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Written by Lia
(9/20/2005 1:43 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Perhaps..., penned by Art
I wonder what JA has in mind here-- it could be taken literally (he went broke and she left), or euphemistically. For all we know Mr. Clay might have jumped ship in the West Indies and abandoned her (could we blame him?) --Although if that were the case, Mrs. Clay presumably would not be so ready to defend sailors.
Mrs. Clay's reference is another shade on her character, JA lets us feel how inappropriate Mrs. Clay is. Perhaps she is telling us how Mrs. Clay might be willing to "sell herself" to the right party.
Another angle: despite Mrs. Clay's insinuating ways, defending the Navy is the closest she comes to opposing Sir Walter. It does not raise her in our esteem, though, because to praise the Navy in those days would have been the norm. She is going along with popular opinion. We don't believe she is taking any sort of stand out of principle.
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