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|Too underhand ....
Written by Rachel G
(10/27/2012 8:00 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I have heard it suggested, penned by Chandra S
This doesn't strike me as the way the Colonel would go about things at all.
If he wants to get revenge on Willoughby for his treatment of Eliza, then telling tales to Mrs Smith seems much too much like stabbing W in the back. It's the sort of thing someone like Lucy would do.
As we know, Brandon is a gentleman and chooses the 'honorable' way of dealing with such offences. As soon as Willoughby arrives in London, Brandon challenges him to a duel, which was the face-to-face, man-to man way of doing things.
If Brandon's purpose was to protect vulnerable young women from Willoughby then as Graciela points out, telling Mrs Smith, who is to infirm to mix with the world, is a very ineffectual way of going about it, and no one has heard anything of the affair in London.
After the party in London, when W's engagement to Miss Grey has been made public, Brandon finally decides to speak to Elinor, and only after he has spent 'many hours' convincing himself that it is the right thing to do.
There is also a practical reason why I don't think the Colonel was the source of Mr's Smith's information about Eliza and Willoughby:-
According to Ellen Moody's 'Calendar for S&S' (link in S&S FAQ), only seven days elapse between Brandon receiving Eliza;s letter and Mrs Smith giving Willoughby his marching orders.
In order for that letter to reach Mrs Smith just a week after the Colonel left Barton, we have to imagine that writing the letter was pretty much the first thing he did as soon as he knew Willoughby was the culprit. Given what we know of his hesitation over mentioning the matter at all to Elinor, I don't think the theory that the Colonel was the source of Mrs Smith's information holds water at all.
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