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|Friend's of Eliza
Written by Robbin
(10/25/2009 11:47 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Eliza and her friend's foolishness, penned by Bridget D
My point was that respect for parental authority depends largely on the character of the parents and children rather than the era in which they live. I do not think it matters whether the children are male or female or if the parent is present or not. Either they adhere to parental authority or they do not. I still see no support for the suggestion Eliza and Friend refused to obey Friend’s Father so I will agree to disagree on the subject.
The status of Friend’s Father or the fact he visits Bath for his health is no indicator of his wealth. In Persuasion Mrs. Smith is in Bath for her health and she is pitifully poor indeed. Friend’s Father’s situation may or may not be like the dear colonel’s who is a landed gentleman with a two-thousand pound yearly income. Friend’s Father’s income may be smaller or greater; there is really no way to tell.
“I knew him to be a very good sort of man…He, her father, a well-meaning, but not a quick-sighted man…” (Ch. 31)
In hindsight it is clear Friend’s Father did not take suitable care of the girls but I think both he and Col Brandon believed he would be able to properly supervise them in Bath. It is possible they did not foresee his being confined to the house and they certainly failed to predict Eliza would be the target of a rake or that neither girl would realize her danger. I suppose Willoughby had something to do with the last. If only one of them had been endowed with a useful degree of prescience!
“Her [Eliza’s] affection for me deserved better treatment, and I often, with great self-reproach, recall the tenderness which, for a very short time, had the power of creating any return” (Ch. 44)
I disagree with your characterization of Eliza as knowingly chasing after a man she knew did not care for her. Willoughby did not tell Eliza he was abandoning her and I think it was a great while before she understood her romance had gone wrong or realize Willoughby’s leaving was a desertion. He told Eliza he would return and his affection (above) was not a figment of her imagination although certainly the reality of it was short lived. I think love and naïve loyalty (like Marianne) rather than stubbornness drove Eliza to look for Willoughby and wait to contact Col Brandon. In Ch. 31 Col Brandon makes it clear Eliza is tormented by self-reproach over her misconduct that has disgraced her for life not because her romance is over:
Whatever they may have been, however, she may now, and hereafter doubtless will , turn with gratitude towards her own condition, when she compares it with that of my poor Eliza, when she considers the wretched and hopeless situation of this poor girl, and pictures her to herself, with an affection for him as strong, still as strong as her own, and with a mind tormented by self-reproach, which must attend her through life. Surely this comparison must have its use with her. She will feel her own sufferings to be nothing. They proceed from no misconduct, and can bring no disgrace.
Thanks for reading. (:D)
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