Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility: Ch. 3

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"It is enough," said she; "to say that he is unlike Fanny is enough. It implies everything amiable. I love him already."

"I think you will like him," said Elinor, "when you know more of him."

"Like him!" replied her mother with a smile. "I feel no sentiment of approbation inferior to love."

"You may esteem him."

"I have never yet known what it was to separate esteem and love."

Mrs. Dashwood now took pains to get acquainted with him. Her manners were attachingw, and soon banished his reserve. She speedily comprehended all his merits; the persuasion of his regard for Elinor perhaps assisted her penetration; but she really felt assured of his worth: and even that quietness of manner, which militatedw against all her established ideas of what a young man's address ought to be, was no longer uninteresting when she knew his heart to be warm and his temper affectionate.

No soonerd did she perceive any symptom of love in his behaviour to Elinor, than she considered their serious attachment as certain, and looked forward to their marriage as rapidly approaching.

"In a few months, my dear Marianne." said she, "Elinor will, in all probability be settled for life. We shall miss her; but SHE will be happy."

"Oh! Mamma, how shall we do without her?"

"My love, it will be scarcely a separation. We shall live within a few miles of each other, and shall meet every day of our lives. You will gain a brother, a real, affectionate brother. I have the highest opinion in the world of Edward's heart. But you look grave, Marianne; do you disapprove your sister's choice?"

"Perhaps," said Marianne, "I may consider it with some surprise. Edward is very amiable, and I love him tenderly. But yet—he is not the kind of young man—there is something wantinghhis figureh is not striking; it has none of that grace which I should expect in the man who could seriously attach my sister. His eyes want all that spirit, that fire, which at once announce virtue and intelligence. And besides all this, I am afraid, Mamma, he has no real taste. Music seems scarcely to attract him, and though he admires Elinor's drawings very much, it is not the admiration of a person who can understand their worth. It is evident, in spite of his frequent attention to her while she draws, that in fact he knows nothing of the matter. He admires as a lover, not as a connoisseur. To satisfy me, those characters must be united. I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter into all my feelingsh; the same books, the same music must charm us both. Oh! mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward's manner in readingh to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!"— "He would certainly have done more justice to simple and elegant prose. I thought so at the time; but you WOULD give him Cowperh."

"Nay, Mamma, if he is not to be animated by Cowper!—but we must allow for difference of taste. Elinor has not my feelings, and therefore she may overlook it, and be happy with him. But it would have broke MY heart, had I loved him, to hear him read with so little sensibility. Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward's virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm."

"Remember, my love, that you are not seventeend. It is yet too early in life to despair of such a happiness. Why should you be less fortunate than your mother? In one circumstance only, my Marianne, may your destiny be different from her's!"

X [w] attaching

Her warmth of manner eases his diffidence and reserve.

X [w] militated

Powerfully opposed or worked against.

X [d] No sooner

Like the "romantic" person she is, she judges rapidly and draws imaginative conclusions from partial or ambiguous evidence.

X [h] wanting


X [h] his figure


Marianne's criteria for social chemistry: looks (eyes as the windows of the soul), deportment, as in moving, standing, gesturing, and fluency in speech. 

X [h] He must enter into all my feelings


Marianne requires that her lover/husband be her clone rather than a complement, her desire being a perfect sympathy. This is a feature of Romanticism, the quest for the understanding soul, and who better, presumably, will understand and sympathize with one than someone similar.

A result of the Romantic's sense of his or her nearly unique identity as a result of particular childhood experiences in conjunction with an acute (artistic) sensibility was the sense of difference, followed by a sense of isolation. 

X [h] manner in reading


Reading aloud is a manifestation of one's sensibility. How well one reads aloud is a valuable addition to any company in 18th- and 19th-century country society. The evenings are long and sociable activities limited (cards, music, conversation, reading aloud). 

X [h] Cowper

Writing & Reading

William Cowper (1731-1800) appears often in Austen and was a favorite of hers (Search), as he was of George Eliot. A clergyman and a poet of early Romanticism, among his most well-known works was The Task (1785), a long poem about the beauty of simple, mundane rural life, a view contemporary with the Scots poet Robert Burns and that was much developed and expanded upon by Wordsworth.…

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X [d] not seventeen

Marianne is thoughtful and sophisticated for her age, which is about a year older than that of Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.  But Marianne, unlike Lydia, is well-informed, smart, musically talented, and, though opinionated, has intelligent ideas.