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|Enter Colonel Brandon
Written by Elizabeth K (moved by moderator)
(9/9/2009 10:48 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Colonel, comfortable in his own flannel., penned by janelt
“In the evening, as Marianne was discovered to be musical, she was invited to play…Sir John was loud in his admiration at the end of every song, and as loud in his conversation with the others while every song lasted. Lady Middleton frequently called him to order, wondered how any one's attention could be diverted from music for a moment, and asked Marianne to sing a particular song which Marianne had just finished (my emphasis). Colonel Brandon alone, of all the party, heard her without being in raptures. He paid her only the compliment of attention; and she felt a respect for him on the occasion, which the others had reasonably forfeited by their shameless want of taste” (Ch. 7).
Oh, how I love JA’s biting subtlety here! Noticeably, the Lady Middleton description, in bold. Once again JA gives such an accurate but minute description: pure genius. As I said in my post on the S&S board before the GR, my primary GR focus is the interaction between Marianne and Colonel Brandon as S&S progresses. It is clear that Marianne merely considers Brandon to be an old rheumatic man, as he is “on the wrong side of five and thirty” and wears the (infamous!) flannel waistcoats. However, he does have one redeeming feature in Marianne’s eyes: he listens to her singing and playing without exaggerated, over the top applause. As Elinor said in S&S3, “I think Colonel Brandon has a little more discernment than your usual audience, Marianne”, to which Marianne retorts, “I think he’s the kind of man who likes to find fault with everyone, and everything” (apologies if I am slightly misquoting here – it is from memory).
So at the end of Ch. 7, Marianne hasn't paid any more attention to Colonel Brandon than is necessary for good manners and civility; she feels respect but at his 'advanced' stage of life, she is “reasonable enough to allow that [he]…might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment”. This makes me laugh – it is typical Marianne, all animation and spirit (whether high or low).
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