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Written by Rachel G
(9/16/2012 1:57 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I would call John a dirtbag . . ., penned by Mary Anne
I'm sure Fanny would gladly have married a man with ten times the fortune and consequence of John Dashwood if she could get him, but she could not. I wonder why?
Other things being equal, the richer the man the wider his choice of potential brides is likely to be. Miss Fanny Ferrars had money, but we are not told that she was particularly good looking, and perhaps wealthy potential suitors were but off by her narrow minded, cold hearted, personality.
This puts me in mind of two other Austen characters who had difficulty finding acceptable husbands - Elizabeth Elliott and Miss Frances Ward (later Mrs Norris). Though neither was as rich as Fanny Ferrars, both were notably handsome young women, but both had unlovely personalities which put men off. Perhaps Fanny had a somewhat similar problem.
In any case, I think John Dashwood had several characteristics which made him a very acceptable husband from Fanny's point of view:-
- He wasn't super-wealthy, but when his father died he would certainly inherit the remaining half of his mother's large fortune, and very possibly the Norland estate worth £4,000 a year as well.
- He was well respected, and conducted himself with propriety.
- He shared Fanny's selfish, mercenary outlook.
- He was very fond of her.
- He was young and had failed to grow a spine, so it was easy for Fanny to control him and persuade him to do as she wished.
All in all I think young John Dashwood was a pretty good catch for Miss Fanny Ferrars.
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