They were all in high spirits and good humour, eager to be happy, and determined to submit to the greatest inconveniences and hardships rather than be otherwise.
What an upsetting set of three chapters! It is a roller coaster ride of emotion. Austen, as usual, nails it. The participants for their various reasons, will put on a show, will act “appropriately” in order for social happiness to occur.
Yet, look at what happens. The longed for visit is put off because Col. Brandon has to leave quickly. I found myself rather surprised at how upset I was at his treatment. He was mocked. He was asked to put off his trip. This is a circumspect man, and he doesn’t share things easily, but he made it clear, this was an emergency, and yet people decried him as selfish. I did not like these people.
Marianne and Willoughby refuse to allow their day to be ruined, so they take off, by themselves, away from the crowd. Folks, this is terrible behavior! We later find out they visited a house, the house belonging to someone that Marianne was not introduced to beforehand. This is another rule of social decorum broken.
I think for those who don’t read Austen, she is regarded as someone who is quite proper, yet look at the things mentioned! Illegitimacy, secret engagements, a beautiful young woman celebrating her own choices even against society’s viewpoints…
I find it interesting that all that Mrs. Jennings reported about what happened between Willoughby and Marianne was true…what does that mean? Does that mean she isn’t just a gossip and will say anything? Or is she to be trusted?
This argument between the sisters is, I think, really important:
“I am afraid,” replied Elinor, “that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”
“On the contrary, nothing can be a stronger proof of it, Elinor; for if there had been any real impropriety in what I did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure.”
“But, my dear Marianne, as it has already exposed you to some very impertinent remarks, do you not now begin to doubt the discretion of your own conduct?”
“If the impertinent remarks of Mrs. Jennings are to be the proof of impropriety in conduct, we are all offending every moment of our lives. I value not her censure any more than I should do her commendation. I am not sensible of having done anything wrong in walking over Mrs. Smith’s grounds, or in seeing her house. They will one day be Mr. Willoughby’s, and—”
“If they were one day to be your own, Marianne, you would not be justified in what you have done.”
What say you?
So currently, Willoughby’s allowance is about $70,000 a year in 2020. He does not work for this money. He gets to do with it what he will, and he frequently pleads poverty. So far in this novel, we have several people with money issues. (Yes, I am making a huge understatement.)
Willoughby’s love of the cottage—his heart is with this family…
Are Willoughy and Marianne engaged?
Does it matter if it is unstated if everyone believes it to be so?
Willoughby is leaving. Remember when Colonel Brandon and much was made of his leaving, even the rudeness of his doing so? Note that Willoughby is not treated in such a rough manner. I found that interesting, and it has to be deliberate on Austen’s part, in the sense that the two incidents are so close together. Another example of foiling, and clearly something I need to do in my novel.
Not only is Willoughby leaving, and not explaining the reason, but he is going away for a year!
He leaves with these his last words:
He stopt. Mrs. Dashwood was too much astonished to speak, and another pause succeeded. This was broken by Willoughby, who said with a faint smile, “It is folly to linger in this manner. I will not torment myself any longer by remaining among friends whose society it is impossible for me now to enjoy.”
Why is it impossible to enjoy their society? Is it simply because he is now leaving? Hmmm.
Marianne is understandably distraught.
But whatever might be the particulars of their separation, her sister’s affliction was indubitable; and she thought with the tenderest compassion of that violent sorrow which Marianne was in all probability not merely giving way to as a relief, but feeding and encouraging as a duty.
This is Marianne’s work that she has been preparing for. That comes off as mean. I think that Marianne is devastated, and I feel sorry for her.
This exchange between Elinor and her mother is amazing, and I want to memorize Elinor’s comment.
You will tell me, I know, that this may or may NOT have happened; but I will listen to no cavil, unless you can point out any other method of understanding the affair as satisfactory at this. And now, Elinor, what have you to say?”
“Nothing, for you have anticipated my answer.”
Of course, her mother could not grasp Elinor’s view and nor did she want to.
What a powerful chapter.
What is going on with Willoughby? Are Marianne and Willoughby engaged or were they ever? Who is right? Mom or Elinor?
I love these chapters.