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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 24

People: Elinor, Lucy Steele

Text: Finally, the days of bad weather lifted and allowed the Dashwood sisters to meet at the Park with its occupants. After supper and tea, the drawing room was opened to encourage cards. Marianne begged out to play the piano. Elinor asked to help Lucy Steele on a craft project that she was attempting to complete for Lady Middleton’s little daughter.

               Elinor had a desire to further confirm Lucy’s claim to be engaged to Edward Ferrars. She wanted more information to ascertain whether Edward still loved Lucy and whether his admiration for Elinor had any foundation. Elinor brought up the subject.

               “I should be undeserving of the confidence you have honored me with, if I felt no desire for its continuance, or no further curiosity on its subject. I will not apologize therefore for bringing it forward again.”

               Thank you,” cried Lucy warmly, “for breaking the ice; you have set my heart at ease by it; for I was somehow or other afraid I had offended you by what I told you on Monday.”

               “Offended me! How could you suppose so? Believe me,” and Elinor spoke it with the truest sincerity, “nothing could be farther from my intention, than to give you such an idea. Could you have a motive for the trust, that was not honorable and flattering to me?” (Elinor asked whether she had ever doubted Edward’s love.)

               “Edward’s love for me,” said Lucy, “has been pretty well put to the test, by our long, very long absence since we were first engaged, and it has stood the trial so well, that I should be unpardonable to doubt it now. I can safely say that he has never given me one moment’s alarm on that account from the first.”

               Elinor hardly knew whether to smile or sigh at this assertion.

               Lucy went on, “I am rather of a jealous temper too by nature…if there had been the slightest alteration in his behavior to me or any lowness of spirits or if he had talked more of one lady than another, I was inclined enough for suspicion. I am sure I could not be deceived.”

Emotion: discernment

Insight: Job 5:2 seems to know Lucy Steele, “Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.”

               From Lucy’s confessions here of being of a jealous temper, one could wonder if her motivation of sharing her engagement to Edward with Elinor was not made solely as a warning. Did she suspect that Edward had a regard for Elinor? Lucy had learned of Elinor only through Edward’s bringing her name up often in conversation when they had last met. Her motives are suspicious.

               Jealousy is not a character trait to boast of to be sure. Lucy Steele seems to bring it forth as a strength of her character, but Job has a very different opinion of jealousy. Job offers that both vexation and jealousy are the murderers of the foolish and simple. Elinor acknowledges that Lucy is the lesser of the two. She believes that Edward truly feels admiration for herself. But Lucy entertains no doubts as to Edward’s fidelity. May we be more like Elinor and less like Lucy and realize that harboring jealousy is not an admirable pastime. May we practice the command of spirit that is seen in Elinor and trust the love that we and others have received.

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