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|"Controlling" Mrs. Clay
Written by Line
(10/29/2008 5:36 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay - a few questions..., penned by MarianneR
1) I don't think Mr. Elliot was "controlling" Mrs. Clay in any harsh or authoritarian way - he was *charming* her! If you read the Molland's scene closely, it's clear that Mrs. Clay was as eager to walk home with Mr. Elliot as Anne was. There's another quote, which I can't find right now, about how one of things that puzzled Anne about Mr. Elliot was that although he made his feelings about Mrs. Clay clear to *her* (Anne), Mrs. Clay still liked him as much as everybody else did. In short, Mr. Elliot was busy doing to Mrs. Clay what Mrs. Clay did to Sir Walter - trying to make her fall in love with him, at least enough to make her lose interest in Sir Walter.
2) "Established under his protection" was a euphemism for "she had openly become his mistress (i.e: living in his house)".
3) I think I partly answered this in #1, but IMO what *attracted* Mr. Elliot enough to openly make Mrs. Clay his mistress were the same qualities that made her a danger to Sir Walter: "She was a clever young woman, who understood the art of pleasing" (ch.2), and "She has abilities, however, as well as affections; and it is now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or hers, may finally carry the day; whether, after preventing her from being the wife of Sir Walter, he may not be wheedled and caressed at last into making her the wife of Sir William." (ch.24)
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