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Written by Stephanie
(10/10/2012 3:07 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Mulberry trees, penned by Barbara
I usually guessed that bit about the two ladies 'stuffing' mulberries was a two-sided sketch of Mrs. Jennings' manners.
First, it seems almost as if two children are being described, not an adult and a teenage daughter, since they are over indulging in their host's fruit.
Second, mulberries, in my experience, are VERY difficult to eat off the tree neatly, since they stain so easily the fingers, mouth, and whatever else they touch. In an age before chemical laundry pre-treatments being available at every grocery store, I would say that Mrs. Jennings or Charlotte might well have permanently stained their gowns with their noshing! And may have had purple around their mouths and on their hands for days after, as well!
Author Austen takes a sly dig by showing us Mrs. Jennings' point of view -- that the 'honours' of marrying Col. Brandon will include food, socializing and a pretty view. Mrs Jennings knows that the Col. is a good man, who will love, honour and cherish his wife -- certainly something that should be at the forefront of the minds of those who have seen Mr. Willoughby's treatment of Marianne. But, however kind Mrs. Jennings' heart, she still speaks of the material enjoyments of a situation rather than the inner happiness that true caring brings.
It is fun to hear her talk, though, is it not? I like to see the variations her mind goes through, and all that she sees, and misses, because she is so used to seeing the world only one way. I always smile when she says, "For my part, I think the less that is said about such things, the better, the sooner 'tis blown over and forgot. And what good does talking ever do, you know?"
If anyone WOULD make an argument for talking helping a situation, you would think it would be Mrs. Jennings!
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