Earlier today a discussion board I frequent was talking about the new Sense and Sensibility adaptation that just aired on PBS. There was general agreement that Elinor gets the short end of the stick compared to Marianne, because Colonel Brandon is more of a prize than Edward Ferrars. I can't really argue with that, though it kinda gives me the creeps that Col. Brandon is so much older than Marianne and that he apparently falls for her because she's so much like his childhood sweetheart. On the whole, though I love the book, I don't envy Elinor or Marianne. Neither Edward or Brandon is the Austen husband I would choose.
Whom would I choose, you may ask? Well, I'm happy to tell you...
1. Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. He's a self-made man who won his fortune through courage and initiative as a naval officer. And that's sexy--both the self-made part and the naval part. In real life I'm glad my husband is a civilian, because who knows how many Iraq deployments he would've had by now otherwise? But if I'm picking imaginary husbands from 200 years ago, I'm free to indulge my love of men in uniform.
2. Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. He's intelligent, witty, and has a well-developed sense of the ridiculous, a valuable quality in a husband whatever the era.
3. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. As Elizabeth ultimately concludes, sure, he's proud, but he has a right to be. He's brainy, ethical, and generous, and when he realizes he needs to change, he's capable of doing it.
And those are the only Austen men I'd marry. I'm not nice enough for Mr. Bingley--I think his sunny disposition would exhaust me. Edmund Bertram is a prig. Edward Ferrars, though I admire his principles, always strikes me as a nonentity. As for Mr. Knightley and Col. Brandon, I'm fine with age differences when the parties meet as adults on more or less equal ground, but that's not the case for Mr. Knightley and Emma or Marianne and Brandon, so I can't see either man as any kind of romantic ideal.
What about you? Which Austen men would you wed?