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In this chapter, Edward finally declares (and eventually explains) himself to Elinor, abruptly turning into a relaxed, happy sort of fellow now that he's no longer saddled with his horrible mistake Lucy Steele and can instead keep company (not in that way - at least, not that we know of!) with Elinor openly and honestly.

Unaccountable, however, as the circumstances of his release might appear to the whole family, it was certain that Edward was free; and to what purpose that freedom would be employed was easily pre-determined by all;--for after experiencing the blessings of one imprudent engagement, contracted without his mother's consent, as he had already done for more than four years, nothing less could be expected of him in the failure of that, than the immediate contraction of another.

AHAHAHA! *wipes eyes* You can just sense Jane Austen cackling to herself as she wrote that, can't you? Almost as hard as she must've been laughing when she crafted Lucy Steele's truly horrifying letter to Edward, in which she says, in effect, "Dear Edward, it's been a pleasure jerking you around, but I've bamboozled your brother, and he's rich and you're not, so hasta la vista, baby!" (Only she says it with more grammatical errors and pretense than that, of course.)

Letters finally come from town.

Mrs Jennings
mourns for poor Edward, whom she believes to be crying his eyes out in Oxford rather than laughing his ass off at Barton Cottage, and cursing Lucy Steele as a selfish hussy (who swiped all of her sister's cash as a wedding gift to herself, leaving the elder and decidedly stupider Miss Steele stranded in London). Kind-hearted woman that she is, she hopes that Edward will come to Barton and console himself with Marianne, since she has long paired Elinor and Brandon in her mind - a pairing favored by a number of readers, I might add, so it's not like she's completely off her nut for thinking they'd make a good couple.

John Dashwood says that he, Fanny and Mrs Ferrars are shocked and appalled, etc, etc, and hints that Mrs Ferrars might be willing to reconcile with Edward if only he'd send her a smarmy letter.

Edward refuses to send a smarmy letter because he refuses to apologize for his brother's actions. Elinor talks him around to acknowledging that being engaged to Lucy Steele was a boneheaded mistake and he heads off to London to have a chat with his mum, but not until after spending several days in the company of Colonel Brandon, who has turned up after three weeks at his own home in Delaford in a dour mood. See, he spent three weeks pondering the fact that he is probably TOO OLD for Marianne. Picture him sitting around his house going "I'm 36, and she's only 17" for three weeks, and you can probably understand why he was in a guarded, sad sort of mood. And yet he couldn't stay away because he's in love with Marianne and wants to check up on her. So . . . here he is. Moping. Only the Dashwoods don't let him mope for long, so that's good. Because I love Colonel Brandon, even if he is 19 years older than Marianne, and I want him to be happy, dammit.

Brandon and Edward hit it off because they are both men of intelligence and integrity, so that's all good, and Colonel Brandon is extra happy that he's helping Edward now that helping Edward means helping Elinor as well (hey - even if things don't work out, he gets to keep his friend/confidante close because she'll be married to his resident vicar).

I love how very practical Elinor and Edward are - they're all "we're engaged, but can't get married until we have an actual income." See?

One question after this only remained undecided, between them, one difficulty only was to be overcome. They were brought together by mutual affection, with the warmest approbation of their real friends; their intimate knowledge of each other seemed to make their happiness certain--and they only wanted something to live upon. Edward had two thousand pounds, and Elinor one, which, with Delaford living, was all that they could call their own; for it was impossible that Mrs. Dashwood should advance anything; and they were neither of them quite enough in love to think that three hundred and fifty pounds a-year would supply them with the comforts of life. (emphasis added)

There's only one chapter to go, which we'll get to tomorrow: Will true love prevail? Will Elinor and Edward come into enough money to marry? What will happen with our brooding Colonel and Marianne? Will Robert and Lucy Ferrars lead a miserable ever-after? What about Willoughby? All will be revealed in THE FINAL CHAPTER!

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
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kellyrfineman
Dec. 10th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Yes. What you said: I like Brandon and I want him to get what he wants. And I think he's actually a fabulous choice for her - mature and responsible and inclined to indulge and support her without allowing her to drive off a cliff. And in some ways, she's a perfect choice for him, if only as a make-up for having lost his own Eliza all those years ago.
fuzzyfostermom
Dec. 10th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
The last chapter? But... but... what are we reading next? Anything but "Mansfield Park" - I haven't got that one on the shelf. Every time I re-read Austen I spot new things, but your blog has given me some great new insights.

Incidentally, I discovered that feral kittens don't like "Emma." It's the only Austen I tried them on, so I don't know if it's an author thing, or if they just don't like that book. Anyway, apparently the appeal isn't universal, much as I may like Austen.
kellyrfineman
Dec. 10th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)
Silly Foster Mom! Everyone knows that feral kittens prefer Pride and Prejudice - all the bits of bonnet trimming are especially popular. As toys, of course.

I'm thrilled that you've been enjoying the posts. I'll have to ponder what's next . . . perhaps Emma or Pride & Prejudice early in the new year, since we've already done Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (the posts for which can be found in the sidebar or in the tags as "August at the Abbey" and "A Winter's Persuasion").
fuzzyfostermom
Dec. 10th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC)
Well, the next batch of kittens I get who need literary therapy, I can try them on Pride & Prejudice, but I'm worried the vocabulary will be above their heads. I've had very good success with A.A. Milne and L. Frank Baum.

I think Pride & Prejudice is probably my favorite, though Persuasion and Emma come pretty close. At least if there's a time lag, I can comfort myself by catching up on the Northanger Abbey and Persuasion posts. I only recently discovered your blog, so I missed them the first time around.

I hope you've gotten over your cold, by the way.
rachelswardrobe
Dec. 10th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC)
Oh please, please, please do pride and prejudice, it's my favourite! : )
I may also go and look at the persuasion and Northanger abbey posts, also being a newbie to your blog :D
kellyrfineman
Dec. 10th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
You and fuzzyfostermom have me convinced - I will start Pride & Prejudice in January.

Persuasion and Northanger Abbey are, along with P&P, my top three favorite Austen novels. (They tend to cycle, and I cannot pick just one of them as my fave.) Then Emma alone in fourth, and then Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility in a statistical dead heat. Used to be that Mansfield Park was my very least favorite by a lot, but on re-reading it, I found much to love after all.
rachelswardrobe
Dec. 10th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
Yay! I shall pick up my copy from my parents when I'm home for chrismas, I didn't get to read along with Sense and sensibility, because I don't have all my books here, so I'm looking forward to being able to join in more on this one : )
kellyrfineman
Dec. 10th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
The early 19th-century sentence construction probably confuses the kittehs. I was going to suggest Dr. Seuss (esp. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), but you kind of can't go wrong with Milne and Baum.

I have received two votes for P&P just in today's comments, so I will plan on a January reading. It's a perfect winter book (it being winter where I live, although my readers' results may vary).

And I'm MUCH better, thank you! (Only a bit of residual crud!)
fuzzyfostermom
Dec. 10th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I don't rule out Seuss, but most of the kittens get half an hour of reading at least every day when we're doing it as therapy, and it takes several Seuss books to make half an hour! I've got some Kipling on hand, and the Psalms seem popular. Eventually they're going to get Narnia, it just depends how close to my annual re-read I get them.

Glad you're well! Those colds that just hang on forever are miserable.
melted_rachel
Dec. 10th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
Hooray! There were so many good bits in this chapter but I wish she'd slow the engagement scenes down a bit and have them "on screen" but I guess it is fun to imagine it all myself!

I'm going to go ahead and read 50 as I won't be around online for a while (I feel so naughty!!).
kellyrfineman
Dec. 10th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
I hope you have fun, wherever it is you're off to!

Some folks will tell you that Austen didn't write declarations of love "on-screen" because she never got one. (a) I don't believe that for a minute and (b) she DID write one in Emma and Persuasion and (c) I think that in this novel, at least, her main intended point was about the relationship between the sisters and about how each of them needed to modify/moderate their behavior in some way - Elinor needed to be more willing to share her feelings and Marianne needed to rein hers in and be more temperate. The romances with men, while an essential part of the story, are not the end-game for Austen here.
fuzzyfostermom
Dec. 10th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
I think that's so true. I also love the exchange between the sisters, "No, I judge it by what it should have been - I judge it by yours," (apologies for any mis-quote - typing quickly) and I think it's really one of the climaxes of the book. And while Austen's sympathies are clearly more with Elinor, it's nice that she does demonstrate that Elinor's not perfect either.
elisabethx
Dec. 10th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Your commentary cracks me up just about as hard as Jane herself!
kellyrfineman
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE! (Thanks!)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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