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.