Modesty has its limits
Posted by Jessamyn on October 14, 1997 at 23:19:01:
In response to Scene as Portrayed in the Book, written by Lynne on October 14, 1997 at 00:28:04
] "The gentleman [Willoughby] offered his services, and perceiving that her modesty declined what her situation rendered necessary, took her up in his arms without further delay, and carried her down the hill."
] ...instead of being sensitive to her discomfort, he simply chooses to increase it by carrying her. He seems to make little, if any effort, to consider that perhaps doing this is trespassing on her privacy, and her body [snip] Had this been Colonel Brandon, I doubt he would have done anything that would have caused her to feel that her modesty was being compromised--as you said, he would have summoned for help, perhaps remained with her until help arrived.
I think you're wrong about this. I think when Austen says "her situation rendered necessary," I think she really means necessary.
It's not anything remotely like nowadays, when the best thing you can do for someone is not touch or move her while you wait for an ambulance and expert help. What would summoned help have consisted of that would have been better for her modesty? A woman could not have carried her. A cart or other transport would have been painful and jolting, and extremely difficult to get onto a steep hillside. Not to mention that every minute she was left sitting in the mud and the rain could contribute to her coming down with god knows what in a time of no antibiotics.
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