Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|Mrs. Jennings' gossip
Written by Barbara
(9/27/2006 12:53 p.m.)
We've seen hints about this before now, but we certainly got a deluge of it in Chapter 13 and 14! We also get a glimpse into her methods, if they could be called such, when she says she sent her maid to talk to Willoughby's groom in order to find out where exactly he and Marianne went.
She also pretends to know more than she actually knows when fishing for something, as when she throws out this bait to Brandon, "Well, then, I know who it is from, Colonel. And I hope she is well."
We also saw her "attack" Margaret with remarks that were bound to ellicit some kind of response.
She certainly seems to know a lot about Colonel Brandon's private concerns too--his sister in poor health at Avignon, the financial problems his estate had/has, the existance of Miss Williams, his cousin's marriage prospects, etc. It leads me to wonder whether he has volunteered all this information or whether she has employed her methods to gather it as well.
I like Mrs. Jennings a lot, but I find this aspect of her character is less than admirable. I also wonder how much of it is truth. When she says that Miss Williams is "as like [Brandon] as she can stare", it implies that she's met her and seen her before. Maybe she has.
Clearly her gossiping bothers her daughter, but it seems to get to be even too much for Sir John, given this exchange:
"If he is not here by the end of the week, I shall go after him."
"Aye, so do, Sir John," cried Mrs. Jennings, "and then perhaps you may find out what his business is."
"I do not want to pry into other men's concerns."
I also think the technique of establishing a person as a gossip with (sometimes) underhanded methods and (sometimes) embellished versions of events is an interesting one that JA uses. I find that it's tempting to disregard a lot of what Mrs. Jennings says as just so much more gossip, and yet there are just as often valuable nuggets of truth and information in what she relates.
How do others feel about Mrs. Jennings and her gossiping?
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.