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|I'm not entirely sure
Written by JulieW
(12/2/2006 2:47 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Statues…, penned by Robbin
Yes,they would be wearing black when in mourning in this era,but statues?
I think it's another in-joke between the sisters.
I love these letters but ther are points that do frustrate me,I have to admit.
Do note that the new Cambridge edition of Persuasion makes quite a convincing arguemnt for the ribbons being "weepers" ,and that they were worn by Mr Elliot not by Elizabeth!
I've linked my latest post on "Mourning" below ,but this is the relevant part for you:
"Interestingly the following passage from Chapter 1 of Persuasion also mentions mourning customs:
This very awkward history of Mr. Elliot was still, after an interval of several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong family pride could see only in him, a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot's eldest daughter. There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal. Yet so miserably had he conducted himself, that though she was at this present time (the summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could not admit him to be worth thinking of again. The disgrace of his first marriage might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it perpetuated by offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse; but he had, as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends they had been informed, spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and the honours which were hereafter to be his own. This could not be pardoned.
I had always thought that Elizabeth wearing only black ribbons for her father’s heir’s wife was a little insulting: the Elliot family having an unfortunate tendency to getting matters of respectable mourning quite wrong(see the lack of a letter of condolence to Lady Dalrymple:horrors!) However ,the new Cambridge edition of Persuasion offers another explaination, and one I think that holds water .If you substitute the word “ he” for “she” in line five of the passage above, it makes better sense, for gentlemen of this period did wear black ribbons as “weepers” ( or a sign of mourning)in this period(see Buck, as above ,page 23"
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