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|Dissembling for honorable reasons
Written by Tom P2
(9/24/2009 8:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, re Elinor: agreed. Absolutely and without question., penned by Anselm
You're worried about the level of skill Elinor's showing in "such somewhat more dubious arts as dissimulation and tactical skirmishing"?
Here are two possible sources of comfort. First, the skill in dissembling may just be a general skill in walking on eggshells around volatile people, honed over years of peacekeeping at home with Mrs Dashwood and Marianne. Second, the ends justify the means! The narrator gives us a clear account of what Elinor's thinking, in the paragraph in ch23 containing these bits:
she wanted more clearly to understand what Lucy really felt for Edward
So, given that she's resolved to back off from Edward:
In fairness to Lucy, I suppose I should also wonder whether there's a similarly honorable explanation for her manoeuvrings. The best I've been able to come up with is that she may be mainly insecure and desperate, rather than malicious for malice's own sake. Confiding in a rival is a pretty big risk, because if Elinor were unscrupulous she could easily write and tip off John Dashwood, and the news would make its way pretty reliably to Mrs Ferrars, even though Elinor's never met her.
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