Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wives and Daughters: Mr. Preston















I love this description of Robert Preston that Cynthia gives in chapter 43, "Cynthia's Confession":
...for he is cruel in his very soul--tigerish, with his beautiful striped skin and relentless heart.


This captures perfectly his power over Cynthia.

I can't help but wonder about his relationship with Mrs. G--he clearly disappointed her greatly by moving his attentions from her to her daughter while they were still at Ashcombe. Her response to him whenever she sees him, though, has an air of guilt about it that makes me think she allowed him more liberties, to put it delicately, than would have been proper. Just as Cynthia carries the secret of her engagement to him through most of the book, Hyacinth carries the guilt of her prior, perhaps intimate, relationship with him into Hollingford and into her marriage with Mr Gibson.

I noticed that both Miss Browning and Lady Harriet, when facing the fact that Molly was seen meeting privately with Mr. Preston, declare that they will personally go to church and "forbid the banns" to prevent Molly from marrying Mr. P. The mark of a true friend, indeed!

5 comments:

  1. Hi Jane: I came right over to see your blog, and I am delighted that you are sharing your thoughts as you read Wives and Daughters! You are making me think I should try it, after North and South of course. That I have to read! And get myself the DVD so I can see it properly and not on my tiny computer screen with even smaller you tube screen!

    so I have to ask you, as a Janeite: which is your favourite novel? I have to give the edge to Persuasion - I love both of them and read them regularly, but my first love was Persuasion - I read it before it came out on video anywhere. I love Anne's quiet strength and Wentworth discovering he still loves her - that letter he writes to her and when she goes to him - that is beautiful.

    Anyway, I've added you to my blogroll :-D

    I also read the Bronte's - I've been to Haworth! and I've been watching the Tudors on tv - so I'll go comment on your post on Anne, which I really enjoyed. :-D

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  2. Susan - looks like you are indeed a kindred spirit! I don't really know that I have a favorite Austen anymore. P&P was my first love, but there's really an issue of overexposure, I'm afraid. Persuasion is near and dear to my heart, and Anne has always been a role model for me, but S&S, which I read most recently is fabulous too.

    I'm a bit fickle in that my favorite Austen tends to be the one I'm reading or have most recently read.

    I really can't think of another writer who is so consistently good. Perhaps had she lived longer, she might have written a clunker, but I think not!

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  3. AnonymousJune 14, 2009

    Jane: Permit me to suggest that Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" compares favorably, in every way, to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice".
    I love them both and encourage you to read Elizabeth Gaskell - she writes beautifully!

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  4. Hi Anonymous - I'm also of the camp that N&S draws heavily from P&P and have blogged about it here (http://janegs.blogspot.com/2008/11/final-thoughts-on-austens-influence-on.html), which links to other postings on the topic.

    I've spent the last year reading Gaskell end-to-end, and agree that she is a beautiful writer and now one of my favorite authors.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. This captures perfectly his power over Cynthia.


    This sounds more like Cynthia's power over Mr. Preston. After all, she was the one who used and discarded him.

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