Random note: the "Nancy" they keep mentioning is the elder Miss Steele, the one with the fixation on some doctor. Her first name is Anne, but Nancy was a common nickname for Anne at that time. So if you were reading along and suddenly went, "Who in the world is this Nancy person?" now you know.
I find this line so... illuminating? Enlightening? Interesting? Something:
"But unwelcome as such a task must be, it was necessary to be done, and Elinor therefore hastened to perform it" (p. 482).
Elinor does not avoid necessary tasks just because they're annoying or unwelcome. She hurries up and does them. Are you that way? Because I totally am not, usually. I will put off an annoying or unwelcome task, like telling someone bad news or sweeping the kitchen or taking out the compost, for as long as I can by coming up with other tasks to do first. But not Elinor. Rip off the bandage and get it over with, that's her philosophy, maybe?
Anyway, Elinor here gets to state something that we see over and over again in Jane Austen's books, which I quite agree with:
"And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one's happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant -- it is not fit -- it is not possible that it should be so (p. 486/88).
I heartily agree. I think if you're depending on one human being to make you happy, you're in for a lot of disappointment. I have a loving, affectionate, happy marriage that has lasted nearly 19 years... but I do not depend on my husband to make me happy. I have friends, he has friends, we both have dearly loved family members -- we are not each others' whole worlds. And if we had not met, I feel sure God could have led us to other people we could have been very happy with too. I think happiness in marriage is a blessing, but also largely a choice and a decision that two people make -- we like each other, so we shall be happy together. And we keep on working to promote each others' happiness, but not insisting that our own happiness must be entirely supplied by them and them alone.
Anyway. That got long-winded. Clearly, I have Many Thoughts on that subject.
1. Are you like Elinor, and like to get unpleasant, yet needful, tasks over as fast as you can?
2. Do you agree that it's not possible/healthy for one's happiness to depend entirely upon one particular person?