While the first nine chapters were all about how close these sisters were despite their differences, now we start seeing them drift apart. On one hand Marianne was either too focused on Willoughby or too isolated in her own pain. On the other there’s Elinor’s unwillingness to share her own hopes and concerns. Lucy Steel’s secret only came as one more wedge between them.

I think I’ve spoken too soon about Marianne not being as annoying as I expected. In these chapters she really goes out of her way to be contrary and self-and-Willoughby-centered.

What was she thinking by accepting the horse and going off to Allenham unchaperoned? On top of that, she goes all defensive on Elinor when she tries to put some sense into her. Her support of Willoughby’s comments about Coronel Brandon were very unfair and I’m glad Elinor stood up for him and gave them a piece of her (sharp) mind:

But perhaps the abuse of such people as yourself and Marianne will make amends for the regard of Lady Middleton and her mother. If their praise is censure, your censure may be praise, for they are not more undiscerning, than you are prejudiced and unjust.

HA!

What is it that makes Marianne act like this? She’s not a bad person, she loves her family. Is it her youth? Does Willoughby just bring out the worst in her? Or maybe it’s a consequence of her determination to only do as her heart commands (with the full support of her mother)?

Shame on Mrs. Dashwood for telling Elinor off when she questioned Willoughby’s actions – “You had rather take evil upon credit than good” – I hope she’ll come to realize just how unfair she was. It felt even worse than Mr. Bennett’s reaction when Elizabeth tried to persuade him not to let Lydia go away. If Mrs Dashwood really knew Elinor, she’d rely more on her instincts about character.

Edward finally came alive and I’m glad of it. During his time at the Cottage he showed us more about his personality, and I really appreciated the glimpses of irony and self-mockery:

“My judgment,” he returned, “is all on your side of the question; but I am afraid my practice is much more on your sister’s. I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness. I have frequently thought that I must have been intended by nature to be fond of low company, I am so little at my ease among strangers of gentility!

(“You should practice!”, I can almost hear Elizabeth Bennett say…)

Three random and disconnected thoughts:

  • The embarrassment when Elinor found out about the hair Edward was carrying – I could feel it.
  • Lucy Steel, you little hypocrite: can you say passive-aggressive? Her interactions with Elinor made my blood boil. You can tell she had a fake smile pasted on her face, while her conniving eyes are measuring Elinor’s every reaction.
  • These were chapters filled with conversation, while the previous ones centered more on events. I’m glad of it – Austen is at her best with dialogues.
Will you join us for Twitter Movie Night this Sunday? We’re watching Persuasion (1995), starting 7PM GMT.

The Advent with Austen‘s readalong of Sense and Sensibility is being hosted by Yvann over at Reading Fuelled by Tea. 

Summary of the novel here.

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