And here is the final epistle in the Elinor and Marianne series. Hope you enjoyed!
(I much prefer Gemma Jones as Mrs. Dashwood, as I've only seen the 1995 movie and I think she looks the part, but this picture of the what's her name actress from 2008 suited the letter. :P)
My dearest Elinor,
Words cannot express the grief and regret which I felt--nay, still feel--upon reading your epistle of Monday last. I entreat Marianne to bear up with fortitude, lest this disappointment prove dangerous to her health. It is a cruel thing, a hard thing, & all I can say is that he has used my poor darling very ill. Indeed, I can say no more, for I am so overcome with distress that I can hardly write. Poor Marianne! I only wish I could be with you to comfort her. What a dastardly thing, what a miserly and mean deed! I cannot believe that Willoughby would do such a thing--yet I must say that I suspected it all along. You will remember that there was always something in Willoughby, a look in his eyes perhaps, which I did not like. Miserable man!
I am sure they must have been engaged; her unreserve in his company, her obvious feeling & affection for him, serves only to prove that she thought very highly of him; and surely he cannot have been such a cad as to see her partiality and return nothing. No, no, I am sure they were engaged. But of course I could not ask such a question for the world. What distress would such an inquiry have inflicted, were they not really engaged! I am so glad now I did not ask, for perhaps after all they were not. I do not know. I am in such indecision at present. He never deserved her. Her unhappy prepossession for such a worthless young man gives me great pain.
Marianne's heart is not to be wasted for ever on such a despicable young man as Willoughby. We can only pray that in time there will come one who has a nobler heart, higher ideals & a loving spirit. I am very sure that even if Willoughby had turned out very amiable, though he proved it oft to the contrary, they could never have been happy together.
But enough of this. What a comfort it is to know that you are in the hands of Mrs. Jennings, for she is a kind soul & will do Marianne good in this difficult time. You cannot come back to Barton Cottage at this time, my darling, much as I wish to see your dear faces again. It is better for Marianne to be anywhere, at this time, than at Barton, where every thing within her view would be bringing back the past in the strongest and most afflicting manner by constantly placing Willoughby before her. By all means, I recommend that you should not shorten your visit to Mrs. Jennings; the length of which is expected by all to comprise at least five or six weeks, & you have not been there half that time. A variety of occupations, of objects and of company, which cannot be available at Barton, will be inevitable there, & might yet, I hope, cheat Marianne into even some amusement, though the idea may now be spurned by her.
From all danger of seeing W. again, I count her to be at least equally as safe in town as the country, since his acquaintance must by now be dropped from all who call themselves my daughter's friends. Besides which, a letter from John has just reached me, in which he tells me that he & Fanny are to be in town before the middle of February, and I judge it right that you should sometimes see your brother. Give little Harry a kiss for me.
Margaret sends her love and condolence, and I remain
Yours with much love,
MRS. HENRY DASHWOOD