Austen Novels: Veronica’s Lists II

Ladies up for redemption:

  • Mary Crawford – She has learned the true worth of a man with integrity. It even says she was:

…long in finding among the dashing representatives, or idle heir-apparents, who were at the command of her beauty and her twenty thousand pounds, any one who could satisfy the better taste she had acquired at Mansfield whose character and manners could authorize a hope of the domestic happiness she had there learnt to estimate, or put Edmund Bertram sufficiently out of her head.  –Mansfield Park

  • Isabella Thorpe – She ruined a suitable match with James Morland, who adored her, for a slim hope of a better match with Captain Frederick Tilney, a man who was not that into her. Hopefully she will reflect on that, and do better in London.
  • Elizabeth Elliot – She needs some humbling, which could come as a result of not being the end-all-be-all of popularity.

They [Elizabeth and Sir Walter Elliot] had their great cousins, to be sure, to resort to for comfort; but they must long feel that to flatter and follow others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment.  –Persuasion

  • Lydia Bennet – Marrying George Wickham may not have redeemed her character, though it saved her reputation. Maybe if she is lucky he will die in an unfortunate military encounter, widowing her wiser than she was, and giving her a chance to make a better match with a captain or colonel.

Rakes and Rogues:

  • George Wickham – Not even marrying Lydia Bennet can redeem him. He will either gamble and drink himself into oblivion, or perhaps, if Lydia is lucky, he will be called on to actually fight in a military action and unfortunately die.
  • John Willoughby – Marrying Sophia Grey was not the worst thing he could have done, but we know that Marianne Dashwood became “his secret standard of perfection in woman.” Hopefully, that will induce him to be a better man, as is said:

He lived to exert, and frequently to enjoy himself. His wife was not always out of humour, nor his home always uncomfortable; and in his breed of horses and dogs, and in sporting of every kind, he found no inconsiderable degree of domestic felicity.  –Sense and Sensibility

  • Henry Crawford – After his dalliance with Maria Rushworth he is left thinking that Fanny Price is the standard of a true woman of worth. He may yet find himself in love with a good woman who loves him back. It is even said:

…we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret–vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness–in having so requitted hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he ahd rationally ans well as passionately loved.  –Mansfield Park


  1. John Thorpe – Cannot seem to stay focused, and makes up whatever he thinks sounds good when he is happy and whatever he thinks is worst when he is mad. Will he ever find a good match or just someone willing to manage him?
  2. William Collins – Has no sense of appropriateness when offering backhanded compliments he actually believes to be flattering. Will Charlotte ever be able to bring him to reason? (William really is his first name, check the letter he wrote to Mr. Bennet.)
  3. Sir Walter Elliot  There really is no hope for this one. His wife Lady Elizabeth had managed him quite well until her death, but apparently it made no lasting impression on his own abilities to manage himself. It is also very doubtful he will marry again.

Have you any thoughts on possible redemptions or lost causes in the Austen world?

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