her uncle, the lawyer

Category: Class | Type: Historical | Title: Mansfield Park (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter I

That Lady Bertram's uncle was apparently a country lawyer suggests the middle class into which she was born. Country lawyers, as opposed to London barristers, were not so esteemed as most were to become by mid-century when the professions in general acquired greater respectability. Lawyers, especially country ones, were regarded as high-grade tradesmen who were paid for writing wills, vetting deeds, handling tenant leases, etc. 

We get a sense of the gap between a lawyer and a baronet in P., where the lawyer is deferential to the point of obsequious.

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