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|Why did Edward come to visit?
Written by Barbara
(10/4/2012 12:20 a.m.)
We know Edward was in Plymouth seeing Lucy, and we know that Devonshire is on his way back to wherever he is going next. Yet, considering his behaviour during his visit, I always wonder why he came to visit?
Edward's rather cold behaviour in Ch. 16 'severely mortified' Elinor, but in Ch. 17, Edward is won over by Mrs. Dashwood's warmth and charm, and becomes more like the Edward they all love--until Marianne's remarks about being reserved (which we discussed in a thread below) sink his spirits again.
Elinor can tell he is unhappy, and though he cheers up at times, many remarks and situations seem to upset him and put him in low spirits. As the week goes on, he seems more and more happy to be with them, but then leaves just when he seems to be most enjoying himself. He has no fixed engagements, no place in particular where he must go or where he has to be, yet he absolutely insists on leaving after a week. When he actually leaves, he seems almost despondent.
By Ch. 22 we learn of his engagement to Lucy Steele, and that he had spent a fortnight visiting her before he came to see the Dashwoods.
Why did he come to see them? We know he was in low spirits when he left Lucy in Plymouth. According to her, it was because he had to leave her after only two weeks and hated to see her so affected at the thought of his leaving.
But, he didn't have to leave Lucy. He has nowhere that he needs to go or be. The Dashwoods didn't expect him, or did anyone in his own family.
Did he think that seeing Elinor again would make him feel better after seeing Lucy? We can infer, from what Lucy says, that Elinor was on his mind and that he talked about Elinor during his visit to Plymouth.
How could he have supposed that coming to see the Dashwoods would make him feel anything but worse?
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