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|Nabobs and palanquins--another jab at the colonel
Written by Barbara
(9/14/2009 5:46 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Envy, penned by Robbin
In this part where Willoughby and Marianne are criticizing Colonel Brandon, when Elinor defends him by saying he is interesting because he travelled, they begin saying insulting things about his knowledge of the East Indies.
Willoughby makes this remark:
One online source I consulted (Civility and empire: literature and culture in British India) makes the observation that this might have been Willoughby's attempt to hint that Colonel Brandon's wealth was ill-gotten and that he might have been exploitively gathering wealth while he was in the Colonial East Indies, but that he phrased it this way as though to imply it was perhaps too scandalous to just speak it outright.
Elinor's reply of "I may venture to say that his observations have stretched much farther than your candour" is said teasingly, but it's also as if she's saying to Willoughby that if he has something negative to say about Brandon that is actually based on something other than their imagination, he should just come out and say it instead of making remarks like these.
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