Thursday, January 27, 2022

Agnes Wickfield and the nineteenth-century heroine's unspeakable love

When, in Charles Dickens's "David Copperfield", David's aunt Betsy Trotwood says she thinks that Agnes Wickfield is to be married, he resolves to keep his love for Agnes to himself. But when he goes to ask her to confide in him, she refuses to do so: "If I have any secret, it is—no new one; and is—not what you suppose. I cannot reveal it, or divide it. It has long been mine, and must remain mine." Like Agnes's predecessor in Jane Austen's "Persuasion", Anne Elliot, with her love for Captain Wentworth, Agnes can only tell David the secret of her unspoken love for him after he has spoken first. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 January 2022)

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