Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|My take on this scene
Written by Angela L
(9/19/2010 6:24 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Edmund's reaction to Mary's smutty joke., penned by Rachel G
I was always wondering about the following part of the conversation, that you mentioned shortly:
“Ay, you have been brought up to it. It was no part of my education; and the only dose I ever had, being administered by not the first favourite in the world, has made me consider improvements in hand as the greatest of nuisances. Three years ago the Admiral, my honoured uncle, bought a cottage at Twickenham for us all to spend our summers in; and my aunt and I went down to it quite in raptures; but it being excessively pretty, it was soon found necessary to be improved, and for three months we were all dirt and confusion, without a gravel walk to step on, or a bench fit for use. I would have everything as complete as possible in the country, shrubberies and flower–gardens, and rustic seats innumerable: but it must all be done without my care. Henry is different; he loves to be doing.”
Edmund was sorry to hear Miss Crawford, whom he was much disposed to admire, speak so freely of her uncle. It did not suit his sense of propriety, and he was silenced, till induced by further smiles and liveliness to put the matter by for the present."
At first I didn't understand the graveness of Mary's statements. But on second thought, I suppose even today, it would appear rather arrogant and unthankful to put down a relative who had bought you a summer residence because you had to do some gardening. She's also being pretty snotty about life in the "country", where she has only people from the country around her.
I also find Mary puts her foot in her mouth at another point, where she's telling about getting her harp transported, where I think she must have insulted all of the people present, although there is no great mention of it in the novel:
“I was astonished to find what a piece of work was made of it! To want a horse and cart in the country seemed impossible, so I told my maid to speak for one directly; and as I cannot look out of my dressing–closet without seeing one farmyard, nor walk in the shrubbery without passing another, I thought it would be only ask and have, and was rather grieved that I could not give the advantage to all. Guess my surprise, when I found that I had been asking the most unreasonable, most impossible thing in the world; had offended all the farmers, all the labourers, all the hay in the parish! As for Dr. Grant’s bailiff, I believe I had better keep out of his way; and my brother–in–law himself, who is all kindness in general, looked rather black upon me when he found what I had been at.”
After they explain about the farm workers, she says:
“I shall understand all your ways in time; but, coming down with the true London maxim, that everything is to be got with money, I was a little embarrassed at first by the sturdy independence of your country customs...."
I'm also sorry to insert so much of the text, but this conversation was also quite an important one in my understanding. I think JA is trying to show a part of Mary's personality through this sequence. Mary is really on a roll here. What is Mary's motive for being so offensive here?
Are we to understand her true personality here and thus begin to feel that Edmund is making a huge mistake by falling blindly in love with her?
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.