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Written by Robbin
(9/26/2010 3:05 p.m.)
When Edmund decided to act Fanny told him it “will be such a triumph to the others!” (16) and her prescience turns out to be spot on. Aside from removing any impediment to their darling project, Maria & Tom feel happier and more secure of their judgment in their brother’s decent from that “moral elevation which he had maintained before” (17).
I wonder if Maria & Tom also felt secure in the idea Sir Thomas relies more on Edmund’s judgment than theirs. It is only Edmund who takes the little blame Sir Thomas is disposed to bestowal when he discovers the play and its accompaniments. I can only partially agree with their estimation of his reasons for capitulating:
they congratulated each other in private on the jealous weakness to which they attributed the change, with all the glee of feelings gratified in every way. Edmund might still look grave, and say he did not like the scheme in general, and must disapprove the play in particular; their point was gained: he was to act, and he was driven to it by the force of selfish inclinations only. Edmund had descended from that moral elevation which he had maintained before, and they were both as much the better as the happier for the descent. (17)
I am not sure what Maria & Tom mean by jealous weakness but I think Edmund was influenced by a desire to be gallant by and spend time with Miss Crawford. Although it was a cooler reason Edmund did want to also restrain the “publicity of the business” (16). I think their congratulations to each other give confirmation to the idea they and Mary played Edmund to get him to act.
Immediately after the parts were decided Maria went to the parsonage “with the offer of Amelia to Miss Crawford” (14) and I think they planed how to draw Edmund into their schemes. Maria understands Mary is the person to persuade him for she plagues him with Miss Crawford whenever possible to justify the play and acting:
“I take the part which Lady Ravenshaw was to have done, and” (with a bolder eye) “Miss Crawford is to be Amelia… I am not the only young woman you find who thinks it very fit for private representation” (15)
Miss Crawford is happy in her own triumph as well:
There were not fewer smiles at the Parsonage than at the Park on this change in Edmund; Miss Crawford looked very lovely in hers, and entered with such an instantaneous renewal of cheerfulness into the whole affair as could have but one effect on him. “He was certainly right in respecting such feelings; he was glad he had determined on it.” And the morning wore away in satisfactions very sweet, if not very sound. (17)
In their triumph Maria & Tom are shown to be deceitful and ungenerous towards their brother. At least Edmund finds some pleasure in his capitulation in Mary’s cheerfulness, short as it is, because the promise Maria & Tom gave “in the complaisance of the moment” to the “limitation of the audience” (17) was quickly broke by Tom “giving an invitation to every family who came in his way” (18). Then of course Sir Thomas returned and put an end to it all. (:D)
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