So, I'm currently re-reading and am onto Warleggan. For me, this is when I really like Francis. His change of attitude started towards the end of Jeremy Poldark. He's been at his lowest ebb, when he tried to end it all in Bodmin and I feel that he turns his life around. He is jovial and seems to have come to terms with his 'lot'. He has accepted that his wife doesn't love him, but he soldiers on to try and live his life.
He is surprised and overjoyed when Ross extends the olive branch and asks him to partner in Wheal Grace. He really comes into his own. It's such a shame that it's so short lived.
I like his new outook on life. He is trying to do his best and really blossoms due to his renewed friendships with Ross and Demelza. He is self-deprecating, humble and lovable.
For me Francis is the most tragic tormented character in this story and although he acted badly, he is the character that I have the greatest sympathy for.
I read in another thread and I'm not sure where, someone stated that Francis knew of Ross' attachment to Elizabeth but that he betrayed Ross by pursuing her for himself, I'm not sure if that is true. From what I have read, it has always been my understanding that Ross and Francis, though close, ran in different circles as young men or prior to Ross going to war. Francis stayed in school, continued his education, there forged a strong friendship with George and did all the usual things that the young bored gentry did in those days. Ross left school, ran wild for a few years, until gambling and fighting, forced him to join the army instead of going to prison or transporting. I know that Verity stated to Ross, that Elizabeth had told Francis of their prior attachment but I don't believe that Francis fully understood the depth of Ross feelings until that day at the mine, when Ross had to save him from drowning. I certainly don't believe that Francis was aware that Elizabeth had written letters to Ross, while he was away or if Elizabeth had any lingering feelings for Ross, when they married.
When, Francis marries Elizabeth, he wholeheartedly loves her and I think he believes that she loves him too. Unfortunately, Francis is a weak character, that is unable to cope with the fact that his wife soon fall out of love with him. I believe his love for Elizabeth destroyed his self confidence, his perspective, his self respect and eventually his moral compass.When Francis reaches his lowest and attempts to commit suicide, it is a direct result of what loving Elizabeth has done to him.
There is very little in the books about Francis' attempted suicide and his conversation with Dwight on that night. I am wondering if there are some missing passages that are in the first edition of Jeremy Poldark , does anyone know? All I know is that, Elizabeth's reaction to the news of Francis had attempted suicide was that of an unconcerned wife, at least that is how I read it.
I know that there are quite a few who feel that Francis' treatment of Verity, was that of an obnoxious overbearing brother but I do believe that, he was truly concerned about Verity's safety when it came to her relationship with Captain Blamely. Given what he knew of Captain Blamely, one could hardly deny that he had every right to be concerned, even if he did appear to overreact.
I am glad that Francis was finally at peace with himself and his demised was one that I truly mourned, as a literary characters go.
"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.