Unsung Austen Men: Mr. Weston


mr_westonEmma

Mr. Weston is shown in the Emma films, but kind of passed over to be only a minor character. We see him as the one who takes Miss Taylor away, as she becomes Mrs. Weston, an act that encourages Emma to believe she can control others lives and make them fall in love.

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We see him again as the father of Frank, encouraging him to visit and (pair up with Emma), but that’s really all.

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However, Jane Austen never goes halfway on a project and devoted much more time and a whole chapter on his sad back story. Mr. Weston is an incredibly dear man, who’s story is actually pretty heartbreaking. So grab your tissues and get ready for it.

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So Mr Weston was born into a pretty well off family, that with every generation rose higher in respectability and gentility. He received a good education, and instead of pursuing business like his brothers, he decided to join the military.

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As Captain Weston he was invited into many homes, meeting a wealthy, beautiful woman, Miss Churchill.

It was love at first sight. Everyone approved except Mrs. Churchill (mother) and Mr. Churchill (brother). You see the Churchills were of a higher stock and thought that marrying into military was so far below them.

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It didn’t matter to Miss Churchill and she refused to listen to her relatives, only having eyes for Mr. Weston. She married Mr. Weston anyways, and because she disobeyed her family (and wasn’t in total control of her wealth) her relatives disowned her and refused to give her a single penny.

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Even though Mr. Weston was an incredibly kind and sweet man, the marriage was unhappy. Now as Mrs. Weston, she found herself unhappy as they couldn’t afford the lifestyle she was used to. They lived beyond there income and nothing was as great as when she was Miss Churchill.

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Three years after they were married, Mrs. Weston died leaving Mr. Weston in great debt and with a baby to take care of.

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So this is the extreme low point for Mr. Weston. He has done everything in his power to take care of his wife and make her happy, but nothing is good enough. Then she becomes sick and dies and now he has incredible debt, horrible grief, and a baby to take care of.

I don't know what to do

He is completely unsure of what to do, when Mr. and Mrs. Churchill come snaking in and ask for the child. Poor Mr. Weston, how he must have felt being asked to give up his child. But he does as he knows it is the best thing for him. The Churchills (his late wife’s brother’s family) have no children of their own and are quite wealthy. They could give his son Frank everything, stability, two parents, education, toys, horses, etc. So he does it. It makes sense, but it still breaks his heart.

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This always reminds me of Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackery, when widowed Amelia holds onto her son as long as she can, but when she realizes that she won’t be able to truly care for his needs she gives him to his rich relatives to rear instead. It is such a heartbreaking scene.

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Mr. Weston decides to start over, moving to Highbury and working with his brothers. He begans to build everything up again, but he doesn’t send for his child as he knows the other family is more stable and he wants Frank to grow up with every advantage.

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Meanwhile as Frank is reared by his uncle and is set to inherit everything, he wants to be adopted by him and go by Churchill instead of Weston. How much that must of hurt to not only lost your son’s childhood, but adulthood as well to another person.

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Mr. Weston does see his son every year, and the two have a relationship. But poor Mr. Weston, to lose the role of father, and instead be more of an uncle.

But even with all these hardships, Mr. Weston has such a positive outlook on life and believes that he will build his life up, and marry again one day.

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And so his tale does have a happy ending, as this poor, broken, lonely man is able to find true love once again; in Miss Taylor. A woman who doesn’t need fancy trappings or riches, but just a home and Mr. Weston.

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For more on Emma, go to Credit Where Credit is Due

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