Originally Posted by WT Sharpe
partly because I felt she shouldn't have let a friend's advice born of financial and social concerns hold such sway over her decisions.
To me, that was one of the most realistic parts of the book and I think Auden was on the side of Anne's being right to listen to Lady Russell. At 19, with no knowledge of the world and a lover who was all talk and bluster as yet with no real expectations, prudence dictated caution and advice from someone in loco parentis was not to be ignored. Lady Russell was wrong in her dislike of Wentworth and therein lay the problem. Someone more understanding and sympathetic might have advocated patience and a long engagement, except that Lady Russell thought Anne could do better. And in Mrs. Smith we have the example of just how wrongly "the world well lost for love" could go.
As in all the Austen novels, precedence and position are seen as all-important, but at the same time we see a society more in flux than depicted on the surface. Sir Walter makes me chortle, with his overweaning vanity and his jealousy of his position, the lowest possible inherited one. He's being outstripped by a gaggle of self-made men, one of whom can afford to live in Sir Walter's house, as he no longer can.