! Lucy!’ The silence of life had been broken by Miss Bartlett, who stood brown against the view. (63)

A color often associated with “plain-Jane” drabness, brown is made stunningly beautiful in gold-flecked velvets and sequined sheers.

Gretchen Bellinger Samples

Charlotte’s guest room bath will feature a magnificent soaking tub… there may only be room for one, but that’s no reason why she can’t treat herself!

Fab Soaking Tubs

A note about a name

It did not do to think, nor, for the matter of that, to feel. She gave up trying to understand herself, and joined the vast armies of the benighted, who follow neither the heart nor the brain, and march to their destiny by catchwords. […]

Lucy entered this army when she pretended to George that she did not love him, and pretended to Cecil that she loved no one. The night received her, as it had received Miss Bartlett thirty years before. (162)

Dun dun dun!:

Charlotte Bartlett… “march to their destiny by catchwords”…Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations… you get the point.

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You are currently reading Miss Charlotte Bartlett at Pension Bertolini.