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|Leaning against the mantlepiece
Written by Delories
(10/26/2006 3:29 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Willoughby's attitude?, penned by Ann2
As far as I know, the way people of Elinor & Willoughby's class held themselves, the posture of their bodies, I mean, was much straighter than the way most of us do now. They bowed and curtsied to one another; shaking hands was still quite "modern". Although clothes had loosened up a bit in the previous decade or so, women did wear corsets, and the sort of "stocks" and collars men wore under theri chins did the same thing: people kept their backs straight, their heads up, didn't lean against the backs of their chairs, etc.
So for W. to just settle back against the mantlepiece as if for a longer chat is a sign of being extremely relaxed, as if, in our day, someone sat down on the sofa and put their feet up, as it were. That's why the gesture strikes me as so extraordinary; and remember, he does it _as soon as_ he got what he came for, what his vanity demands: Elinor's "forgiveness".
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