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|From Chapter 48 –- The Double Standard . . .
Written by KatharineW
(10/23/2010 1:37 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Could it be that Mary is trying to save Henry?, penned by Angela L
That punishment, the public punishment of disgrace, should in a just measure attend his share of the offence is, we know, not one of the barriers which society gives to virtue. In this world the penalty is less equal than could be wished; but without presuming to look forward to a juster appointment hereafter, we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that must rise sometimes to self–reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had rationally as well as passionately loved.
Whatever punishments or censure are to fall on Henry Crawford for his seduction of Mrs. Rushworth will be few and far between. There will be those of strict and upright morals (Sir Thomas, Fanny, Edmund, and the like) who will cease to acknowledge that Henry is still living.
Those who were directly injured by Henry’s actions (the house of Rushworth) will also never speak his name again and hope that those of their acquaintance will do likewise.
There will be some parents of daughters who are eligible for marriage that might be reluctant to pair their fair flowers with a man known to be a rascally rake and a seducer. Then again, if Henry’s pocketbook is sufficiently large, the greedy in-laws to be, will welcome him with open arms and a long list of things that need financial attention.
The gay, frivolous set to which Henry and Mary belong will not care tuppence regarding the Rushworth matrimonial fracas save as a source for juicy gossip until the next scandal comes along.
Life ain’t fair, and Jane Austen was more than aware of it. Henry will probably regret losing Fanny. If he is honest with himself, his regret will be all the more bitter because this loss of a superior woman and potential partner is no one’s fault except Henry Crawford’s.
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