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|Warmth, openness and anger
Written by Rae
(10/28/2008 7:45 p.m.)
We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.
I disagree with Anne on the likely impact on men's feelings of their being busy, and in the world. Such distractions do not make feelings go away - they just deny you the opportunity to make any sense of them. Anne has had the time and leisure to reflect on the whole episode of the engagement and come to some conclusions about it. Wentworth has, IMHO, not had that opportunity. With a weaker attachment, those eight years might well have ended it. In his case he came back as angry as he went away, but with that anger buried under eight years of not thinking about it.
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.
I share this with Anne - I would prefer a man who loved me, or had once loved me, enough to feel angry with me that I had ended the relationship. Resentful, yes, unjust, yes - all that. But these things spring from his ability to feel deeply. He was angry with her, he felt she had behaved badly towards him. But he had no thought out strategy of how to behave towards her, what to do about the situation. His tongue slipped when he was asked what he thought about her, his presence of mind which he maintained faced with Mrs Musgrove's mourning of Dick and Mary's snobby spite about the Hayters, failed him when it came to dealing with Anne. But through all that, under the veneer of cold politeness was that hyperawareness of her which led him to oblige her into his sister's gig, or to lift the child, wordlessly, from her back. His behaviour at Upper Cross - which we all agreed was 'bad', as he does now - seems to me to be part of that warmth and enthusiasm that Anne wants in her partner; the negative side of it, certainly, but part and parcel of it.
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