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|The Harvilles (11 & 12)
Written by BarbaraB
(10/17/2011 12:21 p.m.)
Just back from being away for the weekend and trying to catch up on both text and postings. I see no one has brought up this lovely couple. The Harvilles along with the Crofts embody JA's/society's, imho, increased respect and admiration of the Navy. As did Anne, I liked the Harvilles the moment I met them and my admiration only increased as I walked into their home.
*Meeting them: Captain Harville is "unaffected, warm and obliging" and his wife while a degree less polished, "seemed to have the same good feelings; and nothing could be more pleasant than their desire of considering the whole party as friends of their own..." (11)
*Entering their home: "On quitting the Cobb, they all went indoors with their new friends, and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the heart could think capable of accommodating so many. ...but it was soon lost in the pleasanter feelings which sprang from the sight of all the ingenious contrivances and nice arrangements of Captain Harville, to turn the actual space to the best possible account, to supply the deficiencies of lodging-house furniture, and defend the windows and doors against the winter storms to be expected...the picture of repose and domestic happiness.." (11)
*They keep the troubled, melancholy Captain Benwick with them and though I believe it aids them financially, they treat him like family. Captain Harville has "contrived excellent accommodations, and fashioned very pretty shelves, for a tolerable collection of well-bound volumes" for Benwick's personal use. They are concerned about the state of his health.
*They have known the party from Uppercross for no more than a day and when Louisa falls: " Shocked as Captain Harville was, he brought senses and nerves that could be instantly useful; and a look between him and his wife decided what was to be done. She must be taken to their house; all must go to their house, and wait the surgeon's arrival there. They would not listen to scruples: he was obeyed: they were all beneath his roof; and while Louisa, under Mrs. Harville's direction, was conveyed upstairs, and given possession of her own bed, assistance, cordials, restoratives were supplied by her husband to all who needed them." (12)
And from the same chapter: "Her removal was impossible. The Harvilles silenced all scruples, and, as much as they could, all gratitude. They had looked forward and arranged every thing before the others began to reflect... though, with regard to any attendance on Miss Musgrove, there need not be the least uneasiness in leaving her to Mrs. Harville's care entirely."
All this from a household where Captain Harville is disabled and where finances seem to be limited.
Their concern for others in sympathy, sacrifice and hospitality makes them one of the nicest sets of folk in all of Austen. Just had to give them a shout-out. :)
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