Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility: Ch. 34

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"Hum"—said Mrs. Ferrars—"very pretty,"—and without regarding them at all, returned them to her daughter.

Perhaps Fanny thought for a moment that her mother had been quite rude enough,—for, colouring a little, she immediately said,

"They are very pretty, ma'am—an't they?" But then again, the dread of having been too civil, too encouraging herself, probably came over her, for she presently added,

"Do you not think they are something in Miss Morton's style of painting, Ma'am?—She DOES paint most delightfully!—How beautifully her last landscape is done!"

"Beautifully indeed! But SHE does every thing well."

Marianne could not bear this.—She was already greatly displeased with Mrs. Ferrars; and such ill-timed praise of another, at Elinor's expense, though she had not any notion of what was principally meant by it, provoked her immediately to say with warmth,

"This is admiration of a very particular kind!—what is Miss Morton to us?—who knows, or who cares, for her?—it is Elinor of whom WE think and speak."

And so saying, she took the screens out of her sister-in-law's hands, to admire them herself as they ought to be admired.

Mrs. Ferrars looked exceedingly angry, and drawing herself up more stiffly than ever, pronounced in retort this bitter philippicw, "Miss Morton is Lord Morton's daughter."

Fanny looked very angry too, and her husband was all in a fright at his sister's audacity. Elinor was much more hurt by Marianne's warmth than she had been by what produced it; but Colonel Brandon's eyes, as they were fixed on Marianne, declared that he noticed only what was amiable in it, the affectionate heart which could not bear to see a sister slighted in the smallest point.

Marianne's feelings did not stop here. The cold insolence of Mrs. Ferrars's general behaviour to her sister, seemed, to her, to foretell such difficulties and distresses to Elinor, as her own wounded heart taught her to think of with horror; and urged by a strong impulse of affectionate sensibilityd, she moved after a moment, to her sister's chair, and putting one arm round her neck, and one cheek close to hers, said in a low, but eager, voice,

"Dear, dear Elinor, don't mind them. Don't let them make YOU unhappy."

She could say no more; her spirits were quite overcome, and hiding her face on Elinor's shoulder, she burst into tears. Every body's attention was called, and almost every body was concerned.—Colonel Brandon rose up and went to them without knowing what he did.—Mrs. Jennings, with a very intelligent "Ah! poor dear," immediately gave her her saltsw; and Sir John felt so desperately enraged against the author of this nervous distress, that he instantly changed his seat to one close by Lucy Steele, and gave her, in a whisper, a brief account of the whole shocking affair.

In a few minutes, however, Marianne was recovered enough to put an end to the bustle, and sit down among the rest; though her spirits retained the impression of what had passed, the whole evening.

"Poor Marianne!" said her brother to Colonel Brandon, in a low voice, as soon as he could secure his attention,— "She has not such good health as her sister,—she is very nervous,—she has not Elinor's constitution;—and one must allow that there is something very trying to a young woman who HAS BEEN a beauty in the loss of her personal attractions. You would not think it perhaps, but Marianne WAS remarkably handsome a few months ago; quite as handsome as Elinor.— Now you see it is all gone."

X [w] philippic

for Johnson, "any invective declamation"; so-called from the denunciatory speeches Demosthenes made against Philip of Macedon.

X [d] affectionate sensibility

Among Marianne's finest attributes is her passionate devotion to loyalty and justice.

X [w] salts

Daily Life

Middle- and upper-class women routinely carried smelling salts to revive themselves when feeling faint (succumbing to hysteria), though it's difficult to imagine Mrs. Jennings ever requiring her salts.

Proneness to fainting and the carrying of salts attested to a fashionably sensitive nature. Fainting and febrileness in general were culturally determined, gender-based maladies, though later in the 19th c. stifling corsets would provide a physical basis for such weakness.