And now we come to the full enumeration of the disaster in the Elliot estate—the papers are out, the numbers are being tallied. And Anne’s strong sense of right and duty begins to manifest itself: “She considered it as an act of indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors, with all the expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure, and saw no dignity in any thing short of it. She wanted it to be prescribed, and felt as a duty.”
I’m always interested by the description of Lady Russell, how Austen manages to make her prejudiced and slightly blind yet at the same time so truly nice and well-bred. Also by the description of Mrs. Clay’s history! Something pretty drastic had to happen in Austen’s day for a lady to return to her father’s house after an “unprosperous marriage.”
And finally, poor Anne is now destined for Bath. (Incidentally, I can still remember the initial tingle I had when I first put two-and-two together way back when and realized why she hadn’t been in “perfectly good spirits” the only winter she had ever spent there with Lady Russell!)
“She (Lady Russell) drew up plans of economy, she made exact calculations, and she did, what nobody else thought of doing, she consulted Anne, who never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the question.” pg. 14
“How Anne’s more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of little consequence. Lady Russell’s had no success at all….” pg. 15
“Sir Walter could not have borne the degradation of being known to design letting his house.—Mr. Shepherd had once mentioned the word, “advertise;”—but never dared approach it again; Sir Walter spurned the idea of its being offered in any manner; forbad the slightest hint being dropped of his having any such an intention; and it was only on the supposition of his being spontaneously solicited by some most unexceptionable applicant, on his own terms, and as a great favour, that he would let it at all.” pg. 17
Possible discussion question/s:
~ Do you like Lady Russell? Why or why not?
~ What sort of “hold” or “views” might Mr. Shepherd have on Sir Walter?
~ Lady Russell says, “There will be nothing singular in his (Sir Walter’s) case; and it is singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering, as it always does of our conduct.” What do you think of that statement?