Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sense & Sensibility, Volume II, chapter 13 (ch 35)

Take one unpleasant, bitchy encounter between Elinor and Lucy Steele, sprinkle it with a helping of Edward-come-to-see-Elinor awkwardness, and mix it all together with an exuberant Marianne's open comments, et voilà: the perfect recipe for a painful visit all around.

Our scene opens in a sitting room containing Elinor Dashwood, who is thinking that she dodged a bullet in not being able to marry Edward, since his mother is such a horror.

[Enter Lucy Steele]: OMG! Did you see how very, very much Mrs Ferrars likes me? I've got no reason to be afraid of her at all.

Elinor: She seemed very . . . civil to you.

Lucy: Civil? She was practically fawning all over me. And there can be no reason for her to fawn all over me unless she really, really likes me.

Elinor: I have to say that if she behaved like that after knowing about your engagement, you'd have a point, but as things stand . . .

Lucy: I figured you'd say that. But I won't let you spoil my fun. Also, why did you never tell me how super-nice your sister-in-law was?

Elinor: *bites own tongue since an honest response would be improper*

Lucy: Are you feeling sick or is it merely envy of me eating at you like a worm? Because you look like crap. And goodness knows how I'd amuse myself if you weren't here for me to torture!

Elinor: O_o

Lucy: Anyhoo . . . you simply MUST tell your sister-in-law how eager I am to fawn over her. And really, Mrs Ferrars MUST really like me, because man, I could tell she hated YOU by the way she acted, and although I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, I'd have noticed if she were treating ME that way!

Elinor: O_o

Austen: This is good and awkward, but I'm pretty sure I can make Elinor and Lucy squirm harder.

[Enter a Servant followed by Edward Ferrars.]

Servant: Mr Ferrars here to see Miss Dashwood.

*Edward starts to greet Elinor warmly, then realizes Lucy is in the room.*
A brief recap of the knowledge status here: All three of them know that Edward is engaged to Lucy and that Edward has feelings for Elinor. Edward, however, doesn't know that Lucy has told Elinor. I imagine this playing out like one of those soap opera love triangles, with close-ups of each person's eyes as they look from one to the other. But I'm equally happy with how it's been depicted on film, which I'll share at the end of this post.
Edward: *debates whether to make a run for it, but soldiers on*

Elinor: I am happy to see you, and I'm sorry I wasn't home when you called before.

Lucy: *glares at Elinor, watching her carefully*

Elinor: Allow me to provide a status update by monologue, since Lucy is refusing to play nicely and you, Edward, are obviously too shaken up to function normally. *prattles on for a bit* I'll just pop upstairs to fetch Marianne, shall I?

Austen: *chortling* THIS will make everything still worse!

Marianne: *flies into the sitting room in raptures at seeing Edward, while shooting pointed "GO AWAY" looks at Lucy*

Marianne: Edward! I'm so happy to see you!

Marianne: *makes goo-goo eyes at Elinor and Edward, singing "Edward and Elinor, sitting in a tree" under her breath*

Edward: Are you okay, Marianne? You look a little peaked.

Marianne: Don't think about me. *sniff/breath catch* ELINOR looks wonderful, doesn't she?

Edward: I . . . cannot be allowed to have a response to that.

Marianne: I hate London and you are the only good thing about this place and when we leave, you can keep us company, okay?

Edward: I cannot be allowed to have a response to that either.

Marianne: We had dinner with your mother and sister and it was deadly dull. WHY WEREN'T YOU THERE?

Edward: "I was engaged elsewhere."

Austen: *rocks with laughter, wiping her eyes*

Marianne: "Engaged! But what was that, when such friends were to be met?"

Lucy: I guess you think that ALL young men fail to keep their engagements, huh?

Elinor: *wonders how much damage she can do to Lucy with a pair of embroidery scissors*

Marianne: *answering earnestly* No indeed. Edward is the best of men. *goes on to hit the nail on the head, if she were talking about why he's stuck with Lucy Steele (but of course, she's not, because she doesn't know about the secret engagement - imagine this as Marianne simultaneously pounding nails into all three of her hearers): "I am very sure that conscience only kept Edward from Harley Street. And I really believe he has the most delicate conscience in the world; the most scrupulous in performing every engagement, however minute, and however it may make against his interest or pleasure. He is the most fearful of giving pain, of wounding expectation, and the most incapable of being selfish, of any body I ever saw."

Edward: I can't stand the guilt anymore. I've gotta bounce! *leaves*

Lucy: Ordinarily I'd stick around to make you all miserable, but I've had enough for one day. *leaves*

Marianne: Why does Lucy Steele turn up here so often? And why wouldn't she GTFO when Edward arrived?

Elinor: She's known him longer than we have. I'm sure he doesn't mind seeing her.

Marianne: You know, Elinor, it's comments like that that make me want to hit you for being too damn rational. *leaves*

Elinor: *Hopes Edward doesn't come around too often, possibly while trying to find out where Mrs Jennings hides the liquor*

Austen: *cackles and rubs her hands together with glee*

And now, that film clip I promised, but if you watch it and haven't read ahead, by all means stop at the 4 minute mark (when you see the gold-plated Jordan almonds) It starts during dinner the prior evening:

Kiva - loans that change lives

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