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Written by Louise H
(10/23/2006 1:30 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Question, penned by James S.
I think the distinction here is between cruelty that achieves one's intended aims and cruelty that backfires. The word "impolitic" relates to the latter part of CB's statement: "Mrs. Ferrars does not know what she may be doing -- what she may drive her son to."
Mrs. F's actions are not "politic" in that she's not achieving what she wants, which is to keep Edward from marrying Lucy; she might even drive her son to suicide (or whatever it is that CB is hinting at). A more prudent or "politic" person might have found an artful way to separate Edward and Lucy, whether cruel or not.
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