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|Henry's first meeting with Mrs. Maria Rushworth
Written by Ramya
(10/18/2010 12:40 p.m.)
I could not see him and my eldest sister in the same room without recollecting what you once told me, and I acknowledge that they did not meet as friends. There was marked coolness on her side. They scarcely spoke. I saw him draw back surprised, and I was sorry that Mrs. Rushworth should resent any former supposed slight to Miss Bertram. Chap. 44
This is the first we hear of the first meeting between Maria and Henry after her marriage. Maria is cold towards him, and Henry is surprised. Later on, we find out that Henry is not only surprised, but also offended by her coldness, and wants to overcome it.
He saw Mrs. Rushworth, was received by her with a coldness which ought to have been repulsive, and have established apparent indifference between them for ever; but he was mortified, he could not bear to be thrown off by the woman whose smiles had been so wholly at his command: he must exert himself to subdue so proud a display of resentment; it was anger on Fanny’s account; he must get the better of it, and make Mrs. Rushworth Maria Bertram again in her treatment of himself. Chap. 44
The last bit, especially, is chilling.
What did Henry expect??? Did he think Maria would throw herself at him or flirt with him in spite of everything? Was Henry a little in love with Maria himself? This must have been a novel situation for him. Perhaps, the London set he belonged to was only too aware of the "taking-ins" and woman he had trifled with in the past never displayed their resentment so openly. Or perhaps, no woman had so completely fallen for him as Maria had. Or, he needed to boost his self-confidence by subduing Maria again after Fanny's continued resistance to him. Maybe he wanted to prove to himself that he still "got it". Freaks of a cold-blooded vanity, indeed!
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