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Written by Rae
(10/13/2008 1:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I agree with Laraine, penned by JulieW
Yes, on the face of it, he must be incredibly mean to act like this. Why not be more friendly but still be polite? After all he manages to suppress his contempt for some of Mary's comments, and to overcome his amusement at Mrs Musgrove's 'large fat sighings' over Dick and do the right and kind thing. Why can he not treat Anne with a tad more warmth? Or if he really feels like that - why hang around at all? He could go off to Shropshire as he had planned; Edward has as much call on him as Sophie.
Even the removal of the child and helping her into the gig though, are not carried out like normal acts of kindness. There is no 'Here, Miss Anne, let me help you...' just intensely physical and intimate acts performed in silence. So what's going on? What is he doing?
I absolutely agree with you that it is significant that no one seems to notice that these two people - she the confidante and friend of all, and he so gregarious and charming - can barely pass a civil word. It does demonstrate the limits of the Musgrove warmth to me - it is all for their family. The earlier passages about their interest and applause for their daughters' playing, as opposed to hers, are the explanation for this. Her playing merits praise when it provides music for the girls to dance to, otherwise it goes unremarked.
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