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|Revealing the "true" Mr. Elton this week... (A bit long
Written by jeffrey
(2/9/2011 9:34 a.m.)
In Ch 8, Mr. Knightley, in the most delicate manner, makes an accurate and telling statement regarding Mr. Elton. In the style of a gentleman, he understates Mr. Elton's schemes to marry into money and gives Mr. Elton the benefit of the doubt. From Ch 8:
"..... "Depend upon it, Elton will not do. Elton is a very good sort of man, and a very respectable vicar of Highbury, but not at all likely to make an imprudent match. He knows the value of a good income as well as anybody. Elton may talk sentimentally, but he will act rationally. He is as well acquainted with his own claims, as you can be with Harriet's. He knows that he is a very handsome young man, and a great favourite wherever he goes; and from his general way of talking in unreserved moments, when there are only men present, I am convinced that he does not mean to throw himself away. I have heard him speak with great animation of a large family of young ladies that his sisters are intimate with, who have all twenty thousand apiece."
In Ch 15, speaking of his train-wreck of a proposal to Emma, he tips his hand (no, he throws his cards all over the table!) when he "disses" Harriet more than once and in the modern vernacular would probably have said "BLEEP HER," so insensitive was his behavior(!)
And again from Ch 16: Emma FINALLY acknowledges the "real" Mr. Elton.
Dear Readers: When I first read Emma, I flew right over the little missed paragraph from Ch 8 and considered Mr. Elton as marriage material for Emma or anyone else. Boy, was I blind-sided by his behavior during his botched proposal! What a total flip-flop! From saintly clergyman to greedy, selfish dowry-hunter!
It is these totally unexpected surprises foisted upon us by the ironic cleverness of Miss Austen that capture and rivet my attention to "what on earth is going to happen next?"
My point: Did anyone else, upon their first reading, totally mis-read Mr. Elton up to this point, as badly as I had?
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