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|GR: I think he loves Marianne more
Written by Barbara
(9/2/2003 9:06 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Marianne or memories of Eliza?, penned by Melissa M
There is no doubt--NO doubt ;-)--that Colonel Brandon's initial attraction to Marianne had much to do with Eliza. They resembled each other and also acted in similar ways, and I guess that is his 'type' or the kind of woman he finds especially attractive. He describes it as "the same warmth of heart, the same eagerness of fancy and spirits."
Now it is true that he had an opportunity to know Eliza much better than he could know Marianne yet, because they were raised together, but he is also now falling in love as a mature man rather than as a teenage boy. Elinor observes a 'strengthening regard' for Marianne each time the colonel sees her.
IMO, there are hints in things that Brandon reveals that show that as much as he loved Eliza, she let him down and disappointed him.
Back in Ch. 11, when he was talking to Elinor about Marianne's opinion on second attachments, Colonel Brandon said:
"Does your sister make no distinction in her objections against a second attachment? or is it equally criminal in everybody? Are those who have been disappointed in their first choice, whether from the inconstancy of its object, or the perverseness of circumstances, to be equally indifferent during the rest of their lives?"
Now that we know what he was talking about since his revelations in Ch. 31, we can see that this was not a hypothetical question. There were 'perverseness of circumstances' in his elopment being prevented, but I also get the impression that Eliza disappointed him too by not trying to hold out against his father and brother so that they could be together after all. I guess this is inconstancy in a way.
He makes other hints at this. A bit farther on in Ch. 11, Brandon says:
Eliza was forced into the situation, but ended up forsaking the 'romantic refinements' of her young mind.
In Ch. 31, Brandon says he had hoped Eliza's regard for him "would support her under any difficulty" but that she "overcame all her resolution" even "though she had promised [him] that nothing..." and here he breaks off. It sounds to me like he had trusted enough in their love for each other that Eliza would keep to her resolution for them to be together, that she had promised him that nothing would ever keep them apart, and that her regard for Brandon would be enough to keep her going through the tough times. But it wasn't.
"I had depended on her fortitude too far, and the blow was a severe one," Brandon says. Yes his father and brother were cruel to Eliza and made her miserable, but in the end she didn't love Brandon enough to hold out against them.
I think he recognizes that Marianne is all that Eliza was--plus all that Eliza wasn't. If Marianne had promised a man she loved that nothing would keep them apart, and that her regard for him would support her through any difficulty, does she seem like the kind of person whose resolution could be overcome by any means? No, IMO.
I think this is one of the reasons Brandon decided to tell what he knew about Willoughby. He knows from Elinor that Marianne is doing everything to acquit Willoughby. He has seen how passionate she is, and she would never, never give up her feelings for him unless she knew the truth about what he was really like.
Someone mentioned below that there must have been a certain appeal to Colonel Brandon in the idea of a woman who would love a man with all her soul and I think that's what he sees in Marianne, even if he is not so fortunate as to be on the receiving end of this. That's what he thought he had with Eliza. He recognizes the difference between them, and I believe he loves Marianne more because of it. As he tells Elinor, "had the natural sweet disposition of the one (Eliza) been guarded by a firmer mind, or an happier marriage (to Brandon himself), she might have been all that you will live to see the other be. (Marianne)"
] And I wonder also if her age has something to do with it--how old are we to assume that Eliza was when he loved her and she was given to his brother?
She was the same age as Marianne is now--17.
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