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|GR: Mrs. Dashwood's reaction
Written by Line
(9/2/2003 9:48 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: To tell or not to tell, penned by Mary Anne
] I wonder if it would have helped? Mrs. D seems unwilling to listen to Elinor's unease on the subject of Willoughby; would she have listened to Brandon? As it is, Brandon goes unerringly to the real figure of strength in the family, someone he knows will hear him out and weigh his story well.
Mrs. Dashwood is irresponsible, but she is not an idiot. Elinor's suspicions were just that, while Brandon was a first-hand witness to what happened to his ward. Even if Mrs. D. refused to believe it at first, eventually she'd have to do something about it - she does care about the happiness of her daughters! However, I'm a bit fuzzy on the novel's timeline - Colonel Brandon received the letter about Eliza in October. Can anybody remind me when the duel took place, and when Elinor and Marianne went to London? You're right, though, that he finally told his story to the best person!
] Also, Brandon acknowledges the possibility that W might really have changed and is going to do the honourable thing by Marianne.
Let's take the best possible scenario and assume that "the love of a good woman" really does reform Willoughby. Even so, the child hasn't vanished off the face of the earth. Colonel Brandon is taking care of mother and child for now, but things like this have a way of coming back to haunt a person! What if the child later shows up on their doorstep, needing financial support, or just wanting to know its father? (I don't think this is just a 20th-century phenomenon!). How would Marianne feel finding out about this years later?
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