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|Good Friends—Elinor and Nancy
Written by Robbin
(10/21/2006 6:09 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, And also Nancy does not seem to object to, penned by Kara M
Nancy is not always nice and open to Elinor. I thought the above was a very mean snipe from Nancy which Elinor is supposed to understand—it shows me that Lucy has confided to her that Elinor knows of the engagement and Nancy is rubbing it in just a little. The above comment reminds me of Elinor’s fancy In Chapter 21 that Nancy is ill-natured because of the manner in which she spoke of Edward suggesting she knew something to his disadvantage. I think hinting that you have unacknowledged information is not actually very open in itself and, in fact, points to you being just the opposite. Nancy, to me, seems less open than just unable to control herself; that, coupled with an inability to distinguish what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to say—considering the secrecy of Lucy’s engagement Nancy’s comment is in fact not appropriate.
I cannot attach much significance to Nancy’s nice and open attitude towards Elinor in Chapter 36. Nancy crowned Lady Middleton’s second boy as playful after he violently pinched one of her fingers and called Lady Middleton a sweet woman in Chapter 21; is there even the slightest probability that these are the true sentiments of her heart or are they just the supporting framework of her and Lucy’s plan to ingratiate them with Lady Middleton? My point is Nancy’s motives cannot be taken at face value.
In Chapter 36 Nancy desires to be laughed at and teased by all, not just Elinor, about the doctor so I see no preference for her friendship in that regard. In her own way Nancy is as selfish as Lucy; her desire to be laughed at is not in any way that of wishing for new friends but rather the gratification she receives by being shown to have an admirer. I think the idea that their teasing about the doctor or describing their troubles to Nancy would have made her more comfortable in their presence and paid her for relinquishing the best seat by the fire is more akin to barter than a wish for friendship. Nancy’s thoughts are a bit selfish and ones of entitlement; she wants some compensation for having to share the comforts of Lady Middleton’s home with them—this is in line with the “jealousies and discontents” that Mrs. Jennings is so unaware of when exiling the Dashwood sisters to Lady Middleton’s for the duration of her duties at Hanover Square--of course Elinor and Marianne see no need to pay Nancy at all.
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