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|The choicest gift of Heaven
Written by Robbin
(10/26/2008 8:44 p.m.)
Anne found in Mrs. Smith the good sense and agreeable manners which she had almost ventured to depend on, and a disposition to converse and be cheerful beyond her expectation. Neither the dissipations of the past -- and she had lived very much in the world -- nor the restrictions of the present, neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to have closed her heart or ruined her spirits. (Ch. 17)
The descriptions of Mrs. Smith’s “elasticity of mind” made me think of Anne and Frederick’s responses after Anne broke their engagement. They both suffered in spirit and their hearts seem to have been closed. Anne lost her bloom and her spirits and Frederick became angry and resentful adopting a sour grapes attitude towards Anne. I think Mrs. Smith’s ability to not let adversity ruin her character or her performance in life is made in contrast to both Anne’s and Frederick’s way of dealing with their personal adversity over the past eight years. It seems in the following passage Anne would be the “submissive spirit” and Frederick would be the “strong understanding” with which neither weathered their adversities as well as Mrs. Smith:
Yet, in spite of all this, Anne had reason to believe that she had moments only of languor and depression to hours of occupation and enjoyment. How could it be? She watched, observed, reflected, and finally determined that this was not a case of fortitude or of resignation only. A submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply resolution, but here was something more; here was that elasticity of mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of herself, which was from nature alone. It was the choicest gift of Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which, by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counterbalance almost every other want. (Ch. 17)
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