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Written by Robbin
(10/19/2009 12:39 a.m.)
"Remember," cried Willoughby, "from whom you received the account. Could it be an impartial one? I acknowledge that her situation and her character ought to have been respected by me. I do not mean to justify myself, but at the same time cannot leave you to suppose that I have nothing to urge, -- that because she was injured she was irreproachable; and because I was a libertine, she must be a saint. If the violence of her passions, the weakness of her understanding -- I do not mean, however, to defend myself. Her affection for me deserved better treatment, and I often, with great self-reproach, recal the tenderness which, for a very short time, had the power of creating any return. I wish -- I heartily wish it had never been. But I have injured more than herself; and I have injured one, whose affection for me (may I say it?) was scarcely less warm than hers; and whose mind -- Oh! how infinitely superior!" (Ch. 44)
What does Willoughby mean by “I acknowledge that her [Eliza’s] situation and her character ought to have been respected by me.” I assume when he says character he is speaking of “the violence of her passion [she was in love with him], the weakness of her understanding” but what does he mean by her situation? I think possibly—the fact she appears to be unprotected in Bath; that he knew she was young and unworldly, and that seducing her would ruin her life. If he knew all this and seduced her anyway then his excuses are still more worthless than I thought. (:D)
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