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|re: The Unfulfilled Promise
Written by Tess
(9/16/2012 3:23 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Unfulfilled Promise, penned by Golda
Good question. All I can say is, if I found myself in a similar situation, I don't think I could confront my hypothetical son-in-law. It would be beyond akward.
There are several points to consider. In the first place, an verbal promise is not a promise. I don't actually believe that, but you know how it is. Mrs Dashwood would confront John; he would give her his version of events, which would probably be completely different from his father's, and then akwardness would ensue. We don't even really know what Mr Dashwood had said. If he had said something sufficiently vague and open to misiterpretation, such as "John promised to take care of you", then, really, what could Mrs Dashwood confront John with? The phrase could mean whatever anyone wanted it to mean. It could mean that John would occasionally send them game and fish (like Fanny helpfully suggested).
Moreover, when the girls and their mother were moving out, John kept going on and on about his expenses. I suspect it would be impossible for anyone not to take the hint. Remember Fanny sulking because they took their own china with them? It would be very difficult to hide that ungenerous attitude. Mrs Dashwood probably thought the Regency equivalent of, "If they don't want to help me, I'm not going to beg them."
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