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|What has Mrs Clay been doing?
Written by Cheryl
(10/20/2008 12:13 a.m.)
It's interesting what new things pop out at you in a book you've read countless times. This little speech by Sir Walter struck me this week, where he coaxes Mrs Clay into remaining with them in Bath, even though Anne has now arrived:
"My dear madam, this must not be. As yet, you have seen nothing of Bath. You have been here only to be useful. You must not run away from us now. You must stay to be acquainted with Mrs. Wallis, the beautiful Mrs. Wallis. To your fine mind, I well know the sight of beauty is a real gratification." (ch. 16)
Now, they left for Bath in early September, and when Anne joins them, it is January. What on earth has she been doing for the past four months? She has been "useful," but what does that mean? Admiring their apartments and giving them someone to talk to? Or - more importantly, I suspect - giving them the fawning attention they need?
Ch. 15 says
"They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered their expectations in every respect. Their house was undoubtedly the best in Camden Place, … Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought after. Every body was wanting to visit them. "
It sounds like Sir Walter and Elizabeth have done the town - I'm sure they've been to the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms, the Theatre, etc. Was, perhaps, Mrs Clay not a member of their party that she has "seen nothing of Bath?"
I also can't help but laugh at what Sir Walter thinks is one of the must-sees of Bath: the rumored, beautiful Mrs Wallis. She is sure to be a balm to his injured sensibilities after seeing 87 women in a row without a tolerable face amongst them. ;-)
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