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|Robert's envy & Sir Robert's persuasion
Written by Robbin
(10/18/2012 3:48 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Robert's comments on public vs. private education, penned by Barbara
I agree. Robert plus sour grapes seems a good fit. I think he has always been envious of his older brother’s lot in life and any difference between them has to be explained away to his benefit. Hence Edward’s shyness is the product of his private education and Robert, with easy manners and a smug self-confidence has surely had the better, more profitable deal in a public education. Since Edward has probably been shy his entire life Robert’s theory is pretty weak, no more than self-aggrandizing.
I like to think Uncle Sir Robert is the older brother of their father, Mr. Ferrars, who was a younger son of a baronet. Mrs. Ferrars appears to me an illiterate, grasping social climber from an upwardly mobile merchant family long on wealth but short on “sirs” and gentility. Her values are heavily mercenary. She is focused on an alliance with Lord Morton through marriage and is willing to sacrifice either son to this goal. Building on this picture, perhaps Mrs. Ferrars’ aye of rank gave Sir Robert’s word extra weight and thus Edward was sent to Mr. Pratt. When it came time to determine Robert’s education perhaps Sir Robert was, sadly, no more or with avarice completely engaged she balked at the expense of a private education or desired to follow the fashionable herd. Thinking along the same lines as Anytat, I think Mrs. Ferrars would value social connections made at public school over the quite education Edward received at Longstaple. The fact Edward had not developed the ambition to be “distinguished” under Mr. Pratt may also have tainted his mother’s inclination to put her favorite in the same hands. (:D)
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