Jane Austen Illustrators: Imagining Sense and Sensibility

Illustration by William Greatbatch, Sense and Sensibility, (1833)

“Four years you have been engaged?” said she with a firm voice.

“Yes; and Heaven knows how much longer we may have to wait. Poor Edward! It puts him quite out of heart.” Then taking a small miniature from her pocket, she added, “To prevent the possibility of mistake, be so good as to look at this face. It does not do him justice to be sure, but yet I think you cannot be deceived as to the person it was drew of. — I have had it above these three years.”

She put it into her hands as she spoke, and when Elinor saw the painting, whatever other doubts her fear of a too hasty decision, or her wish of detecting falsehood might suffer to linger in her mind, she could have none of its being Edward’s face. She returned it almost instantly, acknowledging the likeness. Lucy Steele & Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 22 Continue reading “Jane Austen Illustrators: Imagining Sense and Sensibility”

Assiduous attention

Mrs. Ferrars, Illustration by A. Wallis Mills, from Sense & Sensibility, 1908


But though Mrs. Ferrars did come to see them (Edward & Elinor Ferrars), and always treated them with the make-believe of decent affection, they were never insulted by her real favour and preference. That was due to the folly of Robert, and the cunning of his wife; and it was earned by them before many months had passed away. The selfish sagacity of the latter, which had at first drawn Robert into the scrape, was the principal instrument of his deliverance from it; for her respectful humility, assiduous attentions, and endless flatteries, as soon as the smallest opening was given for their exercise, reconciled Mrs. Ferrars to his choice, and re-established him completely in her favour. The Narrator on Mrs. Ferrars, Sense & Sensibility, Chapter 50

I have little respect for Mrs. Ferrars after she disinherits her son Edward for breaking off his engagement with Lucy Steele. I have always been puzzled by her decision. Where was her loyalty? – –  To her son, or his fiancee?

So when Lucy Steele reverses her affections and marries the new heir, (Edward’s brother Robert), it would only have been with Mrs. Ferrars blessings. Lucy is industrious, and because of this, I understand Mrs. Ferrars character more clearly. She is one to be influenced by flattery and assiduous attention, which we well know, Lucy can deliver with sincere conviction and complete composure.

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