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|Angry Pleasure and Pleased Contempt
Written by Barbara
(10/10/2005 12:17 a.m.)
I am really having trouble deciding what to think and feel about Lady Russell! On the one hand, I feel that I should like and respect her because Anne does and because she's been the closest thing to real 'family' Anne has had since her mother died. But on the other hand---argghh! She makes me mad!
This whole bit about how
"her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt, that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed by a Louisa Musgrove."
I think this is pretty hypocritical! Back in Ch. 4, we read that "however Lady Russell might have asked yet for something more, while Anne was nineteen 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."
So Charles was good enough for Anne to have settled for, but his sister is not worthy of the man she persuaded Anne to reject?
We find that Lady Russell seems "very well pleased" with Mrs. Croft, and that it is mutual--and yet she still harbours such negative feelings about her brother?
And Lady Russell is "determined not to judge [Captain Benwick]" before meeting him, and is curious "to see the person who can give occasion to such directly opposite notions" and declares (about Benwick) that "any acquaintance of Anne's will always be welcome to me." Oh, really???
I was kind of sputtering as I read that. Couldn't she have extended Captain Wentworth the same generosity of spirit, especially when he was so important to Anne?
Is she a hypocrite, or is this all from lingering guilt over what she did to Anne eight years ago??
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