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Written by Robbin
(10/23/2010 8:14 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I don't think Mary is cruel., penned by Rachel G
I feel Mary is cruel both intentionally and unintentionally. After Henry announces his plan to put a hole in Fanny heart Mary desires he “will not be making her [Fanny] really unhappy” (24). She knows Henry’s attentions will make Fanny unhappy and I really don’t see why Mary thinks it will do any Fanny any good at all. Who needs animation at the expense of heart break because that is what she expects will happen, it is what Henry’s tells her will happen and as she has seen happen recently with the Miss Bertrams. No real pity for a person she describes as “good a little creature as ever lived” with a “great deal of feeling” (24). It seems a copout to say Fanny will be unhappy but it will do her good. It seems to me it is too much trouble to really protect Fanny and she does not really want to deprive Henry of his amusement and perhaps her own as well. Although Mary does not intend to inflict pain on Fanny herself she is perfectly willing to let Henry do it and even assures him he will have plenty of opportunity “for we are a great deal together” (24). I don’t think her protests on Fanny’s behalf really mean very much. This is insensitive and callous but it seems cruel as well.
Mary wrote Fanny:
At last, after various attempts at meeting, I have seen your cousins, ‘dear Julia and dearest Mrs. Rushworth’; they found me at home yesterday, and we were glad to see each other again. We seemed very glad to see each other, and I do really think we were a little. We had a vast deal to say. Shall I tell you how Mrs. Rushworth looked when your name was mentioned? I did not use to think her wanting in self–possession, but she had not quite enough for the demands of yesterday. …There was no recovering the complexion from the moment that I spoke of ‘Fanny,’ and spoke of her as a sister should. But Mrs. Rushworth’s day of good looks will come; we have cards for her first party on the 28th. Then she will be in beauty, for she will open one of the best houses in Wimpole Street. …as I have no desire to tease her, I shall never force your name upon her again. She will grow sober by degrees. (40)
It seems to me Mary understood Maria was pained to hear her speak “of ‘Fanny’ …as a sister should” (40) and realized she was not over Henry. It seems she enjoyed telling Fanny how Maria lost her composure. Is this not enjoying the distress she caused Maria and therefore cruel? Although Mary does not force Maria to hear Fanny’s name again she does set her up to meet with Henry. Mary persuades Henry to remain in town for Mrs. Fraser’s party with the sole purpose of observing how Maria reacts to him although she knows Maria may not react well at all. As she wrote Fanny: He [Henry] will see the Rushworths, which own I am not sorry for—having a little curiosity” (43). Is this not willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to Maria and therefore cruel? Fanny describes Mary’s plan as ‘grossly unkind and ill-judged’ and it is but I think her ‘degrading curiosity’ is a sign of cruelty. Could Mary reasonably expect this little set-up would not cause Maria distress of some sort after what happened when she just mentioned Fanny like a sister? I don’t think she can. (:D)
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