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|Mrs Smith's story
Written by Cheryl
(10/23/2005 11:59 p.m.)
Where does one start? The whole of Ch. 21 is taken up with it. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on it. I'll start off with one bit: Mr Elliot's dealings with Sir Walter and Elizabeth in London all those years ago. It is interesting to see the story of their acquaintance from his point of view. And I still stick to my earlier guns that I cannot blame him for his views of them.
"…it was his belief (whether justly or not, of course I cannot decide), that your father and sister, in their civilities and invitations, were designing a match between the heir and the young lady, and it was impossible that such a match should have answered his ideas of wealth and independance. That was his motive for drawing back."
He did indeed see that he was expected to marry Elizabeth, and the thought horrified him - sensible man. He also wanted the independence that money could give him, and he knew darned well that that a marriage to Elizabeth wouldn't provide that. So he didn't want to do anything that would give either of them the impression that a marriage could ever take place. I see nothing wrong with that.
As to that letter to Mr Smith, which Mrs Smith has oh so conveniently kept all these years... ;-)
"Give me joy: I have got rid of Sir Walter and Miss. They are gone back to Kellynch, and almost made me swear to visit them this summer; but my first visit to Kellynch will be with a surveyor, to tell me how to bring it with best advantage to the hammer. The baronet, nevertheless, is not unlikely to marry again; he is quite fool enough. If he does, however, they will leave me in peace, which may be a decent equivalent for the reversion. He is worse than last year."
They "almost made him swear to visit them" but apparently he did not, so though they expected him, it appears it was an expectation of their own making. Mr Elliot also fully expects Sir Walter to marry again - "he is quite fool enough" - but it doesn't distress him as he doesn't care for the title or inheritance, and only wants to be left in peace. (Things are quite different now though, aren't they?)
Of course he says some rude things, and Anne is distressed to read them, but even she acknowledges that this is a private letter to a friend - it's not like he ever expected anyone else to read it - and that "...no private correspondence could bear the eye of others."
There are plenty of other nasty things to blame Mr Elliot for later on in the chapter, but I can't really fault him in his behavior toward Sir Walter and Elizabeth in years past. Now, if we want to talk about how his poor wife fared in all this - that's a different matter! But I have no condemnation for his actions toward the Kellynch Elliots. How about you? ;-)
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