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PERSUASION








Jane Austen
Table of Contents
Chapter 1........................................................................................... 4
Chapter 2......................................................................................... 12
Chapter 3......................................................................................... 18
Chapter 4......................................................................................... 27
Chapter 5......................................................................................... 33
Chapter 6......................................................................................... 43
Chapter 7......................................................................................... 54
Chapter 8......................................................................................... 64
Chapter 9......................................................................................... 74
Chapter 10....................................................................................... 83
Chapter 11....................................................................................... 94
Chapter 12..................................................................................... 103
Chapter 13..................................................................................... 120
Chapter 14..................................................................................... 128
Chapter 15..................................................................................... 136
Chapter 16..................................................................................... 144
Chapter 17..................................................................................... 151
Chapter 18..................................................................................... 161
Chapter 19..................................................................................... 173
Chapter 20..................................................................................... 182
Chapter 21..................................................................................... 194
Chapter 22..................................................................................... 214
Chapter 23..................................................................................... 231
Chapter 24..................................................................................... 250

The works of Jane Austen, including Persuasion (1818)
are in the public domain.
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(including you) may freely copy and distribute them.

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Chapter 1

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man
who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the
Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation
in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and
respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents;
there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed
naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless
creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were
powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never
failed. This was the page at which the favorite volume always opened:
ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL
“Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784,
Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the
county of Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue
Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born
son, November 5, 1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791.”
Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's
hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of
himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth--
“Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles
Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset,” and by
inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his
wife.
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Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable
family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire; how
mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff, representing a
borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of loyalty, and
dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with all the Marys and
Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two handsome
duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and motto:--"Principal
seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset,” and Sir Walter's
handwriting again in this finale:--
“Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of
the second Sir Walter.”
Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's
character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably
handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few
women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor
could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place
he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only
to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united
these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion.
His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment;
since to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to
any thing deserved by his own. Lady Elliot had been an excellent
woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they
might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot,
had never required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or
softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability
for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world
herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to
attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she
was called on to quit them.
--Three girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was an awful
legacy for a mother to bequeath, an awful charge rather, to confide to the
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authority and guidance of a conceited, silly father. She had, however,
one very intimate friend, a sensible, deserving woman, who had been
brought, by strong attachment to herself, to settle close by her, in the
village of Kellynch; and on her kindness and advice, Lady Elliot mainly
relied for the best help and maintenance of the good principles and
instruction which she had been anxiously giving her daughters.
This friend, and Sir Walter, did not marry, whatever might have
been anticipated on that head by their acquaintance. Thirteen years had
passed away since Lady Elliot's death, and they were still near
neighbours and intimate friends, and one remained a widower, the other
a widow.
That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well
provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no
apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably
discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not;
but Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation. Be it
known then, that Sir Walter, like a good father, (having met with one or
two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications), prided
himself on remaining single for his dear daughters' sake. For one
daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up any thing, which he
had not been very much tempted to do.
Elizabeth had succeeded, at sixteen, to all that was possible, of her
mother's rights and consequence; and being very handsome, and very
like himself, her influence had always been great, and they had gone on
together most happily. His two other children were of very inferior
value. Mary had acquired a little artificial importance, by becoming Mrs
Charles Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of
character, which must have placed her high with any people of real
understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no
weight, her convenience was always to give way-- she was only Anne.
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To Lady Russell, indeed, she was a most dear and highly valued
god-daughter, favourite, and friend. Lady Russell loved them all; but it
was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again.
A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her
bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had found
little to admire in her, (so totally different were her delicate features and
mild dark eyes from his own), there could be nothing in them, now that
she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had never indulged
much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in any other
page of his favourite work. All equality of alliance must rest with
Elizabeth, for Mary had merely connected herself with an old country
family of respectability and large fortune, and had therefore given all the
honour and received none: Elizabeth would, one day or other, marry
suitably.
It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine
than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been
neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any
charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth, still the same handsome Miss
Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago, and Sir Walter might
be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be deemed only
half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever,
amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else; for he could
plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were
growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood
worsting, and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's
temples had long been a distress to him.
Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment.
Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall, presiding and
directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have
given the idea of her being younger than she was. For thirteen years had
she been doing the honours, and laying down the domestic law at home,
and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking immediately
after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and dining-rooms in the
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country. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every
ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood afforded, and thirteen
springs shewn their blossoms, as she travelled up to London with her
father, for a few weeks' annual enjoyment of the great world.
She had the remembrance of all this, she had the consciousness of
being nine-and-twenty to give her some regrets and some apprehensions;
she was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever, but she
felt her approach to the years of danger, and would have rejoiced to be
certain of being properly solicited by baronet-blood within the next
twelvemonth or two. Then might she again take up the book of books
with as much enjoyment as in her early youth, but now she liked it not.
Always to be presented with the date of her own birth and see no
marriage follow but that of a youngest sister, made the book an evil; and
more than once, when her father had left it open on the table near her,
had she closed it, with averted eyes, and pushed it away.
She had had a disappointment, moreover, which that book, and
especially the history of her own family, must ever present the
remembrance of. The heir presumptive, the very William Walter Elliot,
Esq., whose rights had been so generously supported by her father, had
disappointed her.
She had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to
be, in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to
marry him, and her father had always meant that she should.
He had not been known to them as a boy; but soon after Lady
Elliot's death, Sir Walter had sought the acquaintance, and though his
overtures had not been met with any warmth, he had persevered in
seeking it, making allowance for the modest drawing-back of youth;
and, in one of their spring excursions to London, when Elizabeth was in
her first bloom, Mr Elliot had been forced into the introduction.
He was at that time a very young man, just engaged in the study of
the law; and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable, and every plan in
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his favour was confirmed. He was invited to Kellynch Hall; he was
talked of and expected all the rest of the year; but he never came. The
following spring he was seen again in town, found equally agreeable,
again encouraged, invited, and expected, and again he did not come; and
the next tidings were that he was married. Instead of pushing his fortune
in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot, he had
purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of inferior
birth.
Sir Walter has resented it. As the head of the house, he felt that he
ought to have been consulted, especially after taking the young man so
publicly by the hand; “For they must have been seen together,” he
observed, “once at Tattersal's, and twice in the lobby of the House of
Commons.”
His disapprobation was expressed, but apparently very little
regarded. Mr Elliot had attempted no apology, and shewn himself as
unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family, as Sir Walter
considered him unworthy of it: all acquaintance between them had
ceased.
This very awkward history of Mr Elliot was still, after an interval
of several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for
himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong
family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot's
eldest daughter. There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her feelings
could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal. Yet so miserably had
he conducted himself, that though she was at this present time (the
summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could not admit
him to be worth thinking of again. The disgrace of his first marriage
might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it perpetuated by
offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse; but he had, as by
the accustomary intervention of kind friends, they had been informed,
spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most slightingly and
contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and the honours which
were hereafter to be his own. This could not be pardoned.
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Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and sensations; such the
cares to alloy, the agitations to vary, the sameness and the elegance, the
prosperity and the nothingness of her scene of life; such the feelings to
give interest to a long, uneventful residence in one country circle, to fill
the vacancies which there were no habits of utility abroad, no talents or
accomplishments for home, to occupy.
But now, another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning
to be added to these. Her father was growing distressed for money. She
knew, that when he now took up the Baronetage, it was to drive the
heavy bills of his tradespeople, and the unwelcome hints of Mr
Shepherd, his agent, from his thoughts. The Kellynch property was
good, but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required in
its possessor. While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method,
moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income;
but with her had died all such right-mindedness, and from that period he
had been constantly exceeding it. It had not been possible for him to
spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was
imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only
growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it became
vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his daughter.
He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town; he had
gone so far even as to say, “Can we retrench? Does it occur to you that
there is any one article in which we can retrench?” and Elizabeth, to do
her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think
what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of
economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new
furnishing the drawing-room; to which expedients she afterwards added
the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne, as had been
the usual yearly custom. But these measures, however good in
themselves, were insufficient for the real extent of the evil, the whole of
which Sir Walter found himself obliged to confess to her soon
afterwards. Elizabeth had nothing to propose of deeper efficacy. She felt
herself ill-used and unfortunate, as did her father; and they were neither
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of them able to devise any means of lessening their expenses without
compromising their dignity, or relinquishing their comforts in a way not
to be borne.
There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could
dispose of; but had every acre been alienable, it would have made no
difference. He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the power,
but he would never condescend to sell. No; he would never disgrace his
name so far. The Kellynch estate should be transmitted whole and entire,
as he had received it.
Their two confidential friends, Mr Shepherd, who lived in the
neighbouring market town, and Lady Russell, were called to advise
them; and both father and daughter seemed to expect that something
should be struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments
and reduce their expenditure, without involving the loss of any
indulgence of taste or pride.
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Chapter 2

Mr Shepherd, a civil, cautious lawyer, who, whatever might be his
hold or his views on Sir Walter, would rather have the disagreeable
prompted by anybody else, excused himself from offering the slightest
hint, and only begged leave to recommend an implicit reference to the
excellent judgement of Lady Russell, from whose known good sense he
fully expected to have just such resolute measures advised as he meant
to see finally adopted.
Lady Russell was most anxiously zealous on the subject, and gave
it much serious consideration. She was a woman rather of sound than of
quick abilities, whose difficulties in coming to any decision in this
instance were great, from the opposition of two leading principles.
She was of strict integrity herself, with a delicate sense of honour;
but she was as desirous of saving Sir Walter's feelings, as solicitous for
the credit of the family, as aristocratic in her ideas of what was due to
them, as anybody of sense and honesty could well be. She was a
benevolent, charitable, good woman, and capable of strong attachments,
most correct in her conduct, strict in her notions of decorum, and with
manners that were held a standard of good-breeding.
She had a cultivated mind, and was, generally speaking, rational
and consistent; but she had prejudices on the side of ancestry; she had a
value for rank and consequence, which blinded her a little to the faults of
those who possessed them. Herself the widow of only a knight, she gave
the dignity of a baronet all its due; and Sir Walter, independent of his
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claims as an old acquaintance, an attentive neighbour, an obliging
landlord, the husband of her very dear friend, the father of Anne and her
sisters, was, as being Sir Walter, in her apprehension, entitled to a great
deal of compassion and consideration under his present difficulties.
They must retrench; that did not admit of a doubt. But she was
very anxious to have it done with the least possible pain to him and
Elizabeth. She drew up plans of economy, she made exact calculations,
and she did what nobody else thought of doing: she consulted Anne,
who never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the
question.
She consulted, and in a degree was influenced by her in marking
out the scheme of retrenchment which was at last submitted to Sir
Walter. Every emendation of Anne's had been on the side of honesty
against importance. She wanted more vigorous measures, a more
complete reformation, a quicker release from debt, a much higher tone
of indifference for everything but justice and equity.
“If we can persuade your father to all this,” said Lady Russell,
looking over her paper, “much may be done. If he will adopt these
regulations, in seven years he will be clear; and I hope we may be able
to convince him and Elizabeth, that Kellynch Hall has a respectability in
itself which cannot be affected by these reductions; and that the true
dignity of Sir Walter Elliot will be very far from lessened in the eyes of
sensible people, by acting like a man of principle. What will he be
doing, in fact, but what very many of our first families have done, or
ought to do? There will be nothing singular in his case; and it is
singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering, as it
always does of our conduct. I have great hope of prevailing. We must be
serious and decided; for after all, the person who has contracted debts
must pay them; and though a great deal is due to the feelings of the
gentleman, and the head of a house, like your father, there is still more
due to the character of an honest man.”
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This was the principle on which Anne wanted her father to be
proceeding, his friends to be urging him. She considered it as an act of
indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors with all the
expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure,
and saw no dignity in anything short of it. She wanted it to be
prescribed, and felt as a duty. She rated Lady Russell's influence highly;
and as to the severe degree of self-denial which her own conscience
prompted, she believed there might be little more difficulty in
persuading them to a complete, than to half a reformation. Her
knowledge of her father and Elizabeth inclined her to think that the
sacrifice of one pair of horses would be hardly less painful than of both,
and so on, through the whole list of Lady Russell's too gentle reductions.
How Anne's more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of
little consequence. Lady Russell's had no success at all: could not be put
up with, were not to be borne. “What! every comfort of life knocked off!
Journeys, London, servants, horses, table-- contractions and restrictions
every where! To live no longer with the decencies even of a private
gentleman! No, he would sooner quit Kellynch Hall at once, than remain
in it on such disgraceful terms.”
“Quit Kellynch Hall.” The hint was immediately taken up by Mr
Shepherd, whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter's
retrenching, and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be
done without a change of abode.
“Since the idea had been started in the very quarter which ought to
dictate, he had no scruple,” he said, “in confessing his judgement to be
entirely on that side. It did not appear to him that Sir Walter could
materially alter his style of living in a house which had such a character
of hospitality and ancient dignity to support. In any other place Sir
Walter might judge for himself; and would be looked up to, as regulating
the modes of life in whatever way he might choose to model his
household.”
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Sir Walter would quit Kellynch Hall; and after a very few days
more of doubt and indecision, the great question of whither he should go
was settled, and the first outline of this important change made out.
There had been three alternatives, London, Bath, or another house
in the country. All Anne's wishes had been for the latter. A small house
in their own neighbourhood, where they might still have Lady Russell's
society, still be near Mary, and still have the pleasure of sometimes
seeing the lawns and groves of Kellynch, was the object of her ambition.
But the usual fate of Anne attended her, in having something very
opposite from her inclination fixed on. She disliked Bath, and did not
think it agreed with her; and Bath was to be her home.
Sir Walter had at first thought more of London; but Mr Shepherd
felt that he could not be trusted in London, and had been skillful enough
to dissuade him from it, and make Bath preferred. It was a much safer
place for a gentleman in his predicament: he might there be important at
comparatively little expense. Two material advantages of Bath over
London had of course been given all their weight: its more convenient
distance from Kellynch, only fifty miles, and Lady Russell's spending
some part of every winter there; and to the very great satisfaction of
Lady Russell, whose first views on the projected change had been for
Bath, Sir Walter and Elizabeth were induced to believe that they should
lose neither consequence nor enjoyment by settling there.
Lady Russell felt obliged to oppose her dear Anne's known wishes.
It would be too much to expect Sir Walter to descend into a small house
in his own neighbourhood. Anne herself would have found the
mortifications of it more than she foresaw, and to Sir Walter's feelings
they must have been dreadful. And with regard to Anne's dislike of Bath,
she considered it as a prejudice and mistake arising, first, from the
circumstance of her having been three years at school there, after her
mother's death; and secondly, from her happening to be not in perfectly
good spirits the only winter which she had afterwards spent there with
herself.
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Lady Russell was fond of Bath, in short, and disposed to think it
must suit them all; and as to her young friend's health, by passing all the
warm months with her at Kellynch Lodge, every danger would be
avoided; and it was in fact, a change which must do both health and
spirits good. Anne had been too little from home, too little seen. Her
spirits were not high. A larger society would improve them. She wanted
her to be more known.
The undesirableness of any other house in the same neighbourhood
for Sir Walter was certainly much strengthened by one part, and a very
material part of the scheme, which had been happily engrafted on the
beginning. He was not only to quit his home, but to see it in the hands of
others; a trial of fortitude, which stronger heads than Sir Walter's have
found too much. Kellynch Hall was to be let. This, however, was a
profound secret, not to be breathed beyond their own circle.
Sir Walter could not have borne the degradation of being known to
design letting his house. Mr Shepherd had once mentioned the word
“advertise,” but never dared approach it again. Sir Walter spurned the
idea of its being offered in any manner; forbad the slightest hint being
dropped of his having such an intention; and it was only on the
supposition of his being spontaneously solicited by some most
unexceptionable applicant, on his own terms, and as a great favour, that
he would let it at all.
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! Lady
Russell had another excellent one at hand, for being extremely glad that
Sir Walter and his family were to remove from the country. Elizabeth
had been lately forming an intimacy, which she wished to see
interrupted. It was with the daughter of Mr Shepherd, who had returned,
after an unprosperous marriage, to her father's house, with the additional
burden of two children. She was a clever young woman, who understood
the art of pleasing--the art of pleasing, at least, at Kellynch Hall; and
who had made herself so acceptable to Miss Elliot, as to have been
already staying there more than once, in spite of all that Lady Russell,
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who thought it a friendship quite out of place, could hint of caution and
reserve.
Lady Russell, indeed, had scarcely any influence with Elizabeth,
and seemed to love her, rather because she would love her, than because
Elizabeth deserved it. She had never received from her more than
outward attention, nothing beyond the observances of complaisance; had
never succeeded in any point which she wanted to carry, against
previous inclination. She had been repeatedly very earnest in trying to
get Anne included in the visit to London, sensibly open to all the
injustice and all the discredit of the selfish arrangements which shut her
out, and on many lesser occasions had endeavoured to give Elizabeth the
advantage of her own better judgement and experience; but always in
vain:
Elizabeth would go her own way; and never had she pursued it in
more decided opposition to Lady Russell than in this selection of Mrs
Clay; turning from the society of so deserving a sister, to bestow her
affection and confidence on one who ought to have been nothing to her
but the object of distant civility.
From situation, Mrs Clay was, in Lady Russell's estimate, a very
unequal, and in her character she believed a very dangerous companion;
and a removal that would leave Mrs Clay behind, and bring a choice of
more suitable intimates within Miss Elliot's reach, was therefore an
object of first-rate importance.
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Chapter 3

“I must take leave to observe, Sir Walter,” said Mr Shepherd one
morning at Kellynch Hall, as he laid down the newspaper, “that the
present juncture is much in our favour. This peace will be turning all our
rich naval officers ashore. They will be all wanting a home. Could not be
a better time, Sir Walter, for having a choice of tenants, very responsible
tenants. Many a noble fortune has been made during the war. If a rich
admiral were to come in our way, Sir Walter--”
“He would be a very lucky man, Shepherd,” replied Sir Walter;
“that's all I have to remark. A prize indeed would Kellynch Hall be to
him; rather the greatest prize of all, let him have taken ever so many
before; hey, Shepherd?”
Mr Shepherd laughed, as he knew he must, at this wit, and then
added--
“I presume to observe, Sir Walter, that, in the way of business,
gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with. I have had a little
knowledge of their methods of doing business; and I am free to confess
that they have very liberal notions, and are as likely to make desirable
tenants as any set of people one should meet with. Therefore, Sir Walter,
what I would take leave to suggest is, that if in consequence of any
rumours getting abroad of your intention; which must be contemplated
as a possible thing, because we know how difficult it is to keep the
actions and designs of one part of the world from the notice and
curiosity of the other; consequence has its tax; I, John Shepherd, might
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conceal any family-matters that I chose, for nobody would think it worth
their while to observe me; but Sir Walter Elliot has eyes upon him which
it may be very difficult to elude; and therefore, thus much I venture
upon, that it will not greatly surprise me if, with all our caution, some
rumour of the truth should get abroad; in the supposition of which, as I
was going to observe, since applications will unquestionably follow, I
should think any from our wealthy naval commanders particularly worth
attending to; and beg leave to add, that two hours will bring me over at
any time, to save you the trouble of replying.”
Sir Walter only nodded. But soon afterwards, rising and pacing the
room, he observed sarcastically--
“There are few among the gentlemen of the navy, I imagine, who
would not be surprised to find themselves in a house of this description.”
“They would look around them, no doubt, and bless their good
fortune,” said Mrs Clay, for Mrs Clay was present: her father had driven
her over, nothing being of so much use to Mrs Clay's health as a drive to
Kellynch: “but I quite agree with my father in thinking a sailor might be
a very desirable tenant. I have known a good deal of the profession; and
besides their liberality, they are so neat and careful in all their ways!
These valuable pictures of yours, Sir Walter, if you chose to leave them,
would be perfectly safe. Everything in and about the house would be
taken such excellent care of! The gardens and shrubberies would be kept
in almost as high order as they are now. You need not be afraid, Miss
Elliot, of your own sweet flower gardens being neglected.”
“As to all that,” rejoined Sir Walter coolly, “supposing I were
induced to let my house, I have by no means made up my mind as to the
privileges to be annexed to it. I am not particularly disposed to favour a
tenant. The park would be open to him of course, and few navy officers,
or men of any other description, can have had such a range; but what
restrictions I might impose on the use of the pleasure-grounds, is another
thing.
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“I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always
approachable; and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard
with respect to her flower garden. I am very little disposed to grant a
tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary favour, I assure you, be he
sailor or soldier.”
After a short pause, Mr Shepherd presumed to say--
“In all these cases, there are established usages which make
everything plain and easy between landlord and tenant. Your interest, Sir
Walter, is in pretty safe hands. Depend upon me for taking care that no
tenant has more than his just rights. I venture to hint, that Sir Walter
Elliot cannot be half so jealous for his own, as John Shepherd will be for
him.”
Here Anne spoke--
“The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an
equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the
privileges which any home can give. Sailors work hard enough for their
comforts, we must all allow.”
“Very true, very true. What Miss Anne says, is very true,” was Mr
Shepherd's rejoinder, and “Oh! certainly,” was his daughter's; but Sir
Walter's remark was, soon afterwards--
“The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any
friend of mine belonging to it.”
“Indeed!” was the reply, and with a look of surprise.
“Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds
of objection to it. First, as being the means of bringing persons of
obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which
their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it cuts
up a man's youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old sooner
than any other man. I have observed it all my life. A man is in greater
danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one whose father, his
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father might have disdained to speak to, and of becoming prematurely an
object of disgust himself, than in any other line. One day last spring, in
town, I was in company with two men, striking instances of what I am
talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father we all know to have been a
country curate, without bread to eat; I was to give place to Lord St Ives,
and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking personage
you can imagine; his face the colour of mahogany, rough and rugged to
the last degree; all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs of a side, and
nothing but a dab of powder at top. 'In the name of heaven, who is that
old fellow?' said I to a friend of mine who was standing near, (Sir Basil
Morley). 'Old fellow!' cried Sir Basil, 'it is Admiral Baldwin. What do
you take his age to be?' 'Sixty,' said I, 'or perhaps sixty-two.' 'Forty,'
replied Sir Basil, 'forty, and no more.' Picture to yourselves my
amazement; I shall not easily forget Admiral Baldwin.
“I never saw quite so wretched an example of what a sea-faring life
can do; but to a degree, I know it is the same with them all: they are all
knocked about, and exposed to every climate, and every weather, till
they are not fit to be seen. It is a pity they are not knocked on the head at
once, before they reach Admiral Baldwin's age.”
“Nay, Sir Walter,” cried Mrs Clay, “this is being severe indeed.
Have a little mercy on the poor men. We are not all born to be
handsome. The sea is no beautifier, certainly; sailors do grow old
betimes; I have observed it; they soon lose the look of youth. But then, is
not it the same with many other professions, perhaps most other?
Soldiers, in active service, are not at all better off: and even in the
quieter professions, there is a toil and a labour of the mind, if not of the
body, which seldom leaves a man's looks to the natural effect of time.
The lawyer plods, quite care-worn; the physician is up at all hours, and
travelling in all weather; and even the clergyman--” she stopt a moment
to consider what might do for the clergyman;--"and even the clergyman,
you know is obliged to go into infected rooms, and expose his health and
looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere. In fact, as I have long
been convinced, though every profession is necessary and honourable in
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its turn, it is only the lot of those who are not obliged to follow any, who
can live in a regular way, in the country, choosing their own hours,
following their own pursuits, and living on their own property, without
the torment of trying for more.
“It is only their lot, I say, to hold the blessings of health and a good
appearance to the utmost: I know no other set of men but what lose
something of their personableness when they cease to be quite young.”
It seemed as if Mr Shepherd, in this anxiety to bespeak Sir Walter's
good will towards a naval officer as tenant, had been gifted with
foresight; for the very first application for the house was from an
Admiral Croft, with whom he shortly afterwards fell into company in
attending the quarter sessions at Taunton; and indeed, he had received a
hint of the Admiral from a London correspondent. By the report which
he hastened over to Kellynch to make, Admiral Croft was a native of
Somersetshire, who having acquired a very handsome fortune, was
wishing to settle in his own country, and had come down to Taunton in
order to look at some advertised places in that immediate
neighbourhood, which, however, had not suited him; that accidentally
hearing--(it was just as he had foretold, Mr Shepherd observed, Sir
Walter's concerns could not be kept a secret,)-- accidentally hearing of
the possibility of Kellynch Hall being to let, and understanding his (Mr
Shepherd's) connection with the owner, he had introduced himself to
him in order to make particular inquiries, and had, in the course of a
pretty long conference, expressed as strong an inclination for the place
as a man who knew it only by description could feel; and given Mr
Shepherd, in his explicit account of himself, every proof of his being a
most responsible, eligible tenant.
“And who is Admiral Croft?” was Sir Walter's cold suspicious
inquiry.
Mr Shepherd answered for his being of a gentleman's family, and
mentioned a place; and Anne, after the little pause which followed,
added--
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“He is a rear admiral of the white. He was in the Trafalgar action,
and has been in the East Indies since; he was stationed there, I believe,
several years.”
“Then I take it for granted,” observed Sir Walter, “that his face is
about as orange as the cuffs and capes of my livery.”
Mr Shepherd hastened to assure him, that Admiral Croft was a
very hale, hearty, well-looking man, a little weather-beaten, to be sure,
but not much, and quite the gentleman in all his notions and behaviour;
not likely to make the smallest difficulty about terms, only wanted a
comfortable home, and to get into it as soon as possible; knew he must
pay for his convenience; knew what rent a ready-furnished house of that
consequence might fetch; should not have been surprised if Sir Walter
had asked more; had inquired about the manor; would be glad of the
deputation, certainly, but made no great point of it; said he sometimes
took out a gun, but never killed; quite the gentleman.
Mr Shepherd was eloquent on the subject; pointing out all the
circumstances of the Admiral's family, which made him peculiarly
desirable as a tenant. He was a married man, and without children; the
very state to be wished for. A house was never taken good care of, Mr
Shepherd observed, without a lady: he did not know, whether furniture
might not be in danger of suffering as much where there was no lady, as
where there were many children. A lady, without a family, was the very
best preserver of furniture in the world. He had seen Mrs Croft, too; she
was at Taunton with the admiral, and had been present almost all the
time they were talking the matter over.
“And a very well-spoken, genteel, shrewd lady, she seemed to be,”
continued he; “asked more questions about the house, and terms, and
taxes, than the Admiral himself, and seemed more conversant with
business; and moreover, Sir Walter, I found she was not quite
unconnected in this country, any more than her husband; that is to say,
she is sister to a gentleman who did live amongst us once; she told me so
herself: sister to the gentleman who lived a few years back at Monkford.
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Bless me! what was his name? At this moment I cannot recollect his
name, though I have heard it so lately. Penelope, my dear, can you help
me to the name of the gentleman who lived at Monkford: Mrs Croft's
brother?”
But Mrs Clay was talking so eagerly with Miss Elliot, that she did
not hear the appeal.
“I have no conception whom you can mean, Shepherd; I remember
no gentleman resident at Monkford since the time of old Governor
Trent.”
“Bless me! how very odd! I shall forget my own name soon, I
suppose. A name that I am so very well acquainted with; knew the
gentleman so well by sight; seen him a hundred times; came to consult
me once, I remember, about a trespass of one of his neighbours; farmer's
man breaking into his orchard; wall torn down; apples stolen; caught in
the fact; and afterwards, contrary to my judgement, submitted to an
amicable compromise. Very odd indeed!”
After waiting another moment--
“You mean Mr Wentworth, I suppose?” said Anne.
Mr Shepherd was all gratitude.
“Wentworth was the very name! Mr Wentworth was the very man.
He had the curacy of Monkford, you know, Sir Walter, some time back,
for two or three years. Came there about the year ---5, I take it. You
remember him, I am sure.”
“Wentworth? Oh! ay,--Mr Wentworth, the curate of Monkford.
You misled me by the term gentleman. I thought you were speaking of
some man of property: Mr Wentworth was nobody, I remember; quite
unconnected; nothing to do with the Strafford family. One wonders how
the names of many of our nobility become so common.”
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As Mr Shepherd perceived that this connexion of the Crofts did
them no service with Sir Walter, he mentioned it no more; returning,
with all his zeal, to dwell on the circumstances more indisputably in
their favour; their age, and number, and fortune; the high idea they had
formed of Kellynch Hall, and extreme solicitude for the advantage of
renting it; making it appear as if they ranked nothing beyond the
happiness of being the tenants of Sir Walter Elliot: an extraordinary
taste, certainly, could they have been supposed in the secret of Sir
Walter's estimate of the dues of a tenant.
It succeeded, however; and though Sir Walter must ever look with
an evil eye on anyone intending to inhabit that house, and think them
infinitely too well off in being permitted to rent it on the highest terms,
he was talked into allowing Mr Shepherd to proceed in the treaty, and
authorising him to wait on Admiral Croft, who still remained at Taunton,
and fix a day for the house being seen.
Sir Walter was not very wise; but still he had experience enough of
the world to feel, that a more unobjectionable tenant, in all essentials,
than Admiral Croft bid fair to be, could hardly offer. So far went his
understanding; and his vanity supplied a little additional soothing, in the
Admiral's situation in life, which was just high enough, and not too high.
“I have let my house to Admiral Croft,” would sound extremely
well; very much better than to any mere Mr--; a Mr (save, perhaps, some
half dozen in the nation,) always needs a note of explanation. An
admiral speaks his own consequence, and, at the same time, can never
make a baronet look small. In all their dealings and intercourse, Sir
Walter Elliot must ever have the precedence.
Nothing could be done without a reference to Elizabeth: but her
inclination was growing so strong for a removal, that she was happy to
have it fixed and expedited by a tenant at hand; and not a word to
suspend decision was uttered by her.
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Mr Shepherd was completely empowered to act; and no sooner had
such an end been reached, than Anne, who had been a most attentive
listener to the whole, left the room, to seek the comfort of cool air for
her flushed cheeks; and as she walked along a favourite grove, said, with
a gentle sigh, “A few months more, and he, perhaps, may be walking
here.
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Chapter 4

He was not Mr Wentworth, the former curate of Monkford,
however suspicious appearances may be, but a Captain Frederick
Wentworth, his brother, who being made commander in consequence of
the action off St Domingo, and not immediately employed, had come
into Somersetshire, in the summer of 1806; and having no parent living,
found a home for half a year at Monkford. He was, at that time, a
remarkably fine young man, with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and
brilliancy; and Anne an extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty,
taste, and feeling. Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have
been enough, for he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to
love; but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail.
They were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and
deeply in love.
It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the
other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his declarations
and proposals, or he in having them accepted.
A short period of exquisite felicity followed, and but a short one.
Troubles soon arose. Sir Walter, on being applied to, without actually
withholding his consent, or saying it should never be, gave it all the
negative of great astonishment, great coldness, great silence, and a
professed resolution of doing nothing for his daughter. He thought it a
very degrading alliance; and Lady Russell, though with more tempered
and pardonable pride, received it as a most unfortunate one.
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Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to
throw herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an
engagement with a young man, who had nothing but himself to
recommend him, and no hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances
of a most uncertain profession, and no connexions to secure even his
farther rise in the profession, would be, indeed, a throwing away, which
she grieved to think of! Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be
snatched off by a stranger without alliance or fortune; or rather sunk by
him into a state of most wearing, anxious, youth-killing dependence! It
must not be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations
from one who had almost a mother's love, and mother's rights, it would
be prevented.
Captain Wentworth had no fortune. He had been lucky in his
profession; but spending freely, what had come freely, had realized
nothing. But he was confident that he should soon be rich: full of life
and ardour, he knew that he should soon have a ship, and soon be on a
station that would lead to everything he wanted. He had always been
lucky; he knew he knew he should be so still. Such confidence, powerful
in its own warmth, and bewitching in the wit which often expressed it,
must have been enough for Anne; but Lady Russell saw it very
differently. His sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated
very differently on her. She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil. It
only added a dangerous character to himself. He was brilliant, he was
headstrong. Lady Russell had little taste for wit, and of anything
approaching to imprudence a horror. She deprecated the connexion in
every light.
Such opposition, as these feelings produced, was more than Anne
could combat. Young and gentle as she was, it might yet have been
possible to withstand her father's ill-will, though unsoftened by one kind
word or look on the part of her sister; but Lady Russell, whom she had
always loved and relied on, could not, with such steadiness of opinion,
and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain. She
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was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing: indiscreet,
improper, hardly capable of success, and not deserving it.
But it was not a merely selfish caution, under which she acted, in
putting an end to it. Had she not imagined herself consulting his good,
even more than her own, she could hardly have given him up. The belief
of being prudent, and self-denying, principally for his advantage, was
her chief consolation, under the misery of a parting, a final parting; and
every consolation was required, for she had to encounter all the
additional pain of opinions, on his side, totally unconvinced and
unbending, and of his feeling himself ill used by so forced a
relinquishment. He had left the country in consequence.
A few months had seen the beginning and the end of their
acquaintance; but not with a few months ended Anne's share of suffering
from it. Her attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every
enjoyment of youth, and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their
lasting effect.
More than seven years were gone since this little history of
sorrowful interest had reached its close; and time had softened down
much, perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him, but she had been
too dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place
(except in one visit to Bath soon after the rupture), or in any novelty or
enlargement of society. No one had ever come within the Kellynch
circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he
stood in her memory.
No second attachment, the only thoroughly natural, happy, and
sufficient cure, at her time of life, had been possible to the nice tone of
her mind, the fastidiousness of her taste, in the small limits of the society
around them. She had been solicited, when about two-and-twenty, to
change her name, by the young man, who not long afterwards found a
more willing mind in her younger sister; and Lady Russell had lamented
her refusal; for Charles Musgrove was the eldest son of a man, whose
landed property and general importance were second in that country,
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only to Sir Walter's, and of good character and appearance; and however
Lady Russell might have asked yet for something more, while Anne was
nineteen, she would have rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so
respectably removed from the partialities and injustice of her father's
house, and settled so permanently near herself. But in this case, Anne
had left nothing for advice to do; and though Lady Russell, as satisfied
as ever with her own discretion, never wished the past undone, she
began now to have the anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's
being tempted, by some man of talents and independence, to enter a state
for which she held her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and
domestic habits.
They knew not each other's opinion, either its constancy or its
change, on the one leading point of Anne's conduct, for the subject was
never alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very
differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen. She did
not blame Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been
guided by her; but she felt that were any young person, in similar
circumstances, to apply to her for counsel, they would never receive any
of such certain immediate wretchedness, such uncertain future good. She
was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home,
and every anxiety attending his profession, all their probable fears,
delays, and disappointments, she should yet have been a happier woman
in maintaining the engagement, than she had been in the sacrifice of it;
and this, she fully believed, had the usual share, had even more than the
usual share of all such solicitudes and suspense been theirs, without
reference to the actual results of their case, which, as it happened, would
have bestowed earlier prosperity than could be reasonably calculated on.
All his sanguine expectations, all his confidence had been justified. His
genius and ardour had seemed to foresee and to command his prosperous
path. He had, very soon after their engagement ceased, got employ: and
all that he had told her would follow, had taken place. He had
distinguished himself, and early gained the other step in rank, and must
now, by successive captures, have made a handsome fortune.
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She had only navy lists and newspapers for her authority, but she
could not doubt his being rich; and, in favour of his constancy, she had
no reason to believe him married.
How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent, at least,
were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful
confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems to
insult exertion and distrust Providence! She had been forced into
prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the
natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.
With all these circumstances, recollections and feelings, she could
not hear that Captain Wentworth's sister was likely to live at Kellynch
without a revival of former pain; and many a stroll, and many a sigh,
were necessary to dispel the agitation of the idea. She often told herself
it was folly, before she could harden her nerves sufficiently to feel the
continual discussion of the Crofts and their business no evil. She was
assisted, however, by that perfect indifference and apparent
unconsciousness, among the only three of her own friends in the secret
of the past, which seemed almost to deny any recollection of it.
She could do justice to the superiority of Lady Russell's motives in
this, over those of her father and Elizabeth; she could honour all the
better feelings of her calmness; but the general air of oblivion among
them was highly important from whatever it sprung; and in the event of
Admiral Croft's really taking Kellynch Hall, she rejoiced anew over the
conviction which had always been most grateful to her, of the past being
known to those three only among her connexions, by whom no syllable,
she believed, would ever be whispered, and in the trust that among his,
the brother only with whom he had been residing, had received any
information of their short-lived engagement. That brother had been long
removed from the country and being a sensible man, and, moreover, a
single man at the time, she had a fond dependence on no human
creature's having heard of it from him.
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The sister, Mrs Croft, had then been out of England, accompanying
her husband on a foreign station, and her own sister, Mary, had been at
school while it all occurred; and never admitted by the pride of some,
and the delicacy of others, to the smallest knowledge of it afterwards.
With these supports, she hoped that the acquaintance between
herself and the Crofts, which, with Lady Russell, still resident in
Kellynch, and Mary fixed only three miles off, must be anticipated, need
not involve any particular awkwardness.
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Chapter 5

On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs Croft's seeing
Kellynch Hall, Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk
to Lady Russell's, and keep out of the way till all was over; when she
found it most natural to be sorry that she had missed the opportunity of
seeing them.
This meeting of the two parties proved highly satisfactory, and
decided the whole business at once. Each lady was previously well
disposed for an agreement, and saw nothing, therefore, but good
manners in the other; and with regard to the gentlemen, there was such
an hearty good humour, such an open, trusting liberality on the
Admiral's side, as could not but influence Sir Walter, who had besides
been flattered into his very best and most polished behaviour by Mr
Shepherd's assurances of his being known, by report, to the Admiral, as
a model of good breeding.
The house and grounds, and furniture, were approved, the Crofts
were approved, terms, time, every thing, and every body, was right; and
Mr Shepherd's clerks were set to work, without there having been a
single preliminary difference to modify of all that “This indenture
sheweth.”
Sir Walter, without hesitation, declared the Admiral to be the best-
looking sailor he had ever met with, and went so far as to say, that if his
own man might have had the arranging of his hair, he should not be
ashamed of being seen with him any where; and the Admiral, with
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sympathetic cordiality, observed to his wife as they drove back through
the park, “I thought we should soon come to a deal, my dear, in spite of
what they told us at Taunton. The Baronet will never set the Thames on
fire, but there seems to be no harm in him.” reciprocal compliments,
which would have been esteemed about equal.
The Crofts were to have possession at Michaelmas; and as Sir
Walter proposed removing to Bath in the course of the preceding month,
there was no time to be lost in making every dependent arrangement.
Lady Russell, convinced that Anne would not be allowed to be of
any use, or any importance, in the choice of the house which they were
going to secure, was very unwilling to have her hurried away so soon,
and wanted to make it possible for her to stay behind till she might
convey her to Bath herself after Christmas.
But having engagements of her own which must take her from
Kellynch for several weeks, she was unable to give the full invitation she
wished, and Anne though dreading the possible heats of September in all
the white glare of Bath, and grieving to forego all the influence so sweet
and so sad of the autumnal months in the country, did not think that,
everything considered, she wished to remain. It would be most right, and
most wise, and, therefore must involve least suffering to go with the
others.
Something occurred, however, to give her a different duty. Mary,
often a little unwell, and always thinking a great deal of her own
complaints, and always in the habit of claiming Anne when anything
was the matter, was indisposed; and foreseeing that she should not have
a day's health all the autumn, entreated, or rather required her, for it was
hardly entreaty, to come to Uppercross Cottage, and bear her company
as long as she should want her, instead of going to Bath.
“I cannot possibly do without Anne,” was Mary's reasoning; and
Elizabeth's reply was, “Then I am sure Anne had better stay, for nobody
will want her in Bath.”
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To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least
better than being rejected as no good at all; and Anne, glad to be thought
of some use, glad to have anything marked out as a duty, and certainly
not sorry to have the scene of it in the country, and her own dear
country, readily agreed to stay.
This invitation of Mary's removed all Lady Russell's difficulties,
and it was consequently soon settled that Anne should not go to Bath till
Lady Russell took her, and that all the intervening time should be
divided between Uppercross Cottage and Kellynch Lodge.
So far all was perfectly right; but Lady Russell was almost startled
by the wrong of one part of the Kellynch Hall plan, when it burst on her,
which was, Mrs Clay's being engaged to go to Bath with Sir Walter and
Elizabeth, as a most important and valuable assistant to the latter in all
the business before her. Lady Russell was extremely sorry that such a
measure should have been resorted to at all, wondered, grieved, and
feared; and the affront it contained to Anne, in Mrs Clay's being of so
much use, while Anne could be of none, was a very sore aggravation.
Anne herself was become hardened to such affronts; but she felt
the imprudence of the arrangement quite as keenly as Lady Russell.
With a great deal of quiet observation, and a knowledge, which she often
wished less, of her father's character, she was sensible that results the
most serious to his family from the intimacy were more than possible.
She did not imagine that her father had at present an idea of the kind.
Mrs Clay had freckles, and a projecting tooth, and a clumsy wrist,
which he was continually making severe remarks upon, in her absence;
but she was young, and certainly altogether well-looking, and possessed,
in an acute mind and assiduous pleasing manners, infinitely more
dangerous attractions than any merely personal might have been. Anne
was so impressed by the degree of their danger, that she could not
excuse herself from trying to make it perceptible to her sister. She had
little hope of success; but Elizabeth, who in the event of such a reverse
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would be so much more to be pitied than herself, should never, she
thought, have reason to reproach her for giving no warning.
She spoke, and seemed only to offend. Elizabeth could not
conceive how such an absurd suspicion should occur to her, and
indignantly answered for each party's perfectly knowing their situation.
“Mrs Clay,” said she, warmly, “never forgets who she is; and as I
am rather better acquainted with her sentiments than you can be, I can
assure you, that upon the subject of marriage they are particularly nice,
and that she reprobates all inequality of condition and rank more
strongly than most people. And as to my father, I really should not have
thought that he, who has kept himself single so long for our sakes, need
be suspected now.
“If Mrs Clay were a very beautiful woman, I grant you, it might be
wrong to have her so much with me; not that anything in the world, I am
sure, would induce my father to make a degrading match, but he might
be rendered unhappy. But poor Mrs Clay who, with all her merits, can
never have been reckoned tolerably pretty, I really think poor Mrs Clay
may be staying here in perfect safety. One would imagine you had never
heard my father speak of her personal misfortunes, though I know you
must fifty times. That tooth of her's and those freckles. Freckles do not
disgust me so very much as they do him. I have known a face not
materially disfigured by a few, but he abominates them. You must have
heard him notice Mrs Clay's freckles.”
“There is hardly any personal defect,” replied Anne, “which an
agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to.”
“I think very differently,” answered Elizabeth, shortly; “an
agreeable manner may set off handsome features, but can never alter
plain ones. However, at any rate, as I have a great deal more at stake on
this point than anybody else can have, I think it rather unnecessary in
you to be advising me.”
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Anne had done; glad that it was over, and not absolutely hopeless
of doing good. Elizabeth, though resenting the suspicion, might yet be
made observant by it.
The last office of the four carriage-horses was to draw Sir Walter,
Miss Elliot, and Mrs Clay to Bath. The party drove off in very good
spirits; Sir Walter prepared with condescending bows for all the afflicted
tenantry and cottagers who might have had a hint to show themselves,
and Anne walked up at the same time, in a sort of desolate tranquility, to
the Lodge, where she was to spend the first week.
Her friend was not in better spirits than herself. Lady Russell felt
this break-up of the family exceedingly. Their respectability was as dear
to her as her own, and a daily intercourse had become precious by habit.
It was painful to look upon their deserted grounds, and still worse to
anticipate the new hands they were to fall into; and to escape the
solitariness and the melancholy of so altered a village, and be out of the
way when Admiral and Mrs Croft first arrived, she had determined to
make her own absence from home begin when she must give up Anne.
Accordingly their removal was made together, and Anne was set down
at Uppercross Cottage, in the first stage of Lady Russell's journey.
Uppercross was a moderate-sized village, which a few years back
had been completely in the old English style, containing only two houses
superior in appearance to those of the yeomen and labourers; the
mansion of the squire, with its high walls, great gates, and old trees,
substantial and unmodernized, and the compact, tight parsonage,
enclosed in its own neat garden, with a vine and a pear-tree trained
round its casements.
But upon the marriage of the young 'squire, it had received the
improvement of a farm-house elevated into a cottage, for his residence,
and Uppercross Cottage, with its veranda, French windows, and other
prettiness, was quite as likely to catch the traveller's eye as the more
consistent and considerable aspect and premises of the Great House,
about a quarter of a mile farther on.
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Here Anne had often been staying. She knew the ways of
Uppercross as well as those of Kellynch. The two families were so
continually meeting, so much in the habit of running in and out of each
other's house at all hours, that it was rather a surprise to her to find Mary
alone; but being alone, her being unwell and out of spirits was almost a
matter of course. Though better endowed than the elder sister, Mary had
not Anne's understanding nor temper. While well, and happy, and
properly attended to, she had great good humour and excellent spirits;
but any indisposition sunk her completely. She had no resources for
solitude; and inheriting a considerable share of the Elliot self-
importance, was very prone to add to every other distress that of
fancying herself neglected and ill-used. In person, she was inferior to
both sisters, and had, even in her bloom, only reached the dignity of
being “a fine girl.” She was now lying on the faded sofa of the pretty
little drawing-room, the once elegant furniture of which had been
gradually growing shabby, under the influence of four summers and two
children; and, on Anne's appearing, greeted her with--
“So, you are come at last! I began to think I should never see you. I
am so ill I can hardly speak. I have not seen a creature the whole
morning!”
“I am sorry to find you unwell,” replied Anne. “You sent me such
a good account of yourself on Thursday!”
“Yes, I made the best of it; I always do: but I was very far from
well at the time; and I do not think I ever was so ill in my life as I have
been all this morning: very unfit to be left alone, I am sure. Suppose I
were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way, and not able to ring
the bell! So, Lady Russell would not get out. I do not think she has been
in this house three times this summer.”
Anne said what was proper, and enquired after her husband. “Oh!
Charles is out shooting. I have not seen him since seven o'clock. He
would go, though I told him how ill I was. He said he should not stay out
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long; but he has never come back, and now it is almost one. I assure you,
I have not seen a soul this whole long morning.”
“You have had your little boys with you?”
“Yes, as long as I could bear their noise; but they are so
unmanageable that they do me more harm than good. Little Charles does
not mind a word I say, and Walter is growing quite as bad.”
“Well, you will soon be better now,” replied Anne, cheerfully.
“You know I always cure you when I come. How are your neighbours at
the Great House?”
“I can give you no account of them. I have not seen one of them to-
day, except Mr Musgrove, who just stopped and spoke through the
window, but without getting off his horse; and though I told him how ill
I was, not one of them have been near me. It did not happen to suit the
Miss Musgroves, I suppose, and they never put themselves out of their
way.”
“You will see them yet, perhaps, before the morning is gone. It is
early.”
“I never want them, I assure you. They talk and laugh a great deal
too much for me. Oh! Anne, I am so very unwell! It was quite unkind of
you not to come on Thursday.”
“My dear Mary, recollect what a comfortable account you sent me
of yourself! You wrote in the cheerfullest manner, and said you were
perfectly well, and in no hurry for me; and that being the case, you must
be aware that my wish would be to remain with Lady Russell to the last:
and besides what I felt on her account, I have really been so busy, have
had so much to do, that I could not very conveniently have left Kellynch
sooner.”
“Dear me! what can you possibly have to do?”
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“A great many things, I assure you. More than I can recollect in a
moment; but I can tell you some. I have been making a duplicate of the
catalogue of my father's books and pictures. I have been several times in
the garden with Mackenzie, trying to understand, and make him
understand, which of Elizabeth's plants are for Lady Russell. I have had
all my own little concerns to arrange, books and music to divide, and all
my trunks to repack, from not having understood in time what was
intended as to the waggons: and one thing I have had to do, Mary, of a
more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish, as a sort
of take-leave. I was told that they wished it. But all these things took up
a great deal of time.”
“Oh! well!” and after a moment's pause, “but you have never asked
me one word about our dinner at the Pooles yesterday.”
“Did you go then? I have made no enquiries, because I concluded
you must have been obliged to give up the party.”
“Oh yes! I went. I was very well yesterday; nothing at all the
matter with me till this morning. It would have been strange if I had not
gone.”
“I am very glad you were well enough, and I hope you had a
pleasant party.”
“Nothing remarkable. One always knows beforehand what the
dinner will be, and who will be there; and it is so very uncomfortable not
having a carriage of one's own. Mr and Mrs Musgrove took me, and we
were so crowded! They are both so very large, and take up so much
room; and Mr Musgrove always sits forward. So, there was I, crowded
into the back seat with Henrietta and Louise; and I think it very likely
that my illness to-day may be owing to it.”
A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on
Anne's side produced nearly a cure on Mary's. She could soon sit upright
on the sofa, and began to hope she might be able to leave it by dinner-
time. Then, forgetting to think of it, she was at the other end of the room,
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beautifying a nosegay; then, she ate her cold meat; and then she was
well enough to propose a little walk.
“Where shall we go?” said she, when they were ready. “I suppose
you will not like to call at the Great House before they have been to see
you?”
“I have not the smallest objection on that account,” replied Anne.
“I should never think of standing on such ceremony with people I know
so well as Mrs and the Miss Musgroves.”
“Oh! but they ought to call upon you as soon as possible. They
ought to feel what is due to you as my sister. However, we may as well
go and sit with them a little while, and when we have that over, we can
enjoy our walk.”
Anne had always thought such a style of intercourse highly
imprudent; but she had ceased to endeavour to check it, from believing
that, though there were on each side continual subjects of offence,
neither family could now do without it. To the Great House accordingly
they went, to sit the full half hour in the old-fashioned square parlour,
with a small carpet and shining floor, to which the present daughters of
the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a grand
piano-forte and a harp, flower-stands and little tables placed in every
direction. Oh! could the originals of the portraits against the wainscot,
could the gentlemen in brown velvet and the ladies in blue satin have
seen what was going on, have been conscious of such an overthrow of
all order and neatness! The portraits themselves seemed to be staring in
astonishment.
The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration,
perhaps of improvement. The father and mother were in the old English
style, and the young people in the new. Mr and Mrs Musgrove were a
very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated,
and not at all elegant. Their children had more modern minds and
manners. There was a numerous family; but the only two grown up,
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excepting Charles, were Henrietta and Louisa, young ladies of nineteen
and twenty, who had brought from school at Exeter all the usual stock of
accomplishments, and were now like thousands of other young ladies,
living to be fashionable, happy, and merry.
Their dress had every advantage, their faces were rather pretty,
their spirits extremely good, their manner unembarrassed and pleasant;
they were of consequence at home, and favourites abroad. Anne always
contemplated them as some of the happiest creatures of her
acquaintance; but still, saved as we all are, by some comfortable feeling
of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange, she would
not have given up her own more elegant and cultivated mind for all their
enjoyments; and envied them nothing but that seemingly perfect good
understanding and agreement together, that good-humoured mutual
affection, of which she had known so little herself with either of her
sisters.
They were received with great cordiality. Nothing seemed amiss
on the side of the Great House family, which was generally, as Anne
very well knew, the least to blame. The half hour was chatted away
pleasantly enough; and she was not at all surprised at the end of it, to
have their walking party joined by both the Miss Musgroves, at Mary's
particular invitation.
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Chapter 6

Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross, to learn that a
removal from one set of people to another, though at a distance of only
three miles, will often include a total change of conversation, opinion,
and idea. She had never been staying there before, without being struck
by it, or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in
seeing how unknown, or unconsidered there, were the affairs which at
Kellynch Hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading
interest; yet, with all this experience, she believed she must now submit
to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own nothingness
beyond our own circle, was become necessary for her.
For certainly, coming as she did, with a heart full of the subject
which had been completely occupying both houses in Kellynch for many
weeks, she had expected rather more curiosity and sympathy than she
found in the separate but very similar remark of Mr and Mrs Musgrove:
“So, Miss Anne, Sir Walter and your sister are gone; and what part of
Bath do you think they will settle in?” and this, without much waiting
for an answer; or in the young ladies' addition of, “I hope we shall be in
Bath in the winter; but remember, papa, if we do go, we must be in a
good situation: none of your Queen Squares for us!” or in the anxious
supplement from Mary, of-- “Upon my word, I shall be pretty well off,
when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!”
She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future, and
think with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having
one such truly sympathising friend as Lady Russell.
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The Mr Musgroves had their own game to guard, and to destroy,
their own horses, dogs, and newspapers to engage them, and the females
were fully occupied in all the other common subjects of housekeeping,
neighbours, dress, dancing, and music. She acknowledged it to be very
fitting, that every little social commonwealth should dictate its own
matters of discourse; and hoped, ere long, to become a not unworthy
member of the one she was now transplanted into.
With the prospect of spending at least two months at Uppercross, it
was highly incumbent on her to clothe her imagination, her memory, and
all her ideas in as much of Uppercross as possible.
She had no dread of these two months. Mary was not so repulsive
and unsisterly as Elizabeth, nor so inaccessible to all influence of hers;
neither was there anything among the other component parts of the
cottage inimical to comfort. She was always on friendly terms with her
brother-in-law; and in the children, who loved her nearly as well, and
respected her a great deal more than their mother, she had an object of
interest, amusement, and wholesome exertion.
Charles Musgrove was civil and agreeable; in sense and temper he
was undoubtedly superior to his wife, but not of powers, or
conversation, or grace, to make the past, as they were connected
together, at all a dangerous contemplation; though, at the same time,
Anne could believe, with Lady Russell, that a more equal match might
have greatly improved him; and that a woman of real understanding
might have given more consequence to his character, and more
usefulness, rationality, and elegance to his habits and pursuits. As it was,
he did nothing with much zeal, but sport; and his time was otherwise
trifled away, without benefit from books or anything else.
He had very good spirits, which never seemed much affected by
his wife's occasional lowness, bore with her unreasonableness
sometimes to Anne's admiration, and upon the whole, though there was
very often a little disagreement (in which she had sometimes more share
than she wished, being appealed to by both parties), they might pass for
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a happy couple. They were always perfectly agreed in the want of more
money, and a strong inclination for a handsome present from his father;
but here, as on most topics, he had the superiority, for while Mary
thought it a great shame that such a present was not made, he always
contended for his father's having many other uses for his money, and a
right to spend it as he liked.
As to the management of their children, his theory was much better
than his wife's, and his practice not so bad. “I could manage them very
well, if it were not for Mary's interference,” was what Anne often heard
him say, and had a good deal of faith in; but when listening in turn to
Mary's reproach of “Charles spoils the children so that I cannot get them
into any order,” she never had the smallest temptation to say, “Very
true.”
One of the least agreeable circumstances of her residence there was
her being treated with too much confidence by all parties, and being too
much in the secret of the complaints of each house. Known to have some
influence with her sister, she was continually requested, or at least
receiving hints to exert it, beyond what was practicable.
“I wish you could persuade Mary not to be always fancying herself
ill,” was Charles's language; and, in an unhappy mood, thus spoke Mary:
“I do believe if Charles were to see me dying, he would not think there
was anything the matter with me. I am sure, Anne, if you would, you
might persuade him that I really am very ill--a great deal worse than I
ever own.”
Mary's declaration was, “I hate sending the children to the Great
House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she
humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much
trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross for
the rest of the day. And Mrs Musgrove took the first opportunity of
being alone with Anne, to say, “Oh! Miss Anne, I cannot help wishing
Mrs Charles had a little of your method with those children. They are
quite different creatures with you! But to be sure, in general they are so
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spoilt! It is a pity you cannot put your sister in the way of managing
them. They are as fine healthy children as ever were seen, poor little
dears! without partiality; but Mrs Charles knows no more how they
should be treated--! Bless me! how troublesome they are sometimes. I
assure you, Miss Anne, it prevents my wishing to see them at our house
so often as I otherwise should.
“I believe Mrs Charles is not quite pleased with my not inviting
them oftener; but you know it is very bad to have children with one that
one is obligated to be checking every moment; “don't do this,” and
“don't do that;” or that one can only keep in tolerable order by more cake
than is good for them.”
She had this communication, moreover, from Mary. “Mrs
Musgrove thinks all her servants so steady, that it would be high treason
to call it in question; but I am sure, without exaggeration, that her upper
house-maid and laundry-maid, instead of being in their business, are
gadding about the village, all day long. I meet them wherever I go; and I
declare, I never go twice into my nursery without seeing something of
them. If Jemima were not the trustiest, steadiest creature in the world, it
would be enough to spoil her; for she tells me, they are always tempting
her to take a walk with them.” And on Mrs Musgrove's side, it was, “I
make a rule of never interfering in any of my daughter-in-law's
concerns, for I know it would not do; but I shall tell you, Miss Anne,
because you may be able to set things to rights, that I have no very good
opinion of Mrs Charles's nursery-maid: I hear strange stories of her; she
is always upon the gad; and from my own knowledge, I can declare, she
is such a fine-dressing lady, that she is enough to ruin any servants she
comes near. Mrs Charles quite swears by her, I know; but I just give you
this hint, that you may be upon the watch; because, if you see anything
amiss, you need not be afraid of mentioning it.”
Again, it was Mary's complaint, that Mrs Musgrove was very apt
not to give her the precedence that was her due, when they dined at the
Great House with other families; and she did not see any reason why she
was to be considered so much at home as to lose her place. And one day
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when Anne was walking with only the Musgroves, one of them after
talking of rank, people of rank, and jealousy of rank, said, “I have no
scruple of observing to you, how nonsensical some persons are about
their place, because all the world knows how easy and indifferent you
are about it; but I wish anybody could give Mary a hint that it would be
a great deal better if she were not so very tenacious, especially if she
would not be always putting herself forward to take place of mamma.
Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of mamma, but it would be
more becoming in her not to be always insisting on it. It is not that
mamma cares about it the least in the world, but I know it is taken notice
of by many persons.”
How was Anne to set all these matters to rights? She could do little
more than listen patiently, soften every grievance, and excuse each to the
other; give them all hints of the forbearance necessary between such
near neighbours, and make those hints broadest which were meant for
her sister's benefit.
In all other respects, her visit began and proceeded very well. Her
own spirits improved by change of place and subject, by being removed
three miles from Kellynch; Mary's ailments lessened by having a
constant companion, and their daily intercourse with the other family,
since there was neither superior affection, confidence, nor employment
in the cottage, to be interrupted by it, was rather an advantage. It was
certainly carried nearly as far as possible, for they met every morning,
and hardly ever spent an evening asunder; but she believed they should
not have done so well without the sight of Mr and Mrs Musgrove's
respectable forms in the usual places, or without the talking, laughing,
and singing of their daughters.
She played a great deal better than either of the Miss Musgroves,
but having no voice, no knowledge of the harp, and no fond parents, to
sit by and fancy themselves delighted, her performance was little
thought of, only out of civility, or to refresh the others, as she was well
aware. She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to
herself; but this was no new sensation. Excepting one short period of her
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life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the loss of her
dear mother, know the happiness of being listened to, or encouraged by
any just appreciation or real taste. In music she had been always used to
feel alone in the world; and Mr and Mrs Musgrove's fond partiality for
their own daughters' performance, and total indifference to any other
person's, gave her much more pleasure for their sakes, than mortification
for her own.
The party at the Great House was sometimes increased by other
company. The neighbourhood was not large, but the Musgroves were
visited by everybody, and had more dinner-parties, and more callers,
more visitors by invitation and by chance, than any other family. There
were more completely popular.
The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended,
occasionally, in an unpremeditated little ball. There was a family of
cousins within a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circumstances, who
depended on the Musgroves for all their pleasures: they would come at
any time, and help play at anything, or dance anywhere; and Anne, very
much preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played
country dances to them by the hour together; a kindness which always
recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr and Mrs
Musgrove more than anything else, and often drew this compliment;--
“Well done, Miss Anne! very well done indeed! Lord bless me! how
those little fingers of yours fly about!”
So passed the first three weeks. Michaelmas came; and now Anne's
heart must be in Kellynch again. A beloved home made over to others;
all the precious rooms and furniture, groves, and prospects, beginning to
own other eyes and other limbs!
She could not think of much else on the 29th of September; and
she had this sympathetic touch in the evening from Mary, who, on
having occasion to note down the day of the month, exclaimed, “Dear
me, is not this the day the Crofts were to come to Kellynch? I am glad I
did not think of it before. How low it makes me!”
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The Crofts took possession with true naval alertness, and were to
be visited. Mary deplored the necessity for herself. “Nobody knew how
much she should suffer. She should put it off as long as she could;” but
was not easy till she had talked Charles into driving her over on an early
day, and was in a very animated, comfortable state of imaginary
agitation, when she came back. Anne had very sincerely rejoiced in there
being no means of her going. She wished, however to see the Crofts, and
was glad to be within when the visit was returned. They came: the
master of the house was not at home, but the two sisters were together;
and as it chanced that Mrs Croft fell to the share of Anne, while the
Admiral sat by Mary, and made himself very agreeable by his good-
humoured notice of her little boys, she was well able to watch for a
likeness, and if it failed her in the features, to catch it in the voice, or in
the turn of sentiment and expression.
Mrs Croft, though neither tall nor fat, had a squareness,
uprightness, and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person.
She had bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face;
though her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence
of her having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem
to have lived some years longer in the world than her real eight-and-
thirty. Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no
distrust of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to
coarseness, however, or any want of good humour. Anne gave her credit,
indeed, for feelings of great consideration towards herself, in all that
related to Kellynch, and it pleased her: especially, as she had satisfied
herself in the very first half minute, in the instant even of introduction,
that there was not the smallest symptom of any knowledge or suspicion
on Mrs Croft's side, to give a bias of any sort. She was quite easy on that
head, and consequently full of strength and courage, till for a moment
electrified by Mrs Croft's suddenly saying,--
“It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the
pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country.”
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Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of
emotion she certainly had not.
“Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married?” added Mrs
Croft.
She could now answer as she ought; and was happy to feel, when
Mrs Croft's next words explained it to be Mr Wentworth of whom she
spoke, that she had said nothing which might not do for either brother.
She immediately felt how reasonable it was, that Mrs Croft should be
thinking and speaking of Edward, and not of Frederick; and with shame
at her own forgetfulness applied herself to the knowledge of their former
neighbour's present state with proper interest.
The rest was all tranquillity; till, just as they were moving, she
heard the Admiral say to Mary--
“We are expecting a brother of Mrs Croft's here soon; I dare say
you know him by name.”
He was cut short by the eager attacks of the little boys, clinging to
him like an old friend, and declaring he should not go; and being too
much engrossed by proposals of carrying them away in his coat pockets,
&c., to have another moment for finishing or recollecting what he had
begun, Anne was left to persuade herself, as well as she could, that the
same brother must still be in question. She could not, however, reach
such a degree of certainty, as not to be anxious to hear whether anything
had been said on the subject at the other house, where the Crofts had
previously been calling.
The folks of the Great House were to spend the evening of this day
at the Cottage; and it being now too late in the year for such visits to be
made on foot, the coach was beginning to be listened for, when the
youngest Miss Musgrove walked in. That she was coming to apologize,
and that they should have to spend the evening by themselves, was the
first black idea; and Mary was quite ready to be affronted, when Louisa
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made all right by saying, that she only came on foot, to leave more room
for the harp, which was bringing in the carriage.
“And I will tell you our reason,” she added, “and all about it. I am
come on to give you notice, that papa and mamma are out of spirits this
evening, especially mamma; she is thinking so much of poor Richard!
And we agreed it would be best to have the harp, for it seems to amuse
her more than the piano-forte. I will tell you why she is out of spirits.
When the Crofts called this morning, (they called here afterwards, did
not they?), they happened to say, that her brother, Captain Wentworth, is
just returned to England, or paid off, or something, and is coming to see
them almost directly; and most unluckily it came into mamma's head,
when they were gone, that Wentworth, or something very like it, was the
name of poor Richard's captain at one time; I do not know when or
where, but a great while before he died, poor fellow!
And upon looking over his letters and things, she found it was so,
and is perfectly sure that this must be the very man, and her head is quite
full of it, and of poor Richard! So we must be as merry as we can, that
she may not be dwelling upon such gloomy things.”
The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history
were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome,
hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his
twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and
unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time
by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of,
and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad
had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.
He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could
for him, by calling him “poor Richard,” been nothing better than a thick-
headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done
anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name,
living or dead.
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He had been several years at sea, and had, in the course of those
removals to which all midshipmen are liable, and especially such
midshipmen as every captain wishes to get rid of, been six months on
board Captain Frederick Wentworth's frigate, the Laconia.
And from the Laconia he had, under the influence of his captain,
written the only two letters which his father and mother had ever
received from him during the whole of his absence; that is to say, the
only two disinterested letters; all the rest had been mere applications for
money.
In each letter he had spoken well of his captain; but yet, so little
were they in the habit of attending to such matters, so unobservant and
incurious were they as to the names of men or ships, that it had made
scarcely any impression at the time; and that Mrs Musgrove should have
been suddenly struck, this very day, with a recollection of the name of
Wentworth, as connected with her son, seemed one of those
extraordinary bursts of mind which do sometimes occur.
She had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and
the re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son gone
for ever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had affected her
spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for him than she
had know on first hearing of his death. Mr Musgrove was, in a lesser
degree, affected likewise; and when they reached the cottage, they were
evidently in want, first, of being listened to anew on this subject, and
afterwards, of all the relief which cheerful companions could give them.
To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his
name so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it
might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain
Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their
coming back from Clifton--a very fine young man--but they could not
say whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a new sort of trial to
Anne's nerves. She found, however, that it was one to which she must
inure herself. Since he actually was expected in the country, she must
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teach herself to be insensible on such points. And not only did it appear
that he was expected, and speedily, but the Musgroves, in their warm
gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick, and very high respect
for his character, stamped as it was by poor Dick's having been six
months under his care, and mentioning him in strong, though not
perfectly well-spelt praise, as “a fine dashing felow, only two perticular
about the schoolmaster,” were bent on introducing themselves, and
seeking his acquaintance, as soon as they could hear of his arrival.
The resolution of doing so helped to form the comfort of their
evening.
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Chapter 7

A very few days more, and Captain Wentworth was known to be at
Kellynch, and Mr Musgrove had called on him, and come back warm in
his praise, and he was engaged with the Crofts to dine at Uppercross, by
the end of another week. It had been a great disappointment to Mr
Musgrove to find that no earlier day could be fixed, so impatient was he
to shew his gratitude, by seeing Captain Wentworth under his own roof,
and welcoming him to all that was strongest and best in his cellars. But a
week must pass; only a week, in Anne's reckoning, and then, she
supposed, they must meet; and soon she began to wish that she could
feel secure even for a week.
Captain Wentworth made a very early return to Mr Musgrove's
civility, and she was all but calling there in the same half hour. She and
Mary were actually setting forward for the Great House, where, as she
afterwards learnt, they must inevitably have found him, when they were
stopped by the eldest boy's being at that moment brought home in
consequence of a bad fall. The child's situation put the visit entirely
aside; but she could not hear of her escape with indifference, even in the
midst of the serious anxiety which they afterwards felt on his account.
His collar-bone was found to be dislocated, and such injury
received in the back, as roused the most alarming ideas. It was an
afternoon of distress, and Anne had every thing to do at once; the
apothecary to send for, the father to have pursued and informed, the
mother to support and keep from hysterics, the servants to control, the
youngest child to banish, and the poor suffering one to attend and
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soothe; besides sending, as soon as she recollected it, proper notice to
the other house, which brought her an accession rather of frightened,
enquiring companions, than of very useful assistants.
Her brother's return was the first comfort; he could take best care
of his wife; and the second blessing was the arrival of the apothecary.
Till he came and had examined the child, their apprehensions were the
worse for being vague; they suspected great injury, but knew not where.
But now the collar-bone was soon replaced, and though Mr
Robinson felt and felt, and rubbed, and looked grave, and spoke low
words both to the father and the aunt, still they were all to hope the best,
and to be able to part and eat their dinner in tolerable ease of mind; and
then it was, just before they parted, that the two young aunts were able
so far to digress from their nephew's state, as to give the information of
Captain Wentworth's visit; staying five minutes behind their father and
mother, to endeavour to express how perfectly delighted they were with
him, how much handsomer, how infinitely more agreeable they thought
him than any individual among their male acquaintance, who had been
at all a favourite before.
How glad they had been to hear papa invite him to stay dinner,
how sorry when he said it was quite out of his power, and how glad
again when he had promised in reply to papa and mamma's farther
pressing invitations to come and dine with them on the morrow--actually
on the morrow; and he had promised it in so pleasant a manner, as if he
felt all the motive of their attention just as he ought. And in short, he had
looked and said everything with such exquisite grace, that they could
assure them all, their heads were both turned by him; and off they ran,
quite as full of glee as of love, and apparently more full of Captain
Wentworth than of little Charles.
The same story and the same raptures were repeated, when the two
girls came with their father, through the gloom of the evening, to make
enquiries; and Mr Musgrove, no longer under the first uneasiness about
his heir, could add his confirmation and praise, and hope there would be
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now no occasion for putting Captain Wentworth off, and only be sorry to
think that the cottage party, probably, would not like to leave the little
boy, to give him the meeting. “Oh no; as to leaving the little boy,” both
father and mother were in much too strong and recent alarm to bear the
thought; and Anne, in the joy of the escape, could not help adding her
warm protestations to theirs.
Charles Musgrove, indeed, afterwards, shewed more of inclination;
“the child was going on so well, and he wished so much to be introduced
to Captain Wentworth, that, perhaps, he might join them in the evening;
he would not dine from home, but he might walk in for half an hour.”
But in this he was eagerly opposed by his wife, with “Oh! no, indeed,
Charles, I cannot bear to have you go away. Only think if anything
should happen?”
The child had a good night, and was going on well the next day. It
must be a work of time to ascertain that no injury had been done to the
spine; but Mr Robinson found nothing to increase alarm, and Charles
Musgrove began, consequently, to feel no necessity for longer
confinement.
The child was to be kept in bed and amused as quietly as possible;
but what was there for a father to do? This was quite a female case, and
it would be highly absurd in him, who could be of no use at home, to
shut himself up. His father very much wished him to meet Captain
Wentworth, and there being no sufficient reason against it, he ought to
go; and it ended in his making a bold, public declaration, when he came
in from shooting, of his meaning to dress directly, and dine at the other
house.
“Nothing can be going on better than the child,” said he; “so I told
my father, just now, that I would come, and he thought me quite right.
Your sister being with you, my love, I have no scruple at all. You would
not like to leave him yourself, but you see I can be of no use. Anne will
send for me if anything is the matter.”
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Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be
vain. Mary knew, from Charles's manner of speaking, that he was quite
determined on going, and that it would be of no use to teaze him. She
said nothing, therefore, till he was out of the room, but as soon as there
was only Anne to hear--
“So you and I are to be left to shift by ourselves, with this poor
sick child; and not a creature coming near us all the evening! I knew
how it would be. This is always my luck. If there is anything
disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it, and Charles is
as bad as any of them.
“Very unfeeling! I must say it is very unfeeling of him to be
running away from his poor little boy. Talks of his being going on so
well! How does he know that he is going on well, or that there may not
be a sudden change half an hour hence? I did not think Charles would
have been so unfeeling. So here he is to go away and enjoy himself, and
because I am the poor mother, I am not to be allowed to stir; and yet, I
am sure, I am more unfit than anybody else to be about the child. My
being the mother is the very reason why my feelings should not be tried.
I am not at all equal to it. You saw how hysterical I was yesterday.”
“But that was only the effect of the suddenness of your alarm-- of
the shock. You will not be hysterical again. I dare say we shall have
nothing to distress us. I perfectly understand Mr Robinson's directions,
and have no fears; and indeed, Mary, I cannot wonder at your husband.
Nursing does not belong to a man; it is not his province. A sick child is
always the mother's property: her own feelings generally make it so.”
“I hope I am as fond of my child as any mother, but I do not know
that I am of any more use in the sick-room than Charles, for I cannot be
always scolding and teazing the poor child when it is ill; and you saw,
this morning, that if I told him to keep quiet, he was sure to begin
kicking about. I have not nerves for the sort of thing.”
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“But, could you be comfortable yourself, to be spending the whole
evening away from the poor boy?”
“Yes; you see his papa can, and why should not I? Jemima is so
careful; and she could send us word every hour how he was. I really
think Charles might as well have told his father we would all come. I am
not more alarmed about little Charles now than he is. I was dreadfully
alarmed yesterday, but the case is very different to-day.”
“Well, if you do not think it too late to give notice for yourself,
suppose you were to go, as well as your husband. Leave little Charles to
my care. Mr and Mrs Musgrove cannot think it wrong while I remain
with him.”
“Are you serious?” cried Mary, her eyes brightening. “Dear me!
that's a very good thought, very good, indeed. To be sure, I may just as
well go as not, for I am of no use at home--am I? and it only harasses
me. You, who have not a mother's feelings, are a great deal the properest
person. You can make little Charles do anything; he always minds you at
a word. It will be a great deal better than leaving him only with Jemima.
Oh! I shall certainly go; I am sure I ought if I can, quite as much as
Charles, for they want me excessively to be acquainted with Captain
Wentworth, and I know you do not mind being left alone. An excellent
thought of yours, indeed, Anne. I will go and tell Charles, and get ready
directly. You can send for us, you know, at a moment's notice, if
anything is the matter; but I dare say there will be nothing to alarm you.
I should not go, you may be sure, if I did not feel quite at ease about my
dear child.”
The next moment she was tapping at her husband's dressing-room
door, and as Anne followed her up stairs, she was in time for the whole
conversation, which began with Mary's saying, in a tone of great
exultation--
“I mean to go with you, Charles, for I am of no more use at home
than you are. If I were to shut myself up for ever with the child, I should
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not be able to persuade him to do anything he did not like. Anne will
stay; Anne undertakes to stay at home and take care of him. It is Anne's
own proposal, and so I shall go with you, which will be a great deal
better, for I have not dined at the other house since Tuesday.”
“This is very kind of Anne,” was her husband's answer, “and I
should be very glad to have you go; but it seems rather hard that she
should be left at home by herself, to nurse our sick child.”
Anne was now at hand to take up her own cause, and the sincerity
of her manner being soon sufficient to convince him, where conviction
was at least very agreeable, he had no farther scruples as to her being left
to dine alone, though he still wanted her to join them in the evening,
when the child might be at rest for the night, and kindly urged her to let
him come and fetch her, but she was quite unpersuadable; and this being
the case, she had ere long the pleasure of seeing them set off together in
high spirits.
They were gone, she hoped, to be happy, however oddly
constructed such happiness might seem; as for herself, she was left with
as many sensations of comfort, as were, perhaps, ever likely to be hers.
She knew herself to be of the first utility to the child; and what was it to
her if Frederick Wentworth were only half a mile distant, making
himself agreeable to others?
She would have liked to know how he felt as to a meeting. Perhaps
indifferent, if indifference could exist under such circumstances. He
must be either indifferent or unwilling. Had he wished ever to see her
again, he need not have waited till this time; he would have done what
she could not but believe that in his place she should have done long
ago, when events had been early giving him the independence which
alone had been wanting.
Her brother and sister came back delighted with their new
acquaintance, and their visit in general. There had been music, singing,
talking, laughing, all that was most agreeable; charming manners in
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Captain Wentworth, no shyness or reserve; they seemed all to know
each other perfectly, and he was coming the very next morning to shoot
with Charles. He was to come to breakfast, but not at the Cottage,
though that had been proposed at first; but then he had been pressed to
come to the Great House instead, and he seemed afraid of being in Mrs
Charles Musgrove's way, on account of the child, and therefore,
somehow, they hardly knew how, it ended in Charles's being to meet
him to breakfast at his father's.
Anne understood it. He wished to avoid seeing her. He had
inquired after her, she found, slightly, as might suit a former slight
acquaintance, seeming to acknowledge such as she had acknowledged,
actuated, perhaps, by the same view of escaping introduction when they
were to meet.
The morning hours of the Cottage were always later than those of
the other house, and on the morrow the difference was so great that
Mary and Anne were not more than beginning breakfast when Charles
came in to say that they were just setting off, that he was come for his
dogs, that his sisters were following with Captain Wentworth; his sisters
meaning to visit Mary and the child, and Captain Wentworth proposing
also to wait on her for a few minutes if not inconvenient; and though
Charles had answered for the child's being in no such state as could
make it inconvenient, Captain Wentworth would not be satisfied without
his running on to give notice.
Mary, very much gratified by this attention, was delighted to
receive him, while a thousand feelings rushed on Anne, of which this
was the most consoling, that it would soon be over. And it was soon
over. In two minutes after Charles's preparation, the others appeared;
they were in the drawing-room. Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a
bow, a curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all
that was right, said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark
an easy footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a
few minutes ended it.
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Charles shewed himself at the window, all was ready, their visitor
had bowed and was gone, the Miss Musgroves were gone too, suddenly
resolving to walk to the end of the village with the sportsmen: the room
was cleared, and Anne might finish her breakfast as she could.
“It is over! it is over!” she repeated to herself again and again, in
nervous gratitude. “The worst is over!”
Mary talked, but she could not attend. She had seen him. They had
met. They had been once more in the same room.
Soon, however, she began to reason with herself, and try to be
feeling less. Eight years, almost eight years had passed, since all had
been given up. How absurd to be resuming the agitation which such an
interval had banished into distance and indistinctness! What might not
eight years do? Events of every description, changes, alienations,
removals--all, all must be comprised in it, and oblivion of the past-- how
natural, how certain too! It included nearly a third part of her own life.
Alas! with all her reasoning, she found, that to retentive feelings
eight years may be little more than nothing.
Now, how were his sentiments to be read? Was this like wishing to
avoid her? And the next moment she was hating herself for the folly
which asked the question.
On one other question which perhaps her utmost wisdom might not
have prevented, she was soon spared all suspense; for, after the Miss
Musgroves had returned and finished their visit at the Cottage she had
this spontaneous information from Mary: --
“Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he
was so attentive to me. Henrietta asked him what he thought of you,
when they went away, and he said, 'You were so altered he should not
have known you again.'”
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Mary had no feelings to make her respect her sister's in a common
way, but she was perfectly unsuspicious of being inflicting any peculiar
wound.
“Altered beyond his knowledge.” Anne fully submitted, in silent,
deep mortification. Doubtless it was so, and she could take no revenge,
for he was not altered, or not for the worse. She had already
acknowledged it to herself, and she could not think differently, let him
think of her as he would. No: the years which had destroyed her youth
and bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no
respect lessening his personal advantages. She had seen the same
Frederick Wentworth.
“So altered that he should not have known her again!” These were
words which could not but dwell with her. Yet she soon began to rejoice
that she had heard them. They were of sobering tendency; they allayed
agitation; they composed, and consequently must make her happier.
Frederick Wentworth had used such words, or something like
them, but without an idea that they would be carried round to her. He
had thought her wretchedly altered, and in the first moment of appeal,
had spoken as he felt. He had not forgiven Anne Elliot. She had used
him ill, deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a
feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident
temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others. It had
been the effect of over-persuasion. It had been weakness and timidity.
He had been most warmly attached to her, and had never seen a
woman since whom he thought her equal; but, except from some natural
sensation of curiosity, he had no desire of meeting her again. Her power
with him was gone for ever.
It was now his object to marry. He was rich, and being turned on
shore, fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly tempted;
actually looking round, ready to fall in love with all the speed which a
clear head and a quick taste could allow. He had a heart for either of the
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Miss Musgroves, if they could catch it; a heart, in short, for any pleasing
young woman who came in his way, excepting Anne Elliot. This was his
only secret exception, when he said to his sister, in answer to her
suppositions:--
“Yes, here I am, Sophia, quite ready to make a foolish match.
Anybody between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking. A little
beauty, and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a
lost man. Should not this be enough for a sailor, who has had no society
among women to make him nice?”
He said it, she knew, to be contradicted. His bright proud eye
spoke the conviction that he was nice; and Anne Elliot was not out of his
thoughts, when he more seriously described the woman he should wish
to meet with. “A strong mind, with sweetness of manner,” made the first
and the last of the description.
“That is the woman I want,” said he. “Something a little inferior I
shall of course put up with, but it must not be much. If I am a fool, I
shall be a fool indeed, for I have thought on the subject more than most
men.”
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Chapter 8

From this time Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were
repeatedly in the same circle. They were soon dining in company
together at Mr Musgrove's, for the little boy's state could no longer
supply his aunt with a pretence for absenting herself; and this was but
the beginning of other dinings and other meetings.
Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to
the proof; former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection
of each; they could not but be reverted to; the year of their engagement
could not but be named by him, in the little narratives or descriptions
which conversation called forth.
His profession qualified him, his disposition lead him, to talk; and
“That was in the year six;” “That happened before I went to sea in the
year six,” occurred in the course of the first evening they spent together:
and though his voice did not falter, and though she had no reason to
suppose his eye wandering towards her while he spoke, Anne felt the
utter impossibility, from her knowledge of his mind, that he could be
unvisited by remembrance any more than herself. There must be the
same immediate association of thought, though she was very far from
conceiving it to be of equal pain.
They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the
commonest civility required. Once so much to each other! Now nothing!
There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the
drawing-room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to
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cease to speak to one another. With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral
and Mrs Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne
could allow no other exceptions even among the married couples), there
could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings
so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers;
nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It
was a perpetual estrangement.
When he talked, she heard the same voice, and discerned the same
mind. There was a very general ignorance of all naval matters
throughout the party; and he was very much questioned, and especially
by the two Miss Musgroves, who seemed hardly to have any eyes but for
him, as to the manner of living on board, daily regulations, food, hours,
&c., and their surprise at his accounts, at learning the degree of
accommodation and arrangement which was practicable, drew from him
some pleasant ridicule, which reminded Anne of the early days when she
too had been ignorant, and she too had been accused of supposing sailors
to be living on board without anything to eat, or any cook to dress it if
there were, or any servant to wait, or any knife and fork to use.
From thus listening and thinking, she was roused by a whisper of
Mrs Musgrove's who, overcome by fond regrets, could not help saying--
“Ah! Miss Anne, if it had pleased Heaven to spare my poor son, I
dare say he would have been just such another by this time.”
Anne suppressed a smile, and listened kindly, while Mrs Musgrove
relieved her heart a little more; and for a few minutes, therefore, could
not keep pace with the conversation of the others.
When she could let her attention take its natural course again, she
found the Miss Musgroves just fetching the Navy List (their own navy
list, the first that had ever been at Uppercross), and sitting down together
to pore over it, with the professed view of finding out the ships that
Captain Wentworth had commanded.
“Your first was the Asp, I remember; we will look for the Asp.”
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“You will not find her there. Quite worn out and broken up. I was
the last man who commanded her. Hardly fit for service then. Reported
fit for home service for a year or two, and so I was sent off to the West
Indies.”
The girls looked all amazement.
“The Admiralty,” he continued, “entertain themselves now and
then, with sending a few hundred men to sea, in a ship not fit to be
employed. But they have a great many to provide for; and among the
thousands that may just as well go to the bottom as not, it is impossible
for them to distinguish the very set who may be least missed.”
“Phoo! phoo!” cried the Admiral, “what stuff these young fellows
talk! Never was a better sloop than the Asp in her day. For an old built
sloop, you would not see her equal. Lucky fellow to get her! He knows
there must have been twenty better men than himself applying for her at
the same time. Lucky fellow to get anything so soon, with no more
interest than his.”
“I felt my luck, Admiral, I assure you;” replied Captain
Wentworth, seriously. “I was as well satisfied with my appointment as
you can desire. It was a great object with me at that time to be at sea; a
very great object, I wanted to be doing something.”
“To be sure you did. What should a young fellow like you do
ashore for half a year together? If a man had not a wife, he soon wants to
be afloat again.”
“But, Captain Wentworth,” cried Louisa, “how vexed you must
have been when you came to the Asp, to see what an old thing they had
given you.”
“I knew pretty well what she was before that day;” said he,
smiling. “I had no more discoveries to make than you would have as to
the fashion and strength of any old pelisse, which you had seen lent
about among half your acquaintance ever since you could remember,
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and which at last, on some very wet day, is lent to yourself. Ah! she was
a dear old Asp to me. She did all that I wanted. I knew she would. I
knew that we should either go to the bottom together, or that she would
be the making of me; and I never had two days of foul weather all the
time I was at sea in her; and after taking privateers enough to be very
entertaining, I had the good luck in my passage home the next autumn,
to fall in with the very French frigate I wanted.
“I brought her into Plymouth; and here another instance of luck.
We had not been six hours in the Sound, when a gale came on, which
lasted four days and nights, and which would have done for poor old
Asp in half the time; our touch with the Great Nation not having much
improved our condition. Four-and-twenty hours later, and I should only
have been a gallant Captain Wentworth, in a small paragraph at one
corner of the newspapers; and being lost in only a sloop, nobody would
have thought about me.” Anne's shudderings were to herself alone; but
the Miss Musgroves could be as open as they were sincere, in their
exclamations of pity and horror.
“And so then, I suppose,” said Mrs Musgrove, in a low voice, as if
thinking aloud, “so then he went away to the Laconia, and there he met
with our poor boy. Charles, my dear,” (beckoning him to her), “do ask
Captain Wentworth where it was he first met with your poor brother. I
always forgot.”
“It was at Gibraltar, mother, I know. Dick had been left ill at
Gibraltar, with a recommendation from his former captain to Captain
Wentworth.”
“Oh! but, Charles, tell Captain Wentworth, he need not be afraid of
mentioning poor Dick before me, for it would be rather a pleasure to
hear him talked of by such a good friend.”
Charles, being somewhat more mindful of the probabilities of the
case, only nodded in reply, and walked away.
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The girls were now hunting for the Laconia; and Captain
Wentworth could not deny himself the pleasure of taking the precious
volume into his own hands to save them the trouble, and once more read
aloud the little statement of her name and rate, and present non-
commissioned class, observing over it that she too had been one of the
best friends man ever had.
“Ah! those were pleasant days when I had the Laconia! How fast I
made money in her. A friend of mine and I had such a lovely cruise
together off the Western Islands. Poor Harville, sister! You know how
much he wanted money: worse than myself. He had a wife. Excellent
fellow. I shall never forget his happiness. He felt it all, so much for her
sake. I wished for him again the next summer, when I had still the same
luck in the Mediterranean.”
“And I am sure, Sir.” said Mrs Musgrove, “it was a lucky day for
us, when you were put captain into that ship. We shall never forget what
you did.”
Her feelings made her speak low; and Captain Wentworth, hearing
only in part, and probably not having Dick Musgrove at all near his
thoughts, looked rather in suspense, and as if waiting for more.
“My brother,” whispered one of the girls; “mamma is thinking of
poor Richard.”
“Poor dear fellow!” continued Mrs Musgrove; “he was grown so
steady, and such an excellent correspondent, while he was under your
care! Ah! it would have been a happy thing, if he had never left you. I
assure you, Captain Wentworth, we are very sorry he ever left you.”
There was a momentary expression in Captain Wentworth's face at
this speech, a certain glance of his bright eye, and curl of his handsome
mouth, which convinced Anne, that instead of sharing in Mrs
Musgrove's kind wishes, as to her son, he had probably been at some
pains to get rid of him; but it was too transient an indulgence of self-
amusement to be detected by any who understood him less than herself;
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in another moment he was perfectly collected and serious, and almost
instantly afterwards coming up to the sofa, on which she and Mrs
Musgrove were sitting, took a place by the latter, and entered into
conversation with her, in a low voice, about her son, doing it with so
much sympathy and natural grace, as shewed the kindest consideration
for all that was real and unabsurd in the parent's feelings.
They were actually on the same sofa, for Mrs Musgrove had most
readily made room for him; they were divided only by Mrs Musgrove. It
was no insignificant barrier, indeed.
Mrs Musgrove was of a comfortable, substantial size, infinitely
more fitted by nature to express good cheer and good humour, than
tenderness and sentiment; and while the agitations of Anne's slender
form, and pensive face, may be considered as very completely screened,
Captain Wentworth should be allowed some credit for the self-command
with which he attended to her large fat sighings over the destiny of a
son, whom alive nobody had cared for.
Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary
proportions. A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep
affliction, as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. But, fair or not
fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will patronize in
vain-- which taste cannot tolerate--which ridicule will seize.
The Admiral, after taking two or three refreshing turns about the
room with his hands behind him, being called to order by his wife, now
came up to Captain Wentworth, and without any observation of what he
might be interrupting, thinking only of his own thoughts, began with--
“If you had been a week later at Lisbon, last spring, Frederick, you
would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her
daughters.”
“Should I? I am glad I was not a week later then.”
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The Admiral abused him for his want of gallantry. He defended
himself; though professing that he would never willingly admit any
ladies on board a ship of his, excepting for a ball, or a visit, which a few
hours might comprehend.
“But, if I know myself,” said he, “this is from no want of gallantry
towards them. It is rather from feeling how impossible it is, with all
one's efforts, and all one's sacrifices, to make the accommodations on
board such as women ought to have. There can be no want of gallantry,
Admiral, in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high,
and this is what I do. I hate to hear of women on board, or to see them
on board; and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family of
ladies anywhere, if I can help it.”
This brought his sister upon him.
“Oh! Frederick! But I cannot believe it of you. --All idle
refinement! --Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best
house in England. I believe I have lived as much on board as most
women, and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man-
of-war. I declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me, even at
Kellynch Hall,” (with a kind bow to Anne), “beyond what I always had
in most of the ships I have lived in; and they have been five altogether.”
“Nothing to the purpose,” replied her brother. “You were living
with your husband, and were the only woman on board.”
“But you, yourself, brought Mrs Harville, her sister, her cousin,
and three children, round from Portsmouth to Plymouth. Where was this
superfine, extraordinary sort of gallantry of yours then?”
“All merged in my friendship, Sophia. I would assist any brother
officer's wife that I could, and I would bring anything of Harville's from
the world's end, if he wanted it. But do not imagine that I did not feel it
an evil in itself.”
“Depend upon it, they were all perfectly comfortable.”
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“I might not like them the better for that perhaps. Such a number of
women and children have no right to be comfortable on board.”
“My dear Frederick, you are talking quite idly. Pray, what would
become of us poor sailors' wives, who often want to be conveyed to one
port or another, after our husbands, if everybody had your feelings?”
“My feelings, you see, did not prevent my taking Mrs Harville and
all her family to Plymouth.”
“But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if
women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us
expect to be in smooth water all our days.”
“Ah! my dear,” said the Admiral, “when he had got a wife, he will
sing a different tune. When he is married, if we have the good luck to
live to another war, we shall see him do as you and I, and a great many
others, have done. We shall have him very thankful to anybody that will
bring him his wife.”
“Ay, that we shall.”
“Now I have done,” cried Captain Wentworth. “When once
married people begin to attack me with,--'Oh! you will think very
differently, when you are married.' I can only say, 'No, I shall not;' and
then they say again, 'Yes, you will,' and there is an end of it.”
He got up and moved away.
“What a great traveller you must have been, ma'am!” said Mrs
Musgrove to Mrs Croft.
“Pretty well, ma'am in the fifteen years of my marriage; though
many women have done more. I have crossed the Atlantic four times,
and have been once to the East Indies, and back again, and only once;
besides being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and
Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the
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West Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West
Indies.”
Mrs Musgrove had not a word to say in dissent; she could not
accuse herself of having ever called them anything in the whole course
of her life.
“And I do assure you, ma'am,” pursued Mrs Croft, “that nothing
can exceed the accommodations of a man-of-war; I speak, you know, of
the higher rates. When you come to a frigate, of course, you are more
confined; though any reasonable woman may be perfectly happy in one
of them; and I can safely say, that the happiest part of my life has been
spent on board a ship. While we were together, you know, there was
nothing to be feared.
“Thank God! I have always been blessed with excellent health, and
no climate disagrees with me. A little disordered always the first twenty-
four hours of going to sea, but never knew what sickness was
afterwards. The only time I ever really suffered in body or mind, the
only time that I ever fancied myself unwell, or had any ideas of danger,
was the winter that I passed by myself at Deal, when the Admiral
(Captain Croft then) was in the North Seas. I lived in perpetual fright at
that time, and had all manner of imaginary complaints from not knowing
what to do with myself, or when I should hear from him next; but as
long as we could be together, nothing ever ailed me, and I never met
with the smallest inconvenience.”
“Aye, to be sure. Yes, indeed, oh yes! I am quite of your opinion,
Mrs Croft,” was Mrs Musgrove's hearty answer. “There is nothing so
bad as a separation. I am quite of your opinion. I know what it is, for Mr
Musgrove always attends the assizes, and I am so glad when they are
over, and he is safe back again.”
The evening ended with dancing. On its being proposed, Anne
offered her services, as usual; and though her eyes would sometimes fill
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with tears as she sat at the instrument, she was extremely glad to be
employed, and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved.
It was a merry, joyous party, and no one seemed in higher spirits
than Captain Wentworth. She felt that he had every thing to elevate him
which general attention and deference, and especially the attention of all
the young women, could do. The Miss Hayters, the females of the family
of cousins already mentioned, were apparently admitted to the honour of
being in love with him; and as for Henrietta and Louisa, they both
seemed so entirely occupied by him, that nothing but the continued
appearance of the most perfect good-will between themselves could
have made it credible that they were not decided rivals. If he were a little
spoilt by such universal, such eager admiration, who could wonder?
These were some of the thoughts which occupied Anne, while her
fingers were mechanically at work, proceeding for half an hour together,
equally without error, and without consciousness. Once she felt that he
was looking at herself, observing her altered features, perhaps, trying to
trace in them the ruins of the face which had once charmed him; and
once she knew that he must have spoken of her; she was hardly aware of
it, till she heard the answer; but then she was sure of his having asked
his partner whether Miss Elliot never danced? The answer was, “Oh, no;
never; she has quite given up dancing. She had rather play. She is never
tired of playing.” Once, too, he spoke to her.
She had left the instrument on the dancing being over, and he had
sat down to try to make out an air which he wished to give the Miss
Musgroves an idea of. Unintentionally she returned to that part of the
room; he saw her, and, instantly rising, said, with studied politeness--
“I beg your pardon, madam, this is your seat;” and though she
immediately drew back with a decided negative, he was not to be
induced to sit down again.
Anne did not wish for more of such looks and speeches. His cold
politeness, his ceremonious grace, were worse than anything.
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Chapter 9

Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home, to stay as
long as he liked, being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's
fraternal kindness as of his wife's. He had intended, on first arriving, to
proceed very soon into Shropshire, and visit the brother settled in that
country, but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this off.
There was so much of friendliness, and of flattery, and of everything
most bewitching in his reception there; the old were so hospitable, the
young so agreeable, that he could not but resolve to remain where he
was, and take all the charms and perfections of Edward's wife upon
credit a little longer.
It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day. The
Musgroves could hardly be more ready to invite than he to come,
particularly in the morning, when he had no companion at home, for the
Admiral and Mrs Croft were generally out of doors together, interesting
themselves in their new possessions, their grass, and their sheep, and
dawdling about in a way not endurable to a third person, or driving out
in a gig, lately added to their establishment.
Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth
among the Musgroves and their dependencies. It was unvarying, warm
admiration everywhere; but this intimate footing was not more than
established, when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them, to be a
good deal disturbed by it, and to think Captain Wentworth very much in
the way.
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Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins, and a very
amiable, pleasing young man, between whom and Henrietta there had
been a considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain
Wentworth's introduction. He was in orders; and having a curacy in the
neighbourhood, where residence was not required, lived at his father's
house, only two miles from Uppercross. A short absence from home had
left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period, and
when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners, and
of seeing Captain Wentworth.
Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters. They had each had
money, but their marriages had made a material difference in their
degree of consequence. Mr Hayter had some property of his own, but it
was insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's; and while the
Musgroves were in the first class of society in the country, the young
Hayters would, from their parents' inferior, retired, and unpolished way
of living, and their own defective education, have been hardly in any
class at all, but for their connexion with Uppercross, this eldest son of
course excepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman, and
who was very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest.
The two families had always been on excellent terms, there being
no pride on one side, and no envy on the other, and only such a
consciousness of superiority in the Miss Musgroves, as made them
pleased to improve their cousins. Charles's attentions to Henrietta had
been observed by her father and mother without any disapprobation. “It
would not be a great match for her; but if Henrietta liked him,"-- and
Henrietta did seem to like him.
Henrietta fully thought so herself, before Captain Wentworth
came; but from that time Cousin Charles had been very much forgotten.
Which of the two sisters was preferred by Captain Wentworth was
as yet quite doubtful, as far as Anne's observation reached. Henrietta
was perhaps the prettiest, Louisa had the higher spirits; and she knew not
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now, whether the more gentle or the more lively character were most
likely to attract him.
Mr and Mrs Musgrove, either from seeing little, or from an entire
confidence in the discretion of both their daughters, and of all the young
men who came near them, seemed to leave everything to take its chance.
There was not the smallest appearance of solicitude or remark about
them in the Mansion-house; but it was different at the Cottage: the
young couple there were more disposed to speculate and wonder; and
Captain Wentworth had not been above four or five times in the Miss
Musgroves' company, and Charles Hayter had but just reappeared, when
Anne had to listen to the opinions of her brother and sister, as to which
was the one liked best. Charles gave it for Louisa, Mary for Henrietta,
but quite agreeing that to have him marry either could be extremely
delightful.
Charles “had never seen a pleasanter man in his life; and from
what he had once heard Captain Wentworth himself say, was very sure
that he had not made less than twenty thousand pounds by the war. Here
was a fortune at once; besides which, there would be the chance of what
might be done in any future war; and he was sure Captain Wentworth
was as likely a man to distinguish himself as any officer in the navy. Oh!
it would be a capital match for either of his sisters.”
“Upon my word it would,” replied Mary. “Dear me! If he should
rise to any very great honours! If he should ever be made a baronet!
'Lady Wentworth' sounds very well. That would be a noble thing,
indeed, for Henrietta! She would take place of me then, and Henrietta
would not dislike that. Sir Frederick and Lady Wentworth! It would be
but a new creation, however, and I never think much of your new
creations.”
It suited Mary best to think Henrietta the one preferred on the very
account of Charles Hayter, whose pretensions she wished to see put an
end to. She looked down very decidedly upon the Hayters, and thought it
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would be quite a misfortune to have the existing connection between the
families renewed--very sad for herself and her children.
“You know,” said she, “I cannot think him at all a fit match for
Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have
made, she has no right to throw herself away. I do not think any young
woman has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and
inconvenient to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad
connections to those who have not been used to them. And, pray, who is
Charles Hayter? Nothing but a country curate. A most improper match
for Miss Musgrove of Uppercross.
Her husband, however, would not agree with her here; for besides
having a regard for his cousin, Charles Hayter was an eldest son, and he
saw things as an eldest son himself.
“Now you are taking nonsense, Mary,” was therefore his answer.
“It would not be a great match for Henrietta, but Charles has a very fair
chance, through the Spicers, of getting something from the Bishop in the
course of a year or two; and you will please to remember, that he is the
eldest son; whenever my uncle dies, he steps into very pretty property.
The estate at Winthrop is not less than two hundred and fifty acres,
besides the farm near Taunton, which is some of the best land in the
country. I grant you, that any of them but Charles would be a very
shocking match for Henrietta, and indeed it could not be; he is the only
one that could be possible; but he is a very good-natured, good sort of a
fellow; and whenever Winthrop comes into his hands, he will make a
different sort of place of it, and live in a very different sort of way; and
with that property, he will never be a contemptible man--good, freehold
property. No, no; Henrietta might do worse than marry Charles Hayter;
and if she has him, and Louisa can get Captain Wentworth, I shall be
very well satisfied.”
“Charles may say what he pleases,” cried Mary to Anne, as soon as
he was out of the room, “but it would be shocking to have Henrietta
marry Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me;
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and therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may
soon put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he
has. She took hardly any notice of Charles Hayter yesterday. I wish you
had been there to see her behaviour.
And as to Captain Wentworth's liking Louisa as well as Henrietta,
it is nonsense to say so; for he certainly does like Henrietta a great deal
the best. But Charles is so positive! I wish you had been with us
yesterday, for then you might have decided between us; and I am sure
you would have thought as I did, unless you had been determined to give
it against me.
A dinner at Mr Musgrove's had been the occasion when all these
things should have been seen by Anne; but she had staid at home, under
the mixed plea of a headache of her own, and some return of
indisposition in little Charles. She had thought only of avoiding Captain
Wentworth; but an escape from being appealed to as umpire was now
added to the advantages of a quiet evening.
As to Captain Wentworth's views, she deemed it of more
consequence that he should know his own mind early enough not to be
endangering the happiness of either sister, or impeaching his own
honour, than that he should prefer Henrietta to Louisa, or Louisa to
Henrietta. Either of them would, in all probability, make him an
affectionate, good-humoured wife. With regard to Charles Hayter, she
had delicacy which must be pained by any lightness of conduct in a
well-meaning young woman, and a heart to sympathize in any of the
sufferings it occasioned; but if Henrietta found herself mistaken in the
nature of her feelings, the alternation could not be understood too soon.
Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in
his cousin's behaviour. She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly
estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and
leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross: but there
was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as
Captain Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause. He had
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been absent only two Sundays, and when they parted, had left her
interested, even to the height of his wishes, in his prospect of soon
quitting his present curacy, and obtaining that of Uppercross instead. It
had then seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr Shirley, the rector,
who for more than forty years had been zealously discharging all the
duties of his office, but was now growing too infirm for many of them,
should be quite fixed on engaging a curate; should make his curacy quite
as good as he could afford, and should give Charles Hayter the promise
of it. The advantage of his having to come only to Uppercross, instead of
going six miles another way; of his having, in every respect, a better
curacy; of his belonging to their dear Dr Shirley, and of dear, good Dr
Shirley's being relieved from the duty which he could no longer get
through without most injurious fatigue, had been a great deal, even to
Louisa, but had been almost everything to Henrietta. When he came
back, alas! the zeal of the business was gone by.
Louisa could not listen at all to his account of a conversation which
he had just held with Dr Shirley: she was at a window, looking out for
Captain Wentworth; and even Henrietta had at best only a divided
attention to give, and seemed to have forgotten all the former doubt and
solicitude of the negotiation.
“Well, I am very glad indeed: but I always thought you would have
it; I always thought you sure. It did not appear to me that--in short, you
know, Dr Shirley must have a curate, and you had secured his promise.
Is he coming, Louisa?”
One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at
which Anne had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the
drawing-room at the Cottage, where were only herself and the little
invalid Charles, who was lying on the sofa.
The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot,
deprived his manners of their usual composure: he started, and could
only say, “I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here: Mrs Musgrove
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told me I should find them here,” before he walked to the window to
recollect himself, and feel how he ought to behave.
“They are up stairs with my sister: they will be down in a few
moments, I dare say,” had been Anne's reply, in all the confusion that
was natural; and if the child had not called her to come and do
something for him, she would have been out of the room the next
moment, and released Captain Wentworth as well as herself.
He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying,
“I hope the little boy is better,” was silent.
She was obliged to kneel down by the sofa, and remain there to
satisfy her patient; and thus they continued a few minutes, when, to her
very great satisfaction, she heard some other person crossing the little
vestibule. She hoped, on turning her head, to see the master of the house;
but it proved to be one much less calculated for making matters easy--
Charles Hayter, probably not at all better pleased by the sight of Captain
Wentworth than Captain Wentworth had been by the sight of Anne.
She only attempted to say, “How do you do? Will you not sit
down? The others will be here presently.”
Captain Wentworth, however, came from his window, apparently
not ill-disposed for conversation; but Charles Hayter soon put an end to
his attempts by seating himself near the table, and taking up the
newspaper; and Captain Wentworth returned to his window.
Another minute brought another addition. The younger boy, a
remarkable stout, forward child, of two years old, having got the door
opened for him by some one without, made his determined appearance
among them, and went straight to the sofa to see what was going on, and
put in his claim to anything good that might be giving away.
There being nothing to eat, he could only have some play; and as
his aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten
himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was about
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Charles, she could not shake him off. She spoke to him, ordered,
entreated, and insisted in vain. Once she did contrive to push him away,
but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back again
directly.
“Walter,” said she, “get down this moment. You are extremely
troublesome. I am very angry with you.”
“Walter,” cried Charles Hayter, “why do you not do as you are
bid? Do not you hear your aunt speak? Come to me, Walter, come to
cousin Charles.”
But not a bit did Walter stir.
In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of
being released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he
had bent down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were
unfastened from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away,
before she knew that Captain Wentworth had done it.
Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless. She
could not even thank him. She could only hang over little Charles, with
most disordered feelings.
His kindness in stepping forward to her relief, the manner, the
silence in which it had passed, the little particulars of the circumstance,
with the conviction soon forced on her by the noise he was studiously
making with the child, that he meant to avoid hearing her thanks, and
rather sought to testify that her conversation was the last of his wants,
produced such a confusion of varying, but very painful agitation, as she
could not recover from, till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the
Miss Musgroves to make over her little patient to their cares, and leave
the room. She could not stay. It might have been an opportunity of
watching the loves and jealousies of the four-- they were now altogether;
but she could stay for none of it. It was evident that Charles Hayter was
not well inclined towards Captain Wentworth. She had a strong
impression of his having said, in a vext tone of voice, after Captain
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Wentworth's interference, “You ought to have minded me, Walter; I told
you not to teaze your aunt;” and could comprehend his regretting that
Captain Wentworth should do what he ought to have done himself. But
neither Charles Hayter's feelings, nor anybody's feelings, could interest
her, till she had a little better arranged her own. She was ashamed of
herself, quite ashamed of being so nervous, so overcome by such a trifle;
but so it was, and it required a long application of solitude and reflection
to recover her.
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Chapter 10

Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to
occur. Anne had soon been in company with all the four together often
enough to have an opinion, though too wise to acknowledge as much at
home, where she knew it would have satisfied neither husband nor wife;
for while she considered Louisa to be rather the favourite, she could not
but think, as far as she might dare to judge from memory and
experience, that Captain Wentworth was not in love with either. They
were more in love with him; yet there it was not love. It was a little fever
of admiration; but it might, probably must, end in love with some.
Charles Hayter seemed aware of being slighted, and yet Henrietta had
sometimes the air of being divided between them.
Anne longed for the power of representing to them all what they
were about, and of pointing out some of the evils they were exposing
themselves to. She did not attribute guile to any. It was the highest
satisfaction to her to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of
the pain he was occasioning. There was no triumph, no pitiful triumph in
his manner. He had, probably, never heard, and never thought of any
claims of Charles Hayter. He was only wrong in accepting the attentions
(for accepting must be the word) of two young women at once.
After a short struggle, however, Charles Hayter seemed to quit the
field. Three days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross; a
most decided change. He had even refused one regular invitation to
dinner; and having been found on the occasion by Mr Musgrove with
some large books before him, Mr and Mrs Musgrove were sure all could
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not be right, and talked, with grave faces, of his studying himself to
death. It was Mary's hope and belief that he had received a positive
dismissal from Henrietta, and her husband lived under the constant
dependence of seeing him to-morrow. Anne could only feel that Charles
Hayter was wise.
One morning, about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain
Wentworth being gone a-shooting together, as the sisters in the Cottage
were sitting quietly at work, they were visited at the window by the
sisters from the Mansion-house.
It was a very fine November day, and the Miss Musgroves came
through the little grounds, and stopped for no other purpose than to say,
that they were going to take a long walk, and therefore concluded Mary
could not like to go with them; and when Mary immediately replied,
with some jealousy at not being supposed a good walker, “Oh, yes, I
should like to join you very much, I am very fond of a long walk;” Anne
felt persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely what
they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the
family habits seemed to produce, of everything being to be
communicated, and everything being to be done together, however
undesired and inconvenient. She tried to dissuade Mary from going, but
in vain; and that being the case, thought it best to accept the Miss
Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go likewise, as
she might be useful in turning back with her sister, and lessening the
interference in any plan of their own.
“I cannot imagine why they should suppose I should not like a long
walk,” said Mary, as she went up stairs. “Everybody is always supposing
that I am not a good walker; and yet they would not have been pleased,
if we had refused to join them. When people come in this manner on
purpose to ask us, how can one say no?”
Just as they were setting off, the gentlemen returned. They had
taken out a young dog, who had spoilt their sport, and sent them back
early. Their time and strength, and spirits, were, therefore, exactly ready
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for this walk, and they entered into it with pleasure. Could Anne have
foreseen such a junction, she would have staid at home; but, from some
feelings of interest and curiosity, she fancied now that it was too late to
retract, and the whole six set forward together in the direction chosen by
the Miss Musgroves, who evidently considered the walk as under their
guidance.
Anne's object was, not to be in the way of anybody; and where the
narrow paths across the fields made many separations necessary, to keep
with her brother and sister. Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the
exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon
the tawny leaves, and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself
some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn, that
season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and
tenderness, that season which had drawn from every poet, worthy of
being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling. She
occupied her mind as much as possible in such like musings and
quotations; but it was not possible, that when within reach of Captain
Wentworth's conversation with either of the Miss Musgroves, she should
not try to hear it; yet she caught little very remarkable. It was mere lively
chat, such as any young persons, on an intimate footing, might fall into.
He was more engaged with Louisa than with Henrietta. Louisa
certainly put more forward for his notice than her sister. This distinction
appeared to increase, and there was one speech of Louisa's which struck
her. After one of the many praises of the day, which were continually
bursting forth, Captain Wentworth added: --
“What glorious weather for the Admiral and my sister! They meant
to take a long drive this morning; perhaps we may hail them from some
of these hills. They talked of coming into this side of the country. I
wonder whereabouts they will upset to-day. Oh! it does happen very
often, I assure you; but my sister makes nothing of it; she would as lieve
be tossed out as not.”
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“Ah! You make the most of it, I know,” cried Louisa, “but if it
were really so, I should do just the same in her place. If I loved a man, as
she loves the Admiral, I would always be with him, nothing should ever
separate us, and I would rather be overturned by him, than driven safely
by anybody else.”
It was spoken with enthusiasm.
“Had you?” cried he, catching the same tone; “I honour you!” And
there was silence between them for a little while.
Anne could not immediately fall into a quotation again. The sweet
scenes of autumn were for a while put by, unless some tender sonnet,
fraught with the apt analogy of the declining year, with declining
happiness, and the images of youth and hope, and spring, all gone
together, blessed her memory.
She roused herself to say, as they struck by order into another path,
“Is not this one of the ways to Winthrop?” But nobody heard, or, at least,
nobody answered her.
Winthrop, however, or its environs--for young men are, sometimes
to be met with, strolling about near home--was their destination; and
after another half mile of gradual ascent through large enclosures, where
the ploughs at work, and the fresh made path spoke the farmer
counteracting the sweets of poetical despondence, and meaning to have
spring again, they gained the summit of the most considerable hill,
which parted Uppercross and Winthrop, and soon commanded a full
view of the latter, at the foot of the hill on the other side.
Winthrop, without beauty and without dignity, was stretched
before them an indifferent house, standing low, and hemmed in by the
barns and buildings of a farm-yard.
Mary exclaimed, “Bless me! here is Winthrop. I declare I had no
idea! Well now, I think we had better turn back; I am excessively tired.”
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Henrietta, conscious and ashamed, and seeing no cousin Charles
walking along any path, or leaning against any gate, was ready to do as
Mary wished; but “No!” said Charles Musgrove, and “No, no!” cried
Louisa more eagerly, and taking her sister aside, seemed to be arguing
the matter warmly.
Charles, in the meanwhile, was very decidedly declaring his
resolution of calling on his aunt, now that he was so near; and very
evidently, though more fearfully, trying to induce his wife to go too. But
this was one of the points on which the lady shewed her strength; and
when he recommended the advantage of resting herself a quarter of an
hour at Winthrop, as she felt so tired, she resolutely answered, “Oh! no,
indeed! walking up that hill again would do her more harm than any
sitting down could do her good;” and, in short, her look and manner
declared, that go she would not.
After a little succession of these sort of debates and consultations,
it was settled between Charles and his two sisters, that he and Henrietta
should just run down for a few minutes, to see their aunt and cousins,
while the rest of the party waited for them at the top of the hill. Louisa
seemed the principal arranger of the plan; and, as she went a little way
with them, down the hill, still talking to Henrietta, Mary took the
opportunity of looking scornfully around her, and saying to Captain
Wentworth--
“It is very unpleasant, having such connexions! But, I assure you, I
have never been in the house above twice in my life.”
She received no other answer, than an artificial, assenting smile,
followed by a contemptuous glance, as he turned away, which Anne
perfectly knew the meaning of.
The brow of the hill, where they remained, was a cheerful spot:
Louisa returned; and Mary, finding a comfortable seat for herself on the
step of a stile, was very well satisfied so long as the others all stood
about her; but when Louisa drew Captain Wentworth away, to try for a
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gleaning of nuts in an adjoining hedge-row, and they were gone by
degrees quite out of sight and sound, Mary was happy no longer; she
quarrelled with her own seat, was sure Louisa had got a much better
somewhere, and nothing could prevent her from going to look for a
better also. She turned through the same gate, but could not see them.
Anne found a nice seat for her, on a dry sunny bank, under the hedge-
row, in which she had no doubt of their still being, in some spot or other.
Mary sat down for a moment, but it would not do; she was sure Louisa
had found a better seat somewhere else, and she would go on till she
overtook her.
Anne, really tired herself, was glad to sit down; and she very soon
heard Captain Wentworth and Louisa in the hedge-row, behind her, as if
making their way back along the rough, wild sort of channel, down the
centre. They were speaking as they drew near. Louisa's voice was the
first distinguished. She seemed to be in the middle of some eager
speech. What Anne first heard was--
“And so, I made her go. I could not bear that she should be
frightened from the visit by such nonsense. What! would I be turned
back from doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to
be right, by the airs and interference of such a person, or of any person I
may say? No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. When I have
made up my mind, I have made it; and Henrietta seemed entirely to have
made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day; and yet, she was as near giving
it up, out of nonsensical complaisance!”
“She would have turned back then, but for you?”
“She would indeed. I am almost ashamed to say it.”
“Happy for her, to have such a mind as yours at hand! After the
hints you gave just now, which did but confirm my own observations,
the last time I was in company with him, I need not affect to have no
comprehension of what is going on. I see that more than a mere dutiful
morning visit to your aunt was in question; and woe betide him, and her
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too, when it comes to things of consequence, when they are placed in
circumstances requiring fortitude and strength of mind, if she have not
resolution enough to resist idle interference in such a trifle as this. Your
sister is an amiable creature; but yours is the character of decision and
firmness, I see. If you value her conduct or happiness, infuse as much of
your own spirit into her as you can.
“But this, no doubt, you have been always doing. It is the worst
evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it
can be depended on. You are never sure of a good impression being
durable; everybody may sway it. Let those who would be happy be firm.
Here is a nut,” said he, catching one down from an upper bough. “to
exemplify: a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength,
has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot
anywhere. This nut,” he continued, with playful solemnity, “while so
many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in
possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed capable
of.” Then returning to his former earnest tone-- “My first wish for all
whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm. If Louisa Musgrove
would be beautiful and happy in her November of life, she will cherish
all her present powers of mind.”
He had done, and was unanswered. It would have surprised Anne
if Louisa could have readily answered such a speech: words of such
interest, spoken with such serious warmth! She could imagine what
Louisa was feeling. For herself, she feared to move, lest she should be
seen. While she remained, a bush of low rambling holly protected her,
and they were moving on. Before they were beyond her hearing,
however, Louisa spoke again.
“Mary is good-natured enough in many respects,” said she; “but
she does sometimes provoke me excessively, by her nonsense and pride-
- the Elliot pride. She has a great deal too much of the Elliot pride. We
do so wish that Charles had married Anne instead. I suppose you know
he wanted to marry Anne?”
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After a moment's pause, Captain Wentworth said--
“Do you mean that she refused him?”
“Oh! yes; certainly.”
“When did that happen?” “I do not exactly know, for Henrietta and
I were at school at the time; but I believe about a year before he married
Mary. I wish she had accepted him. We should all have liked her a great
deal better; and papa and mamma always think it was her great friend
Lady Russell's doing, that she did not. They think Charles might not be
learned and bookish enough to please Lady Russell, and that therefore,
she persuaded Anne to refuse him.”
The sounds were retreating, and Anne distinguished no more. Her
own emotions still kept her fixed. She had much to recover from, before
she could move. The listener's proverbial fate was not absolutely hers;
she had heard no evil of herself, but she had heard a great deal of very
painful import. She saw how her own character was considered by
Captain Wentworth, and there had been just that degree of feeling and
curiosity about her in his manner which must give her extreme agitation.
As soon as she could, she went after Mary, and having found, and
walked back with her to their former station, by the stile, felt some
comfort in their whole party being immediately afterwards collected,
and once more in motion together. Her spirits wanted the solitude and
silence which only numbers could give.
Charles and Henrietta returned, bringing, as may be conjectured,
Charles Hayter with them. The minutiae of the business Anne could not
attempt to understand; even Captain Wentworth did not seem admitted
to perfect confidence here; but that there had been a withdrawing on the
gentleman's side, and a relenting on the lady's, and that they were now
very glad to be together again, did not admit a doubt. Henrietta looked a
little ashamed, but very well pleased;-- Charles Hayter exceedingly
happy: and they were devoted to each other almost from the first instant
of their all setting forward for Uppercross.
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Everything now marked out Louisa for Captain Wentworth;
nothing could be plainer; and where many divisions were necessary, or
even where they were not, they walked side by side nearly as much as
the other two. In a long strip of meadow land, where there was ample
space for all, they were thus divided, forming three distinct parties; and
to that party of the three which boasted least animation, and least
complaisance, Anne necessarily belonged. She joined Charles and Mary,
and was tired enough to be very glad of Charles's other arm; but Charles,
though in very good humour with her, was out of temper with his wife.
Mary had shewn herself disobliging to him, and was now to reap
the consequence, which consequence was his dropping her arm almost
every moment to cut off the heads of some nettles in the hedge with his
switch; and when Mary began to complain of it, and lament her being
ill-used, according to custom, in being on the hedge side, while Anne
was never incommoded on the other, he dropped the arms of both to
hunt after a weasel which he had a momentary glance of, and they could
hardly get him along at all.
This long meadow bordered a lane, which their footpath, at the end
of it was to cross, and when the party had all reached the gate of exit, the
carriage advancing in the same direction, which had been some time
heard, was just coming up, and proved to be Admiral Croft's gig. He and
his wife had taken their intended drive, and were returning home. Upon
hearing how long a walk the young people had engaged in, they kindly
offered a seat to any lady who might be particularly tired; it would save
her a full mile, and they were going through Uppercross. The invitation
was general, and generally declined. The Miss Musgroves were not at all
tired, and Mary was either offended, by not being asked before any of
the others, or what Louisa called the Elliot pride could not endure to
make a third in a one horse chaise.
The walking party had crossed the lane, and were surmounting an
opposite stile, and the Admiral was putting his horse in motion again,
when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say
something to his sister. The something might be guessed by its effects.
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“Miss Elliot, I am sure you are tired,” cried Mrs Croft. “Do let us
have the pleasure of taking you home. Here is excellent room for three, I
assure you. If we were all like you, I believe we might sit four. You
must, indeed, you must.”
Anne was still in the lane; and though instinctively beginning to
decline, she was not allowed to proceed. The Admiral's kind urgency
came in support of his wife's; they would not be refused; they
compressed themselves into the smallest possible space to leave her a
corner, and Captain Wentworth, without saying a word, turned to her,
and quietly obliged her to be assisted into the carriage.
Yes; he had done it. She was in the carriage, and felt that he had
placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she owed it
to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to give her rest. She
was very much affected by the view of his disposition towards her,
which all these things made apparent. This little circumstance seemed
the completion of all that had gone before. She understood him. He
could not forgive her, but he could not be unfeeling.
Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with high
and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and though
becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer, without
the desire of giving her relief. It was a remainder of former sentiment; it
was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was a
proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not
contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that
she knew not which prevailed.
Her answers to the kindness and the remarks of her companions
were at first unconsciously given. They had travelled half their way
along the rough lane, before she was quite awake to what they said. She
then found them talking of “Frederick.”
“He certainly means to have one or other of those two girls,
Sophy,” said the Admiral; “but there is no saying which. He has been
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running after them, too, long enough, one would think, to make up his
mind. Ay, this comes of the peace. If it were war now, he would have
settled it long ago. We sailors, Miss Elliot, cannot afford to make long
courtships in time of war. How many days was it, my dear, between the
first time of my seeing you and our sitting down together in our lodgings
at North Yarmouth?”
“We had better not talk about it, my dear,” replied Mrs Croft,
pleasantly; “for if Miss Elliot were to hear how soon we came to an
understanding, she would never be persuaded that we could be happy
together. I had known you by character, however, long before.”
“Well, and I had heard of you as a very pretty girl, and what were
we to wait for besides? I do not like having such things so long in hand.
I wish Frederick would spread a little more canvass, and bring us home
one of these young ladies to Kellynch. Then there would always be
company for them. And very nice young ladies they both are; I hardly
know one from the other.”
“Very good humoured, unaffected girls, indeed,” said Mrs Croft, in
a tone of calmer praise, such as made Anne suspect that her keener
powers might not consider either of them as quite worthy of her brother;
“and a very respectable family. One could not be connected with better
people. My dear Admiral, that post! we shall certainly take that post.”
But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they
happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting
out her hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and
Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she
imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs,
found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.
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Chapter 11

The time now approached for Lady Russell's return: the day was
even fixed; and Anne, being engaged to join her as soon as she was
resettled, was looking forward to an early removal to Kellynch, and
beginning to think how her own comfort was likely to be affected by it.
It would place her in the same village with Captain Wentworth,
within half a mile of him; they would have to frequent the same church,
and there must be intercourse between the two families. This was against
her; but on the other hand, he spent so much of his time at Uppercross,
that in removing thence she might be considered rather as leaving him
behind, than as going towards him; and, upon the whole, she believed
she must, on this interesting question, be the gainer, almost as certainly
as in her change of domestic society, in leaving poor Mary for Lady
Russell.
She wished it might be possible for her to avoid ever seeing
Captain Wentworth at the Hall: those rooms had witnessed former
meetings which would be brought too painfully before her; but she was
yet more anxious for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain
Wentworth never meeting anywhere. They did not like each other, and
no renewal of acquaintance now could do any good; and were Lady
Russell to see them together, she might think that he had too much self-
possession, and she too little.
These points formed her chief solicitude in anticipating her
removal from Uppercross, where she felt she had been stationed quite
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long enough. Her usefulness to little Charles would always give some
sweetness to the memory of her two months' visit there, but he was
gaining strength apace, and she had nothing else to stay for.
The conclusion of her visit, however, was diversified in a way
which she had not at all imagined. Captain Wentworth, after being
unseen and unheard of at Uppercross for two whole days, appeared
again among them to justify himself by a relation of what had kept him
away.
A letter from his friend, Captain Harville, having found him out at
last, had brought intelligence of Captain Harville's being settled with his
family at Lyme for the winter; of their being therefore, quite
unknowingly, within twenty miles of each other.
Captain Harville had never been in good health since a severe
wound which he received two years before, and Captain Wentworth's
anxiety to see him had determined him to go immediately to Lyme. He
had been there for four-and-twenty hours. His acquittal was complete,
his friendship warmly honoured, a lively interest excited for his friend,
and his description of the fine country about Lyme so feelingly attended
to by the party, that an earnest desire to see Lyme themselves, and a
project for going thither was the consequence.
The young people were all wild to see Lyme. Captain Wentworth
talked of going there again himself, it was only seventeen miles from
Uppercross; though November, the weather was by no means bad; and,
in short, Louisa, who was the most eager of the eager, having formed the
resolution to go, and besides the pleasure of doing as she liked, being
now armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way, bore
down all the wishes of her father and mother for putting it off till
summer; and to Lyme they were to go--Charles, Mary, Anne, Henrietta,
Louisa, and Captain Wentworth.
The first heedless scheme had been to go in the morning and return
at night; but to this Mr Musgrove, for the sake of his horses, would not
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consent; and when it came to be rationally considered, a day in the
middle of November would not leave much time for seeing a new place,
after deducting seven hours, as the nature of the country required, for
going and returning.
They were, consequently, to stay the night there, and not to be
expected back till the next day's dinner. This was felt to be a
considerable amendment; and though they all met at the Great House at
rather an early breakfast hour, and set off very punctually, it was so
much past noon before the two carriages, Mr Musgrove's coach
containing the four ladies, and Charles's curricle, in which he drove
Captain Wentworth, were descending the long hill into Lyme, and
entering upon the still steeper street of the town itself, that it was very
evident they would not have more than time for looking about them,
before the light and warmth of the day were gone.
After securing accommodations, and ordering a dinner at one of
the inns, the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly
down to the sea. They were come too late in the year for any amusement
or variety which Lyme, as a public place, might offer. The rooms were
shut up, the lodgers almost all gone, scarcely any family but of the
residents left; and, as there is nothing to admire in the buildings
themselves, the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street
almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round the
pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing
machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new
improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the
east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek.
And a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in
the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.
The scenes in its neighbourhood, Charmouth, with its high grounds and
extensive sweeps of country, and still more, its sweet, retired bay,
backed by dark cliffs, where fragments of low rock among the sands,
make it the happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in
unwearied contemplation; the woody varieties of the cheerful village of
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Up Lyme; and, above all, Pinny, with its green chasms between
romantic rocks, where the scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant
growth, declare that many a generation must have passed away since the
first partial falling of the cliff prepared the ground for such a state,
where a scene so wonderful and so lovely is exhibited, as may more than
equal any of the resembling scenes of the far-famed Isle of Wight: these
places must be visited, and visited again, to make the worth of Lyme
understood.
The party from Uppercross passing down by the now deserted and
melancholy looking rooms, and still descending, soon found themselves
on the sea-shore; and lingering only, as all must linger and gaze on a
first return to the sea, who ever deserved to look on it at all, proceeded
towards the Cobb, equally their object in itself and on Captain
Wentworth's account: for in a small house, near the foot of an old pier of
unknown date, were the Harvilles settled. Captain Wentworth turned in
to call on his friend; the others walked on, and he was to join them on
the Cobb.
They were by no means tired of wondering and admiring; and not
even Louisa seemed to feel that they had parted with Captain Wentworth
long, when they saw him coming after them, with three companions, all
well known already, by description, to be Captain and Mrs Harville, and
a Captain Benwick, who was staying with them.
Captain Benwick had some time ago been first lieutenant of the
Laconia; and the account which Captain Wentworth had given of him,
on his return from Lyme before, his warm praise of him as an excellent
young man and an officer, whom he had always valued highly, which
must have stamped him well in the esteem of every listener, had been
followed by a little history of his private life, which rendered him
perfectly interesting in the eyes of all the ladies. He had been engaged to
Captain Harville's sister, and was now mourning her loss. They had been
a year or two waiting for fortune and promotion. Fortune came, his
prize-money as lieutenant being great; promotion, too, came at last; but
Fanny Harville did not live to know it. She had died the preceding
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summer while he was at sea. Captain Wentworth believed it impossible
for man to be more attached to woman than poor Benwick had been to
Fanny Harville, or to be more deeply afflicted under the dreadful
change. He considered his disposition as of the sort which must suffer
heavily, uniting very strong feelings with quiet, serious, and retiring
manners, and a decided taste for reading, and sedentary pursuits.
To finish the interest of the story, the friendship between him and
the Harvilles seemed, if possible, augmented by the event which closed
all their views of alliance, and Captain Benwick was now living with
them entirely. Captain Harville had taken his present house for half a
year; his taste, and his health, and his fortune, all directing him to a
residence inexpensive, and by the sea; and the grandeur of the country,
and the retirement of Lyme in the winter, appeared exactly adapted to
Captain Benwick's state of mind. The sympathy and good-will excited
towards Captain Benwick was very great.
“And yet,” said Anne to herself, as they now moved forward to
meet the party, “he has not, perhaps, a more sorrowing heart than I have.
I cannot believe his prospects so blighted for ever. He is younger than I
am; younger in feeling, if not in fact; younger as a man. He will rally
again, and be happy with another.”
They all met, and were introduced. Captain Harville was a tall,
dark man, with a sensible, benevolent countenance; a little lame; and
from strong features and want of health, looking much older than
Captain Wentworth. Captain Benwick looked, and was, the youngest of
the three, and, compared with either of them, a little man. He had a
pleasing face and a melancholy air, just as he ought to have, and drew
back from conversation.
Captain Harville, though not equalling Captain Wentworth in
manners, was a perfect gentleman, unaffected, warm, and obliging. Mrs
Harville, a degree less polished than her husband, seemed, however, to
have the same good feelings; and nothing could be more pleasant than
their desire of considering the whole party as friends of their own,
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because the friends of Captain Wentworth, or more kindly hospitable
than their entreaties for their all promising to dine with them. The
dinner, already ordered at the inn, was at last, though unwillingly,
accepted as a excuse; but they seemed almost hurt that Captain
Wentworth should have brought any such party to Lyme, without
considering it as a thing of course that they should dine with them.
There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all this,
and such a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon, so
unlike the usual style of give-and-take invitations, and dinners of
formality and display, that Anne felt her spirits not likely to be benefited
by an increasing acquaintance among his brother-officers. “These would
have been all my friends,” was her thought; and she had to struggle
against a great tendency to lowness.
On quitting the Cobb, they all went in-doors with their new
friends, and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the
heart could think capable of accommodating so many.
Anne had a moment's astonishment on the subject herself; but it
was soon lost in the pleasanter feelings which sprang from the sight of
all the ingenious contrivances and nice arrangements of Captain
Harville, to turn the actual space to the best account, to supply the
deficiencies of lodging-house furniture, and defend the windows and
doors against the winter storms to be expected. The varieties in the
fitting-up of the rooms, where the common necessaries provided by the
owner, in the common indifferent plight, were contrasted with some few
articles of a rare species of wood, excellently worked up, and with
something curious and valuable from all the distant countries Captain
Harville had visited, were more than amusing to Anne; connected as it
all was with his profession, the fruit of its labours, the effect of its
influence on his habits, the picture of repose and domestic happiness it
presented, made it to her a something more, or less, than gratification.
Captain Harville was no reader; but he had contrived excellent
accommodations, and fashioned very pretty shelves, for a tolerable
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collection of well-bound volumes, the property of Captain Benwick. His
lameness prevented him from taking much exercise; but a mind of
usefulness and ingenuity seemed to furnish him with constant
employment within. He drew, he varnished, he carpentered, he glued; he
made toys for the children; he fashioned new netting-needles and pins
with improvements; and if everything else was done, sat down to his
large fishing-net at one corner of the room.
Anne thought she left great happiness behind her when they quitted
the house; and Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth
into raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy; their
friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness;
protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and
warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how
to live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved.
They went back to dress and dine; and so well had the scheme
answered already, that nothing was found amiss; though its being “so
entirely out of season,” and the “no thoroughfare of Lyme,” and the “no
expectation of company,” had brought many apologies from the heads of
the inn.
Anne found herself by this time growing so much more hardened
to being in Captain Wentworth's company than she had at first imagined
could ever be, that the sitting down to the same table with him now, and
the interchange of the common civilities attending on it (they never got
beyond), was become a mere nothing.
The nights were too dark for the ladies to meet again till the
morrow, but Captain Harville had promised them a visit in the evening;
and he came, bringing his friend also, which was more than had been
expected, it having been agreed that Captain Benwick had all the
appearance of being oppressed by the presence of so many strangers.
He ventured among them again, however, though his spirits
certainly did not seem fit for the mirth of the party in general.
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While Captains Wentworth and Harville led the talk on one side of
the room, and by recurring to former days, supplied anecdotes in
abundance to occupy and entertain the others, it fell to Anne's lot to be
placed rather apart with Captain Benwick; and a very good impulse of
her nature obliged her to begin an acquaintance with him. He was shy,
and disposed to abstraction; but the engaging mildness of her
countenance, and gentleness of her manners, soon had their effect; and
Anne was well repaid the first trouble of exertion. He was evidently a
young man of considerable taste in reading, though principally in poetry;
and besides the persuasion of having given him at least an evening's
indulgence in the discussion of subjects, which his usual companions
had probably no concern in, she had the hope of being of real use to him
in some suggestions as to the duty and benefit of struggling against
affliction, which had naturally grown out of their conversation. For,
though shy, he did not seem reserved; it had rather the appearance of
feelings glad to burst their usual restraints.
And having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and
gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets,
trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be
preferred, and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos; and
moreover, how the Giaour was to be pronounced, he showed himself so
intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet, and all
the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other; he repeated,
with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken
heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if
he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always
read only poetry, and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of
poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely;
and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the
very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.
His looks shewing him not pained, but pleased with this allusion to
his situation, she was emboldened to go on; and feeling in herself the
right of seniority of mind, she ventured to recommend a larger
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allowance of prose in his daily study; and on being requested to
particularize, mentioned such works of our best moralists, such
collections of the finest letters, such memoirs of characters of worth and
suffering, as occurred to her at the moment as calculated to rouse and
fortify the mind by the highest precepts, and the strongest examples of
moral and religious endurances.
Captain Benwick listened attentively, and seemed grateful for the
interest implied; and though with a shake of the head, and sighs which
declared his little faith in the efficacy of any books on grief like his,
noted down the names of those she recommended, and promised to
procure and read them.
When the evening was over, Anne could not but be amused at the
idea of her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a
young man whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing,
on more serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and
preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct
would ill bear examination.
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Chapter 12

Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the
next morning, agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast. They
went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine south-
easterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so flat a
shore admitted. They praised the morning; gloried in the sea;
sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and were silent;
till Henrietta suddenly began again with--
“Oh! yes,--I am quite convinced that, with very few exceptions, the
sea-air always does good. There can be no doubt of its having been of
the greatest service to Dr Shirley, after his illness, last spring twelve-
month. He declares himself, that coming to Lyme for a month, did him
more good than all the medicine he took; and, that being by the sea,
always makes him feel young again.
“Now, I cannot help thinking it a pity that he does not live entirely
by the sea. I do think he had better leave Uppercross entirely, and fix at
Lyme. Do not you, Anne? Do not you agree with me, that it is the best
thing he could do, both for himself and Mrs Shirley? She has cousins
here, you know, and many acquaintance, which would make it cheerful
for her, and I am sure she would be glad to get to a place where she
could have medical attendance at hand, in case of his having another
seizure.
“Indeed I think it quite melancholy to have such excellent people
as Dr and Mrs Shirley, who have been doing good all their lives,
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wearing out their last days in a place like Uppercross, where, excepting
our family, they seem shut out from all the world. I wish his friends
would propose it to him. I really think they ought. And, as to procuring a
dispensation, there could be no difficulty at his time of life, and with his
character. My only doubt is, whether anything could persuade him to
leave his parish. He is so very strict and scrupulous in his notions; over-
scrupulous I must say. Do not you think, Anne, it is being over-
scrupulous? Do not you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience,
when a clergyman sacrifices his health for the sake of duties, which may
be just as well performed by another person? And at Lyme too, only
seventeen miles off, he would be near enough to hear, if people thought
there was anything to complain of.”
Anne smiled more than once to herself during this speech, and
entered into the subject, as ready to do good by entering into the feelings
of a young lady as of a young man, though here it was good of a lower
standard, for what could be offered but general acquiescence? She said
all that was reasonable and proper on the business; felt the claims of Dr
Shirley to repose as she ought; saw how very desirable it was that he
should have some active, respectable young man, as a resident curate,
and was even courteous enough to hint at the advantage of such resident
curate's being married.
“I wish,” said Henrietta, very well pleased with her companion, “I
wish Lady Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr
Shirley. I have always heard of Lady Russell as a woman of the greatest
influence with everybody! I always look upon her as able to persuade a
person to anything! I am afraid of her, as I have told you before, quite
afraid of her, because she is so very clever; but I respect her amazingly,
and wish we had such a neighbour at Uppercross.”
Anne was amused by Henrietta's manner of being grateful, and
amused also that the course of events and the new interests of Henrietta's
views should have placed her friend at all in favour with any of the
Musgrove family; she had only time, however, for a general answer, and
a wish that such another woman were at Uppercross, before all subjects
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suddenly ceased, on seeing Louisa and Captain Wentworth coming
towards them.
They came also for a stroll till breakfast was likely to be ready; but
Louisa recollecting, immediately afterwards that she had something to
procure at a shop, invited them all to go back with her into the town.
They were all at her disposal.
When they came to the steps, leading upwards from the beach, a
gentleman, at the same moment preparing to come down, politely drew
back, and stopped to give them way. They ascended and passed him; and
as they passed, Anne's face caught his eye, and he looked at her with a
degree of earnest admiration, which she could not be insensible of. She
was looking remarkably well; her very regular, very pretty features,
having the bloom and freshness of youth restored by the fine wind which
had been blowing on her complexion, and by the animation of eye which
it had also produced. It was evident that the gentleman, (completely a
gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly. Captain Wentworth
looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it.
He gave her a momentary glance, a glance of brightness, which seemed
to say, “That man is struck with you, and even I, at this moment, see
something like Anne Elliot again.”
After attending Louisa through her business, and loitering about a
little longer, they returned to the inn; and Anne, in passing afterwards
quickly from her own chamber to their dining-room, had nearly run
against the very same gentleman, as he came out of an adjoining
apartment.
She had before conjectured him to be a stranger like themselves,
and determined that a well-looking groom, who was strolling about near
the two inns as they came back, should be his servant. Both master and
man being in mourning assisted the idea. It was now proved that he
belonged to the same inn as themselves; and this second meeting, short
as it was, also proved again by the gentleman's looks, that he thought
hers very lovely, and by the readiness and propriety of his apologies,
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that he was a man of exceedingly good manners. He seemed about
thirty, and though not handsome, had an agreeable person. Anne felt that
she should like to know who he was.
They had nearly done breakfast, when the sound of a carriage,
(almost the first they had heard since entering Lyme) drew half the party
to the window. It was a gentleman's carriage, a curricle, but only coming
round from the stable-yard to the front door; somebody must be going
away. It was driven by a servant in mourning.
The word curricle made Charles Musgrove jump up that he might
compare it with his own; the servant in mourning roused Anne's
curiosity, and the whole six were collected to look, by the time the
owner of the curricle was to be seen issuing from the door amidst the
bows and civilities of the household, and taking his seat, to drive off.
“Ah!” cried Captain Wentworth, instantly, and with half a glance
at Anne, “it is the very man we passed.”
The Miss Musgroves agreed to it; and having all kindly watched
him as far up the hill as they could, they returned to the breakfast table.
The waiter came into the room soon afterwards.
“Pray,” said Captain Wentworth, immediately, “can you tell us the
name of the gentleman who is just gone away?”
“Yes, Sir, a Mr Elliot, a gentleman of large fortune, came in last
night from Sidmouth. Dare say you heard the carriage, sir, while you
were at dinner; and going on now for Crewkherne, in his way to Bath
and London.”
“Elliot!” Many had looked on each other, and many had repeated
the name, before all this had been got through, even by the smart
rapidity of a waiter.
“Bless me!” cried Mary; “it must be our cousin; it must be our Mr
Elliot, it must, indeed! Charles, Anne, must not it? In mourning, you see,
just as our Mr Elliot must be. How very extraordinary! In the very same
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inn with us! Anne, must not it be our Mr Elliot? my father's next heir?
Pray sir,” turning to the waiter, “did not you hear, did not his servant say
whether he belonged to the Kellynch family?”
“No, ma'am, he did not mention no particular family; but he said
his master was a very rich gentleman, and would be a baronight some
day.”
“There! you see!” cried Mary in an ecstasy, “just as I said! Heir to
Sir Walter Elliot! I was sure that would come out, if it was so. Depend
upon it, that is a circumstance which his servants take care to publish,
wherever he goes. But, Anne, only conceive how extraordinary! I wish I
had looked at him more. I wish we had been aware in time, who it was,
that he might have been introduced to us. What a pity that we should not
have been introduced to each other! Do you think he had the Elliot
countenance? I hardly looked at him, I was looking at the horses; but I
think he had something of the Elliot countenance, I wonder the arms did
not strike me! Oh! the great-coat was hanging over the panel, and hid the
arms, so it did; otherwise, I am sure, I should have observed them, and
the livery too; if the servant had not been in mourning, one should have
known him by the livery.”
“Putting all these very extraordinary circumstances together,” said
Captain Wentworth, “we must consider it to be the arrangement of
Providence, that you should not be introduced to your cousin.”
When she could command Mary's attention, Anne quietly tried to
convince her that their father and Mr Elliot had not, for many years,
been on such terms as to make the power of attempting an introduction
at all desirable.
At the same time, however, it was a secret gratification to herself
to have seen her cousin, and to know that the future owner of Kellynch
was undoubtedly a gentleman, and had an air of good sense. She would
not, upon any account, mention her having met with him the second
time; luckily Mary did not much attend to their having passed close by
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him in their earlier walk, but she would have felt quite ill-used by Anne's
having actually run against him in the passage, and received his very
polite excuses, while she had never been near him at all; no, that
cousinly little interview must remain a perfect secret.
“Of course,” said Mary, “you will mention our seeing Mr Elliot,
the next time you write to Bath. I think my father certainly ought to hear
of it; do mention all about him.”
Anne avoided a direct reply, but it was just the circumstance which
she considered as not merely unnecessary to be communicated, but as
what ought to be suppressed. The offence which had been given her
father, many years back, she knew; Elizabeth's particular share in it she
suspected; and that Mr Elliot's idea always produced irritation in both
was beyond a doubt. Mary never wrote to Bath herself; all the toil of
keeping up a slow and unsatisfactory correspondence with Elizabeth fell
on Anne.
Breakfast had not been long over, when they were joined by
Captain and Mrs Harville and Captain Benwick; with whom they had
appointed to take their last walk about Lyme. They ought to be setting
off for Uppercross by one, and in the mean while were to be all together,
and out of doors as long as they could.
Anne found Captain Benwick getting near her, as soon as they
were all fairly in the street. Their conversation the preceding evening did
not disincline him to seek her again; and they walked together some
time, talking as before of Mr Scott and Lord Byron, and still as unable as
before, and as unable as any other two readers, to think exactly alike of
the merits of either, till something occasioned an almost general change
amongst their party, and instead of Captain Benwick, she had Captain
Harville by her side.
“Miss Elliot,” said he, speaking rather low, “you have done a good
deed in making that poor fellow talk so much. I wish he could have such
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company oftener. It is bad for him, I know, to be shut up as he is; but
what can we do? We cannot part.”
“No,” said Anne, “that I can easily believe to be impossible; but in
time, perhaps--we know what time does in every case of affliction, and
you must remember, Captain Harville, that your friend may yet be called
a young mourner--only last summer, I understand.”
“Ay, true enough,” (with a deep sigh) “only June.”
“And not known to him, perhaps, so soon.”
“Not till the first week of August, when he came home from the
Cape, just made into the Grappler. I was at Plymouth dreading to hear of
him; he sent in letters, but the Grappler was under orders for
Portsmouth. There the news must follow him, but who was to tell it? not
I. I would as soon have been run up to the yard-arm. Nobody could do it,
but that good fellow” (pointing to Captain Wentworth.) “The Laconia
had come into Plymouth the week before; no danger of her being sent to
sea again. He stood his chance for the rest; wrote up for leave of
absence, but without waiting the return, travelled night and day till he
got to Portsmouth, rowed off to the Grappler that instant, and never left
the poor fellow for a week. That's what he did, and nobody else could
have saved poor James. You may think, Miss Elliot, whether he is dear
to us!”
Anne did think on the question with perfect decision, and said as
much in reply as her own feeling could accomplish, or as his seemed
able to bear, for he was too much affected to renew the subject, and
when he spoke again, it was of something totally different.
Mrs Harville's giving it as her opinion that her husband would have
quite walking enough by the time he reached home, determined the
direction of all the party in what was to be their last walk; they would
accompany them to their door, and then return and set off themselves.
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By all their calculations there was just time for this; but as they
drew near the Cobb, there was such a general wish to walk along it once
more, all were so inclined, and Louisa soon grew so determined, that the
difference of a quarter of an hour, it was found, would be no difference
at all; so with all the kind leave-taking, and all the kind interchange of
invitations and promises which may be imagined, they parted from
Captain and Mrs Harville at their own door, and still accompanied by
Captain Benwick, who seemed to cling to them to the last, proceeded to
make the proper adieus to the Cobb.
Anne found Captain Benwick again drawing near her. Lord
Byron's “dark blue seas” could not fail of being brought forward by their
present view, and she gladly gave him all her attention as long as
attention was possible. It was soon drawn, perforce another way.
There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb
pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the
lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the
steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by
Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the
stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement
for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it,
however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment,
ran up the steps to be jumped down again.
He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he
reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, “I am determined I
will:” he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she
fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!
There was no wound, no blood, no visible bruise; but her eyes were
closed, she breathed not, her face was like death. The horror of the
moment to all who stood around!
Captain Wentworth, who had caught her up, knelt with her in his
arms, looking on her with a face as pallid as her own, in an agony of
silence. “She is dead! she is dead!” screamed Mary, catching hold of her
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husband, and contributing with his own horror to make him
immoveable; and in another moment, Henrietta, sinking under the
conviction, lost her senses too, and would have fallen on the steps, but
for Captain Benwick and Anne, who caught and supported her between
them.
“Is there no one to help me?” were the first words which burst
from Captain Wentworth, in a tone of despair, and as if all his own
strength were gone.
“Go to him, go to him,” cried Anne, “for heaven's sake go to him. I
can support her myself. Leave me, and go to him. Rub her hands, rub her
temples; here are salts; take them, take them.”
Captain Benwick obeyed, and Charles at the same moment,
disengaging himself from his wife, they were both with him; and Louisa
was raised up and supported more firmly between them, and everything
was done that Anne had prompted, but in vain; while Captain
Wentworth, staggering against the wall for his support, exclaimed in the
bitterest agony--
“Oh God! her father and mother!”
“A surgeon!” said Anne.
He caught the word; it seemed to rouse him at once, and saying
only-- “True, true, a surgeon this instant,” was darting away, when Anne
eagerly suggested--
“Captain Benwick, would not it be better for Captain Benwick? He
knows where a surgeon is to be found.”
Every one capable of thinking felt the advantage of the idea, and in
a moment (it was all done in rapid moments) Captain Benwick had
resigned the poor corpse-like figure entirely to the brother's care, and
was off for the town with the utmost rapidity.
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As to the wretched party left behind, it could scarcely be said
which of the three, who were completely rational, was suffering most:
Captain Wentworth, Anne, or Charles, who, really a very affectionate
brother, hung over Louisa with sobs of grief, and could only turn his
eyes from one sister, to see the other in a state as insensible, or to
witness the hysterical agitations of his wife, calling on him for help
which he could not give.
Anne, attending with all the strength and zeal, and thought, which
instinct supplied, to Henrietta, still tried, at intervals, to suggest comfort
to the others, tried to quiet Mary, to animate Charles, to assuage the
feelings of Captain Wentworth. Both seemed to look to her for
directions.
“Anne, Anne,” cried Charles, “What is to be done next? What, in
heaven's name, is to be done next?”
Captain Wentworth's eyes were also turned towards her.
“Had not she better be carried to the inn? Yes, I am sure: carry her
gently to the inn.”
“Yes, yes, to the inn,” repeated Captain Wentworth, comparatively
collected, and eager to be doing something. “I will carry her myself.
Musgrove, take care of the others.”
By this time the report of the accident had spread among the
workmen and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected near
them, to be useful if wanted, at any rate, to enjoy the sight of a dead
young lady, nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the
first report. To some of the best-looking of these good people Henrietta
was consigned, for, though partially revived, she was quite helpless; and
in this manner, Anne walking by her side, and Charles attending to his
wife, they set forward, treading back with feelings unutterable, the
ground, which so lately, so very lately, and so light of heart, they had
passed along.
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They were not off the Cobb, before the Harvilles met them.
Captain Benwick had been seen flying by their house, with a
countenance which showed something to be wrong; and they had set off
immediately, informed and directed as they passed, towards the spot.
Shocked as Captain Harville was, he brought senses and nerves that
could be instantly useful; and a look between him and his wife decided
what was to be done. She must be taken to their house; all must go to
their house; and await the surgeon's arrival there. They would not listen
to scruples: he was obeyed; they were all beneath his roof; and while
Louisa, under Mrs Harville's direction, was conveyed up stairs, and
given possession of her own bed, assistance, cordials, restoratives were
supplied by her husband to all who needed them.
Louisa had once opened her eyes, but soon closed them again,
without apparent consciousness. This had been a proof of life, however,
of service to her sister; and Henrietta, though perfectly incapable of
being in the same room with Louisa, was kept, by the agitation of hope
and fear, from a return of her own insensibility. Mary, too, was growing
calmer.
The surgeon was with them almost before it had seemed possible.
They were sick with horror, while he examined; but he was not hopeless.
The head had received a severe contusion, but he had seen greater
injuries recovered from: he was by no means hopeless; he spoke
cheerfully.
That he did not regard it as a desperate case, that he did not say a
few hours must end it, was at first felt, beyond the hope of most; and the
ecstasy of such a reprieve, the rejoicing, deep and silent, after a few
fervent ejaculations of gratitude to Heaven had been offered, may be
conceived.
The tone, the look, with which “Thank God!” was uttered by
Captain Wentworth, Anne was sure could never be forgotten by her; nor
the sight of him afterwards, as he sat near a table, leaning over it with
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folded arms and face concealed, as if overpowered by the various
feelings of his soul, and trying by prayer and reflection to calm them.
Louisa's limbs had escaped. There was no injury but to the head.
It now became necessary for the party to consider what was best to
be done, as to their general situation. They were now able to speak to
each other and consult. That Louisa must remain where she was,
however distressing to her friends to be involving the Harvilles in such
trouble, did not admit a doubt. Her removal was impossible. The
Harvilles silenced all scruples; and, as much as they could, all gratitude.
They had looked forward and arranged everything before the others
began to reflect. Captain Benwick must give up his room to them, and
get another bed elsewhere; and the whole was settled.
They were only concerned that the house could accommodate no
more; and yet perhaps, by “putting the children away in the maid's room,
or swinging a cot somewhere,” they could hardly bear to think of not
finding room for two or three besides, supposing they might wish to
stay; though, with regard to any attendance on Miss Musgrove, there
need not be the least uneasiness in leaving her to Mrs Harville's care
entirely. Mrs Harville was a very experienced nurse, and her nursery-
maid, who had lived with her long, and gone about with her everywhere,
was just such another. Between these two, she could want no possible
attendance by day or night. And all this was said with a truth and
sincerity of feeling irresistible.
Charles, Henrietta, and Captain Wentworth were the three in
consultation, and for a little while it was only an interchange of
perplexity and terror. “Uppercross, the necessity of some one's going to
Uppercross; the news to be conveyed; how it could be broken to Mr and
Mrs Musgrove; the lateness of the morning; an hour already gone since
they ought to have been off; the impossibility of being in tolerable time.”
At first, they were capable of nothing more to the purpose than such
exclamations; but, after a while, Captain Wentworth, exerting himself,
said--
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“We must be decided, and without the loss of another minute.
Every minute is valuable. Some one must resolve on being off for
Uppercross instantly. Musgrove, either you or I must go.”
Charles agreed, but declared his resolution of not going away. He
would be as little incumbrance as possible to Captain and Mrs Harville;
but as to leaving his sister in such a state, he neither ought, nor would.
So far it was decided; and Henrietta at first declared the same. She,
however, was soon persuaded to think differently. The usefulness of her
staying! She who had not been able to remain in Louisa's room, or to
look at her, without sufferings which made her worse than helpless! She
was forced to acknowledge that she could do no good, yet was still
unwilling to be away, till, touched by the thought of her father and
mother, she gave it up; she consented, she was anxious to be at home.
The plan had reached this point, when Anne, coming quietly down
from Louisa's room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour
door was open.
“Then it is settled, Musgrove,” cried Captain Wentworth, “that you
stay, and that I take care of your sister home. But as to the rest, as to the
others, if one stays to assist Mrs Harville, I think it need be only one.
Mrs Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to her children;
but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as Anne.”
She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing
herself so spoken of. The other two warmly agreed with what he said,
and she then appeared.
“You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her;” cried he,
turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which
seemed almost restoring the past. She coloured deeply, and he
recollected himself and moved away. She expressed herself most
willing, ready, happy to remain. “It was what she had been thinking of,
and wishing to be allowed to do. A bed on the floor in Louisa's room
would be sufficient for her, if Mrs Harville would but think so.”
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One thing more, and all seemed arranged. Though it was rather
desirable that Mr and Mrs Musgrove should be previously alarmed by
some share of delay; yet the time required by the Uppercross horses to
take them back, would be a dreadful extension of suspense; and Captain
Wentworth proposed, and Charles Musgrove agreed, that it would be
much better for him to take a chaise from the inn, and leave Mr
Musgrove's carriage and horses to be sent home the next morning early,
when there would be the farther advantage of sending an account of
Louisa's night.
Captain Wentworth now hurried off to get everything ready on his
part, and to be soon followed by the two ladies. When the plan was
made known to Mary, however, there was an end of all peace in it. She
was so wretched and so vehement, complained so much of injustice in
being expected to go away instead of Anne; Anne, who was nothing to
Louisa, while she was her sister, and had the best right to stay in
Henrietta's stead!
Why was not she to be as useful as Anne? And to go home without
Charles, too, without her husband! No, it was too unkind. And in short,
she said more than her husband could long withstand, and as none of the
others could oppose when he gave way, there was no help for it; the
change of Mary for Anne was inevitable.
Anne had never submitted more reluctantly to the jealous and ill-
judging claims of Mary; but so it must be, and they set off for the town,
Charles taking care of his sister, and Captain Benwick attending to her.
She gave a moment's recollection, as they hurried along, to the little
circumstances which the same spots had witnessed earlier in the
morning. There she had listened to Henrietta's schemes for Dr Shirley's
leaving Uppercross; farther on, she had first seen Mr Elliot; a moment
seemed all that could now be given to any one but Louisa, or those who
were wrapt up in her welfare.
Captain Benwick was most considerately attentive to her; and,
united as they all seemed by the distress of the day, she felt an increasing
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degree of good-will towards him, and a pleasure even in thinking that it
might, perhaps, be the occasion of continuing their acquaintance.
Captain Wentworth was on the watch for them, and a chaise and
four in waiting, stationed for their convenience in the lowest part of the
street; but his evident surprise and vexation at the substitution of one
sister for the other, the change in his countenance, the astonishment, the
expressions begun and suppressed, with which Charles was listened to,
made but a mortifying reception of Anne; or must at least convince her
that she was valued only as she could be useful to Louisa.
She endeavoured to be composed, and to be just. Without
emulating the feelings of an Emma towards her Henry, she would have
attended on Louisa with a zeal above the common claims of regard, for
his sake; and she hoped he would not long be so unjust as to suppose she
would shrink unnecessarily from the office of a friend.
In the mean while she was in the carriage. He had handed them
both in, and placed himself between them; and in this manner, under
these circumstances, full of astonishment and emotion to Anne, she
quitted Lyme. How the long stage would pass; how it was to affect their
manners; what was to be their sort of intercourse, she could not foresee.
It was all quite natural, however. He was devoted to Henrietta; always
turning towards her; and when he spoke at all, always with the view of
supporting her hopes and raising her spirits.
In general, his voice and manner were studiously calm. To spare
Henrietta from agitation seemed the governing principle. Once only,
when she had been grieving over the last ill-judged, ill-fated walk to the
Cobb, bitterly lamenting that it ever had been thought of, he burst forth,
as if wholly overcome--
“Don't talk of it, don't talk of it,” he cried. “Oh God! that I had not
given way to her at the fatal moment! Had I done as I ought! But so
eager and so resolute! Dear, sweet Louisa!”
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Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question
the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and
advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him
that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions
and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a
persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness
as a very resolute character.
They got on fast. Anne was astonished to recognise the same hills
and the same objects so soon. Their actual speed, heightened by some
dread of the conclusion, made the road appear but half as long as on the
day before. It was growing quite dusk, however, before they were in the
neighbourhood of Uppercross, and there had been total silence among
them for some time, Henrietta leaning back in the corner, with a shawl
over her face, giving the hope of her having cried herself to sleep.
When, as they were going up their last hill, Anne found herself all
at once addressed by Captain Wentworth. In a low, cautious voice, he
said: --
“I have been considering what we had best do. She must not
appear at first. She could not stand it. I have been thinking whether you
had not better remain in the carriage with her, while I go in and break it
to Mr and Mrs Musgrove. Do you think this is a good plan?”
She did: he was satisfied, and said no more. But the remembrance
of the appeal remained a pleasure to her, as a proof of friendship, and of
deference for her judgement, a great pleasure; and when it became a sort
of parting proof, its value did not lessen.
When the distressing communication at Uppercross was over, and
he had seen the father and mother quite as composed as could be hoped,
and the daughter all the better for being with them, he announced his
intention of returning in the same carriage to Lyme; and when the horses
were baited, he was off.
(End of volume one.)
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Chapter 13

The remainder of Anne's time at Uppercross, comprehending only
two days, was spent entirely at the Mansion House; and she had the
satisfaction of knowing herself extremely useful there, both as an
immediate companion, and as assisting in all those arrangements for the
future, which, in Mr and Mrs Musgrove's distressed state of spirits,
would have been difficulties.
They had an early account from Lyme the next morning. Louisa
was much the same. No symptoms worse than before had appeared.
Charles came a few hours afterwards, to bring a later and more particular
account. He was tolerably cheerful. A speedy cure must not be hoped,
but everything was going on as well as the nature of the case admitted.
In speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed unable to satisfy his own
sense of their kindness, especially of Mrs Harville's exertions as a nurse.
“She really left nothing for Mary to do. He and Mary had been
persuaded to go early to their inn last night. Mary had been hysterical
again this morning. When he came away, she was going to walk out with
Captain Benwick, which, he hoped, would do her good. He almost
wished she had been prevailed on to come home the day before; but the
truth was, that Mrs Harville left nothing for anybody to do.”
Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon, and his father
had at first half a mind to go with him, but the ladies could not consent.
It would be going only to multiply trouble to the others, and increase his
own distress; and a much better scheme followed and was acted upon. A
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chaise was sent for from Crewkherne, and Charles conveyed back a far
more useful person in the old nursery-maid of the family, one who
having brought up all the children, and seen the very last, the lingering
and long-petted Master Harry, sent to school after his brothers, was now
living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings and dress all the blains
and bruises she could get near her, and who, consequently, was only too
happy in being allowed to go and help nurse dear Miss Louisa. Vague
wishes of getting Sarah thither, had occurred before to Mrs Musgrove
and Henrietta; but without Anne, it would hardly have been resolved on,
and found practicable so soon.
They were indebted, the next day, to Charles Hayter, for all the
minute knowledge of Louisa, which it was so essential to obtain every
twenty-four hours. He made it his business to go to Lyme, and his
account was still encouraging. The intervals of sense and consciousness
were believed to be stronger. Every report agreed in Captain
Wentworth's appearing fixed in Lyme.
Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all
dreaded. “What should they do without her? They were wretched
comforters for one another.” And so much was said in this way, that
Anne thought she could not do better than impart among them the
general inclination to which she was privy, and persuaded them all to go
to Lyme at once. She had little difficulty; it was soon determined that
they would go; go to-morrow, fix themselves at the inn, or get into
lodgings, as it suited, and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved.
They must be taking off some trouble from the good people she was
with; they might at least relieve Mrs Harville from the care of her own
children; and in short, they were so happy in the decision, that Anne was
delighted with what she had done, and felt that she could not spend her
last morning at Uppercross better than in assisting their preparations, and
sending them off at an early hour, though her being left to the solitary
range of the house was the consequence.
She was the last, excepting the little boys at the cottage, she was
the very last, the only remaining one of all that had filled and animated
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both houses, of all that had given Uppercross its cheerful character. A
few days had made a change indeed!
If Louisa recovered, it would all be well again. More than former
happiness would be restored. There could not be a doubt, to her mind
there was none, of what would follow her recovery. A few months
hence, and the room now so deserted, occupied but by her silent, pensive
self, might be filled again with all that was happy and gay, all that was
glowing and bright in prosperous love, all that was most unlike Anne
Elliot!
An hour's complete leisure for such reflections as these, on a dark
November day, a small thick rain almost blotting out the very few
objects ever to be discerned from the windows, was enough to make the
sound of Lady Russell's carriage exceedingly welcome; and yet, though
desirous to be gone, she could not quit the Mansion House, or look an
adieu to the Cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless veranda, or
even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of the
village, without a saddened heart. Scenes had passed in Uppercross
which made it precious. It stood the record of many sensations of pain,
once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of relenting
feeling, some breathings of friendship and reconciliation, which could
never be looked for again, and which could never cease to be dear.
She left it all behind her, all but the recollection that such things
had been.
Anne had never entered Kellynch since her quitting Lady Russell's
house in September. It had not been necessary, and the few occasions of
its being possible for her to go to the Hall she had contrived to evade and
escape from. Her first return was to resume her place in the modern and
elegant apartments of the Lodge, and to gladden the eyes of its mistress.
There was some anxiety mixed with Lady Russell's joy in meeting
her. She knew who had been frequenting Uppercross. But happily, either
Anne was improved in plumpness and looks, or Lady Russell fancied
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her so; and Anne, in receiving her compliments on the occasion, had the
amusement of connecting them with the silent admiration of her cousin,
and of hoping that she was to be blessed with a second spring of youth
and beauty.
When they came to converse, she was soon sensible of some
mental change. The subjects of which her heart had been full on leaving
Kellynch, and which she had felt slighted, and been compelled to
smother among the Musgroves, were now become but of secondary
interest. She had lately lost sight even of her father and sister and Bath.
Their concerns had been sunk under those of Uppercross; and
when Lady Russell reverted to their former hopes and fears, and spoke
her satisfaction in the house in Camden Place, which had been taken,
and her regret that Mrs Clay should still be with them, Anne would have
been ashamed to have it known how much more she was thinking of
Lyme and Louisa Musgrove, and all her acquaintance there; how much
more interesting to her was the home and the friendship of the Harvilles
and Captain Benwick, than her own father's house in Camden Place, or
her own sister's intimacy with Mrs Clay. She was actually forced to
exert herself to meet Lady Russell with anything like the appearance of
equal solicitude, on topics which had by nature the first claim on her.
There was a little awkwardness at first in their discourse on
another subject. They must speak of the accident at Lyme. Lady Russell
had not been arrived five minutes the day before, when a full account of
the whole had burst on her; but still it must be talked of, she must make
enquiries, she must regret the imprudence, lament the result, and Captain
Wentworth's name must be mentioned by both. Anne was conscious of
not doing it so well as Lady Russell. She could not speak the name, and
look straight forward to Lady Russell's eye, till she had adopted the
expedient of telling her briefly what she thought of the attachment
between him and Louisa. When this was told, his name distressed her no
longer.
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Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish them happy,
but internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt,
that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of
the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed
by a Louisa Musgrove.
The first three or four days passed most quietly, with no
circumstance to mark them excepting the receipt of a note or two from
Lyme, which found their way to Anne, she could not tell how, and
brought a rather improving account of Louisa. At the end of that period,
Lady Russell's politeness could repose no longer, and the fainter self-
threatenings of the past became in a decided tone, “I must call on Mrs
Croft; I really must call upon her soon. Anne, have you courage to go
with me, and pay a visit in that house? It will be some trial to us both.”
Anne did not shrink from it; on the contrary, she truly felt as she
said, in observing--
“I think you are very likely to suffer the most of the two; your
feelings are less reconciled to the change than mine. By remaining in the
neighbourhood, I am become inured to it.”
She could have said more on the subject; for she had in fact so high
an opinion of the Crofts, and considered her father so very fortunate in
his tenants, felt the parish to be so sure of a good example, and the poor
of the best attention and relief, that however sorry and ashamed for the
necessity of the removal, she could not but in conscience feel that they
were gone who deserved not to stay, and that Kellynch Hall had passed
into better hands than its owners'. These convictions must
unquestionably have their own pain, and severe was its kind; but they
precluded that pain which Lady Russell would suffer in entering the
house again, and returning through the well-known apartments.
In such moments Anne had no power of saying to herself, “These
rooms ought to belong only to us. Oh, how fallen in their destination!
How unworthily occupied! An ancient family to be so driven away!
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Strangers filling their place!” No, except when she thought of her
mother, and remembered where she had been used to sit and preside, she
had no sigh of that description to heave.
Mrs Croft always met her with a kindness which gave her the
pleasure of fancying herself a favourite, and on the present occasion,
receiving her in that house, there was particular attention.
The sad accident at Lyme was soon the prevailing topic, and on
comparing their latest accounts of the invalid, it appeared that each lady
dated her intelligence from the same hour of yestermorn; that Captain
Wentworth had been in Kellynch yesterday (the first time since the
accident), had brought Anne the last note, which she had not been able
to trace the exact steps of; had staid a few hours and then returned again
to Lyme, and without any present intention of quitting it any more. He
had enquired after her, she found, particularly; had expressed his hope of
Miss Elliot's not being the worse for her exertions, and had spoken of
those exertions as great. This was handsome, and gave her more pleasure
than almost anything else could have done.
As to the sad catastrophe itself, it could be canvassed only in one
style by a couple of steady, sensible women, whose judgements had to
work on ascertained events; and it was perfectly decided that it had been
the consequence of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence; that its
effects were most alarming, and that it was frightful to think, how long
Miss Musgrove's recovery might yet be doubtful, and how liable she
would still remain to suffer from the concussion hereafter! The Admiral
wound it up summarily by exclaiming--
“Ay, a very bad business indeed. A new sort of way this, for a
young fellow to be making love, by breaking his mistress's head, is not
it, Miss Elliot? This is breaking a head and giving a plaster, truly!”
Admiral Croft's manners were not quite of the tone to suit Lady
Russell, but they delighted Anne. His goodness of heart and simplicity
of character were irresistible.
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“Now, this must be very bad for you,” said he, suddenly rousing
from a little reverie, “to be coming and finding us here. I had not
recollected it before, I declare, but it must be very bad. But now, do not
stand upon ceremony. Get up and go over all the rooms in the house if
you like it.”
“Another time, Sir, I thank you, not now.”
“Well, whenever it suits you. You can slip in from the shrubbery at
any time; and there you will find we keep our umbrellas hanging up by
that door. A good place is not it? But,” (checking himself), “you will not
think it a good place, for yours were always kept in the butler's room.
Ay, so it always is, I believe. One man's ways may be as good as
another's, but we all like our own best. And so you must judge for
yourself, whether it would be better for you to go about the house or
not.”
Anne, finding she might decline it, did so, very gratefully.
“We have made very few changes either,” continued the Admiral,
after thinking a moment. “Very few. We told you about the laundry-
door, at Uppercross. That has been a very great improvement. The
wonder was, how any family upon earth could bear with the
inconvenience of its opening as it did, so long!
“You will tell Sir Walter what we have done, and that Mr
Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement the house ever had. Indeed,
I must do ourselves the justice to say, that the few alterations we have
made have been all very much for the better. My wife should have the
credit of them, however. I have done very little besides sending away
some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room, which was
your father's. A very good man, and very much the gentleman I am sure:
but I should think, Miss Elliot,” (looking with serious reflection), “I
should think he must be rather a dressy man for his time of life. Such a
number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from
one's self. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted their
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quarters; and now I am quite snug, with my little shaving glass in one
corner, and another great thing that I never go near.”
Anne, amused in spite of herself, was rather distressed for an
answer, and the Admiral, fearing he might not have been civil enough,
took up the subject again, to say--
“The next time you write to your good father, Miss Elliot, pray
give him my compliments and Mrs Croft's, and say that we are settled
here quite to our liking, and have no fault at all to find with the place.
The breakfast-room chimney smokes a little, I grant you, but it is only
when the wind is due north and blows hard, which may not happen three
times a winter.
And take it altogether, now that we have been into most of the
houses hereabouts and can judge, there is not one that we like better than
this. Pray say so, with my compliments. He will be glad to hear it.”
Lady Russell and Mrs Croft were very well pleased with each
other: but the acquaintance which this visit began was fated not to
proceed far at present; for when it was returned, the Crofts announced
themselves to be going away for a few weeks, to visit their connexions
in the north of the county, and probably might not be at home again
before Lady Russell would be removing to Bath.
So ended all danger to Anne of meeting Captain Wentworth at
Kellynch Hall, or of seeing him in company with her friend. Everything
was safe enough, and she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had
wasted on the subject.
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Chapter 14

Though Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme much longer
after Mr and Mrs Musgrove's going than Anne conceived they could
have been at all wanted, they were yet the first of the family to be at
home again; and as soon as possible after their return to Uppercross they
drove over to the Lodge. They had left Louisa beginning to sit up; but
her head, though clear, was exceedingly weak, and her nerves
susceptible to the highest extreme of tenderness; and though she might
be pronounced to be altogether doing very well, it was still impossible to
say when she might be able to bear the removal home; and her father
and mother, who must return in time to receive their younger children
for the Christmas holidays, had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring
her with them.
They had been all in lodgings together. Mrs Musgrove had got Mrs
Harville's children away as much as she could, every possible supply
from Uppercross had been furnished, to lighten the inconvenience to the
Harvilles, while the Harvilles had been wanting them to come to dinner
every day; and in short, it seemed to have been only a struggle on each
side as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable.
Mary had had her evils; but upon the whole, as was evident by her
staying so long, she had found more to enjoy than to suffer. Charles
Hayter had been at Lyme oftener than suited her; and when they dined
with the Harvilles there had been only a maid-servant to wait, and at first
Mrs Harville had always given Mrs Musgrove precedence; but then, she
had received so very handsome an apology from her on finding out
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whose daughter she was, and there had been so much going on every
day, there had been so many walks between their lodgings and the
Harvilles, and she had got books from the library, and changed them so
often, that the balance had certainly been much in favour of Lyme. She
had been taken to Charmouth too, and she had bathed, and she had gone
to church, and there were a great many more people to look at in the
church at Lyme than at Uppercross; and all this, joined to the sense of
being so very useful, had made really an agreeable fortnight.
Anne enquired after Captain Benwick, Mary's face was clouded
directly. Charles laughed.
“Oh! Captain Benwick is very well, I believe, but he is a very odd
young man. I do not know what he would be at. We asked him to come
home with us for a day or two: Charles undertook to give him some
shooting, and he seemed quite delighted, and, for my part, I thought it
was all settled; when behold! on Tuesday night, he made a very
awkward sort of excuse; 'he never shot' and he had 'been quite
misunderstood,' and he had promised this and he had promised that, and
the end of it was, I found, that he did not mean to come. I suppose he
was afraid of finding it dull; but upon my word I should have thought we
were lively enough at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as
Captain Benwick.”
Charles laughed again and said, “Now Mary, you know very well
how it really was. It was all your doing,” (turning to Anne.) “He fancied
that if he went with us, he should find you close by: he fancied
everybody to be living in Uppercross; and when he discovered that Lady
Russell lived three miles off, his heart failed him, and he had not
courage to come. That is the fact, upon my honour, Mary knows it is.”
But Mary did not give into it very graciously, whether from not
considering Captain Benwick entitled by birth and situation to be in love
with an Elliot, or from not wanting to believe Anne a greater attraction
to Uppercross than herself, must be left to be guessed. Anne's good-will,
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however, was not to be lessened by what she heard. She boldly
acknowledged herself flattered, and continued her enquiries.
“Oh! he talks of you,” cried Charles, “in such terms--” Mary
interrupted him. “I declare, Charles, I never heard him mention Anne
twice all the time I was there. I declare, Anne, he never talks of you at
all.”
“No,” admitted Charles, “I do not know that he ever does, in a
general way; but however, it is a very clear thing that he admires you
exceedingly. His head is full of some books that he is reading upon your
recommendation, and he wants to talk to you about them; he has found
out something or other in one of them which he thinks-- oh! I cannot
pretend to remember it, but it was something very fine--I overheard him
telling Henrietta all about it; and then 'Miss Elliot' was spoken of in the
highest terms! Now Mary, I declare it was so, I heard it myself, and you
were in the other room. 'Elegance, sweetness, beauty.' Oh! there was no
end of Miss Elliot's charms.”
“And I am sure,” cried Mary, warmly, “it was a very little to his
credit, if he did. Miss Harville only died last June. Such a heart is very
little worth having; is it, Lady Russell? I am sure you will agree with
me.”
“I must see Captain Benwick before I decide,” said Lady Russell,
smiling.
“And that you are very likely to do very soon, I can tell you,
ma'am,” said Charles. “Though he had not nerves for coming away with
us, and setting off again afterwards to pay a formal visit here, he will
make his way over to Kellynch one day by himself, you may depend on
it. I told him the distance and the road, and I told him of the church's
being so very well worth seeing; for as he has a taste for those sort of
things, I thought that would be a good excuse, and he listened with all
his understanding and soul; and I am sure from his manner that you will
have him calling here soon. So, I give you notice, Lady Russell.”
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“Any acquaintance of Anne's will always be welcome to me,” was
Lady Russell's kind answer.
“Oh! as to being Anne's acquaintance,” said Mary, “I think he is
rather my acquaintance, for I have been seeing him every day this last
fortnight.”
“Well, as your joint acquaintance, then, I shall be very happy to
see Captain Benwick.”
“You will not find anything very agreeable in him, I assure you,
ma'am. He is one of the dullest young men that ever lived. He has
walked with me, sometimes, from one end of the sands to the other,
without saying a word. He is not at all a well-bred young man. I am sure
you will not like him.”
“There we differ, Mary,” said Anne. “I think Lady Russell would
like him. I think she would be so much pleased with his mind, that she
would very soon see no deficiency in his manner.”
“So do I, Anne,” said Charles. “I am sure Lady Russell would like
him. He is just Lady Russell's sort. Give him a book, and he will read all
day long.”
“Yes, that he will!” exclaimed Mary, tauntingly. “He will sit
poring over his book, and not know when a person speaks to him, or
when one drop's one's scissors, or anything that happens. Do you think
Lady Russell would like that?”
Lady Russell could not help laughing. “Upon my word,” said she,
“I should not have supposed that my opinion of any one could have
admitted of such difference of conjecture, steady and matter of fact as I
may call myself. I have really a curiosity to see the person who can give
occasion to such directly opposite notions. I wish he may be induced to
call here. And when he does, Mary, you may depend upon hearing my
opinion; but I am determined not to judge him beforehand.”
“You will not like him, I will answer for it.”
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Lady Russell began talking of something else. Mary spoke with
animation of their meeting with, or rather missing, Mr Elliot so
extraordinarily.
“He is a man,” said Lady Russell, “whom I have no wish to see.
His declining to be on cordial terms with the head of his family, has left
a very strong impression in his disfavour with me.”
This decision checked Mary's eagerness, and stopped her short in
the midst of the Elliot countenance.
With regard to Captain Wentworth, though Anne hazarded no
enquiries, there was voluntary communication sufficient. His spirits had
been greatly recovering lately as might be expected. As Louisa
improved, he had improved, and he was now quite a different creature
from what he had been the first week. He had not seen Louisa; and was
so extremely fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview, that
he did not press for it at all; and, on the contrary, seemed to have a plan
of going away for a week or ten days, till her head was stronger. He had
talked of going down to Plymouth for a week, and wanted to persuade
Captain Benwick to go with him; but, as Charles maintained to the last,
Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride over to Kellynch.
There can be no doubt that Lady Russell and Anne were both
occasionally thinking of Captain Benwick, from this time. Lady Russell
could not hear the door-bell without feeling that it might be his herald;
nor could Anne return from any stroll of solitary indulgence in her
father's grounds, or any visit of charity in the village, without wondering
whether she might see him or hear of him. Captain Benwick came not,
however. He was either less disposed for it than Charles had imagined,
or he was too shy; and after giving him a week's indulgence, Lady
Russell determined him to be unworthy of the interest which he had
been beginning to excite.
The Musgroves came back to receive their happy boys and girls
from school, bringing with them Mrs Harville's little children, to
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improve the noise of Uppercross, and lessen that of Lyme. Henrietta
remained with Louisa; but all the rest of the family were again in their
usual quarters.
Lady Russell and Anne paid their compliments to them once, when
Anne could not but feel that Uppercross was already quite alive again.
Though neither Henrietta, nor Louisa, nor Charles Hayter, nor Captain
Wentworth were there, the room presented as strong a contrast as could
be wished to the last state she had seen it in.
Immediately surrounding Mrs Musgrove were the little Harvilles,
whom she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children
from the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them. On one side was a
table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper;
and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of
brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the
whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined
to be heard, in spite of all the noise of the others. Charles and Mary also
came in, of course, during their visit, and Mr Musgrove made a point of
paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten
minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the
children on his knees, generally in vain. It was a fine family-piece.
Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have deemed
such a domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves, which Louisa's
illness must have so greatly shaken. But Mrs Musgrove, who got Anne
near her on purpose to thank her most cordially, again and again, for all
her attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what she had
suffered herself by observing, with a happy glance round the room, that
after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do her good as a
little quiet cheerfulness at home.
Louisa was now recovering apace. Her mother could even think of
her being able to join their party at home, before her brothers and sisters
went to school again. The Harvilles had promised to come with her and
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stay at Uppercross, whenever she returned. Captain Wentworth was
gone, for the present, to see his brother in Shropshire.
“I hope I shall remember, in future,” said Lady Russell, as soon as
they were reseated in the carriage, “not to call at Uppercross in the
Christmas holidays.”
Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters; and
sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather than
their quantity. When Lady Russell not long afterwards, was entering
Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course of streets
from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of other
carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of
newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of
pattens, she made no complaint. No, these were noises which belonged
to the winter pleasures; her spirits rose under their influence; and like
Mrs Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being long
in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet
cheerfulness.
Anne did not share these feelings. She persisted in a very
determined, though very silent disinclination for Bath; caught the first
dim view of the extensive buildings, smoking in rain, without any wish
of seeing them better; felt their progress through the streets to be,
however disagreeable, yet too rapid; for who would be glad to see her
when she arrived? And looked back, with fond regret, to the bustles of
Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch. Elizabeth's last letter had
communicated a piece of news of some interest. Mr Elliot was in Bath.
He had called in Camden Place; had called a second time, a third; had
been pointedly attentive. If Elizabeth and her father did not deceive
themselves, had been taking much pains to seek the acquaintance, and
proclaim the value of the connection, as he had formerly taken pains to
shew neglect. This was very wonderful if it were true; and Lady Russell
was in a state of very agreeable curiosity and perplexity about Mr Elliot,
already recanting the sentiment she had so lately expressed to Mary, of
his being “a man whom she had no wish to see.” She had a great wish to
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see him. If he really sought to reconcile himself like a dutiful branch, he
must be forgiven for having dismembered himself from the paternal tree.
Anne was not animated to an equal pitch by the circumstance, but
she felt that she would rather see Mr Elliot again than not, which was
more than she could say for many other persons in Bath.
She was put down in Camden Place; and Lady Russell then drove
to her own lodgings, in Rivers Street.
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Chapter 15

Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty
dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he
and Elizabeth were settled there, much to their satisfaction.
Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment
of many months, and anxiously saying to herself, “Oh! when shall I
leave you again?” A degree of unexpected cordiality, however, in the
welcome she received, did her good. Her father and sister were glad to
see her, for the sake of shewing her the house and furniture, and met her
with kindness. Her making a fourth, when they sat down to dinner, was
noticed as an advantage.
Mrs Clay was very pleasant, and very smiling, but her courtesies
and smiles were more a matter of course. Anne had always felt that she
would pretend what was proper on her arrival, but the complaisance of
the others was unlooked for. They were evidently in excellent spirits,
and she was soon to listen to the causes. They had no inclination to listen
to her. After laying out for some compliments of being deeply regretted
in their old neighbourhood, which Anne could not pay, they had only a
few faint enquiries to make, before the talk must be all their own.
Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it was all Bath.
They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than
answered their expectations in every respect. Their house was
undoubtedly the best in Camden Place; their drawing-rooms had many
decided advantages over all the others which they had either seen or
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heard of, and the superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up, or
the taste of the furniture. Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought
after. Everybody was wanting to visit them. They had drawn back from
many introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by
people of whom they knew nothing.
Here were funds of enjoyment. Could Anne wonder that her father
and sister were happy? She might not wonder, but she must sigh that her
father should feel no degradation in his change, should see nothing to
regret in the duties and dignity of the resident landholder, should find so
much to be vain of in the littlenesses of a town; and she must sigh, and
smile, and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw open the folding-doors and
walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the other, boasting of
their space; at the possibility of that woman, who had been mistress of
Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of between two walls, perhaps
thirty feet asunder.
But this was not all which they had to make them happy. They had
Mr Elliot too. Anne had a great deal to hear of Mr Elliot. He was not
only pardoned, they were delighted with him. He had been in Bath about
a fortnight; (he had passed through Bath in November, in his way to
London, when the intelligence of Sir Walter's being settled there had of
course reached him, though only twenty-four hours in the place, but he
had not been able to avail himself of it;) but he had now been a fortnight
in Bath, and his first object on arriving, had been to leave his card in
Camden Place, following it up by such assiduous endeavours to meet,
and when they did meet, by such great openness of conduct, such
readiness to apologize for the past, such solicitude to be received as a
relation again, that their former good understanding was completely re-
established.
They had not a fault to find in him. He had explained away all the
appearance of neglect on his own side. It had originated in
misapprehension entirely. He had never had an idea of throwing himself
off; he had feared that he was thrown off, but knew not why, and
delicacy had kept him silent. Upon the hint of having spoken
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disrespectfully or carelessly of the family and the family honours, he
was quite indignant. He, who had ever boasted of being an Elliot, and
whose feelings, as to connection, were only too strict to suit the unfeudal
tone of the present day. He was astonished, indeed, but his character and
general conduct must refute it. He could refer Sir Walter to all who
knew him; and certainly, the pains he had been taking on this, the first
opportunity of reconciliation, to be restored to the footing of a relation
and heir-presumptive, was a strong proof of his opinions on the subject.
The circumstances of his marriage, too, were found to admit of
much extenuation. This was an article not to be entered on by himself;
but a very intimate friend of his, a Colonel Wallis, a highly respectable
man, perfectly the gentleman, (and not an ill-looking man, Sir Walter
added), who was living in very good style in Marlborough Buildings,
and had, at his own particular request, been admitted to their
acquaintance through Mr Elliot, had mentioned one or two things
relative to the marriage, which made a material difference in the
discredit of it.
Colonel Wallis had known Mr Elliot long, had been well
acquainted also with his wife, had perfectly understood the whole story.
She was certainly not a woman of family, but well educated,
accomplished, rich, and excessively in love with his friend. There had
been the charm. She had sought him. Without that attraction, not all her
money would have tempted Elliot, and Sir Walter was, moreover,
assured of her having been a very fine woman. Here was a great deal to
soften the business. A very fine woman with a large fortune, in love with
him! Sir Walter seemed to admit it as complete apology; and though
Elizabeth could not see the circumstance in quite so favourable a light,
she allowed it be a great extenuation.
Mr Elliot had called repeatedly, had dined with them once,
evidently delighted by the distinction of being asked, for they gave no
dinners in general; delighted, in short, by every proof of cousinly notice,
and placing his whole happiness in being on intimate terms in Camden
Place.
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Anne listened, but without quite understanding it. Allowances,
large allowances, she knew, must be made for the ideas of those who
spoke. She heard it all under embellishment. All that sounded
extravagant or irrational in the progress of the reconciliation might have
no origin but in the language of the relators.
Still, however, she had the sensation of there being something
more than immediately appeared, in Mr Elliot's wishing, after an interval
of so many years, to be well received by them. In a worldly view, he had
nothing to gain by being on terms with Sir Walter; nothing to risk by a
state of variance. In all probability he was already the richer of the two,
and the Kellynch estate would as surely be his hereafter as the title. A
sensible man, and he had looked like a very sensible man, why should it
be an object to him?
She could only offer one solution; it was, perhaps, for Elizabeth's
sake. There might really have been a liking formerly, though
convenience and accident had drawn him a different way; and now that
he could afford to please himself, he might mean to pay his addresses to
her. Elizabeth was certainly very handsome, with well-bred, elegant
manners, and her character might never have been penetrated by Mr
Elliot, knowing her but in public, and when very young himself. How
her temper and understanding might bear the investigation of his present
keener time of life was another concern and rather a fearful one. Most
earnestly did she wish that he might not be too nice, or too observant if
Elizabeth were his object; and that Elizabeth was disposed to believe
herself so, and that her friend Mrs Clay was encouraging the idea,
seemed apparent by a glance or two between them, while Mr Elliot's
frequent visits were talked of.
Anne mentioned the glimpses she had had of him at Lyme, but
without being much attended to. “Oh! yes, perhaps, it had been Mr
Elliot. They did not know. It might be him, perhaps.” They could not
listen to her description of him. They were describing him themselves;
Sir Walter especially. He did justice to his very gentlemanlike
appearance, his air of elegance and fashion, his good shaped face, his
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sensible eye; but, at the same time, “must lament his being very much
under-hung, a defect which time seemed to have increased; nor could he
pretend to say that ten years had not altered almost every feature for the
worse. Mr Elliot appeared to think that he (Sir Walter) was looking
exactly as he had done when they last parted;” but Sir Walter had “not
been able to return the compliment entirely, which had embarrassed him.
He did not mean to complain, however. Mr Elliot was better to look at
than most men, and he had no objection to being seen with him
anywhere.”
Mr Elliot, and his friends in Marlborough Buildings, were talked of
the whole evening. “Colonel Wallis had been so impatient to be
introduced to them! and Mr Elliot so anxious that he should!” and there
was a Mrs Wallis, at present known only to them by description, as she
was in daily expectation of her confinement; but Mr Elliot spoke of her
as “a most charming woman, quite worthy of being known in Camden
Place,” and as soon as she recovered they were to be acquainted.
Sir Walter thought much of Mrs Wallis; she was said to be an
excessively pretty woman, beautiful. “He longed to see her. He hoped
she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was
continually passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was the number of
its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty
women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion.
He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face
would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he
had stood in a shop on Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women
go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among
them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which
hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there
certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for
the men! they were infinitely worse. Such scarecrows as the streets were
full of! It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of
anything tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance
produced. He had never walked anywhere arm-in-arm with Colonel
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Wallis (who was a fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without
observing that every woman's eye was upon him; every woman's eye
was sure to be upon Colonel Wallis.” Modest Sir Walter! He was not
allowed to escape, however. His daughter and Mrs Clay united in hinting
that Colonel Wallis's companion might have as good a figure as Colonel
Wallis, and certainly was not sandy-haired.
“How is Mary looking?” said Sir Walter, in the height of his good
humour. “The last time I saw her she had a red nose, but I hope that may
not happen every day.”
“Oh! no, that must have been quite accidental. In general she has
been in very good health and very good looks since Michaelmas.”
“If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds, and
grow coarse, I would send her a new hat and pelisse.”
Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a
gown, or a cap, would not be liable to any such misuse, when a knock at
the door suspended everything. “A knock at the door! and so late! It was
ten o'clock. Could it be Mr Elliot? They knew he was to dine in
Lansdown Crescent. It was possible that he might stop in his way home
to ask them how they did. They could think of no one else. Mrs Clay
decidedly thought it Mr Elliot's knock.” Mrs Clay was right. With all the
state which a butler and foot-boy could give, Mr Elliot was ushered into
the room.
It was the same, the very same man, with no difference but of
dress. Anne drew a little back, while the others received his
compliments, and her sister his apologies for calling at so unusual an
hour, but “he could not be so near without wishing to know that neither
she nor her friend had taken cold the day before,” &c. &c; which was all
as politely done, and as politely taken, as possible, but her part must
follow then.
Sir Walter talked of his youngest daughter; “Mr Elliot must give
him leave to present him to his youngest daughter” (there was no
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occasion for remembering Mary); and Anne, smiling and blushing, very
becomingly shewed to Mr Elliot the pretty features which he had by no
means forgotten, and instantly saw, with amusement at his little start of
surprise, that he had not been at all aware of who she was. He looked
completely astonished, but not more astonished than pleased; his eyes
brightened! and with the most perfect alacrity he welcomed the
relationship, alluded to the past, and entreated to be received as an
acquaintance already. He was quite as good-looking as he had appeared
at Lyme, his countenance improved by speaking, and his manners were
so exactly what they ought to be, so polished, so easy, so particularly
agreeable, that she could compare them in excellence to only one
person's manners. They were not the same, but they were, perhaps,
equally good.
He sat down with them, and improved their conversation very
much. There could be no doubt of his being a sensible man. Ten minutes
were enough to certify that. His tone, his expressions, his choice of
subject, his knowing where to stop; it was all the operation of a sensible,
discerning mind.
As soon as he could, he began to talk to her of Lyme, wanting to
compare opinions respecting the place, but especially wanting to speak
of the circumstance of their happening to be guests in the same inn at the
same time; to give his own route, understand something of hers, and
regret that he should have lost such an opportunity of paying his respects
to her. She gave him a short account of her party and business at Lyme.
His regret increased as he listened. He had spent his whole solitary
evening in the room adjoining theirs; had heard voices, mirth
continually; thought they must be a most delightful set of people, longed
to be with them, but certainly without the smallest suspicion of his
possessing the shadow of a right to introduce himself. If he had but
asked who the party were! The name of Musgrove would have told him
enough. “Well, it would serve to cure him of an absurd practice of never
asking a question at an inn, which he had adopted, when quite a young
man, on the principal of its being very ungenteel to be curious.
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“The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty,” said he,
“as to what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing, are
more absurd, I believe, than those of any other set of beings in the world.
The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the
folly of what they have in view.”
But he must not be addressing his reflections to Anne alone: he
knew it; he was soon diffused again among the others, and it was only at
intervals that he could return to Lyme.
His enquiries, however, produced at length an account of the scene
she had been engaged in there, soon after his leaving the place. Having
alluded to “an accident,” he must hear the whole. When he questioned,
Sir Walter and Elizabeth began to question also, but the difference in
their manner of doing it could not be unfelt. She could only compare Mr
Elliot to Lady Russell, in the wish of really comprehending what had
passed, and in the degree of concern for what she must have suffered in
witnessing it.
He staid an hour with them. The elegant little clock on the mantel-
piece had struck “eleven with its silver sounds,” and the watchman was
beginning to be heard at a distance telling the same tale, before Mr Elliot
or any of them seemed to feel that he had been there long.
Anne could not have supposed it possible that her first evening in
Camden Place could have passed so well!
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Chapter 16

There was one point which Anne, on returning to her family,
would have been more thankful to ascertain even than Mr Elliot's being
in love with Elizabeth, which was, her father's not being in love with
Mrs Clay; and she was very far from easy about it, when she had been at
home a few hours. On going down to breakfast the next morning, she
found there had just been a decent pretence on the lady's side of meaning
to leave them. She could imagine Mrs Clay to have said, that “now Miss
Anne was come, she could not suppose herself at all wanted;” for
Elizabeth was replying in a sort of whisper, “That must not be any
reason, indeed. I assure you I feel it none. She is nothing to me,
compared with you;” and she was in full time to hear her father say, “My
dear madam, this must not be. As yet, you have seen nothing of Bath.
“You have been here only to be useful. You must not run away
from us now. You must stay to be acquainted with Mrs Wallis, the
beautiful Mrs Wallis. To your fine mind, I well know the sight of beauty
is a real gratification.”
He spoke and looked so much in earnest, that Anne was not
surprised to see Mrs Clay stealing a glance at Elizabeth and herself. Her
countenance, perhaps, might express some watchfulness; but the praise
of the fine mind did not appear to excite a thought in her sister. The lady
could not but yield to such joint entreaties, and promise to stay.
In the course of the same morning, Anne and her father chancing
to be alone together, he began to compliment her on her improved looks;
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he thought her “less thin in her person, in her cheeks; her skin, her
complexion, greatly improved; clearer, fresher. Had she been using any
thing in particular?” “No, nothing.” “Merely Gowland,” he supposed.
“No, nothing at all.” “Ha! he was surprised at that;” and added,
“certainly you cannot do better than to continue as you are; you cannot
be better than well; or I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of
Gowland, during the spring months. Mrs Clay has been using it at my
recommendation, and you see what it has done for her. You see how it
has carried away her freckles.”
If Elizabeth could but have heard this! Such personal praise might
have struck her, especially as it did not appear to Anne that the freckles
were at all lessened. But everything must take its chance. The evil of a
marriage would be much diminished, if Elizabeth were also to marry. As
for herself, she might always command a home with Lady Russell.
Lady Russell's composed mind and polite manners were put to
some trial on this point, in her intercourse in Camden Place. The sight of
Mrs Clay in such favour, and of Anne so overlooked, was a perpetual
provocation to her there; and vexed her as much when she was away, as
a person in Bath who drinks the water, gets all the new publications, and
has a very large acquaintance, has time to be vexed.
As Mr Elliot became known to her, she grew more charitable, or
more indifferent, towards the others. His manners were an immediate
recommendation; and on conversing with him she found the solid so
fully supporting the superficial, that she was at first, as she told Anne,
almost ready to exclaim, “Can this be Mr Elliot?” and could not
seriously picture to herself a more agreeable or estimable man.
Everything united in him; good understanding, correct opinions,
knowledge of the world, and a warm heart. He had strong feelings of
family attachment and family honour, without pride or weakness; he
lived with the liberality of a man of fortune, without display; he judged
for himself in everything essential, without defying public opinion in
any point of worldly decorum.
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He was steady, observant, moderate, candid; never run away with
by spirits or by selfishness, which fancied itself strong feeling; and yet,
with a sensibility to what was amiable and lovely, and a value for all the
felicities of domestic life, which characters of fancied enthusiasm and
violent agitation seldom really possess. She was sure that he had not
been happy in marriage. Colonel Wallis said it, and Lady Russell saw it;
but it had been no unhappiness to sour his mind, nor (she began pretty
soon to suspect) to prevent his thinking of a second choice. Her
satisfaction in Mr Elliot outweighed all the plague of Mrs Clay.
It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and
her excellent friend could sometimes think differently; and it did not
surprise her, therefore, that Lady Russell should see nothing suspicious
or inconsistent, nothing to require more motives than appeared, in Mr
Elliot's great desire of a reconciliation. In Lady Russell's view, it was
perfectly natural that Mr Elliot, at a mature time of life, should feel it a
most desirable object, and what would very generally recommend him
among all sensible people, to be on good terms with the head of his
family; the simplest process in the world of time upon a head naturally
clear, and only erring in the heyday of youth. Anne presumed, however,
still to smile about it, and at last to mention “Elizabeth.” Lady Russell
listened, and looked, and made only this cautious reply:-- “Elizabeth!
very well; time will explain.”
It was a reference to the future, which Anne, after a little
observation, felt she must submit to. She could determine nothing at
present. In that house Elizabeth must be first; and she was in the habit of
such general observance as “Miss Elliot,” that any particularity of
attention seemed almost impossible. Mr Elliot, too, it must be
remembered, had not been a widower seven months. A little delay on his
side might be very excusable. In fact, Anne could never see the crape
round his hat, without fearing that she was the inexcusable one, in
attributing to him such imaginations; for though his marriage had not
been very happy, still it had existed so many years that she could not
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comprehend a very rapid recovery from the awful impression of its
being dissolved.
However it might end, he was without any question their
pleasantest acquaintance in Bath: she saw nobody equal to him; and it
was a great indulgence now and then to talk to him about Lyme, which
he seemed to have as lively a wish to see again, and to see more of, as
herself. They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great
many times. He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with
some earnestness. She knew it well; and she remembered another
person's look also.
They did not always think alike. His value for rank and connexion
she perceived was greater than hers. It was not merely complaisance, it
must be a liking to the cause, which made him enter warmly into her
father and sister's solicitudes on a subject which she thought unworthy to
excite them. The Bath paper one morning announced the arrival of the
Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, and her daughter, the Honourable
Miss Carteret; and all the comfort of No. --, Camden Place, was swept
away for many days; for the Dalrymples (in Anne's opinion, most
unfortunately) were cousins of the Elliots; and the agony was how to
introduce themselves properly.
Anne had never seen her father and sister before in contact with
nobility, and she must acknowledge herself disappointed. She had hoped
better things from their high ideas of their own situation in life, and was
reduced to form a wish which she had never foreseen; a wish that they
had more pride; for “our cousins Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret;”
“our cousins, the Dalrymples,” sounded in her ears all day long.
Sir Walter had once been in company with the late viscount, but
had never seen any of the rest of the family; and the difficulties of the
case arose from there having been a suspension of all intercourse by
letters of ceremony, ever since the death of that said late viscount, when,
in consequence of a dangerous illness of Sir Walter's at the same time,
there had been an unlucky omission at Kellynch.
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No letter of condolence had been sent to Ireland. The neglect had
been visited on the head of the sinner; for when poor Lady Elliot died
herself, no letter of condolence was received at Kellynch, and,
consequently, there was but too much reason to apprehend that the
Dalrymples considered the relationship as closed. How to have this
anxious business set to rights, and be admitted as cousins again, was the
question: and it was a question which, in a more rational manner, neither
Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot thought unimportant. “Family connexions
were always worth preserving, good company always worth seeking;
Lady Dalrymple had taken a house, for three months, in Laura Place,
and would be living in style. She had been at Bath the year before, and
Lady Russell had heard her spoken of as a charming woman. It was very
desirable that the connexion should be renewed, if it could be done,
without any compromise of propriety on the side of the Elliots.”
Sir Walter, however, would choose his own means, and at last
wrote a very fine letter of ample explanation, regret, and entreaty, to his
right honourable cousin. Neither Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot could
admire the letter; but it did all that was wanted, in bringing three lines of
scrawl from the Dowager Viscountess.
“She was very much honoured, and should be happy in their
acquaintance.”
The toils of the business were over, the sweets began. They visited
in Laura Place, they had the cards of Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple,
and the Honourable Miss Carteret, to be arranged wherever they might
be most visible: and “Our cousins in Laura Place,"--"Our cousin, Lady
Dalrymple and Miss Carteret,” were talked of to everybody.
Anne was ashamed. Had Lady Dalrymple and her daughter even
been very agreeable, she would still have been ashamed of the agitation
they created, but they were nothing. There was no superiority of manner,
accomplishment, or understanding. Lady Dalrymple had acquired the
name of “a charming woman,” because she had a smile and a civil
answer for everybody. Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain
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and so awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden
Place but for her birth.
Lady Russell confessed she had expected something better; but yet
“it was an acquaintance worth having;” and when Anne ventured to
speak her opinion of them to Mr Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing
in themselves, but still maintained that, as a family connexion, as good
company, as those who would collect good company around them, they
had their value. Anne smiled and said,
“My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever,
well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is
what I call good company.”
“You are mistaken,” said he gently, “that is not good company;
that is the best. Good company requires only birth, education, and
manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. Birth and good
manners are essential; but a little learning is by no means a dangerous
thing in good company; on the contrary, it will do very well. My cousin
Anne shakes her head. She is not satisfied. She is fastidious. My dear
cousin” (sitting down by her), “you have a better right to be fastidious
than almost any other woman I know; but will it answer? Will it make
you happy? Will it not be wiser to accept the society of those good
ladies in Laura Place, and enjoy all the advantages of the connexion as
far as possible? You may depend upon it, that they will move in the first
set in Bath this winter, and as rank is rank, your being known to be
related to them will have its use in fixing your family (our family let me
say) in that degree of consideration which we must all wish for.”
“Yes,” sighed Anne, “we shall, indeed, be known to be related to
them!” then recollecting herself, and not wishing to be answered, she
added, “I certainly do think there has been by far too much trouble taken
to procure the acquaintance. I suppose” (smiling) “I have more pride
than any of you; but I confess it does vex me, that we should be so
solicitous to have the relationship acknowledged, which we may be very
sure is a matter of perfect indifference to them.”
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“Pardon me, dear cousin, you are unjust in your own claims. In
London, perhaps, in your present quiet style of living, it might be as you
say: but in Bath; Sir Walter Elliot and his family will always be worth
knowing: always acceptable as acquaintance.”
“Well,” said Anne, “I certainly am proud, too proud to enjoy a
welcome which depends so entirely upon place.”
“I love your indignation,” said he; “it is very natural. But here you
are in Bath, and the object is to be established here with all the credit
and dignity which ought to belong to Sir Walter Elliot. You talk of being
proud; I am called proud, I know, and I shall not wish to believe myself
otherwise; for our pride, if investigated, would have the same object, I
have no doubt, though the kind may seem a little different. In one point,
I am sure, my dear cousin,” (he continued, speaking lower, though there
was no one else in the room) “in one point, I am sure, we must feel alike.
We must feel that every addition to your father's society, among his
equals or superiors, may be of use in diverting his thoughts from those
who are beneath him.”
He looked, as he spoke, to the seat which Mrs Clay had been lately
occupying: a sufficient explanation of what he particularly meant; and
though Anne could not believe in their having the same sort of pride, she
was pleased with him for not liking Mrs Clay; and her conscience
admitted that his wishing to promote her father's getting great
acquaintance was more than excusable in the view of defeating her.
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Chapter 17

While Sir Walter and Elizabeth were assiduously pushing their
good fortune in Laura Place, Anne was renewing an acquaintance of a
very different description.
She had called on her former governess, and had heard from her of
there being an old school-fellow in Bath, who had the two strong claims
on her attention of past kindness and present suffering. Miss Hamilton,
now Mrs Smith, had shewn her kindness in one of those periods of her
life when it had been most valuable. Anne had gone unhappy to school,
grieving for the loss of a mother whom she had dearly loved, feeling her
separation from home, and suffering as a girl of fourteen, of strong
sensibility and not high spirits, must suffer at such a time.
And Miss Hamilton, three years older than herself, but still from
the want of near relations and a settled home, remaining another year at
school, had been useful and good to her in a way which had
considerably lessened her misery, and could never be remembered with
indifference.
Miss Hamilton had left school, had married not long afterwards,
was said to have married a man of fortune, and this was all that Anne
had known of her, till now that their governess's account brought her
situation forward in a more decided but very different form.
She was a widow and poor. Her husband had been extravagant;
and at his death, about two years before, had left his affairs dreadfully
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involved. She had had difficulties of every sort to contend with, and in
addition to these distresses had been afflicted with a severe rheumatic
fever, which, finally settling in her legs, had made her for the present a
cripple. She had come to Bath on that account, and was now in lodgings
near the hot baths, living in a very humble way, unable even to afford
herself the comfort of a servant, and of course almost excluded from
society.
Their mutual friend answered for the satisfaction which a visit
from Miss Elliot would give Mrs Smith, and Anne therefore lost no time
in going. She mentioned nothing of what she had heard, or what she
intended, at home. It would excite no proper interest there.
She only consulted Lady Russell, who entered thoroughly into her
sentiments, and was most happy to convey her as near to Mrs Smith's
lodgings in Westgate Buildings, as Anne chose to be taken.
The visit was paid, their acquaintance re-established, their interest
in each other more than re-kindled. The first ten minutes had its
awkwardness and its emotion. Twelve years were gone since they had
parted, and each presented a somewhat different person from what the
other had imagined. Twelve years had changed Anne from the
blooming, silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of
seven-and-twenty, with every beauty except bloom, and with manners as
consciously right as they were invariably gentle; and twelve years had
transformed the fine-looking, well-grown Miss Hamilton, in all the glow
of health and confidence of superiority, into a poor, infirm, helpless
widow, receiving the visit of her former protegee as a favour; but all that
was uncomfortable in the meeting had soon passed away, and left only
the interesting charm of remembering former partialities and talking
over old times.
Anne found in Mrs Smith the good sense and agreeable manners
which she had almost ventured to depend on, and a disposition to
converse and be cheerful beyond her expectation. Neither the
dissipations of the past--and she had lived very much in the world--nor
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the restrictions of the present, neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to
have closed her heart or ruined her spirits.
In the course of a second visit she talked with great openness, and
Anne's astonishment increased. She could scarcely imagine a more
cheerless situation in itself than Mrs Smith's. She had been very fond of
her husband: she had buried him. She had been used to affluence: it was
gone. She had no child to connect her with life and happiness again, no
relations to assist in the arrangement of perplexed affairs, no health to
make all the rest supportable. Her accommodations were limited to a
noisy parlour, and a dark bedroom behind, with no possibility of moving
from one to the other without assistance, which there was only one
servant in the house to afford, and she never quitted the house but to be
conveyed into the warm bath. Yet, in spite of all this, Anne had reason to
believe that she had moments only of languor and depression, to hours
of occupation and enjoyment. How could it be? She watched, observed,
reflected, and finally determined that this was not a case of fortitude or
of resignation only. A submissive spirit might be patient, a strong
understanding would supply resolution, but here was something more;
here was that elasticity of mind, that disposition to be comforted, that
power of turning readily from evil to good, and of finding employment
which carried her out of herself, which was from nature alone. It was the
choicest gift of Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those
instances in which, by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to
counterbalance almost every other want.
There had been a time, Mrs Smith told her, when her spirits had
nearly failed. She could not call herself an invalid now, compared with
her state on first reaching Bath. Then she had, indeed, been a pitiable
object; for she had caught cold on the journey, and had hardly taken
possession of her lodgings before she was again confined to her bed and
suffering under severe and constant pain; and all this among strangers,
with the absolute necessity of having a regular nurse, and finances at that
moment particularly unfit to meet any extraordinary expense. She had
weathered it, however, and could truly say that it had done her good. It
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had increased her comforts by making her feel herself to be in good
hands. She had seen too much of the world, to expect sudden or
disinterested attachment anywhere, but her illness had proved to her that
her landlady had a character to preserve, and would not use her ill; and
she had been particularly fortunate in her nurse, as a sister of her
landlady, a nurse by profession, and who had always a home in that
house when unemployed, chanced to be at liberty just in time to attend
her. “And she,” said Mrs Smith, “besides nursing me most admirably,
has really proved an invaluable acquaintance. As soon as I could use my
hands she taught me to knit, which has been a great amusement; and she
put me in the way of making these little thread-cases, pin-cushions and
card-racks, which you always find me so busy about, and which supply
me with the means of doing a little good to one or two very poor
families in this neighbourhood.
She had a large acquaintance, of course professionally, among
those who can afford to buy, and she disposes of my merchandize. She
always takes the right time for applying. “Everybody's heart is open, you
know, when they have recently escaped from severe pain, or are
recovering the blessing of health, and Nurse Rooke thoroughly
understands when to speak. She is a shrewd, intelligent, sensible woman.
Hers is a line for seeing human nature; and she has a fund of good sense
and observation, which, as a companion, make her infinitely superior to
thousands of those who having only received 'the best education in the
world,' know nothing worth attending to. Call it gossip, if you will, but
when Nurse Rooke has half an hour's leisure to bestow on me, she is
sure to have something to relate that is entertaining and profitable:
something that makes one know one's species better. One likes to hear
what is going on, to be au fait as to the newest modes of being trifling
and silly. To me, who live so much alone, her conversation, I assure you,
is a treat.”
Anne, far from wishing to cavil at the pleasure, replied, “I can
easily believe it. Women of that class have great opportunities, and if
they are intelligent may be well worth listening to. Such varieties of
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human nature as they are in the habit of witnessing! And it is not merely
in its follies, that they are well read; for they see it occasionally under
every circumstance that can be most interesting or affecting.
What instances must pass before them of ardent, disinterested, self-
denying attachment, of heroism, fortitude, patience, resignation: of all
the conflicts and all the sacrifices that ennoble us most. A sick chamber
may often furnish the worth of volumes.”
“Yes,” said Mrs Smith more doubtingly, “sometimes it may,
though I fear its lessons are not often in the elevated style you describe.
Here and there, human nature may be great in times of trial; but
generally speaking, it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in
a sick chamber: it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity
and fortitude, that one hears of. There is so little real friendship in the
world! and unfortunately” (speaking low and tremulously) “there are so
many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late.”
Anne saw the misery of such feelings. The husband had not been
what he ought, and the wife had been led among that part of mankind
which made her think worse of the world than she hoped it deserved. It
was but a passing emotion however with Mrs Smith; she shook it off,
and soon added in a different tone--
“I do not suppose the situation my friend Mrs Rooke is in at
present, will furnish much either to interest or edify me. She is only
nursing Mrs Wallis of Marlborough Buildings; a mere pretty, silly,
expensive, fashionable woman, I believe; and of course will have
nothing to report but of lace and finery.
“I mean to make my profit of Mrs Wallis, however. She has plenty
of money, and I intend she shall buy all the high-priced things I have in
hand now.”
Anne had called several times on her friend, before the existence of
such a person was known in Camden Place. At last, it became necessary
to speak of her. Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Mrs Clay, returned one
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morning from Laura Place, with a sudden invitation from Lady
Dalrymple for the same evening, and Anne was already engaged, to
spend that evening in Westgate Buildings. She was not sorry for the
excuse. They were only asked, she was sure, because Lady Dalrymple
being kept at home by a bad cold, was glad to make use of the
relationship which had been so pressed on her; and she declined on her
own account with great alacrity--"She was engaged to spend the evening
with an old schoolfellow.” They were not much interested in anything
relative to Anne; but still there were questions enough asked, to make it
understood what this old schoolfellow was; and Elizabeth was
disdainful, and Sir Walter severe.
“Westgate Buildings!” said he, “and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be
visiting in Westgate Buildings? A Mrs Smith. A widow Mrs Smith; and
who was her husband? One of five thousand Mr Smiths whose names
are to be met with everywhere. And what is her attraction? That she is
old and sickly.
“Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most
extraordinary taste! Everything that revolts other people, low company,
paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting to you. But
surely you may put off this old lady till to-morrow: she is not so near her
end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another day. What is her
age? Forty?”
“No, sir, she is not one-and-thirty; but I do not think I can put off
my engagement, because it is the only evening for some time which will
at once suit her and myself. She goes into the warm bath to-morrow, and
for the rest of the week, you know, we are engaged.”
“But what does Lady Russell think of this acquaintance?” asked
Elizabeth.
“She sees nothing to blame in it,” replied Anne; “on the contrary,
she approves it, and has generally taken me when I have called on Mrs
Smith.
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“Westgate Buildings must have been rather surprised by the
appearance of a carriage drawn up near its pavement,” observed Sir
Walter. “Sir Henry Russell's widow, indeed, has no honours to
distinguish her arms, but still it is a handsome equipage, and no doubt is
well known to convey a Miss Elliot. A widow Mrs Smith lodging in
Westgate Buildings! A poor widow barely able to live, between thirty
and forty; a mere Mrs Smith, an every-day Mrs Smith, of all people and
all names in the world, to be the chosen friend of Miss Anne Elliot, and
to be preferred by her to her own family connections among the nobility
of England and Ireland! Mrs Smith! Such a name!”
Mrs Clay, who had been present while all this passed, now thought
it advisable to leave the room, and Anne could have said much, and did
long to say a little in defense of her friend's not very dissimilar claims to
theirs, but her sense of personal respect to her father prevented her. She
made no reply. She left it to himself to recollect, that Mrs Smith was not
the only widow in Bath between thirty and forty, with little to live on,
and no sirname of dignity.
Anne kept her appointment; the others kept theirs, and of course
she heard the next morning that they had had a delightful evening. She
had been the only one of the set absent, for Sir Walter and Elizabeth had
not only been quite at her ladyship's service themselves, but had actually
been happy to be employed by her in collecting others, and had been at
the trouble of inviting both Lady Russell and Mr Elliot; and Mr Elliot
had made a point of leaving Colonel Wallis early, and Lady Russell had
fresh arranged all her evening engagements in order to wait on her. Anne
had the whole history of all that such an evening could supply from
Lady Russell. To her, its greatest interest must be, in having been very
much talked of between her friend and Mr Elliot; in having been wished
for, regretted, and at the same time honoured for staying away in such a
cause. Her kind, compassionate visits to this old schoolfellow, sick and
reduced, seemed to have quite delighted Mr Elliot. He thought her a
most extraordinary young woman; in her temper, manners, mind, a
model of female excellence.
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He could meet even Lady Russell in a discussion of her merits; and
Anne could not be given to understand so much by her friend, could not
know herself to be so highly rated by a sensible man, without many of
those agreeable sensations which her friend meant to create.
Lady Russell was now perfectly decided in her opinion of Mr
Elliot. She was as much convinced of his meaning to gain Anne in time
as of his deserving her, and was beginning to calculate the number of
weeks which would free him from all the remaining restraints of
widowhood, and leave him at liberty to exert his most open powers of
pleasing. She would not speak to Anne with half the certainty she felt on
the subject, she would venture on little more than hints of what might be
hereafter, of a possible attachment on his side, of the desirableness of the
alliance, supposing such attachment to be real and returned. Anne heard
her, and made no violent exclamations; she only smiled, blushed, and
gently shook her head.
“I am no match-maker, as you well know,” said Lady Russell,
“being much too well aware of the uncertainty of all human events and
calculations. I only mean that if Mr Elliot should some time hence pay
his addresses to you, and if you should be disposed to accept him, I think
there would be every possibility of your being happy together. A most
suitable connection everybody must consider it, but I think it might be a
very happy one.”
“Mr Elliot is an exceedingly agreeable man, and in many respects I
think highly of him,” said Anne; “but we should not suit.”
Lady Russell let this pass, and only said in rejoinder, “I own that to
be able to regard you as the future mistress of Kellynch, the future Lady
Elliot, to look forward and see you occupying your dear mother's place,
succeeding to all her rights, and all her popularity, as well as to all her
virtues, would be the highest possible gratification to me. You are your
mother's self in countenance and disposition; and if I might be allowed
to fancy you such as she was, in situation and name, and home,
presiding and blessing in the same spot, and only superior to her in being
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more highly valued! My dearest Anne, it would give me more delight
than is often felt at my time of life!”
Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table,
and, leaning there in pretended employment, try to subdue the feelings
this picture excited. For a few moments her imagination and her heart
were bewitched. The idea of becoming what her mother had been; of
having the precious name of “Lady Elliot” first revived in herself; of
being restored to Kellynch, calling it her home again, her home for ever,
was a charm which she could not immediately resist. Lady Russell said
not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own operation; and
believing that, could Mr Elliot at that moment with propriety have
spoken for himself!--she believed, in short, what Anne did not believe.
The same image of Mr Elliot speaking for himself brought Anne to
composure again. The charm of Kellynch and of “Lady Elliot” all faded
away. She never could accept him. And it was not only that her feelings
were still adverse to any man save one; her judgement, on a serious
consideration of the possibilities of such a case was against Mr Elliot.
Though they had now been acquainted a month, she could not be
satisfied that she really knew his character. That he was a sensible man,
an agreeable man, that he talked well, professed good opinions, seemed
to judge properly and as a man of principle, this was all clear enough.
He certainly knew what was right, nor could she fix on any one article of
moral duty evidently transgressed; but yet she would have been afraid to
answer for his conduct. She distrusted the past, if not the present. The
names which occasionally dropt of former associates, the allusions to
former practices and pursuits, suggested suspicions not favourable of
what he had been. She saw that there had been bad habits; that Sunday
travelling had been a common thing; that there had been a period of his
life (and probably not a short one) when he had been, at least, careless in
all serious matters; and, though he might now think very differently,
who could answer for the true sentiments of a clever, cautious man,
grown old enough to appreciate a fair character? How could it ever be
ascertained that his mind was truly cleansed?
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Mr Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open.
There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or
delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided
imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the
frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth
and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much
more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a
careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never
varied, whose tongue never slipped.
Mr Elliot was too generally agreeable. Various as were the tempers
in her father's house, he pleased them all. He endured too well, stood too
well with every body. He had spoken to her with some degree of
openness of Mrs Clay; had appeared completely to see what Mrs Clay
was about, and to hold her in contempt; and yet Mrs Clay found him as
agreeable as any body.
Lady Russell saw either less or more than her young friend, for she
saw nothing to excite distrust. She could not imagine a man more
exactly what he ought to be than Mr Elliot; nor did she ever enjoy a
sweeter feeling than the hope of seeing him receive the hand of her
beloved Anne in Kellynch church, in the course of the following
autumn.
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Chapter 18

It was the beginning of February; and Anne, having been a month
in Bath, was growing very eager for news from Uppercross and Lyme.
She wanted to hear much more than Mary had communicated. It was
three weeks since she had heard at all. She only knew that Henrietta was
at home again; and that Louisa, though considered to be recovering fast,
was still in Lyme; and she was thinking of them all very intently one
evening, when a thicker letter than usual from Mary was delivered to
her; and, to quicken the pleasure and surprise, with Admiral and Mrs
Croft's compliments.
The Crofts must be in Bath! A circumstance to interest her. They
were people whom her heart turned to very naturally.
“What is this?” cried Sir Walter. “The Crofts have arrived in Bath?
The Crofts who rent Kellynch? What have they brought you?”
“A letter from Uppercross Cottage, Sir.”
“Oh! those letters are convenient passports. They secure an
introduction. I should have visited Admiral Croft, however, at any rate. I
know what is due to my tenant.”
Anne could listen no longer; she could not even have told how the
poor Admiral's complexion escaped; her letter engrossed her. It had been
begun several days back.

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February 1st.
My dear Anne,
--I make no apology for my silence, because I know how little people
think of letters in such a place as Bath. You must be a great deal too
happy to care for Uppercross, which, as you well know, affords little to
write about. We have had a very dull Christmas; Mr and Mrs Musgrove
have not had one dinner party all the holidays. I do not reckon the
Hayters as anybody. The holidays, however, are over at last: I believe
no children ever had such long ones. I am sure I had not. The house was
cleared yesterday, except of the little Harvilles; but you will be surprised
to hear they have never gone home. Mrs Harville must be an odd mother
to part with them so long. I do not understand it. They are not at all nice
children, in my opinion; but Mrs Musgrove seems to like them quite as
well, if not better, than her grandchildren. What dreadful weather we
have had! It may not be felt in Bath, with your nice pavements; but in the
country it is of some consequence. I have not had a creature call on me
since the second week in January, except Charles Hayter, who had been
calling much oftener than was welcome. Between ourselves, I think it a
great pity Henrietta did not remain at Lyme as long as Louisa; it would
have kept her a little out of his way. The carriage is gone to-day, to
bring Louisa and the Harvilles to-morrow. We are not asked to dine with
them, however, till the day after, Mrs Musgrove is so afraid of her being
fatigued by the journey, which is not very likely, considering the care
that will be taken of her; and it would be much more convenient to me to
dine there to-morrow. I am glad you find Mr Elliot so agreeable, and
wish I could be acquainted with him too; but I have my usual luck: I am
always out of the way when any thing desirable is going on; always the
last of my family to be noticed. What an immense time Mrs Clay has
been staying with Elizabeth! Does she never mean to go away? But
perhaps if she were to leave the room vacant, we might not be invited.
Let me know what you think of this. I do not expect my children to be
asked, you know. I can leave them at the Great House very well, for a
month or six weeks. I have this moment heard that the Crofts are going
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to Bath almost immediately; they think the Admiral gouty. Charles heard
it quite by chance; they have not had the civility to give me any notice,
or of offering to take anything. I do not think they improve at all as
neighbours. We see nothing of them, and this is really an instance of
gross inattention. Charles joins me in love, and everything proper. Yours
affectionately,
Mary M---.

I am sorry to say that I am very far from well; and Jemima has just told
me that the butcher says there is a bad sore-throat very much about. I
dare say I shall catch it; and my sore-throats, you know, are always
worse than anybody's.

So ended the first part, which had been afterwards put into an
envelope, containing nearly as much more.

I kept my letter open, that I might send you word how Louisa bore her
journey, and now I am extremely glad I did, having a great deal to add.
In the first place, I had a note from Mrs Croft yesterday, offering to
convey anything to you; a very kind, friendly note indeed, addressed to
me, just as it ought; I shall therefore be able to make my letter as long as
I like. The Admiral does not seem very ill, and I sincerely hope Bath will
do him all the good he wants. I shall be truly glad to have them back
again. Our neighbourhood cannot spare such a pleasant family. But now
for Louisa. I have something to communicate that will astonish you not a
little. She and the Harvilles came on Tuesday very safely, and in the
evening we went to ask her how she did, when we were rather surprised
not to find Captain Benwick of the party, for he had been invited as well
as the Harvilles; and what do you think was the reason? Neither more
nor less than his being in love with Louisa, and not choosing to venture
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to Uppercross till he had had an answer from Mr Musgrove; for it was
all settled between him and her before she came away, and he had
written to her father by Captain Harville. True, upon my honour! Are
not you astonished? I shall be surprised at least if you ever received a
hint of it, for I never did. Mrs Musgrove protests solemnly that she knew
nothing of the matter. We are all very well pleased, however, for though
it is not equal to her marrying Captain Wentworth, it is infinitely better
than Charles Hayter; and Mr Musgrove has written his consent, and
Captain Benwick is expected to-day. Mrs Harville says her husband
feels a good deal on his poor sister's account; but, however, Louisa is a
great favourite with both. Indeed, Mrs Harville and I quite agree that we
love her the better for having nursed her. Charles wonders what Captain
Wentworth will say; but if you remember, I never thought him attached
to Louisa; I never could see anything of it. And this is the end, you see,
of Captain Benwick's being supposed to be an admirer of yours. How
Charles could take such a thing into his head was always
incomprehensible to me. I hope he will be more agreeable now.
Certainly not a great match for Louisa Musgrove, but a million times
better than marrying among the Hayters.”

Mary need not have feared her sister's being in any degree
prepared for the news. She had never in her life been more astonished.
Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! It was almost too wonderful for
belief, and it was with the greatest effort that she could remain in the
room, preserve an air of calmness, and answer the common questions of
the moment. Happily for her, they were not many. Sir Walter wanted to
know whether the Crofts travelled with four horses, and whether they
were likely to be situated in such a part of Bath as it might suit Miss
Elliot and himself to visit in; but had little curiosity beyond.
“How is Mary?” said Elizabeth; and without waiting for an answer,
“And pray what brings the Crofts to Bath?”
“They come on the Admiral's account. He is thought to be gouty.”
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“Gout and decrepitude!” said Sir Walter. “Poor old gentleman.”
“Have they any acquaintance here?” asked Elizabeth.
“I do not know; but I can hardly suppose that, at Admiral Croft's
time of life, and in his profession, he should not have many acquaintance
in such a place as this.”
“I suspect,” said Sir Walter coolly, “that Admiral Croft will be best
known in Bath as the renter of Kellynch Hall. Elizabeth, may we venture
to present him and his wife in Laura Place?”
“Oh, no! I think not. Situated as we are with Lady Dalrymple,
cousins, we ought to be very careful not to embarrass her with
acquaintance she might not approve. If we were not related, it would not
signify; but as cousins, she would feel scrupulous as to any proposal of
ours. We had better leave the Crofts to find their own level. There are
several odd-looking men walking about here, who, I am told, are sailors.
The Crofts will associate with them.”
This was Sir Walter and Elizabeth's share of interest in the letter;
when Mrs Clay had paid her tribute of more decent attention, in an
enquiry after Mrs Charles Musgrove, and her fine little boys, Anne was
at liberty.
In her own room, she tried to comprehend it. Well might Charles
wonder how Captain Wentworth would feel! Perhaps he had quitted the
field, had given Louisa up, had ceased to love, had found he did not love
her. She could not endure the idea of treachery or levity, or anything
akin to ill usage between him and his friend. She could not endure that
such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly.
Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! The high-spirited, joyous-
talking Louisa Musgrove, and the dejected, thinking, feeling, reading,
Captain Benwick, seemed each of them everything that would not suit
the other. Their minds most dissimilar! Where could have been the
attraction? The answer soon presented itself. It had been in situation.
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They had been thrown together several weeks; they had been living
in the same small family party: since Henrietta's coming away, they
must have been depending almost entirely on each other, and Louisa,
just recovering from illness, had been in an interesting state, and Captain
Benwick was not inconsolable. That was a point which Anne had not
been able to avoid suspecting before; and instead of drawing the same
conclusion as Mary, from the present course of events, they served only
to confirm the idea of his having felt some dawning of tenderness
toward herself. She did not mean, however, to derive much more from it
to gratify her vanity, than Mary might have allowed. She was persuaded
that any tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed
to feel for him would have received the same compliment. He had an
affectionate heart. He must love somebody.
She saw no reason against their being happy. Louisa had fine naval
fervour to begin with, and they would soon grow more alike. He would
gain cheerfulness, and she would learn to be an enthusiast for Scott and
Lord Byron; nay, that was probably learnt already; of course they had
fallen in love over poetry. The idea of Louisa Musgrove turned into a
person of literary taste, and sentimental reflection was amusing, but she
had no doubt of its being so. The day at Lyme, the fall from the Cobb,
might influence her health, her nerves, her courage, her character to the
end of her life, as thoroughly as it appeared to have influenced her fate.
The conclusion of the whole was, that if the woman who had been
sensible of Captain Wentworth's merits could be allowed to prefer
another man, there was nothing in the engagement to excite lasting
wonder; and if Captain Wentworth lost no friend by it, certainly nothing
to be regretted. No, it was not regret which made Anne's heart beat in
spite of herself, and brought the colour into her cheeks when she thought
of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free. She had some feelings
which she was ashamed to investigate. They were too much like joy,
senseless joy!
She longed to see the Crofts; but when the meeting took place, it
was evident that no rumour of the news had yet reached them. The visit
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of ceremony was paid and returned; and Louisa Musgrove was
mentioned, and Captain Benwick, too, without even half a smile.
The Crofts had placed themselves in lodgings in Gay Street,
perfectly to Sir Walter's satisfaction. He was not at all ashamed of the
acquaintance, and did, in fact, think and talk a great deal more about the
Admiral, than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him.
The Crofts knew quite as many people in Bath as they wished for,
and considered their intercourse with the Elliots as a mere matter of
form, and not in the least likely to afford them any pleasure. They
brought with them their country habit of being almost always together.
He was ordered to walk to keep off the gout, and Mrs Croft seemed
to go shares with him in everything, and to walk for her life to do him
good. Anne saw them wherever she went. Lady Russell took her out in
her carriage almost every morning, and she never failed to think of them,
and never failed to see them. Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a
most attractive picture of happiness to her. She always watched them as
long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be
talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally
delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he
encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation
when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs Croft
looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her.
Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often
walking herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or
ten days after the Croft's arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or
her friend's carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone to
Camden Place, and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good
fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself at a
printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation
of some print, and she not only might have passed him unseen, but was
obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his
notice.
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When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done
with all his usual frankness and good humour. “Ha! is it you? Thank
you, thank you. This is treating me like a friend. Here I am, you see,
staring at a picture. I can never get by this shop without stopping. But
what a thing here is, by way of a boat! Do look at it. Did you ever see
the like? What queer fellows your fine painters must be, to think that
anybody would venture their lives in such a shapeless old cockleshell as
that? And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it mightily at their
ease, and looking about them at the rocks and mountains, as if they were
not to be upset the next moment, which they certainly must be. I wonder
where that boat was built!” (laughing heartily); “I would not venture
over a horsepond in it. Well,” (turning away), “now, where are you
bound? Can I go anywhere for you, or with you? Can I be of any use?”
“None, I thank you, unless you will give me the pleasure of your
company the little way our road lies together. I am going home.”
“That I will, with all my heart, and farther, too. Yes, yes we will
have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go
along. There, take my arm; that's right; I do not feel comfortable if I
have not a woman there. Lord! what a boat it is!” taking a last look at the
picture, as they began to be in motion.
“Did you say that you had something to tell me, sir?”
“Yes, I have, presently. But here comes a friend, Captain Brigden;
I shall only say, 'How d'ye do?' as we pass, however. I shall not stop.
'How d'ye do?' Brigden stares to see anybody with me but my wife. She,
poor soul, is tied by the leg. She has a blister on one of her heels, as
large as a three-shilling piece. If you look across the street, you will see
Admiral Brand coming down and his brother. Shabby fellows, both of
them! I am glad they are not on this side of the way. Sophy cannot bear
them. They played me a pitiful trick once: got away with some of my
best men. I will tell you the whole story another time. There comes old
Sir Archibald Drew and his grandson. Look, he sees us; he kisses his
hand to you; he takes you for my wife. Ah! the peace has come too soon
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for that younker. Poor old Sir Archibald! How do you like Bath, Miss
Elliot? It suits us very well. We are always meeting with some old friend
or other; the streets full of them every morning; sure to have plenty of
chat; and then we get away from them all, and shut ourselves in our
lodgings, and draw in our chairs, and are snug as if we were at Kellynch,
ay, or as we used to be even at North Yarmouth and Deal. We do not
like our lodgings here the worse, I can tell you, for putting us in mind of
those we first had at North Yarmouth. The wind blows through one of
the cupboards just in the same way.”
When they were got a little farther, Anne ventured to press again
for what he had to communicate. She hoped when clear of Milsom Street
to have her curiosity gratified; but she was still obliged to wait, for the
Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the
greater space and quiet of Belmont; and as she was not really Mrs Croft,
she must let him have his own way. As soon as they were fairly
ascending Belmont, he began--
“Well, now you shall hear something that will surprise you. But
first of all, you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to
talk about. That young lady, you know, that we have all been so
concerned for. The Miss Musgrove, that all this has been happening to.
Her Christian name: I always forget her Christian name.”
Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she
really did; but now she could safely suggest the name of “Louisa.”
“Ay, ay, Miss Louisa Musgrove, that is the name. I wish young
ladies had not such a number of fine Christian names. I should never be
out if they were all Sophys, or something of that sort. Well, this Miss
Louisa, we all thought, you know, was to marry Frederick. He was
courting her week after week. The only wonder was, what they could be
waiting for, till the business at Lyme came; then, indeed, it was clear
enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right.
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“But even then there was something odd in their way of going on.
Instead of staying at Lyme, he went off to Plymouth, and then he went
off to see Edward. When we came back from Minehead he was gone
down to Edward's, and there he has been ever since. We have seen
nothing of him since November. Even Sophy could not understand it.
But now, the matter has take the strangest turn of all; for this young
lady, the same Miss Musgrove, instead of being to marry Frederick, is to
marry James Benwick. You know James Benwick.”
“A little. I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick.” “Well,
she is to marry him. Nay, most likely they are married already, for I do
not know what they should wait for.”
“I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man,” said
Anne, “and I understand that he bears an excellent character.”
“Oh! yes, yes, there is not a word to be said against James
Benwick. He is only a commander, it is true, made last summer, and
these are bad times for getting on, but he has not another fault that I
know of. An excellent, good-hearted fellow, I assure you; a very active,
zealous officer too, which is more than you would think for, perhaps, for
that soft sort of manner does not do him justice.”
“Indeed you are mistaken there, sir; I should never augur want of
spirit from Captain Benwick's manners. I thought them particularly
pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would generally please.”
“Well, well, ladies are the best judges; but James Benwick is rather
too piano for me; and though very likely it is all our partiality, Sophy
and I cannot help thinking Frederick's manners better than his. There is
something about Frederick more to our taste.”
Anne was caught. She had only meant to oppose the too common
idea of spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other, not at
all to represent Captain Benwick's manners as the very best that could
possibly be; and, after a little hesitation, she was beginning to say, “I
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was not entering into any comparison of the two friends,” but the
Admiral interrupted her with--
“And the thing is certainly true. It is not a mere bit of gossip. We
have it from Frederick himself. His sister had a letter from him
yesterday, in which he tells us of it, and he had just had it in a letter from
Harville, written upon the spot, from Uppercross. I fancy they are all at
Uppercross.”
This was an opportunity which Anne could not resist; she said,
therefore, “I hope, Admiral, I hope there is nothing in the style of
Captain Wentworth's letter to make you and Mrs Croft particularly
uneasy. It did seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment between
him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to have worn
out on each side equally, and without violence. I hope his letter does not
breathe the spirit of an ill-used man.”
“Not at all, not at all; there is not an oath or a murmur from
beginning to end.”
Anne looked down to hide her smile.
“No, no; Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too
much spirit for that. If the girl likes another man better, it is very fit she
should have him.”
“Certainly. But what I mean is, that I hope there is nothing in
Captain Wentworth's manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks
himself ill-used by his friend, which might appear, you know, without its
being absolutely said. I should be very sorry that such a friendship as has
subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be destroyed, or
even wounded, by a circumstance of this sort.”
“Yes, yes, I understand you. But there is nothing at all of that
nature in the letter. He does not give the least fling at Benwick; does not
so much as say, 'I wonder at it, I have a reason of my own for wondering
at it.' No, you would not guess, from his way of writing, that he had ever
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thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself. He very
handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is nothing very
unforgiving in that, I think.”
Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral
meant to convey, but it would have been useless to press the enquiry
farther. She therefore satisfied herself with common-place remarks or
quiet attention, and the Admiral had it all his own way.
“Poor Frederick!” said he at last. “Now he must begin all over
again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must
write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am
sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss
Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not
you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?”
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Chapter 19

While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and
expressing his wish of getting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain
Wentworth was already on his way thither. Before Mrs Croft had
written, he was arrived, and the very next time Anne walked out, she
saw him.
Mr Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs Clay. They were
in Milsom Street. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter
desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for
Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady
Dalrymple's carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she,
Anne, and Mrs Clay, therefore, turned into Molland's, while Mr Elliot
stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance.
He soon joined them again, successful, of course; Lady Dalrymple
would be most happy to take them home, and would call for them in a
few minutes.
Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than
four with any comfort. Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently
it was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden
Place ladies. There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot. Whoever
suffered inconvenience, she must suffer none, but it occupied a little
time to settle the point of civility between the other two. The rain was a
mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr
Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay; she would hardly
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allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker
than Miss Anne's; and, in short, her civility rendered her quite as anxious
to be left to walk with Mr Elliot as Anne could be, and it was discussed
between them with a generosity so polite and so determined, that the
others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that
Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr Elliot deciding on appeal, that
his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest.
It was fixed accordingly, that Mrs Clay should be of the party in
the carriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat
near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain
Wentworth walking down the street.
Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that
she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and
absurd! For a few minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all
confusion. She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she
found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr Elliot (always
obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs
Clay's.
She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted
to see if it rained. Why was she to suspect herself of another motive?
Captain Wentworth must be out of sight. She left her seat, she would go;
one half of her should not be always so much wiser than the other half,
or always suspecting the other of being worse than it was. She would see
if it rained. She was sent back, however, in a moment by the entrance of
Captain Wentworth himself, among a party of gentlemen and ladies,
evidently his acquaintance, and whom he must have joined a little below
Milsom Street. He was more obviously struck and confused by the sight
of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite red. For the
first time, since their renewed acquaintance, she felt that she was
betraying the least sensibility of the two. She had the advantage of him
in the preparation of the last few moments. All the overpowering,
blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her.
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Still, however, she had enough to feel! It was agitation, pain, pleasure, a
something between delight and misery.
He spoke to her, and then turned away. The character of his
manner was embarrassment. She could not have called it either cold or
friendly, or anything so certainly as embarrassed.
After a short interval, however, he came towards her, and spoke
again. Mutual enquiries on common subjects passed: neither of them,
probably, much the wiser for what they heard, and Anne continuing fully
sensible of his being less at ease than formerly. They had by dint of
being so very much together, got to speak to each other with a
considerable portion of apparent indifference and calmness; but he could
not do it now. Time had changed him, or Louisa had changed him. There
was consciousness of some sort or other. He looked very well, not as if
he had been suffering in health or spirits, and he talked of Uppercross, of
the Musgroves, nay, even of Louisa, and had even a momentary look of
his own arch significance as he named her; but yet it was Captain
Wentworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was.
It did not surprise, but it grieved Anne to observe that Elizabeth
would not know him. She saw that he saw Elizabeth, that Elizabeth saw
him, that there was complete internal recognition on each side; she was
convinced that he was ready to be acknowledged as an acquaintance,
expecting it, and she had the pain of seeing her sister turn away with
unalterable coldness.
Lady Dalrymple's carriage, for which Miss Elliot was growing
very impatient, now drew up; the servant came in to announce it. It was
beginning to rain again, and altogether there was a delay, and a bustle,
and a talking, which must make all the little crowd in the shop
understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot. At
last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattended but by the servant, (for there
was no cousin returned), were walking off; and Captain Wentworth,
watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rather than words,
was offering his services to her.
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“I am much obliged to you,” was her answer, “but I am not going
with them. The carriage would not accommodate so many. I walk: I
prefer walking.”
“But it rains.”
“Oh! very little, Nothing that I regard.”
After a moment's pause he said: “Though I came only yesterday, I
have equipped myself properly for Bath already, you see,” (pointing to a
new umbrella); “I wish you would make use of it, if you are determined
to walk; though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a
chair.”
She was very much obliged to him, but declined it all, repeating
her conviction, that the rain would come to nothing at present, and
adding, “I am only waiting for Mr Elliot. He will be here in a moment, I
am sure.”
She had hardly spoken the words when Mr Elliot walked in.
Captain Wentworth recollected him perfectly. There was no difference
between him and the man who had stood on the steps at Lyme, admiring
Anne as she passed, except in the air and look and manner of the
privileged relation and friend. He came in with eagerness, appeared to
see and think only of her, apologised for his stay, was grieved to have
kept her waiting, and anxious to get her away without further loss of
time and before the rain increased; and in another moment they walked
off together, her arm under his, a gentle and embarrassed glance, and a
“Good morning to you!” being all that she had time for, as she passed
away.
As soon as they were out of sight, the ladies of Captain
Wentworth's party began talking of them.
“Mr Elliot does not dislike his cousin, I fancy?”
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“Oh! no, that is clear enough. One can guess what will happen
there. He is always with them; half lives in the family, I believe. What a
very good-looking man!”
“Yes, and Miss Atkinson, who dined with him once at the
Wallises, says he is the most agreeable man she ever was in company
with.”
“She is pretty, I think; Anne Elliot; very pretty, when one comes to
look at her. It is not the fashion to say so, but I confess I admire her
more than her sister.”
“Oh! so do I.”
“And so do I. No comparison. But the men are all wild after Miss
Elliot. Anne is too delicate for them.”
Anne would have been particularly obliged to her cousin, if he
would have walked by her side all the way to Camden Place, without
saying a word. She had never found it so difficult to listen to him,
though nothing could exceed his solicitude and care, and though his
subjects were principally such as were wont to be always interesting:
praise, warm, just, and discriminating, of Lady Russell, and insinuations
highly rational against Mrs Clay. But just now she could think only of
Captain Wentworth. She could not understand his present feelings,
whether he were really suffering much from disappointment or not; and
till that point were settled, she could not be quite herself.
She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas! she
must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.
Another circumstance very essential for her to know, was how
long he meant to be in Bath; he had not mentioned it, or she could not
recollect it. He might be only passing through. But it was more probable
that he should be come to stay. In that case, so liable as every body was
to meet every body in Bath, Lady Russell would in all likelihood see
him somewhere. Would she recollect him? How would it all be?
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She had already been obliged to tell Lady Russell that Louisa
Musgrove was to marry Captain Benwick. It had cost her something to
encounter Lady Russell's surprise; and now, if she were by any chance
to be thrown into company with Captain Wentworth, her imperfect
knowledge of the matter might add another shade of prejudice against
him.
The following morning Anne was out with her friend, and for the
first hour, in an incessant and fearful sort of watch for him in vain; but at
last, in returning down Pulteney Street, she distinguished him on the
right hand pavement at such a distance as to have him in view the
greater part of the street. There were many other men about him, many
groups walking the same way, but there was no mistaking him. She
looked instinctively at Lady Russell; but not from any mad idea of her
recognising him so soon as she did herself. No, it was not to be supposed
that Lady Russell would perceive him till they were nearly opposite. She
looked at her however, from time to time, anxiously; and when the
moment approached which must point him out, though not daring to
look again (for her own countenance she knew was unfit to be seen), she
was yet perfectly conscious of Lady Russell's eyes being turned exactly
in the direction for him-- of her being, in short, intently observing him.
She could thoroughly comprehend the sort of fascination he must
possess over Lady Russell's mind, the difficulty it must be for her to
withdraw her eyes, the astonishment she must be feeling that eight or
nine years should have passed over him, and in foreign climes and in
active service too, without robbing him of one personal grace!
At last, Lady Russell drew back her head. “Now, how would she
speak of him?”
“You will wonder,” said she, “what has been fixing my eye so
long; but I was looking after some window-curtains, which Lady Alicia
and Mrs Frankland were telling me of last night. They described the
drawing-room window-curtains of one of the houses on this side of the
way, and this part of the street, as being the handsomest and best hung of
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any in Bath, but could not recollect the exact number, and I have been
trying to find out which it could be; but I confess I can see no curtains
hereabouts that answer their description.”
Anne sighed and blushed and smiled, in pity and disdain, either at
her friend or herself. The part which provoked her most, was that in all
this waste of foresight and caution, she should have lost the right
moment for seeing whether he saw them.
A day or two passed without producing anything. The theatre or
the rooms, where he was most likely to be, were not fashionable enough
for the Elliots, whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant
stupidity of private parties, in which they were getting more and more
engaged; and Anne, wearied of such a state of stagnation, sick of
knowing nothing, and fancying herself stronger because her strength was
not tried, was quite impatient for the concert evening. It was a concert
for the benefit of a person patronised by Lady Dalrymple. Of course they
must attend. It was really expected to be a good one, and Captain
Wentworth was very fond of music. If she could only have a few
minutes conversation with him again, she fancied she should be
satisfied; and as to the power of addressing him, she felt all over courage
if the opportunity occurred. Elizabeth had turned from him, Lady
Russell overlooked him; her nerves were strengthened by these
circumstances; she felt that she owed him attention.
She had once partly promised Mrs Smith to spend the evening with
her; but in a short hurried call she excused herself and put it off, with the
more decided promise of a longer visit on the morrow. Mrs Smith gave a
most good-humoured acquiescence.
“By all means,” said she; “only tell me all about it, when you do
come. Who is your party?”
Anne named them all. Mrs Smith made no reply; but when she was
leaving her said, and with an expression half serious, half arch, “Well, I
heartily wish your concert may answer; and do not fail me to-morrow if
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you can come; for I begin to have a foreboding that I may not have many
more visits from you.”
Anne was startled and confused; but after standing in a moment's
suspense, was obliged, and not sorry to be obliged, to hurry away.
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Chapter 20

Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of
all their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must
be waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon
Room. But hardly were they so settled, when the door opened again, and
Captain Wentworth walked in alone. Anne was the nearest to him, and
making yet a little advance, she instantly spoke. He was preparing only
to bow and pass on, but her gentle “How do you do?” brought him out of
the straight line to stand near her, and make enquiries in return, in spite
of the formidable father and sister in the back ground. Their being in the
back ground was a support to Anne; she knew nothing of their looks,
and felt equal to everything which she believed right to be done.
While they were speaking, a whispering between her father and
Elizabeth caught her ear. She could not distinguish, but she must guess
the subject; and on Captain Wentworth's making a distant bow, she
comprehended that her father had judged so well as to give him that
simple acknowledgement of acquaintance, and she was just in time by a
side glance to see a slight curtsey from Elizabeth herself. This, though
late, and reluctant, and ungracious, was yet better than nothing, and her
spirits improved.
After talking, however, of the weather, and Bath, and the concert,
their conversation began to flag, and so little was said at last, that she
was expecting him to go every moment, but he did not; he seemed in no
hurry to leave her; and presently with renewed spirit, with a little smile,
a little glow, he said--
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“I have hardly seen you since our day at Lyme. I am afraid you
must have suffered from the shock, and the more from its not
overpowering you at the time.”
She assured him that she had not.
“It was a frightful hour,” said he, “a frightful day!” and he passed
his hand across his eyes, as if the remembrance were still too painful, but
in a moment, half smiling again, added, “The day has produced some
effects however; has had some consequences which must be considered
as the very reverse of frightful.
When you had the presence of mind to suggest that Benwick
would be the properest person to fetch a surgeon, you could have little
idea of his being eventually one of those most concerned in her
recovery.”
“Certainly I could have none. But it appears--I should hope it
would be a very happy match. There are on both sides good principles
and good temper.”
“Yes,” said he, looking not exactly forward; “but there, I think,
ends the resemblance. With all my soul I wish them happy, and rejoice
over every circumstance in favour of it. They have no difficulties to
contend with at home, no opposition, no caprice, no delays. The
Musgroves are behaving like themselves, most honourably and kindly,
only anxious with true parental hearts to promote their daughter's
comfort. All this is much, very much in favour of their happiness; more
than perhaps--”
He stopped. A sudden recollection seemed to occur, and to give
him some taste of that emotion which was reddening Anne's cheeks and
fixing her eyes on the ground. After clearing his throat, however, he
proceeded thus--
“I confess that I do think there is a disparity, too great a disparity,
and in a point no less essential than mind. I regard Louisa Musgrove as a
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very amiable, sweet-tempered girl, and not deficient in understanding,
but Benwick is something more.
“He is a clever man, a reading man; and I confess, that I do
consider his attaching himself to her with some surprise. Had it been the
effect of gratitude, had he learnt to love her, because he believed her to
be preferring him, it would have been another thing. But I have no
reason to suppose it so. It seems, on the contrary, to have been a
perfectly spontaneous, untaught feeling on his side, and this surprises
me. A man like him, in his situation! with a heart pierced, wounded,
almost broken! Fanny Harville was a very superior creature, and his
attachment to her was indeed attachment. A man does not recover from
such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does
not.”
Either from the consciousness, however, that his friend had
recovered, or from other consciousness, he went no farther; and Anne
who, in spite of the agitated voice in which the latter part had been
uttered, and in spite of all the various noises of the room, the almost
ceaseless slam of the door, and ceaseless buzz of persons walking
through, had distinguished every word, was struck, gratified, confused,
and beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a
moment. It was impossible for her to enter on such a subject; and yet,
after a pause, feeling the necessity of speaking, and having not the
smallest wish for a total change, she only deviated so far as to say--
“You were a good while at Lyme, I think?”
“About a fortnight. I could not leave it till Louisa's doing well was
quite ascertained. I had been too deeply concerned in the mischief to be
soon at peace. It had been my doing, solely mine. She would not have
been obstinate if I had not been weak. The country round Lyme is very
fine. I walked and rode a great deal; and the more I saw, the more I
found to admire.”
“I should very much like to see Lyme again,” said Anne.
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“Indeed! I should not have supposed that you could have found
anything in Lyme to inspire such a feeling. The horror and distress you
were involved in, the stretch of mind, the wear of spirits! I should have
thought your last impressions of Lyme must have been strong disgust.”
“The last hours were certainly very painful,” replied Anne; “but
when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. One
does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been
all suffering, nothing but suffering, which was by no means the case at
Lyme. We were only in anxiety and distress during the last two hours,
and previously there had been a great deal of enjoyment. So much
novelty and beauty! I have travelled so little, that every fresh place
would be interesting to me; but there is real beauty at Lyme; and in
short” (with a faint blush at some recollections), “altogether my
impressions of the place are very agreeable.”
As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party
appeared for whom they were waiting. “Lady Dalrymple, Lady
Dalrymple,” was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness
compatible with anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped
forward to meet her. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr
Elliot and Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the
same instant, advanced into the room. The others joined them, and it was
a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included. She was
divided from Captain Wentworth. Their interesting, almost too
interesting conversation must be broken up for a time, but slight was the
penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had
learnt, in the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more
of all his feelings than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to
the demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with
exquisite, though agitated sensations. She was in good humour with all.
She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to
all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.
The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping
back from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw
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that he was gone. She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert
Room. He was gone; he had disappeared, she felt a moment's regret.
But “they should meet again. He would look for her, he would find
her out before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as
well to be asunder. She was in need of a little interval for recollection.”
Upon Lady Russell's appearance soon afterwards, the whole party
was collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and
proceed into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their
power, draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as
many people as they could.
Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they
walked in. Elizabeth arm in arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the
broad back of the dowager Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had
nothing to wish for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne--but
it would be an insult to the nature of Anne's felicity, to draw any
comparison between it and her sister's; the origin of one all selfish
vanity, of the other all generous attachment.
Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room.
Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright and her cheeks
glowed; but she knew nothing about it. She was thinking only of the last
half hour, and as they passed to their seats, her mind took a hasty range
over it. His choice of subjects, his expressions, and still more his manner
and look, had been such as she could see in only one light.
His opinion of Louisa Musgrove's inferiority, an opinion which he
had seemed solicitous to give, his wonder at Captain Benwick, his
feelings as to a first, strong attachment; sentences begun which he could
not finish, his half averted eyes and more than half expressive glance,
all, all declared that he had a heart returning to her at least; that anger,
resentment, avoidance, were no more; and that they were succeeded, not
merely by friendship and regard, but by the tenderness of the past. Yes,
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some share of the tenderness of the past. She could not contemplate the
change as implying less. He must love her.
These were thoughts, with their attendant visions, which occupied
and flurried her too much to leave her any power of observation; and she
passed along the room without having a glimpse of him, without even
trying to discern him. When their places were determined on, and they
were all properly arranged, she looked round to see if he should happen
to be in the same part of the room, but he was not; her eye could not
reach him; and the concert being just opening, she must consent for a
time to be happy in a humbler way.
The party was divided and disposed of on two contiguous benches:
Anne was among those on the foremost, and Mr Elliot had manoeuvred
so well, with the assistance of his friend Colonel Wallis, as to have a
seat by her. Miss Elliot, surrounded by her cousins, and the principal
object of Colonel Wallis's gallantry, was quite contented.
Anne's mind was in a most favourable state for the entertainment
of the evening; it was just occupation enough: she had feelings for the
tender, spirits for the gay, attention for the scientific, and patience for the
wearisome; and had never liked a concert better, at least during the first
act. Towards the close of it, in the interval succeeding an Italian song,
she explained the words of the song to Mr Elliot. They had a concert bill
between them.
“This,” said she, “is nearly the sense, or rather the meaning of the
words, for certainly the sense of an Italian love-song must not be talked
of, but it is as nearly the meaning as I can give; for I do not pretend to
understand the language. I am a very poor Italian scholar.”
“Yes, yes, I see you are. I see you know nothing of the matter. You
have only knowledge enough of the language to translate at sight these
inverted, transposed, curtailed Italian lines, into clear, comprehensible,
elegant English. You need not say anything more of your ignorance.
Here is complete proof.”
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“I will not oppose such kind politeness; but I should be sorry to be
examined by a real proficient.”
“I have not had the pleasure of visiting in Camden Place so long,”
replied he, “without knowing something of Miss Anne Elliot; and I do
regard her as one who is too modest for the world in general to be aware
of half her accomplishments, and too highly accomplished for modesty
to be natural in any other woman.”
“For shame! for shame! this is too much flattery. I forget what we
are to have next,” turning to the bill.
“Perhaps,” said Mr Elliot, speaking low, “I have had a longer
acquaintance with your character than you are aware of.”
“Indeed! How so? You can have been acquainted with it only since
I came to Bath, excepting as you might hear me previously spoken of in
my own family.”
“I knew you by report long before you came to Bath. I had heard
you described by those who knew you intimately. I have been
acquainted with you by character many years. Your person, your
disposition, accomplishments, manner; they were all present to me.”
Mr Elliot was not disappointed in the interest he hoped to raise. No
one can withstand the charm of such a mystery. To have been described
long ago to a recent acquaintance, by nameless people, is irresistible;
and Anne was all curiosity. She wondered, and questioned him eagerly;
but in vain. He delighted in being asked, but he would not tell.
“No, no, some time or other, perhaps, but not now. He would
mention no names now; but such, he could assure her, had been the fact.
He had many years ago received such a description of Miss Anne Elliot
as had inspired him with the highest idea of her merit, and excited the
warmest curiosity to know her.”
Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality
of her many years ago as the Mr Wentworth of Monkford, Captain
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Wentworth's brother. He might have been in Mr Elliot's company, but
she had not courage to ask the question.
“The name of Anne Elliot,” said he, “has long had an interesting
sound to me. Very long has it possessed a charm over my fancy; and, if I
dared, I would breathe my wishes that the name might never change.”
Such, she believed, were his words; but scarcely had she received
their sound, than her attention was caught by other sounds immediately
behind her, which rendered every thing else trivial. Her father and Lady
Dalrymple were speaking.
“A well-looking man,” said Sir Walter, “a very well-looking man.”
“A very fine young man indeed!” said Lady Dalrymple. “More air
than one often sees in Bath. Irish, I dare say.”
“No, I just know his name. A bowing acquaintance. Wentworth;
Captain Wentworth of the navy. His sister married my tenant in
Somersetshire, the Croft, who rents Kellynch.”
Before Sir Walter had reached this point, Anne's eyes had caught
the right direction, and distinguished Captain Wentworth standing
among a cluster of men at a little distance. As her eyes fell on him, his
seemed to be withdrawn from her. It had that appearance. It seemed as if
she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe, he
did not look again: but the performance was recommencing, and she was
forced to seem to restore her attention to the orchestra and look straight
forward.
When she could give another glance, he had moved away. He
could not have come nearer to her if he would; she was so surrounded
and shut in: but she would rather have caught his eye.
Mr Elliot's speech, too, distressed her. She had no longer any
inclination to talk to him. She wished him not so near her.
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The first act was over. Now she hoped for some beneficial change;
and, after a period of nothing-saying amongst the party, some of them
did decide on going in quest of tea. Anne was one of the few who did
not choose to move. She remained in her seat, and so did Lady Russell;
but she had the pleasure of getting rid of Mr Elliot; and she did not
mean, whatever she might feel on Lady Russell's account, to shrink from
conversation with Captain Wentworth, if he gave her the opportunity.
She was persuaded by Lady Russell's countenance that she had seen
him.
He did not come however. Anne sometimes fancied she discerned
him at a distance, but he never came. The anxious interval wore away
unproductively. The others returned, the room filled again, benches were
reclaimed and repossessed, and another hour of pleasure or of penance
was to be sat out, another hour of music was to give delight or the gapes,
as real or affected taste for it prevailed. To Anne, it chiefly wore the
prospect of an hour of agitation. She could not quit that room in peace
without seeing Captain Wentworth once more, without the interchange
of one friendly look.
In re-settling themselves there were now many changes, the result
of which was favourable for her. Colonel Wallis declined sitting down
again, and Mr Elliot was invited by Elizabeth and Miss Carteret, in a
manner not to be refused, to sit between them; and by some other
removals, and a little scheming of her own, Anne was enabled to place
herself much nearer the end of the bench than she had been before, much
more within reach of a passer-by. She could not do so, without
comparing herself with Miss Larolles, the inimitable Miss Larolles; but
still she did it, and not with much happier effect; though by what seemed
prosperity in the shape of an early abdication in her next neighbours, she
found herself at the very end of the bench before the concert closed.
Such was her situation, with a vacant space at hand, when Captain
Wentworth was again in sight. She saw him not far off. He saw her too;
yet he looked grave, and seemed irresolute, and only by very slow
degrees came at last near enough to speak to her. She felt that something
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must be the matter. The change was indubitable. The difference between
his present air and what it had been in the Octagon Room was strikingly
great. Why was it? She thought of her father, of Lady Russell. Could
there have been any unpleasant glances? He began by speaking of the
concert gravely, more like the Captain Wentworth of Uppercross; owned
himself disappointed, had expected singing; and in short, must confess
that he should not be sorry when it was over. Anne replied, and spoke in
defense of the performance so well, and yet in allowance for his feelings
so pleasantly, that his countenance improved, and he replied again with
almost a smile. They talked for a few minutes more; the improvement
held; he even looked down towards the bench, as if he saw a place on it
well worth occupying; when at that moment a touch on her shoulder
obliged Anne to turn round. It came from Mr Elliot. He begged her
pardon, but she must be applied to, to explain Italian again. Miss
Carteret was very anxious to have a general idea of what was next to be
sung. Anne could not refuse; but never had she sacrificed to politeness
with a more suffering spirit.
A few minutes, though as few as possible, were inevitably
consumed; and when her own mistress again, when able to turn and look
as she had done before, she found herself accosted by Captain
Wentworth, in a reserved yet hurried sort of farewell. “He must wish her
good night; he was going; he should get home as fast as he could.”
“Is not this song worth staying for?” said Anne, suddenly struck by
an idea which made her yet more anxious to be encouraging.
“No!” he replied impressively, “there is nothing worth my staying
for;” and he was gone directly.
Jealousy of Mr Elliot! It was the only intelligible motive. Captain
Wentworth jealous of her affection! Could she have believed it a week
ago; three hours ago! For a moment the gratification was exquisite. But,
alas! there were very different thoughts to succeed. How was such
jealousy to be quieted? How was the truth to reach him? How, in all the
peculiar disadvantages of their respective situations, would he ever learn
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of her real sentiments? It was misery to think of Mr Elliot's attentions.
Their evil was incalculable.
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Chapter 21

Anne recollected with pleasure the next morning her promise of
going to Mrs Smith, meaning that it should engage her from home at the
time when Mr Elliot would be most likely to call; for to avoid Mr Elliot
was almost a first object.
She felt a great deal of good-will towards him. In spite of the
mischief of his attentions, she owed him gratitude and regard, perhaps
compassion. She could not help thinking much of the extraordinary
circumstances attending their acquaintance, of the right which he
seemed to have to interest her, by everything in situation, by his own
sentiments, by his early prepossession. It was altogether very
extraordinary; flattering, but painful. There was much to regret.
How she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in
the case, was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and
be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection
would be his for ever. Their union, she believed, could not divide her
more from other men, than their final separation.
Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could
never have passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting with
from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings. It was almost enough to
spread purification and perfume all the way.
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She was sure of a pleasant reception; and her friend seemed this
morning particularly obliged to her for coming, seemed hardly to have
expected her, though it had been an appointment.
An account of the concert was immediately claimed; and Anne's
recollections of the concert were quite happy enough to animate her
features and make her rejoice to talk of it. All that she could tell she told
most gladly, but the all was little for one who had been there, and
unsatisfactory for such an enquirer as Mrs Smith, who had already
heard, through the short cut of a laundress and a waiter, rather more of
the general success and produce of the evening than Anne could relate,
and who now asked in vain for several particulars of the company.
Everybody of any consequence or notoriety in Bath was well know by
name to Mrs Smith.
“The little Durands were there, I conclude,” said she, “with their
mouths open to catch the music, like unfledged sparrows ready to be fed.
They never miss a concert.”
“Yes; I did not see them myself, but I heard Mr Elliot say they
were in the room.”
“The Ibbotsons, were they there? and the two new beauties, with
the tall Irish officer, who is talked of for one of them.”
“I do not know. I do not think they were.”
“Old Lady Mary Maclean? I need not ask after her. She never
misses, I know; and you must have seen her. She must have been in your
own circle; for as you went with Lady Dalrymple, you were in the seats
of grandeur, round the orchestra, of course.”
“No, that was what I dreaded. It would have been very unpleasant
to me in every respect. But happily Lady Dalrymple always chooses to
be farther off; and we were exceedingly well placed, that is, for hearing;
I must not say for seeing, because I appear to have seen very little.”
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“Oh! you saw enough for your own amusement. I can understand.
There is a sort of domestic enjoyment to be known even in a crowd, and
this you had. You were a large party in yourselves, and you wanted
nothing beyond.”
“But I ought to have looked about me more,” said Anne, conscious
while she spoke that there had in fact been no want of looking about,
that the object only had been deficient.
“No, no; you were better employed. You need not tell me that you
had a pleasant evening. I see it in your eye. I perfectly see how the hours
passed: that you had always something agreeable to listen to. In the
intervals of the concert it was conversation.
Anne half smiled and said, “Do you see that in my eye?”
“Yes, I do. Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were
in company last night with the person whom you think the most
agreeable in the world, the person who interests you at this present time
more than all the rest of the world put together.”
A blush overspread Anne's cheeks. She could say nothing.
“And such being the case,” continued Mrs Smith, after a short
pause, “I hope you believe that I do know how to value your kindness in
coming to me this morning. It is really very good of you to come and sit
with me, when you must have so many pleasanter demands upon your
time.”
Anne heard nothing of this. She was still in the astonishment and
confusion excited by her friend's penetration, unable to imagine how any
report of Captain Wentworth could have reached her. After another short
silence--
“Pray,” said Mrs Smith, “is Mr Elliot aware of your acquaintance
with me? Does he know that I am in Bath?”
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“Mr Elliot!” repeated Anne, looking up surprised. A moment's
reflection shewed her the mistake she had been under. She caught it
instantaneously; and recovering her courage with the feeling of safety,
soon added, more composedly, “Are you acquainted with Mr Elliot?”
“I have been a good deal acquainted with him,” replied Mrs Smith,
gravely, “but it seems worn out now. It is a great while since we met.”
“I was not at all aware of this. You never mentioned it before. Had
I known it, I would have had the pleasure of talking to him about you.”
“To confess the truth,” said Mrs Smith, assuming her usual air of
cheerfulness, “that is exactly the pleasure I want you to have. I want you
to talk about me to Mr Elliot. I want your interest with him. He can be of
essential service to me; and if you would have the goodness, my dear
Miss Elliot, to make it an object to yourself, of course it is done.”
“I should be extremely happy; I hope you cannot doubt my
willingness to be of even the slightest use to you,” replied Anne; “but I
suspect that you are considering me as having a higher claim on Mr
Elliot, a greater right to influence him, than is really the case. I am sure
you have, somehow or other, imbibed such a notion.
“You must consider me only as Mr Elliot's relation. If in that light
there is anything which you suppose his cousin might fairly ask of him, I
beg you would not hesitate to employ me.”
Mrs Smith gave her a penetrating glance, and then, smiling, said--
“I have been a little premature, I perceive; I beg your pardon. I
ought to have waited for official information, But now, my dear Miss
Elliot, as an old friend, do give me a hint as to when I may speak. Next
week? To be sure by next week I may be allowed to think it all settled,
and build my own selfish schemes on Mr Elliot's good fortune.”
“No,” replied Anne, “nor next week, nor next, nor next. I assure
you that nothing of the sort you are thinking of will be settled any week.
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I am not going to marry Mr Elliot. I should like to know why you
imagine I am?”
Mrs Smith looked at her again, looked earnestly, smiled, shook her
head, and exclaimed--
“Now, how I do wish I understood you! How I do wish I knew
what you were at! I have a great idea that you do not design to be cruel,
when the right moment occurs. Till it does come, you know, we women
never mean to have anybody. It is a thing of course among us, that every
man is refused, till he offers. But why should you be cruel? Let me plead
for my--present friend I cannot call him, but for my former friend.
Where can you look for a more suitable match?
Where could you expect a more gentlemanlike, agreeable man? Let
me recommend Mr Elliot. I am sure you hear nothing but good of him
from Colonel Wallis; and who can know him better than Colonel
Wallis?”
“My dear Mrs Smith, Mr Elliot's wife has not been dead much
above half a year. He ought not to be supposed to be paying his
addresses to any one.”
“Oh! if these are your only objections,” cried Mrs Smith, archly,
“Mr Elliot is safe, and I shall give myself no more trouble about him. Do
not forget me when you are married, that's all. Let him know me to be a
friend of yours, and then he will think little of the trouble required,
which it is very natural for him now, with so many affairs and
engagements of his own, to avoid and get rid of as he can; very natural,
perhaps. Ninety-nine out of a hundred would do the same. Of course, he
cannot be aware of the importance to me. Well, my dear Miss Elliot, I
hope and trust you will be very happy. Mr Elliot has sense to understand
the value of such a woman. Your peace will not be shipwrecked as mine
has been. You are safe in all worldly matters, and safe in his character.
He will not be led astray; he will not be misled by others to his ruin.”
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“No,” said Anne, “I can readily believe all that of my cousin. He
seems to have a calm decided temper, not at all open to dangerous
impressions. I consider him with great respect. I have no reason, from
any thing that has fallen within my observation, to do otherwise. But I
have not known him long; and he is not a man, I think, to be known
intimately soon. Will not this manner of speaking of him, Mrs Smith,
convince you that he is nothing to me? Surely this must be calm enough.
And, upon my word, he is nothing to me. Should he ever propose to me
(which I have very little reason to imagine he has any thought of doing),
I shall not accept him. I assure you I shall not. I assure you, Mr Elliot
had not the share which you have been supposing, in whatever pleasure
the concert of last night might afford: not Mr Elliot; it is not Mr Elliot
that--”
She stopped, regretting with a deep blush that she had implied so
much; but less would hardly have been sufficient. Mrs Smith would
hardly have believed so soon in Mr Elliot's failure, but from the
perception of there being a somebody else. As it was, she instantly
submitted, and with all the semblance of seeing nothing beyond; and
Anne, eager to escape farther notice, was impatient to know why Mrs
Smith should have fancied she was to marry Mr Elliot; where she could
have received the idea, or from whom she could have heard it.
“Do tell me how it first came into your head.”
“It first came into my head,” replied Mrs Smith, “upon finding
how much you were together, and feeling it to be the most probable
thing in the world to be wished for by everybody belonging to either of
you; and you may depend upon it that all your acquaintance have
disposed of you in the same way. But I never heard it spoken of till two
days ago.”
“And has it indeed been spoken of?”
“Did you observe the woman who opened the door to you when
you called yesterday?”
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“No. Was not it Mrs Speed, as usual, or the maid? I observed no
one in particular.”
“It was my friend Mrs Rooke; Nurse Rooke; who, by-the-bye, had
a great curiosity to see you, and was delighted to be in the way to let you
in. She came away from Marlborough Buildings only on Sunday; and
she it was who told me you were to marry Mr Elliot. She had had it from
Mrs Wallis herself, which did not seem bad authority. She sat an hour
with me on Monday evening, and gave me the whole history.” “The
whole history,” repeated Anne, laughing. “She could not make a very
long history, I think, of one such little article of unfounded news.”
Mrs Smith said nothing.
“But,” continued Anne, presently, “though there is no truth in my
having this claim on Mr Elliot, I should be extremely happy to be of use
to you in any way that I could. Shall I mention to him your being in
Bath? Shall I take any message?”
“No, I thank you: no, certainly not. In the warmth of the moment,
and under a mistaken impression, I might, perhaps, have endeavoured to
interest you in some circumstances; but not now. No, I thank you, I have
nothing to trouble you with.”
“I think you spoke of having known Mr Elliot many years?”
“I did.”
“Not before he was married, I suppose?”
“Yes; he was not married when I knew him first.”
“And--were you much acquainted?”
“Intimately.”
“Indeed! Then do tell me what he was at that time of life. I have a
great curiosity to know what Mr Elliot was as a very young man. Was he
at all such as he appears now?”
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“I have not seen Mr Elliot these three years,” was Mrs Smith's
answer, given so gravely that it was impossible to pursue the subject
farther; and Anne felt that she had gained nothing but an increase of
curiosity. They were both silent: Mrs Smith very thoughtful. At last--
“I beg your pardon, my dear Miss Elliot,” she cried, in her natural
tone of cordiality, “I beg your pardon for the short answers I have been
giving you, but I have been uncertain what I ought to do. I have been
doubting and considering as to what I ought to tell you. There were
many things to be taken into the account. One hates to be officious, to be
giving bad impressions, making mischief. Even the smooth surface of
family-union seems worth preserving, though there may be nothing
durable beneath. However, I have determined; I think I am right; I think
you ought to be made acquainted with Mr Elliot's real character. Though
I fully believe that, at present, you have not the smallest intention of
accepting him, there is no saying what may happen. You might, some
time or other, be differently affected towards him. Hear the truth,
therefore, now, while you are unprejudiced. Mr Elliot is a man without
heart or conscience; a designing, wary, cold-blooded being, who thinks
only of himself; whom for his own interest or ease, would be guilty of
any cruelty, or any treachery, that could be perpetrated without risk of
his general character. He has no feeling for others. Those whom he has
been the chief cause of leading into ruin, he can neglect and desert
without the smallest compunction. He is totally beyond the reach of any
sentiment of justice or compassion. Oh! he is black at heart, hollow and
black!”
Anne's astonished air, and exclamation of wonder, made her pause,
and in a calmer manner, she added,
“My expressions startle you. You must allow for an injured, angry
woman. But I will try to command myself. I will not abuse him. I will
only tell you what I have found him. Facts shall speak. He was the
intimate friend of my dear husband, who trusted and loved him, and
thought him as good as himself. The intimacy had been formed before
our marriage. I found them most intimate friends; and I, too, became
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excessively pleased with Mr Elliot, and entertained the highest opinion
of him. At nineteen, you know, one does not think very seriously; but
Mr Elliot appeared to me quite as good as others, and much more
agreeable than most others, and we were almost always together. We
were principally in town, living in very good style. He was then the
inferior in circumstances; he was then the poor one; he had chambers in
the Temple, and it was as much as he could do to support the appearance
of a gentleman. He had always a home with us whenever he chose it; he
was always welcome; he was like a brother. My poor Charles, who had
the finest, most generous spirit in the world, would have divided his last
farthing with him; and I know that his purse was open to him; I know
that he often assisted him.”
“This must have been about that very period of Mr Elliot's life,”
said Anne, “which has always excited my particular curiosity. It must
have been about the same time that he became known to my father and
sister. I never knew him myself; I only heard of him; but there was a
something in his conduct then, with regard to my father and sister, and
afterwards in the circumstances of his marriage, which I never could
quite reconcile with present times. It seemed to announce a different sort
of man.”
“I know it all, I know it all,” cried Mrs Smith. “He had been
introduced to Sir Walter and your sister before I was acquainted with
him, but I heard him speak of them for ever. I know he was invited and
encouraged, and I know he did not choose to go. I can satisfy you,
perhaps, on points which you would little expect; and as to his marriage,
I knew all about it at the time. I was privy to all the fors and againsts; I
was the friend to whom he confided his hopes and plans; and though I
did not know his wife previously, her inferior situation in society,
indeed, rendered that impossible, yet I knew her all her life afterwards,
or at least till within the last two years of her life, and can answer any
question you may wish to put.”
“Nay,” said Anne, “I have no particular enquiry to make about her.
I have always understood they were not a happy couple. But I should
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like to know why, at that time of his life, he should slight my father's
acquaintance as he did. My father was certainly disposed to take very
kind and proper notice of him. Why did Mr Elliot draw back?”
“Mr Elliot,” replied Mrs Smith, “at that period of his life, had one
object in view: to make his fortune, and by a rather quicker process than
the law. He was determined to make it by marriage. He was determined,
at least, not to mar it by an imprudent marriage; and I know it was his
belief (whether justly or not, of course I cannot decide), that your father
and sister, in their civilities and invitations, were designing a match
between the heir and the young lady, and it was impossible that such a
match should have answered his ideas of wealth and independence. That
was his motive for drawing back, I can assure you. He told me the whole
story. He had no concealments with me. It was curious, that having just
left you behind me in Bath, my first and principal acquaintance on
marrying should be your cousin; and that, through him, I should be
continually hearing of your father and sister. He described one Miss
Elliot, and I thought very affectionately of the other.”
“Perhaps,” cried Anne, struck by a sudden idea, “you sometimes
spoke of me to Mr Elliot?”
“To be sure I did; very often. I used to boast of my own Anne
Elliot, and vouch for your being a very different creature from--”
She checked herself just in time.
“This accounts for something which Mr Elliot said last night,”
cried Anne. “This explains it. I found he had been used to hear of me. I
could not comprehend how. What wild imaginations one forms where
dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken! But I beg your pardon;
I have interrupted you. Mr Elliot married then completely for money?
The circumstances, probably, which first opened your eyes to his
character.”
Mrs Smith hesitated a little here. “Oh! those things are too
common. When one lives in the world, a man or woman's marrying for
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money is too common to strike one as it ought. I was very young, and
associated only with the young, and we were a thoughtless, gay set,
without any strict rules of conduct. We lived for enjoyment. I think
differently now; time and sickness and sorrow have given me other
notions; but at that period I must own I saw nothing reprehensible in
what Mr Elliot was doing. 'To do the best for himself,' passed as a duty.”
“But was not she a very low woman?”
“Yes; which I objected to, but he would not regard. Money,
money, was all that he wanted. Her father was a grazier, her grandfather
had been a butcher, but that was all nothing. She was a fine woman, had
had a decent education, was brought forward by some cousins, thrown
by chance into Mr Elliot's company, and fell in love with him; and not a
difficulty or a scruple was there on his side, with respect to her birth. All
his caution was spent in being secured of the real amount of her fortune,
before he committed himself. Depend upon it, whatever esteem Mr
Elliot may have for his own situation in life now, as a young man he had
not the smallest value for it. His chance for the Kellynch estate was
something, but all the honour of the family he held as cheap as dirt. I
have often heard him declare, that if baronetcies were saleable, anybody
should have his for fifty pounds, arms and motto, name and livery
included; but I will not pretend to repeat half that I used to hear him say
on that subject. It would not be fair; and yet you ought to have proof, for
what is all this but assertion, and you shall have proof.”
“Indeed, my dear Mrs Smith, I want none,” cried Anne. “You have
asserted nothing contradictory to what Mr Elliot appeared to be some
years ago. This is all in confirmation, rather, of what we used to hear and
believe. I am more curious to know why he should be so different now.”
“But for my satisfaction, if you will have the goodness to ring for
Mary; stay: I am sure you will have the still greater goodness of going
yourself into my bedroom, and bringing me the small inlaid box which
you will find on the upper shelf of the closet.”
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Anne, seeing her friend to be earnestly bent on it, did as she was
desired. The box was brought and placed before her, and Mrs Smith,
sighing over it as she unlocked it, said--
“This is full of papers belonging to him, to my husband; a small
portion only of what I had to look over when I lost him. The letter I am
looking for was one written by Mr Elliot to him before our marriage, and
happened to be saved; why, one can hardly imagine. But he was careless
and immethodical, like other men, about those things; and when I came
to examine his papers, I found it with others still more trivial, from
different people scattered here and there, while many letters and
memorandums of real importance had been destroyed. Here it is; I
would not burn it, because being even then very little satisfied with Mr
Elliot, I was determined to preserve every document of former intimacy.
I have now another motive for being glad that I can produce it.”
This was the letter, directed to “Charles Smith, Esq. Tunbridge
Wells,” and dated from London, as far back as July, 1803: --

Dear Smith,
--I have received yours. Your kindness almost overpowers me. I
wish nature had made such hearts as yours more common, but I have
lived three-and-twenty years in the world, and have seen none like it. At
present, believe me, I have no need of your services, being in cash again.
Give me joy: I have got rid of Sir Walter and Miss. They are gone back
to Kellynch, and almost made me swear to visit them this summer; but
my first visit to Kellynch will be with a surveyor, to tell me how to bring
it with best advantage to the hammer. The baronet, nevertheless, is not
unlikely to marry again; he is quite fool enough. If he does, however,
they will leave me in peace, which may be a decent equivalent for the
reversion. He is worse than last year.
I wish I had any name but Elliot. I am sick of it. The name of
Walter I can drop, thank God! and I desire you will never insult me with
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my second W. again, meaning, for the rest of my life, to be only yours
truly,
--Wm. Elliot.

Such a letter could not be read without putting Anne in a glow; and
Mrs Smith, observing the high colour in her face, said--
“The language, I know, is highly disrespectful. Though I have
forgot the exact terms, I have a perfect impression of the general
meaning. But it shows you the man. Mark his professions to my poor
husband. Can any thing be stronger?”
Anne could not immediately get over the shock and mortification
of finding such words applied to her father. She was obliged to recollect
that her seeing the letter was a violation of the laws of honour, that no
one ought to be judged or to be known by such testimonies, that no
private correspondence could bear the eye of others, before she could
recover calmness enough to return the letter which she had been
meditating over, and say--
“Thank you. This is full proof undoubtedly; proof of every thing
you were saying. But why be acquainted with us now?”
“I can explain this too,” cried Mrs Smith, smiling.
“Can you really?”
“Yes. I have shewn you Mr Elliot as he was a dozen years ago, and
I will shew him as he is now. I cannot produce written proof again, but I
can give as authentic oral testimony as you can desire, of what he is now
wanting, and what he is now doing. He is no hypocrite now. He truly
wants to marry you. His present attentions to your family are very
sincere: quite from the heart. I will give you my authority: his friend
Colonel Wallis.”
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“Colonel Wallis! you are acquainted with him?”
“No. It does not come to me in quite so direct a line as that; it takes
a bend or two, but nothing of consequence. The stream is as good as at
first; the little rubbish it collects in the turnings is easily moved away.
Mr Elliot talks unreservedly to Colonel Wallis of his views on you,
which said Colonel Wallis, I imagine to be, in himself, a sensible,
careful, discerning sort of character; but Colonel Wallis has a very pretty
silly wife, to whom he tells things which he had better not, and he
repeats it all to her. She in the overflowing spirits of her recovery,
repeats it all to her nurse; and the nurse knowing my acquaintance with
you, very naturally brings it all to me. On Monday evening, my good
friend Mrs Rooke let me thus much into the secrets of Marlborough
Buildings. When I talked of a whole history, therefore, you see I was not
romancing so much as you supposed.”
“My dear Mrs Smith, your authority is deficient. This will not do.
Mr Elliot's having any views on me will not in the least account for the
efforts he made towards a reconciliation with my father. That was all
prior to my coming to Bath. I found them on the most friendly terms
when I arrived.”
“I know you did; I know it all perfectly, but--”
“Indeed, Mrs Smith, we must not expect to get real information in
such a line. Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so
many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in another, can
hardly have much truth left.”
“Only give me a hearing. You will soon be able to judge of the
general credit due, by listening to some particulars which you can
yourself immediately contradict or confirm. Nobody supposes that you
were his first inducement. He had seen you indeed, before he came to
Bath, and admired you, but without knowing it to be you. So says my
historian, at least. Is this true? Did he see you last summer or autumn,
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'somewhere down in the west,' to use her own words, without knowing it
to be you?”
“He certainly did. So far it is very true. At Lyme. I happened to be
at Lyme.”
“Well,” continued Mrs Smith, triumphantly, “grant my friend the
credit due to the establishment of the first point asserted. He saw you
then at Lyme, and liked you so well as to be exceedingly pleased to meet
with you again in Camden Place, as Miss Anne Elliot, and from that
moment, I have no doubt, had a double motive in his visits there. But
there was another, and an earlier, which I will now explain. If there is
anything in my story which you know to be either false or improbable,
stop me. My account states, that your sister's friend, the lady now
staying with you, whom I have heard you mention, came to Bath with
Miss Elliot and Sir Walter as long ago as September (in short when they
first came themselves), and has been staying there ever since.
“That she is a clever, insinuating, handsome woman, poor and
plausible, and altogether such in situation and manner, as to give a
general idea, among Sir Walter's acquaintance, of her meaning to be
Lady Elliot, and as general a surprise that Miss Elliot should be
apparently, blind to the danger.”
Here Mrs Smith paused a moment; but Anne had not a word to say,
and she continued--
“This was the light in which it appeared to those who knew the
family, long before you returned to it; and Colonel Wallis had his eye
upon your father enough to be sensible of it, though he did not then visit
in Camden Place; but his regard for Mr Elliot gave him an interest in
watching all that was going on there, and when Mr Elliot came to Bath
for a day or two, as he happened to do a little before Christmas, Colonel
Wallis made him acquainted with the appearance of things, and the
reports beginning to prevail. Now you are to understand, that time had
worked a very material change in Mr Elliot's opinions as to the value of
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a baronetcy. Upon all points of blood and connexion he is a completely
altered man. Having long had as much money as he could spend,
nothing to wish for on the side of avarice or indulgence, he has been
gradually learning to pin his happiness upon the consequence he is heir
to. I thought it coming on before our acquaintance ceased, but it is now a
confirmed feeling. He cannot bear the idea of not being Sir William.
“You may guess, therefore, that the news he heard from his friend
could not be very agreeable, and you may guess what it produced; the
resolution of coming back to Bath as soon as possible, and of fixing
himself here for a time, with the view of renewing his former
acquaintance, and recovering such a footing in the family as might give
him the means of ascertaining the degree of his danger, and of
circumventing the lady if he found it material. This was agreed upon
between the two friends as the only thing to be done; and Colonel Wallis
was to assist in every way that he could. He was to be introduced, and
Mrs Wallis was to be introduced, and everybody was to be introduced.
Mr Elliot came back accordingly; and on application was forgiven, as
you know, and re-admitted into the family; and there it was his constant
object, and his only object (till your arrival added another motive), to
watch Sir Walter and Mrs Clay. He omitted no opportunity of being with
them, threw himself in their way, called at all hours; but I need not be
particular on this subject. You can imagine what an artful man would do;
and with this guide, perhaps, may recollect what you have seen him do.”
“Yes,” said Anne, “you tell me nothing which does not accord with
what I have known, or could imagine. There is always something
offensive in the details of cunning. The manoeuvres of selfishness and
duplicity must ever be revolting, but I have heard nothing which really
surprises me. I know those who would be shocked by such a
representation of Mr Elliot, who would have difficulty in believing it;
but I have never been satisfied. I have always wanted some other motive
for his conduct than appeared. I should like to know his present opinion,
as to the probability of the event he has been in dread of; whether he
considers the danger to be lessening or not.”
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“Lessening, I understand,” replied Mrs Smith. “He thinks Mrs Clay
afraid of him, aware that he sees through her, and not daring to proceed
as she might do in his absence. But since he must be absent some time or
other, I do not perceive how he can ever be secure while she holds her
present influence. Mrs Wallis has an amusing idea, as nurse tells me,
that it is to be put into the marriage articles when you and Mr Elliot
marry, that your father is not to marry Mrs Clay. A scheme, worthy of
Mrs Wallis's understanding, by all accounts; but my sensible nurse
Rooke sees the absurdity of it. 'Why, to be sure, ma'am,' said she, 'it
would not prevent his marrying anybody else.' And, indeed, to own the
truth, I do not think nurse, in her heart, is a very strenuous opposer of Sir
Walter's making a second match.
She must be allowed to be a favourer of matrimony, you know;
and (since self will intrude) who can say that she may not have some
flying visions of attending the next Lady Elliot, through Mrs Wallis's
recommendation?”
“I am very glad to know all this,” said Anne, after a little
thoughtfulness. “It will be more painful to me in some respects to be in
company with him, but I shall know better what to do. My line of
conduct will be more direct. Mr Elliot is evidently a disingenuous,
artificial, worldly man, who has never had any better principle to guide
him than selfishness.”
But Mr Elliot was not done with. Mrs Smith had been carried away
from her first direction, and Anne had forgotten, in the interest of her
own family concerns, how much had been originally implied against
him; but her attention was now called to the explanation of those first
hints, and she listened to a recital which, if it did not perfectly justify the
unqualified bitterness of Mrs Smith, proved him to have been very
unfeeling in his conduct towards her; very deficient both in justice and
compassion.
She learned that (the intimacy between them continuing
unimpaired by Mr Elliot's marriage) they had been as before always
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together, and Mr Elliot had led his friend into expenses much beyond his
fortune. Mrs Smith did not want to take blame to herself, and was most
tender of throwing any on her husband.
But Anne could collect that their income had never been equal to
their style of living, and that from the first there had been a great deal of
general and joint extravagance. From his wife's account of him she could
discern Mr Smith to have been a man of warm feelings, easy temper,
careless habits, and not strong understanding, much more amiable than
his friend, and very unlike him, led by him, and probably despised by
him. Mr Elliot, raised by his marriage to great affluence, and disposed to
every gratification of pleasure and vanity which could be commanded
without involving himself, (for with all his self-indulgence he had
become a prudent man), and beginning to be rich, just as his friend ought
to have found himself to be poor, seemed to have had no concern at all
for that friend's probable finances, but, on the contrary, had been
prompting and encouraging expenses which could end only in ruin; and
the Smiths accordingly had been ruined.
The husband had died just in time to be spared the full knowledge
of it. They had previously known embarrassments enough to try the
friendship of their friends, and to prove that Mr Elliot's had better not be
tried; but it was not till his death that the wretched state of his affairs
was fully known.
With a confidence in Mr Elliot's regard, more creditable to his
feelings than his judgement, Mr Smith had appointed him the executor
of his will; but Mr Elliot would not act, and the difficulties and distress
which this refusal had heaped on her, in addition to the inevitable
sufferings of her situation, had been such as could not be related without
anguish of spirit, or listened to without corresponding indignation.
Anne was shewn some letters of his on the occasion, answers to
urgent applications from Mrs Smith, which all breathed the same stern
resolution of not engaging in a fruitless trouble, and, under a cold
civility, the same hard-hearted indifference to any of the evils it might
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bring on her. It was a dreadful picture of ingratitude and inhumanity; and
Anne felt, at some moments, that no flagrant open crime could have
been worse. She had a great deal to listen to; all the particulars of past
sad scenes, all the minutiae of distress upon distress, which in former
conversations had been merely hinted at, were dwelt on now with a
natural indulgence. Anne could perfectly comprehend the exquisite
relief, and was only the more inclined to wonder at the composure of her
friend's usual state of mind.
There was one circumstance in the history of her grievances of
particular irritation. She had good reason to believe that some property
of her husband in the West Indies, which had been for many years under
a sort of sequestration for the payment of its own incumbrances, might
be recoverable by proper measures; and this property, though not large,
would be enough to make her comparatively rich. But there was nobody
to stir in it. Mr Elliot would do nothing, and she could do nothing
herself, equally disabled from personal exertion by her state of bodily
weakness, and from employing others by her want of money. She had no
natural connexions to assist her even with their counsel, and she could
not afford to purchase the assistance of the law. This was a cruel
aggravation of actually streightened means. To feel that she ought to be
in better circumstances, that a little trouble in the right place might do it,
and to fear that delay might be even weakening her claims, was hard to
bear.
It was on this point that she had hoped to engage Anne's good
offices with Mr Elliot. She had previously, in the anticipation of their
marriage, been very apprehensive of losing her friend by it.
But on being assured that he could have made no attempt of that
nature, since he did not even know her to be in Bath, it immediately
occurred, that something might be done in her favour by the influence of
the woman he loved, and she had been hastily preparing to interest
Anne's feelings, as far as the observances due to Mr Elliot's character
would allow, when Anne's refutation of the supposed engagement
changed the face of everything; and while it took from her the new-
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formed hope of succeeding in the object of her first anxiety, left her at
least the comfort of telling the whole story her own way.
After listening to this full description of Mr Elliot, Anne could not
but express some surprise at Mrs Smith's having spoken of him so
favourably in the beginning of their conversation. “She had seemed to
recommend and praise him!”
“My dear,” was Mrs Smith's reply, “there was nothing else to be
done. I considered your marrying him as certain, though he might not
yet have made the offer, and I could no more speak the truth of him, than
if he had been your husband. My heart bled for you, as I talked of
happiness; and yet he is sensible, he is agreeable, and with such a
woman as you, it was not absolutely hopeless. He was very unkind to his
first wife. They were wretched together. But she was too ignorant and
giddy for respect, and he had never loved her. I was willing to hope that
you must fare better.”
Anne could just acknowledge within herself such a possibility of
having been induced to marry him, as made her shudder at the idea of
the misery which must have followed. It was just possible that she might
have been persuaded by Lady Russell! And under such a supposition,
which would have been most miserable, when time had disclosed all, too
late?
It was very desirable that Lady Russell should be no longer
deceived; and one of the concluding arrangements of this important
conference, which carried them through the greater part of the morning,
was, that Anne had full liberty to communicate to her friend everything
relative to Mrs Smith, in which his conduct was involved.
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Chapter 22

Anne went home to think over all that she had heard. In one point,
her feelings were relieved by this knowledge of Mr Elliot. There was no
longer anything of tenderness due to him. He stood as opposed to
Captain Wentworth, in all his own unwelcome obtrusiveness; and the
evil of his attentions last night, the irremediable mischief he might have
done, was considered with sensations unqualified, unperplexed. Pity for
him was all over. But this was the only point of relief. In every other
respect, in looking around her, or penetrating forward, she saw more to
distrust and to apprehend. She was concerned for the disappointment and
pain Lady Russell would be feeling; for the mortifications which must
be hanging over her father and sister, and had all the distress of
foreseeing many evils, without knowing how to avert any one of them.
She was most thankful for her own knowledge of him. She had
never considered herself as entitled to reward for not slighting an old
friend like Mrs Smith, but here was a reward indeed springing from it!
Mrs Smith had been able to tell her what no one else could have done.
Could the knowledge have been extended through her family? But
this was a vain idea. She must talk to Lady Russell, tell her, consult with
her, and having done her best, wait the event with as much composure as
possible; and after all, her greatest want of composure would be in that
quarter of the mind which could not be opened to Lady Russell; in that
flow of anxieties and fears which must be all to herself.
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She found, on reaching home, that she had, as she intended,
escaped seeing Mr Elliot; that he had called and paid them a long
morning visit; but hardly had she congratulated herself, and felt safe,
when she heard that he was coming again in the evening.
“I had not the smallest intention of asking him,” said Elizabeth,
with affected carelessness, “but he gave so many hints; so Mrs Clay
says, at least.”
“Indeed, I do say it. I never saw anybody in my life spell harder for
an invitation. Poor man! I was really in pain for him; for your hard-
hearted sister, Miss Anne, seems bent on cruelty.”
“Oh!” cried Elizabeth, “I have been rather too much used to the
game to be soon overcome by a gentleman's hints. However, when I
found how excessively he was regretting that he should miss my father
this morning, I gave way immediately, for I would never really omit an
opportunity of bring him and Sir Walter together. They appear to so
much advantage in company with each other. Each behaving so
pleasantly. Mr Elliot looking up with so much respect.”
“Quite delightful!” cried Mrs Clay, not daring, however, to turn
her eyes towards Anne. “Exactly like father and son! Dear Miss Elliot,
may I not say father and son?”
“Oh! I lay no embargo on any body's words. If you will have such
ideas! But, upon my word, I am scarcely sensible of his attentions being
beyond those of other men.”
“My dear Miss Elliot!” exclaimed Mrs Clay, lifting her hands and
eyes, and sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence.
“Well, my dear Penelope, you need not be so alarmed about him. I
did invite him, you know. I sent him away with smiles. When I found he
was really going to his friends at Thornberry Park for the whole day to-
morrow, I had compassion on him.”
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Anne admired the good acting of the friend, in being able to shew
such pleasure as she did, in the expectation and in the actual arrival of
the very person whose presence must really be interfering with her prime
object. It was impossible but that Mrs Clay must hate the sight of Mr
Elliot; and yet she could assume a most obliging, placid look, and appear
quite satisfied with the curtailed license of devoting herself only half as
much to Sir Walter as she would have done otherwise.
To Anne herself it was most distressing to see Mr Elliot enter the
room; and quite painful to have him approach and speak to her. She had
been used before to feel that he could not be always quite sincere, but
now she saw insincerity in everything. His attentive deference to her
father, contrasted with his former language, was odious; and when she
thought of his cruel conduct towards Mrs Smith, she could hardly bear
the sight of his present smiles and mildness, or the sound of his artificial
good sentiments.
She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might
provoke a remonstrance on his side. It was a great object to her to escape
all enquiry or eclat; but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to
him as might be compatible with their relationship; and to retrace, as
quietly as she could, the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had been
gradually led along. She was accordingly more guarded, and more cool,
than she had been the night before.
He wanted to animate her curiosity again as to how and where he
could have heard her formerly praised; wanted very much to be gratified
by more solicitation; but the charm was broken: he found that the heat
and animation of a public room was necessary to kindle his modest
cousin's vanity; he found, at least, that it was not to be done now, by any
of those attempts which he could hazard among the too-commanding
claims of the others. He little surmised that it was a subject acting now
exactly against his interest, bringing immediately to her thoughts all
those parts of his conduct which were least excusable.
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She had some satisfaction in finding that he was really going out of
Bath the next morning, going early, and that he would be gone the
greater part of two days. He was invited again to Camden Place the very
evening of his return; but from Thursday to Saturday evening his
absence was certain. It was bad enough that a Mrs Clay should be
always before her; but that a deeper hypocrite should be added to their
party, seemed the destruction of everything like peace and comfort. It
was so humiliating to reflect on the constant deception practiced on her
father and Elizabeth; to consider the various sources of mortification
preparing for them! Mrs Clay's selfishness was not so complicate nor so
revolting as his; and Anne would have compounded for the marriage at
once, with all its evils, to be clear of Mr Elliot's subtleties in
endeavouring to prevent it.
On Friday morning she meant to go very early to Lady Russell,
and accomplish the necessary communication; and she would have gone
directly after breakfast, but that Mrs Clay was also going out on some
obliging purpose of saving her sister trouble, which determined her to
wait till she might be safe from such a companion. She saw Mrs Clay
fairly off, therefore, before she began to talk of spending the morning in
Rivers Street.
“Very well,” said Elizabeth, “I have nothing to send but my love.
Oh! you may as well take back that tiresome book she would lend me,
and pretend I have read it through. I really cannot be plaguing myself for
ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out. Lady
Russell quite bores one with her new publications. You need not tell her
so, but I thought her dress hideous the other night. I used to think she
had some taste in dress, but I was ashamed of her at the concert.
Something so formal and arrange in her air! and she sits so upright! My
best love, of course.”
“And mine,” added Sir Walter. “Kindest regards. And you may
say, that I mean to call upon her soon. Make a civil message; but I shall
only leave my card. Morning visits are never fair by women at her time
of life, who make themselves up so little. If she would only wear rouge
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she would not be afraid of being seen; but last time I called, I observed
the blinds were let down immediately.”
While her father spoke, there was a knock at the door. Who could
it be? Anne, remembering the preconcerted visits, at all hours, of Mr
Elliot, would have expected him, but for his known engagement seven
miles off. After the usual period of suspense, the usual sounds of
approach were heard, and “Mr and Mrs Charles Musgrove” were
ushered into the room.
Surprise was the strongest emotion raised by their appearance; but
Anne was really glad to see them; and the others were not so sorry but
that they could put on a decent air of welcome; and as soon as it became
clear that these, their nearest relations, were not arrived with an views of
accommodation in that house, Sir Walter and Elizabeth were able to rise
in cordiality, and do the honours of it very well. They were come to Bath
for a few days with Mrs Musgrove, and were at the White Hart. So much
was pretty soon understood; but till Sir Walter and Elizabeth were
walking Mary into the other drawing-room, and regaling themselves
with her admiration, Anne could not draw upon Charles's brain for a
regular history of their coming, or an explanation of some smiling hints
of particular business, which had been ostentatiously dropped by Mary,
as well as of some apparent confusion as to whom their party consisted
of.
She then found that it consisted of Mrs Musgrove, Henrietta, and
Captain Harville, beside their two selves. He gave her a very plain,
intelligible account of the whole; a narration in which she saw a great
deal of most characteristic proceeding. The scheme had received its first
impulse by Captain Harville's wanting to come to Bath on business. He
had begun to talk of it a week ago; and by way of doing something, as
shooting was over, Charles had proposed coming with him, and Mrs
Harville had seemed to like the idea of it very much, as an advantage to
her husband; but Mary could not bear to be left, and had made herself so
unhappy about it, that for a day or two everything seemed to be in
suspense, or at an end. But then, it had been taken up by his father and
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mother. His mother had some old friends in Bath whom she wanted to
see; it was thought a good opportunity for Henrietta to come and buy
wedding-clothes for herself and her sister; and, in short, it ended in
being his mother's party, that everything might be comfortable and easy
to Captain Harville; and he and Mary were included in it by way of
general convenience. They had arrived late the night before. Mrs
Harville, her children, and Captain Benwick, remained with Mr
Musgrove and Louisa at Uppercross.
Anne's only surprise was, that affairs should be in forwardness
enough for Henrietta's wedding-clothes to be talked of. She had
imagined such difficulties of fortune to exist there as must prevent the
marriage from being near at hand; but she learned from Charles that,
very recently, (since Mary's last letter to herself), Charles Hayter had
been applied to by a friend to hold a living for a youth who could not
possibly claim it under many years; and that on the strength of his
present income, with almost a certainty of something more permanent
long before the term in question, the two families had consented to the
young people's wishes, and that their marriage was likely to take place in
a few months, quite as soon as Louisa's. “And a very good living it
was,” Charles added: “only five-and-twenty miles from Uppercross, and
in a very fine country: fine part of Dorsetshire. In the centre of some of
the best preserves in the kingdom, surrounded by three great proprietors,
each more careful and jealous than the other; and to two of the three at
least, Charles Hayter might get a special recommendation. Not that he
will value it as he ought,” he observed, “Charles is too cool about
sporting. That's the worst of him.”
“I am extremely glad, indeed,” cried Anne, “particularly glad that
this should happen; and that of two sisters, who both deserve equally
well, and who have always been such good friends, the pleasant prospect
of one should not be dimming those of the other-- that they should be so
equal in their prosperity and comfort. I hope your father and mother are
quite happy with regard to both.”
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“Oh! yes. My father would be well pleased if the gentlemen were
richer, but he has no other fault to find. Money, you know, coming down
with money--two daughters at once--it cannot be a very agreeable
operation, and it streightens him as to many things. However, I do not
mean to say they have not a right to it. It is very fit they should have
daughters' shares; and I am sure he has always been a very kind, liberal
father to me. Mary does not above half like Henrietta's match. She never
did, you know. But she does not do him justice, nor think enough about
Winthrop. I cannot make her attend to the value of the property. It is a
very fair match, as times go; and I have liked Charles Hayter all my life,
and I shall not leave off now.”
“Such excellent parents as Mr and Mrs Musgrove,” exclaimed
Anne, “should be happy in their children's marriages. They do
everything to confer happiness, I am sure. What a blessing to young
people to be in such hands! Your father and mother seem so totally free
from all those ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct
and misery, both in young and old. I hope you think Louisa perfectly
recovered now?”
He answered rather hesitatingly, “Yes, I believe I do; very much
recovered; but she is altered; there is no running or jumping about, no
laughing or dancing; it is quite different. If one happens only to shut the
door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young dab-chick in the
water; and Benwick sits at her elbow, reading verses, or whispering to
her, all day long.”
Anne could not help laughing. “That cannot be much to your taste,
I know,” said she; “but I do believe him to be an excellent young man.”
“To be sure he is. Nobody doubts it; and I hope you do not think I
am so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and
pleasures as myself. I have a great value for Benwick; and when one can
but get him to talk, he has plenty to say. His reading has done him no
harm, for he has fought as well as read. He is a brave fellow. I got more
acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before. We had a
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famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning in my father's great barns;
and he played his part so well that I have liked him the better ever
since.”
Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles's
following the others to admire mirrors and china; but Anne had heard
enough to understand the present state of Uppercross, and rejoice in its
happiness; and though she sighed as she rejoiced, her sigh had none of
the ill-will of envy in it. She would certainly have risen to their blessings
if she could, but she did not want to lessen theirs.
The visit passed off altogether in high good humour. Mary was in
excellent spirits, enjoying the gaiety and the change, and so well
satisfied with the journey in her mother-in-law's carriage with four
horses, and with her own complete independence of Camden Place, that
she was exactly in a temper to admire everything as she ought, and enter
most readily into all the superiorities of the house, as they were detailed
to her. She had no demands on her father or sister, and her consequence
was just enough increased by their handsome drawing-rooms.
Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal. She felt that
Mrs Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them; but
she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of
servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been
always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch. It was a struggle between
propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then Elizabeth was
happy again. These were her internal persuasions: “Old fashioned
notions; country hospitality; we do not profess to give dinners; few
people in Bath do; Lady Alicia never does; did not even ask her own
sister's family, though they were here a month: and I dare say it would
be very inconvenient to Mrs Musgrove; put her quite out of her way. I
am sure she would rather not come; she cannot feel easy with us. I will
ask them all for an evening; that will be much better; that will be a
novelty and a treat.
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They have not seen two such drawing rooms before. They will be
delighted to come to-morrow evening. It shall be a regular party, small,
but most elegant.” And this satisfied Elizabeth: and when the invitation
was given to the two present, and promised for the absent, Mary was as
completely satisfied. She was particularly asked to meet Mr Elliot, and
be introduced to Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, who were
fortunately already engaged to come; and she could not have received a
more gratifying attention. Miss Elliot was to have the honour of calling
on Mrs Musgrove in the course of the morning; and Anne walked off
with Charles and Mary, to go and see her and Henrietta directly.
Her plan of sitting with Lady Russell must give way for the
present. They all three called in Rivers Street for a couple of minutes;
but Anne convinced herself that a day's delay of the intended
communication could be of no consequence, and hastened forward to the
White Hart, to see again the friends and companions of the last autumn,
with an eagerness of good-will which many associations contributed to
form.
They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within, and by
themselves, and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. Henrietta
was exactly in that state of recently-improved views, of fresh-formed
happiness, which made her full of regard and interest for everybody she
had ever liked before at all; and Mrs Musgrove's real affection had been
won by her usefulness when they were in distress. It was a heartiness,
and a warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from
the sad want of such blessings at home. She was entreated to give them
as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long,
or rather claimed as part of the family; and, in return, she naturally fell
into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on Charles's
leaving them together, was listening to Mrs Musgrove's history of
Louisa, and to Henrietta's of herself, giving opinions on business, and
recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help which Mary
required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts; from finding
her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to convince her that she
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was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well amused as she generally
was, in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the Pump
Room, could not but have her moments of imagining.
A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected. A large
party in an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene. One five
minutes brought a note, the next a parcel; and Anne had not been there
half an hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more
than half filled: a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs
Musgrove, and Charles came back with Captains Harville and
Wentworth. The appearance of the latter could not be more than the
surprise of the moment. It was impossible for her to have forgotten to
feel that this arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them
together again. Their last meeting had been most important in opening
his feelings; she had derived from it a delightful conviction; but she
feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion, which had
hastened him away from the Concert Room, still governed. He did not
seem to want to be near enough for conversation.
She tried to be calm, and leave things to take their course, and tried
to dwell much on this argument of rational dependence:-- “Surely, if
there be constant attachment on each side, our hearts must understand
each other ere long. We are not boy and girl, to be captiously irritable,
misled by every moment's inadvertence, and wantonly playing with our
own happiness.” And yet, a few minutes afterwards, she felt as if their
being in company with each other, under their present circumstances,
could only be exposing them to inadvertencies and misconstructions of
the most mischievous kind.
“Anne,” cried Mary, still at her window, “there is Mrs Clay, I am
sure, standing under the colonnade, and a gentleman with her. I saw
them turn the corner from Bath Street just now. They seemed deep in
talk. Who is it? Come, and tell me. Good heavens! I recollect. It is Mr
Elliot himself.”
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“No,” cried Anne, quickly, “it cannot be Mr Elliot, I assure you.
He was to leave Bath at nine this morning, and does not come back till
to-morrow.”
As she spoke, she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her,
the consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her, and made her
regret that she had said so much, simple as it was.
Mary, resenting that she should be supposed not to know her own
cousin, began talking very warmly about the family features, and
protesting still more positively that it was Mr Elliot, calling again upon
Anne to come and look for herself, but Anne did not mean to stir, and
tried to be cool and unconcerned. Her distress returned, however, on
perceiving smiles and intelligent glances pass between two or three of
the lady visitors, as if they believed themselves quite in the secret. It was
evident that the report concerning her had spread, and a short pause
succeeded, which seemed to ensure that it would now spread farther.
“Do come, Anne” cried Mary, “come and look yourself. You will
be too late if you do not make haste. They are parting; they are shaking
hands. He is turning away. Not know Mr Elliot, indeed! You seem to
have forgot all about Lyme.”
To pacify Mary, and perhaps screen her own embarrassment, Anne
did move quietly to the window. She was just in time to ascertain that it
really was Mr Elliot, which she had never believed, before he
disappeared on one side, as Mrs Clay walked quickly off on the other;
and checking the surprise which she could not but feel at such an
appearance of friendly conference between two persons of totally
opposite interest, she calmly said, “Yes, it is Mr Elliot, certainly. He has
changed his hour of going, I suppose, that is all, or I may be mistaken, I
might not attend;” and walked back to her chair, recomposed, and with
the comfortable hope of having acquitted herself well.
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The visitors took their leave; and Charles, having civilly seen them
off, and then made a face at them, and abused them for coming, began
with--
“Well, mother, I have done something for you that you will like. I
have been to the theatre, and secured a box for to-morrow night. A'n't I a
good boy? I know you love a play; and there is room for us all. It holds
nine. I have engaged Captain Wentworth. Anne will not be sorry to join
us, I am sure. We all like a play. Have not I done well, mother?”
Mrs Musgrove was good humouredly beginning to express her
perfect readiness for the play, if Henrietta and all the others liked it,
when Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaiming--
“Good heavens, Charles! how can you think of such a thing? Take
a box for to-morrow night! Have you forgot that we are engaged to
Camden Place to-morrow night? and that we were most particularly
asked to meet Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, and Mr Elliot, and all
the principal family connexions, on purpose to be introduced to them?
How can you be so forgetful?”
“Phoo! phoo!” replied Charles, “what's an evening party? Never
worth remembering. Your father might have asked us to dinner, I think,
if he had wanted to see us. You may do as you like, but I shall go to the
play.”
“Oh! Charles, I declare it will be too abominable if you do, when
you promised to go.”
“No, I did not promise. I only smirked and bowed, and said the
word 'happy.' There was no promise.”
“But you must go, Charles. It would be unpardonable to fail. We
were asked on purpose to be introduced. There was always such a great
connexion between the Dalrymples and ourselves. Nothing ever
happened on either side that was not announced immediately. We are
quite near relations, you know; and Mr Elliot too, whom you ought so
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particularly to be acquainted with! Every attention is due to Mr Elliot.
Consider, my father's heir: the future representative of the family.”
“Don't talk to me about heirs and representatives,” cried Charles.
“I am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the
rising sun. If I would not go for the sake of your father, I should think it
scandalous to go for the sake of his heir. What is Mr Elliot to me?” The
careless expression was life to Anne, who saw that Captain Wentworth
was all attention, looking and listening with his whole soul; and that the
last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to herself.
Charles and Mary still talked on in the same style; he, half serious
and half jesting, maintaining the scheme for the play, and she, invariably
serious, most warmly opposing it, and not omitting to make it known
that, however determined to go to Camden Place herself, she should not
think herself very well used, if they went to the play without her. Mrs
Musgrove interposed.
“We had better put it off. Charles, you had much better go back
and change the box for Tuesday. It would be a pity to be divided, and we
should be losing Miss Anne, too, if there is a party at her father's; and I
am sure neither Henrietta nor I should care at all for the play, if Miss
Anne could not be with us.”
Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness; and quite as much
so for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying--
“If it depended only on my inclination, ma'am, the party at home
(excepting on Mary's account) would not be the smallest impediment. I
have no pleasure in the sort of meeting, and should be too happy to
change it for a play, and with you. But, it had better not be attempted,
perhaps.” She had spoken it; but she trembled when it was done,
conscious that her words were listened to, and daring not even to try to
observe their effect.
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It was soon generally agreed that Tuesday should be the day;
Charles only reserving the advantage of still teasing his wife, by
persisting that he would go to the play to-morrow if nobody else would.
Captain Wentworth left his seat, and walked to the fire-place;
probably for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and
taking a station, with less bare-faced design, by Anne.
“You have not been long enough in Bath,” said he, “to enjoy the
evening parties of the place.”
“Oh! no. The usual character of them has nothing for me. I am no
card-player.”
“You were not formerly, I know. You did not use to like cards; but
time makes many changes.”
“I am not yet so much changed,” cried Anne, and stopped, fearing
she hardly knew what misconstruction. After waiting a few moments he
said, and as if it were the result of immediate feeling, “It is a period,
indeed! Eight years and a half is a period.”
Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's
imagination to ponder over in a calmer hour; for while still hearing the
sounds he had uttered, she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta,
eager to make use of the present leisure for getting out, and calling on
her companions to lose no time, lest somebody else should come in.
They were obliged to move. Anne talked of being perfectly ready,
and tried to look it; but she felt that could Henrietta have known the
regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair, in preparing to
quit the room, she would have found, in all her own sensations for her
cousin, in the very security of his affection, wherewith to pity her.
Their preparations, however, were stopped short. Alarming sounds
were heard; other visitors approached, and the door was thrown open for
Sir Walter and Miss Elliot, whose entrance seemed to give a general
chill. Anne felt an instant oppression, and wherever she looked saw
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symptoms of the same. The comfort, the freedom, the gaiety of the room
was over, hushed into cold composure, determined silence, or insipid
talk, to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister. How
mortifying to feel that it was so!
Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular. Captain Wentworth
was acknowledged again by each, by Elizabeth more graciously than
before. She even addressed him once, and looked at him more than once.
Elizabeth was, in fact, revolving a great measure. The sequel explained
it.
After the waste of a few minutes in saying the proper nothings, she
began to give the invitation which was to comprise all the remaining
dues of the Musgroves. “To-morrow evening, to meet a few friends: no
formal party.” It was all said very gracefully, and the cards with which
she had provided herself, the “Miss Elliot at home,” were laid on the
table, with a courteous, comprehensive smile to all, and one smile and
one card more decidedly for Captain Wentworth. The truth was, that
Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath to understand the importance of
a man of such an air and appearance as his. The past was nothing. The
present was that Captain Wentworth would move about well in her
drawing-room. The card was pointedly given, and Sir Walter and
Elizabeth arose and disappeared.
The interruption had been short, though severe, and ease and
animation returned to most of those they left as the door shut them out,
but not to Anne. She could think only of the invitation she had with such
astonishment witnessed, and of the manner in which it had been
received; a manner of doubtful meaning, of surprise rather than
gratification, of polite acknowledgement rather than acceptance. She
knew him; she saw disdain in his eye, and could not venture to believe
that he had determined to accept such an offering, as an atonement for
all the insolence of the past. Her spirits sank. He held the card in his
hand after they were gone, as if deeply considering it.
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“Only think of Elizabeth's including everybody!” whispered Mary
very audibly. “I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted! You see
he cannot put the card out of his hand.”
Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, and his mouth form
itself into a momentary expression of contempt, and turned away, that
she might neither see nor hear more to vex her.
The party separated. The gentlemen had their own pursuits, the
ladies proceeded on their own business, and they met no more while
Anne belonged to them. She was earnestly begged to return and dine,
and give them all the rest of the day, but her spirits had been so long
exerted that at present she felt unequal to more, and fit only for home,
where she might be sure of being as silent as she chose.
Promising to be with them the whole of the following morning,
therefore, she closed the fatigues of the present by a toilsome walk to
Camden Place, there to spend the evening chiefly in listening to the busy
arrangements of Elizabeth and Mrs Clay for the morrow's party, the
frequent enumeration of the persons invited, and the continually
improving detail of all the embellishments which were to make it the
most completely elegant of its kind in Bath, while harassing herself with
the never-ending question, of whether Captain Wentworth would come
or not?
They were reckoning him as certain, but with her it was a gnawing
solicitude never appeased for five minutes together. She generally
thought he would come, because she generally thought he ought; but it
was a case which she could not so shape into any positive act of duty or
discretion, as inevitably to defy the suggestions of very opposite
feelings.
She only roused herself from the broodings of this restless
agitation, to let Mrs Clay know that she had been seen with Mr Elliot
three hours after his being supposed to be out of Bath, for having
watched in vain for some intimation of the interview from the lady
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herself, she determined to mention it, and it seemed to her there was
guilt in Mrs Clay's face as she listened. It was transient: cleared away in
an instant; but Anne could imagine she read there the consciousness of
having, by some complication of mutual trick, or some overbearing
authority of his, been obliged to attend (perhaps for half an hour) to his
lectures and restrictions on her designs on Sir Walter. She exclaimed,
however, with a very tolerable imitation of nature: --
“Oh! dear! very true. Only think, Miss Elliot, to my great surprise I
met with Mr Elliot in Bath Street. I was never more astonished. He
turned back and walked with me to the Pump Yard. He had been
prevented setting off for Thornberry, but I really forget by what; for I
was in a hurry, and could not much attend, and I can only answer for his
being determined not to be delayed in his return.
“He wanted to know how early he might be admitted to-morrow.
He was full of 'to-morrow,' and it is very evident that I have been full of
it too, ever since I entered the house, and learnt the extension of your
plan and all that had happened, or my seeing him could never have gone
so entirely out of my head.”
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Chapter 23

One day only had passed since Anne's conversation with Mrs
Smith; but a keener interest had succeeded, and she was now so little
touched by Mr Elliot's conduct, except by its effects in one quarter, that
it became a matter of course the next morning, still to defer her
explanatory visit in Rivers Street. She had promised to be with the
Musgroves from breakfast to dinner. Her faith was plighted, and Mr
Elliot's character, like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head, must live
another day.
She could not keep her appointment punctually, however; the
weather was unfavourable, and she had grieved over the rain on her
friends' account, and felt it very much on her own, before she was able
to attempt the walk.
When she reached the White Hart, and made her way to the proper
apartment, she found herself neither arriving quite in time, nor the first
to arrive. The party before her were, Mrs Musgrove, talking to Mrs
Croft, and Captain Harville to Captain Wentworth; and she immediately
heard that Mary and Henrietta, too impatient to wait, had gone out the
moment it had cleared, but would be back again soon, and that the
strictest injunctions had been left with Mrs Musgrove to keep her there
till they returned.
She had only to submit, sit down, be outwardly composed, and feel
herself plunged at once in all the agitations which she had merely laid
her account of tasting a little before the morning closed. There was no
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delay, no waste of time. She was deep in the happiness of such misery,
or the misery of such happiness, instantly. Two minutes after her
entering the room, Captain Wentworth said--
“We will write the letter we were talking of, Harville, now, if you
will give me materials.”
Materials were at hand, on a separate table; he went to it, and
nearly turning his back to them all, was engrossed by writing.
Mrs Musgrove was giving Mrs Croft the history of her eldest
daughter's engagement, and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which
was perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper.
Anne felt that she did not belong to the conversation, and yet, as
Captain Harville seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk, she could
not avoid hearing many undesirable particulars; such as, “how Mr
Musgrove and my brother Hayter had met again and again to talk it over;
what my brother Hayter had said one day, and what Mr Musgrove had
proposed the next, and what had occurred to my sister Hayter, and what
the young people had wished, and what I said at first I never could
consent to, but was afterwards persuaded to think might do very well,”
and a great deal in the same style of open-hearted communication:
minutiae which, even with every advantage of taste and delicacy, which
good Mrs Musgrove could not give, could be properly interesting only to
the principals. Mrs Croft was attending with great good-humour, and
whenever she spoke at all, it was very sensibly. Anne hoped the
gentlemen might each be too much self-occupied to hear.
“And so, ma'am, all these thing considered,” said Mrs Musgrove,
in her powerful whisper, “though we could have wished it different, yet,
altogether, we did not think it fair to stand out any longer, for Charles
Hayter was quite wild about it, and Henrietta was pretty near as bad; and
so we thought they had better marry at once, and make the best of it, as
many others have done before them. At any rate, said I, it will be better
than a long engagement.”
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“That is precisely what I was going to observe,” cried Mrs Croft. “I
would rather have young people settle on a small income at once, and
have to struggle with a few difficulties together, than be involved in a
long engagement. I always think that no mutual--”
“Oh! dear Mrs Croft,” cried Mrs Musgrove, unable to let her finish
her speech, “there is nothing I so abominate for young people as a long
engagement. It is what I always protested against for my children. It is
all very well, I used to say, for young people to be engaged, if there is a
certainty of their being able to marry in six months, or even in twelve;
but a long engagement--”
“Yes, dear ma'am,” said Mrs Croft, “or an uncertain engagement,
an engagement which may be long. To begin without knowing that at
such a time there will be the means of marrying, I hold to be very unsafe
and unwise, and what I think all parents should prevent as far as they
can.”
Anne found an unexpected interest here. She felt its application to
herself, felt it in a nervous thrill all over her; and at the same moment
that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table, Captain
Wentworth's pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing, listening,
and he turned round the next instant to give a look, one quick, conscious
look at her.
The two ladies continued to talk, to re-urge the same admitted
truths, and enforce them with such examples of the ill effect of a
contrary practice as had fallen within their observation, but Anne heard
nothing distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in her ear, her mind was
in confusion.
Captain Harville, who had in truth been hearing none of it, now left
his seat, and moved to a window, and Anne seeming to watch him,
though it was from thorough absence of mind, became gradually
sensible that he was inviting her to join him where he stood. He looked
at her with a smile, and a little motion of the head, which expressed,
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“Come to me, I have something to say;” and the unaffected, easy
kindness of manner which denoted the feelings of an older acquaintance
than he really was, strongly enforced the invitation. She roused herself
and went to him. The window at which he stood was at the other end of
the room from where the two ladies were sitting, and though nearer to
Captain Wentworth's table, not very near. As she joined him, Captain
Harville's countenance re-assumed the serious, thoughtful expression
which seemed its natural character.
“Look here,” said he, unfolding a parcel in his hand, and
displaying a small miniature painting, “do you know who that is?”
“Certainly: Captain Benwick.”
“Yes, and you may guess who it is for. But,” (in a deep tone,) “it
was not done for her. Miss Elliot, do you remember our walking
together at Lyme, and grieving for him? I little thought then-- but no
matter. This was drawn at the Cape. He met with a clever young German
artist at the Cape, and in compliance with a promise to my poor sister,
sat to him, and was bringing it home for her; and I have now the charge
of getting it properly set for another! It was a commission to me! But
who else was there to employ? I hope I can allow for him. I am not
sorry, indeed, to make it over to another. He undertakes it;” (looking
towards Captain Wentworth,) “he is writing about it now.” And with a
quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding, “Poor Fanny! she would
not have forgotten him so soon!”
“No,” replied Anne, in a low, feeling voice. “That I can easily
believe.”
“It was not in her nature. She doted on him.”
“It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved.”
Captain Harville smiled, as much as to say, “Do you claim that for
your sex?” and she answered the question, smiling also, “Yes. We
certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our
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fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home,
quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on
exertion.
“You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or
other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual
occupation and change soon weaken impressions.”
“Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for
men (which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply to
Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. The peace turned
him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us, in our
little family circle, ever since.”
“True,” said Anne, “very true; I did not recollect; but what shall we
say now, Captain Harville? If the change be not from outward
circumstances, it must be from within; it must be nature, man's nature,
which has done the business for Captain Benwick.”
“No, no, it is not man's nature. I will not allow it to be more man's
nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or
have loved. I believe the reverse. I believe in a true analogy between our
bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are the strongest, so
are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage, and riding out the
heaviest weather.”
“Your feelings may be the strongest,” replied Anne, “but the same
spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most tender.
Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived; which
exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments.
“Nay, it would be too hard upon you, if it were otherwise. You
have difficulties, and privations, and dangers enough to struggle with.
You are always labouring and toiling, exposed to every risk and
hardship. Your home, country, friends, all quitted. Neither time, nor
health, nor life, to be called your own. It would be hard, indeed” (with a
faltering voice), “if woman's feelings were to be added to all this.”
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“We shall never agree upon this question,” Captain Harville was
beginning to say, when a slight noise called their attention to Captain
Wentworth's hitherto perfectly quiet division of the room. It was nothing
more than that his pen had fallen down; but Anne was startled at finding
him nearer than she had supposed, and half inclined to suspect that the
pen had only fallen because he had been occupied by them, striving to
catch sounds, which yet she did not think he could have caught.
“Have you finished your letter?” said Captain Harville.
“Not quite, a few lines more. I shall have done in five minutes.”
“There is no hurry on my side. I am only ready whenever you are. I
am in very good anchorage here,” (smiling at Anne,) “well supplied, and
want for nothing. No hurry for a signal at all. Well, Miss Elliot,”
(lowering his voice,) “as I was saying we shall never agree, I suppose,
upon this point. No man and woman, would, probably.
“But let me observe that all histories are against you--all stories,
prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you
fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think
I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon
woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's
fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.”
“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples
in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.
Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been
in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
“But how shall we prove anything?”
“We never shall. We never can expect to prove any thing upon
such a point. It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof.
We each begin, probably, with a little bias towards our own sex; and
upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has
occurred within our own circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps
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those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as
cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence, or in some
respect saying what should not be said.”
“Ah!” cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, “if I could
but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look
at his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off
in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, 'God knows
whether we ever meet again!' And then, if I could convey to you the
glow of his soul when he does see them again; when, coming back after
a twelvemonth's absence, perhaps, and obliged to put into another port,
he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to
deceive himself, and saying, 'They cannot be here till such a day,' but all
the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them arrive at
last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner still! If I
could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and
glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak,
you know, only of such men as have hearts!” pressing his own with
emotion.
“Oh!” cried Anne eagerly, “I hope I do justice to all that is felt by
you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should
undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow-creatures!
I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment
and constancy were known only by woman. No, I believe you capable of
everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to
every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as-
-if I may be allowed the expression--so long as you have an object.
“I mean while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the
privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need
not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is
gone.”
She could not immediately have uttered another sentence; her heart
was too full, her breath too much oppressed.
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“You are a good soul,” cried Captain Harville, putting his hand on
her arm, quite affectionately. “There is no quarreling with you. And
when I think of Benwick, my tongue is tied.”
Their attention was called towards the others. Mrs Croft was taking
leave.
“Here, Frederick, you and I part company, I believe,” said she. “I
am going home, and you have an engagement with your friend. To-night
we may have the pleasure of all meeting again at your party,” (turning to
Anne.) “We had your sister's card yesterday, and I understood Frederick
had a card too, though I did not see it; and you are disengaged,
Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves?”
Captain Wentworth was folding up a letter in great haste, and
either could not or would not answer fully.
“Yes,” said he, “very true; here we separate, but Harville and I
shall soon be after you; that is, Harville, if you are ready, I am in half a
minute. I know you will not be sorry to be off. I shall be at your service
in half a minute.”
Mrs Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his
letter with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried,
agitated air, which shewed impatience to be gone. Anne know not how
to understand it. She had the kindest “Good morning, God bless you!”
from Captain Harville, but from him not a word, nor a look! He had
passed out of the room without a look!
She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he
had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened,
it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves,
and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, he drew out a letter
from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of
glowing entreaty fixed on her for a time, and hastily collecting his
gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs Musgrove was
aware of his being in it: the work of an instant!
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The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost
beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to “Miss
A. E.--,” was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily.
While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also
addressing her! On the contents of that letter depended all which this
world could do for her. Anything was possible, anything might be defied
rather than suspense.
Mrs Musgrove had little arrangements of her own at her own table;
to their protection she must trust, and sinking into the chair which he had
occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written,
her eyes devoured the following words:
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such
means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half
hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone
for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own
than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say
that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I
have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I
have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath.
For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to
have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could
I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I
can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which
overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of
that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent
creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true
attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent,
most undeviating, in F. W.
“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow
your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide
whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.”
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Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from. Half and hour's
solitude and reflection might have tranquillized her; but the ten minutes
only which now passed before she was interrupted, with all the restraints
of her situation, could do nothing towards tranquillity. Every moment
rather brought fresh agitation. It was overpowering happiness. And
before she was beyond the first stage of full sensation, Charles, Mary,
and Henrietta all came in.
The absolute necessity of seeming like herself produced then an
immediate struggle; but after a while she could do no more. She began
not to understand a word they said, and was obliged to plead
indisposition and excuse herself. They could then see that she looked
very ill, were shocked and concerned, and would not stir without her for
the world. This was dreadful. Would they only have gone away, and left
her in the quiet possession of that room it would have been her cure; but
to have them all standing or waiting around her was distracting, and in
desperation, she said she would go home.
“By all means, my dear,” cried Mrs Musgrove, “go home directly,
and take care of yourself, that you may be fit for the evening. I wish
Sarah was here to doctor you, but I am no doctor myself. Charles, ring
and order a chair. She must not walk.”
But the chair would never do. Worse than all! To lose the
possibility of speaking two words to Captain Wentworth in the course of
her quiet, solitary progress up the town (and she felt almost certain of
meeting him) could not be borne. The chair was earnestly protested
against, and Mrs Musgrove, who thought only of one sort of illness,
having assured herself with some anxiety, that there had been no fall in
the case; that Anne had not at any time lately slipped down, and got a
blow on her head; that she was perfectly convinced of having had no
fall; could part with her cheerfully, and depend on finding her better at
night.
Anxious to omit no possible precaution, Anne struggled, and said--
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“I am afraid, ma'am, that it is not perfectly understood. Pray be so
good as to mention to the other gentlemen that we hope to see your
whole party this evening. I am afraid there had been some mistake; and I
wish you particularly to assure Captain Harville and Captain Wentworth,
that we hope to see them both.”
“Oh! my dear, it is quite understood, I give you my word. Captain
Harville has no thought but of going.”
“Do you think so? But I am afraid; and I should be so very sorry.
Will you promise me to mention it, when you see them again? You will
see them both this morning, I dare say. Do promise me.”
“To be sure I will, if you wish it. Charles, if you see Captain
Harville anywhere, remember to give Miss Anne's message. But indeed,
my dear, you need not be uneasy. Captain Harville holds himself quite
engaged, I'll answer for it; and Captain Wentworth the same, I dare say.”
Anne could do no more; but her heart prophesied some mischance
to damp the perfection of her felicity. It could not be very lasting,
however. Even if he did not come to Camden Place himself, it would be
in her power to send an intelligible sentence by Captain Harville.
Another momentary vexation occurred. Charles, in his real concern and
good nature, would go home with her; there was no preventing him. This
was almost cruel. But she could not be long ungrateful; he was
sacrificing an engagement at a gunsmith's, to be of use to her; and she
set off with him, with no feeling but gratitude apparent.
They were on Union Street, when a quicker step behind, a
something of familiar sound, gave her two moments' preparation for the
sight of Captain Wentworth. He joined them; but, as if irresolute
whether to join or to pass on, said nothing, only looked. Anne could
command herself enough to receive that look, and not repulsively. The
cheeks which had been pale now glowed, and the movements which had
hesitated were decided. He walked by her side. Presently, struck by a
sudden thought, Charles said--
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“Captain Wentworth, which way are you going? Only to Gay
Street, or farther up the town?”
“I hardly know,” replied Captain Wentworth, surprised.
“Are you going as high as Belmont? Are you going near Camden
Place? Because, if you are, I shall have no scruple in asking you to take
my place, and give Anne your arm to her father's door. She is rather
done for this morning, and must not go so far without help, and I ought
to be at that fellow's in the Market Place. He promised me the sight of a
capital gun he is just going to send off; said he would keep it unpacked
to the last possible moment, that I might see it; and if I do not turn back
now, I have no chance. By his description, a good deal like the second
size double-barrel of mine, which you shot with one day round
Winthrop.”
There could not be an objection. There could be only the most
proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles
reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture. In half a minute Charles
was at the bottom of Union Street again, and the other two proceeding
together: and soon words enough had passed between them to decide
their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel walk,
where the power of conversation would make the present hour a blessing
indeed, and prepare it for all the immortality which the happiest
recollections of their own future lives could bestow.
There they exchanged again those feelings and those promises
which had once before seemed to secure everything, but which had been
followed by so many, many years of division and estrangement. There
they returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in
their re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more
tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and
attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting. And there, as
they slowly paced the gradual ascent, heedless of every group around
them, seeing neither sauntering politicians, bustling housekeepers,
flirting girls, nor nursery-maids and children, they could indulge in those
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retrospections and acknowledgements, and especially in those
explanations of what had directly preceded the present moment, which
were so poignant and so ceaseless in interest. All the little variations of
the last week were gone through; and of yesterday and today there could
scarcely be an end.
She had not mistaken him. Jealousy of Mr Elliot had been the
retarding weight, the doubt, the torment. That had begun to operate in
the very hour of first meeting her in Bath; that had returned, after a short
suspension, to ruin the concert; and that had influenced him in
everything he had said and done, or omitted to say and do, in the last
four-and-twenty hours.
It had been gradually yielding to the better hopes which her looks,
or words, or actions occasionally encouraged; it had been vanquished at
last by those sentiments and those tones which had reached him while
she talked with Captain Harville; and under the irresistible governance
of which he had seized a sheet of paper, and poured out his feelings.
Of what he had then written, nothing was to be retracted or
qualified. He persisted in having loved none but her. She had never been
supplanted. He never even believed himself to see her equal. Thus much
indeed he was obliged to acknowledge: that he had been constant
unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her, and
believed it to be done. He had imagined himself indifferent, when he had
only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because he had
been a sufferer from them. Her character was now fixed on his mind as
perfection itself, maintaining the loveliest medium of fortitude and
gentleness; but he was obliged to acknowledge that only at Uppercross
had he learnt to do her justice, and only at Lyme had he begun to
understand himself. At Lyme, he had received lessons of more than one
sort. The passing admiration of Mr Elliot had at least roused him, and
the scenes on the Cobb and at Captain Harville's had fixed her
superiority.
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In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove
(the attempts of angry pride), he protested that he had for ever felt it to
be impossible; that he had not cared, could not care, for Louisa; though
till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed it, he had not
understood the perfect excellence of the mind with which Louisa's could
so ill bear a comparison, or the perfect unrivalled hold it possessed over
his own. There, he had learnt to distinguish between the steadiness of
principle and the obstinacy of self-will, between the darings of
heedlessness and the resolution of a collected mind. There he had seen
everything to exalt in his estimation the woman he had lost; and there
begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of resentment, which
had kept him from trying to regain her when thrown in his way.
From that period his penance had become severe. He had no
sooner been free from the horror and remorse attending the first few
days of Louisa's accident, no sooner begun to feel himself alive again,
than he had begun to feel himself, though alive, not at liberty.
“I found,” said he, “that I was considered by Harville an engaged
man! That neither Harville nor his wife entertained a doubt of our
mutual attachment. I was startled and shocked. To a degree, I could
contradict this instantly; but, when I began to reflect that others might
have felt the same--her own family, nay, perhaps herself--I was no
longer at my own disposal.
I was hers in honour if she wished it. I had been unguarded. I had
not thought seriously on this subject before. I had not considered that my
excessive intimacy must have its danger of ill consequence in many
ways; and that I had no right to be trying whether I could attach myself
to either of the girls, at the risk of raising even an unpleasant report,
were there no other ill effects. I had been grossly wrong, and must abide
the consequences.”
He found too late, in short, that he had entangled himself; and that
precisely as he became fully satisfied of his not caring for Louisa at all,
he must regard himself as bound to her, if her sentiments for him were
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what the Harvilles supposed. It determined him to leave Lyme, and
await her complete recovery elsewhere. He would gladly weaken, by
any fair means, whatever feelings or speculations concerning him might
exist; and he went, therefore, to his brother's, meaning after a while to
return to Kellynch, and act as circumstances might require.
“I was six weeks with Edward,” said he, “and saw him happy. I
could have no other pleasure. I deserved none. He enquired after you
very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little
suspecting that to my eye you could never alter.”
Anne smiled, and let it pass. It was too pleasing a blunder for a
reproach. It is something for a woman to be assured, in her eight-and-
twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier youth; but the
value of such homage was inexpressibly increased to Anne, by
comparing it with former words, and feeling it to be the result, not the
cause of a revival of his warm attachment.
He had remained in Shropshire, lamenting the blindness of his own
pride, and the blunders of his own calculations, till at once released from
Louisa by the astonishing and felicitous intelligence of her engagement
with Benwick.
“Here,” said he, “ended the worst of my state; for now I could at
least put myself in the way of happiness; I could exert myself; I could do
something. But to be waiting so long in inaction, and waiting only for
evil, had been dreadful. Within the first five minutes I said, 'I will be at
Bath on Wednesday,' and I was. Was it unpardonable to think it worth
my while to come? and to arrive with some degree of hope? You were
single. It was possible that you might retain the feelings of the past, as I
did; and one encouragement happened to be mine. I could never doubt
that you would be loved and sought by others, but I knew to a certainty
that you had refused one man, at least, of better pretensions than myself;
and I could not help often saying, 'Was this for me?'”
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Their first meeting in Milsom Street afforded much to be said, but
the concert still more. That evening seemed to be made up of exquisite
moments. The moment of her stepping forward in the Octagon Room to
speak to him: the moment of Mr Elliot's appearing and tearing her away,
and one or two subsequent moments, marked by returning hope or
increasing despondency, were dwelt on with energy.
“To see you,” cried he, “in the midst of those who could not be my
well-wishers; to see your cousin close by you, conversing and smiling,
and feel all the horrible eligibilities and proprieties of the match! To
consider it as the certain wish of every being who could hope to
influence you! Even if your own feelings were reluctant or indifferent, to
consider what powerful supports would be his! Was it not enough to
make the fool of me which I appeared? How could I look on without
agony? Was not the very sight of the friend who sat behind you, was not
the recollection of what had been, the knowledge of her influence, the
indelible, immoveable impression of what persuasion had once done--
was it not all against me?”
“You should have distinguished,” replied Anne. “You should not
have suspected me now; the case is so different, and my age is so
different. If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it
was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I
yielded, I thought it was to duty, but no duty could be called in aid here.
In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred,
and all duty violated.”
“Perhaps I ought to have reasoned thus,” he replied, “but I could
not. I could not derive benefit from the late knowledge I had acquired of
your character. I could not bring it into play; it was overwhelmed,
buried, lost in those earlier feelings which I had been smarting under
year after year. I could think of you only as one who had yielded, who
had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by
me. I saw you with the very person who had guided you in that year of
misery. I had no reason to believe her of less authority now. The force of
habit was to be added.”
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“I should have thought,” said Anne, “that my manner to yourself
might have spared you much or all of this.”
“No, no! your manner might be only the ease which your
engagement to another man would give. I left you in this belief; and yet,
I was determined to see you again. My spirits rallied with the morning,
and I felt that I had still a motive for remaining here.”
At last Anne was at home again, and happier than any one in that
house could have conceived. All the surprise and suspense, and every
other painful part of the morning dissipated by this conversation, she re-
entered the house so happy as to be obliged to find an alloy in some
momentary apprehensions of its being impossible to last. An interval of
meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of everything
dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her room, and
grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her enjoyment.
The evening came, the drawing-rooms were lighted up, the
company assembled. It was but a card party, it was but a mixture of
those who had never met before, and those who met too often; a
commonplace business, too numerous for intimacy, too small for
variety; but Anne had never found an evening shorter. Glowing and
lovely in sensibility and happiness, and more generally admired than she
thought about or cared for, she had cheerful or forbearing feelings for
every creature around her. Mr Elliot was there; she avoided, but she
could pity him. The Wallises, she had amusement in understanding
them. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret--they would soon be innoxious
cousins to her. She cared not for Mrs Clay, and had nothing to blush for
in the public manners of her father and sister.
With the Musgroves, there was the happy chat of perfect ease; with
Captain Harville, the kind-hearted intercourse of brother and sister; with
Lady Russell, attempts at conversation, which a delicious consciousness
cut short; with Admiral and Mrs Croft, everything of peculiar cordiality
and fervent interest, which the same consciousness sought to conceal;
and with Captain Wentworth, some moments of communications
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continually occurring, and always the hope of more, and always the
knowledge of his being there.
It was in one of these short meetings, each apparently occupied in
admiring a fine display of greenhouse plants, that she said--
“I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge
of the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe
that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly right in
being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you do now.
To me, she was in the place of a parent. Do not mistake me, however. I
am not saying that she did not err in her advice. It was, perhaps, one of
those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the event decides; and
for myself, I certainly never should, in any circumstance of tolerable
similarity, give such advice.
But I mean, that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had
done otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the
engagement than I did even in giving it up, because I should have
suffered in my conscience. I have now, as far as such a sentiment is
allowable in human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I
mistake not, a strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman's portion.”
He looked at her, looked at Lady Russell, and looking again at her,
replied, as if in cool deliberation--
“Not yet. But there are hopes of her being forgiven in time. I trust
to being in charity with her soon. But I too have been thinking over the
past, and a question has suggested itself, whether there may not have
been one person more my enemy even than that lady? My own self. Tell
me if, when I returned to England in the year eight, with a few thousand
pounds, and was posted into the Laconia, if I had then written to you,
would you have answered my letter? Would you, in short, have renewed
the engagement then?”
“Would I!” was all her answer; but the accent was decisive
enough.
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“Good God!” he cried, “you would! It is not that I did not think of
it, or desire it, as what could alone crown all my other success; but I was
proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes,
and would not understand you, or do you justice. This is a recollection
which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself.
“Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is
a sort of pain, too, which is new to me. I have been used to the
gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I
have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards. Like other
great men under reverses,” he added, with a smile. “I must endeavour to
subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than
I deserve.”
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Chapter 24

Who can be in doubt of what followed? When any two young
people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by
perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so
imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate
comfort. This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to
be truth; and if such parties succeed, how should a Captain Wentworth
and an Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of mind,
consciousness of right, and one independent fortune between them, fail
of bearing down every opposition? They might in fact, have borne down
a great deal more than they met with, for there was little to distress them
beyond the want of graciousness and warmth.
Sir Walter made no objection, and Elizabeth did nothing worse
than look cold and unconcerned. Captain Wentworth, with five-and-
twenty thousand pounds, and as high in his profession as merit and
activity could place him, was no longer nobody. He was now esteemed
quite worthy to address the daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet,
who had not had principle or sense enough to maintain himself in the
situation in which Providence had placed him, and who could give his
daughter at present but a small part of the share of ten thousand pounds
which must be hers hereafter.
Sir Walter, indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no
vanity flattered, to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far
from thinking it a bad match for her. On the contrary, when he saw more
of Captain Wentworth, saw him repeatedly by daylight, and eyed him
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well, he was very much struck by his personal claims, and felt that his
superiority of appearance might be not unfairly balanced against her
superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-sounding name,
enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen, with a very good grace, for
the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.
The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could
excite any serious anxiety was Lady Russell. Anne knew that Lady
Russell must be suffering some pain in understanding and relinquishing
Mr Elliot, and be making some struggles to become truly acquainted
with, and do justice to Captain Wentworth.
This however was what Lady Russell had now to do. She must
learn to feel that she had been mistaken with regard to both; that she had
been unfairly influenced by appearances in each; that because Captain
Wentworth's manners had not suited her own ideas, she had been too
quick in suspecting them to indicate a character of dangerous
impetuosity; and that because Mr Elliot's manners had precisely pleased
her in their propriety and correctness, their general politeness and
suavity, she had been too quick in receiving them as the certain result of
the most correct opinions and well-regulated mind. There was nothing
less for Lady Russell to do, than to admit that she had been pretty
completely wrong, and to take up a new set of opinions and of hopes.
There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the
discernment of character, a natural penetration, in short, which no
experience in others can equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in
this part of understanding than her young friend. But she was a very
good woman, and if her second object was to be sensible and well-
judging, her first was to see Anne happy. She loved Anne better than she
loved her own abilities; and when the awkwardness of the beginning was
over, found little hardship in attaching herself as a mother to the man
who was securing the happiness of her other child.
Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately
gratified by the circumstance. It was creditable to have a sister married,
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and she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the
connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn; and as her own
sister must be better than her husband's sisters, it was very agreeable that
Captain Wentworth should be a richer man than either Captain Benwick
or Charles Hayter. She had something to suffer, perhaps, when they
came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of
seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a
future to look forward to, of powerful consolation. Anne had no
Uppercross Hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family;
and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a
baronet, she would not change situations with Anne.
It would be well for the eldest sister if she were equally satisfied
with her situation, for a change is not very probable there. She had soon
the mortification of seeing Mr Elliot withdraw, and no one of proper
condition has since presented himself to raise even the unfounded hopes
which sunk with him.
The news of his cousins Anne's engagement burst on Mr Elliot
most unexpectedly. It deranged his best plan of domestic happiness, his
best hope of keeping Sir Walter single by the watchfulness which a son-
in-law's rights would have given.
But, though discomfited and disappointed, he could still do
something for his own interest and his own enjoyment. He soon quitted
Bath; and on Mrs Clay's quitting it soon afterwards, and being next
heard of as established under his protection in London, it was evident
how double a game he had been playing, and how determined he was to
save himself from being cut out by one artful woman, at least.
Mrs Clay's affections had overpowered her interest, and she had
sacrificed, for the young man's sake, the possibility of scheming longer
for Sir Walter. She has abilities, however, as well as affections; and it is
now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or hers, may finally carry the
day; whether, after preventing her from being the wife of Sir Walter, he
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may not be wheedled and caressed at last into making her the wife of Sir
William.
It cannot be doubted that Sir Walter and Elizabeth were shocked
and mortified by the loss of their companion, and the discovery of their
deception in her. They had their great cousins, to be sure, to resort to for
comfort; but they must long feel that to flatter and follow others, without
being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment.
Anne, satisfied at a very early period of Lady Russell's meaning to
love Captain Wentworth as she ought, had no other alloy to the
happiness of her prospects than what arose from the consciousness of
having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value.
There she felt her own inferiority very keenly. The disproportion in
their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment's regret; but to
have no family to receive and estimate him properly, nothing of
respectability, of harmony, of good will to offer in return for all the
worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and
sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could well be sensible
of under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity. She had but two
friends in the world to add to his list, Lady Russell and Mrs Smith. To
those, however, he was very well disposed to attach himself. Lady
Russell, in spite of all her former transgressions, he could now value
from his heart. While he was not obliged to say that he believed her to
have been right in originally dividing them, he was ready to say almost
everything else in her favour, and as for Mrs Smith, she had claims of
various kinds to recommend her quickly and permanently.
Her recent good offices by Anne had been enough in themselves,
and their marriage, instead of depriving her of one friend, secured her
two. She was their earliest visitor in their settled life; and Captain
Wentworth, by putting her in the way of recovering her husband's
property in the West Indies, by writing for her, acting for her, and seeing
her through all the petty difficulties of the case with the activity and
PERSUASION
- 254 -
exertion of a fearless man and a determined friend, fully requited the
services which she had rendered, or ever meant to render, to his wife.
Mrs Smith's enjoyments were not spoiled by this improvement of
income, with some improvement of health, and the acquisition of such
friends to be often with, for her cheerfulness and mental alacrity did not
fail her; and while these prime supplies of good remained, she might
have bid defiance even to greater accessions of worldly prosperity. She
might have been absolutely rich and perfectly healthy, and yet be happy.
Her spring of felicity was in the glow of her spirits, as her friend Anne's
was in the warmth of her heart. Anne was tenderness itself, and she had
the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth's affection. His profession was
all that could ever make her friends wish that tenderness less, the dread
of a future war all that could dim her sunshine. She gloried in being a
sailor's wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to
that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic
virtues than in its national importance.


Finis

PERSUASION

Jane Austen

Table of Contents Chapter 1...........................................................................................4 Chapter 2.........................................................................................12 Chapter 3.........................................................................................18 Chapter 4.........................................................................................27 Chapter 5.........................................................................................33 Chapter 6.........................................................................................43 Chapter 7.........................................................................................54 Chapter 8.........................................................................................64 Chapter 9.........................................................................................74 Chapter 10.......................................................................................83 Chapter 11.......................................................................................94 Chapter 12.....................................................................................103 Chapter 13.....................................................................................120 Chapter 14.....................................................................................128 Chapter 15.....................................................................................136 Chapter 16.....................................................................................144 Chapter 17.....................................................................................151 Chapter 18.....................................................................................161 Chapter 19.....................................................................................173 Chapter 20.....................................................................................182 Chapter 21.....................................................................................194 Chapter 22.....................................................................................214 Chapter 23.....................................................................................231 Chapter 24.....................................................................................250 The works of Jane Austen, including Persuasion (1818) are in the public domain. This means no one owns a US Copyright on these works and anyone (including you) may freely copy and distribute them. Published by VIRTUALimprint http://www.virtualimprint.com

PERSUASION

Chapter 1

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed. This was the page at which the favorite volume always opened: ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL “Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5, 1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791.” Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth-“Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset,” and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife. -4-

PERSUASION Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire; how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff, representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and motto:--"Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset,” and Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:-“Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of the second Sir Walter.” Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion. His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to any thing deserved by his own. Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she was called on to quit them. --Three girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an awful charge rather, to confide to the -5-

and being very handsome. This friend. For one daughter. like a good father. was nobody with either father or sister. one very intimate friend. (having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications). to all that was possible. by strong attachment to herself. She had. Lady Elliot mainly relied for the best help and maintenance of the good principles and instruction which she had been anxiously giving her daughters. Elizabeth had succeeded. who had been brought. at sixteen. her convenience was always to give way-. needs no apology to the public. which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding. His two other children were of very inferior value.she was only Anne. and very like himself. but Anne.PERSUASION authority and guidance of a conceited. prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughters' sake. which he had not been very much tempted to do. Thirteen years had passed away since Lady Elliot's death. her word had no weight. with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character. her influence had always been great. he would really have given up any thing. but Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation. deserving woman. That Lady Russell. the other a widow. and Sir Walter. of her mother's rights and consequence. whatever might have been anticipated on that head by their acquaintance. -6- . by becoming Mrs Charles Musgrove. and on her kindness and advice. which is rather apt to be unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again. than when she does not. Be it known then. and they were still near neighbours and intimate friends. Mary had acquired a little artificial importance. and extremely well provided for. however. did not marry. his eldest. of steady age and character. to settle close by her. that Sir Walter. should have no thought of a second marriage. and they had gone on together most happily. and one remained a widower. silly father. a sensible. in the village of Kellynch.

her father had found little to admire in her.PERSUASION To Lady Russell. and Sir Walter might be excused. still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago. It was so with Elizabeth. and had therefore given all the honour and received none: Elizabeth would. in forgetting her age. for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever. presiding and directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have given the idea of her being younger than she was. of ever reading her name in any other page of his favourite work. Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment. but her bloom had vanished early. indeed. Lady Russell loved them all. she was a most dear and highly valued god-daughter. it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. to excite his esteem. and leading the way to the chaise and four. He had never indulged much hope. every face in the neighbourhood worsting. Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl. if there has been neither ill health nor anxiety. be deemed only half a fool. or. All equality of alliance must rest with Elizabeth. and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him. and friend. therefore. Anne haggard. generally speaking. and walking immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and dining-rooms in the -7- . marry suitably. It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before. and. (so totally different were her delicate features and mild dark eyes from his own). for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else. he had now none. there could be nothing in them. but it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again. and laying down the domestic law at home. A few years before. for Mary had merely connected herself with an old country family of respectability and large fortune. Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall. favourite. at least. For thirteen years had she been doing the honours. now that she was faded and thin. and as even in its height. one day or other. Mary coarse.

and though his overtures had not been met with any warmth. she was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever. had she closed it. moreover. meant to marry him. he had persevered in seeking it. in one of their spring excursions to London. as she travelled up to London with her father. The heir presumptive. He had not been known to them as a boy. She had. Always to be presented with the date of her own birth and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister. She had the remembrance of all this. but she felt her approach to the years of danger. and pushed it away. the future baronet. She had had a disappointment. had disappointed her. while a very young girl. Sir Walter had sought the acquaintance. but now she liked it not. must ever present the remembrance of. in the event of her having no brother. the very William Walter Elliot. and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable. but soon after Lady Elliot's death. and her father had always meant that she should. and more than once. which that book. with averted eyes. whose rights had been so generously supported by her father. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood afforded. and would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two. Esq. just engaged in the study of the law. for a few weeks' annual enjoyment of the great world. she had the consciousness of being nine-and-twenty to give her some regrets and some apprehensions. making allowance for the modest drawing-back of youth.. as soon as she had known him to be.PERSUASION country. when her father had left it open on the table near her. and. and every plan in -8- . when Elizabeth was in her first bloom. and especially the history of her own family. and thirteen springs shewn their blossoms. Then might she again take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth. He was at that time a very young man. Mr Elliot had been forced into the introduction. made the book an evil.

but he had. felt with anger by Elizabeth. she could not admit him to be worth thinking of again. The disgrace of his first marriage might. and again he did not come. “For they must have been seen together. they had been informed. invited. most slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to. Sir Walter has resented it.PERSUASION his favour was confirmed. This could not be pardoned. especially after taking the young man so publicly by the hand. perhaps. and still more for being her father's heir. as Sir Walter considered him unworthy of it: all acquaintance between them had ceased.” he observed. -9- . as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends. that though she was at this present time (the summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife. Yet so miserably had he conducted himself. Instead of pushing his fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot. and whose strong family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot's eldest daughter. He was invited to Kellynch Hall. who had liked the man for himself. but he never came. “once at Tattersal's. had he not done worse. There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal. and shewn himself as unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family. found equally agreeable. The following spring he was seen again in town. have been got over. but apparently very little regarded. spoken most disrespectfully of them all. and the honours which were hereafter to be his own. As the head of the house. as there was no reason to suppose it perpetuated by offspring. This very awkward history of Mr Elliot was still. and expected. he had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of inferior birth. again encouraged. and twice in the lobby of the House of Commons. he was talked of and expected all the rest of the year.” His disapprobation was expressed. Mr Elliot had attempted no apology. he felt that he ought to have been consulted. after an interval of several years. and the next tidings were that he was married.

It had not been possible for him to spend less. Elizabeth had nothing to propose of deeper efficacy. But these measures. to do her justice. “Can we retrench? Does it occur to you that there is any one article in which we can retrench?” and Elizabeth. were insufficient for the real extent of the evil. to occupy. from his daughter. to fill the vacancies which there were no habits of utility abroad. and the unwelcome hints of Mr Shepherd. While Lady Elliot lived. he had gone so far even as to say. the agitations to vary. another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning to be added to these. and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room. there had been method. He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town. the whole of which Sir Walter found himself obliged to confess to her soon afterwards. But now. that when he now took up the Baronetage. Her father was growing distressed for money. such the cares to alloy. from his thoughts. his agent. even partially. but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required in its possessor. and they were neither . however good in themselves. The Kellynch property was good. he was not only growing dreadfully in debt. but with her had died all such right-mindedness. such the feelings to give interest to a long. She knew.PERSUASION Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and sensations. and from that period he had been constantly exceeding it. uneventful residence in one country circle. set seriously to think what could be done. had.10 - . as had been the usual yearly custom. that it became vain to attempt concealing it longer. he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was imperiously called on to do. and economy. to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne. to cut off some unnecessary charities. She felt herself ill-used and unfortunate. as did her father. but was hearing of it so often. in the first ardour of female alarm. which had just kept him within his income. and had finally proposed these two branches of economy. the sameness and the elegance. no talents or accomplishments for home. the prosperity and the nothingness of her scene of life. but blameless as he was. it was to drive the heavy bills of his tradespeople. moderation.

as he had received it. were called to advise them. Their two confidential friends. No. without involving the loss of any indulgence of taste or pride. but he would never condescend to sell. he would never disgrace his name so far. who lived in the neighbouring market town. and Lady Russell. He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the power. The Kellynch estate should be transmitted whole and entire. it would have made no difference. or relinquishing their comforts in a way not to be borne. Mr Shepherd. There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could dispose of.PERSUASION of them able to devise any means of lessening their expenses without compromising their dignity. .11 - . but had every acre been alienable. and both father and daughter seemed to expect that something should be struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments and reduce their expenditure.

She had a cultivated mind. She was of strict integrity herself. most correct in her conduct. and capable of strong attachments. from the opposition of two leading principles. but she was as desirous of saving Sir Walter's feelings. a civil. excused himself from offering the slightest hint.PERSUASION Chapter 2 Mr Shepherd. as anybody of sense and honesty could well be. good woman. but she had prejudices on the side of ancestry. charitable. Herself the widow of only a knight. from whose known good sense he fully expected to have just such resolute measures advised as he meant to see finally adopted. independent of his . She was a benevolent. which blinded her a little to the faults of those who possessed them. and Sir Walter. with a delicate sense of honour.12 - . whose difficulties in coming to any decision in this instance were great. whatever might be his hold or his views on Sir Walter. rational and consistent. who. she had a value for rank and consequence. as solicitous for the credit of the family. and only begged leave to recommend an implicit reference to the excellent judgement of Lady Russell. and with manners that were held a standard of good-breeding. strict in her notions of decorum. and gave it much serious consideration. she gave the dignity of a baronet all its due. as aristocratic in her ideas of what was due to them. generally speaking. would rather have the disagreeable prompted by anybody else. cautious lawyer. and was. She was a woman rather of sound than of quick abilities. Lady Russell was most anxiously zealous on the subject.

13 - .” . was. in fact. a more complete reformation. that Kellynch Hall has a respectability in itself which cannot be affected by these reductions. in her apprehension. there is still more due to the character of an honest man. and she did what nobody else thought of doing: she consulted Anne. “If we can persuade your father to all this. entitled to a great deal of compassion and consideration under his present difficulties. but what very many of our first families have done. that did not admit of a doubt. she made exact calculations. I have great hope of prevailing. But she was very anxious to have it done with the least possible pain to him and Elizabeth. looking over her paper. like your father. She wanted more vigorous measures. an attentive neighbour. the father of Anne and her sisters. as it always does of our conduct. They must retrench. and that the true dignity of Sir Walter Elliot will be very far from lessened in the eyes of sensible people. She drew up plans of economy. and I hope we may be able to convince him and Elizabeth. What will he be doing. as being Sir Walter.PERSUASION claims as an old acquaintance. a quicker release from debt. We must be serious and decided. or ought to do? There will be nothing singular in his case. the person who has contracted debts must pay them. for after all. and it is singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering. who never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the question. in seven years he will be clear. the husband of her very dear friend. and the head of a house. and in a degree was influenced by her in marking out the scheme of retrenchment which was at last submitted to Sir Walter. “much may be done. and though a great deal is due to the feelings of the gentleman. by acting like a man of principle.” said Lady Russell. She consulted. If he will adopt these regulations. an obliging landlord. Every emendation of Anne's had been on the side of honesty against importance. a much higher tone of indifference for everything but justice and equity.

and as to the severe degree of self-denial which her own conscience prompted.contractions and restrictions every where! To live no longer with the decencies even of a private gentleman! No.” “Quit Kellynch Hall.” The hint was immediately taken up by Mr Shepherd. he had no scruple. In any other place Sir Walter might judge for himself. How Anne's more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of little consequence. his friends to be urging him. “What! every comfort of life knocked off! Journeys. and felt as a duty. table-. and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be done without a change of abode. were not to be borne. Lady Russell's had no success at all: could not be put up with. and saw no dignity in anything short of it. She wanted it to be prescribed. and would be looked up to. she believed there might be little more difficulty in persuading them to a complete.14 - . She rated Lady Russell's influence highly. horses. through the whole list of Lady Russell's too gentle reductions. whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter's retrenching. as regulating the modes of life in whatever way he might choose to model his household.” he said. “in confessing his judgement to be entirely on that side.” . than to half a reformation. Her knowledge of her father and Elizabeth inclined her to think that the sacrifice of one pair of horses would be hardly less painful than of both. She considered it as an act of indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors with all the expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure. “Since the idea had been started in the very quarter which ought to dictate.PERSUASION This was the principle on which Anne wanted her father to be proceeding. he would sooner quit Kellynch Hall at once. than remain in it on such disgraceful terms. servants. It did not appear to him that Sir Walter could materially alter his style of living in a house which had such a character of hospitality and ancient dignity to support. London. and so on.

and still have the pleasure of sometimes seeing the lawns and groves of Kellynch. Lady Russell felt obliged to oppose her dear Anne's known wishes. the great question of whither he should go was settled. but Mr Shepherd felt that he could not be trusted in London. and the first outline of this important change made out. and Bath was to be her home. where they might still have Lady Russell's society. after her mother's death. Anne herself would have found the mortifications of it more than she foresaw. and to Sir Walter's feelings they must have been dreadful. . Sir Walter had at first thought more of London.15 - . whose first views on the projected change had been for Bath. from her happening to be not in perfectly good spirits the only winter which she had afterwards spent there with herself. or another house in the country. in having something very opposite from her inclination fixed on. And with regard to Anne's dislike of Bath. was the object of her ambition. and had been skillful enough to dissuade him from it. It was a much safer place for a gentleman in his predicament: he might there be important at comparatively little expense. It would be too much to expect Sir Walter to descend into a small house in his own neighbourhood. from the circumstance of her having been three years at school there. London. There had been three alternatives. and to the very great satisfaction of Lady Russell. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were induced to believe that they should lose neither consequence nor enjoyment by settling there. first. She disliked Bath.PERSUASION Sir Walter would quit Kellynch Hall. and did not think it agreed with her. and after a very few days more of doubt and indecision. A small house in their own neighbourhood. and secondly. only fifty miles. Two material advantages of Bath over London had of course been given all their weight: its more convenient distance from Kellynch. and Lady Russell's spending some part of every winter there. she considered it as a prejudice and mistake arising. But the usual fate of Anne attended her. and make Bath preferred. All Anne's wishes had been for the latter. Bath. still be near Mary.

forbad the slightest hint being dropped of his having such an intention. and as a great favour. in short. Elizabeth had been lately forming an intimacy. Sir Walter could not have borne the degradation of being known to design letting his house. for being extremely glad that Sir Walter and his family were to remove from the country. . with the additional burden of two children. She was a clever young woman. and disposed to think it must suit them all.” but never dared approach it again. How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! Lady Russell had another excellent one at hand. It was with the daughter of Mr Shepherd. which had been happily engrafted on the beginning. at least. to her father's house. which she wished to see interrupted. by passing all the warm months with her at Kellynch Lodge. This. too little seen. who understood the art of pleasing--the art of pleasing. at Kellynch Hall. after an unprosperous marriage. Mr Shepherd had once mentioned the word “advertise. a trial of fortitude. not to be breathed beyond their own circle.16 - . and it was in fact.PERSUASION Lady Russell was fond of Bath. The undesirableness of any other house in the same neighbourhood for Sir Walter was certainly much strengthened by one part. and a very material part of the scheme. a change which must do both health and spirits good. who had returned. on his own terms. that he would let it at all. but to see it in the hands of others. and who had made herself so acceptable to Miss Elliot. and it was only on the supposition of his being spontaneously solicited by some most unexceptionable applicant. in spite of all that Lady Russell. He was not only to quit his home. as to have been already staying there more than once. which stronger heads than Sir Walter's have found too much. every danger would be avoided. She wanted her to be more known. however. and as to her young friend's health. Sir Walter spurned the idea of its being offered in any manner. Her spirits were not high. Kellynch Hall was to be let. Anne had been too little from home. was a profound secret. A larger society would improve them.

PERSUASION who thought it a friendship quite out of place. nothing beyond the observances of complaisance. to bestow her affection and confidence on one who ought to have been nothing to her but the object of distant civility. turning from the society of so deserving a sister. had scarcely any influence with Elizabeth. and on many lesser occasions had endeavoured to give Elizabeth the advantage of her own better judgement and experience. and seemed to love her. a very unequal. was therefore an object of first-rate importance. . From situation. in Lady Russell's estimate. than because Elizabeth deserved it. but always in vain: Elizabeth would go her own way. She had been repeatedly very earnest in trying to get Anne included in the visit to London. and never had she pursued it in more decided opposition to Lady Russell than in this selection of Mrs Clay. and a removal that would leave Mrs Clay behind. sensibly open to all the injustice and all the discredit of the selfish arrangements which shut her out. indeed. and in her character she believed a very dangerous companion. and bring a choice of more suitable intimates within Miss Elliot's reach.17 - . Lady Russell. against previous inclination. She had never received from her more than outward attention. had never succeeded in any point which she wanted to carry. Mrs Clay was. could hint of caution and reserve. rather because she would love her.

that. in the way of business. which must be contemplated as a possible thing. very responsible tenants. John Shepherd. and are as likely to make desirable tenants as any set of people one should meet with. at this wit.” said Mr Shepherd one morning at Kellynch Hall. Sir Walter. consequence has its tax. “that's all I have to remark. for having a choice of tenants.18 - . and I am free to confess that they have very liberal notions. I. that if in consequence of any rumours getting abroad of your intention. gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with. Could not be a better time. Many a noble fortune has been made during the war. because we know how difficult it is to keep the actions and designs of one part of the world from the notice and curiosity of the other. might . Therefore.” replied Sir Walter. hey. Sir Walter. I have had a little knowledge of their methods of doing business. Sir Walter. If a rich admiral were to come in our way. Shepherd. what I would take leave to suggest is. let him have taken ever so many before. They will be all wanting a home. Sir Walter. Shepherd?” Mr Shepherd laughed.PERSUASION Chapter 3 “I must take leave to observe. This peace will be turning all our rich naval officers ashore. “that the present juncture is much in our favour. Sir Walter--” “He would be a very lucky man. as he knew he must. as he laid down the newspaper. and then added-“I presume to observe. rather the greatest prize of all. A prize indeed would Kellynch Hall be to him.

I am not particularly disposed to favour a tenant. is another thing. I have known a good deal of the profession. and beg leave to add. Miss Elliot. I have by no means made up my mind as to the privileges to be annexed to it.” “As to all that.19 - . and bless their good fortune. for Mrs Clay was present: her father had driven her over. The park would be open to him of course. “supposing I were induced to let my house.PERSUASION conceal any family-matters that I chose. in the supposition of which. Sir Walter. I should think any from our wealthy naval commanders particularly worth attending to. they are so neat and careful in all their ways! These valuable pictures of yours. no doubt. But soon afterwards. rising and pacing the room. to save you the trouble of replying. You need not be afraid. but what restrictions I might impose on the use of the pleasure-grounds. would be perfectly safe. nothing being of so much use to Mrs Clay's health as a drive to Kellynch: “but I quite agree with my father in thinking a sailor might be a very desirable tenant. that it will not greatly surprise me if.” rejoined Sir Walter coolly. with all our caution. of your own sweet flower gardens being neglected. for nobody would think it worth their while to observe me. he observed sarcastically-“There are few among the gentlemen of the navy.” Sir Walter only nodded. can have had such a range.” said Mrs Clay. and besides their liberality. some rumour of the truth should get abroad. since applications will unquestionably follow. I imagine. and therefore. if you chose to leave them.” “They would look around them. who would not be surprised to find themselves in a house of this description. or men of any other description. Everything in and about the house would be taken such excellent care of! The gardens and shrubberies would be kept in almost as high order as they are now. and few navy officers. as I was going to observe. thus much I venture upon. that two hours will bring me over at any time. . but Sir Walter Elliot has eyes upon him which it may be very difficult to elude.

Sailors work hard enough for their comforts. A man is in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one whose father. be he sailor or soldier. is in pretty safe hands. and with a look of surprise. and raising men to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of. Sir Walter. who have done so much for us. have at least an equal claim with any other set of men. and “Oh! certainly. that Sir Walter Elliot cannot be half so jealous for his own. and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower garden. I have two strong grounds of objection to it.” “Indeed!” was the reply.” was Mr Shepherd's rejoinder. I think. as being the means of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction. as John Shepherd will be for him. Your interest. I venture to hint. I assure you. What Miss Anne says. a sailor grows old sooner than any other man.” was his daughter's. but Sir Walter's remark was. but I should be sorry to see any friend of mine belonging to it. is very true. we must all allow. “Yes.” Here Anne spoke-“The navy. it is in two points offensive to me.” After a short pause. his . Depend upon me for taking care that no tenant has more than his just rights.20 - . First. for all the comforts and all the privileges which any home can give. very true. I am very little disposed to grant a tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary favour.” “Very true. and secondly. I have observed it all my life.PERSUASION “I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always approachable. Mr Shepherd presumed to say-“In all these cases. as it cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly. soon afterwards-“The profession has its utility. there are established usages which make everything plain and easy between landlord and tenant.

as I have long been convinced. One day last spring. and every weather. In fact.' 'Forty. nine grey hairs of a side. the most deplorable-looking personage you can imagine. before they reach Admiral Baldwin's age. and nothing but a dab of powder at top.” “Nay.' replied Sir Basil. 'it is Admiral Baldwin. which seldom leaves a man's looks to the natural effect of time. I shall not easily forget Admiral Baldwin. sailors do grow old betimes.' said I. But then. in town. 'or perhaps sixty-two. all lines and wrinkles. and of becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself. perhaps most other? Soldiers. What do you take his age to be?' 'Sixty. till they are not fit to be seen. without bread to eat.--"and even the clergyman. and expose his health and looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere. 'In the name of heaven. quite care-worn. Have a little mercy on the poor men.' Picture to yourselves my amazement. is not it the same with many other professions. than in any other line. “I never saw quite so wretched an example of what a sea-faring life can do. 'Old fellow!' cried Sir Basil.PERSUASION father might have disdained to speak to. and travelling in all weather. you know is obliged to go into infected rooms.21 - . whose father we all know to have been a country curate. the physician is up at all hours. and even the clergyman--” she stopt a moment to consider what might do for the clergyman. “this is being severe indeed. certainly. who is that old fellow?' said I to a friend of mine who was standing near. are not at all better off: and even in the quieter professions. I have observed it. 'forty. The sea is no beautifier. if not of the body. though every profession is necessary and honourable in . there is a toil and a labour of the mind. I know it is the same with them all: they are all knocked about. and exposed to every climate. We are not all born to be handsome. in active service. I was to give place to Lord St Ives. The lawyer plods. rough and rugged to the last degree. but to a degree.” cried Mrs Clay. It is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once. striking instances of what I am talking of. his face the colour of mahogany. and no more. they soon lose the look of youth. and a certain Admiral Baldwin. Lord St Ives. I was in company with two men. Sir Walter. (Sir Basil Morley).

that accidentally hearing--(it was just as he had foretold. and given Mr Shepherd. and mentioned a place. “It is only their lot. in the country. and had come down to Taunton in order to look at some advertised places in that immediate neighbourhood. who can live in a regular way. By the report which he hastened over to Kellynch to make. which. in this anxiety to bespeak Sir Walter's good will towards a naval officer as tenant. after the little pause which followed.accidentally hearing of the possibility of Kellynch Hall being to let. in his explicit account of himself.22 - . and had. to hold the blessings of health and a good appearance to the utmost: I know no other set of men but what lose something of their personableness when they cease to be quite young. and indeed. however. expressed as strong an inclination for the place as a man who knew it only by description could feel. and understanding his (Mr Shepherd's) connection with the owner.PERSUASION its turn. eligible tenant.)-. who having acquired a very handsome fortune. Sir Walter's concerns could not be kept a secret. following their own pursuits. with whom he shortly afterwards fell into company in attending the quarter sessions at Taunton. for the very first application for the house was from an Admiral Croft. he had introduced himself to him in order to make particular inquiries. I say. and Anne. had been gifted with foresight. added-. was wishing to settle in his own country. in the course of a pretty long conference. it is only the lot of those who are not obliged to follow any. every proof of his being a most responsible.” It seemed as if Mr Shepherd. Admiral Croft was a native of Somersetshire. had not suited him. “And who is Admiral Croft?” was Sir Walter's cold suspicious inquiry. without the torment of trying for more. he had received a hint of the Admiral from a London correspondent. Mr Shepherd answered for his being of a gentleman's family. choosing their own hours. and living on their own property. Mr Shepherd observed.

and has been in the East Indies since. than the Admiral himself. she was at Taunton with the admiral. and taxes. whether furniture might not be in danger of suffering as much where there was no lady. well-looking man. and to get into it as soon as possible. too. the very state to be wished for. but not much. without a lady: he did not know. genteel. certainly. Mr Shepherd observed. as where there were many children. pointing out all the circumstances of the Admiral's family. quite the gentleman. and moreover. . knew he must pay for his convenience. but never killed. only wanted a comfortable home.23 - . and quite the gentleman in all his notions and behaviour.” continued he. that Admiral Croft was a very hale. He was a married man. any more than her husband. a little weather-beaten. she seemed to be.” “Then I take it for granted. shrewd lady. Mr Shepherd was eloquent on the subject. hearty. and seemed more conversant with business. several years. knew what rent a ready-furnished house of that consequence might fetch. and without children. “asked more questions about the house.” observed Sir Walter. I believe. to be sure. which made him peculiarly desirable as a tenant. and terms.PERSUASION “He is a rear admiral of the white. was the very best preserver of furniture in the world. without a family. she is sister to a gentleman who did live amongst us once. said he sometimes took out a gun. Sir Walter. but made no great point of it. A house was never taken good care of. would be glad of the deputation. He was in the Trafalgar action. I found she was not quite unconnected in this country. should not have been surprised if Sir Walter had asked more. he was stationed there. she told me so herself: sister to the gentleman who lived a few years back at Monkford. “that his face is about as orange as the cuffs and capes of my livery. and had been present almost all the time they were talking the matter over. had inquired about the manor.” Mr Shepherd hastened to assure him. that is to say. “And a very well-spoken. not likely to make the smallest difficulty about terms. A lady. He had seen Mrs Croft.

He had the curacy of Monkford. Shepherd. I suppose?” said Anne. You misled me by the term gentleman.” “Wentworth? Oh! ay. seen him a hundred times.24 - . came to consult me once. knew the gentleman so well by sight.” “Bless me! how very odd! I shall forget my own name soon. my dear. can you help me to the name of the gentleman who lived at Monkford: Mrs Croft's brother?” But Mrs Clay was talking so eagerly with Miss Elliot. farmer's man breaking into his orchard. nothing to do with the Strafford family. apples stolen. I suppose. Came there about the year ---5. that she did not hear the appeal. I remember. contrary to my judgement. Sir Walter.--Mr Wentworth. though I have heard it so lately. submitted to an amicable compromise. A name that I am so very well acquainted with. caught in the fact. “I have no conception whom you can mean. and afterwards. I am sure. I thought you were speaking of some man of property: Mr Wentworth was nobody. I remember no gentleman resident at Monkford since the time of old Governor Trent. about a trespass of one of his neighbours. You remember him. “Wentworth was the very name! Mr Wentworth was the very man. for two or three years. some time back.PERSUASION Bless me! what was his name? At this moment I cannot recollect his name. wall torn down.” . I take it. you know. Penelope. Mr Shepherd was all gratitude. quite unconnected. the curate of Monkford. One wonders how the names of many of our nobility become so common. I remember. Very odd indeed!” After waiting another moment-“You mean Mr Wentworth.

returning. with all his zeal. and though Sir Walter must ever look with an evil eye on anyone intending to inhabit that house. certainly. could they have been supposed in the secret of Sir Walter's estimate of the dues of a tenant. who still remained at Taunton. and extreme solicitude for the advantage of renting it. in the Admiral's situation in life. and think them infinitely too well off in being permitted to rent it on the highest terms. and. Sir Walter was not very wise. and not a word to suspend decision was uttered by her. some half dozen in the nation. he mentioned it no more. and authorising him to wait on Admiral Croft. that she was happy to have it fixed and expedited by a tenant at hand. and his vanity supplied a little additional soothing. perhaps. So far went his understanding.25 - . than Admiral Croft bid fair to be. and fix a day for the house being seen. the high idea they had formed of Kellynch Hall. however. Sir Walter Elliot must ever have the precedence. which was just high enough. An admiral speaks his own consequence.” would sound extremely well. and not too high.) always needs a note of explanation. can never make a baronet look small. could hardly offer. that a more unobjectionable tenant. In all their dealings and intercourse. and number.PERSUASION As Mr Shepherd perceived that this connexion of the Crofts did them no service with Sir Walter. to dwell on the circumstances more indisputably in their favour. and fortune. their age. “I have let my house to Admiral Croft. . but still he had experience enough of the world to feel. at the same time. in all essentials. It succeeded. a Mr (save. very much better than to any mere Mr--. making it appear as if they ranked nothing beyond the happiness of being the tenants of Sir Walter Elliot: an extraordinary taste. Nothing could be done without a reference to Elizabeth: but her inclination was growing so strong for a removal. he was talked into allowing Mr Shepherd to proceed in the treaty.

perhaps. and as she walked along a favourite grove.26 - . to seek the comfort of cool air for her flushed cheeks. and no sooner had such an end been reached. said. left the room. than Anne. . who had been a most attentive listener to the whole. may be walking here. and he. “A few months more. with a gentle sigh.PERSUASION Mr Shepherd was completely empowered to act.

Sir Walter. Half the sum of attraction. received it as a most unfortunate one. or saying it should never be. and a professed resolution of doing nothing for his daughter. for he had nothing to do. modesty. and but a short one. in the summer of 1806. and having no parent living. A short period of exquisite felicity followed. and not immediately employed. however suspicious appearances may be. but a Captain Frederick Wentworth. the former curate of Monkford. . at that time. great coldness. or which had been the happiest: she. and she had hardly anybody to love. and brilliancy. who being made commander in consequence of the action off St Domingo. on either side. and Anne an extremely pretty girl.PERSUASION Chapter 4 He was not Mr Wentworth. a remarkably fine young man. might have been enough. had come into Somersetshire. found a home for half a year at Monkford. and feeling. and Lady Russell. rapidly and deeply in love. Troubles soon arose. He thought it a very degrading alliance. without actually withholding his consent. He was. in receiving his declarations and proposals. gave it all the negative of great astonishment. and when acquainted. spirit. great silence. but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail. though with more tempered and pardonable pride. with a great deal of intelligence. his brother. or he in having them accepted. They were gradually acquainted.27 - . It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other. taste. on being applied to. with gentleness.

any representations from one who had almost a mother's love. Such opposition. as these feelings produced. She deprecated the connexion in every light. and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in the profession. Captain Wentworth had no fortune. and bewitching in the wit which often expressed it. beauty. he knew he knew he should be so still. His sanguine temper. youth-killing dependence! It must not be. and no hopes of attaining affluence. he knew that he should soon have a ship. and mind. but Lady Russell saw it very differently. with all her claims of birth. it might yet have been possible to withstand her father's ill-will. operated very differently on her. with such steadiness of opinion. Lady Russell had little taste for wit. it would be prevented. He was brilliant. could not. and of anything approaching to imprudence a horror. what had come freely. but in the chances of a most uncertain profession. but spending freely. But he was confident that he should soon be rich: full of life and ardour. he was headstrong. and such tenderness of manner. so young. to throw herself away at nineteen. involve herself at nineteen in an engagement with a young man. would be. and soon be on a station that would lead to everything he wanted. It only added a dangerous character to himself. powerful in its own warmth. must have been enough for Anne. known to so few. a throwing away. was more than Anne could combat. to be snatched off by a stranger without alliance or fortune. had realized nothing. or rather sunk by him into a state of most wearing. but Lady Russell. She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil. She . and fearlessness of mind.28 - . He had always been lucky. indeed. which she grieved to think of! Anne Elliot. Such confidence. if by any fair interference of friendship. be continually advising her in vain.PERSUASION Anne Elliot. though unsoftened by one kind word or look on the part of her sister. Young and gentle as she was. anxious. He had been lucky in his profession. and mother's rights. who had nothing but himself to recommend him. whom she had always loved and relied on.

as he stood in her memory. for she had to encounter all the additional pain of opinions. in putting an end to it. He had left the country in consequence. and Lady Russell had lamented her refusal. on his side. A few months had seen the beginning and the end of their acquaintance. and of his feeling himself ill used by so forced a relinquishment. More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful interest had reached its close. and not deserving it. under the misery of a parting.29 - . to change her name. improper. when about two-and-twenty. but she had been too dependent on time alone. and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting effect. the fastidiousness of her taste. but not with a few months ended Anne's share of suffering from it. But it was not a merely selfish caution. and self-denying. and every consolation was required. for a long time. or in any novelty or enlargement of society.PERSUASION was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing: indiscreet. a final parting. . and time had softened down much. was her chief consolation. Her attachment and regrets had. had been possible to the nice tone of her mind. at her time of life. clouded every enjoyment of youth. no aid had been given in change of place (except in one visit to Bath soon after the rupture). for Charles Musgrove was the eldest son of a man. Had she not imagined herself consulting his good. whose landed property and general importance were second in that country. No second attachment. by the young man. who not long afterwards found a more willing mind in her younger sister. The belief of being prudent. and sufficient cure. she could hardly have given him up. She had been solicited. perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him. happy. in the small limits of the society around them. principally for his advantage. hardly capable of success. totally unconvinced and unbending. the only thoroughly natural. who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth. under which she acted. even more than her own. No one had ever come within the Kellynch circle.

very soon after their engagement ceased. all their probable fears. than she had been in the sacrifice of it. would have bestowed earlier prosperity than could be reasonably calculated on. while Anne was nineteen. they would never receive any of such certain immediate wretchedness. never wished the past undone. He had. He had distinguished himself. had taken place. she fully believed. had even more than the usual share of all such solicitudes and suspense been theirs. she began now to have the anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's being tempted. but she felt that were any young person. got employ: and all that he had told her would follow. as it happened. and must now.PERSUASION only to Sir Walter's. which. she should yet have been a happier woman in maintaining the engagement. by some man of talents and independence. have made a handsome fortune. delays. All his sanguine expectations. to enter a state for which she held her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits. had the usual share. and early gained the other step in rank. either its constancy or its change. as satisfied as ever with her own discretion. and however Lady Russell might have asked yet for something more. and disappointments. by successive captures. and of good character and appearance. Anne had left nothing for advice to do.30 - . she would have rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so respectably removed from the partialities and injustice of her father's house. thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen. But in this case. such uncertain future good. all his confidence had been justified. without reference to the actual results of their case. His genius and ardour had seemed to foresee and to command his prosperous path. They knew not each other's opinion. for the subject was never alluded to. in similar circumstances. to apply to her for counsel. and settled so permanently near herself. she did not blame herself for having been guided by her. She was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home. but Anne. and every anxiety attending his profession. She did not blame Lady Russell. . at seven-and-twenty. and this. and though Lady Russell. on the one leading point of Anne's conduct.

and in the trust that among his. the brother only with whom he had been residing. she had a fond dependence on no human creature's having heard of it from him. but she could not doubt his being rich. she could honour all the better feelings of her calmness. among the only three of her own friends in the secret of the past. and many a sigh.31 - . She could do justice to the superiority of Lady Russell's motives in this. and in the event of Admiral Croft's really taking Kellynch Hall. were necessary to dispel the agitation of the idea. before she could harden her nerves sufficiently to feel the continual discussion of the Crofts and their business no evil. had received any information of their short-lived engagement. recollections and feelings. How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent. . and. moreover. She often told herself it was folly. by whom no syllable. she could not hear that Captain Wentworth's sister was likely to live at Kellynch without a revival of former pain. she rejoiced anew over the conviction which had always been most grateful to her. which seemed almost to deny any recollection of it. and a cheerful confidence in futurity. were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment. and many a stroll. With all these circumstances. in favour of his constancy. of the past being known to those three only among her connexions. but the general air of oblivion among them was highly important from whatever it sprung. She was assisted. a single man at the time. would ever be whispered. by that perfect indifference and apparent unconsciousness. she believed.PERSUASION She had only navy lists and newspapers for her authority. she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning. over those of her father and Elizabeth. at least. she had no reason to believe him married. and. against that over-anxious caution which seems to insult exertion and distrust Providence! She had been forced into prudence in her youth. That brother had been long removed from the country and being a sensible man. however.

and never admitted by the pride of some. accompanying her husband on a foreign station. she hoped that the acquaintance between herself and the Crofts. . had been at school while it all occurred. With these supports. to the smallest knowledge of it afterwards.32 - . which. and her own sister. and Mary fixed only three miles off. Mrs Croft. need not involve any particular awkwardness. must be anticipated. still resident in Kellynch. and the delicacy of others. Mary. had then been out of England. with Lady Russell.PERSUASION The sister.

Each lady was previously well disposed for an agreement. with . and keep out of the way till all was over. to the Admiral. as a model of good breeding. therefore. he should not be ashamed of being seen with him any where. and every body. such an open. that if his own man might have had the arranging of his hair. every thing. by report. without hesitation. and saw nothing. terms. the Crofts were approved. who had besides been flattered into his very best and most polished behaviour by Mr Shepherd's assurances of his being known. time. was right. This meeting of the two parties proved highly satisfactory. there was such an hearty good humour. Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk to Lady Russell's. as could not but influence Sir Walter. The house and grounds. were approved. and with regard to the gentlemen. but good manners in the other.” Sir Walter. and went so far as to say. when she found it most natural to be sorry that she had missed the opportunity of seeing them.PERSUASION Chapter 5 On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs Croft's seeing Kellynch Hall. and Mr Shepherd's clerks were set to work. trusting liberality on the Admiral's side. and furniture. and the Admiral. without there having been a single preliminary difference to modify of all that “This indenture sheweth. and decided the whole business at once. declared the Admiral to be the bestlooking sailor he had ever met with.33 - .

and Elizabeth's reply was.34 - . and. my dear. The Crofts were to have possession at Michaelmas. and as Sir Walter proposed removing to Bath in the course of the preceding month.” . “Then I am sure Anne had better stay. Something occurred. and Anne though dreading the possible heats of September in all the white glare of Bath. Mary.” was Mary's reasoning. which would have been esteemed about equal. however. was indisposed. It would be most right. and most wise. she was unable to give the full invitation she wished. there was no time to be lost in making every dependent arrangement. was very unwilling to have her hurried away so soon.” reciprocal compliments. convinced that Anne would not be allowed to be of any use. in spite of what they told us at Taunton. and always in the habit of claiming Anne when anything was the matter. in the choice of the house which they were going to secure. The Baronet will never set the Thames on fire. Lady Russell. did not think that. or rather required her. for it was hardly entreaty. to come to Uppercross Cottage. and bear her company as long as she should want her. and foreseeing that she should not have a day's health all the autumn. “I cannot possibly do without Anne. therefore must involve least suffering to go with the others. but there seems to be no harm in him.PERSUASION sympathetic cordiality. she wished to remain. instead of going to Bath. observed to his wife as they drove back through the park. or any importance. entreated. and grieving to forego all the influence so sweet and so sad of the autumnal months in the country. for nobody will want her in Bath. often a little unwell. and always thinking a great deal of her own complaints. to give her a different duty. But having engagements of her own which must take her from Kellynch for several weeks. and wanted to make it possible for her to stay behind till she might convey her to Bath herself after Christmas. “I thought we should soon come to a deal. everything considered.

and a knowledge. which she often wished less. With a great deal of quiet observation. Anne herself was become hardened to such affronts. and a clumsy wrist. but Lady Russell was almost startled by the wrong of one part of the Kellynch Hall plan. which was. readily agreed to stay. and that all the intervening time should be divided between Uppercross Cottage and Kellynch Lodge. and a projecting tooth. was a very sore aggravation. So far all was perfectly right. in her absence. and the affront it contained to Anne. who in the event of such a reverse . Mrs Clay had freckles.PERSUASION To be claimed as a good. is at least better than being rejected as no good at all. while Anne could be of none. Lady Russell was extremely sorry that such a measure should have been resorted to at all. though in an improper style. She had little hope of success.35 - . and Anne. in Mrs Clay's being of so much use. and her own dear country. in an acute mind and assiduous pleasing manners. Mrs Clay's being engaged to go to Bath with Sir Walter and Elizabeth. Anne was so impressed by the degree of their danger. glad to be thought of some use. when it burst on her. She did not imagine that her father had at present an idea of the kind. but she was young. that she could not excuse herself from trying to make it perceptible to her sister. wondered. and possessed. and feared. and certainly not sorry to have the scene of it in the country. which he was continually making severe remarks upon. and certainly altogether well-looking. glad to have anything marked out as a duty. grieved. This invitation of Mary's removed all Lady Russell's difficulties. but she felt the imprudence of the arrangement quite as keenly as Lady Russell. and it was consequently soon settled that Anne should not go to Bath till Lady Russell took her. as a most important and valuable assistant to the latter in all the business before her. she was sensible that results the most serious to his family from the intimacy were more than possible. of her father's character. infinitely more dangerous attractions than any merely personal might have been. but Elizabeth.

I really think poor Mrs Clay may be staying here in perfect safety. can never have been reckoned tolerably pretty.36 - .” “There is hardly any personal defect. would induce my father to make a degrading match. But poor Mrs Clay who. She spoke. but he abominates them. And as to my father. I think it rather unnecessary in you to be advising me. at any rate. That tooth of her's and those freckles. Freckles do not disgust me so very much as they do him. need be suspected now. and as I am rather better acquainted with her sentiments than you can be. and indignantly answered for each party's perfectly knowing their situation. Elizabeth could not conceive how such an absurd suspicion should occur to her. as I have a great deal more at stake on this point than anybody else can have. I have known a face not materially disfigured by a few. she thought. I grant you. who has kept himself single so long for our sakes. not that anything in the world. “an agreeable manner may set off handsome features. but he might be rendered unhappy. You must have heard him notice Mrs Clay's freckles. with all her merits. However. and seemed only to offend.” “I think very differently. One would imagine you had never heard my father speak of her personal misfortunes. that upon the subject of marriage they are particularly nice.PERSUASION would be so much more to be pitied than herself. it might be wrong to have her so much with me. I really should not have thought that he. I can assure you. “If Mrs Clay were a very beautiful woman. but can never alter plain ones.” . and that she reprobates all inequality of condition and rank more strongly than most people.” replied Anne. I am sure. have reason to reproach her for giving no warning. though I know you must fifty times. “which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to. “Mrs Clay. shortly. should never.” answered Elizabeth. “never forgets who she is. warmly.” said she.

and the compact. was quite as likely to catch the traveller's eye as the more consistent and considerable aspect and premises of the Great House. and Uppercross Cottage. French windows. she had determined to make her own absence from home begin when she must give up Anne. glad that it was over. and old trees. enclosed in its own neat garden. with its high walls. and not absolutely hopeless of doing good. . Her friend was not in better spirits than herself.37 - . substantial and unmodernized. to the Lodge.PERSUASION Anne had done. which a few years back had been completely in the old English style. and Anne was set down at Uppercross Cottage. and a daily intercourse had become precious by habit. But upon the marriage of the young 'squire. it had received the improvement of a farm-house elevated into a cottage. where she was to spend the first week. Lady Russell felt this break-up of the family exceedingly. might yet be made observant by it. with a vine and a pear-tree trained round its casements. and still worse to anticipate the new hands they were to fall into. tight parsonage. and Anne walked up at the same time. and be out of the way when Admiral and Mrs Croft first arrived. The last office of the four carriage-horses was to draw Sir Walter. in a sort of desolate tranquility. for his residence. and other prettiness. containing only two houses superior in appearance to those of the yeomen and labourers. in the first stage of Lady Russell's journey. and Mrs Clay to Bath. great gates. and to escape the solitariness and the melancholy of so altered a village. Elizabeth. It was painful to look upon their deserted grounds. Sir Walter prepared with condescending bows for all the afflicted tenantry and cottagers who might have had a hint to show themselves. Uppercross was a moderate-sized village. Miss Elliot. about a quarter of a mile farther on. the mansion of the squire. with its veranda. The party drove off in very good spirits. Their respectability was as dear to her as her own. though resenting the suspicion. Accordingly their removal was made together.

I made the best of it.” Anne said what was proper. While well. greeted her with-“So. even in her bloom. and not able to ring the bell! So. I am so ill I can hardly speak. and I do not think I ever was so ill in my life as I have been all this morning: very unfit to be left alone. only reached the dignity of being “a fine girl. She knew the ways of Uppercross as well as those of Kellynch. but any indisposition sunk her completely.PERSUASION Here Anne had often been staying. and inheriting a considerable share of the Elliot selfimportance. under the influence of four summers and two children. Though better endowed than the elder sister. She had no resources for solitude. the once elegant furniture of which had been gradually growing shabby. He said he should not stay out . He would go. she had great good humour and excellent spirits. so much in the habit of running in and out of each other's house at all hours. though I told him how ill I was. and enquired after her husband. I always do: but I was very far from well at the time. I am sure. The two families were so continually meeting. “You sent me such a good account of yourself on Thursday!” “Yes. was very prone to add to every other distress that of fancying herself neglected and ill-used. you are come at last! I began to think I should never see you. she was inferior to both sisters. on Anne's appearing. Lady Russell would not get out. and properly attended to. I have not seen a creature the whole morning!” “I am sorry to find you unwell.” She was now lying on the faded sofa of the pretty little drawing-room. “Oh! Charles is out shooting. Mary had not Anne's understanding nor temper. and. I have not seen him since seven o'clock. and happy. that it was rather a surprise to her to find Mary alone.38 - . and had. In person. her being unwell and out of spirits was almost a matter of course. I do not think she has been in this house three times this summer. but being alone. Suppose I were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way.” replied Anne.

recollect what a comfortable account you sent me of yourself! You wrote in the cheerfullest manner. and said you were perfectly well.39 - .” “I never want them. have had so much to do. They talk and laugh a great deal too much for me. and they never put themselves out of their way. not one of them have been near me. and Walter is growing quite as bad. you must be aware that my wish would be to remain with Lady Russell to the last: and besides what I felt on her account. except Mr Musgrove. and that being the case.” “You will see them yet. “You know I always cure you when I come.” “You have had your little boys with you?” “Yes. I have really been so busy. that I could not very conveniently have left Kellynch sooner. I assure you.” “Well. Oh! Anne. as long as I could bear their noise. I assure you. How are your neighbours at the Great House?” “I can give you no account of them. and though I told him how ill I was. cheerfully. but he has never come back. Little Charles does not mind a word I say. you will soon be better now. and in no hurry for me. and now it is almost one. It did not happen to suit the Miss Musgroves.” “My dear Mary.” “Dear me! what can you possibly have to do?” . I have not seen a soul this whole long morning. before the morning is gone. but without getting off his horse. It is early. who just stopped and spoke through the window.PERSUASION long. I am so very unwell! It was quite unkind of you not to come on Thursday. I have not seen one of them today. perhaps.” replied Anne. I suppose. but they are so unmanageable that they do me more harm than good.

I have been several times in the garden with Mackenzie. there was I.” “Did you go then? I have made no enquiries. but I can tell you some. I was told that they wished it. and I hope you had a pleasant party. which of Elizabeth's plants are for Lady Russell. and I think it very likely that my illness to-day may be owing to it. she was at the other end of the room. More than I can recollect in a moment. I assure you. . One always knows beforehand what the dinner will be. I have had all my own little concerns to arrange. I have been making a duplicate of the catalogue of my father's books and pictures. and who will be there. because I concluded you must have been obliged to give up the party. and we were so crowded! They are both so very large. and began to hope she might be able to leave it by dinnertime.” A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on Anne's side produced nearly a cure on Mary's. and all my trunks to repack.” “Nothing remarkable.” “Oh! well!” and after a moment's pause. But all these things took up a great deal of time. of a more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish. forgetting to think of it. Then.” “Oh yes! I went. and take up so much room. books and music to divide. “but you have never asked me one word about our dinner at the Pooles yesterday. and Mr Musgrove always sits forward. So.” “I am very glad you were well enough. crowded into the back seat with Henrietta and Louise. It would have been strange if I had not gone. Mary. from not having understood in time what was intended as to the waggons: and one thing I have had to do.40 - . Mr and Mrs Musgrove took me. and it is so very uncomfortable not having a carriage of one's own. I was very well yesterday. nothing at all the matter with me till this morning. She could soon sit upright on the sofa. as a sort of take-leave. trying to understand.PERSUASION “A great many things. and make him understand.

The Musgroves. “I suppose you will not like to call at the Great House before they have been to see you?” “I have not the smallest objection on that account. then. like their houses. we can enjoy our walk. not much educated. when they were ready. and then she was well enough to propose a little walk. she ate her cold meat. “Where shall we go?” said she. but she had ceased to endeavour to check it.” Anne had always thought such a style of intercourse highly imprudent. To the Great House accordingly they went. There was a numerous family. and the young people in the new. and not at all elegant. from believing that. Their children had more modern minds and manners.PERSUASION beautifying a nosegay. have been conscious of such an overthrow of all order and neatness! The portraits themselves seemed to be staring in astonishment. but the only two grown up.” replied Anne.41 - . could the gentlemen in brown velvet and the ladies in blue satin have seen what was going on. Mr and Mrs Musgrove were a very good sort of people. “I should never think of standing on such ceremony with people I know so well as Mrs and the Miss Musgroves. and when we have that over. neither family could now do without it. However. friendly and hospitable. with a small carpet and shining floor. to which the present daughters of the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a grand piano-forte and a harp. Oh! could the originals of the portraits against the wainscot. perhaps of improvement. The father and mother were in the old English style. flower-stands and little tables placed in every direction. to sit the full half hour in the old-fashioned square parlour. though there were on each side continual subjects of offence. we may as well go and sit with them a little while. . They ought to feel what is due to you as my sister. were in a state of alteration.” “Oh! but they ought to call upon you as soon as possible.

of which she had known so little herself with either of her sisters. as Anne very well knew.PERSUASION excepting Charles. saved as we all are. living to be fashionable. and were now like thousands of other young ladies. The half hour was chatted away pleasantly enough. They were received with great cordiality. young ladies of nineteen and twenty. but still. happy. Nothing seemed amiss on the side of the Great House family. Anne always contemplated them as some of the happiest creatures of her acquaintance. their manner unembarrassed and pleasant. were Henrietta and Louisa. . to have their walking party joined by both the Miss Musgroves. and merry. that good-humoured mutual affection. and envied them nothing but that seemingly perfect good understanding and agreement together. which was generally. Their dress had every advantage. and she was not at all surprised at the end of it.42 - . who had brought from school at Exeter all the usual stock of accomplishments. by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange. at Mary's particular invitation. their spirits extremely good. the least to blame. she would not have given up her own more elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments. they were of consequence at home. and favourites abroad. their faces were rather pretty.

and idea. to learn that a removal from one set of people to another. she believed she must now submit to feel that another lesson. and what part of Bath do you think they will settle in?” and this. She had never been staying there before. we must be in a good situation: none of your Queen Squares for us!” or in the anxious supplement from Mary. or in the young ladies' addition of. if we do go. she had expected rather more curiosity and sympathy than she found in the separate but very similar remark of Mr and Mrs Musgrove: “So. opinion. with all this experience. Sir Walter and your sister are gone. without much waiting for an answer. yet. with a heart full of the subject which had been completely occupying both houses in Kellynch for many weeks. Miss Anne. For certainly. .“Upon my word. was become necessary for her. I shall be pretty well off. of-. “I hope we shall be in Bath in the winter. will often include a total change of conversation. and think with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having one such truly sympathising friend as Lady Russell. or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in seeing how unknown. were the affairs which at Kellynch Hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading interest. or unconsidered there.43 - . without being struck by it. when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!” She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future.PERSUASION Chapter 6 Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross. coming as she did. papa. though at a distance of only three miles. but remember. in the art of knowing our own nothingness beyond our own circle.

though. dancing. ere long. and respected her a great deal more than their mother. and all her ideas in as much of Uppercross as possible. and to destroy. but not of powers. dress. neither was there anything among the other component parts of the cottage inimical to comfort. they might pass for . she had an object of interest. and upon the whole. nor so inaccessible to all influence of hers. and wholesome exertion. or grace. and his time was otherwise trifled away. and more usefulness. that every little social commonwealth should dictate its own matters of discourse. and hoped. dogs. and the females were fully occupied in all the other common subjects of housekeeping. and in the children. which never seemed much affected by his wife's occasional lowness. and music. neighbours. it was highly incumbent on her to clothe her imagination. with Lady Russell. rationality. but sport. and that a woman of real understanding might have given more consequence to his character. amusement. though there was very often a little disagreement (in which she had sometimes more share than she wished. to make the past. in sense and temper he was undoubtedly superior to his wife. Charles Musgrove was civil and agreeable. being appealed to by both parties). Anne could believe. bore with her unreasonableness sometimes to Anne's admiration. He had very good spirits.44 - . at all a dangerous contemplation. to become a not unworthy member of the one she was now transplanted into.PERSUASION The Mr Musgroves had their own game to guard. their own horses. at the same time. With the prospect of spending at least two months at Uppercross. She acknowledged it to be very fitting. and newspapers to engage them. or conversation. he did nothing with much zeal. She was always on friendly terms with her brother-in-law. As it was. as they were connected together. and elegance to his habits and pursuits. who loved her nearly as well. her memory. that a more equal match might have greatly improved him. Mary was not so repulsive and unsisterly as Elizabeth. She had no dread of these two months. without benefit from books or anything else.

” was Charles's language. you might persuade him that I really am very ill--a great deal worse than I ever own. but when listening in turn to Mary's reproach of “Charles spoils the children so that I cannot get them into any order. in general they are so . As to the management of their children. and had a good deal of faith in. and a right to spend it as he liked. for while Mary thought it a great shame that such a present was not made. and being too much in the secret of the complaints of each house.” was what Anne often heard him say. “I could manage them very well.PERSUASION a happy couple. as on most topics. or at least receiving hints to exert it. he always contended for his father's having many other uses for his money. “I hate sending the children to the Great House. and. for she humours and indulges them to such a degree. she was continually requested. They are quite different creatures with you! But to be sure.” One of the least agreeable circumstances of her residence there was her being treated with too much confidence by all parties. he would not think there was anything the matter with me. I am sure. though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them. They were always perfectly agreed in the want of more money. and a strong inclination for a handsome present from his father. Known to have some influence with her sister. “Very true.” she never had the smallest temptation to say. “I wish you could persuade Mary not to be always fancying herself ill. I cannot help wishing Mrs Charles had a little of your method with those children. and his practice not so bad. but here. and gives them so much trash and sweet things.45 - . beyond what was practicable. if it were not for Mary's interference. thus spoke Mary: “I do believe if Charles were to see me dying. to say. Anne. “Oh! Miss Anne. that they are sure to come back sick and cross for the rest of the day. his theory was much better than his wife's. he had the superiority. in an unhappy mood. if you would. And Mrs Musgrove took the first opportunity of being alone with Anne.” Mary's declaration was.

” And on Mrs Musgrove's side. all day long. but Mrs Charles knows no more how they should be treated--! Bless me! how troublesome they are sometimes. that you may be upon the watch. If Jemima were not the trustiest. it was. steadiest creature in the world. Miss Anne. but I am sure. from Mary. “I believe Mrs Charles is not quite pleased with my not inviting them oftener. when they dined at the Great House with other families. it would be enough to spoil her. And one day . she is such a fine-dressing lady. They are as fine healthy children as ever were seen. it prevents my wishing to see them at our house so often as I otherwise should. that her upper house-maid and laundry-maid. Miss Anne.” and “don't do that. I meet them wherever I go. Mrs Charles quite swears by her.46 - . “I make a rule of never interfering in any of my daughter-in-law's concerns. you need not be afraid of mentioning it. but I just give you this hint. she is always upon the gad.” Again. that she is enough to ruin any servants she comes near. poor little dears! without partiality. instead of being in their business. but you know it is very bad to have children with one that one is obligated to be checking every moment. if you see anything amiss. I assure you. that I have no very good opinion of Mrs Charles's nursery-maid: I hear strange stories of her. because you may be able to set things to rights.” or that one can only keep in tolerable order by more cake than is good for them. I can declare. but I shall tell you. I never go twice into my nursery without seeing something of them. they are always tempting her to take a walk with them. “don't do this.PERSUASION spoilt! It is a pity you cannot put your sister in the way of managing them. for I know it would not do. and from my own knowledge. moreover. that Mrs Musgrove was very apt not to give her the precedence that was her due. “Mrs Musgrove thinks all her servants so steady. without exaggeration. are gadding about the village. I know. because. it was Mary's complaint. and she did not see any reason why she was to be considered so much at home as to lose her place.” She had this communication. and I declare. that it would be high treason to call it in question. for she tells me.

PERSUASION when Anne was walking with only the Musgroves, one of them after talking of rank, people of rank, and jealousy of rank, said, “I have no scruple of observing to you, how nonsensical some persons are about their place, because all the world knows how easy and indifferent you are about it; but I wish anybody could give Mary a hint that it would be a great deal better if she were not so very tenacious, especially if she would not be always putting herself forward to take place of mamma. Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of mamma, but it would be more becoming in her not to be always insisting on it. It is not that mamma cares about it the least in the world, but I know it is taken notice of by many persons.” How was Anne to set all these matters to rights? She could do little more than listen patiently, soften every grievance, and excuse each to the other; give them all hints of the forbearance necessary between such near neighbours, and make those hints broadest which were meant for her sister's benefit. In all other respects, her visit began and proceeded very well. Her own spirits improved by change of place and subject, by being removed three miles from Kellynch; Mary's ailments lessened by having a constant companion, and their daily intercourse with the other family, since there was neither superior affection, confidence, nor employment in the cottage, to be interrupted by it, was rather an advantage. It was certainly carried nearly as far as possible, for they met every morning, and hardly ever spent an evening asunder; but she believed they should not have done so well without the sight of Mr and Mrs Musgrove's respectable forms in the usual places, or without the talking, laughing, and singing of their daughters. She played a great deal better than either of the Miss Musgroves, but having no voice, no knowledge of the harp, and no fond parents, to sit by and fancy themselves delighted, her performance was little thought of, only out of civility, or to refresh the others, as she was well aware. She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to herself; but this was no new sensation. Excepting one short period of her - 47 -

PERSUASION life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the loss of her dear mother, know the happiness of being listened to, or encouraged by any just appreciation or real taste. In music she had been always used to feel alone in the world; and Mr and Mrs Musgrove's fond partiality for their own daughters' performance, and total indifference to any other person's, gave her much more pleasure for their sakes, than mortification for her own. The party at the Great House was sometimes increased by other company. The neighbourhood was not large, but the Musgroves were visited by everybody, and had more dinner-parties, and more callers, more visitors by invitation and by chance, than any other family. There were more completely popular. The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally, in an unpremeditated little ball. There was a family of cousins within a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circumstances, who depended on the Musgroves for all their pleasures: they would come at any time, and help play at anything, or dance anywhere; and Anne, very much preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country dances to them by the hour together; a kindness which always recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr and Mrs Musgrove more than anything else, and often drew this compliment;-“Well done, Miss Anne! very well done indeed! Lord bless me! how those little fingers of yours fly about!” So passed the first three weeks. Michaelmas came; and now Anne's heart must be in Kellynch again. A beloved home made over to others; all the precious rooms and furniture, groves, and prospects, beginning to own other eyes and other limbs! She could not think of much else on the 29th of September; and she had this sympathetic touch in the evening from Mary, who, on having occasion to note down the day of the month, exclaimed, “Dear me, is not this the day the Crofts were to come to Kellynch? I am glad I did not think of it before. How low it makes me!” - 48 -

PERSUASION The Crofts took possession with true naval alertness, and were to be visited. Mary deplored the necessity for herself. “Nobody knew how much she should suffer. She should put it off as long as she could;” but was not easy till she had talked Charles into driving her over on an early day, and was in a very animated, comfortable state of imaginary agitation, when she came back. Anne had very sincerely rejoiced in there being no means of her going. She wished, however to see the Crofts, and was glad to be within when the visit was returned. They came: the master of the house was not at home, but the two sisters were together; and as it chanced that Mrs Croft fell to the share of Anne, while the Admiral sat by Mary, and made himself very agreeable by his goodhumoured notice of her little boys, she was well able to watch for a likeness, and if it failed her in the features, to catch it in the voice, or in the turn of sentiment and expression. Mrs Croft, though neither tall nor fat, had a squareness, uprightness, and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person. She had bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face; though her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence of her having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem to have lived some years longer in the world than her real eight-andthirty. Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no distrust of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to coarseness, however, or any want of good humour. Anne gave her credit, indeed, for feelings of great consideration towards herself, in all that related to Kellynch, and it pleased her: especially, as she had satisfied herself in the very first half minute, in the instant even of introduction, that there was not the smallest symptom of any knowledge or suspicion on Mrs Croft's side, to give a bias of any sort. She was quite easy on that head, and consequently full of strength and courage, till for a moment electrified by Mrs Croft's suddenly saying,-“It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country.”

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PERSUASION Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not. “Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married?” added Mrs Croft. She could now answer as she ought; and was happy to feel, when Mrs Croft's next words explained it to be Mr Wentworth of whom she spoke, that she had said nothing which might not do for either brother. She immediately felt how reasonable it was, that Mrs Croft should be thinking and speaking of Edward, and not of Frederick; and with shame at her own forgetfulness applied herself to the knowledge of their former neighbour's present state with proper interest. The rest was all tranquillity; till, just as they were moving, she heard the Admiral say to Mary-“We are expecting a brother of Mrs Croft's here soon; I dare say you know him by name.” He was cut short by the eager attacks of the little boys, clinging to him like an old friend, and declaring he should not go; and being too much engrossed by proposals of carrying them away in his coat pockets, &c., to have another moment for finishing or recollecting what he had begun, Anne was left to persuade herself, as well as she could, that the same brother must still be in question. She could not, however, reach such a degree of certainty, as not to be anxious to hear whether anything had been said on the subject at the other house, where the Crofts had previously been calling. The folks of the Great House were to spend the evening of this day at the Cottage; and it being now too late in the year for such visits to be made on foot, the coach was beginning to be listened for, when the youngest Miss Musgrove walked in. That she was coming to apologize, and that they should have to spend the evening by themselves, was the first black idea; and Mary was quite ready to be affronted, when Louisa

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PERSUASION made all right by saying, that she only came on foot, to leave more room for the harp, which was bringing in the carriage. “And I will tell you our reason,” she added, “and all about it. I am come on to give you notice, that papa and mamma are out of spirits this evening, especially mamma; she is thinking so much of poor Richard! And we agreed it would be best to have the harp, for it seems to amuse her more than the piano-forte. I will tell you why she is out of spirits. When the Crofts called this morning, (they called here afterwards, did not they?), they happened to say, that her brother, Captain Wentworth, is just returned to England, or paid off, or something, and is coming to see them almost directly; and most unluckily it came into mamma's head, when they were gone, that Wentworth, or something very like it, was the name of poor Richard's captain at one time; I do not know when or where, but a great while before he died, poor fellow! And upon looking over his letters and things, she found it was so, and is perfectly sure that this must be the very man, and her head is quite full of it, and of poor Richard! So we must be as merry as we can, that she may not be dwelling upon such gloomy things.” The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before. He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him “poor Richard,” been nothing better than a thickheaded, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.

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that it was one to which she must inure herself. of all the relief which cheerful companions could give them. In each letter he had spoken well of his captain. and especially such midshipmen as every captain wishes to get rid of. and thrown her into greater grief for him than she had know on first hearing of his death. but yet. however. the only two disinterested letters. that it probably would. was a new sort of trial to Anne's nerves. she must . and at last ascertaining that it might. written the only two letters which his father and mother had ever received from him during the whole of his absence. puzzling over past years. She found. been six months on board Captain Frederick Wentworth's frigate. seemed one of those extraordinary bursts of mind which do sometimes occur. and had. She had gone to her letters. turn out to be the very same Captain Wentworth whom they recollected meeting. and when they reached the cottage. affected likewise. so unobservant and incurious were they as to the names of men or ships. her poor son gone for ever.PERSUASION He had been several years at sea. and all the strength of his faults forgotten. And from the Laconia he had. after so long an interval. To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth. of being listened to anew on this subject. in a lesser degree. so little were they in the habit of attending to such matters. with a recollection of the name of Wentworth. as connected with her son. and found it all as she supposed. and the re-perusal of these letters. that is to say. they were evidently in want. under the influence of his captain. once or twice. and afterwards. after their coming back from Clifton--a very fine young man--but they could not say whether it was seven or eight years ago. in the course of those removals to which all midshipmen are liable. repeating his name so often. first. Since he actually was expected in the country. this very day. and that Mrs Musgrove should have been suddenly struck. had affected her spirits exceedingly.52 - . that it had made scarcely any impression at the time. all the rest had been mere applications for money. the Laconia. Mr Musgrove was.

and seeking his acquaintance. stamped as it was by poor Dick's having been six months under his care. as soon as they could hear of his arrival.PERSUASION teach herself to be insensible on such points. only two perticular about the schoolmaster. The resolution of doing so helped to form the comfort of their evening. as “a fine dashing felow. though not perfectly well-spelt praise. in their warm gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick. and very high respect for his character. . and speedily. and mentioning him in strong.” were bent on introducing themselves. And not only did it appear that he was expected.53 - . but the Musgroves.

as she afterwards learnt. they must inevitably have found him. It was an afternoon of distress. when they were stopped by the eldest boy's being at that moment brought home in consequence of a bad fall. It had been a great disappointment to Mr Musgrove to find that no earlier day could be fixed. by the end of another week. by seeing Captain Wentworth under his own roof.54 - . the mother to support and keep from hysterics. and the poor suffering one to attend and . and Mr Musgrove had called on him. Captain Wentworth made a very early return to Mr Musgrove's civility. But a week must pass. even in the midst of the serious anxiety which they afterwards felt on his account. so impatient was he to shew his gratitude. and soon she began to wish that she could feel secure even for a week. the father to have pursued and informed. and welcoming him to all that was strongest and best in his cellars. and Captain Wentworth was known to be at Kellynch. and then. and he was engaged with the Crofts to dine at Uppercross. the youngest child to banish. the apothecary to send for. She and Mary were actually setting forward for the Great House. and she was all but calling there in the same half hour. the servants to control. and Anne had every thing to do at once. they must meet. in Anne's reckoning.PERSUASION Chapter 7 A very few days more. where. but she could not hear of her escape with indifference. His collar-bone was found to be dislocated. only a week. and such injury received in the back. and come back warm in his praise. she supposed. The child's situation put the visit entirely aside. as roused the most alarming ideas.

their apprehensions were the worse for being vague. and rubbed. which brought her an accession rather of frightened. Her brother's return was the first comfort. How glad they had been to hear papa invite him to stay dinner. besides sending. no longer under the first uneasiness about his heir. how much handsomer. and apparently more full of Captain Wentworth than of little Charles. how infinitely more agreeable they thought him than any individual among their male acquaintance. when the two girls came with their father. to endeavour to express how perfectly delighted they were with him. and hope there would be . their heads were both turned by him. to make enquiries. and though Mr Robinson felt and felt. as soon as she recollected it. and to be able to part and eat their dinner in tolerable ease of mind. they suspected great injury. and off they ran. Till he came and had examined the child. he had looked and said everything with such exquisite grace. still they were all to hope the best. but knew not where. who had been at all a favourite before. and then it was. that they could assure them all. he could take best care of his wife. as if he felt all the motive of their attention just as he ought. And in short. proper notice to the other house.PERSUASION soothe. and looked grave. than of very useful assistants. could add his confirmation and praise. and the second blessing was the arrival of the apothecary. The same story and the same raptures were repeated. through the gloom of the evening. and he had promised it in so pleasant a manner. quite as full of glee as of love. as to give the information of Captain Wentworth's visit. staying five minutes behind their father and mother. But now the collar-bone was soon replaced. just before they parted. and spoke low words both to the father and the aunt. how sorry when he said it was quite out of his power. and Mr Musgrove.55 - . that the two young aunts were able so far to digress from their nephew's state. and how glad again when he had promised in reply to papa and mamma's farther pressing invitations to come and dine with them on the morrow--actually on the morrow. enquiring companions.

afterwards. and it would be highly absurd in him. “Oh no. perhaps.” said he. to shut himself up.” But in this he was eagerly opposed by his wife. shewed more of inclination. that. and it ended in his making a bold. but what was there for a father to do? This was quite a female case. I have no scruple at all.” . Anne will send for me if anything is the matter. Only think if anything should happen?” The child had a good night. he ought to go. The child was to be kept in bed and amused as quietly as possible.” both father and mother were in much too strong and recent alarm to bear the thought. when he came in from shooting. and Charles Musgrove began. and he thought me quite right. Your sister being with you. Charles. and only be sorry to think that the cottage party. indeed. just now. he would not dine from home. in the joy of the escape. I cannot bear to have you go away. my love. of his meaning to dress directly. It must be a work of time to ascertain that no injury had been done to the spine. but Mr Robinson found nothing to increase alarm. to feel no necessity for longer confinement. but he might walk in for half an hour. public declaration. would not like to leave the little boy. “the child was going on so well.56 - . he might join them in the evening.PERSUASION now no occasion for putting Captain Wentworth off. You would not like to leave him yourself. “so I told my father. indeed. to give him the meeting. as to leaving the little boy. His father very much wished him to meet Captain Wentworth. and dine at the other house. and was going on well the next day. probably. Charles Musgrove. who could be of no use at home. could not help adding her warm protestations to theirs. “Nothing can be going on better than the child. with “Oh! no. and Anne. consequently. and there being no sufficient reason against it. that I would come. but you see I can be of no use. and he wished so much to be introduced to Captain Wentworth.

I am not at all equal to it. My being the mother is the very reason why my feelings should not be tried. but I do not know that I am of any more use in the sick-room than Charles. and yet. Mary knew. he was sure to begin kicking about. therefore. She said nothing. I am not to be allowed to stir. and because I am the poor mother. and that it would be of no use to teaze him. that he was quite determined on going. “Very unfeeling! I must say it is very unfeeling of him to be running away from his poor little boy. Talks of his being going on so well! How does he know that he is going on well.” “I hope I am as fond of my child as any mother.57 - . it is not his province. that if I told him to keep quiet. I perfectly understand Mr Robinson's directions. I am sure. Nursing does not belong to a man. this morning. from Charles's manner of speaking. with this poor sick child. and Charles is as bad as any of them. for I cannot be always scolding and teazing the poor child when it is ill. or that there may not be a sudden change half an hour hence? I did not think Charles would have been so unfeeling. This is always my luck. So here he is to go away and enjoy himself. I dare say we shall have nothing to distress us. till he was out of the room. You saw how hysterical I was yesterday. I cannot wonder at your husband.” “But that was only the effect of the suddenness of your alarm-. If there is anything disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it. and have no fears.of the shock. I have not nerves for the sort of thing. and not a creature coming near us all the evening! I knew how it would be.” . but as soon as there was only Anne to hear-“So you and I are to be left to shift by ourselves. and you saw. and indeed. A sick child is always the mother's property: her own feelings generally make it so. Mary. You will not be hysterical again.PERSUASION Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be vain. I am more unfit than anybody else to be about the child.

To be sure. Oh! I shall certainly go. I am sure I ought if I can. who have not a mother's feelings. to be spending the whole evening away from the poor boy?” “Yes. in a tone of great exultation-“I mean to go with you. I should not go. he always minds you at a word. Charles. but I dare say there will be nothing to alarm you. you may be sure. which began with Mary's saying.” The next moment she was tapping at her husband's dressing-room door. her eyes brightening. An excellent thought of yours.58 - . I should . indeed. quite as much as Charles. and why should not I? Jemima is so careful. for I am of no use at home--am I? and it only harasses me. It will be a great deal better than leaving him only with Jemima. for they want me excessively to be acquainted with Captain Wentworth. as well as your husband. if anything is the matter. Anne. and as Anne followed her up stairs. could you be comfortable yourself. but the case is very different to-day. Mr and Mrs Musgrove cannot think it wrong while I remain with him. I will go and tell Charles. You can make little Charles do anything. If I were to shut myself up for ever with the child. for I am of no more use at home than you are. and get ready directly. you know. at a moment's notice. I was dreadfully alarmed yesterday. you see his papa can. if I did not feel quite at ease about my dear child. Leave little Charles to my care. and she could send us word every hour how he was. You can send for us. very good. and I know you do not mind being left alone. indeed. suppose you were to go. she was in time for the whole conversation. I really think Charles might as well have told his father we would all come. “Dear me! that's a very good thought. I may just as well go as not. are a great deal the properest person. You. I am not more alarmed about little Charles now than he is.” “Are you serious?” cried Mary.PERSUASION “But.” “Well. if you do not think it too late to give notice for yourself.

ever likely to be hers. laughing. It is Anne's own proposal. and their visit in general. all that was most agreeable. and so I shall go with you. and this being the case. as were. Had he wished ever to see her again. They were gone. she had ere long the pleasure of seeing them set off together in high spirits. she hoped. and kindly urged her to let him come and fetch her. and what was it to her if Frederick Wentworth were only half a mile distant. she was left with as many sensations of comfort.” was her husband's answer.59 - . where conviction was at least very agreeable. perhaps. Anne undertakes to stay at home and take care of him. singing. talking. for I have not dined at the other house since Tuesday. which will be a great deal better. Her brother and sister came back delighted with their new acquaintance. “and I should be very glad to have you go. but she was quite unpersuadable. to nurse our sick child.” Anne was now at hand to take up her own cause. to be happy. making himself agreeable to others? She would have liked to know how he felt as to a meeting. though he still wanted her to join them in the evening. when events had been early giving him the independence which alone had been wanting. if indifference could exist under such circumstances. when the child might be at rest for the night. as for herself.PERSUASION not be able to persuade him to do anything he did not like. charming manners in . He must be either indifferent or unwilling. and the sincerity of her manner being soon sufficient to convince him. Anne will stay. but it seems rather hard that she should be left at home by herself.” “This is very kind of Anne. he need not have waited till this time. There had been music. he would have done what she could not but believe that in his place she should have done long ago. he had no farther scruples as to her being left to dine alone. Perhaps indifferent. She knew herself to be of the first utility to the child. however oddly constructed such happiness might seem.

and Captain Wentworth proposing also to wait on her for a few minutes if not inconvenient. while a thousand feelings rushed on Anne. perhaps. Mary. she found. but a few minutes ended it. full of persons and voices. and he was coming the very next morning to shoot with Charles. He had inquired after her. and he seemed afraid of being in Mrs Charles Musgrove's way. said something to the Miss Musgroves. Captain Wentworth would not be satisfied without his running on to give notice. though that had been proposed at first. no shyness or reserve. was delighted to receive him. somehow. The morning hours of the Cottage were always later than those of the other house. very much gratified by this attention. Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's. it ended in Charles's being to meet him to breakfast at his father's. slightly. that his sisters were following with Captain Wentworth. seeming to acknowledge such as she had acknowledged. He was to come to breakfast. she heard his voice. but not at the Cottage.60 - . He wished to avoid seeing her. by the same view of escaping introduction when they were to meet. they hardly knew how. enough to mark an easy footing. . as might suit a former slight acquaintance. of which this was the most consoling. the others appeared. Anne understood it. his sisters meaning to visit Mary and the child. said all that was right. the room seemed full. a bow. they seemed all to know each other perfectly. actuated. he talked to Mary. but then he had been pressed to come to the Great House instead. that it would soon be over. a curtsey passed. on account of the child. and therefore. they were in the drawing-room. and on the morrow the difference was so great that Mary and Anne were not more than beginning breakfast when Charles came in to say that they were just setting off. that he was come for his dogs. And it was soon over. and though Charles had answered for the child's being in no such state as could make it inconvenient. In two minutes after Charles's preparation.PERSUASION Captain Wentworth.

though he was so attentive to me. but she could not attend. she found. Soon. and oblivion of the past-. and try to be feeling less. their visitor had bowed and was gone. Alas! with all her reasoning.how natural. “It is over! it is over!” she repeated to herself again and again.PERSUASION Charles shewed himself at the window. she was soon spared all suspense. almost eight years had passed. she began to reason with herself. all was ready. alienations. when they went away. 'You were so altered he should not have known you again. in nervous gratitude. the Miss Musgroves were gone too. Anne. She had seen him. They had been once more in the same room. How absurd to be resuming the agitation which such an interval had banished into distance and indistinctness! What might not eight years do? Events of every description. They had met. that to retentive feelings eight years may be little more than nothing. how certain too! It included nearly a third part of her own life. since all had been given up.61 - .'” . suddenly resolving to walk to the end of the village with the sportsmen: the room was cleared. changes. On one other question which perhaps her utmost wisdom might not have prevented. and Anne might finish her breakfast as she could. Now. and he said. for. Eight years. how were his sentiments to be read? Was this like wishing to avoid her? And the next moment she was hating herself for the folly which asked the question. after the Miss Musgroves had returned and finished their visit at the Cottage she had this spontaneous information from Mary: -“Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you. removals--all. “The worst is over!” Mary talked. Henrietta asked him what he thought of you. however. all must be comprised in it.

but. He had been most warmly attached to her. She had seen the same Frederick Wentworth. fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly tempted.62 - . It was now his object to marry. open look.” Anne fully submitted. They were of sobering tendency. It had been the effect of over-persuasion. He was rich. had spoken as he felt. for he was not altered. he had no desire of meeting her again. they composed. or something like them. and in the first moment of appeal. she had shewn a feebleness of character in doing so. in no respect lessening his personal advantages. and consequently must make her happier. He had not forgiven Anne Elliot. deep mortification. “So altered that he should not have known her again!” These were words which could not but dwell with her. Yet she soon began to rejoice that she had heard them. but she was perfectly unsuspicious of being inflicting any peculiar wound. but without an idea that they would be carried round to her. It had been weakness and timidity. and being turned on shore. She had already acknowledged it to herself. actually looking round. She had used him ill. “Altered beyond his knowledge. Doubtless it was so. which his own decided. let him think of her as he would. or not for the worse. deserted and disappointed him. and she could not think differently. No: the years which had destroyed her youth and bloom had only given him a more glowing.PERSUASION Mary had no feelings to make her respect her sister's in a common way. manly. except from some natural sensation of curiosity. ready to fall in love with all the speed which a clear head and a quick taste could allow. Her power with him was gone for ever. they allayed agitation. He had thought her wretchedly altered. confident temper could not endure. in silent. She had given him up to oblige others. and had never seen a woman since whom he thought her equal. and worse. and she could take no revenge. Frederick Wentworth had used such words. He had a heart for either of the .

PERSUASION Miss Musgroves. for I have thought on the subject more than most men. with sweetness of manner. If I am a fool.” . excepting Anne Elliot.” made the first and the last of the description.” said he. when he more seriously described the woman he should wish to meet with.63 - . she knew. to be contradicted. in answer to her suppositions:-“Yes. and I am a lost man. This was his only secret exception. Sophia. and a few compliments to the navy. I shall be a fool indeed. for any pleasing young woman who came in his way. but it must not be much. who has had no society among women to make him nice?” He said it. “A strong mind. and a few smiles. His bright proud eye spoke the conviction that he was nice. Anybody between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking. A little beauty. if they could catch it. in short. when he said to his sister. “That is the woman I want. “Something a little inferior I shall of course put up with. quite ready to make a foolish match. and Anne Elliot was not out of his thoughts. Should not this be enough for a sailor. a heart. here I am.

and “That was in the year six.64 - . Once so much to each other! Now nothing! There had been a time. no intercourse but what the commonest civility required. Anne felt the utter impossibility. from her knowledge of his mind.PERSUASION Chapter 8 From this time Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were repeatedly in the same circle. to talk. former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection of each.” occurred in the course of the first evening they spent together: and though his voice did not falter. in the little narratives or descriptions which conversation called forth. Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to the proof.” “That happened before I went to sea in the year six. There must be the same immediate association of thought. and though she had no reason to suppose his eye wandering towards her while he spoke. They were soon dining in company together at Mr Musgrove's. the year of their engagement could not but be named by him. They had no conversation together. His profession qualified him. though she was very far from conceiving it to be of equal pain. for the little boy's state could no longer supply his aunt with a pretence for absenting herself. when of all the large party now filling the drawing-room at Uppercross. they would have found it most difficult to . his disposition lead him. and this was but the beginning of other dinings and other meetings. they could not but be reverted to. that he could be unvisited by remembrance any more than herself.

worse than strangers. and especially by the two Miss Musgroves. I remember. “Your first was the Asp. therefore. nay. perhaps. who seemed particularly attached and happy. and discerned the same mind. food. When he talked. drew from him some pleasant ridicule. (Anne could allow no other exceptions even among the married couples).” Anne suppressed a smile. With the exception. the first that had ever been at Uppercross). for they could never become acquainted. with the professed view of finding out the ships that Captain Wentworth had commanded. there could have been no two hearts so open. who seemed hardly to have any eyes but for him. she heard the same voice. It was a perpetual estrangement. or any cook to dress it if there were. daily regulations. and for a few minutes. she found the Miss Musgroves just fetching the Navy List (their own navy list. and sitting down together to pore over it. no countenances so beloved. of Admiral and Mrs Croft. &c. I dare say he would have been just such another by this time. There was a very general ignorance of all naval matters throughout the party. at learning the degree of accommodation and arrangement which was practicable. or any knife and fork to use. if it had pleased Heaven to spare my poor son. could not keep pace with the conversation of the others. When she could let her attention take its natural course again. overcome by fond regrets. and listened kindly. From thus listening and thinking. and their surprise at his accounts.” . could not help saying-“Ah! Miss Anne. no feelings so in unison.65 - . Now they were as strangers. no tastes so similar.. and he was very much questioned. we will look for the Asp. hours. while Mrs Musgrove relieved her heart a little more. and she too had been accused of supposing sailors to be living on board without anything to eat.PERSUASION cease to speak to one another. as to the manner of living on board. or any servant to wait. which reminded Anne of the early days when she too had been ignorant. she was roused by a whisper of Mrs Musgrove's who.

PERSUASION “You will not find her there. “The Admiralty. seriously. I wanted to be doing something. smiling. “what stuff these young fellows talk! Never was a better sloop than the Asp in her day. Quite worn out and broken up. “how vexed you must have been when you came to the Asp. Lucky fellow to get her! He knows there must have been twenty better men than himself applying for her at the same time.” said he. I assure you. Admiral. “I had no more discoveries to make than you would have as to the fashion and strength of any old pelisse. and so I was sent off to the West Indies.” “I felt my luck.” “But. he soon wants to be afloat again.” “Phoo! phoo!” cried the Admiral. which you had seen lent about among half your acquaintance ever since you could remember. and among the thousands that may just as well go to the bottom as not. it is impossible for them to distinguish the very set who may be least missed. with no more interest than his.” cried Louisa.” “I knew pretty well what she was before that day. “entertain themselves now and then.” The girls looked all amazement. “I was as well satisfied with my appointment as you can desire. But they have a great many to provide for. Reported fit for home service for a year or two. I was the last man who commanded her. Lucky fellow to get anything so soon. For an old built sloop. to see what an old thing they had given you.” “To be sure you did. a very great object. It was a great object with me at that time to be at sea.” replied Captain Wentworth. in a ship not fit to be employed. . Captain Wentworth.” he continued. Hardly fit for service then. you would not see her equal. with sending a few hundred men to sea. What should a young fellow like you do ashore for half a year together? If a man had not a wife.66 - .

“I brought her into Plymouth. to fall in with the very French frigate I wanted. for it would be rather a pleasure to hear him talked of by such a good friend. which lasted four days and nights. Four-and-twenty hours later. She did all that I wanted. “And so then.PERSUASION and which at last. tell Captain Wentworth. or that she would be the making of me. being somewhat more mindful of the probabilities of the case. Dick had been left ill at Gibraltar. I always forgot. in a small paragraph at one corner of the newspapers. when a gale came on. as if thinking aloud. is lent to yourself. “do ask Captain Wentworth where it was he first met with your poor brother. I knew that we should either go to the bottom together. my dear. he need not be afraid of mentioning poor Dick before me. in a low voice. only nodded in reply. nobody would have thought about me. in their exclamations of pity and horror. and there he met with our poor boy. with a recommendation from his former captain to Captain Wentworth. Charles. mother. on some very wet day.” (beckoning him to her). I had the good luck in my passage home the next autumn. and here another instance of luck. I knew she would. I suppose.” Anne's shudderings were to herself alone. . and after taking privateers enough to be very entertaining. our touch with the Great Nation not having much improved our condition. and I should only have been a gallant Captain Wentworth. We had not been six hours in the Sound.” said Mrs Musgrove. and being lost in only a sloop. Ah! she was a dear old Asp to me. and walked away. and which would have done for poor old Asp in half the time.” Charles. Charles. but the Miss Musgroves could be as open as they were sincere.” “It was at Gibraltar. I know. and I never had two days of foul weather all the time I was at sea in her. “so then he went away to the Laconia.67 - .” “Oh! but.

68 - . a certain glance of his bright eye.” “Poor dear fellow!” continued Mrs Musgrove.” whispered one of the girls. I shall never forget his happiness. A friend of mine and I had such a lovely cruise together off the Western Islands. I assure you. and Captain Wentworth could not deny himself the pleasure of taking the precious volume into his own hands to save them the trouble. sister! You know how much he wanted money: worse than myself. Poor Harville. he had probably been at some pains to get rid of him. that instead of sharing in Mrs Musgrove's kind wishes.” Her feelings made her speak low. and such an excellent correspondent. “it was a lucky day for us. and present noncommissioned class. I wished for him again the next summer. Sir.PERSUASION The girls were now hunting for the Laconia. and probably not having Dick Musgrove at all near his thoughts.” said Mrs Musgrove. looked rather in suspense. and once more read aloud the little statement of her name and rate. when I had still the same luck in the Mediterranean.” There was a momentary expression in Captain Wentworth's face at this speech. He felt it all. observing over it that she too had been one of the best friends man ever had. but it was too transient an indulgence of selfamusement to be detected by any who understood him less than herself. Captain Wentworth. “Ah! those were pleasant days when I had the Laconia! How fast I made money in her. “he was grown so steady. and curl of his handsome mouth. we are very sorry he ever left you. We shall never forget what you did. “My brother. while he was under your care! Ah! it would have been a happy thing. and Captain Wentworth. Excellent fellow. which convinced Anne. and as if waiting for more. . if he had never left you. hearing only in part. so much for her sake. as to her son.” “And I am sure. when you were put captain into that ship. “mamma is thinking of poor Richard. He had a wife.

about her son. there are unbecoming conjunctions. in a low voice.which taste cannot tolerate--which ridicule will seize. infinitely more fitted by nature to express good cheer and good humour. Frederick. and pensive face. being called to order by his wife. they were divided only by Mrs Musgrove. took a place by the latter. and almost instantly afterwards coming up to the sofa. on which she and Mrs Musgrove were sitting. as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. They were actually on the same sofa. and while the agitations of Anne's slender form. doing it with so much sympathy and natural grace. than tenderness and sentiment. indeed. for Mrs Musgrove had most readily made room for him. It was no insignificant barrier.” “Should I? I am glad I was not a week later then.PERSUASION in another moment he was perfectly collected and serious. and without any observation of what he might be interrupting. thinking only of his own thoughts. as shewed the kindest consideration for all that was real and unabsurd in the parent's feelings. now came up to Captain Wentworth. whom alive nobody had cared for. Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions. you would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her daughters. A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction. Captain Wentworth should be allowed some credit for the self-command with which he attended to her large fat sighings over the destiny of a son. after taking two or three refreshing turns about the room with his hands behind him.69 - . fair or not fair. last spring. The Admiral. But. may be considered as very completely screened. Mrs Musgrove was of a comfortable. substantial size. began with-“If you had been a week later at Lisbon.” . and entered into conversation with her. which reason will patronize in vain-.

He defended himself. her sister.” This brought his sister upon him. and three children. It is rather from feeling how impossible it is.70 - . which a few hours might comprehend. I declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me. --All idle refinement! --Women may be as comfortable on board. “But. Admiral. if I can help it.” “But you.” replied her brother. though professing that he would never willingly admit any ladies on board a ship of his. I hate to hear of women on board.” said he. “You were living with your husband. Sophia. and this is what I do. “beyond what I always had in most of the ships I have lived in.” “Depend upon it. they were all perfectly comfortable. if I know myself. and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family of ladies anywhere. and they have been five altogether. even at Kellynch Hall. or a visit. I would assist any brother officer's wife that I could.” “Nothing to the purpose. and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a manof-war. yourself. her cousin.” (with a kind bow to Anne).PERSUASION The Admiral abused him for his want of gallantry.” . “this is from no want of gallantry towards them. But do not imagine that I did not feel it an evil in itself. extraordinary sort of gallantry of yours then?” “All merged in my friendship. Where was this superfine. excepting for a ball. “Oh! Frederick! But I cannot believe it of you. There can be no want of gallantry. as in the best house in England. and I would bring anything of Harville's from the world's end. brought Mrs Harville. or to see them on board. with all one's efforts. and were the only woman on board. to make the accommodations on board such as women ought to have. I believe I have lived as much on board as most women. in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high. and all one's sacrifices. if he wanted it. round from Portsmouth to Plymouth.

'Yes.” “Ah! my dear. ma'am!” said Mrs Musgrove to Mrs Croft.” He got up and moved away. after our husbands. But I never went beyond the Streights. and back again. that we shall. and never was in the . “Pretty well. and Gibraltar.” “Ay. if everybody had your feelings?” “My feelings. you will. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.71 - . “What a great traveller you must have been.” “Now I have done.” cried Captain Wentworth. I have crossed the Atlantic four times.--'Oh! you will think very differently.” said the Admiral.” “My dear Frederick. besides being in different places about home: Cork. When he is married. did not prevent my taking Mrs Harville and all her family to Plymouth.' I can only say. you are talking quite idly. and have been once to the East Indies. who often want to be conveyed to one port or another. “when he had got a wife. ma'am in the fifteen years of my marriage. you see. “When once married people begin to attack me with. and only once. he will sing a different tune. I shall not. have done.' and then they say again. We shall have him very thankful to anybody that will bring him his wife.' and there is an end of it. and a great many others. 'No.PERSUASION “I might not like them the better for that perhaps. and as if women were all fine ladies.” “But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman. when you are married. and Lisbon. we shall see him do as you and I. instead of rational creatures. if we have the good luck to live to another war. Pray. Such a number of women and children have no right to be comfortable on board. what would become of us poor sailors' wives. though many women have done more.

of course. but never knew what sickness was afterwards. for Mr Musgrove always attends the assizes. On its being proposed. or when I should hear from him next. I speak. and though her eyes would sometimes fill . oh yes! I am quite of your opinion. to be sure. the only time that I ever fancied myself unwell. or had any ideas of danger. and had all manner of imaginary complaints from not knowing what to do with myself. there was nothing to be feared. and I can safely say. nothing ever ailed me. When you come to a frigate.” pursued Mrs Croft. you know. “And I do assure you. the West Indies.” Mrs Musgrove had not a word to say in dissent. “There is nothing so bad as a separation. you are more confined. I know what it is. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama. Anne offered her services. and I never met with the smallest inconvenience. “that nothing can exceed the accommodations of a man-of-war. A little disordered always the first twentyfour hours of going to sea. that the happiest part of my life has been spent on board a ship. was the winter that I passed by myself at Deal.PERSUASION West Indies. she could not accuse herself of having ever called them anything in the whole course of her life. I lived in perpetual fright at that time. Yes. indeed. when the Admiral (Captain Croft then) was in the North Seas. Mrs Croft.” “Aye. you know. though any reasonable woman may be perfectly happy in one of them. I am quite of your opinion. “Thank God! I have always been blessed with excellent health. and he is safe back again. of the higher rates. While we were together. as usual. but as long as we could be together. ma'am.72 - . you know. and no climate disagrees with me.” was Mrs Musgrove's hearty answer. The only time I ever really suffered in body or mind.” The evening ended with dancing. and I am so glad when they are over.

said. who could wonder? These were some of the thoughts which occupied Anne. His cold politeness.” Once. “Oh. observing her altered features. proceeding for half an hour together. and no one seemed in higher spirits than Captain Wentworth. but then she was sure of his having asked his partner whether Miss Elliot never danced? The answer was. could do. this is your seat. such eager admiration. She felt that he had every thing to elevate him which general attention and deference. were worse than anything. she was hardly aware of it. she has quite given up dancing. . trying to trace in them the ruins of the face which had once charmed him. She had left the instrument on the dancing being over. too. joyous party. he was not to be induced to sit down again. his ceremonious grace. The Miss Hayters. he spoke to her. never. that nothing but the continued appearance of the most perfect good-will between themselves could have made it credible that they were not decided rivals. She had rather play. Anne did not wish for more of such looks and speeches. and especially the attention of all the young women. and. It was a merry. he saw her.73 - . Unintentionally she returned to that part of the room. and he had sat down to try to make out an air which he wished to give the Miss Musgroves an idea of. equally without error.” and though she immediately drew back with a decided negative. till she heard the answer. Once she felt that he was looking at herself.PERSUASION with tears as she sat at the instrument. the females of the family of cousins already mentioned. She is never tired of playing. instantly rising. madam. they both seemed so entirely occupied by him. and as for Henrietta and Louisa. and without consciousness. perhaps. no. If he were a little spoilt by such universal. she was extremely glad to be employed. and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved. and once she knew that he must have spoken of her. while her fingers were mechanically at work. with studied politeness-“I beg your pardon. were apparently admitted to the honour of being in love with him.

He had intended.PERSUASION Chapter 9 Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home. The Musgroves could hardly be more ready to invite than he to come. or driving out in a gig. to stay as long as he liked. being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's fraternal kindness as of his wife's. It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day. and of everything most bewitching in his reception there. Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth among the Musgroves and their dependencies. but this intimate footing was not more than established. on first arriving. when he had no companion at home. warm admiration everywhere. to be a good deal disturbed by it. but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this off.74 - . interesting themselves in their new possessions. and dawdling about in a way not endurable to a third person. the young so agreeable. to proceed very soon into Shropshire. and take all the charms and perfections of Edward's wife upon credit a little longer. . lately added to their establishment. that he could not but resolve to remain where he was. and visit the brother settled in that country. the old were so hospitable. when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them. There was so much of friendliness. and to think Captain Wentworth very much in the way. and of flattery. particularly in the morning. for the Admiral and Mrs Croft were generally out of doors together. and their sheep. It was unvarying. their grass.

and their own defective education."-. He was in orders. as made them pleased to improve their cousins. Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters. but for their connexion with Uppercross. “It would not be a great match for her. have been hardly in any class at all. there being no pride on one side. and of seeing Captain Wentworth. and a very amiable.PERSUASION Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins. Which of the two sisters was preferred by Captain Wentworth was as yet quite doubtful. as far as Anne's observation reached. where residence was not required. retired. and no envy on the other. The two families had always been on excellent terms. and having a curacy in the neighbourhood. but it was insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's. who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman. from their parents' inferior. lived at his father's house. Henrietta fully thought so herself.75 - . and only such a consciousness of superiority in the Miss Musgroves. between whom and Henrietta there had been a considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain Wentworth's introduction. and who was very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest. and she knew not .and Henrietta did seem to like him. Mr Hayter had some property of his own. A short absence from home had left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period. the young Hayters would. and when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners. They had each had money. only two miles from Uppercross. before Captain Wentworth came. pleasing young man. and while the Musgroves were in the first class of society in the country. but from that time Cousin Charles had been very much forgotten. Charles's attentions to Henrietta had been observed by her father and mother without any disapprobation. Louisa had the higher spirits. but their marriages had made a material difference in their degree of consequence. this eldest son of course excepted. but if Henrietta liked him. Henrietta was perhaps the prettiest. and unpolished way of living.

PERSUASION now, whether the more gentle or the more lively character were most likely to attract him. Mr and Mrs Musgrove, either from seeing little, or from an entire confidence in the discretion of both their daughters, and of all the young men who came near them, seemed to leave everything to take its chance. There was not the smallest appearance of solicitude or remark about them in the Mansion-house; but it was different at the Cottage: the young couple there were more disposed to speculate and wonder; and Captain Wentworth had not been above four or five times in the Miss Musgroves' company, and Charles Hayter had but just reappeared, when Anne had to listen to the opinions of her brother and sister, as to which was the one liked best. Charles gave it for Louisa, Mary for Henrietta, but quite agreeing that to have him marry either could be extremely delightful. Charles “had never seen a pleasanter man in his life; and from what he had once heard Captain Wentworth himself say, was very sure that he had not made less than twenty thousand pounds by the war. Here was a fortune at once; besides which, there would be the chance of what might be done in any future war; and he was sure Captain Wentworth was as likely a man to distinguish himself as any officer in the navy. Oh! it would be a capital match for either of his sisters.” “Upon my word it would,” replied Mary. “Dear me! If he should rise to any very great honours! If he should ever be made a baronet! 'Lady Wentworth' sounds very well. That would be a noble thing, indeed, for Henrietta! She would take place of me then, and Henrietta would not dislike that. Sir Frederick and Lady Wentworth! It would be but a new creation, however, and I never think much of your new creations.” It suited Mary best to think Henrietta the one preferred on the very account of Charles Hayter, whose pretensions she wished to see put an end to. She looked down very decidedly upon the Hayters, and thought it

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PERSUASION would be quite a misfortune to have the existing connection between the families renewed--very sad for herself and her children. “You know,” said she, “I cannot think him at all a fit match for Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have made, she has no right to throw herself away. I do not think any young woman has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and inconvenient to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad connections to those who have not been used to them. And, pray, who is Charles Hayter? Nothing but a country curate. A most improper match for Miss Musgrove of Uppercross. Her husband, however, would not agree with her here; for besides having a regard for his cousin, Charles Hayter was an eldest son, and he saw things as an eldest son himself. “Now you are taking nonsense, Mary,” was therefore his answer. “It would not be a great match for Henrietta, but Charles has a very fair chance, through the Spicers, of getting something from the Bishop in the course of a year or two; and you will please to remember, that he is the eldest son; whenever my uncle dies, he steps into very pretty property. The estate at Winthrop is not less than two hundred and fifty acres, besides the farm near Taunton, which is some of the best land in the country. I grant you, that any of them but Charles would be a very shocking match for Henrietta, and indeed it could not be; he is the only one that could be possible; but he is a very good-natured, good sort of a fellow; and whenever Winthrop comes into his hands, he will make a different sort of place of it, and live in a very different sort of way; and with that property, he will never be a contemptible man--good, freehold property. No, no; Henrietta might do worse than marry Charles Hayter; and if she has him, and Louisa can get Captain Wentworth, I shall be very well satisfied.” “Charles may say what he pleases,” cried Mary to Anne, as soon as he was out of the room, “but it would be shocking to have Henrietta marry Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me; - 77 -

PERSUASION and therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may soon put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he has. She took hardly any notice of Charles Hayter yesterday. I wish you had been there to see her behaviour. And as to Captain Wentworth's liking Louisa as well as Henrietta, it is nonsense to say so; for he certainly does like Henrietta a great deal the best. But Charles is so positive! I wish you had been with us yesterday, for then you might have decided between us; and I am sure you would have thought as I did, unless you had been determined to give it against me. A dinner at Mr Musgrove's had been the occasion when all these things should have been seen by Anne; but she had staid at home, under the mixed plea of a headache of her own, and some return of indisposition in little Charles. She had thought only of avoiding Captain Wentworth; but an escape from being appealed to as umpire was now added to the advantages of a quiet evening. As to Captain Wentworth's views, she deemed it of more consequence that he should know his own mind early enough not to be endangering the happiness of either sister, or impeaching his own honour, than that he should prefer Henrietta to Louisa, or Louisa to Henrietta. Either of them would, in all probability, make him an affectionate, good-humoured wife. With regard to Charles Hayter, she had delicacy which must be pained by any lightness of conduct in a well-meaning young woman, and a heart to sympathize in any of the sufferings it occasioned; but if Henrietta found herself mistaken in the nature of her feelings, the alternation could not be understood too soon. Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in his cousin's behaviour. She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross: but there was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as Captain Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause. He had - 78 -

PERSUASION been absent only two Sundays, and when they parted, had left her interested, even to the height of his wishes, in his prospect of soon quitting his present curacy, and obtaining that of Uppercross instead. It had then seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr Shirley, the rector, who for more than forty years had been zealously discharging all the duties of his office, but was now growing too infirm for many of them, should be quite fixed on engaging a curate; should make his curacy quite as good as he could afford, and should give Charles Hayter the promise of it. The advantage of his having to come only to Uppercross, instead of going six miles another way; of his having, in every respect, a better curacy; of his belonging to their dear Dr Shirley, and of dear, good Dr Shirley's being relieved from the duty which he could no longer get through without most injurious fatigue, had been a great deal, even to Louisa, but had been almost everything to Henrietta. When he came back, alas! the zeal of the business was gone by. Louisa could not listen at all to his account of a conversation which he had just held with Dr Shirley: she was at a window, looking out for Captain Wentworth; and even Henrietta had at best only a divided attention to give, and seemed to have forgotten all the former doubt and solicitude of the negotiation. “Well, I am very glad indeed: but I always thought you would have it; I always thought you sure. It did not appear to me that--in short, you know, Dr Shirley must have a curate, and you had secured his promise. Is he coming, Louisa?” One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at which Anne had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the drawing-room at the Cottage, where were only herself and the little invalid Charles, who was lying on the sofa. The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot, deprived his manners of their usual composure: he started, and could only say, “I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here: Mrs Musgrove

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PERSUASION told me I should find them here,” before he walked to the window to recollect himself, and feel how he ought to behave. “They are up stairs with my sister: they will be down in a few moments, I dare say,” had been Anne's reply, in all the confusion that was natural; and if the child had not called her to come and do something for him, she would have been out of the room the next moment, and released Captain Wentworth as well as herself. He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying, “I hope the little boy is better,” was silent. She was obliged to kneel down by the sofa, and remain there to satisfy her patient; and thus they continued a few minutes, when, to her very great satisfaction, she heard some other person crossing the little vestibule. She hoped, on turning her head, to see the master of the house; but it proved to be one much less calculated for making matters easy-Charles Hayter, probably not at all better pleased by the sight of Captain Wentworth than Captain Wentworth had been by the sight of Anne. She only attempted to say, “How do you do? Will you not sit down? The others will be here presently.” Captain Wentworth, however, came from his window, apparently not ill-disposed for conversation; but Charles Hayter soon put an end to his attempts by seating himself near the table, and taking up the newspaper; and Captain Wentworth returned to his window. Another minute brought another addition. The younger boy, a remarkable stout, forward child, of two years old, having got the door opened for him by some one without, made his determined appearance among them, and went straight to the sofa to see what was going on, and put in his claim to anything good that might be giving away. There being nothing to eat, he could only have some play; and as his aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was about - 80 -

produced such a confusion of varying. and leave the room. She had a strong impression of his having said. in a vext tone of voice. She spoke to him. “why do you not do as you are bid? Do not you hear your aunt speak? Come to me. the little particulars of the circumstance. but very painful agitation. ordered. that he meant to avoid hearing her thanks. I am very angry with you. and rather sought to testify that her conversation was the last of his wants. but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back again directly. before she knew that Captain Wentworth had done it.” “Walter. but she could stay for none of it.81 - . She could only hang over little Charles. “Walter. She could not stay. and insisted in vain. she could not shake him off. she found herself in the state of being released from him.PERSUASION Charles. entreated. after Captain . the silence in which it had passed. Walter. It was evident that Charles Hayter was not well inclined towards Captain Wentworth. Once she did contrive to push him away. though he had bent down her head so much. “get down this moment.” But not a bit did Walter stir.they were now altogether. that his little sturdy hands were unfastened from around her neck. some one was taking him from her. In another moment. with the conviction soon forced on her by the noise he was studiously making with the child.” cried Charles Hayter. till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the Miss Musgroves to make over her little patient to their cares. with most disordered feelings. as she could not recover from.” said she. It might have been an opportunity of watching the loves and jealousies of the four-. Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless. You are extremely troublesome. however. and he was resolutely borne away. the manner. She could not even thank him. His kindness in stepping forward to her relief. come to cousin Charles.

But neither Charles Hayter's feelings. nor anybody's feelings. Walter. I told you not to teaze your aunt. could interest her. so overcome by such a trifle. quite ashamed of being so nervous. She was ashamed of herself. and it required a long application of solitude and reflection to recover her.PERSUASION Wentworth's interference.” and could comprehend his regretting that Captain Wentworth should do what he ought to have done himself. till she had a little better arranged her own. “You ought to have minded me. . but so it was.82 - .

as far as she might dare to judge from memory and experience. and of pointing out some of the evils they were exposing themselves to.PERSUASION Chapter 10 Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to occur. Charles Hayter seemed to quit the field. yet there it was not love. that Captain Wentworth was not in love with either. Anne longed for the power of representing to them all what they were about. for while she considered Louisa to be rather the favourite. no pitiful triumph in his manner. After a short struggle. Charles Hayter seemed aware of being slighted. probably. He had. a most decided change. They were more in love with him. He was only wrong in accepting the attentions (for accepting must be the word) of two young women at once.83 - . where she knew it would have satisfied neither husband nor wife. She did not attribute guile to any. she could not but think. and yet Henrietta had sometimes the air of being divided between them. Anne had soon been in company with all the four together often enough to have an opinion. Three days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross. It was the highest satisfaction to her to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of the pain he was occasioning. He had even refused one regular invitation to dinner. and never thought of any claims of Charles Hayter. probably must. though too wise to acknowledge as much at home. and having been found on the occasion by Mr Musgrove with some large books before him. never heard. but it might. It was a little fever of admiration. however. There was no triumph. end in love with some. Mr and Mrs Musgrove were sure all could .

but in vain. They had taken out a young dog. that it was precisely what they did not wish. and the Miss Musgroves came through the little grounds. It was a very fine November day. and spirits. and talked. and her husband lived under the constant dependence of seeing him to-morrow. if we had refused to join them. the gentlemen returned. I should like to join you very much. and when Mary immediately replied. of his studying himself to death. Their time and strength. of everything being to be communicated. and admired again the sort of necessity which the family habits seemed to produce. and stopped for no other purpose than to say. I am very fond of a long walk. that they were going to take a long walk. they were visited at the window by the sisters from the Mansion-house. “Oh.” Anne felt persuaded. yes.” said Mary. as the sisters in the Cottage were sitting quietly at work. with some jealousy at not being supposed a good walker. and everything being to be done together. She tried to dissuade Mary from going. It was Mary's hope and belief that he had received a positive dismissal from Henrietta. and yet they would not have been pleased. exactly ready . and sent them back early. by the looks of the two girls.84 - . with grave faces. about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth being gone a-shooting together. thought it best to accept the Miss Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go likewise. “Everybody is always supposing that I am not a good walker. therefore. as she might be useful in turning back with her sister. and therefore concluded Mary could not like to go with them.PERSUASION not be right. who had spoilt their sport. One morning. were. When people come in this manner on purpose to ask us. how can one say no?” Just as they were setting off. “I cannot imagine why they should suppose I should not like a long walk. as she went up stairs. Anne could only feel that Charles Hayter was wise. and lessening the interference in any plan of their own. and that being the case. however undesired and inconvenient.

I assure you. that season which had drawn from every poet. She occupied her mind as much as possible in such like musings and quotations. worthy of being read. she fancied now that it was too late to retract. but my sister makes nothing of it. and there was one speech of Louisa's which struck her.PERSUASION for this walk. Could Anne have foreseen such a junction. such as any young persons. and withered hedges. might fall into. some attempt at description. After one of the many praises of the day. Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day. Oh! it does happen very often. Louisa certainly put more forward for his notice than her sister. she would as lieve be tossed out as not. and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn. Anne's object was. not to be in the way of anybody. that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness. who evidently considered the walk as under their guidance. she should not try to hear it. They talked of coming into this side of the country. It was mere lively chat. which were continually bursting forth. and they entered into it with pleasure.85 - . from some feelings of interest and curiosity. and the whole six set forward together in the direction chosen by the Miss Musgroves. perhaps we may hail them from some of these hills. from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves. to keep with her brother and sister. I wonder whereabouts they will upset to-day. or some lines of feeling. yet she caught little very remarkable. but. and where the narrow paths across the fields made many separations necessary. Captain Wentworth added: -“What glorious weather for the Admiral and my sister! They meant to take a long drive this morning. He was more engaged with Louisa than with Henrietta. that when within reach of Captain Wentworth's conversation with either of the Miss Musgroves. she would have staid at home. but it was not possible. This distinction appeared to increase.” . on an intimate footing.

and spring. fraught with the apt analogy of the declining year. Anne could not immediately fall into a quotation again. and meaning to have spring again. Winthrop. where the ploughs at work. “Had you?” cried he. catching the same tone. Mary exclaimed. without beauty and without dignity. all gone together. I should do just the same in her place. I would always be with him. She roused herself to say. and I would rather be overturned by him. was stretched before them an indifferent house. “but if it were really so. at the foot of the hill on the other side. The sweet scenes of autumn were for a while put by. and after another half mile of gradual ascent through large enclosures. and soon commanded a full view of the latter. “I honour you!” And there was silence between them for a little while. however. standing low. or. I declare I had no idea! Well now. blessed her memory. “Bless me! here is Winthrop. and the images of youth and hope. as she loves the Admiral.PERSUASION “Ah! You make the most of it. as they struck by order into another path. and the fresh made path spoke the farmer counteracting the sweets of poetical despondence. at least. they gained the summit of the most considerable hill.86 - . sometimes to be met with. which parted Uppercross and Winthrop. than driven safely by anybody else. Winthrop. I am excessively tired. “Is not this one of the ways to Winthrop?” But nobody heard. I think we had better turn back.” . strolling about near home--was their destination.” It was spoken with enthusiasm.” cried Louisa. I know. nothing should ever separate us. or its environs--for young men are. nobody answered her. unless some tender sonnet. If I loved a man. with declining happiness. and hemmed in by the barns and buildings of a farm-yard.

and “No. she resolutely answered. and when he recommended the advantage of resting herself a quarter of an hour at Winthrop. Charles. which Anne perfectly knew the meaning of. was a cheerful spot: Louisa returned. “Oh! no. I assure you. though more fearfully. that he and Henrietta should just run down for a few minutes. that go she would not. to see their aunt and cousins. still talking to Henrietta. but when Louisa drew Captain Wentworth away. seemed to be arguing the matter warmly. indeed! walking up that hill again would do her more harm than any sitting down could do her good. as she went a little way with them. her look and manner declared. followed by a contemptuous glance. and.” She received no other answer.PERSUASION Henrietta. was very well satisfied so long as the others all stood about her. where they remained. Mary took the opportunity of looking scornfully around her. and seeing no cousin Charles walking along any path. and Mary. The brow of the hill. I have never been in the house above twice in my life. no!” cried Louisa more eagerly. Louisa seemed the principal arranger of the plan. as she felt so tired.” and. conscious and ashamed. while the rest of the party waited for them at the top of the hill. was very decidedly declaring his resolution of calling on his aunt. in the meanwhile. finding a comfortable seat for herself on the step of a stile. but “No!” said Charles Musgrove. and very evidently. as he turned away. assenting smile. in short.87 - . to try for a . having such connexions! But. But this was one of the points on which the lady shewed her strength. trying to induce his wife to go too. or leaning against any gate. now that he was so near. than an artificial. and saying to Captain Wentworth-“It is very unpleasant. was ready to do as Mary wished. After a little succession of these sort of debates and consultations. down the hill. and taking her sister aside. it was settled between Charles and his two sisters.

was sure Louisa had got a much better somewhere. or of any person I may say? No. Mary was happy no longer. and she would go on till she overtook her. They were speaking as they drew near. She seemed to be in the middle of some eager speech. and her .PERSUASION gleaning of nuts in an adjoining hedge-row. she quarrelled with her own seat. I see that more than a mere dutiful morning visit to your aunt was in question. in which she had no doubt of their still being. out of nonsensical complaisance!” “She would have turned back then. wild sort of channel.” “Happy for her. was glad to sit down. by the airs and interference of such a person. in some spot or other. Anne found a nice seat for her.88 - . but could not see them. but for you?” “She would indeed. under the hedgerow. and she very soon heard Captain Wentworth and Louisa in the hedge-row. the last time I was in company with him. and they were gone by degrees quite out of sight and sound. When I have made up my mind. on a dry sunny bank. What Anne first heard was-“And so. I need not affect to have no comprehension of what is going on. and nothing could prevent her from going to look for a better also. I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. and yet. behind her. down the centre. and that I knew to be right. really tired herself. Mary sat down for a moment. she was as near giving it up. which did but confirm my own observations. to have such a mind as yours at hand! After the hints you gave just now. I could not bear that she should be frightened from the visit by such nonsense. but it would not do. Louisa's voice was the first distinguished. and woe betide him. and Henrietta seemed entirely to have made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day. she was sure Louisa had found a better seat somewhere else. She turned through the same gate. I made her go. I am almost ashamed to say it. Anne. What! would I be turned back from doing a thing that I had determined to do. I have made it. as if making their way back along the rough.

if she have not resolution enough to resist idle interference in such a trifle as this. but yours is the character of decision and firmness.” said he. She has a great deal too much of the Elliot pride. everybody may sway it. It would have surprised Anne if Louisa could have readily answered such a speech: words of such interest. has outlived all the storms of autumn. Before they were beyond her hearing. If you value her conduct or happiness. spoken with such serious warmth! She could imagine what Louisa was feeling. I suppose you know he wanted to marry Anne?” . Louisa spoke again. which. “to exemplify: a beautiful glossy nut. Let those who would be happy be firm. that no influence over it can be depended on. and they were moving on. Here is a nut. and was unanswered. by her nonsense and pride. For herself. infuse as much of your own spirit into her as you can.89 - . I see. is that they should be firm. is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed capable of. “while so many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot.” said she.” Then returning to his former earnest tone-. You are never sure of a good impression being durable. a bush of low rambling holly protected her.” he continued. lest she should be seen. no doubt. It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character. catching one down from an upper bough. This nut. Your sister is an amiable creature.“My first wish for all whom I am interested in. when it comes to things of consequence. not a weak spot anywhere. We do so wish that Charles had married Anne instead. If Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life. “But this. she will cherish all her present powers of mind.the Elliot pride. blessed with original strength.” He had done. with playful solemnity. when they are placed in circumstances requiring fortitude and strength of mind. “but she does sometimes provoke me excessively. Not a puncture. you have been always doing. however. she feared to move.PERSUASION too. “Mary is good-natured enough in many respects. While she remained.

Henrietta looked a little ashamed. and Anne distinguished no more. but very well pleased. Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence which only numbers could give. for Henrietta and I were at school at the time. but that there had been a withdrawing on the gentleman's side. bringing. As soon as she could. but I believe about a year before he married Mary. and there had been just that degree of feeling and curiosity about her in his manner which must give her extreme agitation. that she did not. and once more in motion together.” The sounds were retreating. and having found. she had heard no evil of herself. They think Charles might not be learned and bookish enough to please Lady Russell. She had much to recover from. The minutiae of the business Anne could not attempt to understand. by the stile. and that they were now very glad to be together again. I wish she had accepted him. even Captain Wentworth did not seem admitted to perfect confidence here.90 - . Her own emotions still kept her fixed. certainly. but she had heard a great deal of very painful import.PERSUASION After a moment's pause. We should all have liked her a great deal better. felt some comfort in their whole party being immediately afterwards collected. she went after Mary. and papa and mamma always think it was her great friend Lady Russell's doing. before she could move. Charles and Henrietta returned.Charles Hayter exceedingly happy: and they were devoted to each other almost from the first instant of their all setting forward for Uppercross.-.” “When did that happen?” “I do not exactly know. She saw how her own character was considered by Captain Wentworth. did not admit a doubt. . and walked back with her to their former station. as may be conjectured. and a relenting on the lady's. Captain Wentworth said-“Do you mean that she refused him?” “Oh! yes. Charles Hayter with them. and that therefore. The listener's proverbial fate was not absolutely hers. she persuaded Anne to refuse him.

In a long strip of meadow land. the carriage advancing in the same direction. and when Mary began to complain of it. and were surmounting an opposite stile. by not being asked before any of the others. and where many divisions were necessary. while Anne was never incommoded on the other. forming three distinct parties. according to custom. Anne necessarily belonged. and they could hardly get him along at all.PERSUASION Everything now marked out Louisa for Captain Wentworth. She joined Charles and Mary. and least complaisance. and Mary was either offended.91 - . but Charles. was just coming up. which had been some time heard. and proved to be Admiral Croft's gig. and they were going through Uppercross. or even where they were not. The Miss Musgroves were not at all tired. he dropped the arms of both to hunt after a weasel which he had a momentary glance of. and to that party of the three which boasted least animation. which their footpath. This long meadow bordered a lane. nothing could be plainer. they were thus divided. though in very good humour with her. The walking party had crossed the lane. He and his wife had taken their intended drive. in being on the hedge side. and was now to reap the consequence. and the Admiral was putting his horse in motion again. and was tired enough to be very glad of Charles's other arm. and generally declined. it would save her a full mile. and lament her being ill-used. which consequence was his dropping her arm almost every moment to cut off the heads of some nettles in the hedge with his switch. . or what Louisa called the Elliot pride could not endure to make a third in a one horse chaise. where there was ample space for all. was out of temper with his wife. and were returning home. Mary had shewn herself disobliging to him. The invitation was general. The something might be guessed by its effects. they kindly offered a seat to any lady who might be particularly tired. when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say something to his sister. at the end of it was to cross. they walked side by side nearly as much as the other two. Upon hearing how long a walk the young people had engaged in. and when the party had all reached the gate of exit.

but he could not be unfeeling.92 - . it was an impulse of pure. before she was quite awake to what they said. though unacknowledged friendship.” cried Mrs Croft. without the desire of giving her relief. still he could not see her suffer. they compressed themselves into the smallest possible space to leave her a corner. Yes. and felt that he had placed her there. If we were all like you.” “He certainly means to have one or other of those two girls. that his will and his hands had done it. They had travelled half their way along the rough lane. that she owed it to his perception of her fatigue. Sophy. “but there is no saying which. I assure you. She was in the carriage. indeed. he had done it. and quietly obliged her to be assisted into the carriage. You must. and his resolution to give her rest. and Captain Wentworth. that she knew not which prevailed. and though becoming attached to another. without saying a word. turned to her. and though instinctively beginning to decline. Though condemning her for the past. She was very much affected by the view of his disposition towards her. The Admiral's kind urgency came in support of his wife's. This little circumstance seemed the completion of all that had gone before. and considering it with high and unjust resentment. She understood him. He has been . which all these things made apparent. they would not be refused.” Anne was still in the lane. though perfectly careless of her. “Do let us have the pleasure of taking you home. I am sure you are tired. she was not allowed to proceed.” said the Admiral. He could not forgive her. Here is excellent room for three. It was a remainder of former sentiment. Her answers to the kindness and the remarks of her companions were at first unconsciously given. I believe we might sit four. it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart. you must. which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain.PERSUASION “Miss Elliot. She then found them talking of “Frederick.

Then there would always be company for them. and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand they neither fell into a rut. pleasantly. unaffected girls. and what were we to wait for besides? I do not like having such things so long in hand. “for if Miss Elliot were to hear how soon we came to an understanding. in a tone of calmer praise. and Anne. however. he would have settled it long ago. If it were war now. I had known you by character. my dear. long enough. . and bring us home one of these young ladies to Kellynch. I hardly know one from the other. We sailors.” “Well. And very nice young ladies they both are.” “Very good humoured.93 - . such as made Anne suspect that her keener powers might not consider either of them as quite worthy of her brother. with some amusement at their style of driving. Ay. my dear. and I had heard of you as a very pretty girl. cannot afford to make long courtships in time of war. long before.” But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily passed the danger.” replied Mrs Croft. too. to make up his mind. My dear Admiral. which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs. found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage. that post! we shall certainly take that post. “and a very respectable family. I wish Frederick would spread a little more canvass. she would never be persuaded that we could be happy together. indeed.” said Mrs Croft. between the first time of my seeing you and our sitting down together in our lodgings at North Yarmouth?” “We had better not talk about it. this comes of the peace.PERSUASION running after them. one would think. How many days was it. Miss Elliot. One could not be connected with better people. nor ran foul of a dung-cart.

on this interesting question. and she too little. within half a mile of him. and no renewal of acquaintance now could do any good. than as going towards him. in leaving poor Mary for Lady Russell. These points formed her chief solicitude in anticipating her removal from Uppercross. but on the other hand. almost as certainly as in her change of domestic society. and were Lady Russell to see them together. They did not like each other. It would place her in the same village with Captain Wentworth. and Anne.PERSUASION Chapter 11 The time now approached for Lady Russell's return: the day was even fixed. This was against her. that in removing thence she might be considered rather as leaving him behind. but she was yet more anxious for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth never meeting anywhere. and. he spent so much of his time at Uppercross. was looking forward to an early removal to Kellynch. where she felt she had been stationed quite . being engaged to join her as soon as she was resettled. and there must be intercourse between the two families. upon the whole.94 - . She wished it might be possible for her to avoid ever seeing Captain Wentworth at the Hall: those rooms had witnessed former meetings which would be brought too painfully before her. be the gainer. she might think that he had too much selfpossession. and beginning to think how her own comfort was likely to be affected by it. they would have to frequent the same church. she believed she must.

Captain Wentworth. His acquittal was complete. Captain Wentworth talked of going there again himself. and. however. having found him out at last. and his description of the fine country about Lyme so feelingly attended to by the party. that an earnest desire to see Lyme themselves. for the sake of his horses. and Captain Wentworth. his friendship warmly honoured. Louisa. and to Lyme they were to go--Charles. a lively interest excited for his friend. the weather was by no means bad. bore down all the wishes of her father and mother for putting it off till summer. He had been there for four-and-twenty hours. being now armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way. but to this Mr Musgrove. after being unseen and unheard of at Uppercross for two whole days. would not . The first heedless scheme had been to go in the morning and return at night.PERSUASION long enough. Louisa. of their being therefore. it was only seventeen miles from Uppercross. Mary. Captain Harville had never been in good health since a severe wound which he received two years before. but he was gaining strength apace. Henrietta. Anne. having formed the resolution to go. was diversified in a way which she had not at all imagined. had brought intelligence of Captain Harville's being settled with his family at Lyme for the winter. Her usefulness to little Charles would always give some sweetness to the memory of her two months' visit there. and a project for going thither was the consequence. appeared again among them to justify himself by a relation of what had kept him away. A letter from his friend. and besides the pleasure of doing as she liked. Captain Harville.95 - . within twenty miles of each other. and she had nothing else to stay for. and Captain Wentworth's anxiety to see him had determined him to go immediately to Lyme. who was the most eager of the eager. The young people were all wild to see Lyme. in short. The conclusion of her visit. quite unknowingly. though November.

And a very strange stranger it must be. as the nature of the country required. Charmouth. and. the lodgers almost all gone. before the light and warmth of the day were gone. is animated with bathing machines and company.96 - . as there is nothing to admire in the buildings themselves. and though they all met at the Great House at rather an early breakfast hour. were descending the long hill into Lyme. the remarkable situation of the town. The scenes in its neighbourhood. They were. the principal street almost hurrying into the water. in the season. Mr Musgrove's coach containing the four ladies. and still more. where fragments of low rock among the sands. This was felt to be a considerable amendment. that it was very evident they would not have more than time for looking about them. The rooms were shut up. might offer. the walk to the Cobb. and Charles's curricle. in which he drove Captain Wentworth. with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town. and ordering a dinner at one of the inns. for sitting in unwearied contemplation. make it the happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide. its old wonders and new improvements. and not to be expected back till the next day's dinner. skirting round the pleasant little bay. to make him wish to know it better. They were come too late in the year for any amusement or variety which Lyme. for going and returning. the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly down to the sea. to stay the night there. its sweet. a day in the middle of November would not leave much time for seeing a new place. consequently. with its high grounds and extensive sweeps of country. After securing accommodations. and set off very punctually. as a public place. the Cobb itself. and entering upon the still steeper street of the town itself. which. backed by dark cliffs. retired bay. scarcely any family but of the residents left. the woody varieties of the cheerful village of .PERSUASION consent. are what the stranger's eye will seek. after deducting seven hours. and when it came to be rationally considered. who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme. it was so much past noon before the two carriages.

who ever deserved to look on it at all. and. were the Harvilles settled. who was staying with them. and still descending. whom he had always valued highly. Captain Benwick had some time ago been first lieutenant of the Laconia. as may more than equal any of the resembling scenes of the far-famed Isle of Wight: these places must be visited. They had been a year or two waiting for fortune and promotion. equally their object in itself and on Captain Wentworth's account: for in a small house. on his return from Lyme before. Pinny. and was now mourning her loss. the others walked on. had been followed by a little history of his private life. as all must linger and gaze on a first return to the sea. and not even Louisa seemed to feel that they had parted with Captain Wentworth long. with three companions. They were by no means tired of wondering and admiring. by description.PERSUASION Up Lyme. proceeded towards the Cobb. and a Captain Benwick. when they saw him coming after them. his prize-money as lieutenant being great. and lingering only. The party from Uppercross passing down by the now deserted and melancholy looking rooms. above all. and the account which Captain Wentworth had given of him. where a scene so wonderful and so lovely is exhibited. where the scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant growth. soon found themselves on the sea-shore. but Fanny Harville did not live to know it. with its green chasms between romantic rocks. near the foot of an old pier of unknown date. Captain Wentworth turned in to call on his friend.97 - . his warm praise of him as an excellent young man and an officer. and he was to join them on the Cobb. too. which rendered him perfectly interesting in the eyes of all the ladies. came at last. He had been engaged to Captain Harville's sister. and visited again. to be Captain and Mrs Harville. Fortune came. declare that many a generation must have passed away since the first partial falling of the cliff prepared the ground for such a state. promotion. which must have stamped him well in the esteem of every listener. to make the worth of Lyme understood. She had died the preceding . all well known already.

“And yet. . He considered his disposition as of the sort which must suffer heavily. and Captain Benwick was now living with them entirely. and sedentary pursuits. and was. I cannot believe his prospects so blighted for ever. younger in feeling. To finish the interest of the story. if possible. and be happy with another. dark man. He will rally again. benevolent countenance. Captain Harville. the friendship between him and the Harvilles seemed. or to be more deeply afflicted under the dreadful change. a little lame. a degree less polished than her husband. Captain Harville was a tall. if not in fact. Captain Harville had taken his present house for half a year.” said Anne to herself. and retiring manners. all directing him to a residence inexpensive. and the retirement of Lyme in the winter. as they now moved forward to meet the party. The sympathy and good-will excited towards Captain Benwick was very great.98 - . and by the sea. younger as a man. Captain Wentworth believed it impossible for man to be more attached to woman than poor Benwick had been to Fanny Harville. looking much older than Captain Wentworth. though not equalling Captain Wentworth in manners. augmented by the event which closed all their views of alliance. and from strong features and want of health. a little man. seemed. compared with either of them. just as he ought to have. his taste. a more sorrowing heart than I have. He had a pleasing face and a melancholy air. appeared exactly adapted to Captain Benwick's state of mind. serious. and were introduced.” They all met. and nothing could be more pleasant than their desire of considering the whole party as friends of their own. however. and. and a decided taste for reading. and his health. to have the same good feelings. Mrs Harville. was a perfect gentleman. and obliging. unaffected. with a sensible. He is younger than I am. Captain Benwick looked. perhaps. and drew back from conversation. and his fortune. the youngest of the three.PERSUASION summer while he was at sea. and the grandeur of the country. “he has not. warm. uniting very strong feelings with quiet.

The dinner. the effect of its influence on his habits. already ordered at the inn. and defend the windows and doors against the winter storms to be expected. and she had to struggle against a great tendency to lowness. were more than amusing to Anne. Captain Harville was no reader. The varieties in the fitting-up of the rooms. but he had contrived excellent accommodations. but it was soon lost in the pleasanter feelings which sprang from the sight of all the ingenious contrivances and nice arrangements of Captain Harville. to supply the deficiencies of lodging-house furniture. so unlike the usual style of give-and-take invitations.99 - . “These would have been all my friends. that Anne felt her spirits not likely to be benefited by an increasing acquaintance among his brother-officers. though unwillingly. connected as it all was with his profession. were contrasted with some few articles of a rare species of wood. and with something curious and valuable from all the distant countries Captain Harville had visited. and dinners of formality and display. but they seemed almost hurt that Captain Wentworth should have brought any such party to Lyme. and fashioned very pretty shelves. There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all this. and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the heart could think capable of accommodating so many. made it to her a something more. the fruit of its labours. and such a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon. On quitting the Cobb. in the common indifferent plight.” was her thought. to turn the actual space to the best account. was at last. for a tolerable . excellently worked up. accepted as a excuse. the picture of repose and domestic happiness it presented.PERSUASION because the friends of Captain Wentworth. without considering it as a thing of course that they should dine with them. where the common necessaries provided by the owner. or less. or more kindly hospitable than their entreaties for their all promising to dine with them. than gratification. they all went in-doors with their new friends. Anne had a moment's astonishment on the subject herself.

and the interchange of the common civilities attending on it (they never got beyond). and Louisa. he made toys for the children. The nights were too dark for the ladies to meet again till the morrow. They went back to dress and dine. their brotherliness. His lameness prevented him from taking much exercise. sat down to his large fishing-net at one corner of the room. . he fashioned new netting-needles and pins with improvements.” and the “no thoroughfare of Lyme. that nothing was found amiss. and if everything else was done.” had brought many apologies from the heads of the inn. and so well had the scheme answered already. by whom she found herself walking. though his spirits certainly did not seem fit for the mirth of the party in general. and they only deserved to be respected and loved. that the sitting down to the same table with him now. He drew. protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and warmth than any other set of men in England. however. Anne thought she left great happiness behind her when they quitted the house. the property of Captain Benwick. He ventured among them again. though its being “so entirely out of season. their openness. that they only knew how to live. bringing his friend also.100 - . he glued. burst forth into raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy. it having been agreed that Captain Benwick had all the appearance of being oppressed by the presence of so many strangers. was become a mere nothing. their uprightness. he carpentered. he varnished. which was more than had been expected. but a mind of usefulness and ingenuity seemed to furnish him with constant employment within. their friendliness. and he came. but Captain Harville had promised them a visit in the evening.PERSUASION collection of well-bound volumes. Anne found herself by this time growing so much more hardened to being in Captain Wentworth's company than she had at first imagined could ever be.” and the “no expectation of company.

and by recurring to former days. she was emboldened to go on. and besides the persuasion of having given him at least an evening's indulgence in the discussion of subjects. she ventured to recommend a larger . how the Giaour was to be pronounced. and Anne was well repaid the first trouble of exertion. it fell to Anne's lot to be placed rather apart with Captain Benwick. and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other. and moreover. and gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets. but the engaging mildness of her countenance. and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly. He was evidently a young man of considerable taste in reading. His looks shewing him not pained. the richness of the present age. he repeated. and a very good impulse of her nature obliged her to begin an acquaintance with him. which his usual companions had probably no concern in. the various lines which imaged a broken heart. that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely. and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood. For. he showed himself so intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet. and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos. and disposed to abstraction. he did not seem reserved. trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be preferred. and gentleness of her manners. that she ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry. soon had their effect. it had rather the appearance of feelings glad to burst their usual restraints. she had the hope of being of real use to him in some suggestions as to the duty and benefit of struggling against affliction. supplied anecdotes in abundance to occupy and entertain the others.PERSUASION While Captains Wentworth and Harville led the talk on one side of the room. And having talked of poetry. with such tremulous feeling. or a mind destroyed by wretchedness. and to say. He was shy. which had naturally grown out of their conversation. though principally in poetry. and feeling in herself the right of seniority of mind.101 - . though shy. but pleased with this allusion to his situation.

that. nor could she help fearing. mentioned such works of our best moralists. When the evening was over. and sighs which declared his little faith in the efficacy of any books on grief like his. and on being requested to particularize. Captain Benwick listened attentively.102 - . such memoirs of characters of worth and suffering. and promised to procure and read them. and the strongest examples of moral and religious endurances. such collections of the finest letters. .PERSUASION allowance of prose in his daily study. she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination. as occurred to her at the moment as calculated to rouse and fortify the mind by the highest precepts. Anne could not but be amused at the idea of her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man whom she had never seen before. noted down the names of those she recommended. and seemed grateful for the interest implied. on more serious reflection. and though with a shake of the head. like many other great moralists and preachers.

with very few exceptions. I cannot help thinking it a pity that he does not live entirely by the sea. both for himself and Mrs Shirley? She has cousins here. and fix at Lyme. and I am sure she would be glad to get to a place where she could have medical attendance at hand. who have been doing good all their lives. I do think he had better leave Uppercross entirely. last spring twelvemonth. in case of his having another seizure. agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast. till Henrietta suddenly began again with-“Oh! yes. that being by the sea.103 - .--I am quite convinced that. Do not you. “Indeed I think it quite melancholy to have such excellent people as Dr and Mrs Shirley. that coming to Lyme for a month. sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and were silent. and. after his illness. There can be no doubt of its having been of the greatest service to Dr Shirley. and many acquaintance. did him more good than all the medicine he took. Anne? Do not you agree with me. which would make it cheerful for her. you know. They went to the sands. that it is the best thing he could do. “Now. which a fine southeasterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so flat a shore admitted. finding themselves the earliest of the party the next morning. the sea-air always does good. . They praised the morning. always makes him feel young again. gloried in the sea.PERSUASION Chapter 12 Anne and Henrietta. He declares himself. to watch the flowing of the tide.

felt the claims of Dr Shirley to repose as she ought. they seem shut out from all the world. as to procuring a dispensation. he would be near enough to hear. if people thought there was anything to complain of. And. which may be just as well performed by another person? And at Lyme too. Do not you think. but I respect her amazingly. and entered into the subject. respectable young man. though here it was good of a lower standard. and amused also that the course of events and the new interests of Henrietta's views should have placed her friend at all in favour with any of the Musgrove family. before all subjects .” said Henrietta. excepting our family. quite afraid of her. where. when a clergyman sacrifices his health for the sake of duties. as ready to do good by entering into the feelings of a young lady as of a young man. however. I really think they ought. as a resident curate. very well pleased with her companion. because she is so very clever. “I wish Lady Russell lived at Uppercross.104 - . and were intimate with Dr Shirley. “I wish. saw how very desirable it was that he should have some active.PERSUASION wearing out their last days in a place like Uppercross. My only doubt is. and a wish that such another woman were at Uppercross. for a general answer. whether anything could persuade him to leave his parish. she had only time.” Anne was amused by Henrietta's manner of being grateful. it is being overscrupulous? Do not you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience. there could be no difficulty at his time of life. only seventeen miles off. and wish we had such a neighbour at Uppercross.” Anne smiled more than once to herself during this speech. for what could be offered but general acquiescence? She said all that was reasonable and proper on the business. He is so very strict and scrupulous in his notions. Anne. and was even courteous enough to hint at the advantage of such resident curate's being married. I have always heard of Lady Russell as a woman of the greatest influence with everybody! I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to anything! I am afraid of her. and with his character. I wish his friends would propose it to him. as I have told you before. overscrupulous I must say.

and determined that a well-looking groom. had nearly run against the very same gentleman. He gave her a momentary glance. also proved again by the gentleman's looks. who was strolling about near the two inns as they came back. They ascended and passed him. Captain Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it. as he came out of an adjoining apartment.” After attending Louisa through her business. short as it was. Anne's face caught his eye. in passing afterwards quickly from her own chamber to their dining-room. see something like Anne Elliot again. “That man is struck with you. immediately afterwards that she had something to procure at a shop. very pretty features. at this moment. It was now proved that he belonged to the same inn as themselves. She was looking remarkably well. and even I. When they came to the steps. and Anne. leading upwards from the beach. should be his servant. They came also for a stroll till breakfast was likely to be ready. invited them all to go back with her into the town. and this second meeting. a glance of brightness. and loitering about a little longer. on seeing Louisa and Captain Wentworth coming towards them. Both master and man being in mourning assisted the idea. (completely a gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly. which seemed to say. but Louisa recollecting. She had before conjectured him to be a stranger like themselves. It was evident that the gentleman. and by the readiness and propriety of his apologies. her very regular. and stopped to give them way. having the bloom and freshness of youth restored by the fine wind which had been blowing on her complexion. and as they passed. they returned to the inn.105 - . at the same moment preparing to come down. and by the animation of eye which it had also produced. They were all at her disposal. politely drew back. a gentleman. and he looked at her with a degree of earnest admiration. which she could not be insensible of.PERSUASION suddenly ceased. that he thought hers very lovely. .

just as our Mr Elliot must be. it must be our Mr Elliot. They had nearly done breakfast. a curricle.” “Elliot!” Many had looked on each other. Dare say you heard the carriage. came in last night from Sidmouth.PERSUASION that he was a man of exceedingly good manners. It was driven by a servant in mourning. immediately. “Ah!” cried Captain Wentworth. “Pray. when the sound of a carriage. the servant in mourning roused Anne's curiosity. and the whole six were collected to look. a gentleman of large fortune. to drive off. Anne. even by the smart rapidity of a waiter. must not it? In mourning. but only coming round from the stable-yard to the front door. sir. in his way to Bath and London. (almost the first they had heard since entering Lyme) drew half the party to the window. they returned to the breakfast table. and with half a glance at Anne. while you were at dinner. The word curricle made Charles Musgrove jump up that he might compare it with his own. and many had repeated the name. by the time the owner of the curricle was to be seen issuing from the door amidst the bows and civilities of the household. instantly. you see. it must. a Mr Elliot. The waiter came into the room soon afterwards. had an agreeable person. “it is the very man we passed. and though not handsome.” said Captain Wentworth. Anne felt that she should like to know who he was. “can you tell us the name of the gentleman who is just gone away?” “Yes. and taking his seat. before all this had been got through. How very extraordinary! In the very same . and going on now for Crewkherne. indeed! Charles. somebody must be going away. He seemed about thirty. “Bless me!” cried Mary. “it must be our cousin.” The Miss Musgroves agreed to it.106 - . It was a gentleman's carriage. and having all kindly watched him as far up the hill as they could. Sir.

he did not mention no particular family. one should have known him by the livery. but I think he had something of the Elliot countenance. and hid the arms. At the same time. I am sure. wherever he goes.” When she could command Mary's attention. if the servant had not been in mourning. who it was. only conceive how extraordinary! I wish I had looked at him more. Anne quietly tried to convince her that their father and Mr Elliot had not. I wonder the arms did not strike me! Oh! the great-coat was hanging over the panel. that is a circumstance which his servants take care to publish. that you should not be introduced to your cousin. “did not you hear.” turning to the waiter. mention her having met with him the second time. and the livery too. must not it be our Mr Elliot? my father's next heir? Pray sir. luckily Mary did not much attend to their having passed close by . She would not. otherwise.PERSUASION inn with us! Anne. I should have observed them.” “There! you see!” cried Mary in an ecstasy. and to know that the future owner of Kellynch was undoubtedly a gentleman.” “Putting all these very extraordinary circumstances together. however. if it was so.107 - . Anne. been on such terms as to make the power of attempting an introduction at all desirable. upon any account. ma'am. but he said his master was a very rich gentleman. What a pity that we should not have been introduced to each other! Do you think he had the Elliot countenance? I hardly looked at him. it was a secret gratification to herself to have seen her cousin. I was looking at the horses. and had an air of good sense. did not his servant say whether he belonged to the Kellynch family?” “No. that he might have been introduced to us. Depend upon it. “we must consider it to be the arrangement of Providence. But. for many years. so it did. and would be a baronight some day.” said Captain Wentworth. “just as I said! Heir to Sir Walter Elliot! I was sure that would come out. I wish we had been aware in time.

Mary never wrote to Bath herself. The offence which had been given her father. but as what ought to be suppressed. no. and that Mr Elliot's idea always produced irritation in both was beyond a doubt.” Anne avoided a direct reply. I wish he could have such . and as unable as any other two readers.” said Mary. and instead of Captain Benwick. “Of course. and in the mean while were to be all together. speaking rather low.” said he. Breakfast had not been long over. to think exactly alike of the merits of either. I think my father certainly ought to hear of it. till something occasioned an almost general change amongst their party. she had Captain Harville by her side. and still as unable as before. Elizabeth's particular share in it she suspected. she knew. when they were joined by Captain and Mrs Harville and Captain Benwick. that cousinly little interview must remain a perfect secret. while she had never been near him at all. “you have done a good deed in making that poor fellow talk so much. as soon as they were all fairly in the street. Their conversation the preceding evening did not disincline him to seek her again. all the toil of keeping up a slow and unsatisfactory correspondence with Elizabeth fell on Anne. the next time you write to Bath. do mention all about him. talking as before of Mr Scott and Lord Byron. “you will mention our seeing Mr Elliot. Anne found Captain Benwick getting near her. and out of doors as long as they could. and they walked together some time. “Miss Elliot. with whom they had appointed to take their last walk about Lyme. They ought to be setting off for Uppercross by one.PERSUASION him in their earlier walk. many years back. and received his very polite excuses. but it was just the circumstance which she considered as not merely unnecessary to be communicated.108 - . but she would have felt quite ill-used by Anne's having actually run against him in the passage.

There the news must follow him. That's what he did. I know. and said as much in reply as her own feeling could accomplish. but who was to tell it? not I. but that good fellow” (pointing to Captain Wentworth. they would accompany them to their door. It is bad for him. Mrs Harville's giving it as her opinion that her husband would have quite walking enough by the time he reached home. I was at Plymouth dreading to hear of him. but in time. but what can we do? We cannot part. perhaps. and when he spoke again. to be shut up as he is. for he was too much affected to renew the subject. and you must remember. I would as soon have been run up to the yard-arm. . and then return and set off themselves. rowed off to the Grappler that instant. just made into the Grappler. wrote up for leave of absence.” “Ay.109 - . Captain Harville. “that I can easily believe to be impossible. or as his seemed able to bear. that your friend may yet be called a young mourner--only last summer. I understand. it was of something totally different. Nobody could do it. and never left the poor fellow for a week. but without waiting the return.” “No. travelled night and day till he got to Portsmouth.” (with a deep sigh) “only June. You may think. perhaps--we know what time does in every case of affliction. when he came home from the Cape. but the Grappler was under orders for Portsmouth. Miss Elliot. no danger of her being sent to sea again.PERSUASION company oftener.) “The Laconia had come into Plymouth the week before. and nobody else could have saved poor James. He stood his chance for the rest. whether he is dear to us!” Anne did think on the question with perfect decision. he sent in letters. true enough.” “And not known to him. so soon. determined the direction of all the party in what was to be their last walk.” “Not till the first week of August.” said Anne.

The hardness of the pavement for her feet. it was found. She was safely down. “I am determined I will:” he put out his hands. “She is dead! she is dead!” screamed Mary. ran up the steps to be jumped down again. but her eyes were closed. she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. there was such a general wish to walk along it once more. her face was like death. He advised her against it. that the difference of a quarter of an hour. The horror of the moment to all who stood around! Captain Wentworth. no visible bruise. and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight. catching hold of her .110 - . all were so inclined. and she gladly gave him all her attention as long as attention was possible. she breathed not. he had had to jump her from the stiles. thought the jar too great. and all the kind interchange of invitations and promises which may be imagined. and still accompanied by Captain Benwick. he did it. and was taken up lifeless! There was no wound. they parted from Captain and Mrs Harville at their own door. who seemed to cling to them to the last. the sensation was delightful to her. It was soon drawn. who had caught her up. In all their walks. but as they drew near the Cobb. There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies. looking on her with a face as pallid as her own. perforce another way. in an agony of silence. knelt with her in his arms. and instantly. would be no difference at all. to show her enjoyment. however. proceeded to make the proper adieus to the Cobb. and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower. Anne found Captain Benwick again drawing near her. but no. she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb. she smiled and said. excepting Louisa. she was too precipitate by half a second. Lord Byron's “dark blue seas” could not fail of being brought forward by their present view. and Louisa soon grew so determined. so with all the kind leave-taking. no blood. he reasoned and talked in vain.PERSUASION By all their calculations there was just time for this. made him less willing upon the present occasion.

PERSUASION husband. and go to him. take them. disengaging himself from his wife. when Anne eagerly suggested-“Captain Benwick. Henrietta. go to him. and Louisa was raised up and supported more firmly between them. it seemed to rouse him at once. lost her senses too. I can support her myself. sinking under the conviction. a surgeon this instant.” Captain Benwick obeyed. rub her temples. take them. “Go to him. but in vain. staggering against the wall for his support. and Charles at the same moment. while Captain Wentworth. “for heaven's sake go to him. and would have fallen on the steps. in a tone of despair. and in another moment. and everything was done that Anne had prompted. and saying only-. true.“True. Rub her hands.” cried Anne. they were both with him. Leave me.111 - . He caught the word. and was off for the town with the utmost rapidity. . and as if all his own strength were gone. would not it be better for Captain Benwick? He knows where a surgeon is to be found. exclaimed in the bitterest agony-“Oh God! her father and mother!” “A surgeon!” said Anne. “Is there no one to help me?” were the first words which burst from Captain Wentworth. but for Captain Benwick and Anne. and in a moment (it was all done in rapid moments) Captain Benwick had resigned the poor corpse-like figure entirely to the brother's care.” was darting away. here are salts. who caught and supported her between them. and contributing with his own horror to make him immoveable.” Every one capable of thinking felt the advantage of the idea.

PERSUASION As to the wretched party left behind, it could scarcely be said which of the three, who were completely rational, was suffering most: Captain Wentworth, Anne, or Charles, who, really a very affectionate brother, hung over Louisa with sobs of grief, and could only turn his eyes from one sister, to see the other in a state as insensible, or to witness the hysterical agitations of his wife, calling on him for help which he could not give. Anne, attending with all the strength and zeal, and thought, which instinct supplied, to Henrietta, still tried, at intervals, to suggest comfort to the others, tried to quiet Mary, to animate Charles, to assuage the feelings of Captain Wentworth. Both seemed to look to her for directions. “Anne, Anne,” cried Charles, “What is to be done next? What, in heaven's name, is to be done next?” Captain Wentworth's eyes were also turned towards her. “Had not she better be carried to the inn? Yes, I am sure: carry her gently to the inn.” “Yes, yes, to the inn,” repeated Captain Wentworth, comparatively collected, and eager to be doing something. “I will carry her myself. Musgrove, take care of the others.” By this time the report of the accident had spread among the workmen and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected near them, to be useful if wanted, at any rate, to enjoy the sight of a dead young lady, nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first report. To some of the best-looking of these good people Henrietta was consigned, for, though partially revived, she was quite helpless; and in this manner, Anne walking by her side, and Charles attending to his wife, they set forward, treading back with feelings unutterable, the ground, which so lately, so very lately, and so light of heart, they had passed along.

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PERSUASION They were not off the Cobb, before the Harvilles met them. Captain Benwick had been seen flying by their house, with a countenance which showed something to be wrong; and they had set off immediately, informed and directed as they passed, towards the spot. Shocked as Captain Harville was, he brought senses and nerves that could be instantly useful; and a look between him and his wife decided what was to be done. She must be taken to their house; all must go to their house; and await the surgeon's arrival there. They would not listen to scruples: he was obeyed; they were all beneath his roof; and while Louisa, under Mrs Harville's direction, was conveyed up stairs, and given possession of her own bed, assistance, cordials, restoratives were supplied by her husband to all who needed them. Louisa had once opened her eyes, but soon closed them again, without apparent consciousness. This had been a proof of life, however, of service to her sister; and Henrietta, though perfectly incapable of being in the same room with Louisa, was kept, by the agitation of hope and fear, from a return of her own insensibility. Mary, too, was growing calmer. The surgeon was with them almost before it had seemed possible. They were sick with horror, while he examined; but he was not hopeless. The head had received a severe contusion, but he had seen greater injuries recovered from: he was by no means hopeless; he spoke cheerfully. That he did not regard it as a desperate case, that he did not say a few hours must end it, was at first felt, beyond the hope of most; and the ecstasy of such a reprieve, the rejoicing, deep and silent, after a few fervent ejaculations of gratitude to Heaven had been offered, may be conceived. The tone, the look, with which “Thank God!” was uttered by Captain Wentworth, Anne was sure could never be forgotten by her; nor the sight of him afterwards, as he sat near a table, leaning over it with

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PERSUASION folded arms and face concealed, as if overpowered by the various feelings of his soul, and trying by prayer and reflection to calm them. Louisa's limbs had escaped. There was no injury but to the head. It now became necessary for the party to consider what was best to be done, as to their general situation. They were now able to speak to each other and consult. That Louisa must remain where she was, however distressing to her friends to be involving the Harvilles in such trouble, did not admit a doubt. Her removal was impossible. The Harvilles silenced all scruples; and, as much as they could, all gratitude. They had looked forward and arranged everything before the others began to reflect. Captain Benwick must give up his room to them, and get another bed elsewhere; and the whole was settled. They were only concerned that the house could accommodate no more; and yet perhaps, by “putting the children away in the maid's room, or swinging a cot somewhere,” they could hardly bear to think of not finding room for two or three besides, supposing they might wish to stay; though, with regard to any attendance on Miss Musgrove, there need not be the least uneasiness in leaving her to Mrs Harville's care entirely. Mrs Harville was a very experienced nurse, and her nurserymaid, who had lived with her long, and gone about with her everywhere, was just such another. Between these two, she could want no possible attendance by day or night. And all this was said with a truth and sincerity of feeling irresistible. Charles, Henrietta, and Captain Wentworth were the three in consultation, and for a little while it was only an interchange of perplexity and terror. “Uppercross, the necessity of some one's going to Uppercross; the news to be conveyed; how it could be broken to Mr and Mrs Musgrove; the lateness of the morning; an hour already gone since they ought to have been off; the impossibility of being in tolerable time.” At first, they were capable of nothing more to the purpose than such exclamations; but, after a while, Captain Wentworth, exerting himself, said-- 114 -

PERSUASION “We must be decided, and without the loss of another minute. Every minute is valuable. Some one must resolve on being off for Uppercross instantly. Musgrove, either you or I must go.” Charles agreed, but declared his resolution of not going away. He would be as little incumbrance as possible to Captain and Mrs Harville; but as to leaving his sister in such a state, he neither ought, nor would. So far it was decided; and Henrietta at first declared the same. She, however, was soon persuaded to think differently. The usefulness of her staying! She who had not been able to remain in Louisa's room, or to look at her, without sufferings which made her worse than helpless! She was forced to acknowledge that she could do no good, yet was still unwilling to be away, till, touched by the thought of her father and mother, she gave it up; she consented, she was anxious to be at home. The plan had reached this point, when Anne, coming quietly down from Louisa's room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour door was open. “Then it is settled, Musgrove,” cried Captain Wentworth, “that you stay, and that I take care of your sister home. But as to the rest, as to the others, if one stays to assist Mrs Harville, I think it need be only one. Mrs Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to her children; but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as Anne.” She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing herself so spoken of. The other two warmly agreed with what he said, and she then appeared. “You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her;” cried he, turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which seemed almost restoring the past. She coloured deeply, and he recollected himself and moved away. She expressed herself most willing, ready, happy to remain. “It was what she had been thinking of, and wishing to be allowed to do. A bed on the floor in Louisa's room would be sufficient for her, if Mrs Harville would but think so.” - 115 -

PERSUASION One thing more, and all seemed arranged. Though it was rather desirable that Mr and Mrs Musgrove should be previously alarmed by some share of delay; yet the time required by the Uppercross horses to take them back, would be a dreadful extension of suspense; and Captain Wentworth proposed, and Charles Musgrove agreed, that it would be much better for him to take a chaise from the inn, and leave Mr Musgrove's carriage and horses to be sent home the next morning early, when there would be the farther advantage of sending an account of Louisa's night. Captain Wentworth now hurried off to get everything ready on his part, and to be soon followed by the two ladies. When the plan was made known to Mary, however, there was an end of all peace in it. She was so wretched and so vehement, complained so much of injustice in being expected to go away instead of Anne; Anne, who was nothing to Louisa, while she was her sister, and had the best right to stay in Henrietta's stead! Why was not she to be as useful as Anne? And to go home without Charles, too, without her husband! No, it was too unkind. And in short, she said more than her husband could long withstand, and as none of the others could oppose when he gave way, there was no help for it; the change of Mary for Anne was inevitable. Anne had never submitted more reluctantly to the jealous and illjudging claims of Mary; but so it must be, and they set off for the town, Charles taking care of his sister, and Captain Benwick attending to her. She gave a moment's recollection, as they hurried along, to the little circumstances which the same spots had witnessed earlier in the morning. There she had listened to Henrietta's schemes for Dr Shirley's leaving Uppercross; farther on, she had first seen Mr Elliot; a moment seemed all that could now be given to any one but Louisa, or those who were wrapt up in her welfare. Captain Benwick was most considerately attentive to her; and, united as they all seemed by the distress of the day, she felt an increasing - 116 -

and placed himself between them. always turning towards her. under these circumstances.PERSUASION degree of good-will towards him. To spare Henrietta from agitation seemed the governing principle. how it was to affect their manners. she would have attended on Louisa with a zeal above the common claims of regard. the expressions begun and suppressed. she could not foresee. In the mean while she was in the carriage. his voice and manner were studiously calm. always with the view of supporting her hopes and raising her spirits. the change in his countenance. ill-fated walk to the Cobb. Without emulating the feelings of an Emma towards her Henry. and a pleasure even in thinking that it might. he burst forth. “Oh God! that I had not given way to her at the fatal moment! Had I done as I ought! But so eager and so resolute! Dear. He had handed them both in. In general. She endeavoured to be composed. It was all quite natural. How the long stage would pass. when she had been grieving over the last ill-judged.” he cried. don't talk of it.117 - . sweet Louisa!” . or must at least convince her that she was valued only as she could be useful to Louisa. Once only. bitterly lamenting that it ever had been thought of. full of astonishment and emotion to Anne. but his evident surprise and vexation at the substitution of one sister for the other. stationed for their convenience in the lowest part of the street. and in this manner. she quitted Lyme. and she hoped he would not long be so unjust as to suppose she would shrink unnecessarily from the office of a friend. and to be just. what was to be their sort of intercourse. and when he spoke at all. Captain Wentworth was on the watch for them. for his sake. with which Charles was listened to. the astonishment. made but a mortifying reception of Anne. as if wholly overcome-“Don't talk of it. be the occasion of continuing their acquaintance. He was devoted to Henrietta. however. perhaps. and a chaise and four in waiting.

like all other qualities of the mind.) . heightened by some dread of the conclusion. he announced his intention of returning in the same carriage to Lyme. he said: -“I have been considering what we had best do. When the distressing communication at Uppercross was over.118 - . It was growing quite dusk. its value did not lessen. Anne was astonished to recognise the same hills and the same objects so soon. as a proof of friendship. he was off. She could not stand it. to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character. with a shawl over her face. and there had been total silence among them for some time. and when the horses were baited. and whether it might not strike him that. and the daughter all the better for being with them. made the road appear but half as long as on the day before. as they were going up their last hill. Their actual speed. a great pleasure. and he had seen the father and mother quite as composed as could be hoped. before they were in the neighbourhood of Uppercross. They got on fast. and when it became a sort of parting proof. Henrietta leaning back in the corner. But the remembrance of the appeal remained a pleasure to her. cautious voice. In a low. (End of volume one. however. giving the hope of her having cried herself to sleep. I have been thinking whether you had not better remain in the carriage with her. She must not appear at first. while I go in and break it to Mr and Mrs Musgrove.PERSUASION Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now. When. Anne found herself all at once addressed by Captain Wentworth. it should have its proportions and limits. Do you think this is a good plan?” She did: he was satisfied. and said no more. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness as a very resolute character. and of deference for her judgement.

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A speedy cure must not be hoped. They had an early account from Lyme the next morning. she was going to walk out with Captain Benwick. was spent entirely at the Mansion House. When he came away. Louisa was much the same. in Mr and Mrs Musgrove's distressed state of spirits. He was tolerably cheerful. and his father had at first half a mind to go with him. especially of Mrs Harville's exertions as a nurse.” Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon. but the ladies could not consent. he seemed unable to satisfy his own sense of their kindness. A . and a much better scheme followed and was acted upon.120 - . but everything was going on as well as the nature of the case admitted. Mary had been hysterical again this morning. and as assisting in all those arrangements for the future. He almost wished she had been prevailed on to come home the day before. would do her good. which. would have been difficulties. No symptoms worse than before had appeared. comprehending only two days. both as an immediate companion. he hoped. It would be going only to multiply trouble to the others. and she had the satisfaction of knowing herself extremely useful there. and increase his own distress. to bring a later and more particular account. but the truth was. that Mrs Harville left nothing for anybody to do. Charles came a few hours afterwards.PERSUASION Chapter 13 The remainder of Anne's time at Uppercross. He and Mary had been persuaded to go early to their inn last night. “She really left nothing for Mary to do. which. In speaking of the Harvilles.

sent to school after his brothers.121 - . and found practicable so soon. She had little difficulty. they were so happy in the decision. and Charles conveyed back a far more useful person in the old nursery-maid of the family. go to-morrow. that Anne was delighted with what she had done. He made it his business to go to Lyme.PERSUASION chaise was sent for from Crewkherne. they might at least relieve Mrs Harville from the care of her own children. “What should they do without her? They were wretched comforters for one another. fix themselves at the inn. to Charles Hayter. the next day. the only remaining one of all that had filled and animated . was only too happy in being allowed to go and help nurse dear Miss Louisa. Every report agreed in Captain Wentworth's appearing fixed in Lyme. one who having brought up all the children. had occurred before to Mrs Musgrove and Henrietta. Anne was to leave them on the morrow. They must be taking off some trouble from the good people she was with. consequently. excepting the little boys at the cottage. and who. They were indebted. an event which they all dreaded.” And so much was said in this way. though her being left to the solitary range of the house was the consequence. that Anne thought she could not do better than impart among them the general inclination to which she was privy. She was the last. Vague wishes of getting Sarah thither. and persuaded them all to go to Lyme at once. and felt that she could not spend her last morning at Uppercross better than in assisting their preparations. or get into lodgings. she was the very last. which it was so essential to obtain every twenty-four hours. it would hardly have been resolved on. was now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings and dress all the blains and bruises she could get near her. for all the minute knowledge of Louisa. it was soon determined that they would go. The intervals of sense and consciousness were believed to be stronger. and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved. the lingering and long-petted Master Harry. as it suited. and in short. and sending them off at an early hour. and seen the very last. and his account was still encouraging. but without Anne.

was enough to make the sound of Lady Russell's carriage exceedingly welcome. or look an adieu to the Cottage. It had not been necessary. or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of the village. all that was most unlike Anne Elliot! An hour's complete leisure for such reflections as these.PERSUASION both houses. all that was glowing and bright in prosperous love. occupied but by her silent. Anne had never entered Kellynch since her quitting Lady Russell's house in September. and of some instances of relenting feeling. More than former happiness would be restored. without a saddened heart. A few days had made a change indeed! If Louisa recovered. a small thick rain almost blotting out the very few objects ever to be discerned from the windows. There was some anxiety mixed with Lady Russell's joy in meeting her. Scenes had passed in Uppercross which made it precious. of all that had given Uppercross its cheerful character. She left it all behind her. dripping and comfortless veranda. but now softened. pensive self. on a dark November day. and the room now so deserted. some breathings of friendship and reconciliation. and which could never cease to be dear. There could not be a doubt.122 - . and yet. either Anne was improved in plumpness and looks. though desirous to be gone. might be filled again with all that was happy and gay. all but the recollection that such things had been. and to gladden the eyes of its mistress. once severe. she could not quit the Mansion House. A few months hence. it would all be well again. which could never be looked for again. and the few occasions of its being possible for her to go to the Hall she had contrived to evade and escape from. of what would follow her recovery. But happily. with its black. Her first return was to resume her place in the modern and elegant apartments of the Lodge. She knew who had been frequenting Uppercross. It stood the record of many sensations of pain. or Lady Russell fancied . to her mind there was none.

and when Lady Russell reverted to their former hopes and fears. . She was actually forced to exert herself to meet Lady Russell with anything like the appearance of equal solicitude. When this was told. and Captain Wentworth's name must be mentioned by both. They must speak of the accident at Lyme. and which she had felt slighted. had the amusement of connecting them with the silent admiration of her cousin. and her regret that Mrs Clay should still be with them. Lady Russell had not been arrived five minutes the day before. she must make enquiries. and look straight forward to Lady Russell's eye. or her own sister's intimacy with Mrs Clay. in receiving her compliments on the occasion. were now become but of secondary interest. she must regret the imprudence. and Anne. which had been taken. There was a little awkwardness at first in their discourse on another subject.PERSUASION her so. when a full account of the whole had burst on her.123 - . Their concerns had been sunk under those of Uppercross. She had lately lost sight even of her father and sister and Bath. She could not speak the name. than her own father's house in Camden Place. on topics which had by nature the first claim on her. and spoke her satisfaction in the house in Camden Place. When they came to converse. how much more interesting to her was the home and the friendship of the Harvilles and Captain Benwick. she was soon sensible of some mental change. Anne would have been ashamed to have it known how much more she was thinking of Lyme and Louisa Musgrove. his name distressed her no longer. Anne was conscious of not doing it so well as Lady Russell. lament the result. and been compelled to smother among the Musgroves. but still it must be talked of. The subjects of which her heart had been full on leaving Kellynch. and of hoping that she was to be blessed with a second spring of youth and beauty. and all her acquaintance there. till she had adopted the expedient of telling her briefly what she thought of the attachment between him and Louisa.

Anne. but internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure. Oh. should. for she had in fact so high an opinion of the Crofts. and brought a rather improving account of Louisa. felt the parish to be so sure of a good example. your feelings are less reconciled to the change than mine. on the contrary. eight years afterwards. “These rooms ought to belong only to us. with no circumstance to mark them excepting the receipt of a note or two from Lyme. and that Kellynch Hall had passed into better hands than its owners'. and the poor of the best attention and relief. she truly felt as she said. In such moments Anne had no power of saying to herself. that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of the value of an Anne Elliot. and wish them happy. These convictions must unquestionably have their own pain. and considered her father so very fortunate in his tenants. she could not but in conscience feel that they were gone who deserved not to stay. in pleased contempt. I really must call upon her soon. The first three or four days passed most quietly. By remaining in the neighbourhood.” She could have said more on the subject.124 - . she could not tell how. I am become inured to it. that however sorry and ashamed for the necessity of the removal. have you courage to go with me. in observing-“I think you are very likely to suffer the most of the two. and severe was its kind. “I must call on Mrs Croft. and returning through the well-known apartments.” Anne did not shrink from it.PERSUASION Lady Russell had only to listen composedly. but they precluded that pain which Lady Russell would suffer in entering the house again. Lady Russell's politeness could repose no longer. how fallen in their destination! How unworthily occupied! An ancient family to be so driven away! . and the fainter selfthreatenings of the past became in a decided tone. be charmed by a Louisa Musgrove. At the end of that period. which found their way to Anne. and pay a visit in that house? It will be some trial to us both.

and how liable she would still remain to suffer from the concussion hereafter! The Admiral wound it up summarily by exclaiming-“Ay. had brought Anne the last note. and it was perfectly decided that it had been the consequence of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence. Miss Elliot? This is breaking a head and giving a plaster. by breaking his mistress's head. which she had not been able to trace the exact steps of. truly!” Admiral Croft's manners were not quite of the tone to suit Lady Russell. sensible women. This was handsome. and on the present occasion. she had no sigh of that description to heave. and remembered where she had been used to sit and preside. except when she thought of her mother. and that it was frightful to think. there was particular attention.125 - . it could be canvassed only in one style by a couple of steady. and without any present intention of quitting it any more. is not it. His goodness of heart and simplicity of character were irresistible. it appeared that each lady dated her intelligence from the same hour of yestermorn. As to the sad catastrophe itself. particularly. that its effects were most alarming. and had spoken of those exertions as great. . she found. Mrs Croft always met her with a kindness which gave her the pleasure of fancying herself a favourite. and on comparing their latest accounts of the invalid. whose judgements had to work on ascertained events. and gave her more pleasure than almost anything else could have done. a very bad business indeed. He had enquired after her.PERSUASION Strangers filling their place!” No. how long Miss Musgrove's recovery might yet be doubtful. that Captain Wentworth had been in Kellynch yesterday (the first time since the accident). but they delighted Anne. receiving her in that house. A new sort of way this. The sad accident at Lyme was soon the prevailing topic. had expressed his hope of Miss Elliot's not being the worse for her exertions. had staid a few hours and then returned again to Lyme. for a young fellow to be making love.

” “Well. A very good man. I have done very little besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my dressing-room. so long! “You will tell Sir Walter what we have done. for yours were always kept in the butler's room. Miss Elliot. that the few alterations we have made have been all very much for the better. so it always is. My wife should have the credit of them. And so you must judge for yourself. Indeed. “Very few. The wonder was. very gratefully.” continued the Admiral. You can slip in from the shrubbery at any time. whenever it suits you. But now.126 - . “you will not think it a good place. One man's ways may be as good as another's.PERSUASION “Now. Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord! there was no getting away from one's self. I must do ourselves the justice to say.” Anne. and very much the gentleman I am sure: but I should think.” (looking with serious reflection).” said he. but it must be very bad. Get up and go over all the rooms in the house if you like it. I thank you. Ay. We told you about the laundrydoor. A good place is not it? But. and we soon shifted their . I declare. So I got Sophy to lend me a hand. did so. how any family upon earth could bear with the inconvenience of its opening as it did. not now. whether it would be better for you to go about the house or not. “to be coming and finding us here. Sir. I had not recollected it before. after thinking a moment. “I should think he must be rather a dressy man for his time of life. at Uppercross. finding she might decline it. do not stand upon ceremony. I believe. which was your father's. however.” (checking himself). suddenly rousing from a little reverie. and there you will find we keep our umbrellas hanging up by that door. and that Mr Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement the house ever had. this must be very bad for you. That has been a very great improvement. but we all like our own best.” “Another time. “We have made very few changes either.

He will be glad to hear it. now that we have been into most of the houses hereabouts and can judge. Miss Elliot. and another great thing that I never go near. with my compliments. with my little shaving glass in one corner. And take it altogether. was rather distressed for an answer. So ended all danger to Anne of meeting Captain Wentworth at Kellynch Hall. took up the subject again. to visit their connexions in the north of the county. the Crofts announced themselves to be going away for a few weeks. and now I am quite snug. Everything was safe enough.127 - . for when it was returned. and say that we are settled here quite to our liking. Pray say so.” Anne. pray give him my compliments and Mrs Croft's. which may not happen three times a winter. amused in spite of herself. and have no fault at all to find with the place. fearing he might not have been civil enough. and the Admiral.” Lady Russell and Mrs Croft were very well pleased with each other: but the acquaintance which this visit began was fated not to proceed far at present.PERSUASION quarters. or of seeing him in company with her friend. I grant you. and she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on the subject. there is not one that we like better than this. and probably might not be at home again before Lady Russell would be removing to Bath. . The breakfast-room chimney smokes a little. to say-“The next time you write to your good father. but it is only when the wind is due north and blows hard.

Charles Hayter had been at Lyme oftener than suited her. and though she might be pronounced to be altogether doing very well. had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring her with them. though clear. They had left Louisa beginning to sit up. it was still impossible to say when she might be able to bear the removal home. and at first Mrs Harville had always given Mrs Musgrove precedence.PERSUASION Chapter 14 Though Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme much longer after Mr and Mrs Musgrove's going than Anne conceived they could have been at all wanted. who must return in time to receive their younger children for the Christmas holidays. every possible supply from Uppercross had been furnished. Mary had had her evils. while the Harvilles had been wanting them to come to dinner every day. and her nerves susceptible to the highest extreme of tenderness. she had received so very handsome an apology from her on finding out .128 - . and her father and mother. and when they dined with the Harvilles there had been only a maid-servant to wait. and as soon as possible after their return to Uppercross they drove over to the Lodge. They had been all in lodgings together. it seemed to have been only a struggle on each side as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable. she had found more to enjoy than to suffer. Mrs Musgrove had got Mrs Harville's children away as much as she could. but then. was exceedingly weak. they were yet the first of the family to be at home again. as was evident by her staying so long. and in short. but upon the whole. but her head. to lighten the inconvenience to the Harvilles.

and the end of it was. and. and she had bathed. Charles laughed.” But Mary did not give into it very graciously. there had been so many walks between their lodgings and the Harvilles. and he seemed quite delighted.PERSUASION whose daughter she was. and changed them so often. “Now Mary. Mary's face was clouded directly. I thought it was all settled.” (turning to Anne.” Charles laughed again and said.129 - . “Oh! Captain Benwick is very well. 'he never shot' and he had 'been quite misunderstood. and he had not courage to come. but he is a very odd young man.) “He fancied that if he went with us. whether from not considering Captain Benwick entitled by birth and situation to be in love with an Elliot. his heart failed him. I suppose he was afraid of finding it dull. joined to the sense of being so very useful. It was all your doing. upon my honour. but upon my word I should have thought we were lively enough at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as Captain Benwick. and she had got books from the library. Mary knows it is. and there had been so much going on every day. you know very well how it really was. and there were a great many more people to look at in the church at Lyme than at Uppercross. he should find you close by: he fancied everybody to be living in Uppercross. he made a very awkward sort of excuse. for my part. Anne enquired after Captain Benwick. and when he discovered that Lady Russell lived three miles off. She had been taken to Charmouth too. had made really an agreeable fortnight. We asked him to come home with us for a day or two: Charles undertook to give him some shooting. must be left to be guessed. That is the fact. that he did not mean to come. and all this. and she had gone to church. Anne's good-will.' and he had promised this and he had promised that. . when behold! on Tuesday night. I do not know what he would be at. or from not wanting to believe Anne a greater attraction to Uppercross than herself. I believe. I found. that the balance had certainly been much in favour of Lyme.

ma'am. I declare. for as he has a taste for those sort of things.” admitted Charles.PERSUASION however.” cried Charles. but however. and continued her enquiries. sweetness. “it was a very little to his credit. “And that you are very likely to do very soon.130 - . Lady Russell.” “No. “I declare. he has found out something or other in one of them which he thinks-. I give you notice. and he wants to talk to you about them. Lady Russell? I am sure you will agree with me. and I am sure from his manner that you will have him calling here soon. and setting off again afterwards to pay a formal visit here.' Oh! there was no end of Miss Elliot's charms. 'Elegance.” said Lady Russell. Miss Harville only died last June.oh! I cannot pretend to remember it. warmly. and then 'Miss Elliot' was spoken of in the highest terms! Now Mary. if he did. it is a very clear thing that he admires you exceedingly. and I told him of the church's being so very well worth seeing.” “And I am sure. I can tell you. and he listened with all his understanding and soul. Such a heart is very little worth having.” “I must see Captain Benwick before I decide. “I do not know that he ever does. I declare it was so. “in such terms--” Mary interrupted him. His head is full of some books that he is reading upon your recommendation. Anne. and you were in the other room. “Oh! he talks of you. I never heard him mention Anne twice all the time I was there. but it was something very fine--I overheard him telling Henrietta all about it. was not to be lessened by what she heard. I heard it myself.” cried Mary. “Though he had not nerves for coming away with us.” said Charles. he will make his way over to Kellynch one day by himself.” . I told him the distance and the road. you may depend on it. in a general way. he never talks of you at all. is it. smiling. beauty. She boldly acknowledged herself flattered. Charles. I thought that would be a good excuse. So.

Mary. He is just Lady Russell's sort. that he will!” exclaimed Mary. He has walked with me. I think she would be so much pleased with his mind.” “You will not find anything very agreeable in him. and he will read all day long.” said Mary. but I am determined not to judge him beforehand. And when he does.PERSUASION “Any acquaintance of Anne's will always be welcome to me. I shall be very happy to see Captain Benwick. tauntingly.” “There we differ. steady and matter of fact as I may call myself.” “Well.” said Anne. from one end of the sands to the other. sometimes. “I think he is rather my acquaintance.” said Charles.” “Yes. for I have been seeing him every day this last fortnight. or anything that happens.” . you may depend upon hearing my opinion.” “So do I. I have really a curiosity to see the person who can give occasion to such directly opposite notions. I am sure you will not like him. “I am sure Lady Russell would like him. and not know when a person speaks to him. Anne. or when one drop's one's scissors.” “You will not like him. “Upon my word. He is one of the dullest young men that ever lived. Mary. “I should not have supposed that my opinion of any one could have admitted of such difference of conjecture. ma'am.” said she. that she would very soon see no deficiency in his manner. Do you think Lady Russell would like that?” Lady Russell could not help laughing. as your joint acquaintance. without saying a word. “He will sit poring over his book. I will answer for it. “Oh! as to being Anne's acquaintance.” was Lady Russell's kind answer.131 - . I wish he may be induced to call here. “I think Lady Russell would like him. I assure you. then. Give him a book. He is not at all a well-bred young man.

seemed to have a plan of going away for a week or ten days. With regard to Captain Wentworth. Lady Russell determined him to be unworthy of the interest which he had been beginning to excite. Captain Benwick came not. without wondering whether she might see him or hear of him. and after giving him a week's indulgence. “whom I have no wish to see. and wanted to persuade Captain Benwick to go with him. nor could Anne return from any stroll of solitary indulgence in her father's grounds. there was voluntary communication sufficient. Lady Russell could not hear the door-bell without feeling that it might be his herald.PERSUASION Lady Russell began talking of something else. and stopped her short in the midst of the Elliot countenance. The Musgroves came back to receive their happy boys and girls from school. He was either less disposed for it than Charles had imagined. He had talked of going down to Plymouth for a week. that he did not press for it at all. to . however. bringing with them Mrs Harville's little children.132 - . on the contrary. “He is a man. His spirits had been greatly recovering lately as might be expected. and. Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride over to Kellynch. and he was now quite a different creature from what he had been the first week. till her head was stronger. as Charles maintained to the last. Mr Elliot so extraordinarily. or rather missing. There can be no doubt that Lady Russell and Anne were both occasionally thinking of Captain Benwick. Mary spoke with animation of their meeting with.” This decision checked Mary's eagerness. or he was too shy. His declining to be on cordial terms with the head of his family. he had improved. He had not seen Louisa. but. As Louisa improved. and was so extremely fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview. has left a very strong impression in his disfavour with me.” said Lady Russell. or any visit of charity in the village. though Anne hazarded no enquiries. from this time.

in spite of all the noise of the others. that after all she had gone through. cutting up silk and gold paper. who got Anne near her on purpose to thank her most cordially. nothing was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home. of course. On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls. But Mrs Musgrove. and lessen that of Lyme. nor Charles Hayter. bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies. concluded a short recapitulation of what she had suffered herself by observing. talking with a very raised voice. where riotous boys were holding high revel. before her brothers and sisters went to school again. but all the rest of the family were again in their usual quarters. for all her attentions to them. nor Louisa. Louisa was now recovering apace. when Anne could not but feel that Uppercross was already quite alive again.133 - . Lady Russell and Anne paid their compliments to them once. Henrietta remained with Louisa. and sat down close to her for ten minutes. Anne. expressly arrived to amuse them. which Louisa's illness must have so greatly shaken. with a happy glance round the room. would have deemed such a domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves. and on the other were tressels and trays. the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire. generally in vain. The Harvilles had promised to come with her and . during their visit. and Mr Musgrove made a point of paying his respects to Lady Russell. but from the clamour of the children on his knees. which seemed determined to be heard. It was a fine family-piece. again and again.PERSUASION improve the noise of Uppercross. whom she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from the Cottage. Though neither Henrietta. the room presented as strong a contrast as could be wished to the last state she had seen it in. Her mother could even think of her being able to join their party at home. Immediately surrounding Mrs Musgrove were the little Harvilles. judging from her own temperament. nor Captain Wentworth were there. Charles and Mary also came in.

had been pointedly attentive. though very silent disinclination for Bath. though not saying. smoking in rain. whenever she returned. however disagreeable. she was feeling. This was very wonderful if it were true. for the present. with fond regret. nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet cheerfulness. or most distressing. Mr Elliot was in Bath. If Elizabeth and her father did not deceive themselves. yet too rapid. to the bustles of Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch. a third. “I hope I shall remember. her spirits rose under their influence.” Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters.134 - . and proclaim the value of the connection. and sounds are quite innoxious. Captain Wentworth was gone. had been taking much pains to seek the acquaintance. the bawling of newspapermen. caught the first dim view of the extensive buildings. in future. amidst the dash of other carriages. already recanting the sentiment she had so lately expressed to Mary. that after being long in the country. she made no complaint. Anne did not share these feelings. without any wish of seeing them better. muffin-men and milkmen.” said Lady Russell. felt their progress through the streets to be. and like Mrs Musgrove. He had called in Camden Place. and the ceaseless clink of pattens. to see his brother in Shropshire. She persisted in a very determined. was entering Bath on a wet afternoon. for who would be glad to see her when she arrived? And looked back.” She had a great wish to . When Lady Russell not long afterwards. Elizabeth's last letter had communicated a piece of news of some interest.PERSUASION stay at Uppercross. as soon as they were reseated in the carriage. by their sort rather than their quantity. No. and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place. of his being “a man whom she had no wish to see. had called a second time. “not to call at Uppercross in the Christmas holidays. and Lady Russell was in a state of very agreeable curiosity and perplexity about Mr Elliot. these were noises which belonged to the winter pleasures. as he had formerly taken pains to shew neglect. the heavy rumble of carts and drays.

in Rivers Street. but she felt that she would rather see Mr Elliot again than not. . which was more than she could say for many other persons in Bath. he must be forgiven for having dismembered himself from the paternal tree.PERSUASION see him. If he really sought to reconcile himself like a dutiful branch.135 - . Anne was not animated to an equal pitch by the circumstance. and Lady Russell then drove to her own lodgings. She was put down in Camden Place.

“Oh! when shall I leave you again?” A degree of unexpected cordiality. and both he and Elizabeth were settled there. They had no inclination to listen to her.PERSUASION Chapter 15 Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place. before the talk must be all their own. and met her with kindness. when they sat down to dinner. They were evidently in excellent spirits. and very smiling. Their house was undoubtedly the best in Camden Place. Her father and sister were glad to see her. and she was soon to listen to the causes. their drawing-rooms had many decided advantages over all the others which they had either seen or . in the welcome she received. Mrs Clay was very pleasant.136 - . anticipating an imprisonment of many months. and anxiously saying to herself. a lofty dignified situation. Kellynch very little: it was all Bath. After laying out for some compliments of being deeply regretted in their old neighbourhood. Anne had always felt that she would pretend what was proper on her arrival. was noticed as an advantage. but her courtesies and smiles were more a matter of course. such as becomes a man of consequence. they had only a few faint enquiries to make. Her making a fourth. did her good. Anne entered it with a sinking heart. but the complaisance of the others was unlooked for. for the sake of shewing her the house and furniture. which Anne could not pay. however. They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered their expectations in every respect. Uppercross excited no interest. much to their satisfaction.

Everybody was wanting to visit them. in his way to London.137 - . had been to leave his card in Camden Place. He had explained away all the appearance of neglect on his own side. such readiness to apologize for the past. They had not a fault to find in him. should find so much to be vain of in the littlenesses of a town. They had Mr Elliot too. and wonder too. (he had passed through Bath in November. at the possibility of that woman. and delicacy had kept him silent. following it up by such assiduous endeavours to meet. He had been in Bath about a fortnight.PERSUASION heard of. He was not only pardoned. but he had not been able to avail himself of it. as Elizabeth threw open the folding-doors and walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the other. but she must sigh that her father should feel no degradation in his change. they were delighted with him. Could Anne wonder that her father and sister were happy? She might not wonder.) but he had now been a fortnight in Bath. and she must sigh. and when they did meet. when the intelligence of Sir Walter's being settled there had of course reached him. boasting of their space. perhaps thirty feet asunder. and still were perpetually having cards left by people of whom they knew nothing. But this was not all which they had to make them happy. It had originated in misapprehension entirely. who had been mistress of Kellynch Hall. or the taste of the furniture. should see nothing to regret in the duties and dignity of the resident landholder. he had feared that he was thrown off. and his first object on arriving. Anne had a great deal to hear of Mr Elliot. Here were funds of enjoyment. that their former good understanding was completely reestablished. by such great openness of conduct. Upon the hint of having spoken . and smile. though only twenty-four hours in the place. finding extent to be proud of between two walls. He had never had an idea of throwing himself off. such solicitude to be received as a relation again. They had drawn back from many introductions. and the superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up. but knew not why. Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought after.

had perfectly understood the whole story. assured of her having been a very fine woman. but his character and general conduct must refute it. were found to admit of much extenuation. by every proof of cousinly notice. and excessively in love with his friend. This was an article not to be entered on by himself. Sir Walter added). who had ever boasted of being an Elliot. She had sought him. Mr Elliot had called repeatedly. rich. He was astonished. a Colonel Wallis. He could refer Sir Walter to all who knew him. evidently delighted by the distinction of being asked. been admitted to their acquaintance through Mr Elliot. was a strong proof of his opinions on the subject. He. perfectly the gentleman. had mentioned one or two things relative to the marriage. a highly respectable man. to be restored to the footing of a relation and heir-presumptive.PERSUASION disrespectfully or carelessly of the family and the family honours. The circumstances of his marriage. moreover. the first opportunity of reconciliation. had dined with them once. but a very intimate friend of his. and had. she allowed it be a great extenuation. at his own particular request. who was living in very good style in Marlborough Buildings. . too. She was certainly not a woman of family. had been well acquainted also with his wife. the pains he had been taking on this. as to connection. not all her money would have tempted Elliot. and though Elizabeth could not see the circumstance in quite so favourable a light. and placing his whole happiness in being on intimate terms in Camden Place. Colonel Wallis had known Mr Elliot long. in short. for they gave no dinners in general. (and not an ill-looking man. Without that attraction. in love with him! Sir Walter seemed to admit it as complete apology.138 - . and certainly. Here was a great deal to soften the business. accomplished. delighted. indeed. and Sir Walter was. There had been the charm. were only too strict to suit the unfeudal tone of the present day. but well educated. and whose feelings. he was quite indignant. A very fine woman with a large fortune. which made a material difference in the discredit of it.

seemed apparent by a glance or two between them. There might really have been a liking formerly. he might mean to pay his addresses to her. Allowances. his . she knew.139 - . with well-bred. and that her friend Mrs Clay was encouraging the idea. or too observant if Elizabeth were his object. knowing her but in public. He did justice to his very gentlemanlike appearance. In a worldly view. Still. All that sounded extravagant or irrational in the progress of the reconciliation might have no origin but in the language of the relators. How her temper and understanding might bear the investigation of his present keener time of life was another concern and rather a fearful one. it had been Mr Elliot.” They could not listen to her description of him. Most earnestly did she wish that he might not be too nice. while Mr Elliot's frequent visits were talked of. his air of elegance and fashion. and that Elizabeth was disposed to believe herself so. must be made for the ideas of those who spoke. A sensible man. and when very young himself. They were describing him themselves. after an interval of so many years. she had the sensation of there being something more than immediately appeared. to be well received by them. It might be him. Elizabeth was certainly very handsome. large allowances. and he had looked like a very sensible man. and her character might never have been penetrated by Mr Elliot. his good shaped face. he had nothing to gain by being on terms with Sir Walter. perhaps. She heard it all under embellishment. in Mr Elliot's wishing. Anne mentioned the glimpses she had had of him at Lyme.PERSUASION Anne listened. but without quite understanding it. perhaps. however. “Oh! yes. elegant manners. but without being much attended to. perhaps. though convenience and accident had drawn him a different way. why should it be an object to him? She could only offer one solution. nothing to risk by a state of variance. They did not know. In all probability he was already the richer of the two. it was. and now that he could afford to please himself. and the Kellynch estate would as surely be his hereafter as the title. for Elizabeth's sake. Sir Walter especially.

PERSUASION sensible eye. But still. were talked of the whole evening. Sir Walter thought much of Mrs Wallis. which had embarrassed him.” and as soon as she recovered they were to be acquainted.” but Sir Walter had “not been able to return the compliment entirely. by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced. and his friends in Marlborough Buildings. but Mr Elliot spoke of her as “a most charming woman.140 - . to be sure. He had frequently observed. Such scarecrows as the streets were full of! It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of anything tolerable. He had never walked anywhere arm-in-arm with Colonel . without there being a tolerable face among them. beautiful. there certainly were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath. Mr Elliot was better to look at than most men. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women. It had been a frosty morning.” Mr Elliot. He did not mean to complain. “Colonel Wallis had been so impatient to be introduced to them! and Mr Elliot so anxious that he should!” and there was a Mrs Wallis. nor could he pretend to say that ten years had not altered almost every feature for the worse. “must lament his being very much under-hung. Mr Elliot appeared to think that he (Sir Walter) was looking exactly as he had done when they last parted. he had counted eighty-seven women go by. or five-and-thirty frights. she was said to be an excessively pretty woman. a sharp frost. He hoped she might make some amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the streets. but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. and once. and he had no objection to being seen with him anywhere. at present known only to them by description. as he walked. as she was in daily expectation of her confinement. which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. as he had stood in a shop on Bond Street. The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. that one handsome face would be followed by thirty. a defect which time seemed to have increased. but. “He longed to see her. however. at the same time. one after another. and as for the men! they were infinitely worse. quite worthy of being known in Camden Place.

” Modest Sir Walter! He was not allowed to escape. His daughter and Mrs Clay united in hinting that Colonel Wallis's companion might have as good a figure as Colonel Wallis. I would send her a new hat and pelisse. in the height of his good humour. which was all as politely done. but “he could not be so near without wishing to know that neither she nor her friend had taken cold the day before. and grow coarse. “How is Mary looking?” said Sir Walter. and her sister his apologies for calling at so unusual an hour. every woman's eye was sure to be upon Colonel Wallis. It was possible that he might stop in his way home to ask them how they did. It was the same. would not be liable to any such misuse. but I hope that may not happen every day. They could think of no one else. as possible. Mrs Clay decidedly thought it Mr Elliot's knock. Sir Walter talked of his youngest daughter.” Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a gown. &c. that must have been quite accidental. “The last time I saw her she had a red nose. but her part must follow then. and as politely taken. while the others received his compliments.” &c. however. or a cap. Mr Elliot was ushered into the room. “A knock at the door! and so late! It was ten o'clock.” “Oh! no.PERSUASION Wallis (who was a fine military figure. when a knock at the door suspended everything. In general she has been in very good health and very good looks since Michaelmas.” “If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds. though sandy-haired) without observing that every woman's eye was upon him. the very same man. With all the state which a butler and foot-boy could give. Could it be Mr Elliot? They knew he was to dine in Lansdown Crescent. “Mr Elliot must give him leave to present him to his youngest daughter” (there was no . Anne drew a little back.141 - . and certainly was not sandy-haired.” Mrs Clay was right. with no difference but of dress.

mirth continually. There could be no doubt of his being a sensible man. and regret that he should have lost such an opportunity of paying his respects to her. equally good.PERSUASION occasion for remembering Mary). he began to talk to her of Lyme. to give his own route. his eyes brightened! and with the most perfect alacrity he welcomed the relationship. “Well.142 - . so particularly agreeable. thought they must be a most delightful set of people. and improved their conversation very much. If he had but asked who the party were! The name of Musgrove would have told him enough. his expressions. on the principal of its being very ungenteel to be curious. had heard voices. his countenance improved by speaking. As soon as he could. longed to be with them. She gave him a short account of her party and business at Lyme. with amusement at his little start of surprise. so easy. They were not the same. Ten minutes were enough to certify that. His regret increased as he listened. His tone. He looked completely astonished. but certainly without the smallest suspicion of his possessing the shadow of a right to introduce himself. when quite a young man. but they were. and Anne. He was quite as good-looking as he had appeared at Lyme. perhaps. smiling and blushing. very becomingly shewed to Mr Elliot the pretty features which he had by no means forgotten. which he had adopted. He sat down with them. and his manners were so exactly what they ought to be. his knowing where to stop. He had spent his whole solitary evening in the room adjoining theirs. understand something of hers. his choice of subject. alluded to the past. discerning mind. that he had not been at all aware of who she was. . but not more astonished than pleased. wanting to compare opinions respecting the place. it was all the operation of a sensible. so polished. that she could compare them in excellence to only one person's manners. and entreated to be received as an acquaintance already. and instantly saw. but especially wanting to speak of the circumstance of their happening to be guests in the same inn at the same time. it would serve to cure him of an absurd practice of never asking a question at an inn.

soon after his leaving the place. but the difference in their manner of doing it could not be unfelt. than those of any other set of beings in the world. I believe. Sir Walter and Elizabeth began to question also. in the wish of really comprehending what had passed. The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the folly of what they have in view. he was soon diffused again among the others. and it was only at intervals that he could return to Lyme. before Mr Elliot or any of them seemed to feel that he had been there long. Anne could not have supposed it possible that her first evening in Camden Place could have passed so well! .PERSUASION “The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty.143 - .” and the watchman was beginning to be heard at a distance telling the same tale. and in the degree of concern for what she must have suffered in witnessing it. When he questioned. produced at length an account of the scene she had been engaged in there. are more absurd. however.” said he. She could only compare Mr Elliot to Lady Russell.” But he must not be addressing his reflections to Anne alone: he knew it.” he must hear the whole. His enquiries. “as to what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing. Having alluded to “an accident. He staid an hour with them. The elegant little clock on the mantelpiece had struck “eleven with its silver sounds.

but the praise of the fine mind did not appear to excite a thought in her sister. To your fine mind. In the course of the same morning.” for Elizabeth was replying in a sort of whisper. Anne and her father chancing to be alone together.144 - . “That must not be any reason.” and she was in full time to hear her father say. On going down to breakfast the next morning. perhaps. she found there had just been a decent pretence on the lady's side of meaning to leave them. I well know the sight of beauty is a real gratification. might express some watchfulness. compared with you. “My dear madam.” He spoke and looked so much in earnest. which was. As yet. The lady could not but yield to such joint entreaties. indeed. would have been more thankful to ascertain even than Mr Elliot's being in love with Elizabeth. on returning to her family.PERSUASION Chapter 16 There was one point which Anne. when she had been at home a few hours. . that “now Miss Anne was come. the beautiful Mrs Wallis. that Anne was not surprised to see Mrs Clay stealing a glance at Elizabeth and herself. you have seen nothing of Bath. her father's not being in love with Mrs Clay. “You have been here only to be useful. Her countenance. and promise to stay. he began to compliment her on her improved looks. She could imagine Mrs Clay to have said. she could not suppose herself at all wanted. She is nothing to me. this must not be. I assure you I feel it none. and she was very far from easy about it. You must stay to be acquainted with Mrs Wallis. You must not run away from us now.

she grew more charitable. . “Can this be Mr Elliot?” and could not seriously picture to herself a more agreeable or estimable man. without defying public opinion in any point of worldly decorum. almost ready to exclaim. her complexion. as a person in Bath who drinks the water. towards the others. and on conversing with him she found the solid so fully supporting the superficial. He had strong feelings of family attachment and family honour. and has a very large acquaintance.145 - . As for herself. His manners were an immediate recommendation. during the spring months. he judged for himself in everything essential. correct opinions. and vexed her as much when she was away. But everything must take its chance. if Elizabeth were also to marry. fresher. or I should recommend Gowland. especially as it did not appear to Anne that the freckles were at all lessened. and of Anne so overlooked. and you see what it has done for her. gets all the new publications.” he supposed.” and added.” “Merely Gowland. As Mr Elliot became known to her. she might always command a home with Lady Russell. The evil of a marriage would be much diminished. nothing. The sight of Mrs Clay in such favour. Mrs Clay has been using it at my recommendation.” “Ha! he was surprised at that. “No. clearer. in her cheeks. knowledge of the world. nothing at all. greatly improved. You see how it has carried away her freckles. without pride or weakness. in her intercourse in Camden Place. was a perpetual provocation to her there. he lived with the liberality of a man of fortune. Had she been using any thing in particular?” “No. without display. or more indifferent. that she was at first.PERSUASION he thought her “less thin in her person. “certainly you cannot do better than to continue as you are. Everything united in him. the constant use of Gowland. her skin. and a warm heart.” If Elizabeth could but have heard this! Such personal praise might have struck her. good understanding. as she told Anne. you cannot be better than well. Lady Russell's composed mind and polite manners were put to some trial on this point. has time to be vexed.

Anne could never see the crape round his hat. too. at a mature time of life. and only erring in the heyday of youth. Her satisfaction in Mr Elliot outweighed all the plague of Mrs Clay. observant. In Lady Russell's view. She could determine nothing at present. and what would very generally recommend him among all sensible people. but it had been no unhappiness to sour his mind. still to smile about it. in Mr Elliot's great desire of a reconciliation. in attributing to him such imaginations. and made only this cautious reply:-. nothing to require more motives than appeared. the simplest process in the world of time upon a head naturally clear.PERSUASION He was steady. for though his marriage had not been very happy. and at last to mention “Elizabeth. and a value for all the felicities of domestic life. A little delay on his side might be very excusable.146 - . therefore. that Lady Russell should see nothing suspicious or inconsistent. which characters of fancied enthusiasm and violent agitation seldom really possess. still it had existed so many years that she could not . It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and her excellent friend could sometimes think differently. time will explain. candid.” Lady Russell listened. should feel it a most desirable object. and she was in the habit of such general observance as “Miss Elliot. Anne presumed. with a sensibility to what was amiable and lovely. moderate. Colonel Wallis said it. felt she must submit to. had not been a widower seven months.” that any particularity of attention seemed almost impossible. and looked. it must be remembered. never run away with by spirits or by selfishness. and it did not surprise her. In that house Elizabeth must be first. after a little observation. In fact. and Lady Russell saw it. Mr Elliot. and yet. which fancied itself strong feeling. however. nor (she began pretty soon to suspect) to prevent his thinking of a second choice. which Anne. to be on good terms with the head of his family. She was sure that he had not been happy in marriage. without fearing that she was the inexcusable one.” It was a reference to the future.“Elizabeth! very well. it was perfectly natural that Mr Elliot.

The Bath paper one morning announced the arrival of the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple. as herself. most unfortunately) were cousins of the Elliots. . and the difficulties of the case arose from there having been a suspension of all intercourse by letters of ceremony. he was without any question their pleasantest acquaintance in Bath: she saw nobody equal to him. It was not merely complaisance. She had hoped better things from their high ideas of their own situation in life. and it was a great indulgence now and then to talk to him about Lyme. but had never seen any of the rest of the family. was swept away for many days. He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with some earnestness. and was reduced to form a wish which she had never foreseen. which he seemed to have as lively a wish to see again. and she must acknowledge herself disappointed.” sounded in her ears all day long. a wish that they had more pride. Camden Place. for “our cousins Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret. when. and she remembered another person's look also. However it might end.PERSUASION comprehend a very rapid recovery from the awful impression of its being dissolved. and her daughter.147 - . and all the comfort of No. --. and to see more of.” “our cousins. His value for rank and connexion she perceived was greater than hers. there had been an unlucky omission at Kellynch. which made him enter warmly into her father and sister's solicitudes on a subject which she thought unworthy to excite them. ever since the death of that said late viscount. Anne had never seen her father and sister before in contact with nobility. They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great many times. Sir Walter had once been in company with the late viscount. the Honourable Miss Carteret. the Dalrymples. it must be a liking to the cause. and the agony was how to introduce themselves properly. She knew it well. for the Dalrymples (in Anne's opinion. in consequence of a dangerous illness of Sir Walter's at the same time. They did not always think alike.

The neglect had been visited on the head of the sinner. in a more rational manner. and. however. There was no superiority of manner. Anne was ashamed. Lady Dalrymple had acquired the name of “a charming woman. and would be living in style. if it could be done. Had Lady Dalrymple and her daughter even been very agreeable. Neither Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot could admire the letter. but it did all that was wanted. without any compromise of propriety on the side of the Elliots. and should be happy in their acquaintance. consequently. How to have this anxious business set to rights. no letter of condolence was received at Kellynch. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret. She had been at Bath the year before. she would still have been ashamed of the agitation they created. Lady Dalrymple had taken a house. for three months.” The toils of the business were over. and at last wrote a very fine letter of ample explanation. neither Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot thought unimportant. was so plain . or understanding. for when poor Lady Elliot died herself. regret. to be arranged wherever they might be most visible: and “Our cousins in Laura Place. to his right honourable cousin. but they were nothing.” were talked of to everybody.148 - .PERSUASION No letter of condolence had been sent to Ireland. in bringing three lines of scrawl from the Dowager Viscountess. in Laura Place. good company always worth seeking. Miss Carteret. was the question: and it was a question which. the sweets began. and the Honourable Miss Carteret. and be admitted as cousins again. accomplishment. “She was very much honoured. They visited in Laura Place. would choose his own means. “Family connexions were always worth preserving. and Lady Russell had heard her spoken of as a charming woman. there was but too much reason to apprehend that the Dalrymples considered the relationship as closed."--"Our cousin.” Sir Walter. and entreaty. they had the cards of Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple. with still less to say.” because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody. It was very desirable that the connexion should be renewed.

” . that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but for her birth. but a little learning is by no means a dangerous thing in good company. and as rank is rank. on the contrary. and enjoy all the advantages of the connexion as far as possible? You may depend upon it. that is the best. She is fastidious.” said he gently. as a family connexion. Lady Russell confessed she had expected something better. and not wishing to be answered. that is what I call good company. I suppose” (smiling) “I have more pride than any of you. as those who would collect good company around them. and with regard to education is not very nice.” and when Anne ventured to speak her opinion of them to Mr Elliot. they had their value. well-informed people.149 - . but will it answer? Will it make you happy? Will it not be wiser to accept the society of those good ladies in Laura Place.” sighed Anne. as good company. Good company requires only birth. Mr Elliot. Anne smiled and said. which we may be very sure is a matter of perfect indifference to them. My dear cousin” (sitting down by her). be known to be related to them!” then recollecting herself. it will do very well. but yet “it was an acquaintance worth having. that we should be so solicitous to have the relationship acknowledged. he agreed to their being nothing in themselves. that they will move in the first set in Bath this winter. My cousin Anne shakes her head. She is not satisfied. is the company of clever.” “You are mistaken. “My idea of good company. “we shall. “I certainly do think there has been by far too much trouble taken to procure the acquaintance. Birth and good manners are essential. “that is not good company. and manners. education. who have a great deal of conversation. “you have a better right to be fastidious than almost any other woman I know. she added. your being known to be related to them will have its use in fixing your family (our family let me say) in that degree of consideration which we must all wish for.” “Yes.PERSUASION and so awkward. indeed. but I confess it does vex me. but still maintained that.

to the seat which Mrs Clay had been lately occupying: a sufficient explanation of what he particularly meant. I am sure. and though Anne could not believe in their having the same sort of pride. I have no doubt. would have the same object. “it is very natural. my dear cousin.PERSUASION “Pardon me. if investigated. too proud to enjoy a welcome which depends so entirely upon place. You talk of being proud. dear cousin. it might be as you say: but in Bath.” “I love your indignation. may be of use in diverting his thoughts from those who are beneath him. as he spoke. and her conscience admitted that his wishing to promote her father's getting great acquaintance was more than excusable in the view of defeating her. and I shall not wish to believe myself otherwise. we must feel alike. I am sure. We must feel that every addition to your father's society. she was pleased with him for not liking Mrs Clay. Sir Walter Elliot and his family will always be worth knowing: always acceptable as acquaintance. though there was no one else in the room) “in one point.” He looked. among his equals or superiors. But here you are in Bath. “I certainly am proud.150 - . for our pride.” “Well. In one point.” said Anne. in your present quiet style of living. speaking lower. you are unjust in your own claims.” (he continued. and the object is to be established here with all the credit and dignity which ought to belong to Sir Walter Elliot. In London.” said he. I am called proud. though the kind may seem a little different. I know. perhaps. .

She had called on her former governess. now Mrs Smith.PERSUASION Chapter 17 While Sir Walter and Elizabeth were assiduously pushing their good fortune in Laura Place. and could never be remembered with indifference. Her husband had been extravagant. was said to have married a man of fortune. and this was all that Anne had known of her. three years older than herself. had married not long afterwards. And Miss Hamilton. Miss Hamilton had left school. feeling her separation from home. and had heard from her of there being an old school-fellow in Bath. and at his death. grieving for the loss of a mother whom she had dearly loved. had shewn her kindness in one of those periods of her life when it had been most valuable. Anne had gone unhappy to school. about two years before. Anne was renewing an acquaintance of a very different description. and suffering as a girl of fourteen. but still from the want of near relations and a settled home. who had the two strong claims on her attention of past kindness and present suffering. She was a widow and poor.151 - . remaining another year at school. must suffer at such a time. Miss Hamilton. till now that their governess's account brought her situation forward in a more decided but very different form. had left his affairs dreadfully . of strong sensibility and not high spirits. had been useful and good to her in a way which had considerably lessened her misery.

in all the glow of health and confidence of superiority. and twelve years had transformed the fine-looking. and left only the interesting charm of remembering former partialities and talking over old times. Twelve years were gone since they had parted. which. or what she intended. Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming. and was most happy to convey her as near to Mrs Smith's lodgings in Westgate Buildings. Their mutual friend answered for the satisfaction which a visit from Miss Elliot would give Mrs Smith. to the elegant little woman of seven-and-twenty. their acquaintance re-established. into a poor. with every beauty except bloom. The first ten minutes had its awkwardness and its emotion.152 - . and was now in lodgings near the hot baths. Anne found in Mrs Smith the good sense and agreeable manners which she had almost ventured to depend on. as Anne chose to be taken. unable even to afford herself the comfort of a servant. silent. helpless widow. and with manners as consciously right as they were invariably gentle. receiving the visit of her former protegee as a favour. Neither the dissipations of the past--and she had lived very much in the world--nor . living in a very humble way. She only consulted Lady Russell. and each presented a somewhat different person from what the other had imagined. She mentioned nothing of what she had heard. and in addition to these distresses had been afflicted with a severe rheumatic fever.PERSUASION involved. She had had difficulties of every sort to contend with. and Anne therefore lost no time in going. and of course almost excluded from society. unformed girl of fifteen. well-grown Miss Hamilton. and a disposition to converse and be cheerful beyond her expectation. but all that was uncomfortable in the meeting had soon passed away. their interest in each other more than re-kindled. at home. The visit was paid. who entered thoroughly into her sentiments. infirm. had made her for the present a cripple. finally settling in her legs. It would excite no proper interest there. She had come to Bath on that account.

She could scarcely imagine a more cheerless situation in itself than Mrs Smith's. which there was only one servant in the house to afford. and a dark bedroom behind. compared with her state on first reaching Bath. which was from nature alone. reflected. and had hardly taken possession of her lodgings before she was again confined to her bed and suffering under severe and constant pain. and could truly say that it had done her good. to hours of occupation and enjoyment. that disposition to be comforted. It was the choicest gift of Heaven. a strong understanding would supply resolution. Her accommodations were limited to a noisy parlour. and of finding employment which carried her out of herself. however.153 - . Anne had reason to believe that she had moments only of languor and depression. observed. but here was something more. by a merciful appointment. and all this among strangers. and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which. that power of turning readily from evil to good. when her spirits had nearly failed. no relations to assist in the arrangement of perplexed affairs. She had been used to affluence: it was gone. A submissive spirit might be patient. Yet. here was that elasticity of mind.PERSUASION the restrictions of the present. She had weathered it. no health to make all the rest supportable. been a pitiable object. and she never quitted the house but to be conveyed into the warm bath. and finally determined that this was not a case of fortitude or of resignation only. for she had caught cold on the journey. and Anne's astonishment increased. She had been very fond of her husband: she had buried him. neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to have closed her heart or ruined her spirits. and finances at that moment particularly unfit to meet any extraordinary expense. Then she had. She could not call herself an invalid now. in spite of all this. it seems designed to counterbalance almost every other want. In the course of a second visit she talked with great openness. Mrs Smith told her. How could it be? She watched. She had no child to connect her with life and happiness again. indeed. with the absolute necessity of having a regular nurse. with no possibility of moving from one to the other without assistance. There had been a time. It .

when they have recently escaped from severe pain. as a companion. To me. intelligent.PERSUASION had increased her comforts by making her feel herself to be in good hands. chanced to be at liberty just in time to attend her. She had a large acquaintance. is a treat. Call it gossip.154 - . if you will. of course professionally. and if they are intelligent may be well worth listening to. Hers is a line for seeing human nature. One likes to hear what is going on. “Everybody's heart is open. and who had always a home in that house when unemployed. Women of that class have great opportunities. far from wishing to cavil at the pleasure. as a sister of her landlady. “besides nursing me most admirably. She always takes the right time for applying. make her infinitely superior to thousands of those who having only received 'the best education in the world. which. you know.” Anne. but when Nurse Rooke has half an hour's leisure to bestow on me.” said Mrs Smith. to be au fait as to the newest modes of being trifling and silly. has really proved an invaluable acquaintance. replied. or are recovering the blessing of health. which you always find me so busy about. “I can easily believe it. and which supply me with the means of doing a little good to one or two very poor families in this neighbourhood. but her illness had proved to her that her landlady had a character to preserve. among those who can afford to buy. She is a shrewd. who live so much alone. to expect sudden or disinterested attachment anywhere. pin-cushions and card-racks. I assure you. and she has a fund of good sense and observation. and Nurse Rooke thoroughly understands when to speak. which has been a great amusement.' know nothing worth attending to. As soon as I could use my hands she taught me to knit. She had seen too much of the world. and she had been particularly fortunate in her nurse. and she disposes of my merchandize. and would not use her ill. “And she. and she put me in the way of making these little thread-cases. she is sure to have something to relate that is entertaining and profitable: something that makes one know one's species better. her conversation. a nurse by profession. sensible woman. Such varieties of .

patience. resignation: of all the conflicts and all the sacrifices that ennoble us most. selfdenying attachment. though I fear its lessons are not often in the elevated style you describe. before the existence of such a person was known in Camden Place. fashionable woman. I believe. fortitude. A sick chamber may often furnish the worth of volumes. Here and there. Elizabeth and Mrs Clay. What instances must pass before them of ardent. disinterested. It was but a passing emotion however with Mrs Smith. it became necessary to speak of her. human nature may be great in times of trial. and I intend she shall buy all the high-priced things I have in hand now. however. and the wife had been led among that part of mankind which made her think worse of the world than she hoped it deserved.” Anne had called several times on her friend. and soon added in a different tone-“I do not suppose the situation my friend Mrs Rooke is in at present. Sir Walter. and of course will have nothing to report but of lace and finery.155 - .” “Yes. There is so little real friendship in the world! and unfortunately” (speaking low and tremulously) “there are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late. for they see it occasionally under every circumstance that can be most interesting or affecting.PERSUASION human nature as they are in the habit of witnessing! And it is not merely in its follies.” said Mrs Smith more doubtingly. The husband had not been what he ought. returned one . At last. that one hears of. a mere pretty. she shook it off. “sometimes it may. but generally speaking. of heroism. expensive.” Anne saw the misery of such feelings. it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a sick chamber: it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity and fortitude. She has plenty of money. silly. “I mean to make my profit of Mrs Wallis. She is only nursing Mrs Wallis of Marlborough Buildings. that they are well read. will furnish much either to interest or edify me.

PERSUASION morning from Laura Place. “Upon my word. disgusting associations are inviting to you. “on the contrary. to make it understood what this old schoolfellow was. but I do not think I can put off my engagement. and who was her husband? One of five thousand Mr Smiths whose names are to be met with everywhere. sir. What is her age? Forty?” “No. But surely you may put off this old lady till to-morrow: she is not so near her end. They were only asked. and Elizabeth was disdainful. and has generally taken me when I have called on Mrs Smith. Miss Anne Elliot. “Westgate Buildings!” said he. but still there were questions enough asked. “and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be visiting in Westgate Buildings? A Mrs Smith. she was sure. “She sees nothing to blame in it.156 - .” “But what does Lady Russell think of this acquaintance?” asked Elizabeth. and Anne was already engaged. foul air. paltry rooms. she is not one-and-thirty. She was not sorry for the excuse. she approves it. you know. because Lady Dalrymple being kept at home by a bad cold. I presume.” replied Anne. She goes into the warm bath to-morrow. and she declined on her own account with great alacrity--"She was engaged to spend the evening with an old schoolfellow. and Sir Walter severe. to spend that evening in Westgate Buildings. low company.” They were not much interested in anything relative to Anne. And what is her attraction? That she is old and sickly. A widow Mrs Smith. because it is the only evening for some time which will at once suit her and myself. was glad to make use of the relationship which had been so pressed on her. we are engaged. but that she may hope to see another day. with a sudden invitation from Lady Dalrymple for the same evening. you have the most extraordinary taste! Everything that revolts other people. and for the rest of the week. .

but her sense of personal respect to her father prevented her. who had been present while all this passed. and had been at the trouble of inviting both Lady Russell and Mr Elliot. She made no reply. but had actually been happy to be employed by her in collecting others. and to be preferred by her to her own family connections among the nobility of England and Ireland! Mrs Smith! Such a name!” Mrs Clay. in having been wished for. its greatest interest must be. but still it is a handsome equipage. manners. Anne kept her appointment. She had been the only one of the set absent. . and did long to say a little in defense of her friend's not very dissimilar claims to theirs. seemed to have quite delighted Mr Elliot. indeed. sick and reduced. a model of female excellence. She left it to himself to recollect. compassionate visits to this old schoolfellow. and Mr Elliot had made a point of leaving Colonel Wallis early. and Lady Russell had fresh arranged all her evening engagements in order to wait on her.157 - . has no honours to distinguish her arms.PERSUASION “Westgate Buildings must have been rather surprised by the appearance of a carriage drawn up near its pavement. the others kept theirs. regretted. Her kind. now thought it advisable to leave the room. in having been very much talked of between her friend and Mr Elliot. and no sirname of dignity. and at the same time honoured for staying away in such a cause. mind. to be the chosen friend of Miss Anne Elliot. that Mrs Smith was not the only widow in Bath between thirty and forty. of all people and all names in the world. with little to live on. between thirty and forty. in her temper. He thought her a most extraordinary young woman. A widow Mrs Smith lodging in Westgate Buildings! A poor widow barely able to live.” observed Sir Walter. and of course she heard the next morning that they had had a delightful evening. a mere Mrs Smith. and Anne could have said much. Anne had the whole history of all that such an evening could supply from Lady Russell. an every-day Mrs Smith. “Sir Henry Russell's widow. To her. and no doubt is well known to convey a Miss Elliot. for Sir Walter and Elizabeth had not only been quite at her ladyship's service themselves.

of a possible attachment on his side. You are your mother's self in countenance and disposition. the future Lady Elliot. I think there would be every possibility of your being happy together. without many of those agreeable sensations which her friend meant to create. to look forward and see you occupying your dear mother's place. and only said in rejoinder. She would not speak to Anne with half the certainty she felt on the subject. and was beginning to calculate the number of weeks which would free him from all the remaining restraints of widowhood. as well as to all her virtues.” “Mr Elliot is an exceedingly agreeable man.158 - . “I am no match-maker. Lady Russell was now perfectly decided in her opinion of Mr Elliot. and home. and made no violent exclamations. “but we should not suit. “being much too well aware of the uncertainty of all human events and calculations. and leave him at liberty to exert his most open powers of pleasing. She was as much convinced of his meaning to gain Anne in time as of his deserving her. and all her popularity. and if I might be allowed to fancy you such as she was. and gently shook her head. of the desirableness of the alliance.” said Anne. Anne heard her. supposing such attachment to be real and returned. as you well know. would be the highest possible gratification to me. she only smiled.PERSUASION He could meet even Lady Russell in a discussion of her merits. and Anne could not be given to understand so much by her friend. and only superior to her in being . could not know herself to be so highly rated by a sensible man. I only mean that if Mr Elliot should some time hence pay his addresses to you. and in many respects I think highly of him. she would venture on little more than hints of what might be hereafter. “I own that to be able to regard you as the future mistress of Kellynch. but I think it might be a very happy one. and if you should be disposed to accept him. in situation and name.” said Lady Russell. blushed. A most suitable connection everybody must consider it. succeeding to all her rights.” Lady Russell let this pass. presiding and blessing in the same spot.

professed good opinions. what Anne did not believe. and. her home for ever. if not the present. grown old enough to appreciate a fair character? How could it ever be ascertained that his mind was truly cleansed? . willing to leave the matter to its own operation. at least. try to subdue the feelings this picture excited. was a charm which she could not immediately resist.PERSUASION more highly valued! My dearest Anne. though he might now think very differently. calling it her home again. She never could accept him. The charm of Kellynch and of “Lady Elliot” all faded away. that there had been a period of his life (and probably not a short one) when he had been. suggested suspicions not favourable of what he had been. The same image of Mr Elliot speaking for himself brought Anne to composure again. that Sunday travelling had been a common thing. on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a case was against Mr Elliot. her judgement. who could answer for the true sentiments of a clever. could Mr Elliot at that moment with propriety have spoken for himself!--she believed. but yet she would have been afraid to answer for his conduct. seemed to judge properly and as a man of principle. of being restored to Kellynch. and believing that. For a few moments her imagination and her heart were bewitched. nor could she fix on any one article of moral duty evidently transgressed. to walk to a distant table. And it was not only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one. and. The names which occasionally dropt of former associates. That he was a sensible man.159 - . leaning there in pretended employment. cautious man. She saw that there had been bad habits. an agreeable man. of having the precious name of “Lady Elliot” first revived in herself. that he talked well. He certainly knew what was right. this was all clear enough. to rise. she could not be satisfied that she really knew his character. The idea of becoming what her mother had been. in short. Though they had now been acquainted a month. the allusions to former practices and pursuits. Lady Russell said not another word. careless in all serious matters. it would give me more delight than is often felt at my time of life!” Anne was obliged to turn away. She distrusted the past.

he pleased them all. at the evil or good of others. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing. discreet. in the course of the following autumn. Lady Russell saw either less or more than her young friend. She prized the frank. whose tongue never slipped.160 - . Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. Mr Elliot was too generally agreeable. had appeared completely to see what Mrs Clay was about. She could not imagine a man more exactly what he ought to be than Mr Elliot. nor did she ever enjoy a sweeter feeling than the hope of seeing him receive the hand of her beloved Anne in Kellynch church. the open-hearted.PERSUASION Mr Elliot was rational. There was never any burst of feeling. to Anne. stood too well with every body. than of those whose presence of mind never varied. for she saw nothing to excite distrust. Her early impressions were incurable. any warmth of indignation or delight. and to hold her in contempt. . the eager character beyond all others. This. but he was not open. was a decided imperfection. He endured too well. and yet Mrs Clay found him as agreeable as any body. polished. Various as were the tempers in her father's house. He had spoken to her with some degree of openness of Mrs Clay.

and Anne. having been a month in Bath. and she was thinking of them all very intently one evening.” Anne could listen no longer. I should have visited Admiral Croft. with Admiral and Mrs Croft's compliments. when a thicker letter than usual from Mary was delivered to her. The Crofts must be in Bath! A circumstance to interest her.PERSUASION Chapter 18 It was the beginning of February. Sir. she could not even have told how the poor Admiral's complexion escaped. “What is this?” cried Sir Walter. I know what is due to my tenant. It had been begun several days back. her letter engrossed her. They secure an introduction. at any rate. She wanted to hear much more than Mary had communicated. was still in Lyme. and.” “Oh! those letters are convenient passports. They were people whom her heart turned to very naturally. and that Louisa. “The Crofts have arrived in Bath? The Crofts who rent Kellynch? What have they brought you?” “A letter from Uppercross Cottage. . to quicken the pleasure and surprise. was growing very eager for news from Uppercross and Lyme. She only knew that Henrietta was at home again.161 - . however. It was three weeks since she had heard at all. though considered to be recovering fast.

if not better. I am sure I had not. except Charles Hayter. as you well know. however. I do not reckon the Hayters as anybody. but Mrs Musgrove seems to like them quite as well. They are not at all nice children. --I make no apology for my silence. however. I do not understand it. I think it a great pity Henrietta did not remain at Lyme as long as Louisa. Mrs Harville must be an odd mother to part with them so long. till the day after. I can leave them at the Great House very well. I am glad you find Mr Elliot so agreeable. We have had a very dull Christmas.162 - . which. and it would be much more convenient to me to dine there to-morrow. considering the care that will be taken of her. My dear Anne. you know. but in the country it is of some consequence. for a month or six weeks. What dreadful weather we have had! It may not be felt in Bath. it would have kept her a little out of his way. I have this moment heard that the Crofts are going . because I know how little people think of letters in such a place as Bath.PERSUASION February 1st. We are not asked to dine with them. always the last of my family to be noticed. The house was cleared yesterday. You must be a great deal too happy to care for Uppercross. who had been calling much oftener than was welcome. Let me know what you think of this. to bring Louisa and the Harvilles to-morrow. Mrs Musgrove is so afraid of her being fatigued by the journey. affords little to write about. I have not had a creature call on me since the second week in January. than her grandchildren. Between ourselves. I do not expect my children to be asked. with your nice pavements. except of the little Harvilles. in my opinion. Mr and Mrs Musgrove have not had one dinner party all the holidays. What an immense time Mrs Clay has been staying with Elizabeth! Does she never mean to go away? But perhaps if she were to leave the room vacant. and wish I could be acquainted with him too. but I have my usual luck: I am always out of the way when any thing desirable is going on. The holidays. we might not be invited. The carriage is gone to-day. which is not very likely. are over at last: I believe no children ever had such long ones. but you will be surprised to hear they have never gone home.

which had been afterwards put into an envelope. and my sore-throats. But now for Louisa. Mary M---.163 - . and Jemima has just told me that the butcher says there is a bad sore-throat very much about. and now I am extremely glad I did. friendly note indeed. Our neighbourhood cannot spare such a pleasant family. I dare say I shall catch it. you know. I had a note from Mrs Croft yesterday. I shall therefore be able to make my letter as long as I like. I do not think they improve at all as neighbours. a very kind. or of offering to take anything. and not choosing to venture . and I sincerely hope Bath will do him all the good he wants. and in the evening we went to ask her how she did. and this is really an instance of gross inattention. She and the Harvilles came on Tuesday very safely.PERSUASION to Bath almost immediately. So ended the first part. Charles joins me in love. and what do you think was the reason? Neither more nor less than his being in love with Louisa. We see nothing of them. offering to convey anything to you. I have something to communicate that will astonish you not a little. I am sorry to say that I am very far from well. Charles heard it quite by chance. and everything proper. having a great deal to add. I kept my letter open. addressed to me. just as it ought. The Admiral does not seem very ill. they think the Admiral gouty. when we were rather surprised not to find Captain Benwick of the party. In the first place. they have not had the civility to give me any notice. containing nearly as much more. Yours affectionately. that I might send you word how Louisa bore her journey. are always worse than anybody's. I shall be truly glad to have them back again. for he had been invited as well as the Harvilles.

And this is the end. and Mr Musgrove has written his consent. Louisa is a great favourite with both. and without waiting for an answer. True. but had little curiosity beyond. of Captain Benwick's being supposed to be an admirer of yours. I never could see anything of it. How Charles could take such a thing into his head was always incomprehensible to me. you see. for it was all settled between him and her before she came away. She had never in her life been more astonished. and it was with the greatest effort that she could remain in the room. Mrs Harville says her husband feels a good deal on his poor sister's account. I hope he will be more agreeable now. Charles wonders what Captain Wentworth will say. We are all very well pleased. “And pray what brings the Crofts to Bath?” “They come on the Admiral's account. He is thought to be gouty. and whether they were likely to be situated in such a part of Bath as it might suit Miss Elliot and himself to visit in. and answer the common questions of the moment. but. Mrs Harville and I quite agree that we love her the better for having nursed her. however.PERSUASION to Uppercross till he had had an answer from Mr Musgrove.164 - . however. but if you remember. for though it is not equal to her marrying Captain Wentworth. Certainly not a great match for Louisa Musgrove. for I never did.” Mary need not have feared her sister's being in any degree prepared for the news. but a million times better than marrying among the Hayters.” . upon my honour! Are not you astonished? I shall be surprised at least if you ever received a hint of it. preserve an air of calmness. it is infinitely better than Charles Hayter. they were not many. Sir Walter wanted to know whether the Crofts travelled with four horses. Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! It was almost too wonderful for belief. Happily for her. Indeed. “How is Mary?” said Elizabeth. Mrs Musgrove protests solemnly that she knew nothing of the matter. I never thought him attached to Louisa. and he had written to her father by Captain Harville. and Captain Benwick is expected to-day.

it would not signify. If we were not related. The Crofts will associate with them. thinking. reading. but I can hardly suppose that. We had better leave the Crofts to find their own level. had found he did not love her. may we venture to present him and his wife in Laura Place?” “Oh. or anything akin to ill usage between him and his friend. In her own room. Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! The high-spirited. It had been in situation. “I do not know.” “I suspect. There are several odd-looking men walking about here. cousins. Captain Benwick.” This was Sir Walter and Elizabeth's share of interest in the letter. I am told. She could not endure the idea of treachery or levity. “that Admiral Croft will be best known in Bath as the renter of Kellynch Hall. she would feel scrupulous as to any proposal of ours. but as cousins. we ought to be very careful not to embarrass her with acquaintance she might not approve. Anne was at liberty.” said Sir Walter coolly. he should not have many acquaintance in such a place as this.165 - . had ceased to love. who.PERSUASION “Gout and decrepitude!” said Sir Walter. Elizabeth. are sailors. “Poor old gentleman. when Mrs Clay had paid her tribute of more decent attention.” “Have they any acquaintance here?” asked Elizabeth. joyoustalking Louisa Musgrove. no! I think not. She could not endure that such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly. . she tried to comprehend it. seemed each of them everything that would not suit the other. and in his profession. at Admiral Croft's time of life. feeling. and her fine little boys. Their minds most dissimilar! Where could have been the attraction? The answer soon presented itself. and the dejected. in an enquiry after Mrs Charles Musgrove. Well might Charles wonder how Captain Wentworth would feel! Perhaps he had quitted the field. had given Louisa up. Situated as we are with Lady Dalrymple.

they must have been depending almost entirely on each other. but when the meeting took place. her character to the end of her life. certainly nothing to be regretted. The visit . they had been living in the same small family party: since Henrietta's coming away. and if Captain Wentworth lost no friend by it. that if the woman who had been sensible of Captain Wentworth's merits could be allowed to prefer another man. but she had no doubt of its being so. The day at Lyme. and sentimental reflection was amusing. her courage. senseless joy! She longed to see the Crofts. Louisa had fine naval fervour to begin with. She had some feelings which she was ashamed to investigate. She did not mean. had been in an interesting state. and brought the colour into her cheeks when she thought of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free. He must love somebody. and they would soon grow more alike. They were too much like joy. it was not regret which made Anne's heart beat in spite of herself. however. The conclusion of the whole was. and Louisa. and instead of drawing the same conclusion as Mary. He had an affectionate heart. nay. of course they had fallen in love over poetry. and she would learn to be an enthusiast for Scott and Lord Byron. her nerves. they served only to confirm the idea of his having felt some dawning of tenderness toward herself. He would gain cheerfulness. the fall from the Cobb. just recovering from illness. She was persuaded that any tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for him would have received the same compliment. from the present course of events. as thoroughly as it appeared to have influenced her fate. She saw no reason against their being happy. that was probably learnt already.PERSUASION They had been thrown together several weeks.166 - . and Captain Benwick was not inconsolable. than Mary might have allowed. No. to derive much more from it to gratify her vanity. there was nothing in the engagement to excite lasting wonder. The idea of Louisa Musgrove turned into a person of literary taste. it was evident that no rumour of the news had yet reached them. might influence her health. That was a point which Anne had not been able to avoid suspecting before.

in fact. delighted to fancy she understood what they might be talking of. and to walk for her life to do him good. as they walked along in happy independence. He was ordered to walk to keep off the gout. in the lower part of the town. think and talk a great deal more about the Admiral. but it so happened that one morning. and never failed to see them. and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. Knowing their feelings as she did. or her friend's carriage. but was obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his notice.167 - . and observe their eagerness of conversation when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy. in earnest contemplation of some print. . without even half a smile. than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him. and not in the least likely to afford them any pleasure. He was standing by himself at a printshop window.PERSUASION of ceremony was paid and returned. Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking herself. too. it suited her best to leave her friend. and she never failed to think of them. and did. Lady Russell took her out in her carriage almost every morning. He was not at all ashamed of the acquaintance. it was a most attractive picture of happiness to her. perfectly to Sir Walter's satisfaction. and she not only might have passed him unseen. Mrs Croft looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her. or equally delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he encountered an old friend. The Crofts knew quite as many people in Bath as they wished for. They brought with them their country habit of being almost always together. Anne saw them wherever she went. The Crofts had placed themselves in lodgings in Gay Street. and Louisa Musgrove was mentioned. and Mrs Croft seemed to go shares with him in everything. and considered their intercourse with the Elliots as a mere matter of form. about a week or ten days after the Croft's arrival. and return alone to Camden Place. with his hands behind him. and Captain Benwick. She always watched them as long as she could.

Sophy cannot bear them. But what a thing here is. unless you will give me the pleasure of your company the little way our road lies together. There. he takes you for my wife. I have. If you look across the street. This is treating me like a friend. She. Lord! what a boat it is!” taking a last look at the picture. Captain Brigden. and looking about them at the rocks and mountains. “I would not venture over a horsepond in it. presently. by way of a boat! Do look at it. Shabby fellows. “now. 'How d'ye do?' Brigden stares to see anybody with me but my wife.168 - . as they began to be in motion. you see. where are you bound? Can I go anywhere for you. But here comes a friend. “Did you say that you had something to tell me. I am going home. Yes. to think that anybody would venture their lives in such a shapeless old cockleshell as that? And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it mightily at their ease. he sees us. is tied by the leg. however. with all my heart.PERSUASION When he did perceive and acknowledge her.” (turning away). Did you ever see the like? What queer fellows your fine painters must be. She has a blister on one of her heels. or with you? Can I be of any use?” “None. I shall only say. I do not feel comfortable if I have not a woman there. I wonder where that boat was built!” (laughing heartily). Well. too. staring at a picture. yes we will have a snug walk together. Here I am. both of them! I am glad they are not on this side of the way. 'How d'ye do?' as we pass. he kisses his hand to you. “Ha! is it you? Thank you. I will tell you the whole story another time. as large as a three-shilling piece. poor soul. I can never get by this shop without stopping. They played me a pitiful trick once: got away with some of my best men. and I have something to tell you as we go along. sir?” “Yes. that's right. There comes old Sir Archibald Drew and his grandson. as if they were not to be upset the next moment. I thank you. Look. take my arm. it was done with all his usual frankness and good humour. which they certainly must be. you will see Admiral Brand coming down and his brother. and farther. thank you. however. I shall not stop. Ah! the peace has come too soon .” “That I will.

As soon as they were fairly ascending Belmont. . I can tell you. and are snug as if we were at Kellynch. then. and as she was not really Mrs Croft. for putting us in mind of those we first had at North Yarmouth. that is the name. he began-“Well. or as we used to be even at North Yarmouth and Deal.” When they were got a little farther. that all this has been happening to. Well. ay. now you shall hear something that will surprise you. this Miss Louisa. She hoped when clear of Milsom Street to have her curiosity gratified. for the Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the greater space and quiet of Belmont. we all thought. it was clear enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right. We do not like our lodgings here the worse. The wind blows through one of the cupboards just in the same way. That young lady. Miss Elliot? It suits us very well. But first of all. indeed.” Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she really did. was to marry Frederick. she must let him have his own way. Anne ventured to press again for what he had to communicate.” “Ay. you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to talk about. Her Christian name: I always forget her Christian name. the streets full of them every morning. you know. Poor old Sir Archibald! How do you like Bath. that we have all been so concerned for. The only wonder was. Miss Louisa Musgrove. sure to have plenty of chat.PERSUASION for that younker. or something of that sort. I wish young ladies had not such a number of fine Christian names. and draw in our chairs. He was courting her week after week. but she was still obliged to wait. what they could be waiting for. till the business at Lyme came. The Miss Musgrove. and shut ourselves in our lodgings. you know. ay. We are always meeting with some old friend or other.169 - . and then we get away from them all. but now she could safely suggest the name of “Louisa. I should never be out if they were all Sophys.

perhaps. it is true.” Anne was caught. and then he went off to see Edward.” “I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man. But now. instead of being to marry Frederick.” “Indeed you are mistaken there. and. is to marry James Benwick. I assure you. “I .” “Well. but he has not another fault that I know of. Instead of staying at Lyme. there is not a word to be said against James Benwick. An excellent. which is more than you would think for. and these are bad times for getting on. “and I understand that he bears an excellent character. ladies are the best judges. most likely they are married already. zealous officer too. he went off to Plymouth. I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick. You know James Benwick. She had only meant to oppose the too common idea of spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other. and though very likely it is all our partiality. for this young lady.170 - . for that soft sort of manner does not do him justice. the matter has take the strangest turn of all. she was beginning to say. but James Benwick is rather too piano for me. a very active. made last summer. good-hearted fellow. they would generally please. and I will answer for it. I thought them particularly pleasing. yes. not at all to represent Captain Benwick's manners as the very best that could possibly be. the same Miss Musgrove.” “Oh! yes. I should never augur want of spirit from Captain Benwick's manners. Sophy and I cannot help thinking Frederick's manners better than his.PERSUASION “But even then there was something odd in their way of going on. He is only a commander. after a little hesitation. We have seen nothing of him since November. and there he has been ever since. Nay. When we came back from Minehead he was gone down to Edward's.” “A little. for I do not know what they should wait for.” said Anne. she is to marry him. There is something about Frederick more to our taste. well.” “Well. Even Sophy could not understand it. sir.

It did seem. I understand you.PERSUASION was not entering into any comparison of the two friends. you would not guess. not at all. no. without its being absolutely said. I hope there is nothing in the style of Captain Wentworth's letter to make you and Mrs Croft particularly uneasy. He does not give the least fling at Benwick. therefore. you know. Frederick is not a man to whine and complain. Admiral. I have a reason of my own for wondering at it. there is not an oath or a murmur from beginning to end. she said. If the girl likes another man better. I fancy they are all at Uppercross. last autumn.” but the Admiral interrupted her with-“And the thing is certainly true. 'I wonder at it. that he had ever . We have it from Frederick himself.171 - . written upon the spot. But there is nothing at all of that nature in the letter. in which he tells us of it. by a circumstance of this sort. I hope his letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man. as if there were an attachment between him and Louisa Musgrove.' No. it is very fit she should have him.” “Certainly. or even wounded.” “Yes. “I hope. and without violence. from his way of writing. It is not a mere bit of gossip. but I hope it may be understood to have worn out on each side equally. His sister had a letter from him yesterday. from Uppercross. which might appear.” This was an opportunity which Anne could not resist. that I hope there is nothing in Captain Wentworth's manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks himself ill-used by his friend. I should be very sorry that such a friendship as has subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be destroyed. But what I mean is. “No. does not so much as say. and he had just had it in a letter from Harville.” Anne looked down to hide her smile.” “Not at all. yes. he has too much spirit for that.

Do not you think. He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together. is bespoke by her cousin. “Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I am sure.172 - . Sophy must write. we had better try to get him to Bath?” . and beg him to come to Bath. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again. She therefore satisfied herself with common-place remarks or quiet attention. but it would have been useless to press the enquiry farther. Here are pretty girls enough. and there is nothing very unforgiving in that. I find. Miss Elliot. for that other Miss Musgrove. “Poor Frederick!” said he at last. and the Admiral had it all his own way. I think we must get him to Bath. the young parson.PERSUASION thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself.” Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral meant to convey. I think.

to request her assistance. while Mr Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple. successful. but enough to make shelter desirable for women. consequently it was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden Place ladies. she must suffer none. Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche. and the very next time Anne walked out. and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr Elliot. of course. she would hardly . he was arrived. There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot. and Mrs Clay. He soon joined them again. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay. she. Captain Wentworth was already on his way thither. she saw him. They were in Milsom Street. Before Mrs Croft had written. It began to rain.173 - . Mr Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs Clay. turned into Molland's. but it occupied a little time to settle the point of civility between the other two. and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple's carriage.PERSUASION Chapter 19 While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne. and did not hold more than four with any comfort. and expressing his wish of getting Captain Wentworth to Bath. which was seen waiting at a little distance. therefore. Lady Dalrymple would be most happy to take them home. The rain was a mere trifle. Anne. Miss Carteret was with her mother. Whoever suffered inconvenience. and would call for them in a few minutes. not much.

She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door. It was fixed accordingly.174 - . and whom he must have joined a little below Milsom Street. as she sat near the window. Her start was perceptible only to herself. and Mr Elliot deciding on appeal. when Anne. and. For the first time. in a moment by the entrance of Captain Wentworth himself. that Mrs Clay should be of the party in the carriage. and Mr Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs Clay's. she would go. and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so determined. bewildering. Why was she to suspect herself of another motive? Captain Wentworth must be out of sight. Captain Wentworth walking down the street. descried. but she instantly felt that she was the greatest simpleton in the world. her civility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr Elliot as Anne could be. and they had just reached this point. she felt that she was betraying the least sensibility of the two. that the others were obliged to settle it for them. it was all confusion. and when she had scolded back her senses. she wanted to see if it rained. in short. She had the advantage of him in the preparation of the last few moments. the most unaccountable and absurd! For a few minutes she saw nothing before her. she found the others still waiting for the carriage. first effects of strong surprise were over with her.PERSUASION allow it even to drop at all. evidently his acquaintance. or always suspecting the other of being worse than it was. All the overpowering. however. She was lost. She left her seat. that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest. among a party of gentlemen and ladies. Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already. most decidedly and distinctly. since their renewed acquaintance. blinding. She would see if it rained. . He was more obviously struck and confused by the sight of her than she had ever observed before. and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne's. he looked quite red. She was sent back. one half of her should not be always so much wiser than the other half.

however. rather than words.175 - . and then turned away. that Elizabeth saw him. and spoke again. pain. but it grieved Anne to observe that Elizabeth would not know him. Mutual enquiries on common subjects passed: neither of them. not easy. There was consciousness of some sort or other. and Captain Wentworth. and Anne continuing fully sensible of his being less at ease than formerly. . pleasure. The character of his manner was embarrassment. and a talking. but yet it was Captain Wentworth not comfortable. expecting it. were walking off. She saw that he saw Elizabeth. Lady Dalrymple's carriage. unattended but by the servant. of the Musgroves. It was beginning to rain again. She could not have called it either cold or friendly. They had by dint of being so very much together. He spoke to her. got to speak to each other with a considerable portion of apparent indifference and calmness. Time had changed him. for which Miss Elliot was growing very impatient. watching them. even of Louisa. and he talked of Uppercross. After a short interval. she had enough to feel! It was agitation. or anything so certainly as embarrassed. but he could not do it now. and she had the pain of seeing her sister turn away with unalterable coldness. however. nay. and by manner. (for there was no cousin returned). not able to feign that he was. now drew up. turned again to Anne. He looked very well. It did not surprise. that there was complete internal recognition on each side. was offering his services to her. and had even a momentary look of his own arch significance as he named her. the servant came in to announce it.PERSUASION Still. which must make all the little crowd in the shop understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot. he came towards her. not as if he had been suffering in health or spirits. and altogether there was a delay. she was convinced that he was ready to be acknowledged as an acquaintance. At last Miss Elliot and her friend. a something between delight and misery. much the wiser for what they heard. or Louisa had changed him. and a bustle. probably.

you see. and a “Good morning to you!” being all that she had time for. The carriage would not accommodate so many. “Mr Elliot does not dislike his cousin. the ladies of Captain Wentworth's party began talking of them. a gentle and embarrassed glance. There was no difference between him and the man who had stood on the steps at Lyme.176 - . repeating her conviction.” She had hardly spoken the words when Mr Elliot walked in. I have equipped myself properly for Bath already. I walk: I prefer walking. I am sure. that the rain would come to nothing at present.” After a moment's pause he said: “Though I came only yesterday. admiring Anne as she passed.” She was very much obliged to him.” (pointing to a new umbrella). “I am only waiting for Mr Elliot. and adding. was grieved to have kept her waiting. “but I am not going with them. “I wish you would make use of it.” “But it rains. As soon as they were out of sight. as she passed away. except in the air and look and manner of the privileged relation and friend. and anxious to get her away without further loss of time and before the rain increased.” was her answer. Captain Wentworth recollected him perfectly. Nothing that I regard. but declined it all. and in another moment they walked off together. He came in with eagerness. apologised for his stay. I fancy?” .PERSUASION “I am much obliged to you. appeared to see and think only of her.” “Oh! very little. her arm under his. He will be here in a moment. if you are determined to walk. though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a chair.

” Anne would have been particularly obliged to her cousin. He might be only passing through. very pretty. and Miss Atkinson. that is clear enough. when one comes to look at her. who dined with him once at the Wallises. But the men are all wild after Miss Elliot. without saying a word. She could not understand his present feelings. Anne Elliot. and though his subjects were principally such as were wont to be always interesting: praise.” “Oh! so do I. says he is the most agreeable man she ever was in company with. Another circumstance very essential for her to know. but alas! alas! she must confess to herself that she was not wise yet. Would she recollect him? How would it all be? . just. warm. or she could not recollect it. Anne is too delicate for them. whether he were really suffering much from disappointment or not. What a very good-looking man!” “Yes. of Lady Russell. and discriminating. I believe. though nothing could exceed his solicitude and care. She had never found it so difficult to listen to him. he had not mentioned it. It is not the fashion to say so. But just now she could think only of Captain Wentworth. In that case. No comparison. and insinuations highly rational against Mrs Clay. One can guess what will happen there. Lady Russell would in all likelihood see him somewhere. But it was more probable that he should be come to stay. so liable as every body was to meet every body in Bath.” “She is pretty. I think. she could not be quite herself. if he would have walked by her side all the way to Camden Place. He is always with them. half lives in the family.” “And so do I. was how long he meant to be in Bath. but I confess I admire her more than her sister.177 - .PERSUASION “Oh! no. and till that point were settled. She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time.

the astonishment she must be feeling that eight or nine years should have passed over him. The following morning Anne was out with her friend.PERSUASION She had already been obliged to tell Lady Russell that Louisa Musgrove was to marry Captain Benwick. and when the moment approached which must point him out. and in foreign climes and in active service too. but not from any mad idea of her recognising him so soon as she did herself.” said she. There were many other men about him. “what has been fixing my eye so long. She looked at her however. She could thoroughly comprehend the sort of fascination he must possess over Lady Russell's mind. in short. she was yet perfectly conscious of Lady Russell's eyes being turned exactly in the direction for him-. anxiously. though not daring to look again (for her own countenance she knew was unfit to be seen). many groups walking the same way. how would she speak of him?” “You will wonder. in returning down Pulteney Street. and now. the difficulty it must be for her to withdraw her eyes. but at last.178 - . “Now. She looked instinctively at Lady Russell. They described the drawing-room window-curtains of one of the houses on this side of the way. It had cost her something to encounter Lady Russell's surprise. from time to time. but I was looking after some window-curtains. and this part of the street. which Lady Alicia and Mrs Frankland were telling me of last night. No. without robbing him of one personal grace! At last. Lady Russell drew back her head. and for the first hour. intently observing him. in an incessant and fearful sort of watch for him in vain. she distinguished him on the right hand pavement at such a distance as to have him in view the greater part of the street. her imperfect knowledge of the matter might add another shade of prejudice against him. as being the handsomest and best hung of . but there was no mistaking him. it was not to be supposed that Lady Russell would perceive him till they were nearly opposite.of her being. if she were by any chance to be thrown into company with Captain Wentworth.

she felt that she owed him attention. The theatre or the rooms. It was a concert for the benefit of a person patronised by Lady Dalrymple. Lady Russell overlooked him. she felt all over courage if the opportunity occurred. either at her friend or herself. in which they were getting more and more engaged. “only tell me all about it. half arch. in pity and disdain. “Well. Of course they must attend. but when she was leaving her said. The part which provoked her most. whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant stupidity of private parties. she fancied she should be satisfied. sick of knowing nothing.” said she. Elizabeth had turned from him. “By all means. She had once partly promised Mrs Smith to spend the evening with her. Who is your party?” Anne named them all. If she could only have a few minutes conversation with him again. and as to the power of addressing him. and do not fail me to-morrow if . but in a short hurried call she excused herself and put it off. wearied of such a state of stagnation. and I have been trying to find out which it could be. was that in all this waste of foresight and caution. and Anne. Mrs Smith gave a most good-humoured acquiescence. and fancying herself stronger because her strength was not tried. but I confess I can see no curtains hereabouts that answer their description. but could not recollect the exact number. her nerves were strengthened by these circumstances. I heartily wish your concert may answer. where he was most likely to be. Mrs Smith made no reply. with the more decided promise of a longer visit on the morrow. when you do come.PERSUASION any in Bath. was quite impatient for the concert evening. she should have lost the right moment for seeing whether he saw them. and with an expression half serious. and Captain Wentworth was very fond of music. were not fashionable enough for the Elliots.” Anne sighed and blushed and smiled. It was really expected to be a good one. A day or two passed without producing anything.179 - .

was obliged. . and not sorry to be obliged.PERSUASION you can come. but after standing in a moment's suspense.180 - .” Anne was startled and confused. for I begin to have a foreboding that I may not have many more visits from you. to hurry away.

PERSUASION .181 - .

and the concert. of the weather. with a little smile. he said-. she knew nothing of their looks. she instantly spoke. was yet better than nothing. After talking. but she must guess the subject. and make enquiries in return. and her spirits improved. their conversation began to flag. and Bath. his two daughters.PERSUASION Chapter 20 Sir Walter.182 - . that she was expecting him to go every moment. This. and presently with renewed spirit. But hardly were they so settled. however. she comprehended that her father had judged so well as to give him that simple acknowledgement of acquaintance. they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon Room. and felt equal to everything which she believed right to be done. He was preparing only to bow and pass on. While they were speaking. and Captain Wentworth walked in alone. though late. and so little was said at last. but her gentle “How do you do?” brought him out of the straight line to stand near her. and on Captain Wentworth's making a distant bow. Anne was the nearest to him. and as Lady Dalrymple must be waited for. a little glow. She could not distinguish. but he did not. when the door opened again. in spite of the formidable father and sister in the back ground. and making yet a little advance. and reluctant. a whispering between her father and Elizabeth caught her ear. and ungracious. he seemed in no hurry to leave her. and she was just in time by a side glance to see a slight curtsey from Elizabeth herself. and Mrs Clay. Their being in the back ground was a support to Anne. were the earliest of all their party at the rooms in the evening.

The Musgroves are behaving like themselves. most honourably and kindly.” said he. I think. very much in favour of their happiness. too great a disparity. but in a moment. more than perhaps--” He stopped. and the more from its not overpowering you at the time. There are on both sides good principles and good temper. They have no difficulties to contend with at home. and rejoice over every circumstance in favour of it.” said he. But it appears--I should hope it would be a very happy match. A sudden recollection seemed to occur.” She assured him that she had not. I regard Louisa Musgrove as a . All this is much. “a frightful day!” and he passed his hand across his eyes. no opposition. added.PERSUASION “I have hardly seen you since our day at Lyme. no delays. looking not exactly forward. “It was a frightful hour. he proceeded thus-“I confess that I do think there is a disparity. you could have little idea of his being eventually one of those most concerned in her recovery.” “Certainly I could have none. only anxious with true parental hearts to promote their daughter's comfort. and in a point no less essential than mind. half smiling again. has had some consequences which must be considered as the very reverse of frightful. When you had the presence of mind to suggest that Benwick would be the properest person to fetch a surgeon.183 - . no caprice. I am afraid you must have suffered from the shock. and to give him some taste of that emotion which was reddening Anne's cheeks and fixing her eyes on the ground. With all my soul I wish them happy. ends the resemblance.” “Yes. “The day has produced some effects however. however. as if the remembrance were still too painful. After clearing his throat. “but there.

and Anne who. that his friend had recovered. however. in spite of the agitated voice in which the latter part had been uttered.” said Anne. he does not. He ought not. in his situation! with a heart pierced. I walked and rode a great deal.PERSUASION very amiable. untaught feeling on his side. It was impossible for her to enter on such a subject. She would not have been obstinate if I had not been weak. a reading man. the more I found to admire. it would have been another thing. he went no farther. and in spite of all the various noises of the room. to have been a perfectly spontaneous. and his attachment to her was indeed attachment. A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. sweet-tempered girl.184 - . and feel an hundred things in a moment. almost broken! Fanny Harville was a very superior creature. I think?” “About a fortnight. solely mine. or from other consciousness. that I do consider his attaching himself to her with some surprise. But I have no reason to suppose it so. wounded. and ceaseless buzz of persons walking through. and yet. Had it been the effect of gratitude. I had been too deeply concerned in the mischief to be soon at peace. and I confess. It seems. “He is a clever man. . and not deficient in understanding. gratified. on the contrary. and beginning to breathe very quick. was struck. the almost ceaseless slam of the door. because he believed her to be preferring him. had he learnt to love her. and the more I saw. and this surprises me. It had been my doing. had distinguished every word. I could not leave it till Louisa's doing well was quite ascertained. and having not the smallest wish for a total change. confused. after a pause. A man like him. but Benwick is something more. feeling the necessity of speaking.” Either from the consciousness. The country round Lyme is very fine. she only deviated so far as to say-“You were a good while at Lyme.” “I should very much like to see Lyme again.

and previously there had been a great deal of enjoyment. advanced into the room. and with all the eagerness compatible with anxious elegance.” “The last hours were certainly very painful. “Lady Dalrymple. but there is real beauty at Lyme. The horror and distress you were involved in. but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had learnt. escorted by Mr Elliot and Colonel Wallis. more of all his feelings than she dared to think of. and the very party appeared for whom they were waiting. unless it has been all suffering.” was the rejoicing sound. The delightful emotions were a little subdued. Their interesting. We were only in anxiety and distress during the last two hours. as being less happy than herself.” replied Anne. The others joined them. Lady Dalrymple. and in short” (with a faint blush at some recollections). who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant. the wear of spirits! I should have thought your last impressions of Lyme must have been strong disgust. more of his feelings towards Louisa. though agitated sensations. So much novelty and beauty! I have travelled so little. She was in good humour with all. One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it. she saw . to the needful civilities of the moment. to be joined again by Captain Wentworth. Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet her. in the last ten minutes.PERSUASION “Indeed! I should not have supposed that you could have found anything in Lyme to inspire such a feeling. that every fresh place would be interesting to me. the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to all. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret. nothing but suffering. “altogether my impressions of the place are very agreeable. when on stepping back from the group. She was divided from Captain Wentworth. almost too interesting conversation must be broken up for a time. with exquisite. the entrance door opened again.” As she ceased.185 - . and to pity every one. which was by no means the case at Lyme. “but when pain is over. the stretch of mind. and she gave herself up to the demands of the party. and it was a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included.

the origin of one all selfish vanity. She was in need of a little interval for recollection. had nothing to wish for which did not seem within her reach. excite as many whispers. and proceed into the Concert Room. Anne saw nothing. and at present. but she knew nothing about it. he had disappeared. not merely by friendship and regard. and still more his manner and look. were no more. all declared that he had a heart returning to her at least. her mind took a hasty range over it. of the other all generous attachment. His choice of subjects. His opinion of Louisa Musgrove's inferiority. that anger. and disturb as many people as they could. .186 - . his feelings as to a first. she felt a moment's regret. and as they passed to their seats. She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert Room. it was as well to be asunder. draw as many eyes. his expressions. sentences begun which he could not finish. But “they should meet again. an opinion which he had seemed solicitous to give. Yes. Her happiness was from within. Elizabeth arm in arm with Miss Carteret. but by the tenderness of the past. his wonder at Captain Benwick. and all that remained was to marshal themselves. thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room. perhaps. Her eyes were bright and her cheeks glowed. all. and Anne--but it would be an insult to the nature of Anne's felicity. avoidance. his half averted eyes and more than half expressive glance. and be of all the consequence in their power. Very. very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in. He was gone. had been such as she could see in only one light. and that they were succeeded. resentment. strong attachment.” Upon Lady Russell's appearance soon afterwards. and looking on the broad back of the dowager Viscountess Dalrymple before her.PERSUASION that he was gone. he would find her out before the evening were over. He would look for her. the whole party was collected. She was thinking only of the last half hour. to draw any comparison between it and her sister's.

” “Yes. and patience for the wearisome. it was just occupation enough: she had feelings for the tender. comprehensible. and Mr Elliot had manoeuvred so well. Here is complete proof. her eye could not reach him. These were thoughts. I see you know nothing of the matter.PERSUASION some share of the tenderness of the past. she must consent for a time to be happy in a humbler way. she explained the words of the song to Mr Elliot. I am a very poor Italian scholar. curtailed Italian lines. with the assistance of his friend Colonel Wallis. “is nearly the sense. elegant English. with their attendant visions. she looked round to see if he should happen to be in the same part of the room. You need not say anything more of your ignorance. for I do not pretend to understand the language. Towards the close of it. and she passed along the room without having a glimpse of him. Anne's mind was in a most favourable state for the entertainment of the evening. and the principal object of Colonel Wallis's gallantry. Miss Elliot. for certainly the sense of an Italian love-song must not be talked of. but it is as nearly the meaning as I can give. at least during the first act. You have only knowledge enough of the language to translate at sight these inverted.” said she. and the concert being just opening. “This. in the interval succeeding an Italian song. spirits for the gay. was quite contented. They had a concert bill between them.” .187 - . surrounded by her cousins. When their places were determined on. I see you are. as to have a seat by her. She could not contemplate the change as implying less. without even trying to discern him. or rather the meaning of the words. transposed. attention for the scientific. and had never liked a concert better. He must love her. yes. into clear. The party was divided and disposed of on two contiguous benches: Anne was among those on the foremost. which occupied and flurried her too much to leave her any power of observation. but he was not. and they were all properly arranged.

” “I knew you by report long before you came to Bath. he could assure her.PERSUASION “I will not oppose such kind politeness. I had heard you described by those who knew you intimately. To have been described long ago to a recent acquaintance.” Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality of her many years ago as the Mr Wentworth of Monkford. He delighted in being asked. they were all present to me. “No.” “Indeed! How so? You can have been acquainted with it only since I came to Bath. no.” “I have not had the pleasure of visiting in Camden Place so long. and too highly accomplished for modesty to be natural in any other woman. and questioned him eagerly. manner.” said Mr Elliot. by nameless people. but in vain. but he would not tell. He had many years ago received such a description of Miss Anne Elliot as had inspired him with the highest idea of her merit. perhaps. Captain .” Mr Elliot was not disappointed in the interest he hoped to raise. Your person. She wondered. and Anne was all curiosity. He would mention no names now. “Perhaps. your disposition. accomplishments. “without knowing something of Miss Anne Elliot. but not now. “I have had a longer acquaintance with your character than you are aware of. and I do regard her as one who is too modest for the world in general to be aware of half her accomplishments. but such.” replied he. but I should be sorry to be examined by a real proficient.” “For shame! for shame! this is too much flattery. is irresistible.188 - . I forget what we are to have next. excepting as you might hear me previously spoken of in my own family. some time or other. No one can withstand the charm of such a mystery. had been the fact. I have been acquainted with you by character many years.” turning to the bill. and excited the warmest curiosity to know her. speaking low.

“More air than one often sees in Bath. She wished him not so near her. A bowing acquaintance.” “A very fine young man indeed!” said Lady Dalrymple. Irish.189 - . “a very well-looking man.” Before Sir Walter had reached this point.PERSUASION Wentworth's brother. were his words. It seemed as if she had been one moment too late. “A well-looking man. Mr Elliot's speech. As her eyes fell on him. who rents Kellynch. It had that appearance. which rendered every thing else trivial. but she had not courage to ask the question. I would breathe my wishes that the name might never change. Her father and Lady Dalrymple were speaking. his seemed to be withdrawn from her.” said Sir Walter. “The name of Anne Elliot. she was so surrounded and shut in: but she would rather have caught his eye.” said he.” “No. Wentworth. Very long has it possessed a charm over my fancy. I just know his name. she believed. When she could give another glance. She had no longer any inclination to talk to him. he had moved away. if I dared. He might have been in Mr Elliot's company. Captain Wentworth of the navy. I dare say. and distinguished Captain Wentworth standing among a cluster of men at a little distance. He could not have come nearer to her if he would. but scarcely had she received their sound. His sister married my tenant in Somersetshire. “has long had an interesting sound to me. he did not look again: but the performance was recommencing. . than her attention was caught by other sounds immediately behind her. Anne's eyes had caught the right direction. and. and as long as she dared observe. and she was forced to seem to restore her attention to the orchestra and look straight forward. the Croft. distressed her. too.” Such.

and only by very slow degrees came at last near enough to speak to her. benches were reclaimed and repossessed. if he gave her the opportunity. the room filled again. much more within reach of a passer-by. but she had the pleasure of getting rid of Mr Elliot. some of them did decide on going in quest of tea. The others returned. but still she did it. and Mr Elliot was invited by Elizabeth and Miss Carteret. Such was her situation. without comparing herself with Miss Larolles. the result of which was favourable for her. after a period of nothing-saying amongst the party. She could not quit that room in peace without seeing Captain Wentworth once more. Now she hoped for some beneficial change. She could not do so. He did not come however. and not with much happier effect. She felt that something . and she did not mean. The anxious interval wore away unproductively. and another hour of pleasure or of penance was to be sat out. She saw him not far off. to sit between them. and. She was persuaded by Lady Russell's countenance that she had seen him. Colonel Wallis declined sitting down again. and by some other removals. yet he looked grave. she found herself at the very end of the bench before the concert closed. and so did Lady Russell. Anne was enabled to place herself much nearer the end of the bench than she had been before.PERSUASION The first act was over. to shrink from conversation with Captain Wentworth. whatever she might feel on Lady Russell's account. In re-settling themselves there were now many changes. the inimitable Miss Larolles. To Anne. and a little scheming of her own. Anne sometimes fancied she discerned him at a distance. but he never came. another hour of music was to give delight or the gapes. without the interchange of one friendly look. in a manner not to be refused. it chiefly wore the prospect of an hour of agitation. as real or affected taste for it prevailed. Anne was one of the few who did not choose to move. with a vacant space at hand. She remained in her seat. and seemed irresolute. He saw her too.190 - . when Captain Wentworth was again in sight. though by what seemed prosperity in the shape of an early abdication in her next neighbours.

she found herself accosted by Captain Wentworth. when at that moment a touch on her shoulder obliged Anne to turn round. that his countenance improved. Anne replied. he even looked down towards the bench. They talked for a few minutes more. to explain Italian again. but never had she sacrificed to politeness with a more suffering spirit. Could there have been any unpleasant glances? He began by speaking of the concert gravely. he should get home as fast as he could. He begged her pardon. and in short. and he replied again with almost a smile. Miss Carteret was very anxious to have a general idea of what was next to be sung. more like the Captain Wentworth of Uppercross. Why was it? She thought of her father. But. must confess that he should not be sorry when it was over. “He must wish her good night. alas! there were very different thoughts to succeed.” and he was gone directly. were inevitably consumed. would he ever learn . It came from Mr Elliot. the improvement held. Jealousy of Mr Elliot! It was the only intelligible motive.PERSUASION must be the matter. had expected singing. “No!” he replied impressively. A few minutes. owned himself disappointed. as if he saw a place on it well worth occupying. when able to turn and look as she had done before. and yet in allowance for his feelings so pleasantly. in a reserved yet hurried sort of farewell.” “Is not this song worth staying for?” said Anne. in all the peculiar disadvantages of their respective situations. and when her own mistress again. The change was indubitable. The difference between his present air and what it had been in the Octagon Room was strikingly great. suddenly struck by an idea which made her yet more anxious to be encouraging. “there is nothing worth my staying for. of Lady Russell. Anne could not refuse. but she must be applied to. and spoke in defense of the performance so well. How was such jealousy to be quieted? How was the truth to reach him? How.191 - . he was going. Captain Wentworth jealous of her affection! Could she have believed it a week ago. though as few as possible. three hours ago! For a moment the gratification was exquisite.

Their evil was incalculable.PERSUASION of her real sentiments? It was misery to think of Mr Elliot's attentions. .192 - .

193 - .PERSUASION .

Their union. for to avoid Mr Elliot was almost a first object. She could not help thinking much of the extraordinary circumstances attending their acquaintance. for there was a Captain Wentworth. How she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case. than their final separation. There was much to regret. It was almost enough to spread purification and perfume all the way. was not worth enquiry. but painful. flattering. perhaps compassion. her affection would be his for ever. meaning that it should engage her from home at the time when Mr Elliot would be most likely to call. she owed him gratitude and regard. could never have passed along the streets of Bath. by everything in situation. It was altogether very extraordinary. In spite of the mischief of his attentions. .194 - . by his own sentiments.PERSUASION Chapter 21 Anne recollected with pleasure the next morning her promise of going to Mrs Smith. She felt a great deal of good-will towards him. and be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad. than Anne was sporting with from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings. of the right which he seemed to have to interest her. by his early prepossession. Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy. she believed. could not divide her more from other men.

rather more of the general success and produce of the evening than Anne could relate. and unsatisfactory for such an enquirer as Mrs Smith. and who now asked in vain for several particulars of the company. I did not see them myself. I do not think they were. “The little Durands were there. who is talked of for one of them.” “The Ibbotsons. seemed hardly to have expected her.PERSUASION She was sure of a pleasant reception. I must not say for seeing. They never miss a concert. that was what I dreaded. and Anne's recollections of the concert were quite happy enough to animate her features and make her rejoice to talk of it. but I heard Mr Elliot say they were in the room.” “No. “with their mouths open to catch the music.” said she. though it had been an appointment. Everybody of any consequence or notoriety in Bath was well know by name to Mrs Smith. An account of the concert was immediately claimed. All that she could tell she told most gladly. and her friend seemed this morning particularly obliged to her for coming.” . and we were exceedingly well placed. you were in the seats of grandeur. for as you went with Lady Dalrymple. I know. because I appear to have seen very little. for hearing. But happily Lady Dalrymple always chooses to be farther off.” “I do not know.” “Old Lady Mary Maclean? I need not ask after her. with the tall Irish officer. round the orchestra. It would have been very unpleasant to me in every respect. but the all was little for one who had been there. She must have been in your own circle. She never misses. through the short cut of a laundress and a waiter. I conclude. were they there? and the two new beauties.195 - . and you must have seen her.” “Yes. of course. that is. like unfledged sparrows ready to be fed. who had already heard.

196 - .” A blush overspread Anne's cheeks.” “But I ought to have looked about me more. In the intervals of the concert it was conversation. She could say nothing. after a short pause. and this you had.” continued Mrs Smith.” said Anne. “Do you see that in my eye?” “Yes. conscious while she spoke that there had in fact been no want of looking about. It is really very good of you to come and sit with me. you were better employed. and you wanted nothing beyond. Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in the world. that the object only had been deficient. You were a large party in yourselves. Anne half smiled and said. You need not tell me that you had a pleasant evening. the person who interests you at this present time more than all the rest of the world put together. unable to imagine how any report of Captain Wentworth could have reached her. I perfectly see how the hours passed: that you had always something agreeable to listen to.PERSUASION “Oh! you saw enough for your own amusement. She was still in the astonishment and confusion excited by her friend's penetration. There is a sort of domestic enjoyment to be known even in a crowd. “No. After another short silence-“Pray.” Anne heard nothing of this.” said Mrs Smith. I do. when you must have so many pleasanter demands upon your time. “And such being the case. no. “I hope you believe that I do know how to value your kindness in coming to me this morning. I can understand. I see it in your eye. “is Mr Elliot aware of your acquaintance with me? Does he know that I am in Bath?” .

“You must consider me only as Mr Elliot's relation. and then. “nor next week. I hope you cannot doubt my willingness to be of even the slightest use to you.” replied Anne. “Are you acquainted with Mr Elliot?” “I have been a good deal acquainted with him. said-“I have been a little premature. “but it seems worn out now. smiling. I am sure you have. . assuming her usual air of cheerfulness. It is a great while since we met. and recovering her courage with the feeling of safety. than is really the case. I would have had the pleasure of talking to him about you. Next week? To be sure by next week I may be allowed to think it all settled. imbibed such a notion.” replied Mrs Smith. I ought to have waited for official information. do give me a hint as to when I may speak. I assure you that nothing of the sort you are thinking of will be settled any week.197 - . to make it an object to yourself. Had I known it. But now. A moment's reflection shewed her the mistake she had been under. nor next. somehow or other. “but I suspect that you are considering me as having a higher claim on Mr Elliot. nor next. soon added. my dear Miss Elliot. more composedly. I want your interest with him. “that is exactly the pleasure I want you to have.” replied Anne. If in that light there is anything which you suppose his cousin might fairly ask of him.” “No. gravely. I beg you would not hesitate to employ me. a greater right to influence him.” Mrs Smith gave her a penetrating glance.” “To confess the truth. as an old friend. I beg your pardon.” “I was not at all aware of this.” said Mrs Smith. looking up surprised. my dear Miss Elliot. She caught it instantaneously. You never mentioned it before. and if you would have the goodness. of course it is done. He can be of essential service to me.” “I should be extremely happy. and build my own selfish schemes on Mr Elliot's good fortune.PERSUASION “Mr Elliot!” repeated Anne. I want you to talk about me to Mr Elliot. I perceive.

You are safe in all worldly matters. Your peace will not be shipwrecked as mine has been. and safe in his character. I am sure you hear nothing but good of him from Colonel Wallis. my dear Miss Elliot.” cried Mrs Smith. It is a thing of course among us. Do not forget me when you are married. you know. Let him know me to be a friend of yours. Ninety-nine out of a hundred would do the same. Of course. Till it does come. agreeable man? Let me recommend Mr Elliot. archly. But why should you be cruel? Let me plead for my--present friend I cannot call him. I hope and trust you will be very happy. he will not be misled by others to his ruin. that's all. looked earnestly. we women never mean to have anybody.PERSUASION I am not going to marry Mr Elliot. I should like to know why you imagine I am?” Mrs Smith looked at her again. when the right moment occurs.198 - . perhaps. smiled. He will not be led astray. and I shall give myself no more trouble about him. but for my former friend. and exclaimed-“Now. Well. He ought not to be supposed to be paying his addresses to any one. Mr Elliot's wife has not been dead much above half a year. with so many affairs and engagements of his own. to avoid and get rid of as he can. that every man is refused.” . he cannot be aware of the importance to me. “Mr Elliot is safe. which it is very natural for him now. Mr Elliot has sense to understand the value of such a woman. Where can you look for a more suitable match? Where could you expect a more gentlemanlike. very natural.” “Oh! if these are your only objections. and then he will think little of the trouble required. till he offers. and who can know him better than Colonel Wallis?” “My dear Mrs Smith. shook her head. how I do wish I understood you! How I do wish I knew what you were at! I have a great idea that you do not design to be cruel.

convince you that he is nothing to me? Surely this must be calm enough.” said Anne. and Anne. He seems to have a calm decided temper. or from whom she could have heard it. But I never heard it spoken of till two days ago. upon my word. “upon finding how much you were together. regretting with a deep blush that she had implied so much. “I can readily believe all that of my cousin. I consider him with great respect. eager to escape farther notice. and you may depend upon it that all your acquaintance have disposed of you in the same way. and with all the semblance of seeing nothing beyond.PERSUASION “No. Should he ever propose to me (which I have very little reason to imagine he has any thought of doing). But I have not known him long. I have no reason. from any thing that has fallen within my observation. Mr Elliot had not the share which you have been supposing. not at all open to dangerous impressions. but less would hardly have been sufficient. And.199 - . was impatient to know why Mrs Smith should have fancied she was to marry Mr Elliot. it is not Mr Elliot that--” She stopped. I assure you I shall not.” “And has it indeed been spoken of?” “Did you observe the woman who opened the door to you when you called yesterday?” . As it was. to be known intimately soon. Mrs Smith. I think. and feeling it to be the most probable thing in the world to be wished for by everybody belonging to either of you.” replied Mrs Smith. to do otherwise. Mrs Smith would hardly have believed so soon in Mr Elliot's failure. Will not this manner of speaking of him. I shall not accept him. and he is not a man.” “It first came into my head. “Do tell me how it first came into your head. in whatever pleasure the concert of last night might afford: not Mr Elliot. but from the perception of there being a somebody else. she instantly submitted. he is nothing to me. I assure you. where she could have received the idea.

” “The whole history. Was not it Mrs Speed. She had had it from Mrs Wallis herself. who. of one such little article of unfounded news. I thank you. which did not seem bad authority. I have nothing to trouble you with.PERSUASION “No.” “Not before he was married. “But. Shall I mention to him your being in Bath? Shall I take any message?” “No.” “Indeed! Then do tell me what he was at that time of life. or the maid? I observed no one in particular. but not now. and was delighted to be in the way to let you in. he was not married when I knew him first. laughing.200 - . I suppose?” “Yes. perhaps. She came away from Marlborough Buildings only on Sunday.” “It was my friend Mrs Rooke. In the warmth of the moment.” Mrs Smith said nothing.” repeated Anne. had a great curiosity to see you. “She could not make a very long history. Was he at all such as he appears now?” . certainly not. and she it was who told me you were to marry Mr Elliot. She sat an hour with me on Monday evening. have endeavoured to interest you in some circumstances. I should be extremely happy to be of use to you in any way that I could. presently. I might. I thank you: no.” “I think you spoke of having known Mr Elliot many years?” “I did.” continued Anne. “though there is no truth in my having this claim on Mr Elliot. by-the-bye. and under a mistaken impression. I have a great curiosity to know what Mr Elliot was as a very young man. and gave me the whole history. No.” “And--were you much acquainted?” “Intimately. Nurse Rooke. I think. as usual.

“I beg your pardon for the short answers I have been giving you. cold-blooded being. I have determined. too. making mischief. I think you ought to be made acquainted with Mr Elliot's real character. I will not abuse him. to be giving bad impressions. whom for his own interest or ease. and exclamation of wonder. therefore. there is no saying what may happen.” was Mrs Smith's answer. given so gravely that it was impossible to pursue the subject farther. However. Mr Elliot is a man without heart or conscience. The intimacy had been formed before our marriage. and in a calmer manner. and I. At last-“I beg your pardon. I think I am right. Hear the truth. would be guilty of any cruelty. made her pause. “My expressions startle you. He has no feeling for others. my dear Miss Elliot. be differently affected towards him. Oh! he is black at heart. that could be perpetrated without risk of his general character. a designing. became . He was the intimate friend of my dear husband. though there may be nothing durable beneath. I found them most intimate friends. while you are unprejudiced. Facts shall speak. you have not the smallest intention of accepting him. You must allow for an injured. Though I fully believe that. and thought him as good as himself. who trusted and loved him.” she cried. They were both silent: Mrs Smith very thoughtful. I have been doubting and considering as to what I ought to tell you. He is totally beyond the reach of any sentiment of justice or compassion. and Anne felt that she had gained nothing but an increase of curiosity. now. in her natural tone of cordiality. at present. wary. he can neglect and desert without the smallest compunction. hollow and black!” Anne's astonished air. You might.201 - . angry woman.PERSUASION “I have not seen Mr Elliot these three years. Even the smooth surface of family-union seems worth preserving. Those whom he has been the chief cause of leading into ruin. some time or other. who thinks only of himself. But I will try to command myself. or any treachery. There were many things to be taken into the account. I will only tell you what I have found him. but I have been uncertain what I ought to do. she added. One hates to be officious.

living in very good style.” “I know it all. but Mr Elliot appeared to me quite as good as others. and can answer any question you may wish to put. you know. It must have been about the same time that he became known to my father and sister. He had always a home with us whenever he chose it. I knew all about it at the time. yet I knew her all her life afterwards.” cried Mrs Smith. I can satisfy you. but I heard him speak of them for ever. I was privy to all the fors and againsts.” “Nay. I know it all. I never knew him myself. But I should . indeed. I have always understood they were not a happy couple. and afterwards in the circumstances of his marriage. and as to his marriage. and entertained the highest opinion of him. or at least till within the last two years of her life.” said Anne. on points which you would little expect. “which has always excited my particular curiosity. and though I did not know his wife previously. I only heard of him. I was the friend to whom he confided his hopes and plans. and I know he did not choose to go. and it was as much as he could do to support the appearance of a gentleman. We were principally in town. would have divided his last farthing with him. her inferior situation in society. “He had been introduced to Sir Walter and your sister before I was acquainted with him.PERSUASION excessively pleased with Mr Elliot. who had the finest. I know he was invited and encouraged. He was then the inferior in circumstances. At nineteen. he was then the poor one. most generous spirit in the world.202 - . with regard to my father and sister. he was always welcome. I know that he often assisted him. It seemed to announce a different sort of man. one does not think very seriously.” “This must have been about that very period of Mr Elliot's life.” said Anne. rendered that impossible. he was like a brother. which I never could quite reconcile with present times. My poor Charles. and I know that his purse was open to him. but there was a something in his conduct then. he had chambers in the Temple. and much more agreeable than most others. perhaps. “I have no particular enquiry to make about her. and we were almost always together.

I can assure you. My father was certainly disposed to take very kind and proper notice of him. “you sometimes spoke of me to Mr Elliot?” “To be sure I did. he should slight my father's acquaintance as he did. “This explains it.” Mrs Smith hesitated a little here. He described one Miss Elliot. my first and principal acquaintance on marrying should be your cousin. and vouch for your being a very different creature from--” She checked herself just in time. “Oh! those things are too common. had one object in view: to make his fortune. and that. He told me the whole story. that having just left you behind me in Bath. He was determined. I could not comprehend how. at that time of his life. “This accounts for something which Mr Elliot said last night. which first opened your eyes to his character. It was curious. He was determined to make it by marriage. at least. What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken! But I beg your pardon. I have interrupted you. of course I cannot decide). a man or woman's marrying for . That was his motive for drawing back. probably. Why did Mr Elliot draw back?” “Mr Elliot. When one lives in the world.203 - . and I thought very affectionately of the other. that your father and sister. in their civilities and invitations. struck by a sudden idea. were designing a match between the heir and the young lady. I used to boast of my own Anne Elliot. Mr Elliot married then completely for money? The circumstances.PERSUASION like to know why. I should be continually hearing of your father and sister. and by a rather quicker process than the law.” “Perhaps.” cried Anne. and it was impossible that such a match should have answered his ideas of wealth and independence. and I know it was his belief (whether justly or not. through him.” cried Anne.” replied Mrs Smith. “at that period of his life. I found he had been used to hear of me. very often. not to mar it by an imprudent marriage. He had no concealments with me.

and yet you ought to have proof.” “But for my satisfaction. She was a fine woman. It would not be fair. was brought forward by some cousins. I am more curious to know why he should be so different now.” cried Anne. and we were a thoughtless. before he committed himself. with respect to her birth. anybody should have his for fifty pounds. if you will have the goodness to ring for Mary. I want none. rather. All his caution was spent in being secured of the real amount of her fortune. that if baronetcies were saleable. 'To do the best for himself. which I objected to. I have often heard him declare. arms and motto. and associated only with the young. I was very young. as a young man he had not the smallest value for it. time and sickness and sorrow have given me other notions. her grandfather had been a butcher.PERSUASION money is too common to strike one as it ought. stay: I am sure you will have the still greater goodness of going yourself into my bedroom. whatever esteem Mr Elliot may have for his own situation in life now. “You have asserted nothing contradictory to what Mr Elliot appeared to be some years ago. We lived for enjoyment. I think differently now. Depend upon it. was all that he wanted.' passed as a duty. but at that period I must own I saw nothing reprehensible in what Mr Elliot was doing. This is all in confirmation. money. and bringing me the small inlaid box which you will find on the upper shelf of the closet.” “Indeed. and you shall have proof. but that was all nothing. had had a decent education. Her father was a grazier. without any strict rules of conduct. His chance for the Kellynch estate was something. and not a difficulty or a scruple was there on his side. Money.” “But was not she a very low woman?” “Yes. my dear Mrs Smith. but all the honour of the family he held as cheap as dirt. but I will not pretend to repeat half that I used to hear him say on that subject. name and livery included.” . but he would not regard.204 - . thrown by chance into Mr Elliot's company. gay set. and fell in love with him. of what we used to hear and believe. for what is all this but assertion.

I am sick of it. The letter I am looking for was one written by Mr Elliot to him before our marriage. and happened to be saved.” and dated from London. He is worse than last year. The baronet. while many letters and memorandums of real importance had been destroyed. to my husband.” This was the letter. said-“This is full of papers belonging to him. I would not burn it. he is quite fool enough. and when I came to examine his papers. and almost made me swear to visit them this summer. Tunbridge Wells. and have seen none like it. like other men. They are gone back to Kellynch. as far back as July.205 - . which may be a decent equivalent for the reversion. about those things. If he does. they will leave me in peace. to tell me how to bring it with best advantage to the hammer. Your kindness almost overpowers me. directed to “Charles Smith. Give me joy: I have got rid of Sir Walter and Miss. why. The name of Walter I can drop. but I have lived three-and-twenty years in the world. Here it is. I found it with others still more trivial. from different people scattered here and there. I was determined to preserve every document of former intimacy. but my first visit to Kellynch will be with a surveyor. because being even then very little satisfied with Mr Elliot. being in cash again. I wish I had any name but Elliot. --I have received yours. one can hardly imagine. and Mrs Smith. thank God! and I desire you will never insult me with . sighing over it as she unlocked it. At present. The box was brought and placed before her. is not unlikely to marry again. nevertheless. seeing her friend to be earnestly bent on it. I wish nature had made such hearts as yours more common. a small portion only of what I had to look over when I lost him.PERSUASION Anne. did as she was desired. Esq. 1803: -- Dear Smith. I have now another motive for being glad that I can produce it. however. believe me. But he was careless and immethodical. I have no need of your services.

She was obliged to recollect that her seeing the letter was a violation of the laws of honour. that no one ought to be judged or to be known by such testimonies. to be only yours truly. He truly wants to marry you. Can any thing be stronger?” Anne could not immediately get over the shock and mortification of finding such words applied to her father. Though I have forgot the exact terms. but I can give as authentic oral testimony as you can desire. and I will shew him as he is now. I have a perfect impression of the general meaning. of what he is now wanting. proof of every thing you were saying.206 - . again. smiling.” .PERSUASION my second W. is highly disrespectful. and Mrs Smith. But it shows you the man. observing the high colour in her face. and say-“Thank you. Such a letter could not be read without putting Anne in a glow.” cried Mrs Smith. But why be acquainted with us now?” “I can explain this too. His present attentions to your family are very sincere: quite from the heart. I will give you my authority: his friend Colonel Wallis. I have shewn you Mr Elliot as he was a dozen years ago. This is full proof undoubtedly. that no private correspondence could bear the eye of others. meaning. He is no hypocrite now. and what he is now doing. Mark his professions to my poor husband. I cannot produce written proof again. for the rest of my life. “Can you really?” “Yes. --Wm. Elliot. before she could recover calmness enough to return the letter which she had been meditating over. said-“The language. I know.

207 - . a sensible. it takes a bend or two. by listening to some particulars which you can yourself immediately contradict or confirm. Mr Elliot talks unreservedly to Colonel Wallis of his views on you. Mrs Smith. So says my historian. to whom he tells things which he had better not. to be misconceived by folly in one. repeats it all to her nurse. you see I was not romancing so much as you supposed. can hardly have much truth left. but without knowing it to be you. Mr Elliot's having any views on me will not in the least account for the efforts he made towards a reconciliation with my father. at least. When I talked of a whole history. the little rubbish it collects in the turnings is easily moved away. therefore. It does not come to me in quite so direct a line as that.” “Only give me a hearing.PERSUASION “Colonel Wallis! you are acquainted with him?” “No. but--” “Indeed. She in the overflowing spirits of her recovery. and the nurse knowing my acquaintance with you. Is this true? Did he see you last summer or autumn. careful. in himself. but nothing of consequence. He had seen you indeed. very naturally brings it all to me.” “I know you did. my good friend Mrs Rooke let me thus much into the secrets of Marlborough Buildings. we must not expect to get real information in such a line. and ignorance in another. On Monday evening. Nobody supposes that you were his first inducement. You will soon be able to judge of the general credit due. That was all prior to my coming to Bath. I know it all perfectly. This will not do. The stream is as good as at first. . I imagine to be. your authority is deficient. and he repeats it all to her. before he came to Bath. which said Colonel Wallis.” “My dear Mrs Smith. and admired you. I found them on the most friendly terms when I arrived. Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so many. discerning sort of character. but Colonel Wallis has a very pretty silly wife.

but Anne had not a word to say. stop me. as he happened to do a little before Christmas. “grant my friend the credit due to the establishment of the first point asserted.' to use her own words. and from that moment. So far it is very true.” Here Mrs Smith paused a moment. Colonel Wallis made him acquainted with the appearance of things. and liked you so well as to be exceedingly pleased to meet with you again in Camden Place. and when Mr Elliot came to Bath for a day or two. of her meaning to be Lady Elliot. insinuating. came to Bath with Miss Elliot and Sir Walter as long ago as September (in short when they first came themselves). and Colonel Wallis had his eye upon your father enough to be sensible of it. and altogether such in situation and manner.PERSUASION 'somewhere down in the west. If there is anything in my story which you know to be either false or improbable.” continued Mrs Smith.208 - .” “Well. and the reports beginning to prevail. poor and plausible. He saw you then at Lyme. handsome woman. as Miss Anne Elliot. as to give a general idea. the lady now staying with you. and has been staying there ever since. that time had worked a very material change in Mr Elliot's opinions as to the value of . and as general a surprise that Miss Elliot should be apparently. Now you are to understand. and an earlier. But there was another. and she continued-“This was the light in which it appeared to those who knew the family. had a double motive in his visits there. though he did not then visit in Camden Place. which I will now explain. without knowing it to be you?” “He certainly did. but his regard for Mr Elliot gave him an interest in watching all that was going on there. “That she is a clever. that your sister's friend. I happened to be at Lyme. triumphantly. whom I have heard you mention. My account states. I have no doubt. At Lyme. among Sir Walter's acquaintance. blind to the danger. long before you returned to it.

and everybody was to be introduced. and Colonel Wallis was to assist in every way that he could. You can imagine what an artful man would do. with the view of renewing his former acquaintance. nothing to wish for on the side of avarice or indulgence.” said Anne. I have always wanted some other motive for his conduct than appeared. and recovering such a footing in the family as might give him the means of ascertaining the degree of his danger. and with this guide. Mr Elliot came back accordingly. and of circumventing the lady if he found it material. but I have never been satisfied. and his only object (till your arrival added another motive). to watch Sir Walter and Mrs Clay. He omitted no opportunity of being with them.PERSUASION a baronetcy. whether he considers the danger to be lessening or not. but I need not be particular on this subject. and re-admitted into the family. I thought it coming on before our acquaintance ceased. perhaps. and Mrs Wallis was to be introduced. He was to be introduced. This was agreed upon between the two friends as the only thing to be done. and of fixing himself here for a time. Having long had as much money as he could spend. as to the probability of the event he has been in dread of. and there it was his constant object.209 - . who would have difficulty in believing it. threw himself in their way. “You may guess. as you know. therefore.” . called at all hours. There is always something offensive in the details of cunning. may recollect what you have seen him do. but I have heard nothing which really surprises me. that the news he heard from his friend could not be very agreeable. the resolution of coming back to Bath as soon as possible. “you tell me nothing which does not accord with what I have known. he has been gradually learning to pin his happiness upon the consequence he is heir to. and you may guess what it produced. He cannot bear the idea of not being Sir William. or could imagine.” “Yes. The manoeuvres of selfishness and duplicity must ever be revolting. and on application was forgiven. I should like to know his present opinion. but it is now a confirmed feeling. Upon all points of blood and connexion he is a completely altered man. I know those who would be shocked by such a representation of Mr Elliot.

that it is to be put into the marriage articles when you and Mr Elliot marry. and not daring to proceed as she might do in his absence. but I shall know better what to do. but her attention was now called to the explanation of those first hints.' And. My line of conduct will be more direct. aware that he sees through her. indeed. “It will be more painful to me in some respects to be in company with him. as nurse tells me. worthy of Mrs Wallis's understanding. But since he must be absent some time or other. and she listened to a recital which. I understand. but my sensible nurse Rooke sees the absurdity of it. if it did not perfectly justify the unqualified bitterness of Mrs Smith. to own the truth. Mr Elliot is evidently a disingenuous. artificial. through Mrs Wallis's recommendation?” “I am very glad to know all this. in the interest of her own family concerns. 'Why.' said she. is a very strenuous opposer of Sir Walter's making a second match.PERSUASION “Lessening. ma'am. who has never had any better principle to guide him than selfishness. after a little thoughtfulness. Mrs Smith had been carried away from her first direction.” replied Mrs Smith. by all accounts. “He thinks Mrs Clay afraid of him. and (since self will intrude) who can say that she may not have some flying visions of attending the next Lady Elliot.” said Anne. A scheme. I do not perceive how he can ever be secure while she holds her present influence. in her heart. She must be allowed to be a favourer of matrimony. very deficient both in justice and compassion. to be sure. I do not think nurse. and Anne had forgotten.210 - . you know. worldly man. 'it would not prevent his marrying anybody else. proved him to have been very unfeeling in his conduct towards her. She learned that (the intimacy between them continuing unimpaired by Mr Elliot's marriage) they had been as before always . how much had been originally implied against him. Mrs Wallis has an amusing idea.” But Mr Elliot was not done with. that your father is not to marry Mrs Clay.

answers to urgent applications from Mrs Smith. Anne was shewn some letters of his on the occasion. much more amiable than his friend. and. and that from the first there had been a great deal of general and joint extravagance. on the contrary. and beginning to be rich. and the difficulties and distress which this refusal had heaped on her. more creditable to his feelings than his judgement. and Mr Elliot had led his friend into expenses much beyond his fortune. but it was not till his death that the wretched state of his affairs was fully known. but Mr Elliot would not act. and the Smiths accordingly had been ruined. and not strong understanding. which all breathed the same stern resolution of not engaging in a fruitless trouble. raised by his marriage to great affluence. They had previously known embarrassments enough to try the friendship of their friends. With a confidence in Mr Elliot's regard. But Anne could collect that their income had never been equal to their style of living. the same hard-hearted indifference to any of the evils it might . in addition to the inevitable sufferings of her situation. and disposed to every gratification of pleasure and vanity which could be commanded without involving himself. and was most tender of throwing any on her husband. (for with all his self-indulgence he had become a prudent man). The husband had died just in time to be spared the full knowledge of it. but.PERSUASION together.211 - . easy temper. and probably despised by him. Mr Smith had appointed him the executor of his will. and to prove that Mr Elliot's had better not be tried. led by him. had been such as could not be related without anguish of spirit. or listened to without corresponding indignation. From his wife's account of him she could discern Mr Smith to have been a man of warm feelings. just as his friend ought to have found himself to be poor. under a cold civility. careless habits. had been prompting and encouraging expenses which could end only in ruin. Mr Elliot. and very unlike him. Mrs Smith did not want to take blame to herself. seemed to have had no concern at all for that friend's probable finances.

PERSUASION bring on her. She had good reason to believe that some property of her husband in the West Indies. She had no natural connexions to assist her even with their counsel. all the minutiae of distress upon distress. Anne could perfectly comprehend the exquisite relief. It was a dreadful picture of ingratitude and inhumanity. that a little trouble in the right place might do it. and this property. and she had been hastily preparing to interest Anne's feelings. which in former conversations had been merely hinted at. been very apprehensive of losing her friend by it. equally disabled from personal exertion by her state of bodily weakness. But there was nobody to stir in it. were dwelt on now with a natural indulgence. since he did not even know her to be in Bath. that no flagrant open crime could have been worse. and to fear that delay might be even weakening her claims. She had a great deal to listen to. all the particulars of past sad scenes. But on being assured that he could have made no attempt of that nature. which had been for many years under a sort of sequestration for the payment of its own incumbrances. This was a cruel aggravation of actually streightened means. at some moments. would be enough to make her comparatively rich. It was on this point that she had hoped to engage Anne's good offices with Mr Elliot. it immediately occurred. and Anne felt. and from employing others by her want of money. might be recoverable by proper measures. as far as the observances due to Mr Elliot's character would allow. To feel that she ought to be in better circumstances. Mr Elliot would do nothing. though not large. when Anne's refutation of the supposed engagement changed the face of everything.212 - . She had previously. and while it took from her the new. that something might be done in her favour by the influence of the woman he loved. was hard to bear. and she could do nothing herself. in the anticipation of their marriage. and was only the more inclined to wonder at the composure of her friend's usual state of mind. and she could not afford to purchase the assistance of the law. There was one circumstance in the history of her grievances of particular irritation.

and I could no more speak the truth of him. They were wretched together. left her at least the comfort of telling the whole story her own way. After listening to this full description of Mr Elliot. It was just possible that she might have been persuaded by Lady Russell! And under such a supposition. and he had never loved her. which would have been most miserable. I considered your marrying him as certain. I was willing to hope that you must fare better. as I talked of happiness. in which his conduct was involved. too late? It was very desirable that Lady Russell should be no longer deceived.213 - . that Anne had full liberty to communicate to her friend everything relative to Mrs Smith. “She had seemed to recommend and praise him!” “My dear.” Anne could just acknowledge within herself such a possibility of having been induced to marry him. it was not absolutely hopeless. and yet he is sensible. though he might not yet have made the offer.” was Mrs Smith's reply.PERSUASION formed hope of succeeding in the object of her first anxiety. than if he had been your husband. . He was very unkind to his first wife. as made her shudder at the idea of the misery which must have followed. But she was too ignorant and giddy for respect. he is agreeable. My heart bled for you. which carried them through the greater part of the morning. when time had disclosed all. Anne could not but express some surprise at Mrs Smith's having spoken of him so favourably in the beginning of their conversation. “there was nothing else to be done. was. and with such a woman as you. and one of the concluding arrangements of this important conference.

She was concerned for the disappointment and pain Lady Russell would be feeling. unperplexed. or penetrating forward. . but here was a reward indeed springing from it! Mrs Smith had been able to tell her what no one else could have done. She was most thankful for her own knowledge of him. Could the knowledge have been extended through her family? But this was a vain idea. the irremediable mischief he might have done. wait the event with as much composure as possible. in looking around her. and had all the distress of foreseeing many evils. was considered with sensations unqualified. and the evil of his attentions last night. Pity for him was all over. consult with her. There was no longer anything of tenderness due to him. in all his own unwelcome obtrusiveness. She had never considered herself as entitled to reward for not slighting an old friend like Mrs Smith. her greatest want of composure would be in that quarter of the mind which could not be opened to Lady Russell. she saw more to distrust and to apprehend. But this was the only point of relief. and having done her best. She must talk to Lady Russell.PERSUASION Chapter 22 Anne went home to think over all that she had heard. and after all. tell her.214 - . He stood as opposed to Captain Wentworth. in that flow of anxieties and fears which must be all to herself. In one point. without knowing how to avert any one of them. In every other respect. for the mortifications which must be hanging over her father and sister. her feelings were relieved by this knowledge of Mr Elliot.

at least. I sent him away with smiles.” “My dear Miss Elliot!” exclaimed Mrs Clay. that he had called and paid them a long morning visit. escaped seeing Mr Elliot. and felt safe. Miss Anne. however. not daring. may I not say father and son?” “Oh! I lay no embargo on any body's words. so Mrs Clay says. that she had. with affected carelessness. Poor man! I was really in pain for him. I had compassion on him. I am scarcely sensible of his attentions being beyond those of other men. Mr Elliot looking up with so much respect. when I found how excessively he was regretting that he should miss my father this morning. “but he gave so many hints. upon my word. “I had not the smallest intention of asking him.” . you know. I gave way immediately. However. when she heard that he was coming again in the evening. lifting her hands and eyes. Each behaving so pleasantly. seems bent on cruelty. “I have been rather too much used to the game to be soon overcome by a gentleman's hints. but hardly had she congratulated herself. you need not be so alarmed about him.” said Elizabeth. for I would never really omit an opportunity of bring him and Sir Walter together. They appear to so much advantage in company with each other.215 - . When I found he was really going to his friends at Thornberry Park for the whole day tomorrow. to turn her eyes towards Anne. “Exactly like father and son! Dear Miss Elliot.” “Indeed. on reaching home. “Well.” “Quite delightful!” cried Mrs Clay. as she intended. I did invite him. If you will have such ideas! But. and sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence. I never saw anybody in my life spell harder for an invitation. I do say it.PERSUASION She found. for your hardhearted sister. my dear Penelope.” “Oh!” cried Elizabeth.

PERSUASION Anne admired the good acting of the friend. bringing immediately to her thoughts all those parts of his conduct which were least excusable. His attentive deference to her father. He little surmised that it was a subject acting now exactly against his interest. She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might provoke a remonstrance on his side. She had been used before to feel that he could not be always quite sincere. He wanted to animate her curiosity again as to how and where he could have heard her formerly praised. and more cool. placid look. but now she saw insincerity in everything. at least. and to retrace. She was accordingly more guarded. or the sound of his artificial good sentiments. contrasted with his former language. and appear quite satisfied with the curtailed license of devoting herself only half as much to Sir Walter as she would have done otherwise. wanted very much to be gratified by more solicitation. as quietly as she could. and quite painful to have him approach and speak to her. It was impossible but that Mrs Clay must hate the sight of Mr Elliot. To Anne herself it was most distressing to see Mr Elliot enter the room. the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had been gradually led along. in being able to shew such pleasure as she did. in the expectation and in the actual arrival of the very person whose presence must really be interfering with her prime object. but the charm was broken: he found that the heat and animation of a public room was necessary to kindle his modest cousin's vanity. and yet she could assume a most obliging. by any of those attempts which he could hazard among the too-commanding claims of the others. she could hardly bear the sight of his present smiles and mildness. he found. that it was not to be done now. . It was a great object to her to escape all enquiry or eclat. but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to him as might be compatible with their relationship. was odious.216 - . and when she thought of his cruel conduct towards Mrs Smith. than she had been the night before.

Morning visits are never fair by women at her time of life. It was so humiliating to reflect on the constant deception practiced on her father and Elizabeth.” “And mine. before she began to talk of spending the morning in Rivers Street. of course. seemed the destruction of everything like peace and comfort. You need not tell her so. Oh! you may as well take back that tiresome book she would lend me. and Anne would have compounded for the marriage at once. He was invited again to Camden Place the very evening of his return.” added Sir Walter. but that Mrs Clay was also going out on some obliging purpose of saving her sister trouble. Make a civil message. It was bad enough that a Mrs Clay should be always before her.PERSUASION She had some satisfaction in finding that he was really going out of Bath the next morning. “Kindest regards. who make themselves up so little. that I mean to call upon her soon. to be clear of Mr Elliot's subtleties in endeavouring to prevent it. “Very well. and accomplish the necessary communication. Something so formal and arrange in her air! and she sits so upright! My best love. and she would have gone directly after breakfast. And you may say. She saw Mrs Clay fairly off. with all its evils.” said Elizabeth. to consider the various sources of mortification preparing for them! Mrs Clay's selfishness was not so complicate nor so revolting as his. On Friday morning she meant to go very early to Lady Russell. “I have nothing to send but my love. If she would only wear rouge . but I was ashamed of her at the concert. but from Thursday to Saturday evening his absence was certain. but that a deeper hypocrite should be added to their party.217 - . which determined her to wait till she might be safe from such a companion. going early. but I shall only leave my card. and pretend I have read it through. Lady Russell quite bores one with her new publications. I really cannot be plaguing myself for ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out. but I thought her dress hideous the other night. therefore. I used to think she had some taste in dress. and that he would be gone the greater part of two days.

and by way of doing something. She then found that it consisted of Mrs Musgrove. So much was pretty soon understood. After the usual period of suspense. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were able to rise in cordiality. I observed the blinds were let down immediately. Henrietta. and the others were not so sorry but that they could put on a decent air of welcome. as well as of some apparent confusion as to whom their party consisted of. but for his known engagement seven miles off. He gave her a very plain.” While her father spoke. would have expected him. But then. and had made herself so unhappy about it. and do the honours of it very well.PERSUASION she would not be afraid of being seen. but Mary could not bear to be left. The scheme had received its first impulse by Captain Harville's wanting to come to Bath on business. remembering the preconcerted visits. intelligible account of the whole. at all hours. and Mrs Harville had seemed to like the idea of it very much. and “Mr and Mrs Charles Musgrove” were ushered into the room. it had been taken up by his father and . or an explanation of some smiling hints of particular business. which had been ostentatiously dropped by Mary. Surprise was the strongest emotion raised by their appearance. as an advantage to her husband. Anne could not draw upon Charles's brain for a regular history of their coming.218 - . of Mr Elliot. but last time I called. their nearest relations. as shooting was over. or at an end. and as soon as it became clear that these. a narration in which she saw a great deal of most characteristic proceeding. Who could it be? Anne. They were come to Bath for a few days with Mrs Musgrove. but till Sir Walter and Elizabeth were walking Mary into the other drawing-room. He had begun to talk of it a week ago. the usual sounds of approach were heard. that for a day or two everything seemed to be in suspense. and were at the White Hart. were not arrived with an views of accommodation in that house. Charles had proposed coming with him. and Captain Harville. beside their two selves. but Anne was really glad to see them. and regaling themselves with her admiration. there was a knock at the door.

the two families had consented to the young people's wishes. that everything might be comfortable and easy to Captain Harville. Anne's only surprise was. in short. and in a very fine country: fine part of Dorsetshire.” . the pleasant prospect of one should not be dimming those of the other-. “Charles is too cool about sporting.219 - . In the centre of some of the best preserves in the kingdom. Not that he will value it as he ought. remained with Mr Musgrove and Louisa at Uppercross. each more careful and jealous than the other. Mrs Harville.” cried Anne. They had arrived late the night before. indeed. “And a very good living it was. it ended in being his mother's party.PERSUASION mother. quite as soon as Louisa's. and to two of the three at least. That's the worst of him. surrounded by three great proprietors. Charles Hayter had been applied to by a friend to hold a living for a youth who could not possibly claim it under many years.” he observed. who both deserve equally well. her children. His mother had some old friends in Bath whom she wanted to see. it was thought a good opportunity for Henrietta to come and buy wedding-clothes for herself and her sister. and that of two sisters. that affairs should be in forwardness enough for Henrietta's wedding-clothes to be talked of. and. but she learned from Charles that. I hope your father and mother are quite happy with regard to both. and who have always been such good friends. (since Mary's last letter to herself). and Captain Benwick. and that on the strength of his present income. and he and Mary were included in it by way of general convenience. Charles Hayter might get a special recommendation. She had imagined such difficulties of fortune to exist there as must prevent the marriage from being near at hand. with almost a certainty of something more permanent long before the term in question. and that their marriage was likely to take place in a few months.that they should be so equal in their prosperity and comfort.” “I am extremely glad. “particularly glad that this should happen.” Charles added: “only five-and-twenty miles from Uppercross. very recently.

and I am sure he has always been a very kind. for he has fought as well as read. I have a great value for Benwick. “should be happy in their children's marriages. very much recovered.” said she. I got more acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before. all day long. coming down with money--two daughters at once--it cannot be a very agreeable operation. she starts and wriggles like a young dab-chick in the water. They do everything to confer happiness. His reading has done him no harm. and Benwick sits at her elbow. and I have liked Charles Hayter all my life. It is a very fair match.” “To be sure he is. She never did.” “Such excellent parents as Mr and Mrs Musgrove. However. I hope you think Louisa perfectly recovered now?” He answered rather hesitatingly. but she is altered. there is no running or jumping about. or whispering to her. I cannot make her attend to the value of the property. nor think enough about Winthrop. “but I do believe him to be an excellent young man. reading verses. We had a . I am sure. and I shall not leave off now. Money.” exclaimed Anne.PERSUASION “Oh! yes. I believe I do. If one happens only to shut the door a little hard. Nobody doubts it.” Anne could not help laughing. “That cannot be much to your taste. Mary does not above half like Henrietta's match. My father would be well pleased if the gentlemen were richer. I know. he has plenty to say. It is very fit they should have daughters' shares.220 - . no laughing or dancing. it is quite different. He is a brave fellow. “Yes. and it streightens him as to many things. I do not mean to say they have not a right to it. as times go. you know. but he has no other fault to find. you know. both in young and old. What a blessing to young people to be in such hands! Your father and mother seem so totally free from all those ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct and misery. liberal father to me. But she does not do him justice. and I hope you do not think I am so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and pleasures as myself. and when one can but get him to talk.

The visit passed off altogether in high good humour. and with her own complete independence of Camden Place. She felt that Mrs Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them. but Anne had heard enough to understand the present state of Uppercross. and then Elizabeth was happy again. Elizabeth was. and rejoice in its happiness. I am sure she would rather not come. few people in Bath do. but she did not want to lessen theirs. and though she sighed as she rejoiced. for a short time. as they were detailed to her. . did not even ask her own sister's family. which a dinner must betray. the reduction of servants. These were her internal persuasions: “Old fashioned notions.” Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles's following the others to admire mirrors and china. witnessed by those who had been always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch. and so well satisfied with the journey in her mother-in-law's carriage with four horses. Mary was in excellent spirits. but she could not bear to have the difference of style. Lady Alicia never does. but vanity got the better. I will ask them all for an evening. It was a struggle between propriety and vanity. enjoying the gaiety and the change.PERSUASION famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning in my father's great barns. her sigh had none of the ill-will of envy in it. country hospitality. though they were here a month: and I dare say it would be very inconvenient to Mrs Musgrove. and enter most readily into all the superiorities of the house. and her consequence was just enough increased by their handsome drawing-rooms. that will be a novelty and a treat. that she was exactly in a temper to admire everything as she ought. suffering a good deal.221 - . and he played his part so well that I have liked him the better ever since. she cannot feel easy with us. that will be much better. put her quite out of her way. She would certainly have risen to their blessings if she could. we do not profess to give dinners. She had no demands on her father or sister.

which made her full of regard and interest for everybody she had ever liked before at all. Miss Elliot was to have the honour of calling on Mrs Musgrove in the course of the morning. and Mrs Musgrove's real affection had been won by her usefulness when they were in distress. It shall be a regular party. and assorting her trinkets. from the sad want of such blessings at home. and Anne walked off with Charles and Mary. It was a heartiness. who were fortunately already engaged to come. to trying to convince her that she . They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within. and a warmth. Her plan of sitting with Lady Russell must give way for the present. small. she naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance.” And this satisfied Elizabeth: and when the invitation was given to the two present. and be introduced to Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret. and to Henrietta's of herself. giving opinions on business. was listening to Mrs Musgrove's history of Louisa. and on Charles's leaving them together. from finding her keys.PERSUASION They have not seen two such drawing rooms before. and. and she could not have received a more gratifying attention. with an eagerness of good-will which many associations contributed to form. She was entreated to give them as much of her time as possible. but most elegant. and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. of fresh-formed happiness. or rather claimed as part of the family. to see again the friends and companions of the last autumn. Mary was as completely satisfied. She was particularly asked to meet Mr Elliot. but Anne convinced herself that a day's delay of the intended communication could be of no consequence. and promised for the absent. They all three called in Rivers Street for a couple of minutes. and by themselves. from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts. Henrietta was exactly in that state of recently-improved views. and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more. with intervals of every help which Mary required. and recommendations to shops. to go and see her and Henrietta directly. in return. invited for every day and all day long. They will be delighted to come to-morrow evening. and hastened forward to the White Hart.222 - .

that the same unfortunate persuasion. standing under the colonnade. still at her window. Who is it? Come. and wantonly playing with our own happiness. when their dining-room. well amused as she generally was. misled by every moment's inadvertence. It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel that this arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together again. could not but have her moments of imagining. our hearts must understand each other ere long. and tried to dwell much on this argument of rational dependence:-. under their present circumstances. They seemed deep in talk. and Anne had not been there half an hour. and leave things to take their course. could only be exposing them to inadvertencies and misconstructions of the most mischievous kind. “Anne. spacious as it was. to be captiously irritable. a few minutes afterwards. A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected. A large party in an hotel ensured a quick-changing. the next a parcel. Good heavens! I recollect. seemed more than half filled: a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs Musgrove. she had derived from it a delightful conviction.“Surely. Their last meeting had been most important in opening his feelings. “there is Mrs Clay. which had hastened him away from the Concert Room. but she feared from his looks. and a gentleman with her. she felt as if their being in company with each other.PERSUASION was not ill-used by anybody. She tried to be calm. He did not seem to want to be near enough for conversation.” And yet. The appearance of the latter could not be more than the surprise of the moment. It is Mr Elliot himself. I am sure. which Mary.223 - . We are not boy and girl. One five minutes brought a note. I saw them turn the corner from Bath Street just now. still governed.” cried Mary. in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the Pump Room. if there be constant attachment on each side. and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth. and tell me.” . unsettled scene.

It was evident that the report concerning her had spread. which seemed to ensure that it would now spread farther. I might not attend. He is turning away.” and walked back to her chair. and with the comfortable hope of having acquitted herself well. simple as it was.” cried Anne. but Anne did not mean to stir. I suppose. certainly. and protesting still more positively that it was Mr Elliot. began talking very warmly about the family features. “Yes. Anne” cried Mary. and does not come back till to-morrow.PERSUASION “No. however. They are parting. You will be too late if you do not make haste. and tried to be cool and unconcerned. she calmly said.224 - . indeed! You seem to have forgot all about Lyme. resenting that she should be supposed not to know her own cousin. I assure you. “come and look yourself. it is Mr Elliot. Her distress returned. and made her regret that she had said so much. calling again upon Anne to come and look for herself. Mary. on perceiving smiles and intelligent glances pass between two or three of the lady visitors. quickly. “Do come. or I may be mistaken. as if they believed themselves quite in the secret. and perhaps screen her own embarrassment.” To pacify Mary. the consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her. He has changed his hour of going. and checking the surprise which she could not but feel at such an appearance of friendly conference between two persons of totally opposite interest. She was just in time to ascertain that it really was Mr Elliot. .” As she spoke. she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her. Anne did move quietly to the window. they are shaking hands. “it cannot be Mr Elliot. as Mrs Clay walked quickly off on the other. Not know Mr Elliot. before he disappeared on one side. that is all. which she had never believed. recomposed. He was to leave Bath at nine this morning. and a short pause succeeded.

” “But you must go. and Mr Elliot. I am sure. I have engaged Captain Wentworth. “what's an evening party? Never worth remembering. It holds nine. if he had wanted to see us. You may do as you like. I have done something for you that you will like. and Charles. Have not I done well.PERSUASION The visitors took their leave.” “No. It would be unpardonable to fail. We all like a play.” “Oh! Charles. and secured a box for to-morrow night. mother. began with-“Well. and abused them for coming. Nothing ever happened on either side that was not announced immediately. when you promised to go. A'n't I a good boy? I know you love a play. I think. and then made a face at them. I only smirked and bowed. and all the principal family connexions. mother?” Mrs Musgrove was good humouredly beginning to express her perfect readiness for the play. if Henrietta and all the others liked it.225 - . when Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaiming-“Good heavens. and there is room for us all. We were asked on purpose to be introduced. whom you ought so . but I shall go to the play. I declare it will be too abominable if you do. Charles. I have been to the theatre.' There was no promise. on purpose to be introduced to them? How can you be so forgetful?” “Phoo! phoo!” replied Charles. Charles! how can you think of such a thing? Take a box for to-morrow night! Have you forgot that we are engaged to Camden Place to-morrow night? and that we were most particularly asked to meet Lady Dalrymple and her daughter. We are quite near relations. I did not promise. Your father might have asked us to dinner. having civilly seen them off. There was always such a great connexion between the Dalrymples and ourselves. and Mr Elliot too. Anne will not be sorry to join us. you know. and said the word 'happy.

and should be too happy to change it for a play. invariably serious. and daring not even to try to observe their effect. Charles. my father's heir: the future representative of the family. ma'am. What is Mr Elliot to me?” The careless expression was life to Anne. “We had better put it off.PERSUASION particularly to be acquainted with! Every attention is due to Mr Elliot. it had better not be attempted.226 - .” Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness. you had much better go back and change the box for Tuesday. and she. however determined to go to Camden Place herself. if Miss Anne could not be with us. It would be a pity to be divided. and I am sure neither Henrietta nor I should care at all for the play. if they went to the play without her. most warmly opposing it.” She had spoken it. and not omitting to make it known that. he. “I am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the rising sun. if there is a party at her father's. too. and with you. Consider.” cried Charles. If I would not go for the sake of your father. perhaps. and quite as much so for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying-“If it depended only on my inclination. and that the last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to herself. and we should be losing Miss Anne. I should think it scandalous to go for the sake of his heir. looking and listening with his whole soul. conscious that her words were listened to. maintaining the scheme for the play. Mrs Musgrove interposed. who saw that Captain Wentworth was all attention. . but she trembled when it was done. I have no pleasure in the sort of meeting. the party at home (excepting on Mary's account) would not be the smallest impediment. she should not think herself very well used. Charles and Mary still talked on in the same style. half serious and half jesting.” “Don't talk to me about heirs and representatives. But.

PERSUASION It was soon generally agreed that Tuesday should be the day. and walked to the fire-place. and the door was thrown open for Sir Walter and Miss Elliot. You did not use to like cards. Anne felt an instant oppression. in the very security of his affection. Anne talked of being perfectly ready.” cried Anne. wherewith to pity her.” “Oh! no. “to enjoy the evening parties of the place. she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta. and as if it were the result of immediate feeling. and stopped.227 - . in preparing to quit the room. Their preparations. After waiting a few moments he said. Captain Wentworth left his seat. lest somebody else should come in. and tried to look it. however.” said he. were stopped short.” Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's imagination to ponder over in a calmer hour. eager to make use of the present leisure for getting out. “It is a period. and calling on her companions to lose no time. “You have not been long enough in Bath. whose entrance seemed to give a general chill. she would have found.” “I am not yet so much changed. but she felt that could Henrietta have known the regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair. in all her own sensations for her cousin. by persisting that he would go to the play to-morrow if nobody else would. and taking a station. The usual character of them has nothing for me. indeed! Eight years and a half is a period. Charles only reserving the advantage of still teasing his wife. They were obliged to move. I know. by Anne. other visitors approached. and wherever she looked saw . I am no card-player. Alarming sounds were heard. with less bare-faced design.” “You were not formerly. but time makes many changes. fearing she hardly knew what misconstruction. for while still hearing the sounds he had uttered. probably for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards.

The truth was. She knew him. hushed into cold composure. The card was pointedly given. she began to give the invitation which was to comprise all the remaining dues of the Musgroves. The sequel explained it. revolving a great measure. . by Elizabeth more graciously than before. the freedom. The comfort. She could think only of the invitation she had with such astonishment witnessed. After the waste of a few minutes in saying the proper nothings. to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister. that Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath to understand the importance of a man of such an air and appearance as his. and of the manner in which it had been received. “To-morrow evening. comprehensive smile to all. She even addressed him once.” It was all said very gracefully. How mortifying to feel that it was so! Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular. The past was nothing.” were laid on the table. but not to Anne. Elizabeth was. and one smile and one card more decidedly for Captain Wentworth. with a courteous. The interruption had been short.PERSUASION symptoms of the same. The present was that Captain Wentworth would move about well in her drawing-room. or insipid talk. and the cards with which she had provided herself. as an atonement for all the insolence of the past. of surprise rather than gratification. as if deeply considering it. and looked at him more than once. and ease and animation returned to most of those they left as the door shut them out. He held the card in his hand after they were gone. she saw disdain in his eye. the “Miss Elliot at home. though severe. in fact. determined silence. Her spirits sank. a manner of doubtful meaning. to meet a few friends: no formal party.228 - . and Sir Walter and Elizabeth arose and disappeared. and could not venture to believe that he had determined to accept such an offering. the gaiety of the room was over. of polite acknowledgement rather than acceptance. Captain Wentworth was acknowledged again by each.

and his mouth form itself into a momentary expression of contempt. for having watched in vain for some intimation of the interview from the lady . as inevitably to defy the suggestions of very opposite feelings. but her spirits had been so long exerted that at present she felt unequal to more. saw his cheeks glow. while harassing herself with the never-ending question. but it was a case which she could not so shape into any positive act of duty or discretion. Promising to be with them the whole of the following morning. She generally thought he would come. and give them all the rest of the day. the frequent enumeration of the persons invited. because she generally thought he ought. and fit only for home. therefore. that she might neither see nor hear more to vex her. She only roused herself from the broodings of this restless agitation. of whether Captain Wentworth would come or not? They were reckoning him as certain. but with her it was a gnawing solicitude never appeased for five minutes together. she closed the fatigues of the present by a toilsome walk to Camden Place.PERSUASION “Only think of Elizabeth's including everybody!” whispered Mary very audibly.229 - . The party separated. where she might be sure of being as silent as she chose. and turned away. and the continually improving detail of all the embellishments which were to make it the most completely elegant of its kind in Bath. and they met no more while Anne belonged to them. there to spend the evening chiefly in listening to the busy arrangements of Elizabeth and Mrs Clay for the morrow's party. She was earnestly begged to return and dine. the ladies proceeded on their own business. “I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted! You see he cannot put the card out of his hand. to let Mrs Clay know that she had been seen with Mr Elliot three hours after his being supposed to be out of Bath. The gentlemen had their own pursuits.” Anne caught his eye.

or some overbearing authority of his. He turned back and walked with me to the Pump Yard. however. to my great surprise I met with Mr Elliot in Bath Street. been obliged to attend (perhaps for half an hour) to his lectures and restrictions on her designs on Sir Walter.” . and could not much attend. I was never more astonished. ever since I entered the house. It was transient: cleared away in an instant. and learnt the extension of your plan and all that had happened.230 - . for I was in a hurry. Only think. She exclaimed. but Anne could imagine she read there the consciousness of having. she determined to mention it. He was full of 'to-morrow. “He wanted to know how early he might be admitted to-morrow. by some complication of mutual trick. but I really forget by what.PERSUASION herself. or my seeing him could never have gone so entirely out of my head. with a very tolerable imitation of nature: -“Oh! dear! very true. Miss Elliot. He had been prevented setting off for Thornberry.' and it is very evident that I have been full of it too. and I can only answer for his being determined not to be delayed in his return. and it seemed to her there was guilt in Mrs Clay's face as she listened.

The party before her were. When she reached the White Hart. and Captain Harville to Captain Wentworth. and Mr Elliot's character. talking to Mrs Croft. and that the strictest injunctions had been left with Mrs Musgrove to keep her there till they returned. but would be back again soon. before she was able to attempt the walk. Mrs Musgrove. Her faith was plighted. except by its effects in one quarter. and she had grieved over the rain on her friends' account. the weather was unfavourable. sit down. that it became a matter of course the next morning.PERSUASION Chapter 23 One day only had passed since Anne's conversation with Mrs Smith. She could not keep her appointment punctually. and made her way to the proper apartment. and she immediately heard that Mary and Henrietta. had gone out the moment it had cleared. be outwardly composed. and she was now so little touched by Mr Elliot's conduct. she found herself neither arriving quite in time. too impatient to wait. but a keener interest had succeeded. There was no . She had promised to be with the Musgroves from breakfast to dinner. nor the first to arrive. must live another day. and felt it very much on her own. and feel herself plunged at once in all the agitations which she had merely laid her account of tasting a little before the morning closed. however. She had only to submit. like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head.231 - . still to defer her explanatory visit in Rivers Street.

but was afterwards persuaded to think might do very well. what my brother Hayter had said one day.” said Mrs Musgrove. it will be better than a long engagement. ma'am. Mrs Croft was attending with great good-humour. “how Mr Musgrove and my brother Hayter had met again and again to talk it over. or the misery of such happiness. and what Mr Musgrove had proposed the next. and so we thought they had better marry at once. was engrossed by writing. Mrs Musgrove was giving Mrs Croft the history of her eldest daughter's engagement. and what had occurred to my sister Hayter. At any rate. and yet.232 - . now. as many others have done before them. Harville. for Charles Hayter was quite wild about it. “And so. all these thing considered. Anne felt that she did not belong to the conversation. we did not think it fair to stand out any longer. it was very sensibly. yet. Two minutes after her entering the room. “though we could have wished it different. could be properly interesting only to the principals. and what I said at first I never could consent to. altogether. which good Mrs Musgrove could not give. instantly. on a separate table. and nearly turning his back to them all. and what the young people had wished. such as. if you will give me materials. Captain Wentworth said-“We will write the letter we were talking of.” . and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which was perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper. no waste of time.” and a great deal in the same style of open-hearted communication: minutiae which. and make the best of it. she could not avoid hearing many undesirable particulars. and Henrietta was pretty near as bad.PERSUASION delay. and whenever she spoke at all. even with every advantage of taste and delicacy.” Materials were at hand. She was deep in the happiness of such misery. he went to it. Anne hoped the gentlemen might each be too much self-occupied to hear. said I. in her powerful whisper. as Captain Harville seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk.

but Anne heard nothing distinctly. and what I think all parents should prevent as far as they can. “or an uncertain engagement. became gradually sensible that he was inviting her to join him where he stood. felt it in a nervous thrill all over her. dear ma'am. it was only a buzz of words in her ear. It is what I always protested against for my children.” Anne found an unexpected interest here.” cried Mrs Musgrove. listening. I hold to be very unsafe and unwise. unable to let her finish her speech. “I would rather have young people settle on a small income at once. conscious look at her. or even in twelve. I used to say. to re-urge the same admitted truths. and moved to a window. and he turned round the next instant to give a look.PERSUASION “That is precisely what I was going to observe. and have to struggle with a few difficulties together. for young people to be engaged. but a long engagement--” “Yes. Captain Wentworth's pen ceased to move.” said Mrs Croft. Captain Harville. which expressed. She felt its application to herself. and a little motion of the head. I always think that no mutual--” “Oh! dear Mrs Croft. her mind was in confusion. and at the same moment that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table. an engagement which may be long. .233 - . who had in truth been hearing none of it. “there is nothing I so abominate for young people as a long engagement. than be involved in a long engagement. one quick. and Anne seeming to watch him. his head was raised. if there is a certainty of their being able to marry in six months. and enforce them with such examples of the ill effect of a contrary practice as had fallen within their observation. To begin without knowing that at such a time there will be the means of marrying. now left his seat.” cried Mrs Croft. He looked at her with a smile. The two ladies continued to talk. It is all very well. though it was from thorough absence of mind. pausing.

feeling voice. I am not sorry.” (in a deep tone.” “It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved.PERSUASION “Come to me.” (looking towards Captain Wentworth. not very near. “do you know who that is?” “Certainly: Captain Benwick. and though nearer to Captain Wentworth's table. unfolding a parcel in his hand. strongly enforced the invitation. Miss Elliot. She roused herself and went to him. do you remember our walking together at Lyme.) “he is writing about it now. and in compliance with a promise to my poor sister. and grieving for him? I little thought then-. and I have now the charge of getting it properly set for another! It was a commission to me! But who else was there to employ? I hope I can allow for him. “Yes. “Poor Fanny! she would not have forgotten him so soon!” “No. “Look here. easy kindness of manner which denoted the feelings of an older acquaintance than he really was.but no matter. and you may guess who it is for. But. This was drawn at the Cape. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. I have something to say. and was bringing it home for her.234 - . The window at which he stood was at the other end of the room from where the two ladies were sitting.” replied Anne.” said he. “That I can easily believe. “Do you claim that for your sex?” and she answered the question. He met with a clever young German artist at the Cape. in a low. and displaying a small miniature painting. indeed.” “Yes. Captain Harville's countenance re-assumed the serious.) “it was not done for her. sat to him. as much as to say. As she joined him.” and the unaffected. thoughtful expression which seemed its natural character. our . to make it over to another.” “It was not in her nature.” And with a quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding. It is. perhaps. He undertakes it. She doted on him. smiling also.” Captain Harville smiled.

it does not apply to Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. It would be hard. confined. it must be nature. no. Captain Harville? If the change be not from outward circumstances. and riding out the heaviest weather.” said Anne.235 - . it would be too hard upon you. it is not man's nature. capable of bearing most rough usage. and our feelings prey upon us. and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions. but he is not longer lived. I do not think I shall grant). so are our feelings. ever since. it must be from within. and dangers enough to struggle with. or have loved. exposed to every risk and hardship. and privations. however. country. The peace turned him on shore at the very moment. to take you back into the world immediately. and that as our bodies are the strongest. You are always labouring and toiling. You have difficulties. “You have always a profession. to be called your own. Man is more robust than woman. I believe the reverse.PERSUASION fate rather than our merit. nor life. We live at home. quiet.” . “very true. “if woman's feelings were to be added to all this. if it were otherwise. nor health.” “Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men (which. business of some sort or other. man's nature. I believe in a true analogy between our bodily frames and our mental. but what shall we say now.” “True. which has done the business for Captain Benwick. pursuits. “but the same spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most tender. which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments. You are forced on exertion.” replied Anne. friends.” “Your feelings may be the strongest. Neither time. Your home. all quitted. We cannot help ourselves. in our little family circle. I will not allow it to be more man's nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love. indeed” (with a faltering voice). “Nay.” “No. I did not recollect. and he has been living with us.

probably. If I had such a memory as Benwick. It was nothing more than that his pen had fallen down. “But let me observe that all histories are against you--all stories. upon this point.” (lowering his voice. I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument. and want for nothing. We each begin.PERSUASION “We shall never agree upon this question. yes. Yes. a few lines more. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree.236 - . many of which circumstances (perhaps . and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has occurred within our own circle. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. I am only ready whenever you are. which yet she did not think he could have caught. “Not quite. Songs and proverbs.” Captain Harville was beginning to say. I suppose. the pen has been in their hands.” “But how shall we prove anything?” “We never shall. all talk of woman's fickleness. prose and verse. No man and woman. It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof. probably. I shall have done in five minutes. and half inclined to suspect that the pen had only fallen because he had been occupied by them.) “as I was saying we shall never agree. no reference to examples in books. striving to catch sounds. and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. We never can expect to prove any thing upon such a point.” (smiling at Anne. I am in very good anchorage here. Well. these were all written by men. would. Miss Elliot.” “There is no hurry on my side. when a slight noise called their attention to Captain Wentworth's hitherto perfectly quiet division of the room. I will not allow books to prove anything. No hurry for a signal at all. But perhaps you will say. if you please. but Anne was startled at finding him nearer than she had supposed. “Have you finished your letter?” said Captain Harville.” “Perhaps I shall. with a little bias towards our own sex.) “well supplied.

for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak. as long as it is in sight. and to every domestic forbearance. 'God knows whether we ever meet again!' And then. by many hours sooner still! If I could explain to you all this. I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives. you need not covet it). I believe you equal to every important exertion. and all that a man can bear and do. and by those who resemble you.237 - . and obliged to put into another port. her heart was too full.” She could not immediately have uttered another sentence. .PERSUASION those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence. when. you know. or in some respect saying what should not be said. he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there. and saying. as if Heaven had given them wings. “if I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at his wife and children. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one. her breath too much oppressed. No. when existence or when hope is gone.