Tag Archives: Edward Ferrars

Austen Men in My Life

Edward Ferrars

Jane Austen’s father, George Austen, was the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and Deane. Though Mr. Austen came from a wealthy family of wool merchants, his branch eventually fell into poverty. He supplemented his family’s income by farming and taking in three or four boys at a time to teach.

By the accounts I’ve read, George Austen was an educated, hardworking man who enjoyed family discussions about politics and societal norms. He and his family debated amicably, and the atmosphere of his home was intellectually open and amusing.

Edward

Thinking of the clerics Jane wrote, I was struck by the negative portrayals of several of them. Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton leap to mind.

However, she wrote two clerics sympathetically: Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility) and Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey).

I grew up in church, I went to a religious college, and my husband, brother-in-law, and a nephew are all ministers, so I have known many “men of the cloth” very well.

One of them is a wonderful example of an Edward Ferrars.

Mr. Ferrars made a poor decision as a boy, but he was an honorable man. He committed himself to Lucy Steele. Though he fell in love with Elinor as a man and did not love Lucy, he stood by his original commitment. He tried to tell Elinor, but his sister thwarted him.

Edward Ferrars did not chase material wealth or self-importance. He was the heir of a fortune and could have served in Parliament, but he wanted a small country parish where he could make sermons and raise chickens.

He was gentle, thoughtful, and kind. He did not resent Lucy Steele or his brother when Miss Steele transferred her affections to Robert. He was happy for them, though Robert was free to marry the woman he chose, and he received Edward’s inheritance.

Edward chose to be happy in less than wonderful circumstances. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11. I’m sure everyone has problems, but the important thing is how a person deals with the problems.

No one is perfect, but when I look at my nephew, I see a happy man who loves his life. He’s an excellent husband and father. He works hard in his ministry. He earned his doctorate in theology. He’s intelligent, fun to be around, inquisitive, and forward thinking. He isn’t stuck on himself. He loves people. He’s quite handsome, too, which a man should be if he possibly can manage it.

I enjoy following him on social media, for he’s always upbeat, encouraging everyone around him. At family gatherings I try to make time to talk with him, because he uplifts me without even knowing it.

I taught my nephew when he was in the sixth grade. Now he’s teaching me.

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Honorable Men

In two or three weeks I will finish the third book (Forever Yours) in my second series (Yours by Design), and I’m already contemplating my next project. That line of thought led me to two questions: What makes a man honorable? Are there any honorable men today?

Two weeks ago, I mentioned Urban Meyer – not a perfect man, but an honorable one. He made a conscious decision to put his family above his career. He decided that his wife and children were more important than football. He was right, though his decision could have cost him his job. In actuality, his choice made him a better coach. It balanced the areas of his life. He’ll probably live longer as well.

I think men who are true to their beliefs (religious or not), regardless of what it might cost them, are honorable. Jane Austen was the queen of the flawed, but honorable, man.

Darcy Actors

Darcy Actors

Fitzwilliam Darcy certainly fits the bill. He recognized his pride and conceit through the humiliation of his rejected proposal, and he changed – even though he would possibly suffer in society and still not win Elizabeth.

Frederick Wentworth was another such man. The spurned Wentworth returned from the sea determined to think of Anne no more. When he raised the expectations of the Musgroves with his pronounced attentions to Louisa, he would have married her, though he realized he still loved Anne. Fortunately, Louisa fell in love with Benwick.

Wentworth Actors

Wentworth Actors

Edward Actors

Edward Actors

Another Austen hero, Edward Ferrars, held to an engagement he made when he was very young, though he did not love Lucy Steele, and he passionately loved Elinor Dashwood. Austen rewarded him for his steadfastness by having the scheming Lucy marry Robert – the man she truly deserved.

Colonel Brandon did not damage the reputation of his rival, John Willoughby, though he had both the proof and the right to do so. Once Willoughby’s true character was revealed, Brandon won the affections of Marianne, who had finally learned to appreciate a man of impeccable character more than a rogue with a handsome face.

Colonel Brandon Actors

Colonel Brandon Actors

Today’s honorable men would be found mainly in the unheralded ranks. We all can name some husbands, brothers, friends, and sons who are honorable, but who in the limelight today deserves that accolade?