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|Musings on Marriage (Ch 1)
Written by Kathryn Ann
(10/6/2011 10:17 p.m.)
I am a little bit fascinated to read what our author tells us about marriage in such pointed language in chapter 1.
First, I hope I am not alone in seeing an echo of Charlotte Lucas' marriage to Mr. Collins in the marriage of Lady Elliot to Sir Walter. "an excellent woman, sensible and amiable... She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years... and had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children to attach her to life..."
Widowed Sir Walter obviously set his own matrimonial sights very high -"having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications..." I imagine those "unreasonable" applications were to women far above him in the food chain, and while he is now content to make excuses to himself for remaining single, our author says that "Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation." A second marriage could have provided him with male heirs, and may have provided his daughters with a mother to guide them as they matured. Did he stop seeking opportunities to save his vanity being bruised? Would there not have been some "match-making mothers" in London or elsewhere setting their sights and exceessive flattery on Sir Walter for their daughters? I must wonder, did Elizabeth, whose "influence had always been great" have anything to do with her father's lack of success in marrying again?
I must also admit to surprise to learn that on her visits to Town, Elizabeth had not decided to set her sights high, given that she thinks so well of herself. Why would she (and her father) not have set their sights higher than Mr. Elliot as a prospective husband? I come to the conclusion that she is enjoying her position well enough not to feel that she is missing anything just yet. I think that the author backs me up here, when she talks about Lady Russell's decision not to remarry:
That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not.
Huh? Why is the public unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again? Is freedom from the marriage state - at least when one is a widow with some resources - more desirable than remarriage?
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