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Persuasion 200 – Mrs. Clay’s Aspirations for the Future — 15 Comments

  1. Loved getting inside Mrs. Clay’s head and it’s just as I imagined! Such plotting she has been doing and thinking about! At the end of the chapter, Elizabeth reminded me of Fanny Dashwood and how she was with Lucy Steele before she found out Lucy was secretly engaged to Edward! I loved how it was portrayed in the movie!

    • Jane Austen doesn’t let us see Elizabeth’s reaction to Mrs. Clay’s decampment with William Elliot, but I suspect it might be very similar to Fanny Dashwood’s! The only difference is that Elizabeth is so superior that she might hide her feelings, considering it to be low class to shriek…but I bet she threw a few things at her maid!

  2. Carole – that is a good comparison. I never thought of it but so true! When I read of Mrs. Clay or see her in the movies it is as if you can see the wheels turning in her head as how to slink and cower, bow and kiss A**! And I have always wondered about her first marriage….is she divorced? Can’t imagine the upbringing 2 children are getting when their mother neglects them so. You and I are grandparents but I, for one, do not have the energy to begin rearing children all over again. Love babysitting but glad to go home to recover…LOL
    I always got the impression that she was not above becoming Mr. Eliot’s paramour in the one movie! How Sir Walter and Elizabeth felt used at the end – stupid people!

    • It would not be quite the same, however, as Mr. Shepherd could hire a nursemaid, so they would probably not have to physically take care of the children, but I don’t get the impression that Mr. Shepherd was a doting grandparent. Maybe they just didn’t say. He certainly didn’t discourage his daughter from going off with the Elliots for months!

    • Yes, Sheila, I agree. I wouldn’t want to be rearing children all over again either. Love to have them and see them but am happy to give them back! Recover is a very good word. We are settled into our own routines now, that it can be exhausting after interacting with the grandchildren. Mind you, we are much more hands on than the Regency time period grandparents though. At least that is my impression!

      I actually think that Mr. Shepard was hoping for an attachment between his daughter and Sir Walter! Why would he push his daughter towards them! Yes, I can see Elizabeth throwing things at her maid…lol.

  3. It’s a good one, Carey. Thanks for sharing Mrs Clay’s motivations to be with the Elliots in Bath instead of attending to her children. Now I understand her mercenary intentions towards them but I cannot really fault her since she has to fend for herself as a poor widow. I don’t like the way she thinks about her children. She is not a responsible mother in that way.

  4. Wonderful writing, Carey. Mrs. Clay is an intelligent, conniving, calculating, sly wench (our of era, I know). And leaving her children with her parents….I agree with Luthien84, “I don’t like the way she thinks of her children either’ nor can I fault her “mercenary inentions”. Mrs. Clay knows Anne sees through her and will make the best of things while she isn’t around. Elizabeth and her father are so vain that hey don’t see that Mrs. Clay is using them. Their vanity and shallowness has rendered them blind to her ways. They also seem rather unintelligent

    Thank you for putting us inside Mrs. Clay’s mind. I now have a better understanding of her.

    • I agree…Mrs. Clay is much more intelligent than Sir Walter or Elizabeth, although I suspect that Elizabeth probably would have done well enough in school- her vanity makes it impossible for her to see her mistakes, but her father is just stupid.

  5. Interesting look inside of Mrs. Clay’s mind…never really gave her much consideration before…a selfish woman and a horrible mother…but in her situation she was doing what must be done… I find it interesting that she was considering a tradesman along with a gentlemen…a catch is a catch I suppose…and I can see her making the best of what comes…a crafty, cunning woman for sure

  6. I’d never thought that much about Mrs. Clay, but now when I reread Persuasion, I’m going to pay more attention to her. She certainly knew a good thing when she saw it and would do or say anything to attach herself to the Elliots. Thanks for this insight into Mrs. Clay.

  7. Ooh, what a schemer! It’s brilliant to see inside her conniving mind-looking forward to what you write when she starts playing off two men! Loved this episode, Carey.

  8. “She would have an honest man if she had to lie through her teeth to get him!”
    Priceless, Carey! And it never crossed my mind that Mrs. Clay actually had her sights set even higher than Sir Walter – someone with more hard cash!

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