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Full text of "Persuasion"

! m 




\ STUDIA IN 



THE LIBRARY 

of 

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 
Toronto 



THE NOVELS OF 

JANE AUSTEN 

WINCHESTER 
EDITION 

VOLUME 

X 



THE NOVELS OF 

JANE AUSTEN 



PERSUASION 




EDINBURGH: JOHN GRANT 
31 GEORGE IV. BRIDGE 

1905 



PR 

4034- 

P4 
1905 



629 




Edinburgh : T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty 



PERSUASION 



Finished July 1816 

First Edition published 1818 

the year after the 

death of the 

Author 



PERSUASION 



CHAPTER I 

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 rem- 
nant of the earliest patents ; there any unwel- 
come 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 favourite volume always 
opened 

'ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL. 

6 Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married July 15, 
1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of 
10 A 1 



PERSUASION 

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, 5 
and by inserting most accurately the day of the 
month on which he had lost his wife. 

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 n., 
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 hand- 
writing again in this finale 

'Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great 
grandson of the second Sir Walter.' 
2 



PERSUASION 

Vanity was the beginning and end of Sir 
Walter Elliot's character : vanity of person and 
of situation. He had been remarkably hand- 
some 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 
anything deserved by his own. Lady Elliot 
had been an excellent woman, sensible and 
amiable, whose judgment 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 

3 



PERSUASION 

girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was 
an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an 
awful charge, rather, to confide to the 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 char- 
acter, 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 ex- 
planation. Be it known, then, that Sir Walter, 
like a good father (having met with one or two 
private disappointments in very unreasonable 
4 



PERSUASION 

applications), prided himself on remaining single 
for his dear daughter's 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 under- 
standing, was nobody with either father or 
sister; her word had no weight, her conveni- 
ence was always to give way she was only 
Anne. 

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 
10 A* 5 



PERSUASION 

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 for- 
tune, 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 hand- 
somer 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 neigh- 
bourhood worsting, and the rapid increase of 
the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples 
had long been a distress to him. 
6 



PERSUASION 

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 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 conscious- 
ness 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 

7 



PERSUASION 

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 remem- 
brance 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 his favour was confirmed. He was invited 

8 



PERSUASION 

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, in- 
vited, 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 had 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 ex- 
pressed, 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 

9 



PERSUASION 

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 
-jbe 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 contemptu- 
ously of the very blood he belonged to, and the 
honours which were hereafter to be his own. 
This could not be pardoned. 

Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and 
sensations; such the cares to alloy, the agita- 
tions 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* 
10 



PERSUASION 

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 rightmindedness, 
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 

11 





PERSUASION 

happy thought of their taking no present down 
to .Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom. 
But these measures, however good in them- 
selves, were insufficient for the real extent of 
the evil, the whole of which Sir Walter found 
himself obliged to confess to her soon after- 
wards. Elizabeth had nothing to propose of 
deeper efficacy. She felt herself ill-used and 
unfortunate, as did her father ; and they were 
neither 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 differ- 
ence. He had condescended to mortgage as far 
as he had the power, but he would never con- 
descend to sell. No ; he would never disgrace 
his name so far. The Kellynch estate should 
be transmitted whole and entire, as he had re- 
ceived it. 

Their two confidential friends, Mr. Shepherd, 
who lived in the neighbouring market town, 
and Lady Russell, were called on 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 embarrass- 
ments and reduce their expenditure, without 
12 



PERSUASION 

involving the loss of any indulgence of taste 
or pride. 



CHAPTER II 

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 judgment 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 considera- 
tion. 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 benevo- 
lent, charitable, good woman, and capable of 

13 



PERSUASION 

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 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 con- 
sideration 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 retrench- 
ment which was at last submitted to Sir Walter. 
Every emendation of Anne's had been on the 
14 



PERSUASION 

side of honesty against importance. She wanted 
more vigorous measures, a more complete re- 
formation, 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 respecta- 
bility 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 his 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 singu- < 
larity which often makes the worst part of our 
suffering, as it always does of our conduct. I 
have great hope of our 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.' 

This was the principle on which Anne wanted 

15 



PERSUASION 

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 everywhere ! 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 I ' The hint was imme- 
16 



PERSUASION 

diately taken up by Mr. Shepherd, whose in- 
terest 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 judgment 
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 chuse to model his household.' 

Sir Walter would quit Kellynch Hall ; and 
after a very few days more of doubt and inde- 
cision, 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 some- 
times seeing the lawns and groves of Kellynch, 
was the object of her ambition. But the usual 
fate of Anne attended her, in having something 
10 B 17 



PERSUASION 

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 skilful 
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 
18 



PERSUASION 

circumstance of her having been three years 
at school there, after her mother's death ; and 
secondly, from her happening to be not hi 
perfectly good spirits the only winter which she 
had afterwards spent there with herself. 

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, how- 
ever, was a profound secret, not to be breathed 
beyond their own circle. 

Sir Walter could not have borne the degrada- 
tion of being known to design letting his house. 
Mr. Shepherd had once mentioned the word 

19 



PERSUASION 

'advertise/ but never dared approach it again. 
Sir Walter spurned the idea of its being offered 
in any manner ; forbade 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 unexcep- 
tionable 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 a daughter of Mr. 
Shepherd, who had returned, after an unpro- 
sperous 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, who thought it a friendship quite 
out of place, could hint of caution and reserve. 

Lady Russell, indeed, had scarcely any in- 
fluence with Elizabeth, and seemed to love her 
rather because she would love her, than because 
Elizabeth deserved it. She had never received 
20 



PERSUASION 

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 
judgment 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 com- 
panion ; and a removal that would leave Mrs. 
Clay behind, and bring a choice of more suitable 
intimates within Miss Elliot's reach, was there- 
fore an object of first-rate importance. 



10 B* 21 



PERSUASION 



CHAPTER III 

4 1 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- 

6 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, Shep- 
herd?' 

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 know- 
ledge 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 
22 



PERSUASION 

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 ; conse- 
quence has its tax; I, John Shepherd, might 
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 after- 
wards, 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.' 

23 



PERSUASION 

* 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 parti- 
cularly 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. I am not fond of the idea 
of my shrubberies being always approachable; 
and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on 
24, 



PERSUASION 

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 privi- 
leges 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 ; 

25 



PERSUASION 

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 
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 Bald- 
win, the most deplorable - looking personage 
you can imagine ; his face the colour of maho- 
gany, 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 feUow ! " cried 
Sir Basil, "it is Admiral Baldwin. What do 
you take his age to be ? " " Sixty," said I, 
26 



PERSUASION 

"or perhaps sixty-two." "Forty," replied Sir 
Basil, " forty, and no more." Picture to your- 
selves my amazement : I shall not easily forget 
Admiral Baldwin. I never saw quite so wretched 
an example of what a seafaring 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 often ob- 
served 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 clergy- 
man ' she stopt a moment to consider what 

might do for the clergyman 'and even the 
clergyman, you know, is obliged to go into 

27 



PERSUASION 

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 
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, chusing 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 goodwill 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 neigh- 
28 



PERSUASION 

bourhood, 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) acci- 
dentally hearing of the possibility of Kellynch 
Hall being to let, and understanding his (Mr. 
Shepherd's) connexion 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 

* He is rear-admiral of the white. He was in 
the Trafalgar action, and has been in the East 
Indies since ; he has been 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 

29 



PERSUASION 

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 conveni- 
ence ; 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 pre- 
server 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. 
30 



PERSUASION 

* 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 uncon- 
nected 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. 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 gentle- 
man 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 ; 



PERSUASION 

apples stolen; caught in the fact: and after- 
wards, contrary to my judgment, 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. Went- 
worth 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.' 

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; 
32 



PERSUASION 

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 
any one intending to inhabit that house, and 
think them infinitely too well off in being per- 
mitted 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 explana- 
tion. An admiral speaks his own consequence, 
and, at the same time, can never make a baronet 
10 c 33 



PERSUASION 

look small. In all their dealings and inter- 
course, 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. 

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.' 



CHAPTER IV 

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 con- 
sequence of the action off St. Domingo, and not 
immediately employed, had come into Somerset- 
shire in the summer of 1806 ; and having no 
34 






PERSUASION 

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 de- 
clarations 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. 

Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, 
and mind, to throw herself away at nineteen 

35 



PERSUASION 

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 that 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 depend- 
ence ! It must not be, if by any fair interfer- 
ence 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 spend- 
ing freely what had come freely, had realised 
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 should be so still. Such confidence, power- 
ful 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 fearless- 
ness of mind, operated very differently on her. 
36 



PERSUASION 

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 de- 
precated 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 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, hi 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-deny- 
ing, principally for his advantage, was her chief 
consolation under the misery of a parting, a 
final parting ; and every consolation was re- 
quired, for she had to encounter all the addi- 
tional pain of opinions, on his side, totally 
unconvinced and unbending, and of his feeling 
10 c* 37 



PERSUASION 

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 
38 



PERSUASION 

had lamented her refusal; for Charles Mus- 
grove was the eldest son of a man whose landed 
property and general importance were second in 
that country 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 dis- 
cretion, 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 her- 
self for having been guided by her ; but she felt 
that were any young person in similar circum- 

39 



PERSUASION 

stances 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 a usual share of all 
such solicitudes and suspense been theirs, with- 
out reference to the actual results of their case, 
which, as it happened, would have bestowed 
earlier prosperity than could be reasonably cal- 
culated on. All his sanguine expectations, all 
his confidence, had been justified. His genius 
and ardour had seemed to foresee and to com- 
mand 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. She had only navy lists and news- 
papers 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. 
40 



PERSUASION 

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 discus- 
sion of the Crofts and their business no evil. 
She was assisted, however, by that perfect in- 
difference 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 calm- 
ness; but the general air of oblivion among 
them was highly important from whatever it 
sprung ; and in the event of Admiral Croft's 

41 



PERSUASION 

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. 

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. 



42 









PERSUASION 



CHAPTER V 

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 differ- 

43 



PERSUASION 

ence 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 anywhere ; and the Admiral, 
with sympathetic cordiality, observed to his 
wife as they drove back through the park, e 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 no harm in him ' : reciprocal 
compliments which would have been esteemed 
about equal. 

The Crofts were to have possession at Michael- 
mas ; 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 import- 
ance, 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 
44 



PERSUASION 

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 con- 
sidered, 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 com- 
plaints, and always in the habit of claiming 
Anne when anything was the matter, was in- 
disposed ; 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 hi Bath.' 

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 

45 



PERSUASION 

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 
46 



PERSUASION 

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 con- 
tinually 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 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. Eliza- 
beth could not conceive how such an absurd 
suspicion should occur to her, and indignantly 
answered for each party's perfectly knowing 
their situation. 

6 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 repro- 
bates all inequality of condition and rank more 

47 



PERSUASION 

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 hers 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.' 

6 1 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 
48 



PERSUASION 

else can have, I think it rather unnecessary in 
you to be advising me.' 

Anne had done; glad that it was over, and 
not absolutely hopeless of doing good. Eliza- 
beth, 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 condescend- 
ing bows for all the afflicted tenantry and 
cottagers who might have had a hint to shew 
themselves, and Anne walked up at the same 
time in a sort of desolate tranquillity 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 Upper- 
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\ 



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cross 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 unmodernised, 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 improve- 
ment of a farmhouse, elevated into a cottage, 
for his residence ; and Uppercross Cottage, with 
its viranda, French windows, and other pretti- 
nesses, 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. 

Here Anne had often been staying. She 
knew the ways of Uppercross as well as those 
of Kellynch. The two families were so con- 
tinually meeting, so much in the habit of run- 
ning 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 
50 



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elder sister, Mary had not Anne's under- 
standing or temper. While well, and happy, 
and properly attended to, she had great good- 
humour and excellent spirits ; but any indis- 
position sunk her completely. She had no 
resources for solitude ; and inheriting a con- 
siderable 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 ! ' 

6 1 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 

51 



PERSUASION 

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 inquired 
after her husband. ' Oh ! Charles is out shoot- 
ing. 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 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. Mus- 
grove, 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 
52 



PERSUASION 

to suit the Miss Musgroves, I suppose, and they 
never put themselves out of their way. 5 

'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 Kelly nch sooner.' 

' Dear me ! what can you possibly have to 
do?' 

* 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 

10 D* 53 



PERSUASION 

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 in- 
quiries, because I concluded you must have been 
obliged to give up the party.' 

' Oh yes 1 I went. I was very well yester- 
day ; 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.' 

6 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 Louisa ; and I 
54 



PERSUASION 

think it very likely that my illness to-day may 
be owing to it.' 

A little farther 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, 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 yo". 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 got 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 

55 



PERSUASION 

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 pianoforte and a 
harp, flower-stands, and little tables placed in 
every direction. Oh ! could the originals of the 
portraits against the wainscot, could the gentle- 
men 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, excepting Charles, were Henrietta 
and Louisa, young ladies of nineteen and twenty, 
who had brought from a school at Exeter all 
the usual stock of accomplishments, and were 
now, like thousands of other young ladies, living 
56 



PERSUASION 

to be fashionable, happy, and merry. Their 
dress had every advantage, their faces were 
rather pretty, their spirits extremely good, their 
manners 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 
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 her- 
self 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. 



57 



PERSUASION 



CHAPTER VI 

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 con- 
versation, 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 un- 
known, 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 occupy- 
ing 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 
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PERSUASION 

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 hi future, and think with heightened 
gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having 
one such truly sympathising friend as Lady 
Russell. 

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 common- 
wealth should dictate its own matters of dis- 
course ; and hoped, ere long, to become a not 
unworthy member of the one she was now 
transplanted into. With the prospect of spend- 
ing at least two months at Uppercross, it was 
highly incumbent on her to clothe her imagina- 
tion, 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 

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PERSUASION 

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 con- 
nected together, at all a dangerous contempla- 
tion; 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 un- 
reasonableness sometimes to Anne's admiration, 
and upon the whole, though there was very 
often a little disagreement (in which she had 
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PERSUASION 

sometimes more share than she wished, being 
appealed to by both parties), they might pass 
for 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 hi 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 

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PERSUASION 

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 
grandmama 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 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 wish- 
ing to see them at our house so often as I other- 
62 



^ 

\ 



PERSUASION 

wise 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 obliged 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 exaggera- 
tion, that her upper housemaid 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- 
k maid : I hear strange stories of her ; she is 
always upon the gad ; and from my own know- 
ledge, I can declare, she is such a fine-dressing 

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PERSUASION 

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 con- 
sidered so much at home as to lose her place. 
And one day, when Anne was walking with only 
the Miss 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 would 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 mama. / 
Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of 
mama, but it would be more becoming hi her 
not to be always insisting on it. It is not that 
mama cares about it the least in the world, 
but I know it is taken notice of by many 
persons.' 
64 



PERSUASION 

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 neigh- 
bours, 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 re- 
moved three miles from Kellynch ; Mary's 
ailments lessened by having a constant com- 
panion, 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 
10 E 65 



PERSUASION 

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 life, she had never, since the age 
of fourteen, never since the loss of her dear 
mother, known 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 neighbour- 
hood was not large, but the Musgroves were 
visited by everybody, and had more dinner- 
parties, and more callers, more visitors by in- 
vitation and by chance, than any other family. 
They were more completely popular. 

The girls were wild for dancing; and the even- 
ings ended, occasionally, in an unpremeditated 
little ball. There was a family of cousins within 
a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circum- 
stances, who depended on the Musgroves for all 
their pleasures : they would come at any time, 
or help to play at anything, or dance anywhere ; 
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PERSUASION 

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 com- 
pliment '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 sym- 
pathetic 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 ! ' 

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 

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PERSUASION 

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 like- 
ness, 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, 
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PERSUASION 

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 con- 
sequently full of strength and courage, till for 
a moment electrified by Mrs. Croft's suddenly 
saying 

6 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.' 

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 forget- 
fulness, applied herself to the knowledge of their 
former neighbour's present state with proper 
interest. 

10 E* 69 



PERSUASION 

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 pocket, etc., 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 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 Mus- 
grove walked in. That she was coming to 
apologise, 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 made all right by saying, that she 
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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 mama are out of spirits 
this evening, especially mama; 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 pianoforte. 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 some- 
thing, and is coming to see them almost directly ; 
and most unluckily it came into mama's head, 
when they were gone, that Wentworth, or some- 
thing 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 all 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, hope- 

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less 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 unmanage- 
able 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. 

He had been several years at sea, and had, in 
the course of those removals to which all mid- 
shipmen are liable, and especially such midship- 
men 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 
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captain ; but yet, so little were they in the 
habit of attending to such matters, so unobser- 
vant 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 known 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. 

To hear them talking so much of Captain 
Wentworth, repeating his name so often, puzz- 
ling 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 

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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 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 
too 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. 



CHAPTER VII 

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 

74 



PERSUASION 

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. Mus- 
grove 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 everything to do at 

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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 soothe ; 
besides sending, as soon as she recollected it, 
proper notice to the other house, which 
brought her an accession rather of frightened, 
inquiring 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, 
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PERSUASION 

how infinitely more agreeable they thought him 
than any individual among their male acquaint- 
ance, 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 to reply to papa and 
mama'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 inquiries; and Mr. Musgrove, no longer 
under the first uneasiness about his heir, could 
add his confirmation and praise, and hope there 
would be 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 1 no ; as to leaving the little boy,' both 

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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 can- 
not 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 declara- 
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tion, 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.' 

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 tease him. She said nothing, there- 
fore, 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 our- 
selves, 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 un- 
feeling ! 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 1 how does 
he know that he is going on well, or that there 

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PERSUASION 

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 sudden- 
ness of your alarm of the shock. You will 
not be hysterical again. I dare say we shall 
have nothing to distress us. I perfectly under- 
stand 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 sickroom than Charles, for I 
cannot be always scolding and teasing a 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.' 

'But could you be comfortable yourself, to 
80 



PERSUASION 

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 leav- 
ing him with only Jemima. Oh ! I will 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 
10 v 81 



PERSUASION 

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 upstairs, 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 not be able to persuade him to do any- 
thing 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 convic- 
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PERSUASION 

tion 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 unper-<^ 
suadable; 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 hap- 
piness 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 indiffer- 
ence 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 

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PERSUASION 

general. There had been music, singing, talk- 
ing, laughing, all that was most agreeable ; 
charming manners in 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 
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PERSUASION 

visit Mary and the child, and Captain Went- 
worth 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 courtesy passed ; 
she heard his voice ; he talked to Mary, said all 
that was right, said something to the Miss Mus- 
groves, enough to mark an easy footing ; the 
room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but 
a few minutes ended it. 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 her- 
self again and again, in nervous gratitude. * The 
worst is over 1 ' 

10 F* 85 



PERSUASION 

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 descrip- 
tion, changes, alienations, removals all, all 
must be comprised in it, and oblivion of the 
past how natural, how certain too ! It in- 
cluded nearly a third part of her own life. 

Alas ! with all her reasonings 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 in- 
formation from Mary 

'Captain Wentworth is not ver<y gallant by 
you, Anne, though he was so attentive to me. 
86 



PERSUASION 

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." : 

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. 

6 Altered beyond his knowledge.' Anne fully 
submitted in silent, deep mortification. Doubt- 
less 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 Went worth. 

'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 

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PERSUASION 

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 char- 
acter in doing so, which his own decided, con- 
fident 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 quick taste 
could allow. He had a heart for either of the 
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, 
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PERSUASION 

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 happy convic- 
tion that he was nice ; and Anne Elliot was 
not out of his thoughts, when he more than 
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. 

6 This is the woman I want,' said he. ' Some- 
thing 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.' 



CHAPTER VIII 

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 ab- 
senting herself; and this was but the beginning 
of other dinings and other meetings. 

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PERSUASION 

Whether former feelings were to be renewed 
must be brought to the proof; former times 
must undoubtedly be brought to the recollec- 
tion 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 descrip- 
tions which conversation called forth. His 
profession qualified him, his disposition led 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 un- 
visited by remembrance any more than herself. 
There must be the same immediate association 
of thought, though she was very far from con- 
ceiving it to be of equal pain. 

They had no conversation together, no inter- 
course 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 Upper- 
cross, they would have found it most difficult to 
cease to speak to one another. With the excep- 
tion, perhaps, of Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who 
seemed particularly attached and happy (Anne 
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PERSUASION 

could allow no other exception, 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 ac- 
quainted. 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, etc. ; 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 

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PERSUASION 

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 Mus- 
groves just fetching the Navy List (their own 
navy list, the first that had ever been at Upper- 
cross), and sitting down together to pore over 
it, with the professed view of finding out the 
ships which Captain Wentworth had com- 
manded. 

6 Your first was the Asp,\ remember ; we will 
look for the Asp.' 

'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 impos- 
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sible for them to distinguish the very set who 
may he least missed.' 

6 Phoo ! phoo ! ' cried the Admiral, * what stuff 
these young fellows talk! Never was there 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 ap- 
plying 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 has 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 

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seen lent about among half your acquaintance 
ever since you could remember, 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. 1 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 was 
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, 
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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 ' (beckon- 
ing him to her), 'do ask Captain Wentworth 
where it was he first met with your poor brother. 
I always forget.' 

' It was at Gibraltar, mother, I know. Dick 
had been left ill at Gibraltar, with a recom- 
mendation 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. 

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 I How fast I made money in her ! 
A friend of mine and I had such a lovely cruise 
together off the Western Islands. Poor Har- 

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ville, 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 Mediter- 
ranean.' 

* 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; 
4 mama 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 

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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; 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 considera- 
tion 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. Mus- 
grove 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 con- 
sidered 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 
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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 con- 
junctions, which reason wiD patronise in vain 
which taste cannot tolerate which ridicule 
will seize. 

The Admiral, after taking two or three re- 
freshing 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.' 

The Admiral abused him for his want of 
gallantry. He defended himself: though pro- 
fessing 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 
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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 com- 
mand 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 the three children, 
round from Portsmouth to Plymouth. Where 
was this superfine, extraordinary sort of gal- 
lantry of yours then ? ' 

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'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.' 

'I might not like them the better for that, 
perhaps. Such a number of women and chil- 
dren 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 
has 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. 
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We shall have him very thankful to anybody 
that will bring him his wife.' 

'Ay, that we shall.' 

' Now I have done/ cried Captain Went- 
worth. '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 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 accommoda- 

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tions 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 1 
I have always been blest with excellent health, 
and no climate disagrees with me. A little dis- 
ordered always the first twenty-four hours of 
going to sea, but never knew what sickness was 
afterwards. The only time that 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.' 

* Ay, 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. / know what it is, for Mr. Musgrove 
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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 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 Went- 
worth. She felt that he had everything to 
elevate him, which general attention and defer- 
ence, 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 mechani- 
cally at work, proceeding for half an hour 
together, equally without error, and without 
consciousness. Once she felt that he was look- 

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ing 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 in- 
duced to sit down again. 

Anne did not wish for more of such looks 
and speeches. His cold politeness, his cere- 
monious grace, were worse than anything. 



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CHAPTER IX 

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 in- 
tended, 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 

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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 foot- 
ing 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. 

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 re- 
quired, 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 Went- 
worth. 

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, 
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the yonng 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 ex- 
cepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a 
gentleman, and who was very superior in culti- 
vation 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 disapproba- 
tion. ' 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 now, whether the 
more gentle or the more lively character were 
most likely to attract him. 

Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove, either from seeing 

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little, or from an entire confidence in the dis- 
cretion 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 Mus- 
groves' 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 agree- 
ing that to have him marry either would 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. 
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* 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 would be quite 
a misfortune to have the existing connexion 
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 connexions 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.' 

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Her husband, however, would not agr^e 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 talking 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 some- 
thing 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 hi 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 
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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 ; and therefore it is 
very much to be wished that Captain Went- 
worth 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 yester- 
day. 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 posi- 
tive ! 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 

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own mind early enough not to be endangering 
the happiness of either sister, or impeaching his 
own honour, than that he should prefer Henri- 
etta 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 sympa- 
thise in any of the sufferings it occasioned ; but 
if Henrietta found herself mistaken in the nature 
of her feelings, the alteration could not be 
understood too soon. 

Charles Hayter had met with much to dis- 
quiet and mortify him hi 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 Upper- 
cross : but there was such a change as became 
very alarming, when such 3, man as Captain 
Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable 
cause. He had 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 obtain- 
ing that of Uppercross instead. It had then 
seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr. 
Shirley, the rector, who for more than forty 
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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 Upper- 
cross, 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 the 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 ? ' 

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PERSUASION 

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 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 upstairs 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 

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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 not you sit down ? The others will 
be here presently.' 

Captain Wentworth, however, came from his 
window, apparently not ill-disposed for conver- 
sation ; 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 remarkably 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 be 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 Charles, she could 

115 



PERSUASION 

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/ 

6 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 her- 
self 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 convic- 
tion soon forced on her by the noise he was 
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PERSUASION 

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 vary- 
ing, 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 alto- 
gether ; 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 
vexed tone of voice, after Captain Wentworth 's 
interference, * You ought to have minded me, 
Walter ; I told you not to tease your aunt ' ; 
and could comprehend his regretting that Cap- 
tain 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. 



10 H* 117 



PERSUASION 



CHAPTER X 

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 ex- 
perience, 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 Hen- 
rietta 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, 
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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 Upper- 
cross ; 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 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 dis- 
missal 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 Mus- 
grove 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 

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therefore concluded Mary could not like to go 
with them ; and when Mary immediately re- 
plied, 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 dis- 
suade 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 upstairs. * Everybody is always suppos- 
ing 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, 

which had spoilt their sport, and sent them back 

early. Their time, and strength, and spirits 

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PERSUASION 

were, therefore, exactly ready 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 in- 
fluence on the mind of taste and tenderness, 
that season which has drawn from every poet, 
worthy of being read, some attempt at descrip- 
tion, 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 con- 
versation with either of the Miss Musgroves, 
she should not try to hear it ; yet she caught 
little very remarkable. It was mere lively chat, 

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PERSUASION 

such as any young persons, on an intimate foot- 
ing, 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 where- 
abouts they will upset to-day. Ohl it does 
happen very often, I assure you ; but my sister 
makes nothing of it; she would as lieve be 
tossed out as not.' 

* 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 ; 
6 1 honour you ! ' And there was silence between 
them for a little while. 

122 



PERSUASION 

Anne could not immediately fall into a quota- 
tion 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 destina- 
tion ; 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 consider- 
able hill, which parted Uppercross and Win- 
throp, and soon commanded a full view of the 
latter, at the foot of the hill on the other side. 

Winthrop, without beauty and without dig- 
nity, was stretched before them, an indifferent 
house, standing low, and hemmed in by the 
barns and buildings of a farmyard. 

Mary exclaimed, 'Bless me! here is Win- 
throp. I declare I had no idea! Well now, 

123 



PERSUASION 

I think we had better turn back ; I am exces- 
sively tired.' 

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 Mus- 
grove, 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 her- 
self 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 Henri- 
etta 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 
124 



PERSUASION 

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 Went- 
worth 

* It is very unpleasant having such con- 
nexions ! But, I assure you, I have never been 
in the house above twice in my life.' 

She received no other answer than an arti- 
ficial assenting smile, followed by a contemptu- 
ous 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 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 

125 



PERSUASION 

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 Went- 
worth 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.' 
126 



PERSUASION 

* 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 too, 
when it comes to things of consequence, when 
they are placed in circumstances requiring forti- 
tude 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 its brethren 

127 



PERSUASION 

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 return- 
ing 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 1 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?' 

After a moment's pause, Captain Wentworth 
said 

* Do you mean that she refused him ? ' 

* Oh ! yes ; certainly/ 

128 



PERSUASION 

* 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 mama 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 dis- 
tinguished 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. 
10 i 129 



PERSUASION 

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 Went- 
worth 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. Hen- 
rietta 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. 

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 
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PERSUASION 

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 par- 
ticularly tired ; it would save her fpll a 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 

131 



PERSUASION 

were surmounting an opposite stile, and the 
Admiral was putting his horse into 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. 

' 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 
132 



PERSUASION 

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 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, 
10 i* 133 



PERSUASION 

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 
canvas, 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, in- 
deed,' 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 re- 
spectable family. One could not be connecte/1 
with better people. My dear Admiral, that 
post ! we shall certainly take that post.' 

But by coolly giving the reins a better direc- 
tion herself, they happily passed the danger ; and 
by once afterwards judiciously putting out her 
134 



PERSUASION 

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. 



CHAPTER XI 

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 re- 
moval 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 

135 



PERSUASION 

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 meet- 
ings 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 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. 
136 



PERSUASION 

A letter from his friend, Captain Harville, 
having found him out at last, had brought intel- 
ligence 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 con- 
sequence. 

The young people were all wild to see Lyme. 
Captain Wentworth talked of going there again 
himself; it was only seventeen miles from Upper- 
cross : 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 

137 



PERSUASION 

they were to go Charles, Mary, Anne, Henri- 
etta, 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 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 return- 
ing. 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 con- 
siderable 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 Cap- 
tain 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 look- 
ing 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 

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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 them- 
selves, 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 im- 
provements, 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 wooded varieties of the 
cheerful village of 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 






PERSUASION 

first partial falling of the cliff prepared the 
ground for such a state, where a scene so won- 
derful 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 seashore; and lingering only, as all must 
linger and gaze on a first return to the sea, who 
ever deserve 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 un- 
known 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 Went- 
worth long, when they saw him coming after 
them, with three companions, all well known 
already, by description, to be Captain and 3 Irs. 
Harville, and a Captain Benwick, who was stay- 
ing with them. 

Captain Benwick had some time ago been 
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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 Har- 
ville'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 ; promo- 
tion, too, came at last ; but Fanny Harville did 
not live to know it. She had died the preceding 
summer while he was at sea. Captain Went- 
worth 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 

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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 unexpensive, 
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 goodwill 
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, look- 
ing 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, 
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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, 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 
an 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 in- 
vitations, 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 indoors 
with their new friends, and found rooms so 
small as none but those who invite from the 
heart could think capable of accommodating so 

143 







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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 possible 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 
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 
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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 re- 
spected 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 the season,' and the * no thorough- 
fare of Lyme,' and the * no expectation of com- 
pany,' 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 Went- 
worth'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 
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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 appear- 
ance 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. 

While Captains Wentworth and Harville led 
the talk on one side of the room, and by recur- 
ring to former days, supplied anecdotes in abund- 
ance 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 abstrac- 
tion ; but the engaging mildness of her counte- 
nance, and gentleness of her manner, 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 in- 
dulgence in the discussion of subjects, which his 
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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 shewed 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. 

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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 allowance of prose in his 
daily study ; and on being requested to par- 
ticularise, mentioned such works of our best 
moralists, such collections of the finest letters, 
such memoirs of characters of worth and suffer- 
ing, as occurred to her at the moment as cal- 
culated 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 XII 

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 ; sympathised 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 twelvemonth. He de- 
clares 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 
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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, wearing out their last 
days in a place like Uppercross, where, except- 
ing 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 char- 
acter. 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 
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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 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 suddenly ceased, 

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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 up- 
wards 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 anima- 
tion 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 in- 
stantly 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, 
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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, 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 

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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. 

6 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 after- 
wards. 

* 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, on his way to Bath and London.' 

' Elliot 1 ' 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, 

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indeed ! Charles, Anne, must not it ? In 
mourning, you see, just as our Mr. Elliot must 
be. How very extraordinary ! In the very 
same 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 extra- 
ordinary ! 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 
greatcoat was hanging over the panel, and hid 
the arms, so it did ; otherwise, I am sure, I 

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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 circum- 
stances 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 ac- 
count, mention her having met with him the 
second time ; luckily Mary did not much attend 
to their having passed close by him in their early 
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 
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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 corre- 
spondence 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 ap- 
pointed to take their last walk about Lyme. 
They ought to be setting off for Uppercross 
by one, and in the meanwhile 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 

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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 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 in August, when he 
came home from the Cape just made into the 
G-rappler. 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 
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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 
feelings 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. 
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 invita- 
tions and promises which may be imagined, they 

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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 shew 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 pre- 
cipitate by half a second, she fell on the pave- 
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ment 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 that 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 husband, and contributing 
with his own horror to make him immovable ; 
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. 

6 Qo 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 
10 L 161 



PERSUASION 

up and supported more firmly between them, and 
everything was done that Anne had prompted, 
but in vain ; while Captain Wentworth, stagger- 
ing against the wall for his support, exclaimed 
in the bitterest agony 

' Oh God ! her father and mother ! ' 

6 A surgeon ! ' said Anne. 

He caught the word : it seemed to rouse him 
at once; and saying only 'True, true, a sur- 
geon 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 advan- 
tage 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. 

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. 
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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 Cap- 
tain 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 my- 
self. 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 help- 
less ; and in this manner, Anne walking by her 
side, and Charles attending to his wife, they set 

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forward, treading back, with feelings unutter- 
able, the ground which so lately, so very lately, 
and so light of heart, they had passed along. 

They were not off the Cobb before the Har- 
villes met them. Captain Benwick had been 
seen flying by their house, with a countenance 
which shewed 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 wait 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 upstairs, 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 conscious- 
ness. 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. 
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The surgeon was with them almost before it 
had seemed possible. They were sick with 
horror while he examined ; but he was/iiot 
hopeless. The head had received a severe con- 
tusion, 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 folded arms, and face con- 
cealed, 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 
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PERSUASION 

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 grati- 
tude. They had looked forward and arranged 
everything before the others began to reflect. 
Captain Benwick must give up his room to 
them and get a 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 

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going to Uppercross ; the news to be conveyed ; 
how it could be broken to Mr. and Mrs. Mus- 
grove; 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 

' We must be decided, and without the loss 
of another minute. Every minute is valuable. 
Some one must resolve on being off for Upper- 
cross instantly. Musgrove, either you or I 
must go.' 

Charles agreed, but declared his resolution of 
not going away. He would be as little encum- 
brance 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 acknow- 
ledge 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. 

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PERSUASION 

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. 

6 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 Mus- 
grove 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 to 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.' 

One thing more, and all seemed arranged. 
Though it was rather desirable that Mr. and 
Mrs. Musgrove should be previously alarmed by 
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PERSUASION 

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. Mus- 
grove's carriage and horses to be sent home the 
next morning early, when there could 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 in- 
justice 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; 

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PERSUASION 

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 wit- 
nessed 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 wrapped 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 
degree of goodwill towards him, and a pleasure 
even in thinking that it might, perhaps, be the 
occasion of continuing their acquaintance. 

Captain Went worth 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 of 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 
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PERSUASION 

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 meanwhile she was in the carriage. 
He had handed them both in, and placed him- 
self 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 inter- 
course, 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 

6 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 1 Had I done as I ought I 

171 



PERSUASION 

But so eager and so resolute ! Dear, sweet 
Louisa ! ' 

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 
172 



PERSUASION 

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 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 judgment, 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. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE remainder of Anne's time 'at Uppercross, 
comprehending only two days, was spent entirely 
at the Mansion-house ; and she had the satis- 
faction 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. 

173 



PERSUASION 

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 chaise was sent for from Crewkherne, 
and Charles conveyed back a far more useful 
person in the old nursery-maid of the family, 
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PERSUASION 

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, conse- 
quently, 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 
persuade them all to go to Lyme at once. She 

175 



PERSUASION 

had little difficulty ; it was soon determined 
that they would go : go to-morrow, fix them- 
selves 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 Upper- 
cross 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 
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 
176 



PERSUASION 

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 viranda, 
or even notice through the misty glasses the last 
humble tenements of the village, without a 
saddened heart. Scenes had passed in Upper- 
cross 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 occa- 
sions 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 
10 M 177 



PERSUASION 

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 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 Mus- 
groves, were now become but of secondary in- 
terest. 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 
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PERSUASION 

interesting to her was the home and the friend- 
ship 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 inquiries, 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. 

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 

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PERSUASION 

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 im- 
proving 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 recon- 
ciled 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 hi 
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 
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PERSUASION 

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 pre- 
cluded that pain which Lady Russell would 
suffer in entering the house again, and return- 
ing through the well-known apartments. 

In such moments Anne had no power of say- 
ing to herself, ' These rooms ought to belong 
only to us. Oh, how fallen in their destination ! 
how unworthily occupied 1 An ancient family 
to be so driven away ! Strangers filling their 
place 1 ' 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 
10 M* 181 



PERSUASION 

again to Lyme, and without any present inten- 
tion of quitting it any more. He had inquired 
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 judgments 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 con- 
cussion hereafter ! The Admiral wound it all 
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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PERSUASION 

'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. 

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PERSUASION 

Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement 
the house ever had. Indeed, I must do our- 
selves 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 oneself. So I got 
Sophy to lend me a hand, and we soon shifted 
their 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, fear- 
ing 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 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 
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hard, which may not happen three times a 
winter. And take it altogether, now that we 
have been into most of the houses hereabouts 
xlind can judge, there is not one that we like 
better than this. Pray say so, with my compli- 
ments. 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. Every- 
thing was safe enough, and she smiled over the 
many anxious feelings she had wasted on the 
subject. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THOUGH Charles and Mary had remained at 
Lyme much longer after Mr. and Mrs. Mus- 
grove's going than Anne conceived they could 
have been at all wanted, they were yet the first 

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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 suscep- 
tible to the highest extreme of tenderness ; and 
though she might be pronounced to be alto- 
gether 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 hos- 
pitable. 

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 
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at first Mrs. Harville had always given Mrs. 
Musgrove precedence ; but then she had received 
so very handsome an apology from her on find- 
ing out 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 Upper- 
cross ; and all this, joined to the sense of being 
so very useful, had made really an agreeable 
fortnight. 

Anne inquired 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 
an 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, 

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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 in to 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 
goodwill, however, was not to be lessened by 
what she heard. She boldly acknowledged her- 
self flattered, and continued her inquiries. 

* 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.' 
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* 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 ex- 
ceedingly. 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 re- 
member 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 
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 Ben wick 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, 

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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 understand- 
ing and soul ; and I am sure, from his manner, 
that you will have him calling here soon. So 
I give you notice, Lady Russell.' 

* Any acquaintance of Anne's will be always 
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 Ben wick.' 

'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 
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Russell's sort. Give him a book, and he will 
read all day long.' 

' Yes, that he will ! ' exclaimed Mary taunt- 
ingly. 'He will sit poring over his book, 
and not know when a person speaks to him, 
or when one drops 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.' 

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/ 

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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 inquiries, 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 dis- 
posed 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 
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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 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 compli- 
ments 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 sedu- 
lously 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 
10 N 193 



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cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high 
revel ; the whole completed by a roaring Christ- 
mas 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, no- 
thing 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 stay at 
Uppercross whenever she returned. Captain 
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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 after- 
noon, 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 news- 
men, muffin-men, and milkmen, and the cease- 
less 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 per- 
sisted hi 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 

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disagreeable, yet too rapid ; for who would be 
glad to see her when she arrived ? Anne looked 
back with fond regret to the bustles of Upper- 
cross 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 point- 
edly attentive : if Elizabeth and her father did 
not deceive themselves, had been taking as 
much pains to seek the acquaintance, and pro- 
claim the value of the connexion, 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 recant- 
ing 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 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 
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PERSUASION 

Lady Russell then drove to her own lodgings in 
Rivers Street. 



CHAPTER XV 

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, antici- 
pating 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 
unlocked for. They were evidently in excellent 
spirits, and she was soon to listen to the causes. 
10 N* 197 



PERSUASION 

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 
inquiries 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 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 little- 
nesses of a town ; and she must sigh, and smile, 
and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw open the 
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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 apologise 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 misappre- 
hension entirely. He had never had an idea of 

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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 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 connexion, were only 
too strict to suit the unfeudal tone of the present 
day. He was astonished, indeed, but his char- 
acter 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. 
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PERSUASION 

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 hi quite so favourable a light, 
she allowed it to be a great extenuation. 

Mr. Elliot had called repeatedly, had dined 
with them once, evidently delighted by the dis- 
tinction of being asked, for they gave no dinners 
in general; delighted, in short, by every proof 
of cousinly notice, and placing his whole happi- 
ness in being on intimate terms in Camden 
Place. 

Anne listened, but without quite understand- 
ing 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 

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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 vari- 
ance. In all probability he was already the 
richer of the two, and the Kelly nch estate would 
as surely be his hereafter as the title. A sen- 
sible 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. Eliza- 
beth 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 under- 
standing 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 
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that her friend, Mrs. Clay, was encouraging the 
idea, seemed apparent by a glance or two be- 
tween 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 ele- 
gance and fashion, his good-shaped face, his 
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 en- 
tirely, 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 

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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 confine- 
ment ; 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 ex- 
cessively 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 ob- 
served, 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 
in 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 
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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 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 acci- 
dental 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. 

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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 footboy 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,' etc., etc. ; 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 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 com- 
pletely astonished, but not more astonished than 
pleased : his eyes brightened ! and with the most 
perfect alacrity he welcomed the relationship, 
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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 agree- 
able, 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, under- 
stand 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 con- 

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tinually; 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 principle of its being very 
ungenteel to be curious.' 

* 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 inquiries, 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. 
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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 mantelpiece had struck 
' eleven with its silver sounds,' and the watch- 
man 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. 



CHAPTER XVI 

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 
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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, 
6 That must not be any reason, indeed. I assure 
you I feel it none. She is nothing to me, com- 
pared 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 counten- 
ance, 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 : he thought her ' less thin in her person, 
in her cheeks ; her skin, her complexion, greatly 
improved : clearer, fresher. Had she been 
using anything in particular ? ' * No, nothing. 7 
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Merely Gowland,' he supposed. ' No, nothing 
at all.' 'Ha! he was surprised at that'; and 
added, 'Certainly you cannot do better than 
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 the 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 

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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. 
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. 

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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 1 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 
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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 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 remem- 
bered another person's look also. 

They did not always think alike. His value 
for rank and connexion she perceived to be 
greater than hers. It was not merely complais- 
ance, 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 
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many days ; for the Dalrymples (in Anne s 
opinion, most unfortunately) were cousins of 
the Elliots ; and the agony was how to intro- 
duce 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. 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 

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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 pre- 
serving, 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 chuse 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 Hon- 
ourable Miss Carteret, to be arranged wherever 
they might be most visible; and 'Our cousins 
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PERSUASION 

in Laura Place ' * Our cousins, Lady Dal- 
rymple 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 
and so awkward, that she would never have 
been tolerated in Camden Place but for her 
birth. 

Lady Russell confessed that she had expected 
something better ; but yet * it was an acquaint- 
ance 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 

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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 essen- 
tial; but a little learning is by no means a 
dangerous thing in good company ; on the con- 
trary, 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 these good 
ladies in Laura Place, and enjoy all the advan- 
tages 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 ac- 
quaintance. 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 
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PERSUASION 

the relationship acknowledged, which we may 
be very sure is a matter of perfect indifference 
to them.' 

' Pardon me, my dear cousin, you are unjust 
to 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 hi 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 

219 



PERSUASION 

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 ex- 
cusable in the view of defeating her. 



CHAPTER XVII 

WHILE Sir Walter and Elizabeth were assidu- 
ously 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 
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PERSUASION 

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 hi 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 
involved. She had had difficulties of every sort 
to contend with, and in addition to these dis- 
tresses 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 satisfac- 
tion 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 

221 



PERSUASION 

heard, or what she intended, at home. It would 
excite no proper interest there. She only con- 
sulted 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 rekindled. The first ten minutes had its 
awkwardness and its emotion. Twelve years 
were gone since they had parted, and each pre- 
sented a somewhat different person from what 
the other had imagined. Twelve years had 
changed Anne from the blooming, silent, un- 
formed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little 
woman of seven- and-twenty, with every beauty 
excepting bloom, and with manners as con- 
sciously 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 
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PERSUASION 

and agreeable manners which she had almost 
ventured to depend on, and a disposition to 
converse and be cheerful beyond her expecta- 
tion. Neither the dissipations of the past and 
she had lived very much in the world nor 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 in- 
creased. 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 afflu- 
ence : it was gone. She had no child to 
connect her with life and happiness again, no 
relations to assist in the arrangement of per- 
plexed 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 deter- 

223 



PERSUASION 

mined 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 appoint- 
ment, 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 
had increased her comforts by making her feel 
herself to be in good hands. She had seen too 
224 



PERSUASION 

much of the world to expect sudden or disin- 
terested attachment anywhere, but her illness 
had proved to her that her landlady had a char- 
acter 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 ac- 
quaintance. 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, pincushions, 
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 has 
a large acquaintance, of course professionally, 
among those who can afford to buy, and she 
disposes of my merchandise. 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 
10 P 225 



PERSUASION 

good sense and observation, which, as a com- 
panion, 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 : some- 
thing 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 con- 
versation, 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 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, dis- 
interested, self-denying attachment, of heroism, 
fortitude, patience, resignation ; of all the con- 
flicts and all the sacrifices that ennoble us most. 
A sick-chamber may often furnish the worth 
of volumes.' 

'Yes,' said Mrs. Smith more doubtingly, 
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PERSUASION 

* 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, how- 
ever. She has plenty of money, and I intend 
she shall buy all the high-priced things I have 
in hand now.' 

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PERSUASION 

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 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. 

* Westgage 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 
the 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 
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extraordinary taste 1 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 pre- 
sume, 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. 

f 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.' 

* 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 everyday Mrs. 
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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 
connexions 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 defence 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 
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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 ex- 
cellence. 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 widow- 
hood, 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 an attachment to 

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be real and returned. Anne heard her, and 
made no violent exclamations : she only smiled, 
blushed, and gently shook her head. 

6 1 am no matchmaker, 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 
connexion 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 oc- 
cupying 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 more highly valued ! My dearest 
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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 feel- 
ings 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 judgment, on a serious con- 
sideration 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 

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man, an agreeable man, that he talked well, 
professed good opinions, seemed to judge pro- 
perly 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 travel- 
ling 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 
on 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 ? 

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 impres- 
sions were incurable. She prized the frank, the 
open-hearted, the eager character beyond all 
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others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate 
her still. She felt that she could so much more 
depend upon the sincerity of those who some- 
times 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 everybody. 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 anybody. 

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 folio whig autumn. 



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CHAPTER XVIII 

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 communi- 
cated. 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 at 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 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 
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even have told how the poor Admiral's com- 
plexion escaped; her letter engrossed her. It 
had been begun several days back. 

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 Upper- 
cross, 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 that 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 

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has been calling much oftener than was welcome. 
Between ourselves, I think it a great pity Hen- 
rietta 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, consider- 
ing 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 Eliza- 
beth ! 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 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 offer to take 
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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 after- 
wards 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 

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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 
chusing to venture 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 
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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 hi 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 with- 
out waiting for an answer, 'And pray what 
brings the Crofts to Bath ? ' 

10 Q 241 



PERSUASION 

< They come on the Admiral's account. He 
is thought to be gouty.' 

6 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 acquaint- 
ance 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?' 

6 Oh no ! I think not. Situated as we are 
with Lady Dalrymple, cousins, we ought to be 
very careful not to embarrass her with acquaint- 
ance 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 
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inquiry 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 Went- 
worth 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 any- 
thing akin to ill-usage between him and his 
friend. She could not endure that such a friend- 
ship as theirs should be severed unfairly. 

Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove ! 
The high-spirited, joyous- talking Louisa Mus- 
grove, and the dejected, thinking, feeling, reading 
Captain Benwick, seemed each of them every- 
thing that would not suit the other. Their 
minds most dissimilar ! Where could have 
been the attraction ? The answer soon pre- 
sented itself. It had been in situation. 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 Ben- 
wick was not inconsolable. That was a point 
which Anne had not been able to avoid suspect- 
ing before ; and instead of drawing the same 
conclusion as Mary, from the present course of 

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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 per- 
suaded 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 some- 
body. 

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 hi 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 char- 
acter 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 Went- 
worth's merits could be allowed to prefer an- 
other man, there was nothing in the engagement 
to excite lasting wonder ; and if Captain Went- 
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worth 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 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 satis- 
faction. He was not at all ashamed of the ac- 
quaintance, 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 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 
10 Q* 245 



PERSUASION 

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 conversa- 
tion 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 Crofts' 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. When he 
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PERSUASION 

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), 
6 now, where are you bound ? Can I go any- 
where for you, or with you ? Can I be of any 
use?' 

6 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.' 

6 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 ! 

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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, 
66 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 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 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 into our lodgings, and draw in our 
chairs, and are as snug as if we were at Kellynch, 
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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 com- 
municate. She had 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 com- 
prehend 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 

249 



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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. 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 taken the strangest turn of all ; 
for this young lady, this 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 
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against James Benwick. He is only a com- 
mander, 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 Ben- 
wick's manners. I thought them particularly 
pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would 
generally please.' 

6 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 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 

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PERSUASION 

mere bit of gossip. We have it from Frederick 
himself. His sister had a letter from him yes- 
terday, 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 certainly 
seem, last autumn, as if there were an attach- 
ment 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 him- 
self ill-used by his friend, which might appear, 
you know, without its being absolutely said. I 
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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 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 inquiry 
farther. She therefore satisfied herself with 
commonplace remarks or quiet attention, and 
the Admiral had it all his own way. 

* PooY 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 XIX 

WHILE Admiral Croft was taking this walk 
with Anne, and expressing his wish of getting 
Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Went- 
worth 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 ; conse- 
quently it was not reasonable to expect accom- 
modation for all the three Camden Place ladies. 
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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 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 

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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 Went- 
worth 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 pre- 
paration of the last few moments. All the 
overpowering, blinding, bewildering, first effects 
of strong surprise were over with her. Still, 
however, she had enough to feel ! It was 
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agitation, pain, pleasure a something between 
delight and misery. 

He spoke to her, and then turned away. 
The character of his manner was embarrass- 
ment. She could not have called it either cold 
or friendly, or anything so certainly as embar- 
rassed. 

After a short interval, however, he came 
towards her and spoke again. Mutual inquiries 
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 
10 TI 257 



PERSUASION 

saw him, that there was complete internal re- 
cognition on each side ; she was convinced that 
he was ready to be acknowledged as an acquaint- 
ance, 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. 

* 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 : 6 Though 

I came only yesterday, I have equipped myself 
properly for Bath already, you see ' (pointing to 
a new umbrella) ; 6 1 wish you would make use 
258 



PERSUASION 

of it, if you are determined to walk ; though 1 
think it would be more prudent to let me get 
you a chair.' 

She was very much obliged to him, but de- 
clined 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 recol- 
lected 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 farther 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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PERSUASION 

' 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 discrimin- 
ating, 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 
260 



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disappointment or not ; and till that point were 
settled, she could not be quite herself. 

She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time ; V^ 
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 hi Bath ; 
he had not mentioned it, or she could not re- 
collect 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 everybody in Bath, Lady 
Russell would in all likelihood see him some- 
where. Would she recollect him ? How would 
it all be ? 

She had already been obliged to tell Lady 4- 
Russell that Louisa Musgrove was to marry 
Captain Ben wick. It had cost her something 
to encounter Lady Russell's surprise ; and now, MTAA 
if she were by any chance to be thrown into 
company with Captain Wentworth, her im- /jt/M ^ 
perfect 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 J*^ 
at such a distance as to have him in view the 
10 a* 261 





PERSUASION 

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 percefve 
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 compre- 
hend 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. 

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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 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 any- 
thing. 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 fancy- 
ing 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 

263 



PERSUASION 

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 circum- 
stances ; 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 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. 



264 



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CHAPTER XX 

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 
inquiries in return, in spite of the formidable 
father and sister in the background. Their 
being in the background 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 be- 
tween her father and Elizabeth caught her ear. 
She could not distinguish, but she must guess 
the subject ; and on Captain Wentworth 's mak- 
ing a distant bow, she comprehended that her 
father had judged so well as to give him that 
simple acknowledgment of acquaintance, and 

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PERSUASION 

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 im- 
proved. 

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 

'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 over- 
powering 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.' 
266 



PERSUASION 

' 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 hi 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 clear- 
ing 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 very amiable, sweet-tempered girl, and not 
deficient in understanding, but Benwick is some- 
thing 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, 

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PERSUASION 

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 some other con- 
sciousness, 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 
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PERSUASION 

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. 

' 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 few 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 <j$ 
the case at Lyme. We were only in anxiety 
and distress during the last two hours, and pre- 
viously there had been a great deal of enjoyment. 
So much novelty and beauty ! 1 have travelled 
so little, that every fresh place would be interest- 
ing to me ; but there is real beauty at Lyme ; 
and in short,' with a faint blush at some recol- 

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lections, * 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 1 ' 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 neces- 
sarily included. She was divided from Captain 
Wentworth. Their interesting, almost too in- 
teresting 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, 
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PERSUASION 

when on stepping back from the group, to be 
joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw 
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 long 
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 after- 
wards, 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 Dal- 
rymple 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 be- 
tween 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 

271 



PERSUASION 

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 in- 
feriority, an opinion which he had seemed 
solicitous to give, his wonder at Captain Ben- 
wick, 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, resent- 
ment, avoidance were no more ; and that they 
were succeeded, not merely by friendship and 
regard, but by the tenderness of the past. Yes, 
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 
272 



PERSUASION 

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 an 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.' 

10 s 273 



PERSUASION 

'Yes, yes, I see you are. I see you know 
nothing of the matter. You have only know- 
ledge 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 ignor- 
ance. Here is complete proof.' 

( 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 hi any other woman.' 

6 For shame ! for shame ! this is too much of 
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 char- 
acter 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 
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PERSUASION 

who knew you intimately. I have been ac- 
quainted with you by character many years. 
Your person, your disposition, accomplishments, 
manner : they were all described, 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 de- 
scribed 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 descrip- 
tion 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 
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 

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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 imme- 
diately behind her, which rendered everything 
else trivial. Her father and Lady Dalrymple 
were speaking. 

6 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 ac- 
quaintance. 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 with- 
drawn 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 recom- 
mencing, and she was forced to seem to restore 
her attention to the orchestra, and look straight 
forward. 

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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 uo longer any inclination to talk to him. 
She wished him not so near her. 

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 chuse 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 Went- 
worth, 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 repos- 
sessed, 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 
10 s* 277 



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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 Weaitworth once more, without the 
interchange of one friendly look. 

In resettling themselves there were now 
many changes, the result of which was favour- 
able 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 must be the matter. The change 
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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 better 
singing ; and, in short, must confess that he 
should not be sorry when it was over. Anne 
replied, and spoke in defence 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 improve- 
ment 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 sacri- 
ficed 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 

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by Captain Went worth, in a reserved yet 
humed 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 no- 
thing worth my staying for ' ; and he was gone 
directly. 

Jealousy of Mr. Elliot ! It was the only 
intelligible motive. Captain Went worth j ealous 
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 her real sentiments ? It 
was misery to think of Mr. Elliot's attentions. 
Their evil was incalculable. 



CHAPTER XXI 

ANNE recollected with pleasure the next morn- 
ing her promise of going to Mrs. Smith, mean- 
280 



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ing 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 goodwill 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 situa- 
tion, by his own sentiments, by his early pre- 
possession. 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 inquiry; 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 be- 
lieved, 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. 

She was sure of a pleasant reception ; and her 

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friend seemed this morning particularly obliged 
to her for coming, seemed hardly to have ex- 
pected 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 unsatis- 
factory for such an inquirer 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. Every- 
body of any consequence or notoriety in Bath 
was well known by name to Mrs. Smith. 

6 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 
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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. 5 

' No, that was what I dreaded. It would 
have been very unpleasant to me in every re- 
spect. But happily Lady Dalrymple always 
chuses to be farther off; and we were exceed- 
ingly well placed, that is, for hearing ; I must 
not say for seeing, because I appear to have seen 
very little.' 

* Oh ! you saw enough for your own amuse- 
ment. 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 even- 
ing. I see it in your eye. I perfectly see how 
the hours passed: that you had always some- 
thing 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 ? ' 

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* Yes, I do. Your countenance perfectly 
informs me that you were in company last night 
with the person whom you think the most agree- 
able 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 ? ' 

e Mr. Elliot ! ' repeated Anne, looking up sur- 
prised. A moment's reflection shewed her the 
mistake she had been under. She caught it 
instantaneously ; and recovering courage with 
the feeling of safety, soon added, more com- 
posedly, * Are you acquainted with Mr. Elliot ? ' 
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' 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. 5 

* 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 sus- 
pect 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 any- 
thing which you suppose his cousin might fairly 
ask of him, I beg you would not hesitate to 
employ me.' 

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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. 
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 ex- 
claimed 

' 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 comes. 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 
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a more gentlemanlike, agreeable man ? Let me 
recommend Mr. Elliot. I am sure you hear no- 
thing 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.' 

6 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.' 

'No,' said Anne, 'I can readily believe all 
that of my cousin. He seems to have a calm, 

287 



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decided temper, not at all open to dangerous 
impressions. I consider him with great respect. 
I have no reason, from anything 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 sub- 
mitted, 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. 
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'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 every- 
body 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 ? ' 

' 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, laugh- 
ing. ' She could not make a very long history, 
I think, of one such little article of unfounded 
news.' 

Mrs. Smith said nothing. 
10 T 289 



PERSUASION 

'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 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?' 

' 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 

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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 con- 
sidering 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; who, 
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 

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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 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 ; 
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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 ; 
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.' 

6 1 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 chuse 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, in- 
deed, rendered that impossible yet I knew her 
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all her life afterwards, or at least till within the 
last two years of her life, and can answer any 
question you wish to put.' 

* Nay,' said Anne, 'I have no particular inquiry 
to make about her. I have always understood 
they were not a happy couple. But I should 
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 inde- 
pendence. 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, 
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PERSUASION 

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, 3 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 circumstance, 
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 
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 

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PERSUASION 

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 com- 
mitted himself. Depend upon it, whatever 
esteem Mr. Elliot may have for his own situa- 
tion in life now, as a young man he had not the 
smallest value for it. His chance of the Kel- 
lynch 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 in- 
cluded; 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 
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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 con- 
tradictory 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.' 

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 

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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 equiva- 
lent for the reversion. He is worse than last 
year. 

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' 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 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 put- 
ting 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 shews you the man. Mark his profes- 
sions to my poor husband. Can anything 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 viola- 
tion 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 calm- 
ness enough to return the letter which she had 
been meditating over, and say 

* Thank you. This is full proof undoubtedly : 
proof of everything you were saying. But why 
be acquainted with us now ? ' 

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'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.' 

( Colonel Wallis ! are you 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, know- 
ing my acquaintance with you, very naturally 
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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 sup- 
posed.' 

' My dear Mrs. Smith, your authority is de- 
ficient. 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.' 

6 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. No- 
body supposes that you were his first induce- 
ment. He had seen you, indeed, before he 
came to Bath, and admired you, but without 
knowing it to be you. So says my historian, 

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at least. Is this true? Did he see you last 
summer or autumn "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 establish- 
ment 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.' 
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Here Mrs. Smith paused a moment ; but 
Anne had not a word to say, and she con- 
tinued 

'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 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 

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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 re- 
covering 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 every- 
body was to be introduced. Mr. Elliot came 
back accordingly; and on application was for- 
given, 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 sub- 
ject. 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 man- 
oeuvres of selfishness and duplicity must ever be 
revolting, but I have heard nothing which really 
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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.' 

' 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 
10 u 305 



PERSUASION 

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 had never any better 
principle to guide him than selfishness/ 

But Mr. Elliot was not yet 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 atten- 
tion 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 bitter- 
ness 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 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 
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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 prompt- 
ing 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 con- 
fidence in Mr. Elliot's regard, more creditable 

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to his feelings than his judgment, Mr. Smith 
had appointed him the executor of his will ; but 
Mr. Elliot would not act, and the difficulties 
and distresses 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 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 con- 
versations 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 

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been for many years under a sort of sequestra- 
tion for the payment of its own encumbrances, 
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 straitened 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 weaken- 
ing 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 im- 
mediately 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 
10 u* 309 



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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-formed hope of succeed- 
ing 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 sur- 
prise at Mrs. Smith's having spoken of him so 
favourably in the beginning of their conversa- 
tion. "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 
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the misery which must have followed. It was 
just possible that she might have been per- 
suaded by Lady Russell! And under such a 
supposition, which would have been most miser- 
able, when time had disclosed all, too late ? 

It was very desirable that Lady Russell should 
be no longer deceived ; and one of the conclud- 
ing 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 in- 
volved. 



CHAPTER XXII 

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 

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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. 

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 
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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 bringing 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.' 

6 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 anybody'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 up her hands and eyes, and sinking all 

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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.' 

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 im- 
possible 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 licence 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 insin- 
cerity in everything. His attentive deference 
to her father, contrasted with his former lan- 
guage, was odious ; and when she thought of 
his cruel conduct towards Mrs. Smith, she could 
hardly bear the sight of his present smiles and 
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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 with her to 
escape all inquiry or eclat ; but it was her in- 
tention 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 anima- 
tion 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. 

She had some satisfaction in finding that he 
was really going out of Bath the next morning, 

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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 practised 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 neces- 
sary 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 com- 
panion. She saw Mrs. Clay fairly off, therefore, 
before she began to talk of spending the morn- 
ing in Rivers Street. 

' Very well,' said Elizabeth, ' I have nothing 
to send but my love. Oh 1 you may as well 
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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. Some- 
thing 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 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, remem- 
bering 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 

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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 any 
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, 
besides their two selves. He gave her a very 
plain, intelligible account of the whole ; a narra- 
tion in which she saw a great deal of most 
characteristic proceeding. The scheme had re- 
ceived 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 
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doing something, as shooting was over, Charles 
had proposed coming with him, and Mrs. Har- 
ville 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 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 wed ding- clothes for herself and 
her sister ; and, in short, it ended in being his 
mother's party, that everything might be com- 
fortable 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 Upper cross. 

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 

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claim it under many years; and that on the 
strength of this 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 pro- 
prietors, 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 prospects 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.' 

' Oh yes ! My father would be as well pleased 
if the gentlemen were richer, but he has no 
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other fault to find. Money, you know, coming 
down with money two daughters at once 
it cannot be a very agreeable operation, and it 
straitens 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 every- 
thing to confer happiness, I am sure. What 
a blessing to young people to be in such hands ! 
Your father and mother seem totally free from 
all those ambitious feelings which have led to 
so much misconduct and misery, both hi 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. 

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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 can- 
not 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 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 Upper- 
cross, 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 
322 



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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 pro- 
priety 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 ; 

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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. 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 com- 
panions of the last autumn, with an eagerness 
324 



PERSUASION 

of goodwill 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 a 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 recommenda- 
tions 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 was not ill-used by anybody ; which 
Mary, well amused as she generally was, in her 
station at a window overlooking the entrance 
10 x* 325 



PERSUASION 

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 insured 
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 round 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 irrit- 
326 



PERSUASION 

able, 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 mis- 
constructions 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 seem deep in talk. Who is it ? 
Come, and tell me. Good heavens ! I recollect. 
It is Mr. Elliot himself.' 

* 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 Went- 
worth 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 herself, but Anne did not mean to stir, and 

327 



PERSUASION 

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 them- 
selves quite in the secret. It was evident that 
the report concerning her had spread, and a 
short pause succeeded, which seemed to insure 
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 confer- 
ence between two persons of totally opposite 
interests, 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. 
328 



PERSUASION 

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. 
An'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 begin- 
ning to express her perfect readiness for the 
play, if Henrietta and all the others liked it, 
when Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaim- 
ing 

'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, 
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 

329 



PERSUASION 

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 abomin- 
able 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 pur- 
pose 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 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 represen- 
tatives,' 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 inquiring eyes from Charles to herself. 
330 



PERSUASION 

Charles and Mary still talked on in the same 
style : he, half serious and half jesting, main- 
taining the scheme for the play, and she, in- 
variably 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 kind- 
ness ; and quite as much so for the opportunity 
it gave her of decidedly saying 

6 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. 

331 



PERSUASION 

It was soon generally agreed that Tuesday 
should be the day ; Charles only reserving the 
advantage of still teasing his wife, by persist- 
ing that he would go to the play to-morrow, if 
nobody else would. 

Captain Wentworth left his seat and walked 
to the fireplace ; probably for the sake of walk- 
ing away from it soon afterwards, and taking a 
station, with less barefaced 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 mis- 
construction. 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 1 ' 

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 sub- 
jects 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. 
332 



PERSUASION 

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 symptoms of the same. The com- 
fort, 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 mortify- 
ing 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 

333 



PERSUASION 

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 
acknowledgment rather than acceptance. She 
knew him : she saw disdain in his eyes, 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 
334 



PERSUASION 

in his hand after they were gone, as if deeply 
considering it. 

'Only think of Elizabeth's including every- 
body ! ' whispered Mary very audibly. * I do 
not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted! L^ 

You see he cannot put the card out of his t^ 
hand. 3 

Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, 
and his mouth form itself into a momentary j* 
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 

335 



PERSUASION 

embellishments which were to make it the most 
completely elegant of its kind in Bath, while 
harassing herself in secret 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 herself, she deter- 
mined to mention it ; and it seemed to her that 
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, how- 
ever, with a very tolerable imitation of nature 

* Oh dear ! very true. Only think, Miss 
336 



PERSUASION 

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 learned the extension of your plan, and all 
that had happened, or my seeing him could never 
have gone so entirely out of my head.' 



CHAPTER XXIII 

ONE day only had passed since Anne's conver- 
sation 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 char- 
10 Y 337 



PERSUASION 

acter, like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head, 
must live another day. 

She could not keep her appointment punctu- 
ally, however ; the weather was unfavourable, 
and she had grieved over the rain on her friend s 
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. Mus- 
grove talking to Mrs. Croft, and Captain 
Harville to Captain Wentworth ; and she im- 
mediately 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 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.' 
338 



PERSUASION 

Materials were all at hand, on a separate 
table; he went to it, and nearly turning his 
back on 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 Har- 
ville seemed thoughtful and not disposed to 
talk, she could not avoid hearing many un- 
desirable particulars ; such as, ' how Mr. Mus- 
grove and my brother Hayter had met again 
and again to talk it over ; what my brother 
Hayter had said one day, and what Mr. Mus- 
grove 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 after- 
wards 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 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. 

339 



PERSUASION 

* And so, ma'am, all these things 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.' 

' 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 ! ' 

6 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 marry- 

340 



PERSUASION 

ing, 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 in- 
stant 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, 'Come to me, I have some- 
thing to say'; and the unaffected, easy kindness 
of manner which denoted the feelings of an older 
10 Y* 341 



PERSUASION 

acquaintance than he really was, strongly en- 
forced 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 counte- 
nance reassumed the serious, thoughtful expres- 
sion which seemed its natural character. 

* Look here,' said he, unfolding a parcel in his 
hand, and displaying a small miniature painting ; 
6 do you know who that is ? ' 

' Certainly : Captain Ben wick.' 

* 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 

342 



PERSUASION 

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 doated 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 so soon as you forget 
us. It is, perhaps, our 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 

343 



PERSUASION 

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 Ben wick.' 

'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 too hard, 
indeed' (with a faltering voice), 'if woman's 
feelings were to be added to all this.' 

'We shall never agree upon this question,' 
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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 sup- 
plied, 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 fickle- 

345 




PERSUASION 

ness. 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 ? ' 

6 We never shall. We never can expect to 
prove anything 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 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 1 ' cried Captain Harville, in a tone of 
strong feeling, 'if I could but make you com- 
prehend 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 

346 






PERSUASION 

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, pre- 
tending 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 1 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 attach- 
ment 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 

347 



PERSUASION 

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. 

* You are a good soul/ cried Captain Harville, 
putting his hand on her arm, quite affectionately. 
* There is no quarrelling with you. And when 
I think of Ben wick, 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, 
348 



PERSUASION 

having sealed his letter with great rapidity, was 
indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated 
air, which shewed impatience to be gone. Anne 
knew 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 cross- 
ing the room to the writing-table, and standing 
with his back towards Mrs. Musgrove, 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 ! 

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 

349 



- 



PERSUASION 

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 
350 



PERSUASION 

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.' 

Such a letter was not to be soon recovered 
from. Half an hour's solitude and reflection 
might have tranquillised her ; but the ten 
minutes only which now passed before she was 
interrupted, with all the restraints of her situa- 
tion, could do nothing towards tranquillity. 
Every moment rather brought fresh agitation. 
It was an 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 

351 



PERSUASION 

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 stand- 
ing or waiting around her was distracting, and 
in desperation she said she would go home. 

* By all means, my dear,' cried Mrs. Mus- 
grove, * go home directly, and take care of your- 
self, 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 pro- 
tested against, and Mrs. Musgrove, who thought 
only of one sort of illness, having assured her- 
self, 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 precaution, Anne 
struggled, and said 

* I am afraid, ma'am, that it is not perfectly 

352 



PERSUASION 

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 has been some mistake ; and I wish you 
particularly to assure Captain Harville and 
Captain Wentworth that we hope to see them 
both.' 

* Oh 1 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 again 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 Har- 
ville holds himself quite engaged, I '11 answer 
for it; and Captain Wentworth the same, I 
dare say.' 

Anne could do no more ; but her heart pro- 
phesied 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, 
10 z 353 




PERSUASION 

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 engage- 
ment at a gunsmith's to be of use to her ; and 
she set off with him, with no feeling but gratitude 
apparent. 

They were in 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 
1 now glowed, and the movements which had 
hesitated were decided. He walked by her 
side. Presently, struck by a sudden thought, 
Charles said 

'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 
354 



PERSUASION 

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-sized double-barrel 
of mine, which you shot with one day round 
Winthrop.' 

There could not be an objection. There could 
be only a 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 proceed- 
ing 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, 

355 



PERSUASION 

perhaps, in their reunion, than when it had been 
first projected; more tender, more tried, more 
\AJ * 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 poli- 
ticians, bustling housekeepers, flirting girls, nor 
>*V nurserymaids and children, they could indulge 
in those retrospections and acknowledgments, 
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 to-day 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 
356 



PERSUASION 

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 hav- 
ing 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 con- 
stant 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, maintain- 
ing the loveliest medium of fortitude and gentle- 
ness ; 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. 

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 

10 z* 357 



PERSUASION 

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 began to feel 
himself, though alive, not at liberty. 

' I found,' said he, ' that I was considered by 
Harville an engaged man 1 That neither Har- 
ville 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, per- 
haps herself I was no longer at my own dis- 
858 



PERSUASION 

posal. 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 con- 
sidered 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 en- 
tangled 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 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 inquired after you very 
particularly ; asked even if you were personally 
altered, little suspecting that to my eye you 
could never alter.' 

359 



PERSUASION 

Anne smiled, and let it pass. It was too 
pleasing a blunder for a reproach. It is some- 
thing 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 Ben wick. 

6 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 
360 



PERSUASION 

one man, at least, of better pretensions than 
myself; and I could not help often saying, 
" Was this for me ? " ' 

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 despon- 
dency, 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 sup- 
ports 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, im- 
movable impression of what persuasion had once 
done was it not all against me ? ' 

You should have distinguished,' replied Anne. 

361 



PERSUASION 

' You should not have suspected me now ; the 
case so different, and my age so different. If I 
was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, re- 
member 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.' 

' 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 

362 



PERSUASION 

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 momen- 
tary 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 under- 
standing them. Lady Dalrymple and Miss 
Carteret they would soon be innoxious cousins 

363 



PERSUASION 

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, at- 
tempts at conversation, which a delicious con- 
sciousness cut short ; with Admiral and Mrs. 
Croft, everything of peculiar cordiality and 
fervent interest, which the same consciousness 
sought to conceal; and with Captain Went- 
worth, some moments of communication con- 
tinually 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 

6 1 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 ; 
364 



PERSUASION 

and for myself, I certainly never should, in any 
circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such 
advice. But I mean that I was right in sub- 
mitting 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 allow- 
able 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. 

365 



PERSUASION 

6 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. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

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 
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PERSUASION 

believe it to be truth ; and if such parties suc- 
ceed, how should a Captain Wentworth and an 
Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of 
mind, consciousness of right, and one indepen- 
dent 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 affec- 
tion 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 Went- 
worth, saw him repeatedly by daylight, and 
eyed him well, he was very much struck by his 

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PERSUASION 

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 com-- 
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PERSUASION 

pletely 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 experi- 
ence 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 awkward- 
ness 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, and 
she might flatter herself with having been 
greatly instrumental to the connexion, by keep- 
ing 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 Went- 
worth 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 
10 2A 369 



PERSUASION 

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 un- 
founded hopes which sunk with him. 

The news of his cousin 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. 
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PERSUASION 

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 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 fol- 
lowed 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 happi- 
ness 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 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- 

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PERSUASION 

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, in- 
stead 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 pro- 
perty 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 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. 

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PERSUASION 

Mrs. Smith's enjoyments were not spoiled by 
this improvement of income, with some im- 
provement 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 acces- 
sions 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. 



Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers' to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press 






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