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|But what do you do for women?
Written by Robbin
(9/28/2010 10:22 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Secured her fate beyond recall, penned by Barb JA
I agree it is usually the lady’s prerogative to end an engagement but am I alone in feeling that Maria choosing to act the fallen and disgraced Agatha, retaining the embraces and feminine hand on a manly chest and her subsequent behavior has given Mr. Rushworth cause to break the engagement—at the very least to insist she give-up the part? Surely at some point in his jealousy Mr. Rushworth realizes the impropriety of the scheme. It seems Mrs. Rushworth could have forced an end to the engagement by mutual agreement because the family would not wish for Maria’s behavior to become public. Of course no one would argue when he defended his own part by saying he did not know what he or his lady had got themselves into nor do I think anyone could argue Maria had not acted inappropriately:
“We have got a play,” said he. “It is to be Lovers’ Vows; and I am to be Count Cassel, and am to come in first with a blue dress and a pink satin cloak, and afterwards am to have another fine fancy suit, by way of a shooting–dress. I do not know how I shall like it.”
Fanny’s eyes followed Edmund, and her heart beat for him as she heard this speech, and saw his look, and felt what his sensations must be.
“Lovers’ Vows!” in a tone of the greatest amazement, was his only reply to Mr. Rushworth, and he turned towards his brother and sisters as if hardly doubting a contradiction. …“But what do you do for women?” said Edmund gravely, and looking at Maria. (15)
Is Mr. Rushworth truly trapped by honor or is it that he just does not want to give Maria up despite her poor behavior?
“Do you think so?” said Fanny: “in my opinion, my uncle would not like any addition. I think he values the very quietness you speak of, and that the repose of his own family circle is all he wants. And it does not appear to me that we are more serious than we used to be—I mean before my uncle went abroad. As well as I can recollect, it was always much the same. There was never much laughing in his presence; or, if there is any difference, it is not more, I think, than such an absence has a tendency to produce at first. There must be a sort of shyness; but I cannot recollect that our evenings formerly were ever merry, except when my uncle was in town. No young people’s are, I suppose, when those they look up to are at home”. (21)
According to Fanny & Edmund, except during Sir Thomas’ absences, MP is rather quiet with their pleasures centered for the most part in their family party. This seems to have been Sir Thomas’ preferred style of living. It is a style agreeable to Fanny but I can see why her cousins would long for more parties and balls than naturally come their way at MP. While I understand ‘the insatiable appetite of fifteen’ (S&S, 7) or older for balls despite Sir Thomas’ gravity I am not convinced the Miss Bertrams have been particularly deprived of a social life. There is no suggestion he would prevent them from attending social functions now that he has come home. I mean they would not spend all their time with Sir Thomas. (:D)
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