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Robert Ferrars is an ass.

Seriously, I could just move on to the next chapter, having made that point so concisely. But let's look at the continued punishment afforded to Elinor by her sadistic author:

1. Elinor feels obligated to call on her sister-in-law. AND NOBODY WILL AGREE TO GO WITH HER.

2. At first, "Mrs Dashwood was denied", a phrase that means the servant told Elinor that Fanny wasn't home. Only her brother, John, spies Elinor and brings her in anyhow. (This is somewhat reminiscent of what happens with Anne Elliot in the cancelled chapters of Persuasion, when Admiral Croft drags her into the house even though his wife is upstairs having her clothes fitted. Only not nearly so pleasant, because while Anne ended up reconciling with Captain Wentworth in the cancelled chapters, poor Elinor gets stuck being condescended to by her brother, and then gets left alone with the abominable Robert Ferrars.

3. John Dashwood essentially tells Elinor that Mrs Ferrars has decided that as between Elinor and Lucy, Elinor was the lesser of two evils. And he expects Elinor to think well of Mrs Ferrars for such a gracious remark. He also says that they expect Robert Ferrars to marry Miss Morton and her money. I love how feisty Elinor is in response, asking whether Miss Morton is allowed no say in the matter.

4. Robert Ferrars talks smack about Edward and Lucy, and especially condemns Edward's decision to take orders and become a cleric.

Foreshadowing alert:

Anytime that Austen allows a character to go on at length, it's worth taking note of it. And so it is that it is in this chapter, when Robert Ferrars goes on and on about Lucy Steele and her unsuitability, including how she was "[t]he merest awkward country girl, without style, or elegance, and almost without beauty.--I remember her perfectly. Just the kind of girl I should suppose likely to captivate poor Edward."

On the plus side:

At least Fanny was less of a bitch to Elinor, now that she's not worried about Elinor marrying Edward.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 27th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
I hope so, too. Those of us who've read this book before know she didn't end up with either Ferrars brother, and I have to say I think she dodged a bullet there.
Nov. 27th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
Robert Ferrars is an ass

I hope you are going to cover why he marries Lucy Steele.
Nov. 27th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
Re: Robert Ferrars is an ass
Isn't his description of Lucy hilarious when you know what's coming?
Nov. 27th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
I'm loving these recaps.
Nov. 27th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
I'm so glad!
Nov. 27th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Could you explain the business of Brandon selling the living? That was something I didn't really understand.
Nov. 28th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
As the owner of the property that includes the church and the parsonage, Brandon had the right to bestow the living on someone - often gentlemen in his position gave the position to a relative. (The general order of things in a wealthy family was that the eldest son had no profession, but was merely the landowner; the second, third and other sons typically went into the clergy or into the military (army or navy); in a less well-off family, even the eldest son often had a profession, and the clergy was a popular one for a gentleman - it's what Jane's father did, as well as her eldest brother, James. But I digress.)

Whereas many (if not most) gentlemen in the position to bestow a living did it in order to benefit a relative (be it a brother or a cousin, however distant), SOME of them actually "sold" the living to the highest bidder - a wealthy person wishing to secure a clerical living for their son might pay for the privilege of placing them near (or far) from home, for instance. They'd pay the discounted present value of an anticipated life estate, probably something on the order of 20 years or so, in order to secure the position, then collect the living from that parish for the duration of their clerical life (or for the stated period of time, depending) - at the same time giving a chunk of change to the landowner right now.

Brandon has bestowed the living on Edward WITHOUT remuneration, acting out of the goodness of his heart - something that neither John Dashwood nor Robert Ferrars understands.

If I'm not making sense, let me know.
Nov. 29th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
So where did the money (the two hundred pounds a year the Edward is going to get, for instance) come from?
Nov. 29th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
That money came from the people in the parish, who paid money to the church for use of church-owned land, and from tithes. (Hence the reference to Lucy's plans to encourage the raising of tithes to their maximum amount - can't recall if that's in this chapter or a different one, but that's what she's up to - she wants MOAR MONEY!)
Nov. 29th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
Ah. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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