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N&S - Chapters XXXVII - XXXIX

LizzieAnn wrote:
John is suffering such anguish thinking of Margaret as being in love with someone else that he torments himself thinking that she lied for this man because she must love him so much.

“Oh, Margaret, Margaret! Mother, how you have tortured me! Oh! Margaret, could you not have loved me? I am but uncouth and hard, but I would never have led you into any falsehood for me..” [page 307 – Chapter 37 – Promises Fulfilled]
The conversation between Mrs. Thornton & Margaret is tense. She lectures and Margaret is upset. Mrs. Thornton throws up to Margaret her behavior with John & the other man, telling Margaret that she isn’t worthy of John. Considering Margaret's growing feelings, this must have wounded her deeply.

Margaret digests her conversation with Mrs. Thornton and is distressed to think that another woman would think so poorly of her; she also comes to the realization that John thinks that Frederick is her lover. This throws her into further turmoil.

“Why do I care what he thinks, beyond the mere loss of his good opinion as regards my telling the truth or not? I cannot tell.” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]

Margaret still has trouble seeing what her feelings really are for John.

She is miserable and contemplates her future, seeing a miserable and gloomy future.

“I have passed out of childhood into old age. I have had not youth – no womanhood; the hopes of woman hood have closed for me – for I shall never marry; and I anticipate cares and sorrows just as if I were an old woman…” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]
She’s also beginning to understand the enormity of what is going on:

“Some time, if I live to be an old woman, I may sit over the fire, and, looking into the embers, see the life that might have been.” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]

She compares how she first spoke and felt about him, and realizes what a mistake she’s made:

“But I did not know then. It has come upon me a little by little, and I don’t know where it began.” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]

Margaret & John meet when he comes to offer Nicholas the job he had previously refused him. They speak and John expresses his concern, yet jealousy rears its head when Margaret says she can’t speak of another person’s secret. John gives her leave to believe that his feelings have changed, which throws Margaret. She tries to convince herself:

“But I won’t care for him. I surely am mistress enough of myself to control this wild, strange, miserable feeling, which tempted me to betray my own dear Frederick, so that I might but regain his good opinion – the good opinion of a man who takes such pains to tell me that I am nothing to him. Come! Poor little heart! Be cheery and brave. We’ll be a great deal to one another, if we are thrown off and left desolate.” [page 319 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]
Margaret will not name this feeling she has for John, but she’s accepting its strength and intensity. She’s realizing how important he has become to her happiness.

Liz ♥ ♥

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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