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Written by Bridget D
(10/25/2009 6:55 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Actually, Bridget D, it did happen in Jane Austen's world, penned by Elizabeth K
for the lower classes it was considered a forgivable lapse, especialy if they got married, sicne they were poor and "education had done so little for them"..
but for Austen's own class of people, the lesser gentry and parsons, a lady was supposed to keep her virtue before marriage and not commit adultery afterwards....in her other novels, Mrs Clay "may" we are told, get away with being WIlliam ELliot's mistress, because as a widow she had a bit more licence than a single woman would have...WE're told that it is possible that ELliot will marry her, and he has enough money to put up a front in society... This solution might have applied to Maria Rushworth, of Henry marrying her and spending a lot of money putting her forward in society she mgight be acceptable in soem circles..(But we note that Sir Thomas does not approve of this idea, and insists on Maria being secluded from society in a distant county...
Lydia Bennet gets away with her liaison with Wickham because she is married fairly soon while the indiscretion could still be covered up. But for Maria and Eliza, their one piece of folly will probaby ruin their lives....
Im not saying that Austen didn't know of sexual infidelity etc, but it did not mean that she approved of it or was going to portray it as right behaviour in her novels.
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