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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 26

People: Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon

Text: The journey to London took three days. Three days in the company of Mrs. Jennings, someone that the Dashwood girls did not know very well, was challenging. Or, at least challenging for Elinor who tried hard to be cordial and entertaining. Marianne did not try at all. Once they reached London and had the time to unpack and rest, both girls sat down to write letters. Elinor wrote one to her mother to describe their journey. Marianne wrote one to Willoughby and had the footman send it out for delivery. Elinor, still doubting if the two were even engaged, hoped to see something to encourage her sister.

               The girls relaxed throughout the day. Well, Elinor relaxed. Marianne jumped at each knock on the door, hoping that Willoughby would come for a visit. When a knock did sound on Mrs. Jennings’ door, Marianne hopped up excited, only to be disappointed to find it Colonel Brandon.

               It was too great a shock to be borne with calmness, and she immediately left the room. Elinor was disappointed too; but at the same time her regard for Colonel Brandon ensured his welcome with her, and she felt particularly hurt that a man so partial to her sister should perceive that she experienced nothing but grief and disappointment in seeing him. Elinor instantly saw that it was not unnoticed by him, that he even observed Marianne as she quitted the room, with such astonishment and concern, as hardly left him the recollection of what civility demanded towards herself.

               “Is your sister ill?” said he.

               Elinor answered in some distress that she was, and then talked of headaches, low spirits, and over fatigues. He heard her with the most earnest attention but seemed to recollect himself and moved on to other subjects. Colonel Brandon finished his visit, but Marianne’s behavior continued to center wholly around herself.

               When they went shopping with Mrs. Jennings and her daughter Charlotte Palmer, Marianne was constantly scanning the crowds for Willoughby. At tea one evening, Elinor was obliged to assist in making a whist table for the others. Marianne was of no use on these occasions. She would sometimes endeavor for a few minutes to read; but the book was soon thrown aside, and she returned to the more interesting employment of walking backwards and forwards across the room, pausing for a moment whenever she came to the window, in hopes of distinguishing the long-expected rap on the door.

Emotion: selfishness

Insight:  1 Corinthians 10:24 can speak to the heart of Marianne, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

               Marianne is so wrapped up in her own world of hope and disappointment that she is completely incapable of thinking of the needs of anyone else. No sooner does she reach town than she bothers Mrs. Jennings’ footman to post a letter for her to Willoughby. When Colonel Brandon visits and has the audacity of not being Willoughby, Marianne runs away to avoid him and to sulk alone. Even in the presence of Mrs. Jennings’ friends, she is not able to assert herself to be polite and interact with the guests.

               Instead of seeking the good of her neighbor, Marianne is only seeking what is good for herself. Her passion-driven personality has made her self-centered in her pursuit of Willoughby and his attention. May we learn to be in better control of our emotions than Marianne and see the need to be kind and attentive, even when we are being disappointed by the trials of life. Thinking less of herself and more of others would have helped Marianne to ease the pain of her current disappointment.

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