I’ve been waiting all week to do this post but I wanted to save the best for last. Today’s proposal is from my all-time favorite Jane Austen film…
This is the best proposal of all…I love every bit of it.
Here is Colonel Brandon! Marianne!
The piano stops. MARIANNE comes out and they all gather at
the gate to watch for the rider.
Their POV of a HORSEMAN in the distance.
I do not think it is the Colonel.
It must be. He said he would arrive
today. You must play him the new
Suddenly there is a yell from MARGARET’s tree.
MARGARET practically throws herself out of the tree onto the
It is Edward!
The women look at each other in complete consternation.
Calm. We must be calm.
Tense silence reigns. Everyone tries to busy themselves.
Mr Ferrars for you, ma’am.
EDWARD follows her in, looking white and agitated.
Edward! What a pleasure to see you.
Mrs Dashwood. Miss Marianne. Margaret.
Miss Dashwood. I hope I find you all
He bows formally to each of them, lingering on ELINOR, who
is looking firmly at her lap. He looks anxious.
Thank you, Edward, we are all very
There is a pause while they all search for an appropriate
remark. Finally MARGARET decides to have a go at polite
We have been enjoying very fine
MARIANNE looks at her incredulously.
Well, we have.
I am glad of it. The… the roads
were very dry.
MRS DASHWOOD decides to bite the bullet.
(giving him her hand)
May I wish you great joy, Edward.
He takes her hand somewhat confusedly and accepts her offer
of a seat. There is an awful silence. MARIANNE tries to help.
I hope you have left Mrs Ferrars
Tolerably, thank you.
There is another bone-crunching pause.
Is Mrs Ferrars at the new parish?
EDWARD looks extremely confused.
No–my mother is in town.
He plucks up the courage to look at ELINOR again and is
evidently not much comforted by what he sees.
I meant to enquire after Mrs Edward
EDWARD colours. He hesitates.
Then you have not heard–the news–I
think you mean my brother–you mean
Mrs Robert Ferrars.
They all stare at him in shock.
Mrs Robert Ferrars?
ELINOR has frozen. EDWARD rises and goes to the window.
Yes. I received a letter from Miss
Steele–or Mrs Ferrars, I should say–
communicating the… the transfer of
her affections to my brother Robert.
They were much thrown together in
London, I believe, and… and in
view of the change in my
circumstances, I felt it only fair
that Miss Steele be released from
our engagement. At any rate, they
were married last week and are now
ELINOR rises suddenly, EDWARD turns and they stand looking
at one another.
Then you–are not married.
ELINOR bursts into tears. The shock of this emotional
explosion stuns everyone for a second and then MARIANNE makes
an executive decision. Wordlessly, she takes MARGARET’s hand
and leads her and MRS DASHWOOD out of the room.
ELINOR cannot stop crying. EDWARD comes forward, very slowly.
Elinor! I met Lucy when I was very
young. Had I had an active profession,
I should never have felt such an
idle, foolish inclination. At Norland
my behaviour was very wrong. But I
convinced myself you felt only
friendship for me and it was my heart
alone that I was risking. I have
come with no expectations. Only to
profess, now that I am at liberty to
do so, that my heart is and always
will be yours.
ELINOR looks at him, her face streaked with tears of released
emotion, of pain and of happiness.
MARIANNE and MRS DASHWOOD are in the garden.
MARGARET has climbed into her tree-house.
The branches rustle.
He’s sitting next to her!
Margaret, come down!/Is he?
Margaret! Will you stop–
What’s happening now?
He’s kneeling down!
MRS DASHWOOD can’t help herself.
Oh! Is he? Oh!
She and MARIANNE look at each other joyfully and embrace.
Scarcely had she so determined it, when the figure of a man on horseback drew her eyes to the window. He stopt at their gate. It was a gentleman, it was Colonel Brandon himself. Now she could hear more; and she trembled in expectation of it. But—it was not Colonel Brandon—neither his air—nor his height. Were it possible, she must say it must be Edward. She looked again. He had just dismounted;—she could not be mistaken,—it was Edward. She moved away and sat down. “He comes from Mr. Pratt’s purposely to see us. I WILL be calm; I will be mistress of myself.”
In a moment she perceived that the others were likewise aware of the mistake. She saw her mother and Marianne change colour; saw them look at herself, and whisper a few sentences to each other. She would have given the world to be able to speak—and to make them understand that she hoped no coolness, no slight, would appear in their behaviour to him;—but she had no utterance, and was obliged to leave all to their own discretion.
Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited in silence for the appearance of their visitor. His footsteps were heard along the gravel path; in a moment he was in the passage, and in another he was before them.
His countenance, as he entered the room, was not too happy, even for Elinor. His complexion was white with agitation, and he looked as if fearful of his reception, and conscious that he merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, however, conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes of that daughter, by whom she then meant in the warmth of her heart to be guided in every thing, met with a look of forced complacency, gave him her hand, and wished him joy.
He coloured, and stammered out an unintelligible reply. Elinor’s lips had moved with her mother’s, and, when the moment of action was over, she wished that she had shaken hands with him too. But it was then too late, and with a countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather.
Marianne had retreated as much as possible out of sight, to conceal her distress; and Margaret, understanding some part, but not the whole of the case, thought it incumbent on her to be dignified, and therefore took a seat as far from him as she could, and maintained a strict silence.
When Elinor had ceased to rejoice in the dryness of the season, a very awful pause took place. It was put an end to by Mrs. Dashwood, who felt obliged to hope that he had left Mrs. Ferrars very well. In a hurried manner, he replied in the affirmative.
Elinor resolving to exert herself, though fearing the sound of her own voice, now said,
“Is Mrs. Ferrars at Longstaple?”
“At Longstaple!” he replied, with an air of surprise.— “No, my mother is in town.”
“I meant,” said Elinor, taking up some work from the table, “to inquire for Mrs. edward Ferrars.”
She dared not look up;—but her mother and Marianne both turned their eyes on him. He coloured, seemed perplexed, looked doubtingly, and, after some hesitation, said,—
“Perhaps you mean—my brother—you mean Mrs.—Mrs. robert Ferrars.”
“Mrs. Robert Ferrars!”—was repeated by Marianne and her mother in an accent of the utmost amazement;—and though Elinor could not speak, even her eyes were fixed on him with the same impatient wonder. He rose from his seat, and walked to the window, apparently from not knowing what to do; took up a pair of scissors that lay there, and while spoiling both them and their sheath by cutting the latter to pieces as he spoke, said, in a hurried voice,
“Perhaps you do not know—you may not have heard that my brother is lately married to—to the youngest—to Miss Lucy Steele.”
His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by all but Elinor, who sat with her head leaning over her work, in a state of such agitation as made her hardly know where she was.
“Yes,” said he, “they were married last week, and are now at Dawlish.”
Elinor could sit it no longer. She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought would never cease. Edward, who had till then looked any where, rather than at her, saw her hurry away, and perhaps saw—or even heard, her emotion; for immediately afterwards he fell into a reverie, which no remarks, no inquiries, no affectionate address of Mrs. Dashwood could penetrate, and at last, without saying a word, quitted the room, and walked out towards the village—leaving the others in the greatest astonishment and perplexity on a change in his situation, so wonderful and so sudden;—a perplexity which they had no means of lessening but by their own conjectures.
The film follows the books quite well, I believe.
Thank you for joining me in this JAFP series.