Dear Captain Bates, Actually should have warned you a little more about the Kipling story because it refers to characters in other Austen novels, mainly Pride and Prejudice, and also Emma. Classically believe it illustrates the universal love of Austen. With these men trying to survive day to day in the combat trenches. My A.P. English teacher Mr. d., had us do an entire World War I poets unit and still get shivers –- from reading those gas mask poems.
Yes have wondered that about Edward myself, talking it over among my Austen loving friends (we are Janeites as well). We discuss many themes like this almost to distraction. My own theory is — there was more pressure on Edward because he was the oldest and his engagement to Lucy was secret for so many years. Perhaps the Ferrars’ family weren’t really thrilled with Robert for marrying Lucy, but at least Robert courted Lucy publicly, and well they had already tossed out Edward and they needed someone as the main and male, family heir. By choosing Robert, it was a done deal. Robert then was the legal heir and no one could tell him whom to marry, so Robert did not really have to submit to Mother Ferrars’ approval. Plus think Robert was the favorite, and overall their family really wasn’t too thrilled about Edward’s goal of joining the clergy.
Enclosed is a copy of Emma, and some of these characters from this novel, including Miss Bates, are mentioned in the Kipling short story. Please note, it recently took one of my book club friends, around four years to read Emma, and the main character is quite similar to a Regency Era “mean girl.” Not in the Tiny Fey definition really, but more a combination of a meddler, snob with a definite bit of a mean streak. Best Regards, J. Anise