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|Mr Westons incurable optimism
Written by Tarn
(3/6/2011 10:48 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, How do you factor in the narrator's statement, penned by Kathleen Glancy
When the lame carriage-horse is mentioned, "Mrs Elton was growing impatient to name the day, and settle with Mr Weston as to pigeon-pies and cold lamb"(42), and why would she, if she knew her carriage horse was not yet up to the task?
"It might be weeks, it might be only a few days, before the horse were useable"(42) and if Mr Weston were pressed by a lady determined to go to Box Hill sooner than later, what would his sanguine temper suggest as the most likely time-frame? And when the horse failed to mend as fast as he had thought, what could be more natural than for Mr Weston to discover that they could do very well without the carriage and arrange things accordingly?
It also seems more likely to me that Mrs Elton would find the lameness of a carriage horse merely the "most vexatious"(42) delay of a most frivolous errand that could be undertaken just as well a month later, because it was not affecting her ability to get around or increasing the expense of her stables.
Having said all that, I do think a good case can be made for the lame horse belonging to the Eltons. Mrs Elton's love of fast driving, her indifference to the load placed on the horses, her impatience to be doing things regardless of the health of the lame horse, all speak of someone with little empathy or care for the suffering of our fellow creatures. I think Jane Austen deliberately dropped hints about this aspect of Mrs Elton's character to create a red herring, and distract us from oddities in Frank's movements.
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