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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 19

People: Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, the Dashwood family

Text: Not long after Edward finished his week-long visit and departed, Elinor was seated at her drawing table when she noticed a large party walking into the front gate of the cottage. Marianne was out for a walk, so Elinor rose to meet the group. It turned out to be Sir John and Lady Middleton, Mrs. Jennings, and two others, a lady and a gentleman. Upon entry, the two were introduced as Mr. And Mrs. Palmer. Charlotte Palmer was Mrs. Jennings’ younger daughter.

               The group were invited into the cottage parlor to become better acquainted. Mrs. Jennings, who loved a prolonged story, spent several minutes telling how they were surprised by the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer the evening before. And she longed to have them meet the young Miss Dashwoods.

               Mr. Palmer entered the room with a look of self-consequence, slightly bowed to the ladies, without speaking a word, and after briefly surveying them and their apartments, took up a newspaper from the table and continued to read it as long as he stayed.

               Mrs. Palmer, on the contrary, who was strongly endowed by nature with a turn for being uniformly civil and happy, was hardly seated before her admiration of the parlor and everything in it burst forth.

               “Well! What a delightful room this is! I never saw anything so charming! Only think, mama, how it is improved since I was here last! I always thought it such a sweet place, ma’am! (turning to Mrs. Dashwood) but you have made it so charming! Only look, sister, how delightful everything is! How I should like such a house for myself! Should not you, Mr. Palmer?”

               Mr. Palmer made her no answer and did not even raise his eyes from the newspaper.

               “Mr. Palmer does not hear me,” said she, laughing, “he never does sometimes. It is so ridiculous!”

               This was quite a new idea to Mrs. Dashwood; she had never been used to find wit in the inattention of anyone and could not help looking with some surprise at them both. (Marianne came home during their visit and was relieved when the guests left, but not without an invitation to dinner the next day at Barton Park.)

               Marianne said, “The rent of this cottage is said to be low; but we have it on hard terms, if we are to dine at the park whenever anyone is staying either with them or with us.”

Emotion: Arrogancy

Insight: 1 Corinthians 13: 4,5a speaks of a nobler love than that of the Palmers, “Love is patient and kind…it is not arrogant or rude…”

Introduced to the eccentric relationship of Mr. And Mrs. Palmer, the reader gets to examine the complexities of their personalities. Mr. Palmer appears to think very highly of himself, so much so, that he wasn’t gentlemanly enough to greet the Dashwood family. He then proceeds to ignore the room by reading a newspaper and ignoring his wife by the same means. Mrs. Dashwood is completely surprised by this. But apparently Charlotte Palmer is used to this behavior.

               Instead of permitting his love to be patient and kind, Mr. Palmer is really behaving like someone who does not profess love; he’s both arrogant and rude. The deplorable condition of this marriage, so early in the union, is sad indeed. May we not behave like Mr. Palmer but embrace the positive facets of love and practice them with those in our circle of care. Patience and kindness win the day.

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