Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sense & Sensibility, Volume III, chapter 12 (ch 48)


Elinor now found the difference between the expectation of an unpleasant event, however certain the mind may be told to consider it, and certainty itself. She now found, that in spite of herself, she had always admitted a hope, while Edward remained single, that something would occur to prevent his marrying Lucy; that some resolution of his own, some mediation of friends, or some more eligible opportunity of establishment for the lady, would arise to assist the happiness of all. But he was now married; and she condemned her heart for the lurking flattery, which so much heightened the pain of the intelligence.
Haven't we all done this? Hoped against hope for something that we know isn't going to happen? Austen nails how this feels, I think.

I will note - for readers who have read Mansfield Park (and I know at the very least that Jenn Hubbard has done so) - that the way Elinor envisions Lucy Steele behaving once she's a parson's wife is almost exactly how we see Mrs. Norris behaving in Mansfield Park: sucking up to the local landowner in order to get as many perks as possible (be it eggs from their henhouse, butter from the dairy, produce from their gardens or household items while trying to appear as if they aren't entirely parsimonious. Like Mrs. Norris (yes, the cat in Harry Potter is named after the character), Lucy is not a particularly smart girl, but she wants to appear better than she appears.

Elinor, usually so calm, cool and collected, gets herself totally bent out of shape with EVERYONE IN THE WIDE WORLD because NOBODY is sending them anything - a letter, a newspaper clipping, ANYTHING about Lucy & Edward's marriage. ANGST! ANGST! ANGST! FINALLY we see the cracks in her armor. She even asks her mother when she'll be writing to Colonel Brandon as a way of seeking news, only to be told that Brandon will probably show up in person when . . .

HOSHIT! It's Edward! He has come to ruin a perfectly good pair of scissors! But let's go to the film, shall we? (Technically, the film is a spoiler, since this chapter ends with her crying and him off walking, but I trust you will all forgive me.)

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