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|Dear Cathy Allen
Written by Anselm
(10/20/2009 11:43 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Dear Anselm..., penned by Cathy Allen
My anxiety is somewhat lessened by the general tenor of your reply, for which my heartfelt thanks. However, I'm still not entirely convinced that I should not be an interfering old busybody and try to convince M at least to think again. In the first instance, you adduce as her feelings for the Colonel what appear to me to be qualities inherent only in the Colonel himself: his love for her, his admirably supportive behaviour towards her over a long period of time, her intimate knowledge of his goodness. I daresay the first and the last items sum up my own opinion of his estimable person, but while this knowledge makes me treasure his friendship, it does not make me love him and want to marry him.
In the second instance, I wonder if you dismiss the fact that she has not yet said words to the effect of "I love you" too lightly. To be sure, she speaks of him in terms approaching the glowing, summed up in the phrases we have used above. But if she feels that positively about him, surely one would expect something of a more direct indication that she returns precisely his feeling of love, as opposed to esteem, gratitude and deep and lasting friendship. I understand that the Colonel had unburdened himself of his feeling for her to her mother some months ago already, before he asked her to marry him. It seems to me that she has accepted his hand without being as sure that her feelings for him are the equivalent of his for her. I hope you are right about her heart "becoming capable" of a wholehearted attachment to him, but at the moment it seems to me that that attachment is incipient rather than real, and I can only say that I wouldn't marry someone "hoping" that my love for them would one day blossom.
And the matchmaking I referred to in my first letter is also worrying me. M's mother, sister and brother-in-law seem to be trying to make something happen that might not without their "help". A friend of mine, an author of (I blush to acknowledge it) some of the most trashy (to say nothing of absurdly-titled) novels of the Mills-and-Boon type it has ever been my misfortune to read, characterises the situation thus: "with such a confederacy against her, what can she do"? I wonder if there isn't anything in her implication that M is being bamboozled and manipulated into something that her heart is not in - at least, not yet. If it were inevitable, I would not feel as if I should protest.
With the wedding occuring next Saturday, time is running short. Please advise. I should not like to be in the position of Mr Mason at the ceremony of Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester.
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