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I'm not completely sure about the reference to how Anne/Nancy is "no conjurer," unless it means that she doesn't have any idea about the proper timing to pop things out, so to speak. (Wait, that sounds... you know what I mean.)

Anyhow, wow, the non-our-family Mrs. Dashwood... what a bitch, eh? To be fair I can understand some level of distress/anger, given the underhanded way that the pair were engaged and keeping up the secrecy even when Lucy was being her guest... but yeah, "some level" is not... well.. this.

I would say that I don't see why Elinor would go out of her way to go through "some pains" to manage a little bit of sympathy for Lucy, but I guess she feels it's important, given that she's currently staying with Lucy's cousin and all.

Poor Elinor... instead of being comforted in her own heartbreak, she STILL has to comfort her sister. We do however see possibly one of the most emotional speeches from Elinor during the whole book thus far, talking about her feelings for Edward and the horrible position she was in, after Lucy forced her confession on her. At least Marianne realizes some bit of her own bad behavior, and goes to at least some effort to make her sister happy by her behavior... although it would be nice if she's also try to regulate her own temper re: her disappointment in Willoughby. But I guess you can't have everything.

John also isn't exactly covering himself in glory either, although a) at least he's not as horrible as his wife about it, and b) at least he sticks to his guns re: disapproving of Lucy even after Mrs. Jennings reminds him she's her cousin, instead of reverting to a puppy-like "oh, well, I mean..."

"I suppose Mrs. Jennings has heard all about it. Is she angry?" "Not at all, I believe, with you." "That is a good thing. And Lady Middleton, is she angry?" "I cannot suppose it possible that she should." Translation: Oh, Mrs. Jennings is PISSED, but at my piss-poor relatives. And I can't imagine Lady Middleton being worked up by anything not actually affecting her enough to be angry." (Sorry, I just rather like that little snippet.)

Also telling that Nancy's view of Lucy's being in such a rage revolves around the fact that she even *gasp* threatened to never trim up a bonnet for her again.

Interesting to see yet another example of Lucy's two-facedness, given that she previously protested that if it wasn't for how much Edward was In Wuv with her, she'd consider just letting him go free, if it was for the best for him, but when it comes to it she's all like "oh no you don't Mister!" And you can just practically see Edward deflating when it turns out that Lucy won't break off the engagement. And I don't need to mention just how absolutely rude and low-class and dishonorable eavesdropping, especially in such a bald-faced way, would be in this society, right?

I think it's pretty telling about the times that even when Mrs. Jennings is looking upon Lucy and Edward's possible/probably future household, and figuring they're going to be pretty much kept in poverty, the inclusion of at least one female servant is a given.

Also interesting to see Lucy's own account of Edward's visit, which, ah, differs slightly from her sister's.

I also can't see "Cleveland" without thinking of the Dashwoods jaunting off to Ohio. Or maybe arriving at the estate, and breaking into a Drew Carey-esque "Cleveland rocks" song and dance number.

Also note how Mrs. Jennings acts in comparison to the Steeles - as much as she loves gossip, and young love and all that, she does go out of her way to *not* eavesdrop on a private conversation that's actually happening in the same room.

Can anyone read the little misunderstanding that follows, and *not* think of an 80's sitcom, like Three's Company or something? (And for what it's worth, I'm assuming it would be acceptable for Elinor to write to a non-relation on this occasion because it is a business matter, although I'm not sure of all the minutiae of the etiquette of the day!)


Notes:

red-gum: Apparently a disease called strophulus, of which I also hadn't heard.

"writing a letter to his steward in the country": Since a lot of the genteel class spent a lot of the winter months in London (or "town"), and often spent other time visiting or what have you, each estate would generally have a steward, someone to run the place when the landowner was absent (or if he didn't want to deal with all the day-to-day affairs of the place when present). Actually come to think of it I'm not sure how much of it was linked to the landowner being absent, and how much it was just "done," since a steward would tend to be more business-minded and trained. If a smaller estate couldn't afford a full-time steward, it would usually hire an attorney to deal with stewardly duties part-time as needed.

"with two maids and two men": Male servants were actually more a sign of rank/affluence than female servants, and also tended to command a higher salary.

"nothing but accuracy": Nothing but a curacy, which would be a position as an ordained minister that "hires out" to someone who's been granted a living (for only a small portion of the income of the living) to perform many/most/all of the actual duties of the living. For example, if someone was appointed to two separate (non-nearby) livings, which did happen, they'd hire a curate to take over the duties of one of the livings. I'm not sure if "accuracy" was a common way to refer to a curacy, or if it's supposed to be a hint of Miss Steele's rapid speech/relative small education, or what. Or it could even be a misprint, for all I know.

"Make love": This of course actually meant to profess love, act generally like a lover, etc., at the time. Not actual sex. Although the statement still works by the modern standards. Ahem.

"the huswives she gave us a day or two before": This would be a sort of sewing kit.

"their mother's servant might easily come there to attend them down": This would be the male servant - it was Not Done (or at least frowned upon) for young unmarried women to travel alone, without any male accompaniment. Not only for protection, but because of the high premium on virginity (at least for young ladies), and I can only imagine it was thought that an unaccompanied young woman who didn't know any better would be off fornicating in the bushes at the drop of a, uh, hat.

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stormfeather
Nov. 22nd, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, Drama! That's one thing about Austen... she'll be trucking along all daisies and gentlefolk and restraint and stuff, and suddenly whoah, Drama!

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