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|Letter 33: Oh! Mr Holder!
Written by JulieW
(9/18/2007 5:41 a.m.)
We already have categories of Taxis(Debs Delights); during the last Group Read of Mansfield Park we decided that Henry Crawford was a Man Not Safe on Knolls.... Do we need to add another category for Mr Holder of Ashe Park?- that of Man Not Safe in Drawing Rooms?
Let's see what JA has to say of him:
Your unfortunate sister was betrayed last Thursday into a situation of the utmost cruelty. I arrived at Ashe Park before the party from Deane, and was shut up in the drawing-room with Mr. Holder alone for ten minutes. I had some thoughts of insisting on the housekeeper or Mary Corbett being sent for, and nothing could prevail on me to move two steps from the door, on the lock of which I kept one hand constantly fixed.
Do you think she was being serious? Or was Mr Holder just a bore and not a sexually threatedning man ? It's difficult to tell from her tone isn't it?
There may have been a grain of truth in her discomfort. I get the impression JA was not keen on this chap, but the reasons why are a little obscured to our view. In Letter 31 she reffered to Mr Holder quite slightingly:
Mr. Holder was perfectly willing to take him (john bond-JW) on exactly the same terms with my father, and John seems exceedingly well satisfied. The comfort of not changing his home is a very material one to him, and since such are his unnatural feelings, his belonging to Mr. Holder is the every thing needful; but otherwise there would have been a situation offering to him, which I had thought of with particular satisfaction, viz., under Harry Digweed, who, if John had quitted Cheesedown, would have been eager to engage him as superintendent at Steventon, would have kept a horse for him to ride about on, would probably have supplied him with a more permanent home, and I think would certainly have been a more desirable master altogether.
But these refernces are a little vague...I wonder why he was thought a less desirible master than Harry Digweed? And why( or even if she really did) feel threatened by him in that drawing room at Ashe.
By the bye, I love the way she is shown obviously thinking of an escape or insurance plan , that of calling the housekeeper, or the maidservant, Mary Corbett, whom she knew for Mary's father , "Corbett', was a farm bailiff in the Steventon area..
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