It's more than possible that Charles might have wanted Elizabeth to marry Francis rather than Ross, and why seemingly to avoid the issue he got up to leave as Joshua anxious to help Ross' chances with Elizabeth tried to pin him down for an answer as to whether he had seen the Chynoweths lately, and no doubt there was some pressure brought to bear on her towards this end. But in the end it was her decision and I think as Char says she wanted most of all to secure her immediate future quickly rather than risk waiting any longer and be married and safe.
Hello Mrs. Gimlett,
I have taken your advice and visited the thread that you suggested. I discovered the above quote from you and I would agree with your assessment of the situation. I believe that Joshua open Charles' eyes as to how suitable Elizabeth would be as a future daughter-in-law, it is after that, Charles approaches Elizabeth's parents and proposes an alliance between the two families. At this time, he suggests to lessen any reluctance on Elizabeth's part, that it is rumoured that Ross might be dead. If Ross was dead, Francis would not suffer any pangs of guilt about becoming involved with the girl, his cousin and friend had left behind. Nobody, gives Francis any credit for any noble thought or action and I don't believe he would have gone after Elizabeth, if he thought Ross was alive. I am not sure how much pressure was brought to bear on Elizabeth though, as I having just read the missing chapter of Demelza, it seemed to me that Elizabeth thought of her promise to Ross, as just a childhood fancy.
Wasn't it just best for Charles' purposes if he didn't let everyone know that Joshua had word that Ross was alive? At some point the Francis and Elizabeth engagement began to move forward. I'm in the process of re-reading the novels and I re-read the first book back in August but I don't think anyone was walking around saying for certain that Ross was dead. There was a suspicion, but no certainty.
A good question. Joshua would undoubtedly have told Jud and Prudie that Ross was safe and coming home, so I am inclined to think it might have been Charles. He could have kept quiet about it at Trenwith, because I believe when Joshua reminded Charles of the friendship existing between Ross and Elizabeth, Charles bethought himself to get Francis and Elizabeth together, with the consequences we all know so well. In my opinion, he may well have dropped into conversation that Ross might be dead, lying on some battlefield in the New World and Frances would have gained confidence from that - something he was generally short of - and Elizabeth would have grasped the opportunity, knowing that the beautiful Trenwith house would one day be hers and Francis'.
Jud and Prudie, although they knew Ross was alive, preferred to live from day to day and having been left to their own devices for some months, perhaps assumed that Ross had decided to stay in America, or, if they ever thought about it at all, put that thought of his homecoming to the backs of their minds; sufficient unto the day etc...
If you look on the Book club threads, you can see we discussed this quite a bit.
During the last meeting between Joshua and Charles, Joshua tells Charles that he had received a letter from Ross saying that he was safe, in New York and recovered from his wound. In February, Charles was knew that Ross was alive, by the time he came home in October, everyone thought he was dead. The question I have is, who started the rumour that Ross was dead, was it the Paytners or was it Uncle Charles?