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Written by Ellen M
(3/27/2009 4:40 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ch.30: The origin of Henry's affection, penned by Line
I knew before this group read that the common idea in JA's time was that a woman should not love a man until she was sure of his attachment, but I had never read the source material that JA was turning on it's head in Northanger Abbey:
from A Father's Legacy to his Daughters by Dr Gregory, with repsect to the conduct of females whilst being "courted":
Though a woman has no reaバn to be aドamed of an attachment to a man of merit, yet nature, whoテ authority is ブperior to philoバphy, has annexed a テnテ of ドame to it. It is even long before a woman of delicacy dares avow to her own heart that ドe loves ; and when all the ブbterfuges of ingenuity to conceal it from herテlf fail, ドe feels a violence done both to her pride and to her modeフy. This, I ドould imagine, muフ always be the caテ where ドe is not ブre of a return to her attachment.
"all subterfuges of ingenuity to conceal it from herself"...? I guess Catherine forgot to read that she's supposed to conceal from herself her affections for Henry.
Nature has annexed a sense of shame to a woman having an attachment to a man of merit before his regard is certain? Is the following what a true heroine should be thinking?:
"Oh, dear, I have just discovered to my astonishment that my heart is attached to Mr. ___________, and I see no symptoms of his returning my regard! My subterfuges of ingenuity have failed me! Oh, the mortification of my modesty! Oh, the violence I do to my own pride! Oh, the shame! How shall I face myself ever again?"
I'm so glad that Jane Austen wrote a send up of Dr. Gregory's ideas. I can almost see Jane and her sister Cassandra reading his missive and then laughing over the fact that the good Dr. has next to no understanding of women.
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