Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sense and Sensibility: chapter one

The Dashwood family, for many generations, had lived at Norland Park which was a rather large estate in Sussex. The elder Mr. Dashwood had not married and his sister had been his companion and housekeeper. Upon her death his nephew, Mr. Henry Dashwood and family was invited to take up residence with him. He became very fond of the family and his days were very comfortable due to the attention and kindness bestowed upon him. Henry Dashwood and his current wife had three daughters that lived with them at Norland. Henry's son Mr. John Dashwood, by his first wife, was well cared for from the fortune that he had received from his late mother's estate. He had also gained wealth through his marriage. His father, Mr. Henry Dashwood had a small interest in his former wife's estate that would end after his death. His present wife had no fortune coming into the marriage and thereby neither did the daughters of their union.

The elder Mr. Dashwood passed away and the estate was left to left to Mr. Henry Dashwood with such terms as that it would belong to his grandson upon Henry's death. This of course would leave his wife and three daughters with very little to live upon when he died. Knowing that he was to soon pass away he called upon his son John and had him promise to care for them and make them comfortable. Mr. Henry Dashwood passed away a year after the elder Mr. Dashwood and the estate became the property of Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood and his young son.

Mr. John Dashwood remembered his promise to his father to care for his half sisters and intended to do so. However, he was easily persuaded by his wife to do nothing. As soon as the funeral was over his wife prepared to move into the estate and make changes. Mrs. Henry Dashwood felt very deeply this lack of love and concern and would have quickly taken her girls and left Norland. Her love for her girls and her desire to encourage the relationship with their brother helped her to restrain her feelings.

Elinor, a young woman of 19 years, was the oldest of Henry's daughters and was blessed with a great deal of understanding and a steady judgment. She was a counselor to her mother (who was rather imprudent) and helped with the decisions and affairs of the household. Elinor was an affectionate young woman with a good heart and felt many things deeply but was well able to govern her feelings. Her mother and sisters did not have the desire to govern their emotions.

Marianne was a very clever and sensible young woman and very close to Elinor in both age and relationship. She felt sorrows and joys deeply and felt little need to restrain her emotions. In fact the only thing she lacked was prudence. She was in every respect very like her mother. This concerned Elinor a great deal but was a characteristic valued by her mother. Young Margaret, at 13, was good humored but, had observed and taken on much of the behavior of her mother and Marianne. As a result, Elinor dealt most with her brother and sister-in-law after their arrival and continued to encourage her mother and sisters.

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