I believe I'm with you MrsMartin - George is her perfect mate. Ross is an illusion. Just as she is to Ross. When held up to the light of day, the strain of day-to-living, the illusion would fade. But that's the essence of illusions. They're never really "reality" tested, are they?
I afraid, I disagree with this assessment missykly. To me, Elizabeth is an entitled lazy person, who thinks that her beauty and lineage is all that she needs to bring into her marriage. When she marries George this is true, because all he wants, is a trophy wife and that is all she is. She has no compassion or empathy for anyone, this is why she and Ross would never have worked as a couple. To make Elizabeth's decision to marry George about duty, is to makes her honourable and as far as I am concern, there is nothing honourable about Elizabeth. This is a woman who is hoping that Ross will leave his wife (the wife that save her own child's life) and child, to run away with her. She decides to marry George because she knows that he will always keep her up on that pedestal, she so enjoys being on, and because she is too lazy to find someone else.
I always think of Elizabeth as member of the "royal" family. Her duty came first; personal happiness was put in abeyance. She knew if she married Ross, she might have been happier but at the same time would never achieve the heights of society that her family had planned for her. Unfortunately for the Chynoweths, Francis had all the outward appearances of success but he had been brought up exactly as Elizabeth (WG says he had never known what it was to short of cash....) So, together, they had all the expectation of wealth but no knowledge of how to sustain it and they're both lost as to what to do when it goes away.
Her night with Ross brings her the memory of personal happiness but her marriage to George is all about financial security for her children (duty first). She does attain some feeling for him but for her, love is not a part of her life, nor will it ever be unless she has all the trappings that make life happy without the obligation. (If George had died and left her a sizable fortune, she may have then sought out personal happiness.
As Francis, tells Dwight, "if refinement of taste is a standard, then our married life has been an idyll"
She very well could have been lonely but that was her choice. One could look at her parents for not showing her how to love, or what love was and feel some sympathy for her, but she knew what it was when it came to Geoffrey Charles. Elizabeth is a classic example of someone that believed her on PR, she never looked inside herself to see if she had any shortcomings, it was always someone else's fault for her own unhappiness and loneliness.
A very lonely person I guess.
"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.
It is my belief that there two equally important elements to the foundation of Elizabeth's character.
Elizabeth feeling of entitlement comes from these two elements and she cannot imagine that she would need more to make her the object of love instead of just admiration.
I've always felt that Elizabeth at the bottom always needed admiration perhaps because of her beauty, as distinct from Demelza who at the bottom just wanted love. Whilst Ross genuinely wanting to give them what they both desired simultaneously, finished up hopelessly mired in the middle.... !
Except that it never really waned...
Elizabeth never allows it to waned. Her need for Ross' admiration is a driving force in Elizabeth's life, to see the admiration in his eye and to feel desirable to him, is like a drug for her. I think Ross was just as much of a fantasy to Elizabeth, as she was to him. I think that we all look at the climax of Ross and Elizabeth's story on 9th of May, as Ross coming to his senses but what about Elizabeth? She obviously was not left unsatisfied by what had transpired between them, if she is thinking that Ross might leave Demelza and run away with her. Elizabeth has no idea what it is like to be treated like a woman, instead of this revered goddess and when Ross kisses her passionately, she accuses him of treating her like a slut. The only difference is that Ross lived up to Elizabeth's fantasy whereas Elizabeth didn't live up to Ross'.
I think once he got home and saw the events that occurred, it allows him to open his mind to the possibility. While he was away and on the trip home, he is determined to his first thought, that he loved her and she loved him. The re-reading opens his mind to the possibility of her waning interest.
Doing my level best Mrs. G! I just thought it added an interesting "wrinkle" to the story. MrsMartin - I'm with you. If the letters contain anything along the lines of what WG seems to writing for Ross here, I really question that "torch" he carries. Especially when considering how much damage that torch does, later on.
The fact that there were letters and not just silence for two or three years, is intriguing. It make Ross seem less foolish for holding a sixteen year old girl to promise, that she would wait for him and or marry him when he returns.
Calm down Greggy, the letters are only mentioned - no actual text about what they contain. Ross is reading them in the parlour at Nampara, whilst drowning his sorrow with cheap gin.
The thread about the first edition extra text is found by clicking on the search bit and entering 'first editions'. There are also many more snippets with the book club threads. If we carry on with the BC I will continue to type the additional text.
Don't forget, everyone; if Ross had married Elizabeth there would be no story! So thank goodness that possible final letter breaking off R & E's relationship (if it was ever written), may have caused Ross to remain in America. He does mention that, but for his injuries, he would be tempted to go away again.
From the quote, I believe they are letters he had received while he was in America. The quote comes from the first edition thread on this site. It does change our perception of their relationship, I think.
MrsMartin - wow. Very interesting. Is Ross reading these letters in America or did he carry them with him back to England and he's re-reading them there? Did our fine friends here at the Society transcribe these passages from first editions here, where we all could read them, or were you able to get your hands on a first edition?
The existence of letters back and forth, to and from Elizabeth, while Ross is in America, quite frankly, changes much related to how most feel about the Elizabeth we meet in the first few chapters.
One of the things I remind myself when I read these books is that the times were different. Many people married after one meeting. As Verity says the night before she married Blamey, in all their lives they've met less than a dozen times. That meal was their first together. Elizabeth & Ross spent time alone together. His "constricted tongue" loosened after he had gotten to know her and knew that her cool demeanor was a front. The broken heart he has when he gets home is directed at Elizabeth but really taking all of his circumstances into account who has not betrayed or disappointed him: Joshua not securing Elizabeth; Charles arranging the engagement despite his knowledge of Ross & Elizabeth; Francis going forward with the relationship despite knowing Ross; Jud & Prudie not taking care of Nampara.
Verity is the only person in his life who rarely asked for anything nor took anything from him.
I have always thought that Ross was a very naive young man for putting all his hopes and dreams on a brief puppy love affair. The reason I have always thought this was the belief that, Ross goes off to war and leaves his childhood sweetheart behind, without any further contact or communication. Thanks to Mrs Gimlett directing me to the first edition thread and having read this unedited section, has made me rethink my assumptions of Ross' character.
Over his meal he took out her letters. (Elizabeth's) He opened the last, written six months ago. Reading with the knowledge he now had, there were hints of a slackening interest. Perhaps she had written later to tell him the truth and the letter had missed him or been lost.
Letters were always being lost. Against has better judgment he was inclined to believe that the Paynters had not had his letter from Winchester.
How many letters were exchanged between the two of them? How were they allowed to exchange any letters to begin with? Were there plans and dreams that were shared in those letters? Is this why Ross carries a torch for this virginal ideal for so long?