I’ve just finished re-reading Sense and Sensibility for what is surely the hundredth time, and every time I notice different details that I didn’t remember from my last reading. I was quite startled at this particular one.
Right at the end (spoiler alert, but really, if you haven’t read it by now, are you going to?) when Elinor is about to marry Edward, Colonel Brandon sets about renovating the rectory for them before they move in:
“They had nothing to wait for after Edward was in possession of the living, but the readiness of the house, to which Colonel Brandon, with an eager desire for the accommodation of Elinor, was making considerable improvements; and after waiting some time for their completion, after experiencing, as usual, a thousand disappointments and delays from the unaccountable dilatoriness of the workmen, Elinor, as usual, broke through the first positive resolution of not marrying till every thing was ready, and the ceremony took place in Barton church early in the autumn. The first month after their marriage was spent with their friend at the Mansion-house…”
I had no idea what dilatoriness meant, so I looked it up; my assumption that it meant “frigging around and wasting of other people’s time”-ness turned out to be correct.
I love the idea that hundreds of years ago, Jane Austen was writing about jerks taking forever to renovate someone’s house and ruining their plans. It maybe makes me feel the tiniest smidge better.
But just a smidge.