MBTI Type: ISTJ
Elisabeth is a practical woman who knows how the world works, and is able to move skillfully within it — she trained as a governess and sensibly takes up those positions to take care of her ailing father, and continues in them after his death. She has taught herself to draw and paint, and uses her artwork in creative ways to invite Louisa to learn to read. She says that over time, the pretending becomes real (a metaphor for her entire relationship with Charles) and repeats, several times, her story about firelight being magic — a place where you can do whatever you want, and when the dawn comes, it never happened. She collects as much information about Charles as she can in their interview, before she decides to bear his child, and is persistent in finding her daughter seven years later. The process of bearing a child and giving her away leaves such an impression on her that she faithfully records her thoughts each year on the child’s birthday, while trying to locate her and reunite with her. Once in Charles’ household, confronted with him, all the memories and physical sensations of their brief affair return, bringing with them the same strong emotional attachment. She has a strong awareness of the reality of the world, which her daughter must one day navigate as an adult, and wants to prepare her for its harsh realities. Elisabeth confesses that she does not think much about the future, but she recognizes that Charles took certain actions at the end of the story to allow them to be together. She shows creativity in the cards she invents for her daughter’s school work, covered in interesting little portraits so that Louisa can move them around to create sentences out of chosen pictures. She is pragmatic and logical. She needs money and Charles wants a child, so the logical thing to do is to sell herself for three nights of detached sexual contact and nine months of pregnancy, rather than to get married and ‘sell myself for life.’ When Charles is apprehensive about whether she thinks badly of him, she reminds him neither of them there for ‘our pleasure,’ but as part of an arrangement. She puts aside her feelings to discipline their daughter to give her structure, routine, and a better chance at succeeding in life. She reminds her of the harsh facts of life, that when she marries, her life and property and children will belong to her husband, and she would be a fool not to learn and prepare for it, because the only thing a man cannot control is her mind. Elisabeth believes herself capable of isolating her emotions long enough to sleep with a man she barely knows and to give away her child — a rational method of obtaining much-needed funds to take care of her father, but doesn’t take into consideration her heart. She has way more of a response to him emotionally than she anticipated, and giving away her child haunts her. Her feelings are powerful but hidden; she doesn’t share them with Charles, despite her overwhelming attraction to and love for him. Instead, she lets it shine through her actions. Elisabeth refuses to do anything she finds morally disagreeable, and is unwilling to compromise to keep other people happy, but instead diligently works on and toward the things she personally values most… her family.
Enneagram: 1w2 sp/so
Elisabeth has a firm awareness of what her response is to everything and has no need to pause to consider; she accepts Charles’ terms and abides by his rules (at first), she turns down the man who asks her to marry him because she does not love him (but reassures him that it is nothing he ‘can fix’ and that ‘any woman would be proud to be courted by you’). She finds Charles’ passivity in allowing their daughter to misbehave and ignore her schooling to be inappropriate, short-sighted, and foolish; “You want to be loved [by Louisa],” she tells him, “I want her to be loved by others” – by teaching her to behave herself. She imposes rigid rules and behaviors (kind but firm) and refuses to show anger or resentment, conducting herself appropriately even when Louisa is screaming her head off. Her 2 wing is genuinely interested in helping Louisa obtain love, and in finding love herself; she surprises herself, how easily aroused she is into affection for Charles.