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The 19th Century Frenemy: Lucy Steele Found in Florida



Tea:  Acai Blueberry White Tea
Music:  Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto Grosso No. 10

Elinor was sorry to see them.  Their presence always gave her pain, and she hardly knew how to make a very gracious return to the overpowering delight of Lucy in finding her STILL in town.
“I should have been quite disappointed if I had not found you here STILL,” said she repeatedly, with a strong emphasis on the word.  ”But I was almost sure you would not leave London yet awhile; though you TOLD me, you know, at Barton, that you should not stay above a MONTH.  And now to be sure you will be in no hurry to be gone.  I am amazingly glad you did not keep to YOUR WORD.”
Elinor perfectly understood her, and was forced to use all her self-command to make it appear that she did NOT.
Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensiblity


Dear Erica,

I am a Freshman at FIU and I’m beginning to be suspicious of my roommate(let’s call her Nikki).  She doesn’t have that many female friends, but she has always been really sweet to me.  However, I started dating a guy six months ago, and Nikki always manages to flirt with him when we go out.  I thought I was just being crazy, but the other night, I noticed she sent him a text message about the new FIU basketball coach.  My boyfriend is obsessed with college basketball.  Not a big deal, but Nikki told me she thinks sports are totally boring.  What do you think?  Am I crazy or should I be concerned?

Frazzled in Florida

Dear Frazzled in Florida,

Talk about warning signs.  She sounds like the ultimate Frenemy.  Texting your boyfriend about the coach when she has told you she doesn’t like sports?  I think we have a modern day Lucy Steele on our hands.  Jane Austen’s novels are rife with frenemies, but none is more despicable than the inimitable Lucy Steele.  In Austen’s Sense and Sensiblity, Lucy epitomizes the 19th century Frenemy who repeatedly declares her immense affection for Elinor, while staking her claim on Elinor’s beau, the guileless Edward Ferrars.  Elinor has too much sense not to see through the shallow machinations of Lucy, and cleverly maintains her distance, ultimately winning Edwards affections.

It’s possible you are being unreasonably jealous, and a text message is not a cause for concern. However, the fact that Nikki doesn’t have many female friends should be a major warning sign.  Women can be judgmental, and cruel.  But if a woman doesn’t have any female friends, there is usually a reason.  And the sweeter she is to you, the more you should be concerned.  Lucy was never more manipulative than when she was offering her sweetest endearments to Elinor Dashwood.  Trust your instincts. If she is telling you that you are her dearest friend, but looking longingly at your boyfriend, remember Lucy Steele and keep your distance.




1 comment

1 Daniel { 12.17.10 at 3:10 pm }

great post, thanks for sharing

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