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Written by Linden
(8/19/2003 5:59 p.m.)
-- `Mr. Palmer is always going about the country canvassing against the election; and so many people come to dine with us that I never saw before, it is quite charming! But, poor fellow! it is very fatiguing to him! for he is forced to make everybody like him.'
Elinor is forced to keep her countenance at this, but we may laugh. Mr Palmer is campaigning for a county seat -- he hasn't merely been handed a pocket borough. As well as the fatigue of making people like him, it also cost a lot of money to fight a county seat, but he must be rich if he is more of a catch for Charlotte than Colonel Brandon with his 2000 pounds a year.
-- `he says he will never frank for me'
MPs had the privilege of franking letters -- ie getting them sent without payment. It was supposed to be on official business only, but many MPs abused the privilege: it is to Mr Palmer's credit that he will not do so for his wife.
-- `he [Willoughby] is in the opposition'
Mr Palmer is almost certainly a Tory, and Willoughby is a Whig (the Tories were in power for almost all of the whole period JA was writing). This doesn't necessarily mean that Willoughby is actively engaged in politics, only that he is from a Whig family -- as, presumably, is Mrs Smith.
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