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|Mrs Clay's future - a doubtful point.
Written by Rachel G
(10/30/2008 6:59 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, "Controlling" Mrs. Clay, penned by Line
JA tells us that it is "a doubtful point" whether Mrs Clay will succeed in wheedling and caressing Mr Elliot into marrying her. This line puzzles me exceedingly. Everything I have heard of Mr E points to him being a manipulative, rather cold hearted person who's actions seem almost entirely designed to serve his own self interest.
As I understand it his main objective in Bath is to deter Sir Walter from remarrying and fathering an heir who would cut Mr E out from the title and inheritance. Even while he is courting Anne he is also covertly trying to charm and manipulate Mrs Clay. When Anne chooses Wentworth, Mr E averts disaster very effectively by taking Mrs Clay as his mistress. Given Mrs Clay's 'abilities' at wheedling and caressing, no doubt this course of action was far from disagreeable to him. But why on earth would he marry her? I can't see what he would gain by it. He is young, good looking and rich, so women would be falling over themselves to attract him. Are Mrs Clay's abilities really so remarkable that he would make an honest woman of her?
I would have thought that Mrs Clay's chances of becoming his wife are vanishingly small, yet JA tells us that it could happen. Is she joking here? I just don't get it.
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