Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sense & Sensibility, Volume III, chapter 3 (ch 39)

This one could be subtitled "Colonel Brandon: Man of Action, Man of Honor". At least, that's how I think of him, and I doubt I'll get much argument from any of you reading this. (Feel free to surprise me, however!)

Having heard the rumors in St. Petersburg (and no, that reference to the song from Anastasia never, ever gets old to me), Colonel Brandon arrives to engage in a tête-à-tête with Elinor, in which he asks her to summon Edward Ferrars and to convey Brandon's offer of the living at Delaford. As the owner of Delaford, it is within Brandon's purview to assign the living of the local church, and he is happy to be able to offer Edward the position of vicar (which, as discussed in yesterday's post is to be preferred to a curacy.

The living will only provide Edward with about £200 a year, which won't be enough to constitute a competence (remember the discussion between Marianne, Elinor and Edward about this issue back in Volume I, chapter 17? Well, Austen sure does - she's already started to round up all the chickens scattered through this manuscript, and this is one of them), but it will be enough to support Edward in his bachelor state until he can find a better position or some other form of income.

Oh, Mrs Jennings!

I love Mrs Jennings. She's been shipping Brandon and Elinor for a while now - at least since Marianne's breakdown - and she thinks that Brandon wants to offer Elinor his hand in marriage, so she moves farther from them (and closer to the pianoforte) so as not to eavesdrop, then keenly watches them in an attempt to suss out what's going on. She overhears just a few words here and there between Marianne's songs to cause her to believe he has just made Elinor the least romantic proposal ever, when that is decidedly NOT the case.

Poor Elinor!

She is left with the entirely unenviable task of summoning the man she loves to a private meeting in which she will offer him the Delaford living at Colonel Brandon's behest. We have a deliciously awkward meeting ahead of us in the next chapter. I can hardly wait to turn the page!

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