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|When Charm cannot Serve
Written by Robbin
(10/14/2009 9:53 p.m.)
"Mr. Willoughby, you ought to feel, and I certainly do -- that after what has passed -- your coming here in this manner, and forcing yourself upon my notice, requires a very particular excuse. What is it, that you mean by it?" (Ch. 44)
In Ch. 44 Elinor says (above) that Willoughby forced himself upon her notice. Elinor is shocked, I think, at Willoughby’s audacity and the impropriety of his appearing at Cleveland. He has no invitation, no right to be there by any stretch of the imagination and he certainly deserves no attention from Elinor. What is to Elinor a hateful and a painful intrusion makes no difference to Willoughby’s actions except as it applies to his having his say. As usual he can only act in accordance with his desires and needs.
Elinor, starting back with a look of horror at the sight of him, obeyed the first impulse of her heart in turning instantly to quit the room, and her hand was already on the lock, when its action was suspended by his hastily advancing, and saying, in a voice rather of command than supplication --
"Miss Dashwood, for half an hour -- for ten minutes -- I entreat you to stay."
"No, sir," she replied with firmness, "I shall not stay. Your business cannot be with me. The servants, I suppose, forgot to tell you that Mr. Palmer was not in the house."
"Had they told me," he cried with vehemence, "that Mr. Palmer and all his relations were at the devil, it would not have turned me from the door. My business is with you, and only you."
"With me!" -- in the utmost amazement -- "well, sir -- be quick -- and if you can -- less violent."
"Sit down, and I will be both."
Where has Willoughby’s charm gone? He speaks in a voice of command rather than supplication (no humility here) and he speaks violently (passionately, angrily) and although it is not his place and without a please or thank you he tells Elinor to sit down. Does this open up a new side to a man who usually uses charm to gain his objectives? I do not think Willoughby is used to hearing the word No, perhaps especially from women. He would not take no for an answer from Elinor and insisted upon her staying and listening to him. Forcing himself on Elinor’s notice was selfish, unfeeling, improper and ungentlemanly but was it also a shade of bullying? (:D)
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