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Sneaking a Peek at Sense &Sensibility Entry 27

 People: Elinor, Marianne

Text: The visit at Mrs. Jennings’ home was going as well as could be expected with the exception of the lack of appearance of Willoughby. Despite her many letters, Marianne looked for him constantly and was disappointed regularly. One morning, the Dashwood sisters went out with Mrs. Jennings to leave her cards at the doors of her friends to let them know that she was in town. When they returned, a card from Willoughby had announced that he had stopped by while they were out. Marianne was beside herself to have missed him.

               When the next batch of mail was delivered, Marianne was sure that there would be something from Willoughby.

               A note was just then brought in and laid on the table.

               “For me?” cried Marianne, stepping hastily forward.

               “No ma’am, for my mistress.”

               But Marianne, not convinced, took it instantly up.

               “It is indeed for Mrs. Jennings, how provoking!”

               “You are expecting a letter then?” said Elinor, unable to be longer silent.

               “Yes; a little-not much.”

               After a short pause, “You have no confidence in me, Marianne.”

               “Nay, Elinor, this reproach from you-you who have confidence in no one!”

               “Me!” returned Elinor in some confusion; “indeed, Marianne, I have nothing to tell.”

               “Nor I,” answered Marianne with energy, “our situations then are alike. We neither of us have anything to tell; you, because you communicate nothing, and I, because I conceal nothing.”

               Elinor, distressed by this charge of reserve in herself, which she was not at liberty to do away, knew not how, under such circumstances, to press for greater openness in Marianne.

Emotion: Distrust

Insight: Galatians 6:2 could help both sisters here, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

               Both sisters, distressed by the unwillingness of the other to share confidences, find themselves at odds here. If Marianne was more open about her relationship with Willoughby, and if Elinor felt that she could trust her sister with the secret engagement of Lucy Steele to the man she loved, the story could be cleared up and finished almost immediately. They could have used the strength from each other to find the needed support for their individual heartaches.

               How often do we strive to bear burdens on our own? How often do we either lack trust in another or reek with pride in our own ability to manage our own affairs? Marianne could have leaned on Elinor’s stability to bear her up. Elinor could have leaned on Marianne’s tender and empathetic nature to help ease the wound of the secret she bore. May we intentionally grow a circle of people that we can trust with life’s harsh realities and be willing to bear another’s burdens. And let us be willing to have others bear ours.

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