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|Love? I think not.
Written by Rachel G
(4/18/2008 10:51 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Love at first sight or something else?, penned by Robbin
I think it is clear from the text that prudential considerations and balm for his wounded pride are the chief components of Mr Elton's happiness at this stage, though I don't suppose it hurts that he thinks her attractive ("Perfect beauty").
I am not so sure about Augusta Hawkins. The speed of their courtship implies that she is very eager to be married. Perhaps prudential considerations are her chief motivator too. The rather commonplace surnames of their mutual acquaintances (Mr Green, Mrs Brown)gives us a hint that Miss Hawkins' social background may be less than exalted, and her surname points to the ugly source of her money, as Julie W's masterly post further up the board make clear. Her independent fortune of "as many thousands as would always be called ten" is in fact very moderate. Though Mr Elton's family connections are in trade, his occupation qualifies him as a gentleman, and he also has some independent property. I think Mr Elton might look like a very prudent choice of spouse to a woman such as Miss Hawkins appears to be.
Then again, Mr Elton is "very handsome, his person much admired in general". His manners are also gentlemanlike and he takes pains to be aggreeable, especially to the ladies. It seems quite possible that Miss Hawkins may actually be rather smitten with Mr Elton, and think herself in love with him. Her flattering willingness to accept him could be a sign of 'love' at first sight, rather than cold prudence.
Until I have evidence to the contrary I am willing to give Miss Hawkins the benefit of the doubt. Who knows? Perhaps she and Mr Elton are formed for one another, and have an ecstatically happy future ahead of them.
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