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|Inconstancy or perverseness of circumstances?
Written by Barbara
(9/28/2009 10:20 p.m.)
Back in Ch. 11, Colonel Brandon seemed to be asking about Marianne, but was possibly thinking of himself when asked Elinor: "Does your sister make no distinction in her objections against a second attachment? or is it equally criminal in everybody? Are those who have been disappointed in their first choice, whether from the inconstancy of its object, or the perverseness of circumstances, to be equally indifferent during the rest of their lives?"
Now we can see what he was talking about during his 'confession' to Elinor in Ch. 31. But which of the two did he see the most in his own situation--inconstancy or perverseness of circumstances?
His father insisting on the marriage to his brother,not having left a couple of hours earlier for Scotland, Eliza's maid betraying them, whether foolishly or deliberately--those could be called perverseness of circumstances.
But also, I think he thought Eliza could have tried harder for a different outcome.
"I had hoped that her regard for me would support her under any difficulty, and for some time it did; but at last the misery of her situation, for she experienced great unkindness, overcame all her resolution, and though she had promised me that nothing -- --"
That broken off sentence--what does it imply that she promised him? That she would never give in? That she would wait out his father and brother until they could be together?
"I had depended on her fortitude too far, and the blow was a severe one -- " To me, that sounds like he did expect her to be stronger against them.
I don't mean to make light out of what she suffered, but I wonder just how far they could go to force her to marry Brandon's brother. He calls it 'great unkindness' but also describes it as 'she was allowed no liberty, no society, no amusement, till my father's point was gained'. That sounds sort of like being grounded, doesn't it? I'm sure it was very unpleasant, but it doesn't sound as though they were starving her or striking her or anything of that kind.
What do others think? Do you think he thought Eliza was inconstant to him?
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