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|Comparing the confessions
Written by Barbara
(10/11/2009 6:21 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, What this says about Willoughby---and Brandon, penned by Mary Anne
These are some of the thoughts that struck me:
--Colonel Brandon finishes with "I would not have suffered myself to trouble you with this account of my family afflictions, with a recital which may seem to have been intended to raise myself at the expense of others."
Not only does Willoughby try to raise himself at the expense of others (Sophia, Mrs. Smith, Eliza, and Colonel Brandon), but he takes a stab at Brandon at least three times while he's talking to Elinor. There's the line you quoted about Brandon labelling him as being 'capable of anything'.
Right at the end of Ch. 44, Willoughby laments the prospect of one day hearing that Marianne is married:
"But she will be gained by some one else. And if that some one should be the very he whom, of all others, I could least bear -- But I will not stay to rob myself of all your compassionate good-will, by showing that where I have most injured I can least forgive."
Yet another stab at the colonel. Why should it be so hard for Willoughby to bear the idea that the girl he rejected had instead married someone who is kind, respectable, wealthy, and who adores her? Would he rather see Marianne never marry? Or marry someone who will be unfaithful to her or have a hard time providing for her or be rude and indifferent to her?
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