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|Colonel Brandon's natural daughter
Written by Barbara
(9/27/2006 1:16 a.m.)
Both the Norton Critical edition and the Broadview edition say that a few lines were cut from the original edition that talked about how Lady Middleton was so shocked that she actually exerted herself to say something (about the weather!) Both editions suggest that Jane Austen probably took the line out because it was overkill, because the really shocking part is still there--the fact that all Brandon's friends believe he has an illegitmate daughter.
It always strikes me that they can believe this about him and still consider him respectable good company where a lady who had an illegitimate child would have been a social pariah in those days.
And I think that not only Mrs. Jennings believes this is true, for no one contradicts her. Supposedly she was only talking to Elinor, but I think others must have heard, even with her lowered voice.
Earlier, when Mrs. Jennings had suggested that Brandon was not telling the truth by saying " let us hear the truth of it," her daughter protested by saying, "My dear madam, recollect what you are saying."
At the very least, all the people at the Park have heard about this before, for Mrs. Jennings could not keep such a thing to herself.
Also, when Elinor's only reaction is "Indeed!"--does anyone else think she likely would have reacted more than that? Was she too shocked to say more, or do you think that signifies she discredits what Mrs. Jennings was saying?
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