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|Elliot’s Hope or Elizabeth & Mr. Elliot
Written by Robbin
(10/10/2005 1:44 a.m.)
(I am sorry for the lateness of this submission; I wrote it during a long and frustrating week with no data line just after H. Rita and just noticed it today while cleaning up my RoP files. Now that Mr. Elliot is back I thought I would post it.)
“She (Elizabeth) had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to be in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to marry him; and her father had always meant that she should.” (Chapter 1)
Sir Walter still hopes for a son, at least, up until the death of his wife and then hopes must have been still further reduced by the “one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications.” (Chapter 1) It is only after he has no hope of having a son that he finally seeks and “forces” an introduction to Mr. William Elliot, but he has all along encouraged Elizabeth, since a young girl, to consider Mr. Elliot as the premium suitor for her. In this light, an alliance between Elizabeth and Mr. Elliot is actually just “plan B” to secure the title and Elliot fortune to Sir Walter’s blood line through Elizabeth, plan A, was of course, to have a son—I always thought that Sir Walter’s decision to remain “single for his dear daughter’s sake.” (Chapter 1) could not be a purely unselfish gesture.
“This very awkward history of Mr. Elliot, was still, after an interval of several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for himself, and still more for being her father’s heir, and whose strong family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot’s eldest daughter. There was not a baronet from A to Z, whom her feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal.” (Chapter 1)
The warmth with which Sir Walter seems to expect his overtures to be met by Mr. Elliot does not seem very reasonable in light of his past neglect of his heir, although very much in line with Sir Walter’s character. It is also in character for Sir Walter and Elizabeth to be blind to Mr. Elliot’s reluctance to form any kind of relationship with them in spite of several clues: the need for a forced introduction, encouragements ignored and untaken invitations to Kellynch. To Mr. Elliot, the sudden appearance of the “head of the family” after a lifetime without notice must be suspect and that he is expected to “push his fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house” (Chapter 1) by marrying Sir Walter’s favorite daughter, who is “very handsome, and very like himself” (Chapter 1) would be reason enough to emancipate himself though marriage. Poor Elizabeth, it is almost laughable and certainly pitiful that after waiting two years for his imminent courtship, she can be still surprised and disappointed by Mr. Elliot’s marriage to another. She even still thinks of him years later after his wife’s death but “she could not admit him to be worth thinking of again” (Chapter 1) as his marriage could have been gotten over but his unpardonable disrespect of title and family could not.
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