The following is the updated post I just sent in Austen L after receiving three responses there:
"The trouble is that I can see Wickham, Willoughby, and the Crawfords in the description of those would lead a person astray. Not outwardly evil, possessed of enough charm to draw people to them, they can lead the innocent into vice before the innocent are aware of their danger."
All good answers, Nancy, but only in the case of one of those four characters does the text of MP give us a direct window into that character's motivation for engaging in such behavior. And there is language in that passage I quoted which points unmistakably to that character in particular, as that character pretty much says it out loud, even though not to Fanny (now there's a big hint!).
Which then takes us to Christy's answer:
"Around the warnings of those negative forces of influence, I immediately focus on the Crawfords because the passage brings to mind an older Edmund giving advice to a son, nephew, or other young members of the congregation; and if they were to ever find themselves facing the embodiment of such influences disguised in a charming & handsome fleshy package..."
Nicely put, Christy, it WAS one of the Crawfords in particular whose unique fingerprints are all over that passage, even though you are of course also correct when you write....
"In terms of those who fool others with the intent to gain materially in some way -Mr.Wickham, Mr Elliot, Frank Churchill, and John and Isabella Thorpe, would be next in line. "
...because those characters do indeed all resonate to that passage as well.
And as for Carol, your answer...
"Quite off scoundrel topic probably but this passage reminds of Mr. Knightly. It sounds so much like something he would say or at least think. He is always the most astute in his circle and not fooled by deceit or vicious young men. And is there a character with more integrity than Mr. Knightly?"
....it is not off scoundrel topic at all from my point of view, because in the shadow story of Emma, I see Mr. Knightley as the "whale" of scoundrels--but that is a whole other topic....
So, now i will add two hints to the answers of Q1 and Q2--
first additional hint: the quoted passage points to ONE of the Crawfords in particular, and
second additional hint: I initially was led to this passage because of a very unusual phrase that one of the Crawfords speaks aloud in MP which EXACTLY repeats a very unusual phrase that appears elsewhere in that same letter on "Friendship" by M. Gener aka Rev. John Muckersy that I quoted from. But then, once I was reading that letter, that was when I saw the discussion in the quoted passage which points unmistakably to words which the other Crawford speaks.
Collecting Jane Austen: Regency London
3 weeks ago