Author's note : Elinor has always been my favorite character, the one who resembles me the most. Her sense of proper behavior sometimes shield her from expressing freely her thoughts. So what if she had a dear childhood friend, Evelyn, who is gone to Scotland to earn her living being a governess? What if she told her everything in her letters?
I feel indebted to you on account of your last letter. If there was anything that could brush away the pain of losing Father, it would be your consideration and care. Your compassion has done much for relieving my pain. I feel I will never be able to thank you enough.
Alas, our home is in a state of despair since God claimed back our father to grace His Kingdom. Mother is in a helpless stupor, crying all day, not able to attend to the simplest chores. Marianne seems bent on increasing her pain, for all she does is play our father's favorite on the pianoforte. I once asked her to play something else, for a change of atmosphere would have been welcomed, but she played an even more somber requiem. Apparently, she had not quite understood my meaning! Margaret hides in her cabin or under the furniture, bearing no company but her dear atlas. How do I wish you had not be driven out of Norland to live in Scotland! I long for your sense and friendship! I am left to attend to the whole house, supervising the work of servants and answering letters of sympathy.
We are also planning our departure from dear Norland. The estate has been passed to John, and we have not a penny left, for we are only daughters of the second wife, just women. Oh, I do hate being reduced to such a helpless state. I was reading Mary Wolstonecraft's new essay on the condition of women yesterday. Although I don't agree with her most radical positions, I sure believe her when she writes that women are trapped in this world. By no means can I gain my family's income. The only way is to catch a rich husband, and you know as well as I do that handsome men with a comfortable income are not that common, and not always attracted to poor young women ejected from their house. But I should not complain before you, for your lot is worse than mine. With all your sense and education, being left to govern two young children, whose parents have nothing to recommend them but a nice family estate! You never complain, but I know it must be a burden to you.
However, there is no need in pitying ourselves. God has given us our lot, and we must try to make the better of it. For now, my lot requires me to hasten in finishing this letter. My sister Fanny has showed again how insensible to others she may be, and she arrived just a few moments ago to take possession of her new home. Indeed, Fanny has developed the art of hurting people to an extend never seen on this earth before. I must leave and smile to her, trying to not descend to her level. I hope you are fine, pray take care of yourself.
Your sincere and devoted friend,
I was very glad to read your account of your pupil's progress. It does justice indeed to your abilities that they are now, after a few months, considered among the most accomplished youths of the city. I hope Maria and Charles realize how lucky they are!
Dear Norland is no longer ours. We are only guests at the Dashwood estate. As such however, we are better considered than we would be as plain family members. Fanny is full of projects, wishing to alter the estate to suit her fancy. I have to admit that I am glad that we are to live elsewhere. I have not my mother and sister's sensibilities, but it is hard to stay unmoved when vulgarity takes the place of beauty. Thank God, Marianne was not present when Fanny entertained us with her wishes to cut down all those picturesque oaks to build a Greek temple. For the first time in my life, I long to leave Norland.
I have send inquiries as to a new home. I expect the first propositions to come by tomorrow's post. It might be difficult to find a house meeting both my mother's desires and our narrowed income. Mama wants to settle near Norland, which I fear is not wise. Let's hope that a continued acquaintance with Fanny will make her understand the necessity of living a little farther.
Can you picture yourself the joy and exuberance our dinners exhibit? Mother, deep in her grief, has hardly energy enough to cut her own meat, let alone take an active part in conversation. Margaret hides under the furniture and steals her meals from the kitchen. My brother John sits in my regretted father's place, gazing adoringly at his wife, who herself is condescending enough to entertain us with wildly interesting tales of her mother and brothers. Marianne makes no effort to hide her annoyance, and here I am, trying to maintain something even vaguely resembling the flow of a normal conversation. Do I have to say that I mostly fail in the pursuit of this task?
Norland will soon be graced with the presence of another Ferrars, the elder brother of Fanny. No one should be judged solely on his relatives, but I have to admit that I dread his arrival. I have to move Margaret's things out of her room so that Mr. Edward Ferrars can take it and be graced with a view of the lake. I don't think I'll be able to refrain from being harsh if he is anything like his sister. I can see you shook your head in disbelief. I promise you, dear Evelyn, that I will not be prejudiced. After all, miracles do happen sometimes.
Promise me to take great care of yourself, and not to sit too long in cold rooms. I long to see you again, but alas, our fates seem bent on separating us. Awaiting some happier days, I can only add that I remain,
You are, as ever, the voice of reason. My prejudices have blinded me and obscured my thoughts before hand, as you have reminded me. I am indeed ashamed of myself, having associated Mr. Ferrars with his sister, letting my contempt of her mislead my judgment. However, rest assured that I now find no fault with him. He is all a gentleman should be.
On first arriving at Norland, Mr. Ferrars was guided to Margaret's room. I fear the servants have been quite harsh on him on this occasion. However, he refused to enter the room, and asked to be installed in the guest wing. You should have seen the look on Fanny's face when she was informed about that turn of event. Her lips became quite white, and she tightened her grip so much on her poor little Pug, that the dog barked and bit her! You can guess that all my family was thankful to Pug, for he did what we can only dream of doing. I know I should not say so, but I guess living on a regular basis with my sister-in-law has affected my usual politeness. Don't be afraid, I keep my usual calm face when around her, but my heart is boiling. Alas, letting go your emotions only leads to troubles. I must try to balance my sense against my mother and sister's sensibilities.
I well know you want my account on Mr. Ferrars. Don't be afraid, I won't let you linger much longer. He has nothing striking in his features, and I have to confess at first, I did think him downward plain. However, on knowing him more, I find him more and more interesting. Our conversations assured me that he has good principles and strong morals. He lacks confidence and will not say a word while with a group, but I gather from a few personal talks that he is not lacking in knowledge. I'll sum it up by saying that I enjoy his company to the utmost.
I saw your mother yesterday and she told me you might come home next year. I sincerely hope we will be able to see each other. I enjoy your letters more than anything, but your presence here would give me even greater joys. Meanwhile I remain,