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|"I am very drunk"
Written by Rachel G
(10/10/2009 6:27 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Grand Gesture, penned by Robbin
Firstly, Elinor can see at once by "the steadiness of his manner and the intelligence of his eye" that he was sober. If he had been trying to convince her that he was drunk I don't think it would have been difficult for him to act as though intoxicated.
Also, Marlborough is about 40 miles from Cleveland - a good four hour drive. Porter was a dark, malted beer with a strength of about 7% at most. In a hard-drinking age a pint of porter was trivial. Willoughby might have felt slightly mellow when he left Marlborough but could not possibly have been drunk on his pint of porter by the time he reached Cleveland, and Elinor would have known that.
I agree with your other points about Willoughby being aware that the Palmers were away, and about his business at Combe Magna. Presumably he must have found some "business" there as an excuse to Sophia when he suddenly left London - Unless he is developing a similar matrimonial style to Mr Palmer: "He never tells me anything!" ;-D
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