Notes on Sense and Sensibility

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The following notes are mainly taken from the back of Chapman's edition of Sense and Sensibility.

Chapter 1: Are the widowed Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters impoverished by an entail?
Not wholly so, and possibly not at all. See the detailed answer here.
Chapter 7: "[Sir John Middleton] had been to several families that morning, in hopes of procuring some addition to their number, but it was moonlight, and every body was full of engagements."
The days around the full moon were favored for evening social events, since moonlight made traveling at night easier.
[Cf. Mansfield Park, chapter 6: "and then we could all return to a late dinner here, or dine at Sotherton, ... and have a pleasant drive home by moonlight."]
Chapter 12: What does the name of Willoughby's horse (which was to be given to Marianne), "Queen Mab", allude to?
The reference is to Act I, Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet:
I dream'd a dream to-night.
And so did I.
Well, what was yours?
That dreamers often lie.
In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep:
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs;
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's watery beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film;
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight;
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees;
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream, --
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This is she---
     Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
Chapter 13: What is the passage supressed in the second edition of Sense and Sensibility?
The passage which occurred in the first edition, but not in the second (the last edition that was published in Jane Austen's lifetime), is the sentence given in bold below, at the end of the following dialogue (which occurs after Col. Brandon has been called away to London):

"I can guess what his business is, however," said Mrs. Jennings exultingly.

"Can you, ma'am?" said almost every body.

"Yes: it is about Miss Williams, I am sure."

"And who is Miss Williams?" asked Marianne.

"What! do not you know who Miss Williams is? I am sure you must have heard of her before. She is a relation of the Colonel's, my dear; a very near relation. We will not say how near, for fear of shocking the young ladies." Then, lowering her voice a little, she said to Elinor, "She is his natural daughter."


"Oh, yes; and as like him as she can stare. I dare say the Colonel will leave her all his fortune." [Lady Middleton's delicacy was shocked; and in order to banish so improper a subject as the mention of a natural daughter, she actually took the trouble of saying something herself about the weather.]

Chapter 13: Is there any quoted dialogue in which Marianne and Col. Brandon speak directly to each other in Sense and Sensibility?
Ellen Moody (of AUSTEN-L) points out a short passage earlier in the chapter (is this the only such exchange in the book?):

``But if you write a note to the housekeeper, Mr. Brandon,'' said Marianne eagerly, ``Will it not be sufficient?''

He shook his head

Chapter 19: What does Mrs. Dashwood mean when she tells Edward: --
"since leisure has not promoted your own happiness, your sons will be brought up to as many pursuits, employments, professions, and trades as Columella's"?
Chapman provides the following note:

"Columella: this, which has puzzled many, was solved by Mr. A. L. Humphreys in Notes and Queries (28 Nov. 1914). The reference is not to the De Re Rustica, but to Columella; or, The Distressed Anchoret (1779), by Richard Graves, author of The Spiritual Quixote. Mr. Humphreys quotes a passage in which the Anchoret disposes of his sons; inter alia:

`The third he determined to bind... to a very celebrated man... who had united in his own person the several professions of apothecary, surgeon, man-midwife, bone-setter, tooth-drawer, hop-dealer, and brandy-merchant. And by these several occupations Columella flattered himself that his sons would be secured from that tedium and disgust of life which he experienced, and which he had brought upon himself by a life of indolence and inactivity.' (Vol. II ch. xxviii.)"
Chapter 37: What is the "red-gum" that Mrs. Jennings speaks of?
Teething-rash, according to Chapman.

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