Welcome to Read Along Wednesday! I hope you enjoyed last week’s installment, and especially the letters exchanged between father and son. What an admirable patriarch Sir Reginald de Courcy is! Firm but fair, decisive but kind. And what a fine specimen of self-deception we found in his son’s letter, where he attempted to persuade his father as well as himself that he has no intention whatsoever to marry Lady Susan. But seeing that he eats out of her hand, how can we wonder that his sister is more concerned than ever?
This week’s set of letters begins with one of hers. Mrs Vernon writes to her mother with deep affection and unconcealed sadness. She is more worried than ever that there is every chance she would finish by having Lady Susan for a sister.
And, as it often does, the plot begins to thicken. In her letter to her mother, Mrs Vernon also announces an unexpected addition to the family party – none other than Lady Susan’s beleaguered daughter. It seems that she is no longer welcome at the ‘Academy’ her mother had placed (i.e. abandoned) her in, because she had attempted to run away. No one at Churchhill knows why, except the young lady’s mother. But she is in no haste to reveal the real reason and show herself as the architect of her daughter’s misery. Quite the contrary, she seeks to present herself as the victim. Would young Reginald de Courcy fall for it again? Hmmm… From what we know about him so far, what do you think?
Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy
My dear Mother,–I return you Reginald’s letter, and rejoice with all my heart that my father is made easy by it: tell him so, with my congratulations; but, between ourselves, I must own it has only convinced me of my brother’s having no presentintention of marrying Lady Susan, not that he is in no danger of doing so three months hence. He gives a very plausible account of her behaviour at Langford; I wish it may be true, but his intelligence must come from herself, and I am less disposed to believe it than to lament the degree of intimacy subsisting, between them implied by the discussion of such a subject.
I am sorry to have incurred his displeasure, but can expect nothing better while he is so very eager in Lady Susan’s justification. He is very severe against me indeed, and yet I hope I have not been hasty in my judgment of her. Poor woman! though I have reasons enough for my dislike, I cannot help pitying her at present, as she is in real distress, and with too much cause. She had this morning a letter from the lady with whom she has placed her daughter, to request that Miss Vernon might be immediately removed, as she had been detected in an attempt to run away. Why, or whither she intended to go, does not appear; but, as her situation seems to have been unexceptionable, it is a sad thing, and of course highly distressing to Lady Susan. Frederica must be as much as sixteen, and ought to know better; but from what her mother insinuates, I am afraid she is a perverse girl.She has been sadly neglected, however, and her mother ought to remember it.
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Continue reading Lady Susan and join in the discussion at The Writers’ Block: Lady Susan Letters XV – XVIII