All reformation is spiritual in nature, isn't it? There's nothing new in that. But I've been able to do so much with Elizabeth because of the details Jane gave.
First and foremost was Elizabeth's excellent mother. Because Elizabeth was the oldest daughter, you can bet that Elizabeth, Lady Elliot, did her very best to bring her up well. Being the oldest (and only) daughter myself, I know exactly how this is. Elizabeth lied, yes, but Jane tells us that her conscience pricked her. A crucial detail, that. One to build a story around.
The other helpful element is Elizabeth's age: 30. She'd done things her father's way since she was 16, and where had it brought her? Nowhere. So in Mercy's Embrace (and perhaps at the end of Persuasion?) she's tired of him and is more than willing to abandon his agenda for her life. Another thing about turning 30 is that Elizabeth's thoughts would naturally turn toward her late mother, who must have died in her mid-thirties. Much food for thought there.
Sir Walter, on the other hand, goes merrily about his business, blissfully ignorant of the wreckage in his wake. He and William Walter are the true villains of Persuasion, for self is first and last. In Mercy's Embrace there's another who is like them: Mary Musgrove. Money and prominence are what float their boats. Ah greed, the ugly root of so much sin.
Well! These three make for interesting reading--and writing, don't they? But wouldn't you hate to be stuck living with them?
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