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Written by Lia
(9/18/2005 11:04 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lady Russell: Ch 1, penned by Cheryl
I never saw her as unsympathetic as others seem to have done. Ms. Austen specifically lists a number of positive qualities, and she is certainly a good friend to have moved near Lady Elliot and helped to raise her children.
Her chief negatives, noted in Chapter 2, are that she is a woman rather of sound than of quick abilities, and she has an exaggerated value for rank and consequence. Perhaps this was one underlying source of her disapprobation towards the match between Anne and Captain W. He doesn't have enough money, but he also doesn't have enough rank.
While speculating on Lady Russell's motives for interfering with the match, I started to imagine her relations with her friend, Lady Elliot. Certainly Lady R. would have become aware that Sir Elliot was not a good match for Lady E., and that Lady E. became dissatisfied with her husband. Perhaps Lady R. imagined that Anne's mother would have said something like...(I hope it's pardonable to quote from another Austen novel) "My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life...."
Your point of Lady R. and Sir E. not marrying because Lady Russell was aware of what a dolt he was is a good one, it hadn't occurred to me before.
Another thing I noted was that Anne credits Lady Russell with the power of persuasion--(chap 2), she rated Lady Russell's influence highly. Others also give her credit for influence (future chapters). There was certainly one reason for this reputation, but I begin to wonder if that is the sole basis for her repuation; are people giving her credit for more influence than she deserves? She certainly doesn't seem to have any over Sir Elliot or Elizabeth. I think her reputation for influence is overrated. What do you think--or perhaps a question that should be held aside until later in the book.
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