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|Only what is best for her.
Written by Robbin
(9/20/2005 1:07 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lady Russell: Ch 1, penned by Cheryl
I have always been reluctant to like Lady Russell. I will allow that Lady Russell cares for Anne very much and I think a lot of her kindness and attention to Anne but I would also like to point out some things to the contrary. Despite the fact that she cares for Anne and wants only the best for her, it is only the best as she sees it and I do not think her actions are completely selfless. We know Anne at 27 is both sensible and discerning and not blinded to the faults of others by rank and superficial consequence, as still Lady Russell seems to be by her “extra gentle” dealings with Sir Walter and Elizabeth on retrenching. Anne does not need to be flattered and cajoled into making better choices. Is there any evidence, except in the ease of being persuaded, that Anne has had any dramatic change of character between 19 and 27 and if not, why does Lady Russell seem to have so little regard for Anne’s feelings or give her much credit in her ability to know CW.
“…if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from one who had almost a mother's love, and mother's rights, it would be prevented.”
-It cannot be fair if the only idea that will persuade Anne to give up CW is to say it is to his benefit to do so. This is playing on the emotions and caring concern that Lady Russell knows Anne to possess, for those that she loves, instead of relying on the more real “evils” of the match.
“Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be snatched off by a stranger without alliance or fortune;”
-This seems to have a bit of selfishness in it, not only a bad connection, but Anne will be ”snatched” away from her—she will personally loose out.
“…but Lady Russell saw it very differently. His sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated very differently on her. She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil. It only added a dangerous character to himself. He was brilliant, he was headstrong. Lady Russell had little taste for wit, and of any thing approaching to imprudence a horror. She deprecated the connection in every light.”
-This indicates that Lady Russell has a personal dislike for CW as a person, which I do not see that she admits to Anne and for this reason, as much as for all the others she is eager to end the engagement because he does not suit Lady Russell. I think this is shown a few paragraphs later.
“…and Lady Russell had lamented her refusal; for Charles Musgrove was the eldest son of a man whose landed property and general importance were second in that country only to Sir Walter's, and of good character and appearance; and however Lady Russell might have asked yet for something more, she would have rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so respectably removed from the partialities and injustice of her father's house, and settled so permanently near herself…”
Lady Russell laments her refusal even though she does not think CM is good enough for Anne. If CM is wanting, what are her very good reasons to wish Anne to marry him? Anne will be close to Lady Russell and she would have the benefit of rank, second only to her father and do these reasons out weight the fact that he is so much not her equal in mind? In a match with CM, Lady Russell would basically have Anne in the same situation with CM as her mother had been with Sir Walter—not as extreme as Sir Walter to be sure, CM is amiable and not vain or impudent with money, but Anne is still to improve him without benefit for herself. Anne has already learned her lesson though and gives Lady Russell no opportunity to even try to persuade her. I am not saying that it is a bad thing for Lady Russell to want Anne to be settled near her or that she has no right to feel it, but since this is mentioned again, “be snatched off” was first, I think it implies that it is very important to Lady Russell to keep Anne near her and may sway her opinions of Anne’s suitors for CW as a navy man will definitely take Anne away and CM as heir to a local estate is definitely going nowhere.
“…she began now to have the anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's being tempted, by some man of talents and independence, to enter a state for which she held her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits.”
-Lady Russell realized early on that Anne if not actively unhappy ever since the engagement to CW ended, she has also not been actively happy either, yet when the CW returns and is wealthy and respected—the best of her reasons against him are now gone—she still is unable to revise her opinion in any way although she suspects Anne cannot be tempted by anyone else. Is CW not now at the very least, “some man of talents and independence” and this is all that Lady Russell hopes for Anne now, seven years after her broken engagement. How reasonable is it that she does not know of her dear friends lingering feelings for CW? How kind is it of Lady Russell to continue to ignore Anne’s feelings when the obstacles of money and consequence has been eliminated. If Anne knows CW has made his fortune, then Lady Russell must know it too. I think this shows that Lady Russell’s own dislike for CW was at the heart of her arguments all along.
I think her inability to reevaluate the worth of CW when it obviously has changed, is another sort of blindness with Lady Russell but it is not as easy to forgive as her blindness to Elizabeth and Sir Walter’s faults. She is too inclined to continue her dislike for her own sake when she must know it does not make her friend happy. Perhaps she has a little bit of Darcy in her, a good opinion once lost, is lost forever.
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