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My dear Marianne,

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

Marianne has been expecting, wishing and hoping to see Willoughby, but he doesn't turn up to pay a call, despite a number of days passing by. Marianne is quite obviously in the doldrums, and is starting to let herself go - she pays little attention to her hair and clothing, despite the fact that she's going to a party with Lady Middleton. It figures, does it not, that she'd bump into Willoughby now that she's not really looking all that well?

Infuriating Willoughby, who is deep in conversation with a fine young lady. He pays the minimum attention required to the Dashwood sisters, only to have Marianne make a bit of a spectacle of herself by speaking in familiar terms (she calls him "Willoughby", not "Mr. Willoughby", which is a huge distinction at that time - at least she didn't call him by his first name, I suppose), and by holding her hand out for him to take, rather than simply curtseying as she ought to do. And then, in the presence of other company, she asks whether he's received her letters. Good Lord, Marianne, at least TRY to show a bit of restraint. *headsmack*

And Willoughby . . . well, he's obviously embarrassed. And avoiding her - he tries to avoid seeing her (even though he's seen that she's there), and he doesn't meet her eyes. Rather than allowing her to stand there with her hand out, he does take her hand, but only for a second, and he barely touches her. His words are stilted and proper and, well, pretty scanty, really. He makes no explanations, asks nothing personal, and doesn't even say that he's happy to see them . . . nor does he appear pleased. He tries to downplay Marianne's correspondence to him, acting as if she's just sent him a bit of business correspondence, so it can be inferred that he's trying to downplay their relationship, and possibly also to convey the impression that she shouldn't have been writing to him.

Mrs Jennings is not at the party with them because she is off with Charlotte, who is giving birth. This is not an inference - it's actually plainly stated (for the time) by mention of Charlotte Palmer's "indisposition".

And in the book, Elinor and Marianne interrupt Lady Middleton in order to get a ride home, since Marianne is so overpowered by emotion (and the heat of the assembly). But I much prefer the version of this scene as it plays out in the 2008 BBC/PBS miniseries, since Colonel Brandon turns up in ActionRescue! and HarshGlare! mode:

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oh that clip! It's totally cringeworthy and then Brandon turns up and it turns all swoony!

I had to look up hartshorn - I'd never heard of that. Did Austen mean they used it like smelling salts because of the smell of ammonia? Rather than the relieving dysentry which is what it says on Wiki!!
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
And in case anyone was wondering I was referring to this bit: "they
could go directly to their own room, where hartshorn restored her
a little to herself."
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
I just posted today's chapter, where you will see mention of lavender drops. Hartshorn was used to wake someone up (as in out of a stupor) or snap them out of it, lavender drops were used to calm people down.
Nov. 8th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
I can vouch for the lavender since I've been making lavender bags recently. I used to work for a lady who made natural toiletries too - I'd sew up the lavender grain bags (with added lavender essential oil for good measure) and I'd be sat in a tiny little room getting woozy! Not so good when you're supposed to be operating a sewing machine!
Nov. 8th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Colonel Brandon is SO swoon-worthy in this scene!

Speaking of swoons, hartshorn was totally used as a smelling salt. I got to take a whiff of it at a Jane Austen Society event, and it decidedly makes your eyes water!
Nov. 8th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
I can't believe it's used for baking cookies too! Bleh!
Nov. 8th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Hartshorn cookies? You can keep them!

(Now watch - it'll turn out to be the Best Cookie Ever or something.)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 8th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
The clip makes it far more publicly dramatic than the book. I mean, it was still that she was acting in an intimate sort of manner in public, but it's even more "on display" in the screen versions. (Andrew Davies, who wrote the BBC/PBS script, is borrowing heavily from Emma Thompson's screenplay in some things, and this is one of them.)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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