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|Will no one defend Lady Russell?
Written by Lia
(9/19/2005 7:42 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Righting a past wrong, penned by Barbara
I don't see any strong evidence that Lady R. positively influenced her friend. The phrase "youthful infatuation" in chapter 1 suggests to me that passion on Miss Stevenson's part left nothing for Lady Russell to do. I suspect that Sir Walter's rank blinded both of them to his faults, and that is an ongoing character flaw on Lady Russell's part. We see throughout Austen's novels that people make foolish matches at a young age, even apparently sensible people like Mr. Bennet.
I don't believe Lady Russell thinks the match failed because of Sir Walter's rank: it failed because Sir W is an idiot. Lady Russell did not learn the lesson, however, that rank does not guarantee sense.
I think her influence on Anne is at least in part a result of what she witnessed with Lady Elliot. She was aware that quick, blind passion did not necessarily result in long term happiness, and the disadvantages of the potential match with FW were exacerbated by his lack of income at that time.
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