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|"Oh God! Had I not given way to her at the fatal moment!...
Written by Margaret 7
(10/22/2005 10:43 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I do, penned by Jenny Allan
Had I done as I ought! but so eager and so resolute! Dear, sweet Louisa!"...[Anne] thought it could hardly escape him to feel, that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favor of happiness, as a very resolute character." (ch.11)
Has FW spoken ANYWHERE else with such warmth! He has been trying to keep his tone calm for Henrietta's sake, but here "he burst forth, as if wholly overcome". I think he is "wholly overcome" by the recognition of all the imprudence of his own behavior, by suddenly, and so dramatically, seeing the harm of it.
Who knows how "wholly" this revelation strikes him? However, it is preceded by the scene at Lyme where he pleads for Anne to be the one to nurse Louisa. "...but his evident surprise and vexation,at the substitution of one sister for the other - the change of his countenance - the astonishment". FW suffers two shocks in short order: the accident itself,and the upset of the best plan of care for Louisa that he could imagine.
At the scene of the accident, Anne takes charge. She rallies everyone to productive action, is the only one who does not quail. Here he sees starkly contrasted Louisa's foolish stubborness with the real, unwavering strength of Anne's character. His assessment of Anne as most capable of caring for Louisa is immediate tribute to the way she has just taken care of them all. His shock and amazement that anyone,(especially Mary) should take her place floors him, powerfully. The entire episode makes Anne stand out in full relief.
Immediately after his outburst of feeling, FW consults directly with Anne about "what WE had best do" (emphasis, mine). Their interchanges up to this point have been polite, have gained in ease, but have not been "intimate" exchanges. Is this the first time he addresses Anne directly on a matter of importance? I think so. That first person plural pronoun! All the intimate information Anne has gained so far about FW since meeting him again has been through overhearing his conversations with others.
I doubt he has put all the pieces together, but I wonder if "They got on fast" (fourth to last Paragraph in this ch.) might not allude to more than covering the geography. Between Lyme and Uppercross, FW covers a terrific amount of psychological territory.
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