Just for the record, I’ve been reading Sense and Sensibility and having a gooooood time doing so. Unbelievable how things were for women back in the 19th century and how things haven’t changed that much since then. Ok, women were mere objects of decoration, who were supposed to know how to draw, how to play the piano(forte) and have children. Sounds familiar, huh? Till today, most women are still fighting against prejudice, are still asking to be better paid, are still fighting for a place in the world. Jane Austen discusses a lot on marriage and economic concerns, giving a sharp criticism on the way society used to see us. She wrote the first version of Sense and Sensibility, and also early versions of Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, in the 1790’s, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-three! The original version of Sense and Sensibility was titled Elinor and Marianne.
Sense and Sensibility was actually revised by Austen between the novel’s first and second printings; most modern texts adhere to the changes made in the second edition, some placing the later revisions in brackets to set them off from the original text.
Mrs. Dashwood, who could not think a man five years younger than herself, so exceedingly ancient as he appeared to the youthful fancy of her daughter, ventured to clear Mrs. Jennings from the probability of wishing to throw ridicule on his age.
“But at least, Mamma, you cannot deny the absurdity of the accusation, though you may not think it intentionally ill-natured. Colonel Brandon is certainly younger than Mrs. Jennings, but he is old enough to be MY father; and if he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind. It is too ridiculous! When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?” Chapter 8.
Colonel Brandon, unfortunately for himself, had no such encouragement to think only of Marianne, and in conversing with Elinor he found the greatest consolation for the indifference of her sister.
Elinor’s compassion for him increased, as she had reason to suspect that the misery of disappointed love had already been known to him. This suspicion was given by some words which accidently dropped from him one evening at the park, when they were sitting down together by mutual consent, while the others were dancing. His eyes were fixed on Marianne, and, after a silence of some minutes, he said, with a faint smile, “Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second attachments.”
“No,” replied Elinor, “her opinions are all romantic.”
“Or rather, as I believe, she considers them impossible to exist.” Chapter 11
“What are Mrs. Ferrars’s views for you at present, Edward?” said she, when dinner was over and they had drawn round the fire; “are you still to be a great orator in spite of yourself?”
“No. I hope my mother is now convinced that I have no more talents than inclination for a public life!”
“But how is your fame to be established? for famous you must be to satisfy all your family; and with no inclination for expense, no affection for strangers, no profession, and no assurance, you may find it a difficult matter.”
“I shall not attempt it. I have no wish to be distinguished; and have every reason to hope I never shall. Thank Heaven! I cannot be forced into genius and eloquence.”
“You have no ambition, I well know. Your wishes are all moderate.”
“As moderate as those of the rest of the world, I believe. I wish as well as every body else to be perfectly happy; but, like every body else it must be in my own way. Greatness will not make me so.” Chapter 17
Every qualification is raised at times, by the circumstances of the moment, to more than its real value; and she was sometimes worried down by officious condolence to rate good-breeding as more indispensable to comfort than good-nature. Chapter 32