Welcome to part II of the Advent with Austen Sense & Sensibility Readalong! If you’re new to Advent with Austen and want to read more/sign up to be part of the fun, read this post; if you want the schedule for Sense & Sensibility, read this post!
Part II covered 12 chapters; again, not terribly demanding.
I love the character development in this section!
Elinor: softens a lot. We see her winding Marianne up a bit, being sympathetic to poor old (old) Colonel Brandon, again being the voice of reason when Marianne wants a pony… and she’s got no patience for either of their mooning about (particularly when Willoughby decides that the cottage should be forever preserved in its current state, and Elinor takes a little snipe at the wisdom of that). And then all the pain and the heartache when Edward comes back from wherever he’s been, and then there are happy times, and sad times when he leaves, but Elinor will cope because that’s what she does, she’s a coper, and then the Shocking Revelation made by Lucy – oh the pain. She isn’t made of stone, we know that, but she has to try so hard to be stoic and gentle…
“Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched.”
Marianne: comes across as pretty selfish, if I’m honest.
“She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself.”
I’m surprised by the lack of reflection (by anyone) on the shame that Marianne would be bringing upon the family by cavorting about with Willoughby everywhere in his curricle (ah Austen. Curricle.)… where is the censure applied to the younger Bennet girls in P&P? Although we are given a bit of an idea as to why everyone is busy falling in love with her and not Elinor:
“when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens”
Isn’t that a pretty way to say “she inherited the looks”?
Willoughby: my goodness do I not like him. He’s shown to be quite petty in his reasons for disliking Colonel Brandon (Brandon won’t buy Willoughby’s brown mare? Is this the same horse that he gives to Marianne? What did the poor horse do wrong to get foisted off on everyone else?!), and then he takes off with no consideration for Marianne and a whole lot of misery and mystery. I foresee A Great Revelation.
Colonel Brandon: I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan (yet). Why moon over Marianne when sensible and unprejudiced Elinor is being so nice to you? He opens his heart to Elinor in a manner most unbecoming of a colonel.
Mrs Dashwood permits overly flirtatious behaviour from Marianne, and turns a blind eye; again, I’m thinking about the family honour here: first Mrs D gets all huppity and abandons their rightful fortune in Sussex, then, despite her alleged approbation of “setting one’s cap at someone”, she’s got not a word to say to Marianne to reel her in!
The Palmers… I’m beginning to think that Austen doesn’t like ANYONE in this book. Everyone she’s brought in is a joke, apart from Elinor and her foil Marianne. I thought when the Palmers came on the stage we were going to have a nice little interlude from idiocy, like the Gardiners in P&P? But no, two more ridiculous characters.
And as for The Steele Sisters. Anne’s a bit pointless (like Margaret?) and I am convinced that Lucy is a snide little so-and-so… I’m certain she knows all about Elinor and Edward and is just breaking Elinor’s heart because she can.
Two glories lines from Austen in this section (many glorious ones but these are the ones I noted down):
“Lady Middleton was more agreeable than her mother only in being more silent.”
“Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”
It did take me a while to untangle this sentence though:
“Marianne’s preserver, as Margaret, with more elegance than precision, styled Willoughby, called at the cottage early the next morning, to make his personal enquiries. “
Do join in the chat below!
By the way, to clarify about the goodies giveaway yesterday… I meant for it to be the same Mr Linky! My technical skills are clearly not yet up to scratch. Anyway, if you have signed up on any of the Mr Linkys (here, here or yesterday), you will be entered for the giveaway of Austen-ish bits and pieces.