I keep wondering how on Earth this twenty-one year old girl could have written with such beauty, with such clarity of mind, with such wisdom, with such lucidity. Such sharpness is only seen in the ones who have lived longer…or at least, that is what most people think. Jane Austen…you have bewitched me body and soul!
Here, however, Elinor perceived — not the language, not the professions of Colonel Brandon, but the natural embellishments of her mother’s active fancy, which fashioned every thing delightful to her as it chose.
“His regard for her, infinitely surpassing anything that Willoughby ever felt or feigned, as much more warm, as more sincere or constant — which ever we are to call it — has subsisted through all the knowledge of dear Marianne’s unhappy prepossession for that worthless young man! — and without selfishness — without encouraging a hope! — could he have seen her happy with another — Such a noble mind! — such openness, such sincerity! — no one can be deceived in HIM.”
“Colonel Brandon’s character,” said Elinor, “as an excellent man, is well established.”
“I know it is”— replied her mother seriously, “or after such a warning, I should be the last to encourage such affection, or even to be pleased by it. But his coming for me as he did, with such active, such ready friendship, is enough to prove him one of the worthiest of men.”
“His character, however,” answered Elinor, “does not rest on ONE act of kindness, to which his affection for Marianne, were humanity out of the case, would have prompted him. To Mrs. Jennings, to the Middletons, he has been long and intimately known; they equally love and respect him; and even my own knowledge of him, though lately acquired, is very considerable; and so highly do I value and esteem him, that if Marianne can be happy with him, I shall be as ready as yourself to think our connection the greatest blessing to us in the world. What answer did you give him? — Did you allow him to hope?”
“Oh! my love, I could not then talk of hope to him or to myself. Marianne might at that moment be dying. But he did not ask for hope or encouragement. His was an involuntary confidence, an irrepressible effusion to a soothing friend — not an application to a parent. Yet after a time I DID say, for at first I was quite overcome — that if she lived, as I trusted she might, my greatest happiness would lie in promoting their marriage; and since our arrival, since our delightful security, I have repeated it to him more fully, have given him every encouragement in my power. Time, a very little time, I tell him, will do everything — Marianne’s heart is not to be wasted for ever on such a man as Willoughby. — His own merits must soon secure it.”
“To judge from the Colonel’s spirits, however, you have not yet made him equally sanguine.” Chapter 45.
Elinor now found the difference between the expectation of an unpleasant event, however certain the mind may be told to consider it, and certainty itself. She now found, that in spite of herself, she had always admitted a hope, while Edward remained single, that something would occur to prevent his marrying Lucy; that some resolution of his own, some mediation of friends, or some more eligible opportunity of establishment for the lady, would arise to assist the happiness of all. But he was now married; and she condemned her heart for the lurking flattery, which so much heightened the pain of the intelligence. Chapter 48.