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Written by Pete
(9/16/2013 7:49 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Dating, penned by Bridget D
OK, not dating. The term is irrelevant. The point is that WHEN Brandon comes to visit Elinor in London the first time, he BELIEVES Marianne and Willoughby are in "a courtship, which was meant to be progressing towards engagement" (to use your terminology and to avoid further tangents) or had already resulted in an engagement, right?
The whole point was that you think THAT was the plausible reason that he could know they were being deceived because he reasoned that IF they knew what he knew they would not condone a relationship that was progressing towards engagement. It seems interesting that HE would think Marianne might reclaim Will but would not think THEY would not think Marianne might reclaim Will. IOW, it would seem that he would consider that maybe they did know what he knows and that THEY, like him, thought it possible or even desirable that she reclaim him despite his flaws, given how much she apparently was in love with him. Otherwise, it would seem more likely he'd have said something sooner.
But really, I was trying to agree with you that indeed, Austen very likely presented Eliza as the type of girl who flirted and encouraged flirting. In fact, Brandon even says they were ranging over Bath seeing who they wanted to see...which I interpreted as a euphemism for chasing guys. And I wondered if perhaps THAT was why she didn't have Brandon so keen to disclose Will's "true" nature earlier.
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