Sense and Sensibility Volume 2 Chapters 13-14

Chapter 13

Let’s tell the truth here: Lucy Steele is a bitch, and not in a good way. She is in rarer form than usual here.

This chapter is wonderful, and I had to take a break from it. Austen has built this house so well. She has shown us Elinor and Edward. She had revealed a secret engagement and suggested a third possible entanglement for Edward.  She has created a restrained and, even perhaps, overly civil character in Elinor, and a jealous, ignorant, and hypocritical one in Lucy. And while Lucy shares so much, always in order to either give Elinor pain or to gather information, Edward remains a secret.

We don’t know what will happen, but the tension is high, and then Edward enters the room. We haven’t seen him since Elinor found out about the engagement. Edward doesn’t know what Elinor knows. Wow. Just brilliant set up. I love how Austen follows this amazing meeting by describing each of the characters. What a change from everything that came before. I feel like I need to read this chapter several times.

Chapter 14

This is the last chapter of the volume, and in some ways, it seems a let down from Ch. 13. That is not the right term, for I am not disappointed by it, but while it does ratchet things up a bit, perhaps the most important being that the Steeles join Fanny, and Elinor misconstrues this, it doesn’t have the tension of the previous chapter. It’s an intriguing way to end things.

To derail things a bit, I don’t understand why the ladies can’t stay at Mrs. Jennings’ place. Just because she isn’t there? I get the sense it might be because Mrs. J. is afraid they’ll be bored? I would hate this so much. And I have to say, I’m sympathetic with Lady Middleton. I don’t like her, but man, if I got saddled with people I didn’t like who I knew didn’t like me on a daily basis for 8 or more hours a day, I’d be unhappy about this too! I also feel bad for Anne Steele. Yes, she is vapid and so on, but the narrator tells us even given a minute of attention would be enough to satisfy her. She’s not evil like her sister. I think a little kindness could be extended to her.

We meet in this chapter the coxcomb Robert Ferrars, and of course he is Fanny’s brother. Such a jerk. And, like Elinor, I wonder how Edward emerged a mostly decent human being though I am no longer surprised at his diffidence. He was surrounded growing up with a terrible mother, sister, and older brother. Poor Edward. I recommend therapy.

But I am grateful to the meeting with Robert for one thing. He says many stupid things (and I keep thinking of Michelle Obama’s comment that billionaires aren’t really very smart). Austen has Elinor clearly disagree with pretty much everything Robert is saying, but being Elinor, of course, she doesn’t voice this. Instead, the narrator tells us:

Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.

This is what I’ll be writing, paraphrased a bit, in response to racists and anti-covid people. I can’t wait.

The John Dashwoods again turn out to be greedy turds thinking only of themselves. I, personally, think it was a great escape that Elinor and Marianne didn’t end up with them. Ugh.

So we close out Volume 2 with the Steeles ensconced at the John Dashwoods, Edward has not done anything to clear things up, and Marianne continues to be in a bad way. Things do not look good.

Sense and Sensibility Vol. 2 Chapters 10-12

Chapter 10

Again—Jane does not disappoint. So much is happening in these three chapters. Her sustaining of conflict is admirable.

So much fun—our foray into farce and absurdity.

Marianne no longer defends Willoughby after learning of his abysmal treatment of Brandon’s relation. Good—Marianne is such a changeable character, I didn’t no what to predict.

Mom thinks they should stay in London—and maybe she is right. Of course, as always, it is Elinor who suffers. ON the other hand, Elinor doesn’t share her feelings or situation. Knowing her family, I think this makes sense; on the other, they don’t know how she suffers. It’s an interesting conundrum.

The friends are actually kind to Marianne, kinder than I would expect. In this case, again, mom is right and Elinor not correct. On the other hand, the friends increase their raillery against her. But, as they too don’t know the truth…. Also interesting is that Lady Middleton is the easiest person to put up with:

Every qualification is raised at times, by the circumstances of the moment, to more than its real value; and she was sometimes worried down by officious condolence to rate good-breeding as more indispensable to comfort than good-nature.

Add to it that Lady Middleton cares for nobody but her own horrific children, and she’s perfect.

Added to the  difficulties is that Mrs. Jennings has decided that Col. Brandon and Elinor are meant to be together, and she has them married within 6 months.

The Steeles return. For reasons I do not understand, one of the first things I think about when I think of the novel is Anne and the doctor and how she enjoys being teased about his attentions. My brain will not let this go, much as Anne does not want the teasing to stop.  More important, of course, is Lucy and how sly and mean she is. Is it that she is jealous of Elinor? Or does she just enjoy having power over someone? Does she resent Elinor for being a better person than she is? None of these are exactly right. What do you think?

Chapter 11

Can somebody, as if you are speaking to a five year old, explain to me what bespeak and bespoke mean? We use bespoke more commonly in the 21st century. I know in Austen’s use in this chapter it meant “order,” but reasons I don’t understand, my brain glitches whenever I hear this word. Commonly, I’ve heard the phrase “bespoke tailor.” Not sure why I can’t wrap my brain around this.

We learn, again, in this chapter and the next, how Austen feels about the very rich. John Dashwood, who owes his step-sisters so much, does absolutely zero for them, and manages to both show off how much money he has and how he has increased it, while at the same time pleading poverty.  My notes explain that part of John’s recent increase in wealth comes from inclosure. This was the practice where land that had been held (or at least treated) commonly for use of all, gets fenced in by the wealthy landowner. Now the water and the grass is for his animals, and the oppressed farmers  no longer have access increasing their poverty. This is exactly the sort of thing we would expect John Dashwood to do.

It is an amazing performance. For John, everything is about money. There is no friendship, no romance, no meeting with anyone where money is not the key object or discussion point. It is really appalling. And, he still manages to slip in how upsetting it is that his family had to purchase linens and silver since Elinor’s family so selfishly removed things from the home.

John agrees with Mrs. Jennings in that Elinor should be with Brandon. Because money.

And it is in talking to her brother, that Elinor learns that Edward is betrothed to a Miss Morten, who has 30,000 pounds so is thereby incredibly desirable.

Edward, who is by no means a player, sure seems to get around.

Everything is a commodity to John. The friendship with Mrs. Jennings is valuable only in what she might leave the young ladies. Marianne, because of her illness, is no longer as beautiful as she once was and cannot expect to get paid as much as she would have previously. She’ll probably only go for 5 or 600 pounds which is real shame.


Chapter 12

Something else in Mrs. Jennings favor: her attitude towards Fanny is not warm.

Interesting to me is that Fanny knows about Edward’s affection to Elinor. That surprised me. It certainly didn’t seem like something Edward would share with her—so I think that indicates that everyone who saw them together were aware of the attraction.

The party that Austen creates is delicious and would have been only more perfect if Edward were there. Such a gathering of mostly terrible people who should really, for the most part, dislike each other, and poor Elinor, though because she had stepped back and away can observe with some pleasure, what is happening. Lucy desperately wants to twist the knife, and Elinor gives her no satisfaction. That was delightful to me. Elinor also discovers that she actually despises Edward’s mother, so part of her is thinking, “that was some escape!”

So much to love here, but I will point out Austen’s extremely negative opinions of Middleton, Fanny, and Edward’s mom as wanting in sense, temper, elegance… and Marianne’s comment on the stupid argument over the height of the boys “that she has no opinion to give as she had never thought of it.” I do think I am much closer to Elinor than Marianne in spirit, but I would definitely (and have) made such remarks. Good for you, Marianne!

Marianne’s defense of her sister is wonderful and so inappropriate. Of course, she is right though for reasons I don’t quite get, Elinor is wounded by all of this. Now I feel the need to slap her.

We end perfectly with Marianne bursting into tears and John Dashwood, who always understands exactly what is happening, talking eagerly to Col. Brandon on how Marianne has lost her looks and how robust Elinor is. Ah, romance.

Sense and Sensibility Vol. 2 Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7

What a chapter!

Marianne’s despair, Mrs. Jennings kindness. Austen’s cleverness at saving the content of Marianne’s letters till after the revelation of Willoughby’s heartlessness. What an ass! How cold he was. How distancing. Wow.

Very powerful, Marianne’s scream of agony. This is no put on. This is pain from her soul.

They were never engaged! Ah, then it is OK. Willoughby’s trifling is all fine. I know—no one is saying that. But Marianne opened herself up to all sorts of nefariousness, encouraged, in part, by her mother. If only someone had warned her…

Elinor still doesn’t share what happened with Edward, and this permits Marianne to unintentionally wound her. Wow again.

Despite his cruelty, Marianne chooses Willoughby over the world. I don’t know—is this because her pride will be too hurt to believe her taken in by a player? Is she hoping that this isn’t over?

I kind of hate Marianne at the end of this chapter.

Chapter 8

Mrs. Jennings continues to attempt to be kind. I begin to find her annoying again, but she is trying. She does not understand how serious this whole thing is. I’m not sure if that is because she sees it as a crush or if she herself doesn’t take things very seriously so expects others not to as well.

I did not understand why Marianne attempted to engage socially. It doesn’t go well, though I was impressed she made the attempt? Very unMariannelike. I think it was a mistake.

Gossip is so important in this novel. Frequently, people get necessary information from overhearing conversations.  For example, Mrs. Jennings learns about Willoughby’s impending nuptials:

Fifty thousand pounds, my dear. Did you ever see her? a smart, stylish girl they say, but not handsome. I remember her aunt very well, Biddy Henshawe; she married a very wealthy man. But the family are all rich together. Fifty thousand pounds! and by all accounts, it won’t come before it’s wanted; for they say he is all to pieces. No wonder! dashing about with his curricle and hunters! Well, it don’t signify talking; but when a young man, be who he will, comes and makes love to a pretty girl, and promises marriage, he has no business to fly off from his word only because he grows poor, and a richer girl is ready to have him. Why don’t he, in such a case, sell his horses, let his house, turn off his servants, and make a thorough reform at once? I warrant you, Miss Marianne would have been ready to wait till matters came round. But that won’t do now-a-days; nothing in the way of pleasure can ever be given up by the young men of this age.” (emphasis mine)

What has changed in the 21st century? Yes, yes, but in so many ways, in people’s values good and bad, we are so similar.

Willougby and Marianne broke so many social rules, and naturally, the only one that is hurt is the woman.

At the end of the chapter, Mrs. Jennings believes that one good thing that will come of this is that Brandon will get his shot. I like that Brandon is upset at Marianne’s great unhappiness. He does not sport gaiety over Willoughby’s dispensing of Marianne.

Chapter 9

Elinor tells Marianne to express her feelings, to share what is bothering her. This is pretty amazing from Elinor who so often practice restraint.  Note that she feels unable to share her own feelings.

Marianne once again, wears me down by her inability to appreciate anyone but a very small circle of people. Her injustice to Mrs. Jennings, for example is extreme:

“No, no, no, it cannot be,” she cried; “she cannot feel. Her kindness is not sympathy; her good-nature is not tenderness. All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”

Elinor had not needed this to be assured of the injustice to which her sister was often led in her opinion of others, by the irritable refinement of her own mind, and the too great importance placed by her on the delicacies of a strong sensibility, and the graces of a polished manner. Like half the rest of the world, if more than half there be that are clever and good, Marianne, with excellent abilities and an excellent disposition, was neither reasonable nor candid. She expected from other people the same opinions and feelings as her own, and she judged of their motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself. Thus a circumstance occurred, while the sisters were together in their own room after breakfast, which sunk the heart of Mrs. Jennings still lower in her estimation; because, through her own weakness, it chanced to prove a source of fresh pain to herself, though Mrs. Jennings was governed in it by an impulse of the utmost goodwill.

I find Marianne wearying and selfish.

And later, when someone knocks at the door and it is discovered to be Col. Brandon, Marianne again lashes out with:

“It is Colonel Brandon!” said she, with vexation. “We are never safe from HIM.”

Of course, mom is cool—after all, she approves of the engagement and finds Willoughby wonderful; and Elinor is good because she puts her own self down in order to help her sister; and Willoughby, well, he’s great too and no doubt was lured by this new woman, or told things by evil people about Marianne.  Hmph.

Still, I think when people think of Austen they think proper, yet twice now she has mentioned illegitimacy, and the whole story about Willoughby as seducer is kind of shocking, but to me, not so much in the subject matter, but in that he appeared so heroic, so handsome, so romantic, and yet he is horrible. And it is clear from the story that many people know this about Willoughby, and yet, he is accepted in society (as was Brandon’s brother). The point is, Austen is not  shy about pointing out how pointedly different men’s lives are from women’s. Men get away with so much and women are destroyed. Oh well.

And such might have been the fate of Marianne (nah—she would have had Elinor and mom, but the sentence from society on her family would have been harsh).

So, while I probably am appearing to be terrible, I kind of want to slap Marianne and say snap out of this.  OK I will reserve judgment to see how she takes the news of Willoughby being a bounder.


No punches are being pulled.

Sense and Sensibility Vol. 2 Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4

For this chapter, I will be a bit discordant—my fault, not Austen’s.

Poor Elinor. She feels roped in. She is leaving her pleasant cottage with her family she cares about to go to London. She assumes it will not be that interesting as she is basically doing to babysit her sister, and what she really needs is time to grieve Edward.

Since I keep talking about Austen as a writing coach, I have to say one of the lessons I think I learned from her is my love of really long sentences. This is not something that is really appreciated today. I do love and appreciate Hemingway, and am glad for how he changed literature, but man, Austen’s beautiful prose of multiple clauses works for me.

OK, mea culpa, I was wrong about Mrs. Jennings. I think I would still find her annoying—I don’t enjoy her kind of humor—but she has been unfailingly kind to her guests. She is cheery, and she had dialed down her raillery. She also seems cognizant of Marianne’s issues and has not teased her, or Elinor. I am really appreciating Mrs. Jennings. She is more perceptive (not the right word) more compassionate? Than I thought.

Marianne throws caution to the wind and writes to Willoughby. She is made miserable, but then! The knock at the door! The manly tread and it’s it’s……..Brandon!

Oh Marianne. Oh Col. Brandon.

Marianne sinks into ennui.

Charlotte Palmer is met and there is “laughter without cause” which is the perfect way to describe her.

We have the pain of a secret engagement—Austen does a nice job of showing the difficulties when one enters into such an arrangement. There are reasons why society has rituals and expectations, and Marianne is learning a really hard lesson.

And, Marianne reveals herself even more to being incredibly selfish. She, I think, if so accused, would say she is being true to her feelings, but the fact is, she is using Mrs. Jennings, and really  Elinor, as well. Her sole interest in going to London is to see Willoughby, and to hell with everyone else. I do not like Marianne right now, and the only way I can think of to cut her any kind of slack is that she is very young.

Chapter 5

Austen shows once again the tedium of being a well-bred young woman.  If anyone ever wonders why so many women of certain classes turned to writing and publishing, look no further than that there just wasn’t much to do.

A card is left by Willoughby while Marianne is out (what would have happened had she been there?!!!) and Marianne’s spirits are revived. More letters to W, but nothing in return. Marianne becomes dejected again, and Elinor is beside herself. We have a desperately important exchange after Elinor attempts, carefully, to broach the topic of the engagement:

“You are expecting a letter, then?” said Elinor, unable to be longer silent.

“Yes, a little—not much.”

After a short pause. “You have no confidence in me, Marianne.”

“Nay, Elinor, this reproach from YOU—you who have confidence in no one!”

“Me!” returned Elinor in some confusion; “indeed, Marianne, I have nothing to tell.”

“Nor I,” answered Marianne with energy, “our situations then are alike. We have neither of us any thing to tell; you, because you do not communicate, and I, because I conceal nothing.”

And they are both lying. Whoa.

Lady Middleton and Sir John are in town, so naturally, as they have been there 24 hours, Sir John has already arranged a ball with 20 people. Lady Middleton is appalled for she only has two musicians and a buffet and what will people say? My response: OFGS.

Communication and gossip remain important. Sir John has seen Willoughby! How to explain his lack of corresponsdence with Marianne?

It remains interesting to me that Elinor resists discussing the situation with Marianne. I wonder if she believes if she brings it up, the secret engagement, talking about it will make it so? That she will be unable to hide her disapproval? One of the reasons Elinor is in town is so that she can find out the truth about Willoughby, and she is a good sister. She is hoping to find out that he is a good guy and worthy of Marianne.

Col. Brandon is a constant visitor—to Elinor, and his parting words, once he finds out about the possibility of a commitment between Marianne and Willoughby are rather chilling: “to your sister I wish all imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavour to deserve her

Chapter 6

Of course, all that matters in Chapter 6 is that Elinor prevails on Marianne to accompany her to the Middletons. Marianne is in disarray and low spirits, but goes…

And there is Willoughby, with a female companion. He gives the barest of recognition to Elinor. Marianne finally notices him and is enraptured, ready to leap up and run to him. Elinor, of course, holds her back. Willoughby finally pays them a too fast visit. Marianne doesn’t understand his restraint.

“Good heavens!” she exclaimed, “he is there—he is there—Oh! why does he not look at me? why cannot I speak to him?”

“Pray, pray be composed,” cried Elinor, “and do not betray what you feel to every body present. Perhaps he has not observed you yet.”

This however was more than she could believe herself; and to be composed at such a moment was not only beyond the reach of Marianne, it was beyond her wish. She sat in an agony of impatience which affected every feature.

At last he turned round again, and regarded them both; she started up, and pronouncing his name in a tone of affection, held out her hand to him. He approached, and addressing himself rather to Elinor than Marianne, as if wishing to avoid her eye, and determined not to observe her attitude, inquired in a hurried manner after Mrs. Dashwood, and asked how long they had been in town. Elinor was robbed of all presence of mind by such an address, and was unable to say a word. But the feelings of her sister were instantly expressed. Her face was crimsoned over, and she exclaimed, in a voice of the greatest emotion, “Good God! Willoughby, what is the meaning of this? Have you not received my letters? Will you not shake hands with me?”

He could not then avoid it, but her touch seemed painful to him, and he held her hand only for a moment. During all this time he was evidently struggling for composure. Elinor watched his countenance and saw its expression becoming more tranquil. After a moment’s pause, he spoke with calmness.

“I did myself the honour of calling in Berkeley Street last Tuesday, and very much regretted that I was not fortunate enough to find yourselves and Mrs. Jennings at home. My card was not lost, I hope.”

“But have you not received my notes?” cried Marianne in the wildest anxiety. “Here is some mistake I am sure—some dreadful mistake. What can be the meaning of it? Tell me, Willoughby; for heaven’s sake tell me, what is the matter?”

He made no reply; his complexion changed and all his embarrassment returned; but as if, on catching the eye of the young lady with whom he had been previously talking, he felt the necessity of instant exertion, he recovered himself again, and after saying, “Yes, I had the pleasure of receiving the information of your arrival in town, which you were so good as to send me,” turned hastily away with a slight bow and joined his friend.

Marianne, now looking dreadfully white, and unable to stand, sunk into her chair, and Elinor, expecting every moment to see her faint, tried to screen her from the observation of others, while reviving her with lavender water.

“Go to him, Elinor,” she cried, as soon as she could speak, “and force him to come to me. Tell him I must see him again—must speak to him instantly.— I cannot rest—I shall not have a moment’s peace till this is explained—some dreadful misapprehension or other.— Oh go to him this moment.”

I believe Marianne. She is truly desperate. She honestly does not understand what is happening. She is completely ruled by her emotions here. It is like she is being driven mad. She is not acting up or out; this is her deepest emotions erupting.

Willoughby isn’t a complete monster. He is clearly embarrassed, and not just by Marianne. I think he is uncomfortable with his role. In other words, he isn’t a sociopath or a mad seducer.

I have never seen an Austen film, but part of me wants to watch this scene.

Poor Marianne. Poor Elinor.

Surprisingly compassionate Lady Middleton. I would not have expected this of her. I appreciate that she  takes care of the young women and aids them.

Oh Marianne. So young, so passionate, so naïve, so honest and believing others to be so.

Sense and Sensibility Vol. 2 Chapters 1-3

Chapter 1

Wow—Elinor really loves Edward. She forgives him everything. She excuses everything. She believes him ensnared by Lucy and ensnared by his own propriety of becoming engaged too young, so is now unable to get out of it.

Is she being too kind? Too unrealistic? I find it astounding that she places zero blame upon him. I wonder how much of that is her own affection for him, and knowledge of his affection for her, and how much is her dislike of Lucy and not believing he could still be interested in her?

The critic David Kaufmann suggests that the reason Elinor is able to maintain her emotional calm around her family and Lucy is because “Given her powerlessness in relation to Edward and Lucy, she can only exert control over herself.” I think these chapters are a masterclass in how to behave with the enemy.

I was glad to see that Elinor is not stupid, and that she completely understands that Lucy has an ulterior motive (if not several reasons) for sharing this devastating information with Elinor.

Chapter 2

What an amazing chapter which consists primarily of a a powerful and treacherous conversation! Elinor is acting a part and is being quite unElinor-like. Yes, she is exhibiting extreme self-control, but she is also not always telling the truth. I don’t blame her, and in fact, hold her in great esteem. She is taking care of herself. She is gathering information, and she is holding herself back. She is like a spy.

Elinor is behaving her role admirably, but it nearly comes undone by actually a quite brilliantly cutting remark from Anne (and I wonder, was this on purpose on Anne’s part or an accident? I would not have thought she was clever enough, but I think this was deliberate).

“A great coxcomb!” repeated Miss Steele, whose ear had caught those words by a sudden pause in Marianne’s music.— “Oh, they are talking of their favourite beaux, I dare say.”

“No sister,” cried Lucy, “you are mistaken there, our favourite beaux are NOT great coxcombs.”

“I can answer for it that Miss Dashwood’s is not,” said Mrs. Jennings, laughing heartily; “for he is one of the modestest, prettiest behaved young men I ever saw; but as for Lucy, she is such a sly little creature, there is no finding out who SHE likes.”

“Oh,” cried Miss Steele, looking significantly round at them, “I dare say Lucy’s beau is quite as modest and pretty behaved as Miss Dashwood’s.”

Elinor blushed in spite of herself. Lucy bit her lip, and looked angrily at her sister. A mutual silence took place for some time. Lucy first put an end to it by saying in a lower tone, though Marianne was then giving them the powerful protection of a very magnificent concerto—

I love that both women were stunned and embarrassed by this remark, of course for different reasons. Whew!

What game is Lucy playing when she begs Elinor to advise her as to whether or not to end the engagement? I’m assuming she is playing a game. She is a like a cat toying with an injured animal. But Elinor doesn’t take the bait. She is better than Lucy and is already working on separating herself emotionally from Edward. The chapter states:

and the confidential discourse of the two ladies was therefore at an end, to which both of them submitted without any reluctance, for nothing had been said on either side to make them dislike each other less than they had done before[…]

For Elinor, the relationship with Lucy is over. We are told that over time, Lucy attempts to bring up the topic of Edward repeatedly, and Elinor manages to talk very briefly each time, but ends up ending the topic for “for she felt such conversations to be an indulgence which Lucy did not deserve, and which were dangerous to herself.”

I hate Lucy Steele.

Chapter 3

For me, this was a silly and exhausting chapter. Not that it was a bad chapter, but if I were Elinor, I would have wanted to just stay in my room. Elinor does not want to go to London, in part because she would be  spending days and weeks with people who already annoyed her at the Park and now she would get to spend more time with them in London. Also, while being slightly fond of Mrs. Jennings, still, not the best role model.

But, since Elinor is the sensible one, she feels the need to be there to protect her sister who is being rather crazed about going to London. Elinor gets it—something is afoot and Marianne will do foolish things.

So now, we can contemplate, what will happen in London? Good or bad for our heroines?

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 22

Chapter 22

Today, I will only comment on this chapter, for it is the end of Volume 1.


Secret engagements already make the heart skip in an Austen novel, or really any novel of the time, but in this case, what a blow!

That Edward, so beloved by Elinor, would be engaged to Lucy.

Note that throughout the discussion, Elinor attempts to find tells that would indicate falsehood.

Before we delve, weren’t you doing the same, dear Reader? I was. I don’t like Lucy. I think this was Austen’s mission all along. We see how Lucy kowtows to the Middletons and refuses to say anything against the horrendous children, but there are reasons why this might occur.  But we find that Marianne dislikes her, at the beginning of Ch. 22—but Marianne can also be rude. She was unkind, for example, to Colonel Brandon, completely unnecessarily so, so her dislike of Lucy might not be taken too seriously. But we find that Elinor, who is kind and patient, and does see some good in Lucy, ultimately, even before the confession sees:

she was ignorant and illiterate; and her deficiency of all mental improvement, her want of information in the most common particulars, could not be concealed from Miss Dashwood, in spite of her constant endeavour to appear to advantage. Elinor saw, and pitied her for, the neglect of abilities which education might have rendered so respectable; but she saw, with less tenderness of feeling, the thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and integrity of mind, which her attentions, her assiduities, her flatteries at the Park betrayed; and she could have no lasting satisfaction in the company of a person who joined insincerity with ignorance; whose want of instruction prevented their meeting in conversation on terms of equality, and whose conduct toward others made every shew of attention and deference towards herself perfectly valueless.

In other words, Lucy is a hypocrite and not to be trusted.

But, Lucy provides proof of her assertion that she is engaged—she knows his history; she has his picture; she corresponds with him. All is lost.

Or is it?

So many questions: why does Lucy choose to share this with Elinor? I doubt every reason she gives. Why did Edward ever engage himself to her? Why are they still engaged? What has been his relationship to Elinor? Was it all build up on Elinor’s part? And what do you make of Elinor’s self-possession? If there is anything good to come of this, I find that I admire Elinor so much. She had every reason to crumble, and we are told she almost does. By standing firm, and giving nothing away, we see that she retains some power. Lucy does not win in this, what I now see, as combat. Elinor’s behavior, what she maintains and retains, makes me want to do better.

What a powerful chapter!

I find, in this chapter alone, a great dislike of Lucy. She feels like an actor playing a part. The way she shared her dynamite and then looked sidelong at Elinor to see what impact her information had made. She seems quite content to hurt Elinor.

What do you think?

Sense and Sensibility Chapters 19-21

Chapter 19

So much to unpack in these three chapters.

Much is made of Edward’s lack of purpose, lack of a goal. Having money can be such a pain. He is privileged, but in order to get to have the money, he must do what his mother wants. As long as she is alive, he needs her approval. He isn’t completely lacking in goals. We find out that he did want to go into the Church, but mom said no. She is willing to let him join the Army or be a lawyer (genteel enough professions) but he didn’t want them. So he does nothing.

I have some pity for him, but not that much. And I do wonder at Elinor’s interest in him. Does anyone else find themselves troubled by Edward’s lack of oomph?

I would also suggest that Elinor’s thoughts on Edward, and her placing nearly the entire blame for Edward’s lack of compass on the mother is quite interesting. There are a lot of bad mothers in Austen’s works. To be fair, good fathers are sorely lacking as well.

My notes say that in late 18th century, there was growing discussion about duty to the parent vs. individual will. This is an issue Austen is quite interested in, though I would argue in her case she is interested not only in what do we owe the parent, which becomes more interesting if the parent is abusive or problematic in some way, but also, what do we owe society in the sense of manners and conduct? How important is the approbation of our neighbors? For those thinking I’m jumping around too much, in terms of the civil conduct, sometimes behaving civilly to people might be difficult. What if they are rude? Insolent? Bad people? Shouldn’t we follow our inclinations and be rude in response? Thus the conundrum of responsibility to civility/society vs. our individual will.

And what do you make of the Palmers? I find them very funny, but when I began to type up my thoughts, I also realized, (after reading all three chapters) that I find them frustrating and sad as well.  I do think these three chapters are wittier then anything else I’ve seen, but I am detecting some bitter in the laugh.

They [the Dashwoods] attempted, therefore, likewise, to excuse themselves; the weather was uncertain, and not likely to be good. But Sir John would not be satisfied—the carriage should be sent for them and they must come. Lady Middleton too, though she did not press their mother, pressed them. Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Palmer joined their entreaties, all seemed equally anxious to avoid a family party; and the young ladies were obliged to yield.

Why should they ask us?” said Marianne, as soon as they were gone. “The rent of this cottage is said to be low; but we have it on very hard terms, if we are to dine at the park whenever any one is staying either with them, or with us.”

I have great sympathy for Marianne’s remark.  The price really does seem high to have to be around unpleasant people for a few hours at a time.

Chapter 20

Wow—this chapter  increases our knowledge of the Palmers. He is a jerk that I sometimes find amusing:

“You and I, Sir John,” said Mrs. Jennings, “should not stand upon such ceremony.”

“Then you would be very ill-bred,” cried Mr. Palmer.

“My love you contradict every body,” said his wife with her usual laugh. “Do you know that you are quite rude?”

“I did not know I contradicted any body in calling your mother ill-bred.”

Bu dump dah (drum riff). It’s mean but funny.

Because of Austen’s description of Charlotte as friendly and unprepossessing in Chapter 19, and making it clear that she was quite unlike her sister, I thought we were to like her, and I was already to. And I kind of appreciated how, while she is married to this unpleasant curmudgeon, she puts on a good face and makes fun of the situation. She doesn’t allow him to pull her down. And then I came to Chapter 20.

Charlotte is stupid and vapid, and I mean 21st century stupid. She would have me crazy in about 5 minutes, and I would spend the entire time she was visiting at the Park in my room.  People who exaggerate and are unable to tell the truth about anything (and I don’t think Charlotte is malicious. I think she is saying things to the best of her ability) make me crazy.

When asked if she knew Willoughby, Charlotte responded:

“Oh dear, yes; I know him extremely well,” replied Mrs. Palmer;—”Not that I ever spoke to him, indeed; but I have seen him for ever in town.

Wow! We next find out that Colonel Brandon is the one who told her that Marianne was to marry Willoughby. That seemed so out of character. Then to find out that was completely false, and Charlotte inferred it based on nothing. Later, we “find out” that Colonel Brandon had wanted to marry Charlotte herself, but there is less than zero evidence for this. Now I think Mr. Palmer should be praised for not committing murder.

My serious question is this: have we learned anything of any use from Charlotte? Can you imagine how frustrating this would be to be Elinor?

Chapter 21

Poor Sir John. So desperate for constant activity to keep his own demons away. (Sorry—I am projecting.)

After meeting the Steeles, he goes to invite the Dashwoods to another party. They decline to his great dismay.

Benevolent, philanthropic man! It was painful to him even to keep a third cousin to himself.

Poor guy.

We once again discover in this chapter how awful the Middleton children are, and I do blame Lady Middleton (though Sir John is an absent father.) All three children are awful, but when the Steeles are so upset on behalf of the wounded three year old and are so glad the accident wasn’t worse, and the Mother had done so much for her, Marianne’s comment is perfect:

“Poor little creatures!” said Miss Steele, as soon as they were gone. “It might have been a very sad accident.”

“Yet I hardly know how,” cried Marianne, “unless it had been under totally different circumstances. But this is the usual way of heightening alarm, where there is nothing to be alarmed at in reality.”

Marianne herself can be quite theatrical and passionate, but I think this is Austen’s way of showing us that she doesn’t cross the line, and she definitely is able to detect problems in others. Do you agree?

We continue to see Marianne’s lack of hypocrisy. The Steeles claim to find everything about the Middletons delightful, and Marianne won’t go there.

“What a sweet woman Lady Middleton is!” said Lucy Steele.

Marianne was silent; it was impossible for her to say what she did not feel, however trivial the occasion; and upon Elinor therefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell. She did her best when thus called on, by speaking of Lady Middleton with more warmth than she felt, though with far less than Miss Lucy.

The weight is placed on Elinor to support societal expectations. And this is not a criticism of Elinor on Austen’s part. To Austen, civility is really important. Not hurting people is really important, but I would argue that she also appreciates Marianne’s stance.

Elinor does get to put her own opinion in, and she does it well.

“And what a charming little family they have! I never saw such fine children in my life.—I declare I quite doat upon them already, and indeed I am always distractedly fond of children.”

“I should guess so,” said Elinor, with a smile, “from what I have witnessed this morning.”

“I have a notion,” said Lucy, “you think the little Middletons rather too much indulged; perhaps they may be the outside of enough; but it is so natural in Lady Middleton; and for my part, I love to see children full of life and spirits; I cannot bear them if they are tame and quiet.”

“I confess,” replied Elinor, “that while I am at Barton Park, I never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence.”


We do know from letters Austen wrote that she couldn’t abide ill-behaved children. I would have to agree.

So, does Austen hate children?


Sense and Sensibility Chapters 16-18

Chapter 16

Marianne knows how to have a broken heart, and she plays it to the hilt. I do believe she is upset and sad and grieving, but am I wrong in thinking that she takes this to the nth degree, and it is over the top?

I love this commentary on Mrs. Dashwood:

But Mrs. Dashwood could find explanations whenever she wanted them, which at least satisfied herself.

And this in one sentence is my trouble with the positivity movement.

Who do you side with, Elinor or Mrs. Dashwood, in whether or not to talk to Marianne about a possible engagement? I actually can’t decide. What is interesting to me in these three chapters, is that I’m finding I don’t always knee jerk agree with Elinor, and I think in previous readings, I have.

Did anyone else find it odd that when being asked whether to keep reading Hamlet, Marianne said “weeks” when someone said it would be months before Willoughby appeared again? Why is she so certain? Or is she? And does this mean they are corresponding? Or have a secret understanding? And if a secret understanding, why was she so miserable????? Or is she like Mrs. Dashwood, and she prefers to believe romantic possibilities, so even if something is over, she chooses to believe this will change?

I love that we have another foiling situation. Willoughby and Edward are so different. Marianne, of course, notices this at once. While Willoughby was attentive and passionate and made romantic addresses, Edward is cold and distant and reserved. In this circumstance, it is intereting that we are made aware that Elinor sees this sea change in Edward and is hurt by it, though being Elinor, she is really good at being circumspect.

I like that Mrs. Dashwood’s genuine concern and liking of Edward warms Edward towards all of them.

Edward, while still a pale version of the person Elinor used to know, does come rally enough to have some decent conversation. Marianne gets to wax rhapsodic on Norland and the grounds, and Elinor gets to say my favorite line of the chapter: “It is not everyone who has your passion for dead leaves.” Pure gold.

When Edward asks about the Middletons, I found myself torn again. Marianne was unkind and censorious.Sir John in particular, has been especially kind to them. Yes, he has motives—he is an extrovert with a boring wife, and he does not know how to enertain himself. He needs other people around him, but he is genuinely kind and genuinely wants to make people happy.

On the other hand, Elinor’s defense of these people, was certainly civil and correct; but Marianne is right as well. Mrs. Jennings really is instrusive, and Lady Middleton is vapid, and Sir John can be rude. 

I think this is wonderful that I can see both points of view. I kind of appreciate Marianne’s honesty, though she goes too far. What do you think of what Austen is doing here with these characters, all of them? I think that she is suggesting (just as in Northanger Abbey) that people are made up of good and bad characteristics. Nobody in this novel is pure angel or pure anything. Or is that the case? (Can’t help throwing this in here. But I do believe that Austen thinks everyone has their flaws.)

Chapter 17

This chapter is so terrific. I love what we learn about these people as they talk to each other, tease each other, argue with each other.

We find out that Edward has a pushy mother (or is she? Maybe she just wants her kid to do something) and that he has been resisting. He really does seem to have serious self-confidence issues and is truly grateful that his mother seems to have given up wanting better things for him.

Thank Heaven! I cannot be forced into genius and eloquence.

He argues that he is shy and hates public speaking and doesn’t seem to know, beyond being happy, what he wants to do in life.

But eye-opening to me, as a Socialist and a person attempting to write a novel about money, is this exchange between Elinor and Marianne:

“Strange that it would!” cried Marianne. “What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?”

“Grandeur has but little,” said Elinor, “but wealth has much to do with it.”

“Elinor, for shame!” said Marianne, “money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.”

“Perhaps,” said Elinor, smiling, “we may come to the same point. YOUR competence and MY wealth are very much alike, I dare say; and without them, as the world goes now, we shall both agree that every kind of external comfort must be wanting. Your ideas are only more noble than mine. Come, what is your competence?”

“About eighteen hundred or two thousand a year; not more than THAT.”

Elinor laughed. “TWO thousand a year! ONE is my wealth! I guessed how it would end.”

“And yet two thousand a-year is a very moderate income,” said Marianne. “A family cannot well be maintained on a smaller. I am sure I am not extravagant in my demands. A proper establishment of servants, a carriage, perhaps two, and hunters, cannot be supported on less.”

Elinor smiled again, to hear her sister describing so accurately their future expenses at Combe Magna.

“Hunters!” repeated Edward—”but why must you have hunters? Every body does not hunt.”

Marianne coloured as she replied, “But most people do.”

Notice that our romantic who could live on love, thinks she needs 2000 pounds a year. And her rationale for needing this much money is basically a large house, servants, carriages, and hunters. Yep—living on love. By the way, this is an income of over $200,000 in today’s terms. Ah, such simple views.

And naturally, hunting is what most people do. Hmmm.

In the rest of the chapter, Edward suggests how the Dashwoods would spend a fortune, and various people make observations on what they thought other people were like, but then found out that they weren’t like that at all. Elinor, for example, admits that she will sometimes judge others and find she was incorrect, by a lot.

“I have frequently detected myself in such kind of mistakes,” said Elinor, “in a total misapprehension of character in some point or other: fancying people so much more gay or grave, or ingenious or stupid than they really are, and I can hardly tell why or in what the deception originated. Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge.”

Do you agree with me that this is another message from Austen? To be careful how we judge the characters that we see? Interesting that Elinor is the one who most carefully in detailed fashion acknowledges this error in herself.

Chapter 18

Thoughts, readers of this blog? What do you make that so much time is spent on the picturesque? Edward sure seems to know a lot about how to compose a stirring picture, or at least how to comment on it, yet at the same time says outright that such things don’t interest him that much. What does that mean?

And of course, most serious of all, Edward is wearing in his ring, a lock of someone’s (Elinor’s?) hair. If hers, she did NOT give it to him. Wow.

Another example of foiling—much ado is made of Willoughby’s acquisition of a lock from the beautiful Marianne’s head. It is a whole, long, luxuriant and sexual scene. This “lock” event with Edward and Marianne’s observation is short and even curtailed. Hmmm.

So much is happening!

Sense and Sensibility Chapters 13-15

Chapter 13

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?

Chapter 14

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?

Chapter 15


Quel change!

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.

Sense and Sensibility Chapters 10-12

Does anyone else feel as though these chapters are discordant? I am not even sure what I mean by that, but they have a different flow. I felt as if I were getting different set pieces rather than a story. This isn’t meant as a complaint—just an observation.

Ch. 10

Willoughby’s observation of the Dashwoods was lovely:

He was received by Mrs. Dashwood with more than politeness; with a kindness which Sir John’s account of him and her own gratitude prompted; and every thing that passed during the visit tended to assure him of the sense, elegance, mutual affection, and domestic comfort of the family to whom accident had now introduced him

This truly is a congenial family. I do wonder how people would describe my biological family. I think it would be different. One friend used the word “terrifying” as one adjective. 😉

It is interesting the Austen isn’t much for physical description.  It is common in Austen that one’s nature is described and scaffolded first for for her, it is more important. We are seeing the female protagonists described for the first time in Chapter 10. And just like in Northanger Abbey, while attractiveness is desirable, beauty is rare, and in this novel, I would argue, problematic.

So what do we actually know of Willoughby after this chapter? Is Marianne right? Is he perfect?

Austen offers another masterclass in knowing one’s characters:

In Mrs. Dashwood’s estimation he was as faultless as in Marianne’s; and Elinor saw nothing to censure in him but a propensity, in which he strongly resembled and peculiarly delighted her sister, of saying too much what he thought on every occasion, without attention to persons or circumstances. In hastily forming and giving his opinion of other people, in sacrificing general politeness to the enjoyment of undivided attention where his heart was engaged, and in slighting too easily the forms of worldly propriety, he displayed a want of caution which Elinor could not approve, in spite of all that he and Marianne could say in its support.

Each woman is true to her nature, and we completely understand and know how they feel about Willoughby. We further are not surprised to learn that:

Her mother too, in whose mind not one speculative thought of their marriage had been raised, by his prospect of riches, was led before the end of a week to hope and expect it; and secretly to congratulate herself on having gained two such sons-in-law as Edward and Willoughby.

In one week all of this has happened! We are part of two completely different stories here. Elinor, the sort of pragmatist, and Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne, the impetuous romantics. Whose story will win?

I do not entirely understand the cruelty about Col. Brandon. Yes, we have the impestuouness of youth. They are young and in love, and people who are 35 who have cares and are not passionate about life are to be pitied, apparently. Got it. But, Brandon has done nothing to these people. Is Willoughby jealous? Does he spot that Brandon cares for Marianne? I don’t believe Willoughby sees and understands other people. And Marianne is not Isabella (we seem to agree on this.) She doesn’t seem to be a mean girl/person, but here she kind of is. Is this just throwing everything to the wind as she engages fully in feelings for Willoughby so everything is up for grabs? Someone help me with this. I don’t like this side of her.

Chapter 11

Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment. She only wished that it were less openly shewn; and once or twice did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to Marianne. But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no real disgrace could attend unreserve; and to aim at the restraint of sentiments which were not in themselves illaudable, appeared to her not merely an unnecessary effort, but a disgraceful subjection of reason to common-place and mistaken notions. Willoughby thought the same; and their behaviour at all times, was an illustration of their opinions.

Someone of Marianne’s disposition would scoff at Elinor and consider her a stick in the mud, but there are perils to this type of behavior. Like what? Well, maybe in expressing negative opinions about others who have done nothing wrong, like of Col. Brandon in the previous chapter. But of course, I mean something more than that. Or, is this just part of the frumpery of the age that is unfortunate, and aren’t we glad we live in a time when people can express how they feel?

There is one way that I admire Marianne, and that is that her conversation is never insipid. Elinor, being a woman of civility, has boring conversations with her new acquaintances on a daily basis. I’m guessing staying home and reading a good book would not be acceptable. Great—let’s go to the Park again and hear Mrs. Jenning’s stories for a fifth and sixth time, and let’s hear nearly zero from Lady Middleton except encomiums on her terrible children. This bolsters her enjoyment of Brandon’s conversation. I am having trouble though entangling the following paragraph. I get the gist of it, but I find some of it confusing:

In Colonel Brandon alone, of all her new acquaintance, did Elinor find a person who could in any degree claim the respect of abilities, excite the interest of friendship, or give pleasure as a companion. Willoughby was out of the question. Her admiration and regard, even her sisterly regard, was all his own; but he was a lover; his attentions were wholly Marianne’s, and a far less agreeable man might have been more generally pleasing. Colonel Brandon, unfortunately for himself, had no such encouragement to think only of Marianne, and in conversing with Elinor he found the greatest consolation for the indifference of her sister.

Col. Brandon has a secret.

Chapter 12

The whole horse incident is so perfect for showing us Marianne. She accepts the horse completely. It is perfect. It is romantic. She will get to ride along the downs, and it is a gift from her lover.

It is Elinor, as usual, who has to point out reality like, we aren’t rich, we can’t afford to build a stable and hire a new servant. Wake up, Marianne!

I was annoyed that Marianne didn’t instantly grasp this and suggested, among other not so nice ideas, that the horse could just use a shed (not caring for the horse’s comfort) and that mom could bear the cost of the servant meaning less comfort for everyone from less money.

But, before I could harden my heart completely against selfish Marianne, she wakes up out of her romantic dream and understands this will not do. Good job, Marianne. To her credit, it didn’t take long or much convincing.

This chapter, everyone, is about sex. My notes tell me that the horse that Marianne now owns, despite it being continued to be housed by Willoughby, is named Queen Mab. The Fairy Queen Mab sent sexual fantasies was said to encourage romantic love. Hmmm.

Adding to this notion, Willoughby uses Marianne’s Christian name, something that men only did when engaged.

Margaret, whom we rarely hear from (does anyone else find this odd?) witnesses an important moment in the parlour when Willoughby takes a lock of Marianne’s hair. Sure, this sounds simple enough, but the implication is huge and I urge you to take a look at Pope’s “Rape of the Lock.”

Surveillance culture continues with a very difficult scene of Mrs. Jennings and Sir John engaging in raillery against (and I use that word deliberately) Elinor as they try to get Margaret to spill who Elinor is in love with. They think they are being fun and jolly, but this causes Elinor pain. First, she is a rule follower. It is indecorous to be open about romantic attachments, especially when nothing has been promised. It’s emotionally dangerous, for one thing. Marianne is the passionate one, but I think Elinor’s feelings are quite deep, maybe even deeper than Marianne’s. Not being open about such things does not make one less of a feeling person.

Second, as of Chapter 12, we are in the dark about Edward, and I think we are to believe, so is Elinor. I don’t think she has heard anything from him since she left. No letter, message, or visit. I think she is feeling pretty hurt and possibly confused. Mrs. Jennings and Sir John do not mean to be unkind. They aren’t malicious, but what they are doing is no less painful.

And then there is discussion about a visit away. Such a shift!

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