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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 8

People: Marianne Dashwood and John Willoughby

Text: Marianne and Margaret ascended the downs, rejoicing at every glimpse of blue sky. “Is there a felicity in the world superior to this? Margaret, we will walk here at least two hours.” Margaret agreed, and they pursued their way against the wind. After a while, they thought of running with all possible speed down the steep side of the hill which led immediately to their garden gate. Marianne had at first the advantage, but a false step brought her suddenly to the ground, but Margaret, unable to stop herself, was involuntarily hurried along, and reached the bottom safely.

               A gentleman carrying a gun with two pointers playing around him saw Marianne fall. She realized that her foot had been twisted in the fall, and she could scarcely stand. The gentleman took her up in his arms without delay and carried her down the hill.

Elinor and her mother rose up in amazement at their entrance, the eyes of both fixed on him with evident wonder and a secret admiration. He apologized for the intrusion in a manner so frank and so graceful, that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charm from his voice and expression. Mrs. Dashwood thanked him again and again. He declined the invitation to sit, as he was wet and dirty. His name was Willoughby, and his present home was at Allenham with an elderly relative who lived there. Marianne was already in love for he was like a hero of a favorite story; and in his carrying her into the house with so little previous formality, showed a rapidity of thought which particularly recommended the action to her.

               When they later asked Sir John Middleton about Willoughby, they got little satisfaction. Realizing that Marianne was half in love already with Willoughby, he said, “Poor Brandon! He is quite smitten with you already, and he is well worth setting your cap at, in spite of all this tumbling about and spraining of ankles.”

Emotion: dissatisfaction and novelty

Insight: Often our minds run wild and free looking for ways to please ourselves. This was the case of Marianne Dashwood. Disdaining the honor of being attractive to an older, more stable, man, Marianne is suddenly in love with her hero, Willoughby. Philippians 2:5 reminds us, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Focusing on our minds on others, like Jesus, is the best way to guide our thinking and thus, our actions. Marianne could learn this simple lifehack and save herself from sorrow.

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