Monday, November 01, 2010

Sense & Sensibility, Volume II, chapter 3 (ch 25)

Dear Mrs Jennings,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways--

I love that how good-hearted you are, asking the Dashwood sisters to come to London with you for the Season. I mean, sure, you're looking forward to being a yenta, but you are also (in your way) looking out for their best interest. You want companions for yourself, having gotten rid of Charlotte last year (and she's knocked up already - quick work, Mr Palmer! Bravo!), but you are also looking to provide them with a good time, and with a social life they can no longer afford for themselves.

I love that you try to barrel over Elinor's initial refusal, and that you are so quick to point out how easy it is for you to accomplish, and to emphasize how you won't be put out (even though, of course, you truly will be put out a bit).

I love that you are self-deprecating, talking about how you think they'd be more comfortable together so they can laugh at you behind your back. I think, by the way, that it's this chapter where I truly started to love you the first time I read this book, by the way. Since I know how things go, I love you from the start these days when re-reading, but I'm pretty certain this chapter truly was where I started to realize how much I truly like you.

Dear Sir John,

I know that I've already liked you since the first time you burst onto the pages of this book, but I love how truly observant you are here, noticing even when Elinor does not that Marianne truly wants to go to London.

Dear Marianne,

Your single-mindedness is alarming. You've barely managed to be civil to Mrs Jennings or Sir John despite their good natures and good intentions, but you're more than willing to take them up on their kindness when it suits your desire to (perhaps) see Willoughby again. Your self-centeredness is disturbing. If I thought you would suddenly be civil to Mrs Jennings as a result, I guess I wouldn't mind, but I (like your sister) am pretty certain you won't be.

Dear Elinor,

I am so sorry. Sorry that you are suffering. Sorry that you are going to have to go to London, and that you might have to see Edward. Sorry that you are going to have to babysit Marianne, who seems likely to make a fool of herself. Sorry that you feel you have to "throw yourself on the grenade" in order to preserve Mrs. Jennings's feelings. Sorry that your mother doesn't have the sense to see that if Willoughby hasn't come back or contacted Marianne, then chasing him to London might be ill-advised.

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