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|Chapter 17 - Anne and Mr Elliot...
Written by Moni
(10/24/2008 3:23 a.m.)
Anne is being gently persuaded on the theme of marriage, should a proposal come forth from Mr Elliot. Lady Russell does not push the point further than giving her views of its merits, and has learned to stand back and let things unfold. She says she is no matchmaker.
Anne, now of her own mind, has politely declined the idea of any connection between her and Mr Elliot, privately to herself, on the basis that her heart is not free. Publicly she says the match is destined for Elizabeth, who would be more suitable.
As her private reasoning goes, there is something about Mr Elliot she does not understand, why he appears so perfect, and yet her heart isn't totally caught up in his attentions. Clearly he is showing he values her and her attributes, gives generous praise and attention. But she seems to hold a reserve here, because he lacks an openness of character, according to her set of values:
CH. 17 -
"Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, ***but he was not open***. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. ***Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still***. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.
***Mr. Elliot was too generally agreeable***. Various as were the tempers in her father's house, he pleased them all. He endured too well, stood too well with everybody. He had spoken to her with some degree of openness of Mrs. Clay; had appeared completely to see what Mrs. Clay was about, and to hold her in contempt; and yet Mrs. Clay found him as agreeable as anybody."
However, what is MOST fascinating is this little preceding paragraph after Lady Russell has given her views on the virtues of a match with Mr Elliot, that Anne does a temporary backflip, she is tempted by retrieving for herself, what she lost when her mother died. It is stunning, because it's the first time she ever entertains this idea, and thinks of her mother in her own terms. She recovers herself, checking in with her heart, and levelling out again with her own values, but she is certainly tempted by the idea:
CH. 17 -
"Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table, and, leaning there in pretended employment, ***try to subdue her feelings this picture excited***. For a few moments her imagination and her heart were bewitched. ***The idea of becoming what her mother had been; of having the precious name of "Lady Elliot" first revived in herself; of being restored to Kellynch, calling it her home again, her home for ever, was a charm which she could not immediately resist***. Lady Russell said not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own operation; and believing that, could Mr. Elliot at that moment with propriety have spoken for himself! -- she believed, in short, what Anne did not believe. The same image of Mr. Elliot speaking for himself brought Anne to composure again. The charm of Kellynch and of "Lady Elliot" all faded away. ***She never could accept him***. And it was not only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one; her judgment, on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a case, was against Mr. Elliot."
It's interesting that Anne still lets the flame burn for the Captain, though so very privately, and in this she is being true to her heart, not knowing if it made proper sense, and not even knowing if she would receive another offer from the quarter she had once sent away due to being persuaded against it. Anne could so easily have gained her Mother's position back, yet she found she didn't want it. Thoughts anyone?
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