Sense and Sensibility Topic Tracking: Money
Money 1: Mr. Henry Dashwood is very concerned about his daughter's income, knowing that without the money from Norland, the girls will have a hard time marrying.
Money 2: Fanny Dashwood works hard to convince her husband he owes his stepmother and stepsisters nothing. Part of her case is: "that when the money is once parted with, it never can return. Your sisters will marry, and it will be gone for ever." Chapter 2, pg. 8 Once women marry, their income transfers to their husband, none of it staying in the family. This makes a gift of money an unacceptable one for the greedy Fanny.
Money 3: When John suggests they pay Mrs. Dashwood an annuity, or yearly sum, Fanny strongly disagrees. Her point of disagreement rests on the idea that an annuity is fine if Mrs. Dashwood dies soon, but with their luck she will live for twenty or more years. Fanny believes such a yearly payment would take away her family's monetary independence.
When Fanny convinces John to give the Dashwood women nothing but the occasional present, she comments happily on how cheap and comfortable the Dashwood women will live, with hardly any common conveniences such as carriages or house guests. She even suggests the Dashwoods should give John some money.
Money 4: Fanny disapproves of Elinor and Edward because to her family (and to most families), the person one marries should be of the same or (even better) higher income than yourself.
Money 5: Mrs. Dashwood has hope John will fulfill his promise, but all he does is talk about how little money he has, hoping to discourage any requests from the girls.
Money 6: Willoughby had a good income, but his lifestyle so exceeded it that Elinor thinks lack of money might be why he and Marianne are keeping their engagement a secret.
Money 7: Again, a small fortune is blamed for the troubles of two lovers. To many, Marianne's small fortune makes her an unacceptable match for Willoughby.
Money 8: Marianne does not like to see money as a part of happiness, but she says that you need several thousand pounds to have a good income.
The girls imagine what they would do if someone gave them a large fortune. Their long and passionate discussion indicates how important money really is to them.
Money 9: Edward and Lucy suspect that his family would disapprove of their marriage because she has so little money.
Lucy suggests to Elinor that the fear of Edward losing all his money if they were to hurry marriage, keeps her from taking action.
Money 10: They learn that Miss Grey, the woman to whom Willoughby is engaged, is worth fifty thousand pounds. The Colonel sees this as an explanation for Willoughby's behavior towards Marianne.
Money 11: Again, money keeps lovers apart. The Colonel loved Eliza, but he was not the eldest son. The eldest son will inherit the family estate, and the estate was deeply in debt. Therefore, the Colonel's father wanted Eliza to marry the Colonel's older brother, even though she and the Colonel loved each other; the brother had no feelings for her.
Money 12: When Elinor mentions how good the Middletons have treated them, John is not surprised. They are rich, so they should take good care of them. He then throws in how settled they must be, needing nothing.
John treats people based on their wealth. When the Colonel comes into Mrs. Jennings', John is ready to be nice to him, as soon as he finds out about his large fortune.
Money 13: John tells Elinor the Ferrars have chosen a very good woman for Edward-Miss Morton, who is very wealthy.
Money 14: John complains to Elinor that he and Fanny have very little money. He has just bought the neighboring farm, and is making many improvements to Norland.
Not wanting for money, these comments are meant to make his situation seem poor so that Elinor will not be tempted to ask for money, nor John feel bad for not offering any.
John tells Elinor that he expects Mrs. Jennings will leave much of her money to Elinor and Marianne when she dies. Elinor tells him this is unlikely, but John seems very set on the idea.
John now expects Elinor will marry the Colonel; he is very happy about this, because the Colonel has a lot of money. Because John does so little for his sisters, he is very anxious for other people to do as much as possible.
Money 15: John visited Mrs. Jennings alone, and he reveals why Fanny did not come along:
"for we only knew that Mrs. Jennings was the widow of a man, who had got all his money in a low way; and Fanny and Mrs. Ferrars were both strongly prepossessed that neither she nor her daughters were such kind of women as Fanny would like to associate with. But now I can carry her a most satisfactory account of both." Chapter 33, pg. 193
Money 16: Despite how close Fanny has grown to Lucy, treating her as a well-liked family member, she cannot approve of her marrying Edward. Her small fortune is most important to Fanny.
Money 17: Mrs. Jennings cannot understand all the fuss over a person's fortune. Having been married to a rich man, but of a lower class, she believes that if people are good and love each other, they should be able to marry, despite their differences.
Money 18: John cannot imagine a fate worse than having money, as Edward did, and then losing it. To see your younger brother have your fortune must be terrible, he comments. This attitude is not surprising, in light of how little John helped his stepsisters after their father's death.
Money 19: The parsonage the Colonel offers is too small to allow Edward to marry, as its income could not support a family. The Colonel, who is very well off, does not understand how someone could live comfortably with so little money.
Money 20: John, so stingy and selfish himself, cannot understand how or why the Colonel would give something away, and to a near stranger. All he can think to do is calculate how much money the Colonel lost by doing the favor, and shake his head in disbelief.
Money 21: Willoughby, though he had feelings for Marianne, could not act properly on them because he was more concerned about money, and marrying rich. He also refused to marry Miss Williams for this same reason. He refused a woman he loved, and dishonored one he should have married, for the same reason--fear of being poor.
Money 22: Willoughby was so afraid of losing his rich fiancée, that he did whatever she demanded. This included his devastatingly cold letter to Marianne.
Money 23: Elinor, who pities "poor Willoughby," thinks:
"The world had made him extravagant and vain--Extravagance and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or at least its offspring necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty propensity in leading him to evil, had led him likewise to punishment." Chapter 44, pg. 281
The blame, shifted somewhat, is still his; but he can be forgiven because of how unhappy his bad actions have made him.
Money 24: Elinor does not think that love is enough to marry upon. She imagines that if Marianne and Willoughby had married, their weak finances would have so stressed the marriage, that it would not have been happy, or perhaps even lasted. Love appears to be everything when you have money, but Elinor believes Willoughby's love for Marianne would disintegrate if he were to become poor.
Money 25: In the end, Mrs. Ferrars forgives Edward and gives he and Elinor some money, enough to allow their marriage and make them comfortable. Robert remains the favorite, though, and keeps the estate he received when his brother was disowned for being engaged to Lucy.