Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Pride and Prejudice Marries Sense and Sensibility

Edward Ferrars
Meet Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility, the sensible and friendly third child of his family. Edward develops a close relationship with Elinor Elizabeth Bennet and ultimately marries her, after he is freed from a four-year relationship to someone else.

In the real Sense and Sensibility, he loves Elinor, the sensible one.  He is honor-bound, however this Mr. Ferrars is far more articulate.  In this story, he loves Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth Bennet
The second daughter in her family, Elizabeth is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice. Her admirable qualities are numerous.  Nevertheless, her sharp tongue and tendency to make hasty judgments often lead her astray; When Pride and Prejudice Marries Sense and Sensibility is essentially the story of how she (and her true love, Darcy Mr. Ferrars) overcome all obstacles—including their own personal failings—to find romantic happiness. She must  overcome her own mistaken impressions of Darcy humankind.  As she gradually comes to recognize the nobility of Darcy’s character kindness of the human heart, she realizes the error of her initial prejudice against humanity, thanks to Mr. Ferrars.

This is a love story, really.  So, now you know the two main characters, here's a summary.

Elizabeth finds she has some medical conditions (several, actually) that require her to have major surgery.  Unfortunately for the last year, Elizabeth has been suffering from a great deal of medical maladies, underwent batteries of tests.  Finally, she was referred to an OB/GYN.

Ch. 1:
Elizabeth finds out from her OB/GYN after more tests she has several conditions which need to be addressed.  Many of those conditions can have the symptoms relieved, to some extent, through the use of Artificial Contraceptives or other methods of sterilization.  However, there is one condition for which the only correction was major surgery.  Elizabeth tells Mr. Ferrars of the diagnosis, the medical advice she's been given and his response?  Pray.  Very typical Mr. Ferrars type advice.  He does, after all want to become a clergyman!  So, pray Elizabeth did and she consulted her parish priest. This recommendation feels like it is in conflict with her faith, feeling that this will result in her turning away from the Church's teachings on being open to life.  She and Mr. Ferrars are the happy parents of six beautiful children aged 3-14. The gentle priest, whom after listening to the medical diagnosis and advice of the doctor for a total hysterectomy, advises her to follow her doctor's recommendations.  That given the conditions she has, the procedure was medically necessary.  The priest also thanked Elizabeth and Mr. Ferrars for her openness to life, which she really needed to hear.

Ch. 2:
Scheduling such a procedure with a very busy Mr. Ferrars and so many children caused Elizabeth to delay.  Partly because she was still working through all the mental issues with no longer being able to have another child that she had to resolve and partly because the very handsome Mr. Ferrars would be away for a week in July because he's a Scoutmaster, Elizabeth delayed scheduling the procedure.  After many heartfelt conversations with Mr. Ferrars and a very few close family members and friends, Elizabeth scheduled the surgery, trying to balance family commitment with the need to have recovery time.

Ch. 3:
As summer progresses, Elizabeth secretly harbors prejudices that she will be judged on her and Mr. Ferrars decision to have a total hysterectomy.  She begins to feel judged, even for other things, which is her weakness.  Her sharp side comes out and she declares to Mr. Ferrars that the information about her surgery should be on a need-to-know basis.  He, because he is best husband in the world, respects her wishes.

Ch. 4:
As the surgery date approached, Elizabeth lived her life to the fullest, enjoying every moment, mostly because she harbored fears of not living through surgery.  She did everything she could to enjoy every moment with Mr. Ferrars and the children and didn't regret a moment of it.

Ch. 5:
The surgery date approaches and Elizabeth can't bring herself to kiss the children in the morning for fear it would be the last time and she didn't want to give into that horrible fear niggling at her.  She and Mr. Ferrars arrived at the hospital and went through all the motions.  The physician met with them prior to the surgery explaining all the procedures that would be taken and gave Mr. Ferrars an estimate of the time it would take for the surgery, two hours.  The anesthesiologist met with Elizabeth and Mr. Ferrars and discussed the possibility of trying a medication during surgery to which Elizabeth previously had an apparent allergic reaction.  They agreed that in this environment, it was the best medication to use and Elizabeth was in the safest environment should a reaction actually happen.  Elizabeth secretly feared she was done for.  Mr. Ferrars, ever the cool husband, kissed Elizabeth.  That is the last thing she remembered as they wheeled her to the OR.

Ch. 6:
Elizabeth wakes up in recovery desperately itchy and struggling for breath.  Gasping, she tells the nurses she can't breathe and the regular routine happens, benedryl, oxygen, close monitoring.  She still can't tell what time it is and feels so groggy she can't come up out of the medication.  Finally, she wakes up and is told that her Mr. Ferrars will be waiting for her in her room.  She barely remembers the ride up to her room.  He's there smiling, with a card.  Ever the comedian, the card says, "Thank You" on the front.  Inside it says, "For pulling through..."  Laughing hurts.  He explains that the reason it is 3:00, much later than she expected to be out was not because of the medication or allergic reaction, but because the two hour surgery lasted over five hours, not two.  He explained, as best he could, all the reasons for the delay, then explained that the OB/GYN's parting message was this was something that really, really needed to be done.

The good doctor knew that a part of Elizabeth, the prideful side, was still hanging on the the possibility that this was not a medically necessary procedure.  The same prideful side of Elizabeth that also had worried so much about what others would think of her having a total hysterectomy at the age of 45, so much that Elizabeth wasn't willing to tell many close friends.

Ch. 7:
Mr. Ferrars took the week off to help Elizabeth recover, and even when he went back to work, made sure he took on all the extras, from removing the children from Elizabeth's room when they were annoying or tiring her, to removing them from the house when she just needed quiet.  Mr. Ferrars has gone on countless errands after long, long days at work because Elizabeth, while cleared to drive now, still has NO energy and was told by the doctor that it will take another three to four weeks for that to return.  Mr. Ferrars has accommodated his schedule to run errands and switched vehicles so she doesn't have to climb into a full sized van, while recovering from major abdominal surgery.  Mr. Ferrars, the real hero of this story, understands that Elizabeth will probably not be able to lift more than 20 lbs for at least the next eight weeks and possibly forever.  And he has never complained.  Not even once.

While Elizabeth has snipped about her children not helping quickly enough with chores because her pride insisted her house stay the way she kept it.  While Mr. Ferrars did everything she asked and more, she sniped about how she doesn't know or can't guess how she'll ever get ready for school.  He never has complained.  Not even once.

Perhaps it is because he said that their love, sex life, marriage can withstand anything. Perhaps it is because he reminded Elizabeth there is always adoption.  Perhaps it is just because they were meant to be.  So, here Elizabeth, in the final chapter, is remembering and thanking the good Lord above for her beloved Mr. Ferrars and hoping she can learn to be more like him. 

Partial credit for the character summaries goes to Sparknotes.com.  The rest of the credit goes to Jane Austen for creating two characters I love and to whom I can relate.


  1. What a beautiful witness to love and life! I pray that God will bless your healing, Cathie, and that you and Mr. Ferrars will enjoy many more years of true marital bliss (i.e. generous loving and self-giving) together!

    ~ MollyD

  2. Wow.

    Surprised, and moved, to see you sharing this story publicly, and so beautifully and bravely.

    I picked a good set of godparents for my kid. :-)

  3. Wow is right! What a gorgeous--and humble--way to share the news of your surgery.

    Does this mean that I'm now cleared to ask our mutual friends to pray for your recovery? [wink]

  4. Thank you ladies for your sweet and positive replies. I was worried many would read, but that crickets would follow. That pride thing, and prejudice, are hard habits to kick.
    Thank you for your prayers (and to those who are praying for me by word of mouth - wink. ;-)

  5. Very beautiful story and a wonderful witness to life. I can't imagine anyone faulting you for your decision. It was clearly medical and clearly something you agonized over. I pray for continued healing and for peace.

  6. What a tribute to your marriage and your husband this is! I'm so struck by your own bravery as you had to face the medical situation, your grief, and your fears: big-- of death and leaving your dear ones-- and small but niggling-- the disapprobation of others.

    It is amazing how you both took something that can be such a tremendous stress on a marriage and grew on it.

    (PS The Jane Austen references-- what a great shorthand!)