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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 10

People: Brandon, Elinor, Marianne

Text: One day they spoke of Marianne’s opinion of loving a second person after life circumstances or disappointments ruined an initial relationship.

               “Your sister, I understand,” Brandon said, “does not approve of second attachments.”

               “No,” replied Elinor, “her opinions are all romantic.”

               “Or rather,” he replied, “as I believe, she considers them impossible to exist.”

               Elinor said, “I believe she does. But how she contrives it without reflecting on the character of her own father, who himself had two wives, I know not. A few years however will settle her opinions on the reasonable basis of common sense and observation.”

               “This will probably be the case,” he replied; “and yet there is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions.” After a short pause, he said, “Does your sister make no distinction in her objections against a second attachment? Or is it equally criminal in everybody? Are those who have been disappointed in their first choice, whether from inconstancy of its object, or the perverseness of circumstances, to be equally indifferent during the rest of their lives?”

               “Upon my word,” Elinor replied, “I am not acquainted with the minutia of her principles. I only know that I never yet heard her admit any instance of second attachments being pardonable.”

Emotion: folly

Insight: Proverbs 16: 22 observes, “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it…”

               Good sense or understanding is an amazing asset. It really acts as a fountain of life to the person who possesses it. The conversation between Colonel Brandon and Elinor displays how little understanding or good, common sense Marianne exhibits. She thinks that a person could not possibly fall in love after an initial love is lost, either to death or a change in feelings or circumstances. Of course, Colonel Brandon hopes that one day, Marianne could turn from loving Willoughby to himself, but he also defends her youthful mind, despite its prejudices.

               Unlike Marianne, whose passions dictate every belief, may we practice the good sense or understanding needed to see that life can pull the rug out from under a person, that circumstances can change, and that new love or a second attachment is possible. Good sense can become that well from which we draw the wisdom to walk a mile in another’s shoes and grow less judgmental.

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