Volume 3, Book 5, Chapters 1- 9

A Rout; "Her ancestors were rich farmers"; Austen's Reworkings of Cecilia; Cecilia and Impossibly High Standards; Demand for Naturalistic Dialogue Relatively Recent; A Sarcasm; Trying to Work the Clues Out; A Surmise; Not Dramatizing; Burney's shortcomings as a novelist; The Ending?; A Bold Stroke; Just Missing the Jackpot; How Long Did Burney Spend on Each Book?; The Plot & 2 sets of friends from Cecilia and Emma; A Miser's Mansion; Cecilia as picaresque heroine?; Mortimer Delvile and other threads; Mortimer Delvile and Lord Orville; Evelina/Orville and the Cecilia/Delvile romances; A Declaration; Mrs Delvile and Lady Russell

Date: Sun, 2 Aug 1998
Reply-To: Jane Austen List
From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Cecilia, Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. 1, A Rout

Back from boating, brown and rested!

This chapter is the longest in this long installment; it will be all downhill from here, I promise you! It covered the events occurring in only one evening, the chapter commencing at nine PM the night of the very expensive entertainment Mr. Harrel had planned to delude his numerous creditors.

The evening " ... was to begin with a concert, which was to be followed by a ball, and succeeded by a supper." Although she deplored the mindless expenditure, Cecilia was as eager in her anticipation as the hosts, albeit for very different reasons. Surely that evening would bring some resolution to the mystery of the status of Mortimer affections, as they related to her.

The ever eager Mr. Morrice was first upon the scene (with the exception of Sir Robert, who had stayed for dinner), arriving just as the Harrels, Cecilia, and Sir Robert were leaving the dining room. Mr. Morrice apologized profusely for the accident with the tea urn, but Cecilia, feeling it had resulted in the revealing of Mortimer's feelings for her, found little to forgive. Mr. Monckton then arrived, coming later so as not to arouse suspicions about the reasons for his attentions to Cecilia.

Cecilia, more knowledgeable about the mores of party behavior than our previous heroine Evelina, dreaded being asked to dance by Sir Robert. She knew that if she refused, she could dance no more that evening, and if she accepted him, she would be confirming the reports of her engagement. She told Mr. Monckton of her quandary, and he could not resist relieving her distress by asking her to dance the first two dances himself. Her all too apparent pleasure in informing Sir Robert of this fact when he solicited her for the first two dances, so annoyed him that he left without asking her for any later, to Cecilia's inexpressible relief. Having hopes of being asked by young Delvile for later dances, she turned her attention to finding seating for the concert portion of the planned entertainment.

Feeling assured of quiet enjoyment of the performance by seating herself by the usually taciturn Miss Leeson, Cecilia was disappointed to find that as Miss L. was seated by the few chosen by her for conversation, her hearing was more filled with news of the latest in dress styles, than of the melodious tones of the singer. Any hope of a remission of chatter disappeared with the appearance of Miss Larolles, who informed Cecilia of the arrival of her guardian, Mr. Briggs, who was standing upon a chair the better to survey all about him. Spying Cecilia, he elbowed his way in his usual unceremonious manner through the crowd to her side. Worse was yet to come; complaining of the heat, he popped off his wig, the better to wipe his sweaty head. I suppose the shock with which this was witnessed would about equal the dismay if an elderly man removed his trousers, revealing his grubby boxers and bony knees to all, to improve his comfort at a performance of the Cleveland Orchestra. Cecilia, embarrassed by this behavior of her guardian's, fled to an adjacent room, where she was explaining her relationship with Mr. Briggs, to Mr. Gosport. The determined Mr. Briggs pursued her there, where he demanded his supper, without the prospect of which, nothing would have brought him out when it was "Time to go to bed ..." He moaned about the trouble and expense of society, and complained of a hole that had appeared in a shoe that had " ... hardly a crack in it before." Even worse, he had almost lost the bundle in which he carried his "Best coat and waistcoat ...". He carried them wrapped in a handkerchief, to save on wear and tear, and that was tied loosely, to save wear on it. An unlucky boy appeared with a dog that tugged on the bundle and the clothes fell out, getting soiled. Poor Briggs really ran into expenses that evening; he had to buy a halfpenny's worth of apples for the privilege of hanging his soiled clothes on a stall so he could pursue the guilty boy ( who was easily caught, being slowed by fits of laughter), and then had to buy half a pint of ale at a tavern to have his clothes dried and brushed. Mr. Morrice and Mr. Gosport were having such fun in eliciting Briggs' tale of woe that Cecilia was again able to slip away unnoticed. Back to the music room she went but Cecilia was not to enjoy any respite from unwanted attention that night. A young Mr. Marriot asked her for the first two dances, then when told she was engaged, requested the second two. Losing any hope of seeing Mortimer that evening, she accepted. While being further entertained by Mr. Gosport about the oddities committed by Mr. Briggs, Cecilia was approached by Lord Ernolf, who introduced her to his son, Lord Derford, and requested her hand for two dances. After being told she was engaged for the first four dances, he promised to renew his solicitation later. "Hopeless, now, of young Delvile, she heard this intimation with indifference."

Cecilia, possessed of that happy ability to find humor in the most dismal of situations (to paraphrase a sister author), was accosted upon leaving the music room, and entering the ballroom, by Miss Larolles, who whispered, " ' ... pray let me wish you joy!' " Her response:

" ' Certainly ... but pray let me ask you of what?' " Miss Larolles: " ' O Lord, now ... I am sure you know what I mean; but you must know I have a prodigious monstrous favor to beg of you: now pray don't refuse me; I assure you if you do, I shall be so mortified [hmm, Mortimer ... mortification ...?] you've no notion.' "

Cecilia: " ' Well, what is it?' "

Miss L.: " ' Nothing but let me be one of your bride maids. I assure you I shall take it as the greatest favour in the world.' "

Cecilia: " ' My bride maid! ... but do you not think the bridegroom himself will be rather offended to find a bridemaid appointed, before he is even thought of?' "

Of course the mistake was again the erroneous assumption of Cecilia's engagement to Sir Robert. She was endeavoring to set her straight, when the dance music began, and she had to leave to enter the ballroom with Mr. Monckton. Emotions hit a rather fevered pitch when she saw Mortimer just entering the room.

Cecilia had arrived at the conclusion that Delvile was absenting himself to pursue another woman, but when he appeared, her only regret was that she had so many dances committed, and unavailable for him to claim. This pleasant anticipation shortly changed; "She soon, however, perceived a change in his air and behaviour that extremely astonished her: he looked grave and thoughtful, saluted her at a distance, shewed no sign of any intention to approach her, regarded the dancing and dancers as a public spectacle in which he had no chance of personal interest, and seemed wholly altered, not merely with respect to her, but to himsefl, as his former eagerness for her society was no more abated than her former general gaiety."

Cecilia's feelings were all too apparent to Mr. Monckton, who saw to his dismay that her affections were engaged, and that she was apprehensive of their return. He was aware that even if he should eventually succeed in making Cecilia his own, that her heart would have first been given to someone else. His jealousy took any pleasure in Cecilia's society from him, and he retreated, the better to observe Cecilia and his competitor at a distance.

Depressed, Cecilia took the first empty seat, which happened to be near Mortimer. He could not avoid speaking to her without seeming rude, and reluctantly asked how she did. After initially being tongue tied, Cecilia found ease in inquiring about and speaking of Mrs. Delvile. The arrival of Sir Robert Floyer brought him relief, and he left her, in pursuit of a glass of lemonade. Obtaining one from a passing servant, Sir Robert presented Cecilia with it at the moment Mortimer arrived with one. How poignant Sir Robert's question: " ' Well, madam ... here we stand, awaiting your pleasure. Which is to be the happy man? ' " Knowing how testy Sir Robert could be when he fancied himself offended, Cecilia, with remarkable presence of mind said, " ' Each, I hope ... since I expect no less than that you will both do me the honour of drinking my health. ' " And she didn't have to go without her lemonade, for she obtained a glass from that same passing servant.

Mr. Briggs obtained a glass from that same source, only to be sorely disappointed by the lack of alcohol therein. He informed Cecilia that he had a wealthy husband in mind for her, eliciting the first smile from Mortimer that evening. Cecilia tried to divert him, but Morrice and Delvile were enjoying the conversation immensely. Briggs' comments on his fellow guardians; " ' Hate 'em ... hate 'em both! one spending more than he's worth, cheated and over-reached by fools, running into gaol to please a parcel of knaves; t'other counting nothing but uncles and grandfathers, dealing out fine names instead of cash, casting up more cousins that guineas - ' "

Cecilia was willing to tolerate no more of this harangue, and rose, intending to flee, when she was solicited by Sir Robert for the next two dances. Again she told him she was engaged, to his annoyance, which increased with the gloating reaction of Mr. Briggs, who chortled, " ' Shan't have her, shan't have her! can tell you she won't consent; know you of old.' " Sir Robert angrily asked, " ' And what do you know of me, pray Sir? ' " Briggs: " ' No good, no good; nothing to say to you; found fault with my nose! ha'n't forgot it.' "

This guy holds a grudge!

Cecilia surprised herself by greeting the arrival of her next partner, Mr. Marriot, with relief.

The frequent changes of scene in this chapter remind me of the tumblings of the interior of a kaleidoscope. Further colors are added with the reappearance of Miss Larolles, who announced the imminent arrival of Mr. Meadows, who all the girls earnestly coveted the social stamp of approval which a dance with him would instantly confer. He proceeded to toy with Miss Larolles in such a way that I can mentally picture Frances Burney's smile as she wrote it. When Mr. Marriot reminded Mr. Meadows that there was a time when he found dancing enjoyable, " ' Have you forgot, Sir, when you used to wish the night would last for ever, that you might dance without ceasing?' " Mr. Meadows adroitly changed the subject to the visual arts, and then whined, " ' No, ... one can tolerate nothing! one's patience is wholly exhausted by the total tediousness of every thing one sees, and every body one talks with . Don't you find it so, madam?' "

I loved Cecilia's riposte: " ' Sometimes,' said Cecilia, rather archly.' "

Cecilia danced the next two dances with Mr. Marriot with no real enjoyment, and refused all further requests, spending the remainder of the evening as an onlooker. " She spent the night in the utmost disturbance; the occurences of the evening with respect to young Delvile she looked upon as decisive: if his absence had chagrined her, his presence had still more shocked her, since, while she was left to conjecture, though she had fears she had hopes, and though all she saw was gloomy, all she expected was pleasant; but they had now met, and those expectations proved fallacious. She knew not, indeed, to account for the strangeness of his conduct; but in seeing it was strange, she was convinced it was unfavorable: he had evidently avoided her while it was in his power, and when, at last, he was obliged to meet her, he was formal, distant, and reserved."

The more Cecilia pondered, the angrier she became. Anger is healthier than dejection, but how long could she keep it up?

Jill Spriggs

To Austen-l

August 2, 1998

Re: Burney: Cecilia: Her ancesters were rich farmers

I don't suppose Cecilia's father would have milked his own cows and so forth, but there are precedents for making money out of farming related activities in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Dukes of Bedford (and others) made substantial fortunes out of draining the Fens (which are not so terribly far from Suffolk); the 18th century was also the main period for the enclosures of common land, out of which there was good money to be made for capitalists. There were significant advances in agricultural techniques well; consider Townshend and Coke, whose activites set something of a fashion for landowners to take an active interest in land cultivation.


In response to RW, I meant that the word "farmer" did not have the same narrowly agricultural connotations for Burney that it has for many people since the 19th century. Nowadays farming is often done by corporations and is a capitalist enterprise. The amount of land, machinery, distribution facilities, and science required demands huge influxes of money to make a great deal of money. In Burney's period the word "farmer" had connotations which allied it to our image of a capitalist. A farmer was someone who farmed out land to others and made a profit. He was someone who bought a lease to the right to collect taxes and made a profit. Thus "rich farmer" might signify quite a different image for the 18th century reader than it might for someone who thinks of a small individual farmer today.

Ellen Moody

August 2, 1998

To Austen-l

Re: Burney: _Cecilia_, III:3, 1-9: Austen's Reworkings of Cecilia

How many dialogues and situations in these chapters Austen repeats and reworks into her novels. How close the wording both women authors use, and yet how the effect of Burney's text is limited. We don't apply any greater resonance or meaning to a line the way people do in Austen. We also don't attempt to explain what is uncomfortable away. Sometimes I wonder if Austen is that superior to Burney in her understanding and use of the repeated words or situations, or if, due to a remarkable intuitively suggestive use of words we attribute meaning to Austen which isn't there. I do think there is more to be learned about what Austen meant from reading Burney's books and seeing these parallels than in reading a thousand documents on slavery in Antigua.

Take the chapter called "A Rout."

There is the dialogue over the musical concert in which all pretend to listen to the music and exclaim how much they enjoy it while clearly doing no such thing. It recalls the scene at the Middletons where only Brandon listens to Marianne and the scenes at the musical party in London where Elinor meets Edward Ferrars (1988 Oxford Cecilia, ed. MADoody and PSabor, pp. 322-3.

A couple of the scenes between Cecilia and Mr Meadows and Cecilia and Delvile are directly echoed in the more arrogant and withdrawn behavior of Burney's men. This recalls Darcy:

"he looked grave and thoughtful, saluted her at a distance, shewed no sign of any intention to approach her, regarded the dancing and dancers as a public spectacle in which he had no chance of personal interest" (p. 330).

Of dancing at balls the affected Mr Meadows says:

"'What dancing! Oh, dreadful! how it was ever adopted in a civilized country I cannot find out; 'tis certainly a Barbarian exercise, and of savage orign" (p. 335).

Of course he wouldn't deign to dance.

Then at the conclusion of the rout, Delvile's behavior (as described) recalls Darcy's at the end of P&P when he comes with Bingley to visit the Bennets:

"The more she recollected and dwelt upon the difference of his behaviour in their preceding meeting, the more angry as well as amazed she became at the change..." p 338).

Maybe we are supposed to distrust or dislike Darcy more than we do; perhaps Elizabeth's first impression is not as wrong as she later thinks. But I suppose we are going to find out Delvile's situation resembles Edward Ferrars' more -- except of course my "hopes" are excited by the rumor he's got a mistress.

Also note the developing relationship between Cecilia and Henrietta Belfield. It recalls that of Emma and Harriet. Miss Bates's name is Henrietta. Cecilia plays Emma to Henrietta's Harriet including Henrietta's falling in love with Delvile in just the way Harriet fell for Knightley. There's a direct contrasting echo because Cecilia resolves not to encourage Henrietta in her belief that Delvile loves her partly because it would be irresponsible on her part. I liked their genuine friendship. Henrietta becomes the object of Cissy's "solitude." She is described as a creature of "sensibility" when it comes to her love for Delvile. Cecilia also develops "a real regard" for Henrietta and does not treat her like a doll. She will not be "treacherous" to her friend On the other hand, Emma is truer to life (pp. 352-3).

The characters of Harrel, Mrs Harrel, Belfield himself and Arnott are remarkable. Now none of these are taken over by Austen. Paragraphs like the following about Harrel suggest insanity is more common among the "norm" of life than people suppose:

"Mr Harrel... was seized from time to time with fits of horror that embittered his gayest moments, and cast a cloud upon all his employments. Always an enemy to solitude, he found it wholly insupportable ... " (p. 346).

Austen seems to stay with Burney's more conventional situations though we are led to attribute more to her text than the conventions by her knack of suggestiveness.

Ellen Moody

To Austen-l

August 3, 1998

Re: Burney: Cecilia and Impossibly High Standards

One problem with most heroines of 18th century novels -- and this includes Austen's -- is they have impossibly high standards for just about everything. One result of this is they can seem priggish, especially when they are judging other women. I suppose some people prefer the coquet anti-heroine in such novels because even if she is often mean, ambitious, nasty, cold, shallow (&c&c), she accepts reality.

Like Jill I noticed the sentence which explained to us why Cecilia enjoyed Henrietta's company and they became friends:

"The trial of intimacy, so difficult for the ablest to stand, and from which even the most faultless are so rarely acquitted, Miss Belfield, sustained with honour. Cecilia found her artless, ingenuous, and affectionate; her understanding was good, though no pains had been taken to improve it; her disposition though ardent was soft, and her mind seemed informed by intuitive integrity."

I had forgotten the earlier comment Jill remembered but it seems to me a perfect explanation for this kind of Calvinistic scrutiny:

"What chiefly damped her hopes of forming a friendship with any of the new acquaintance to whom she was introduced was the observation she herself made how ill the coldness of their hearts accorded with the warmth of their professions: upon every first meeting, the civilities which were shewn her, flattered her into believing she had excited a partiality that a very little time would ripen into affection; the next meeting commonly confirmed the expectation; but the third, and every future one, regularly destroyed it. She found that time added nothing to their fondness, nor intimacy to their sincerity; that the interest in her welfare which appeared to be taken at first sight, seldom, with whatever reason, encreased, and often abated; that the distinction she at first met with, was no effusion of kindness, but of curiosity ..."

In Persuasion Mrs Smith tells Anne Elliot it is very rare to find a real friend. The inference is we must make do with acquaintances and pretense. The 18th century heroine refuses to do this. They often prefer to be alone. Not that I think them necessarily wrong, but the way in which the value is stated in Burney seems so self-satisfied. Is Cecilia herself endlessly sincere, giving, emotional, open?

Another problem with this novel is Cecilia is a paragon. Now Evelina had many real faults. I think we assume far more than Burney meant us to think Evelina had, and that is the result of the epistolary mode. But it kept the fiction from being too controlled by an inhibited woman author.

Ellen Moody

To Austen-l

August 4, 1998

Re: Burney: Demand for Naturalistic Dialogue Relatively Recent

In response to Andrea I'd like to agree and say the peculiar thing about Burney's work as I have read it thus far is that in the diaries and letters and Evelina Burney is continually dramatising, continually picturing, continually personating a meditation, yet in Cecilia_ summaries, descriptions, and set-pieces of moral-psychological disquisition dominate.

Why is this? I do notice that many earlier novels do not dramatize scenes. The novelist does not think it necessary that we have a dramatized scene between Brandon and Marianne and would not have noticed that no words are exchanged in the novel in a literal way. Our demand for dramatic scenes with naturalistic dialogue is a relatively recent. one.

Ellen Moody

From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Cecilia, Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. V, A Sarcasm
To: austen-l@vm1.mcgill.ca

August 5, 1998

Cecilia should have been prepared for the welcome she would get at the Delviles'. It had been weeks since her last visit, and Mrs. Delvile had been hurt by the sudden disappearance of her favorite. People who have expressed dismay over the introduction of new characters will not greet the appearance of Lady Honoria Pemberton with pleasure. She is interesting, however, as a contrast to Cecilia. Lady Honoria seemed to be a combination of aspects of the personalities of Miss Larolles and Mrs. Harrel. Giddy, silly, none too bright, a more uncongenial companion for Mrs. Delvile seems unlikely.

Cecilia was hurt by Mrs. Delvile's haughtiness which she was then seeing for the first time, and stung by her sarcastic remarks on "fickleness and caprice". Lady Honoria soon distracted both Mrs. Delvile and Cecilia with a whispered tidbit of gossip about a mistress of Mortimer's, who lived "somewhere in Oxford-Road". Cecilia had fortunately removed to a window and had her back to the two other women, else her secret would surely have been discovered. Mrs. Delvile's outraged response was met with nonchalance by Lady Honoria, who soon took her leave. The two soon reestablished their friendship when Cecilia involuntarily expressed her sadness at the news that the Delviles would soon be leaving town. Mrs. Delvile even made the gratifying comment; " ' ... I am glad to receive my young friend again, and even half ashamed, deserving as she is, to say how glad! ' "

Cecilia shared dinner with Mrs. Delvile, and spent most of that day with her, promising to at least pop in every day that the Delviles remained in town. Neither of the male Delviles encroached on Cecilia's contentment.

Jill Spriggs

Re: Burney: Cecilia: III:5:5: Trying to Work the Clues Out

I guess that Delvile is engaged to a young woman who lives in Oxford Road. I guess she is not his mistress, but rather someone who would not be acceptable to his family, possibly not really to Cecilia. Perhaps a woman whose class and status is that of Henrietta Belfield. We may example Edward Ferrars getting engaged to Lucy Steele.

I further guess that Lady Honoria Pemberton is the lady Mrs Delvile wants her son to marry, and he knows it. I guess Mrs Delvile doesn't dream Cecilia is interested in her son as Cecilia didn't dream Henrietta could be interested in Mortimer Delvile. Lady Honoria has heard rumors about Delvile but as in the case of Mrs Smith's rumors, they are slightly off the mark.

The one problem is that Mrs Delvile ought to appear very upset by the information that her son has a mistress in Oxford Road. If she has never heard the rumor before, she ought to be fearful; if she has, she ought to put two and two together. She sees more of her son than Cissy. Yet Mrs Delvile behaves as though Honoria has just said it rained yesterday.

Ellen Moody

Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998
Reply-To: Jane Austen List
From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Cecilia, Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. VI, A Surmise

As the Harrels lurch from crisis to crisis, I begin to suspect Cecilia of being a bit of a slow learner. Surely she must have realized by then that it was only a matter of time before the Harrel house of cards collapsed.

The morning after Cecilia had her reconciliation with Mrs. Delvile, she was requested by a servant to hasten to the side of Mrs. Harrel, who was disturbed due to the fact that Mr. Harrel had never come home the night before. Already Cecilia had to amend her resolve to call upon Mrs. Delvile every day before her departure; she sent word to her friend that she could not leave the side of Mrs. Harrel until she could find out what had happened to her husband. The same excuse sufficed for Henrietta, who called about noon, and was in turn concerned to see the uproar in which she found the household. Mr. Harrel could not be discovered the entire day, and imagine Cecilia's amazement when she found that Priscilla intended to attend an assembly as though nothing were wrong. Surmising that her friend could do without her company that evening, Cecilia decided to pay an evening visit to Mrs. Delvile.

Upon being shown into the drawing room who should Cecilia espy but Mortimer, alone and reading a book. He apologized for his mother's absence, said that she had thought Cecilia was not coming that day and had retired to write letters. Awkwardness reigned between the two, and conversation came in fits and starts. Mortimer told Cecilia of the favorable impression Belfield had made on his prospective employer, who was fitting up an apartment for his reception. After another silence, Mortimer surprisingly brought up the subject of Belfield's sister. He asked Cecilia if she did not find her amiable, but Cecilia, finding it difficult to respond, hesitated. He then asked her if she had found out something unfavorable about Henrietta, which Cecilia denied. She finally forced herself to praise her unlucky friend.

" ' I have been greatly pleased,' said he, after waiting some time to hear if she would finish her speech, ' by being informed of your goodness to her, and I think she seems equally to require and to deserve it. I doubt not you will extend it to her when she is deprived of her brother, for then will be the time that by doing her most service, it will reflect on yourself most honour.' "

Cecilia of course promised to do her best, but with chagrin she felt " ... that the pity she had bestowed upon Miss Belfield, Miss Belfield might in a short time bestow upon her." The fair hypocrite mused on the Delviles' reaction to such an unsuitable bride. The prospect of the family's reaction to such an union roused her generous nature, and she thought, " ' ... thrice happy Henrietta, if such is thy prospect of felicity! to have inspired a passion so disinterested, may humble the most insolent of thy superiors, and teach even the wealthiest to envy thee! ' "

Specifically, Cecilia.

At this point in the book, I began considering the differences in the progress of the Evelina/Orville and the Cecilia/Delvile romances. In Evelina it was Lord Orville that misunderstood the relationship between Sir Clement and Evelina; in Cecilia the misunderstandings run both ways. Mortimer thought Cecilia was entangled with Sir Robert Floyer and Mr. Belfield, and now Cecilia, already suspecting a competitor, found (she thought) it in her new found friend, Henrietta Belfield. I think Mortimer was a little cavalier about his involvement with females; he apparently regarded his heart as safe from loss to, first, an engaged woman who would otherwise not be considered as possible marital partner , and second, a social inferior. His heart was not as insulated as he thought. So, Mortimer flees the company of a woman who he has fallen in love with, due to her unsuitability for marriage (insufficient pedigree), and lingers with a woman who he perceives as safe, in spite of her marriageable state, because he was sure no one could ever suspect him as desiring an alliance with someone so patently lower in station. Perhaps our gentle fellow readers might begin to see why I do not care for the hero of this story.

Jill Spriggs

From: Nancy Mayer
Subject: Burney: Not Dramatising

August 5, 1998

Cecilia would make a good 39 episode sit-com. Or perhaps it shopuld be a soap -opera with a new suitor popping up every other episode. I really believe the story would have been better and the effect of Cecilia more lasting if it had been drastically cut,

For the readers of Burney's day, this book was like a nightly TV program. It is too long to be read in a day or even a night. Generally it would be read aloud to the whole family as they sat intheir best room after dinner. They could not sit up too late because of the price of candles etc so would appreciate a plot that had definite stopping places. Even among the members of the upper classes, few would or could just sit around and read. Cecilia has some of the qualities of the adventure novels, of the picaresque novels of Fielding, Lennox, and others in cluding Johnson, and Cervantes except that her hero is a female .

However, at the same time, I feel as though this novel will end badly. In most picaresque novels the adventurer goes places and meets people-- even Pilgrim does both. Though sometimes thumped with a stout stick, or dunked in water or coming off the worse in a meeting with rogues , the hero adventurer always won in the end. I do not feel as though Cecilia will win.

Nancy Mayer

Subject: Burney's shortcomings as a novelist
X-To: Jane Austen mailing list

I think one of the main if not the most important flaw in Burney as a novelist is the fact that she *tells* rather than *shows*. I'd like to give one textual evidence for this point which was first brought up by Ellen (if my memory doesn't fail me - apologies to everyone I should have overlooked). Just take the following sentence on p. 252 (the chapter called "Sympathy" where Cecilia admits her love for Delvile):"Her heart made no resistance, for the attack was too gentle and too gradual to alarm her vigilance ...". The key words here are *too gentle* and "too gradual*. Witness how Austen has dealt with a similar situation: compare Elizabeth Bennet's gradual change of behaviour towards Mr Darcy over the course of "PaP". The reader learns about their growing regard and affection for each other through their conversations/their dealings with each other and other people and, of course, through Elizabeth's own thoughts. Where Austen is subtle, Burney is heavy-handed. Both authors use third-person narrative but while Elizabeth Bennet seems more "real", more concrete, Cecilia appears stiff and distanced. I've started reading Lascelles' book and as much as I enjoy her book (she gives some excellent very close readings of Austen and Burney) it does colour my reading of "Cecilia". It makes me too negative (too critical?) but such are the vicissitudes of reading! :)

Andrea Schwedler

From: Nancy Mayer
Subject: Burney: Not Dramatising
X-To: Jane Austen List

Have I missed something ( all to easy for me to do, I confess) or have there been few references to the condition of Cecilia's legacy from her uncle?

I would have expected comments on Sir Robert's changing his name , Deville could at least say he wondered the man had so little family feeling, or about Belfeild's hope it will be worth it for "for him to get out from under his mother's thumb. " Has any character mentioned this limitation ? Realistically, I would expect Sir Robert to say, he would change his name to snipes if it would bring him money.

Though Edward Austen Knight adopted the Knight name and others have given up their names for another it was not always necessary for a man to do away with his name all together, Among the aristocrary is seemed to be more the practice to add a name to the family one, rather than superseding the family name..

Lord Byron added Noel to his becoming George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron, Lord Jersey added Child to his name of George Villiers when his wife inherited the chief interest in Child's bank. . George Child-Villiers, Lord Jersey.

Nancy Mayer

Re: Cecilia: The Ending?

Nancy, I hope Cecilia does not end that happily. I cannot think she doesn't marry her Delvile, but perhaps the circumstances and mood are enigmatic and more like Austen's in S&S and MP.


Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998
Reply-To: Jane Austen List
From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Cecilia, Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. VII, A Bold Stroke

Mr. Harrel still had not been heard from by Cecilia's return, and Mrs. Harrel was about as frightened as this emotionally deficient chick could be. She sent for her brother and the three of them spent a sleepless night awaiting word of the profligate's fate. When he still had not appeared by the next morning, Mr. Arnott urged his sister and Cecilia to snatch some rest while he search all Harrel's known haunts. Before Mr. Arnott had returned, in fact, while Cecilia and Priscilla were still ascending the stairs, the profligate returned. He apparently was a compulsive gambler, and had been on a spree the last two days. The debt he had contracted was larger than any he could hope to pay, and he ordered his wife to pack for flight abroad. Priscilla predictably became hysterical, Harrel abusive, and Cecilia begged Mr. Arnott to go for the only friend Harrel was known to have, Sir Robert.

Cecilia began considering which guardian she would flee to; her inclinations of course leaning to the Delviles, in spite of the discomfort she would feel in the presence of Mortimer. While she was still musing, she was summoned by Mr. Arnott, who pleaded with Cecilia to advise him what he could do to relieve his sister. She recommended that Harrel leave his wife behind, in the care of herself and Mr. Arnott. This proposal was imperiously denied by the rapidly decompensating Mr. Harrel. After Sir Robert arrived, Priscilla, tears dried, joyfully burst in upon Cecilia, telling her that she could solve all her problems if she would just do this one little thing. It was, of course, marry Sir Robert, and then take her into their home. Mr Harrel joined them and put the screws to our poor heroine, and before she could refuse, Sir Robert appeared, showering Cecilia's hand with kisses, and compliments flowing. Cecilia once again let her distaste for the prospect be known, and was furious both with the pertinacity of Sir Robert, and the intransigence of Mr. Harrel. Priscilla, " ... clinging round her, still supplicated her pity and compliance." With great difficulty, Cecilia convinced Priscilla of her unalterable aversion to the match, and offered her " ... every good office not wholly unreasonable." But this was slim comfort to the friend.

Cecilia had ordered a chair, intending to be removed to the Delviles' home, when who should appear but her bad angel, Mr. Monckton. He urged her immediate removal, which she assured him she was just then arranging. When he found where she was intending to flee, he hit her in her most sensitive spot.

" ' You were going, you said, when I came, -- and whither?'

' To -- to St. Jame's-square,' answered she, with a deep blush.

' Indeed! -- is young Delvile, then, going abroad?'

' Abroad? -- no -- I believe not.'

' Nay, I only imagined it from your chusing to reside in his house.'

' I do not chuse it,' cried Cecilia, with quickness,' but is not any thing preferable to dwelling with Mr. Briggs?'

' Certainly,' said Mr. Monckton coolly, ' nor should I have supposed he had any chance with you, had I not hitherto observed that your convenience has always been sacrificed to your sense of propriety.' "

Ooh! Twisting the knife!

Cecilia, conquered, decided that the Harrels' situation was not quite so pressing as she thought it was when she contemplated removing to the Delviles. The next day would be soon enough ...

Jill Spriggs

Thursday, August 6, 1998

Re: Just Missing the Jackpot

Reading over Jill's commentaries on "A Surmize" and "A Bold Stroke" I am struck by how strong these scenes are, how intriguing and unidealized the characters, how real and probable the situations of the main players, given their status, money, and all we know of their characters. I find myself remembering something I read a long time back in which someone argued the difference between writing the masterpiece which lives permanently, still speaks intensely enough to our eyes so that we lose ourselvse in it as a simulacrum of reality, and writing the book which is interesting in its way, good enough, historically fascinating, is some some stroke, some slight change in wording throughout, some peculiarly appropriate rich irony. Ah, if only Burney had had an editor...

Ellen Moody

From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Burney: Not Dramatising

August 5, 1998

remember Evelina as being written in secret, and there was opportunity for "chopping and lopping" at leisure. We have already spoken of how Frances was pushed to grind out this novel as quickly as possible to cash in on her newfound fame, and I suspect that the greatest need of Cecilia is Jane Austen's surgical skills. Burney was more secure in herself by the time she wrote Camilla, she had escaped her father and Crisp and made a home of her own with her late found love. How long a period elapsed between the appearance of Cecilia and Camilla? Does anyone know how much time was spent in the writing of each? My theory should be easily [dis]proved. Jill Spriggs

Re: Burney: How Long Did Burney Spend on Each Book?

Cecilia appears to have been written within a brief time. EvelinaM came out in 1778, but it was the product of many years of writing since the story of Caroline Evelyn when Burney was 15.

Burney wrote The Witlings in 1779; Cecilia was published in 1782. Allowing for her to have begun a draft after Evelina, this is an enormous book to have written inside 3 years.

We may say she was then immured at court between 1786 and 1791 when after a long illness the queen gave her permission to quit. (Ahem.) Camilla came out in 1796 which gives us 5 years. But of course it may have existed in drafts during the years at court.

If I remember correctly, The Wanderer was written and rewritten over a period of 15 years.

I hope that Camilla will have far fewer characters, a thickly developed plot around a small cast of character who really exist in close relationships to one another. The plot summary seems to suggest it does.

Ellen Moody

Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998
Reply-To: Jane Austen List
From: Aysin Dedekorkut
Subject: Cecilia: The Plot & 2 sets of friends from Cecilia and Emma

Now I understand why Cecilia is so much longer than Evelina. The plot is getting so complicated. We have our heroine who is an heiress, but the guy needs to take her last name for the money. That would definitely create a problem in itself. Then we have our hero whose family is so proud that in addition to the fact that they would never let Mortimer do such a thing as change his good old last name, they don't even think Cecilia is good enough for their family by birth and rank (even if there was no condition of last name). Then there is Cecilia's suspicion that the young Delvile is engaged to somebody else. (Where exactly did she get that idea from I never understood. OK, he seems to be avoiding her. But can't there be many other reasons for that?). And in this weeks chapters Cecilia also hears the rumor that Mortimer is keeping a mistress. As if all this isn't enough, now we have the poor Henrietta Belfield also in love with Mortimer. Not to mention the marriage proposals Cacilia seems to be getting daily lately. Remember some time ago I wrote that I feel like too many characters are thrown at our face to be able to keep track of everybody? Now I feel like there are too many twists in the plot to be untied to satisfaction by the end of the book.

Ellen Moody writes:

in the diaries and letters and Evelina Burney is continually dramatising, continually picturing, continually personating a meditation, yet in Cecilia_ summaries, descriptions, and set-pieces of moral-psychological disquisition dominate.

Tying with what I wrote above, my guess is the book would have been twice as long if she dramatized everything.

Nancy Mayer says:

Cecilia would make a good 39 episode sit-com. Or perhaps it shopuld be a soap opera with a new suitor popping up every other episode. I really believe the story would have been better and the effect of Cecilia more lasting if it had been drastically cut ...

The way it is now, the only possibility I see for Cecilia is a soap opera. But think about the possibilities of a two-hour movie? We can get rid of all kind of unnecessary people and plot twists.

On another subject Jill Spriggs writes:

I enjoyed Ellen's post drawing parallels between Henrietta and Cecilia, and Harriet and Emma. Has another possible parallel struck anyone? That of the friendships between Henrietta and Cecilia, and Mrs. Delvile and Cecilia. Henrietta recognized that a social gulf existed between her and her friend. Cecilia recognized no such gulf between her and Mrs. Delvile, who I suspect never lost her awareness. Cecilia thought Henrietta would instinctively recognize the unsuitability of a match between herself and Mortimer, and was appalled when she realized that Henrietta loved him. How would Mrs. Delvile react when she found out about another and, to her, almost equally unsuitable match? Mrs. Delvile, having the highest estimation of Cecilia's delicacy, would surely expect her friend to protect her heart from aspiring to what surely must apparently be an unsuitable match. I agree with Ellen that Cecilia was a snob, in fact the worst kind. The kind who holds others to different standards from those for herself.

I just started listening to Emma on tape and it is very intesrting to notice the parallels and differences between the two sets of friends. I don't find Cecilia to be such a snob towards Henrietta except for the subject of their coomon love interest. She never treated Miss Belfiled as a person of lower rank. I think she sees her as a lady who fell into unfortunate circumstances. (Well, OK, maybe a lady is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea) Miss Belfield seems educated and knows how to behave. The only snobbishnes Cecilia has towards Miss B. is in thinking that she is not good enough for Mortimer. Emma's treatment of Harriet is different from then beginning. OK, she thinks Harriet is good enough for Mr Elliot but she treats Harriet as her toy from the beginning. Harriet is the 'clueless' young girl that Emma can guide (push around in other words). Look at the way she manipulates her into refusing Mr. Martin and making her think she made the decision herself. It's a good thing that there is a Mr Knightley who can see through her and say "You saw the letter? You wrote that letter Emma!" (FM)

"He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask."

Aysin Dedekorkut

From: "Jill L. Spriggs"
Subject: Cecilia, Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. VIII, A Miser's Mansion
To: austen-l@vm1.mcgill.ca
August 6, 1998

A detailed summary of this chapter is not necessary; suffice it to say, Cecilia went to the home of Mr. Briggs, requested asylum, was appalled by the environment in which she would be living, and " ... then she left the house, fully satisfied that no one could blame her for reusing to inhabit it, and much less chagrined than she was willing to suppose herself, in finding she had no resource but the Delviles."

A posting of record brevity!

Jill Spriggs

Again a supposition: I guess that eventually Cecilia will go to live in this appallingly degraded environment. She will go to the Delviles, and be driven away. Then she will have only Mr Briggs to turn to. By that time she will have lost much of her money.

Some other things that could happen: Mr Monckton's wife dies. Delvile turns out to be engaged to the woman in Oxford road. Delvile breaks up with said woman.

Mrs Harrel blows her brains out. "What brains?" someone asks.

Ellen :)

Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998
Sender: Jane Austen List
From: van Leyen
Subject: Cecilia as picaresque heroine?

I hesitate to call Cecilia a picaresque heroine because she is too much rooted in her own class. She moves consistently in her own fashionable circle without ever getting near the lower classes. Mr Briggs' squalour is based on his own miserliness, not because he's genuinely poor. Where are the whores, gamesters, tricksters (I can't think of any more stock characters right now) that would populate the hero's journey? There are none in Cecilia. There has been no major change of place in the novel so far or can anyone imagine Cecilia in a seedy tavern hobnobbing with the lads?

Well, I seriously doubt that Cecilia would ever do such a thing and (heaven forbid!) ever engage in titillating repartees (well, or even go way beyond the verbal sparring). She also lacks the picaresque hero's most redeeming qualities - namely irony and humour. She has no FUN!

I keep referring to the *hero* but what about picaresque heroines? I can only think of two off the cuff: Defoe's Roxana and Erica Jong's Fanny. But there are bound to be more. I also vaguely recall a number of women in the 17th and early 18th centuries whose lives were pretty wild and adventurous (Aphra Behn, Susanna Centlivre??). Female cross-dressers, impersonators, spies etc. but I am getting off track.

Andrea Schwedler.

To Andrea and other Burney friends,

I agree Cecilia seems no picaresque heroine. But in fact it is rare to find a picaresque heroine after the later 17th and before the 20th century. Once the techniques of verisimilitude and a stifling insistence on the presentation of mores in respectable art which show the female at home, surrounded by family or friends, and unwilling to risk her chastity by the slightest adventure, the picaresque plot is not available. Aphra Behn does have picaresque heroines, of which the best are her heroines in her plays and the hero of Love-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister. The English civil war did free women to act on their own; the Restoration was not a self-consciously anti-puritanical, anti-piety era, but once it was over, one has to wait for Harriet Vane to meet a woman on her adventures alone once again -- in respectable literature. In unrespectable literature it's another case, Fanny Hill has adventures, though I am not sure even she goes out on the road.

Ellen Moody

Subject: Burney: Cecilia: Mortimer Delvile & Other Threads
To: Jane Austen List

Mortimer and Lord Orville are both so darn polite they do not think of asking a direct question. And that is the crux of my impatience with Burney's books. Though we do not want the hero to be one of the vulgar characters,we ( or I) come to wish they were a little less polite. It is so much easier to think the worse than to ask a question or give the benefit of the doubt.

Another question... is Mortimer financially dependent on his father?

Also, his behavior is not realistic in one way. Cecilia is an attractive heiress, yet he appears willing to let her go to any taker. Both Orville and Mortimer would rather look the other way than go to the help of an oppressed heiress. It was only at the end that Orville became worthy of Evelina... Will Devile ever be worthy of Cecilia? ( he has to be the hero as there is no other "worthy" young man in the story.)

Nancy Mayer nmayer@bellsouth.net

To Austen-l

Re: Burney: Cecilia: Mortimer Delvile and Lord Orville

There is a strong similarity in the presentation of Mortimer and Lord Orville thus far. Both are, as Jill says, extremely solicitious of the favored female's free will; they bend over backwards. Perhaps Burney had learned to dislike males who swaggered and told "their" women what to do all the time. Both are stiff, polite, address the lady in the third person; both are proud. We may get irritated, but remember that respect for women was actually not common in Burney's day. This comes across strongly in the early part of the diary; recall the behavior of the males at Ranelagh in Evelina.

I assume Mortimer is financially dependent on his father.

And yes Cecilia would be much better off with either Briggs or Delvile. If she doesn't watch it, the Harrels will swallow her fortune with ease, and then look indignant or incredulous if she demands repayment of any of the debt.

Ellen Moody

From: Sallie Knowles
Organization: Great Basin College
Subject: Cecilia in general

I'm finally caught up with all the messages after being unable to get any email for 3 weeks. I have access at the library where I work, and we had to pack the library collection and relocate to a different building while ours is remodeled and brought up from 1970 codes to 1990's. This will take a year or so, according to the contractor.

I am enjoying reading Cecilia much more than I did Evelina mainly because I like Cecilia herself. She isn't the naive ninny I felt Evelina was throughout the book. Cecilia has more experience in company and IMO more sense than Evelina ever showed. That she trusts Monckton more that she should is to be expected since he only shows her his best side, and she's known his all or most of her life. I agree with Ellen that Monckton is the most interesting character in the book, so far. I haven't read ahead, I'm barely keeping up with the group on all the different reading schedules, so I don't know where all this is going yet. I also like Mr. Briggs as a contrast to all the other male characters who basically sound much alike. I can't remember who posted about all the characters Burney throws at us (Jill?), but I agree that it makes it very confusing to keep them straight. I just found the post I was thinking of and it was Aysin who in her post last Tuesday (6/30) commented about "...too many characters are thrown at our face all at once..."

The masquerade was fascinating. I was sure the devil was Monckton before Burney told us, but I wasn't as sure of the others. I thought that was his way of trying to keep all Cecilia's suitors at bay even though it wasn't going to work. I loved Mr. Briggs' chimney sweep who swept all before him including the devil!

The white domino seemed to me the calm voice of reason amidst the chaos of the unrestrained behavior of the masqueraders. Having read through chapter 3 of volume II though, Mortimer Devile's inability to answer a direct question of Cecilia's I found very irritating. In Chap 2 when Cecilia meets young Mortimer (I find myself thinking of Mortimer Snerd, one of Edgar Bergen's alter egos everytime I read this name, I'll try to substitute Cary Grant's character in "Arsenic and Old Lace" he was a Mortimer too I think, anyway, I digress) at his father's house, and she remembers his cryptic comments of the morning and tries to explain why she was standing by that particular house, young Mortimer's comments become more and more incomprehensible to Cecilia. When she says "

"You may tell me any thing, if you will but be less mysterious." He replies, "Forgive then the frankness you invite, and let me acknowledge to you how greatly I honour the nobleness of your conduct. Surrounded as you are by the opulent and the splendid, unshackled by dependance, unrestrained by authority, blest by nature with all that is attractive, by situation with all that is desirable,--to slight the rich, and disregard the powerful, for the purer pleasure of raising oppressed merit, and giving to desert that wealth in which alone it seemed deficient--how can a spirit so liberal be sufficiently admired, or a choice of so much dignity be too highly extolled."

Cecilia responds : "I find I must forbear any further enquiry, for the more I hear, the less I understand."

During this whole exchange, my initial good impression of Mortimer began to erode as I saw him as a real chip off the old block of his father's wooden head. Obfuscation for the sake of it seems to be their ruling passion! If this doesn't turn Cecilia off, I'm not sure she's a intelligent as I thought.


Subject: Evelina/Orville and the Cecilia/Delvile romances

Perhaps our gentle fellow readers might begin to see why I do not care for the hero of this story.

Jill Spriggs

I have been meaning to write this for days, but was too lazy to do so. Jill's remark finally makes me say it. I cannot warm up to Mortimer Delvile for some reason. No matter how idealized Orville was in the beginning, I still prefer him to Delvile (although I prefer Cecilia to Evelina - then again the throwing away of 7000 pounds might change my mind any minute). I prefer Orville because he had an openness and honesty lacking in the young Delvile. We would never expect something bad out of Orville and would not believe it if we have heard the rumor. But at this point in the story I could expect and believe anything of Mortimer Delvile. He might be engaged or keeping a mistress or hiding another secret we do not know about.

"By Elizabeth's instructions she began to comprehend that a woman may take liberties with her husband, which a brother will not always allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself."

Aysin Dedekorkut

Curious contrasts: in Evelina the heroine is delightfully flawed and the hero kindly, appealling, and unable to tell a lie. All right, priggish too. In Cecilia, the heroine is a paragon, and the hero suspicious, cold, and possbly disdainful and promiscuous. The picture of the world in Evelina is shallow and at times childlile; the picture of the world in Cecilia is disillusioned and complex. The first book is filled with dramatic narrative; the second with meditative narrative.

From the point of view of size, Burney's last three novels are all staggering to contemplate. This is highly unusual for women's novels of the period. Ann Radcliffe only produced one leviathan (Udolpho), and de Stael two (Delphine and Corinne). Most women's books were of the one-volume variety until the Mudie's demand for a three-volume set-up in order for him to make his profit made three-volumes a must for everyone who hoped to get into print.

Ellen Moody Date: Sat, 08 Aug 1998 09:20:04 To: austen-l@vm1.mcgill.ca From: Ellen Moody Subject: Burney: Cecilia as picaresque heroine?

At 10:25 PM 8/6/98 -0400, Nancy Mayer wrote:

Ok, I will admit I used picaresque as a term meaning "having lots of different things happen." Cecilia may be relativly static but she certain meets the drunkards, the gamblers, the fop, the lovelorn . She meets people that are not present in Austen's novels. her life does not flow but is cut up into hundreds of little episodes.

Even though she does not go on adventures in the sense that the purists require, Cecilia is moving from one house, one set of people to another. Hers is not a calm life.

As to Mortimer's mistress so called or what ever On what street did the Belfields live? Had he been seen going to visit them? The snooty people would not expect him to be calling on anyone who lived in that part of town except a mistress.

Nancy Mayer

I am happy to disagree with myself. Yes, if by picaresque Nancy means having an adventure-filled and active life, Cecilia qualifies. In fact one difference I am struck by between Burney and Austen is how inward is Austen's focus. Yes she shows us people in their social drawing rooms and landscapes and towns, but always through the aspect of what they are feeling within. The emphasis is on the interaction of the private with the public self. Burney is more more externalized; she does not see the anguish one feels at having to conform to conventions in the way Austen does. Austen sees that under the cover of conventional morality much pain can be inflicted by people upon on another.

Austen's scenes are always intimate. We focus on a few people; we stay in a room with few people who know one another. We don't move out to the vast panorama. There are no mob and streets scenes, no sense of a world of bustling activities by hoards of people one will never meet or any any personal knowledge of. That's there in Burney. It is appropriate to the "male" picaresque mode.

I find the reading of Burney fascinating. It points up so much in Austen; I hope if we go on to read other books of the period in our little subgroup we will get yet further relevant perspectives to open up Austen's fiction and to enjoy theirs too.

Ellen Moody

Subject: Cecilia,. Vol. III, Bk. V, Ch. IX, A Declaration
To: austen-l@vm1.mcgill.ca

Cecilia of course went straight to the home of the Delviles, but, finding Mr. and Mrs. Delvile breakfasting with some aristrocrat, his wife, and two daughters, returned to the Harrels' to communicate her request to Mrs. Delvile in writing. Did anyone doubt that Priscilla and her husband would get one more crack at our heiress?

Cecilia was greeted upon her return by a rather flurried Mr. Arnott, saying they had feared that she had already left for good, giving them insufficient time to gull the creditors into security, allowing them time for flight. Cecilia apologized for causing such alarm, and assured him that she never intended to leave without a final good bye. She urged Mr. Arnott not to allow himself to be drawn into the ruin which was surely pending for Mr. Harrel, but unfortunately this was regarded as a cue to again proclaim his love. Cecilia tried to let him down gently; he alone of her suitors did she compassionate. He, more calm, begged her to advise him on how to best help Mr. Harrel avoid the desperate measure of exile. Cecilia, for a change pragmatic, asked why he should be spared; after all, this trouble he had brought upon himself. Mr. Arnott communicated the request of Mr. Harrel that she postpone her departure from their home until the next day, to provide cover for their flight. Cecilia reluctantly agreed.

At last Cecilia had an opportunity to compose her epistle requesting refuge in the home of the Delviles. While not stating precisely why she needed to leave Portman -square, she did stress the urgency of her request. She received a gratifyingly kind response, and began to prepare for her change of residence.

Jill Spriggs

To Austen-l

August 10, 1998
From: van Leyen
Subject: Mrs Delvile and Lady Russell

First Jill wrote:

Mrs. Delvile, having the highest estimation of Cecilia's delicacy, would surely expect her friend to protect her heart from aspiring to what surely must apparently be an unsuitable match.

Then Andrea replied:

- sounds very much like Mrs Russell, doesn't it? Elderly female advisers/friends" with firm convictions about what is proper for a young lady but bound to be disappointed by their adopted daughters

In response to Andrea and Jill:

It's interesting that in her last novel, Austen creates a character who seems to sum up a type many young girls had to cope with in life and recurs in the realistic novels of the period. Recall Lady Howard of Evelina.

Ellen Moody

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