Lady Russell seemed to value Anne as her sisters valued themselves; they thought that as baronet's daughters, they were the bee's knees. Yet despite trips to London, Elizabeth couldn't catch anyone and the best that Mary could do was a gentleman farmer. Mary's insistence on her precedence over her MIL tells us all we need to know about her. As the widow of a mere knight, Lady Russell was presumably dazzled by a hereditary title. This is part of what makes Persuasion
Austen's masterpiece; manifest absurdities in earlier books is much more subtle.
In all Austen's books that society is somewhat more fluid than appearances indicate initially, with denizens of the middle class achieving gentry status and some in the upper reaches greatly reduced in circumstances. Still no hope for the submerged tenths, admittedly.
Originally Posted by caleb72
I remembered your comment when I came to that part and have to confess that I giggled.
Glad you got your giggle in the middle of all that wistfulness.