Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Sylph, Letters 31-35

Louisa writes to commend Julia for resisting the various dangers and seductions of the beau monde. She commends Julia on not acting on her feelings for Baron Tonhausen and reminds her of the results if she did indeed act upon them.

Julia writes to the Sylph asking for his advice on going to a masquerade at the Pantheon which Sir William is adamant that she attend. He gives her his blessing and is flattered that she asks his opinion. He tells her he will attend as well to watch over her since it is likely her husband will not.

At the masquerade Julia manages to steal away from Baron Tonhausen and Miss Finch and meet the Sylph in a side room. She is very pleased with his appearance, at least, what she can see since he is masked. He asks her that if the occasion should arise, would she opt to ask his advice for a second choice of husband and she quickly agrees, which he is delighted by.

After Julia’s meeting with the Sylph she asks Sir William to accompany her home and is surprised when he agrees. She notices how more amorous he is and assumes that he his drunk but when they get to her bedroom she knocks off his masks only to find it is Lord Biddluph in disguise. She kicks him out of the house and is traumatized and scared by the event. When she relates the events to Sir William the next morning he is "chagrined” and promises to never associate with Lord Biddluph again.

A lot happens in Letter 35. Not only does Julia meet her sylph in person and then give him the rights to choose her next husband, Lord Biddluph reaches a new low and thankfully fails in trying to possess Julia. He must have finally realized that she wouldn’t be seduced and therefore could only be tricked into sleeping with him. These men of the ton! What pigs!

I also think Julia is quite foolish to so quickly give the Sylph permission to chose her next husband. Perhaps she is thinking that he would automatically select himself. But you would think, someone who is in such a miserable marriage after only knowing their current husband for a small amount of time before marriage wouldn’t jump into another one so quickly. Considering especially, this could be another marriage with a short courtship. But as I type this I am thinking of fellow foolish female friends today who are guilty of such things. When will we ever learn! I am very uncomfortable with Julia putting so much blind trust into her Sylph, which has already been brought up in our discussion. She is very submissive to him, even more so than with her husband I feel, which just seems dangerous.

Was anyone surprised by Sir William’s reaction? I almost expected him to call her a silly rustic, although he didn’t take Lord Biddluph’s attempted rape as seriously as I would want my husband to! Do you think he will hold true to his word and not associate with Lord Biddluph any more, or would that be too unfashionable for him? Something smells fishy to me when it comes to Lord Biddluph and Sir William and I wonder if you all smell it too.


  1. Yes, I was also surprised at Stanley’s reaction to Biddulph’s actions. I would have expected him to defend his friend and tell Julia that she was just being silly as usual. He is a proud person, so perhaps the idea that Biddulph tried to take something (Julia) that Stanley believes is his own property has put his nose out of joint enough to make him truly angry with Biddulph. I was half hoping a duel would be the outcome, and Stanley seems to me just a bit cowardly to so quickly agree with Julia that it would be best to keep quiet and just drop the friendship with Biddulph

    I don’t think Stanley is a man of his word, so I’m pretty sure once he gets over the idea of someone trying to rape his wife--and this should not be too difficult for a man like him--he will continue to see Biddulph. However, I believe their friendship will be damaged by this event.

  2. I am also not completely sure that Sir William will follow his word. It's more like him to laugh with Lord Biddulph at Julia later. Maybe he was the one to stage it, testing Julia or something.

    No more do I trust the Sylph and Julia is incredibly stupid (not even simply naive anymore!) to follow his advice so blindly. Doesn't she have her own mind? Why is she always looking for someone to guide her?

    You know, I much rather preferred her in those chapters when she fought against the ways of the world. Now she is just going with the flow.

    I don't know, maybe I'm asking too much (I probably am) but I am disappointed in her; she is a very weak person.

  3. my comments here:


  4. I think Julia "trusts" the Sylph because she either doesn't have or doesn't think she has the brains or whatever to think herself through her current situation. She is looking for someone to fix everything and the Sylph seems to "know" everything and is instantly cast as her savior.
    I felt Stanley's reaction to Biddulph's actions was rather situational and fake - he hasn't cared about what occurred to Julia before.Since nothing actually "happened", it probably doesn't count in his view. I agree that he is quite capable of staging an event like that.

  5. Anyone else reminded of the relationship between Doctor Who and his companions, particularly the female ones? No?

    Anyway, this Sylph is quite lover-like with Julia despite encouraging her away from the sins in town. And who asks a woman about her choice for her next husband while she's still married to the first one? For all Julia's protests, she seems to almost wish Stanley dead and gone.

    Hmm, am not impressed with either of these two.

  6. Ok..Stanley`s reaction were almost like a brush off- for any man. No feeling or reaction to want to protect his lady-how odd. Something definitely does smell fishy.
    This was a type of assault and aggression- and that`s all Stanley says (which I don`t believe he`ll do anyway).

    As for the Sylph- I wanted that mask off! And- that he should talk about a second marriage- that too was strange.

  7. Like the rest of you I no longer trust the Sylph, particularly because he was so clear that he couldn't see the future, and so it doesn't make sense that he's pondering second husbands. (I also agree with Tulip re: the Doctor!)

    With regards to Sir William: on the one hand I think he's being fake but on the other I notice you haven't referred to the Georgie connection - and although this didn't directly occur I think it emulates the Duke's reaction to Charles Grey...?

    He, like Sir W, was rather unattentive (even cold) until there was a threat to his "posession" of our authoress.


  8. @Emmeline, Julia seemed all too happy to ask permission. But thats the man she wants, one who will give her permission. Would Sir William notice if she was gone? Nope! Yet she still sits at the dinner table waiting for him.

    @Tulip, Ha! Unfortunately I've always resisted the urges of Dr Who so I can't relate. The one show on BBC America I pass up.

    @Ms Lucy, I think after some champagne at a masquerade I'd personally be knocking it off. Accidentally of course!

    @Jessi P, Well, of course because no self-serving Georgian man wants to be publicly cuckolded! But that was a little more complicated. The Duke needed Georgiana to pay more attention to him and when she felt she had already failed to be a good wife to him so she found other pursuits, further isolating the couple from each other. But I digress, it's all about image with these rakes. So be a ladies man but don't let your lady man you!

  9. When is the next tart?

  10. @Heather - very true. If only they'd known what we do now about X and Y chromosomes an' all!

  11. At this point, I'm so annoyed with Julia I can barely stand it. She seriously needs to grow up and take responsibility for herself. She's married to a man who looks on her as a pretty little trinket which he has lost interest in, and yet still she defends him. Now she's putting alp jer faith in yet another man she knows nothing about. I have my suspicions about who he is, so unlike some, I'm not too worried his intentions are evil. However, my fondest wish is that she grow a spine. This late in the game, I'm thinking she never will. *sigh*

    As for Sir. W, he's just a worthless lout. He is so dependant on Biddulph, I doubt he'll ever divorce himself from him.

  12. Yes, that reminds me: what is it about this Lord Biddluph where the whole ton universe seems to revolve around him. Is he the grand rake of them all? Or does he just play the game that well where it seems that everything comes back to him. Perhaps I am the only one who feels this way, though.