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|Purchasing her good opinion
Written by Barb JA
(10/17/2010 9:53 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, True Spirit of Generosity, penned by Robbin
I touched on this before but I think he is too arrogant to think he must "attempt to purchase her good opinion". When he talks to Mary in ch. 31 you can see that he expects she will be his wife. In fact it's almost a Darcy kind of arrogance which assumes that they have so much to offer it doesn't really enter their mind that they would be refused. With Mr. Crawford's vanity, he thinks it is only modesty that holds her back from accepting him.
I have, I flatter myself, made no inconsiderable progress in her affections; but my own are entirely fixed.”
I doubt that he thinks he needs this ace up his sleeve of William's promotion. I notice too he does not mention it to Fanny again as far as we know. Even during his creepy boxing her in and grilling her he doesn't resort to it.
I agree that overhearing William and Fanny lament over his lack of opportunities is the impetus for Henry to get this idea. I also agree that if there were no Fanny he probably wouldn't have been inspired to do it. I already mentioned that his motives were two-fold. But neither of those things prove that it was not a generous impulse that inspired him to act.
Rachel asked if there were a possible more charitable view of Henry, and I think that Henry can be motivated by a generous impulse as shown by Williams promotion. This is not an attempt to say that it cancels out everything that is bad about him, nor what is ungentlemanly in his pursuit of Fanny.
Perhaps by saying a true spirit of generosity, I implied too much. Anonymous charity is wonderful, but perhaps the truest spirit of generosity is when the giver gives more than they can afford to give. I don't believe I ever used the word disinterested to describe it. It's funny you say "self-interest of marital bliss". Everybody is interested in that aren't they?
I agree completely with your sentence "I believe Henry did think to make Fanny happy with William’s promotion and it is very generous but it is unlikely he forgot it would also secure to him a great deal of gratitude."
Quoting you again
I do think he is a hunter after his prey as you do. I just don't think helping William was part of the adapting, and am not trying to clear his character. I think the sincerity with which he told her of William's promotion, especially when you consider how highly he speaks of his "vicious" uncle in ch. 31 and 32, it seems he feels he has done a good thing. I'm just giving him credit for the kindness, where I think it is due. But now I think I'm repeating myself without clarity, so we'll probably have to agree to disagree as to motive on this.
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