Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Persuasion
Author: Austen, Jane
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Persuasion" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



by Al Haines.



Persuasion


by

Jane Austen

(1818)



Chapter 1


Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who,
for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there
he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed
one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by
contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any
unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally
into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations
of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he
could read his own history with an interest which never failed.  This
was the page at which the favourite volume always opened:

           "ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH HALL.

"Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth,
daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of
Gloucester, by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born
June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, November 5,
1789; Mary, born November 20, 1791."

Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's
hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of
himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth--
"Married, December 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove,
Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset," and by inserting most
accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife.

Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable
family, in the usual terms; how it had been first settled in Cheshire;
how mentioned in Dugdale, serving the office of high sheriff,
representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of
loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II, with
all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two
handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and
motto:--"Principal seat, Kellynch Hall, in the county of Somerset," and
Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:--

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

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character;
vanity of person and of situation.  He had been remarkably handsome in
his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man.  Few women
could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could
the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held
in society.  He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to
the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united
these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and
devotion.

His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since
to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to any
thing deserved by his own.  Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman,
sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be
pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never
required indulgence afterwards.--She had humoured, or softened, or
concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for
seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world
herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children,
to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her
when she was called on to quit them.--Three girls, the two eldest
sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath, an
awful charge rather, to confide to the authority and guidance of a
conceited, silly father.  She had, however, one very intimate friend, a
sensible, deserving woman, who had been brought, by strong attachment
to herself, to settle close by her, in the village of Kellynch; and on
her kindness and advice, Lady Elliot mainly relied for the best help
and maintenance of the good principles and instruction which she had
been anxiously giving her daughters.

This friend, and Sir Walter, did not marry, whatever might have been
anticipated on that head by their acquaintance.  Thirteen years had
passed away since Lady Elliot's death, and they were still near
neighbours and intimate friends, and one remained a widower, the other
a widow.

That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well
provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no
apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably
discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not; but
Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation.  Be it
known then, that Sir Walter, like a good father, (having met with one
or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications),
prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughters' sake.  For
one daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up any thing,
which he had not been very much tempted to do.  Elizabeth had
succeeded, at sixteen, to all that was possible, of her mother's rights
and consequence; and being very handsome, and very like himself, her
influence had always been great, and they had gone on together most
happily.  His two other children were of very inferior value.  Mary had
acquired a little artificial importance, by becoming Mrs Charles
Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of
character, which must have placed her high with any people of real
understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no
weight, her convenience was always to give way--she was only Anne.

To Lady Russell, indeed, she was a most dear and highly valued
god-daughter, favourite, and friend.  Lady Russell loved them all; but
it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again.

A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her
bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had
found little to admire in her, (so totally different were her delicate
features and mild dark eyes from his own), there could be nothing in
them, now that she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had
never indulged much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in
any other page of his favourite work.  All equality of alliance must
rest with Elizabeth, for Mary had merely connected herself with an old
country family of respectability and large fortune, and had therefore
given all the honour and received none: Elizabeth would, one day or
other, marry suitably.

It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she
was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been
neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely
any charm is lost.  It was so with Elizabeth, still the same handsome
Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago, and Sir Walter
might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be
deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming
as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else; for he
could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance
were growing.  Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the
neighbourhood worsting, and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about
Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him.

Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment.
Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall, presiding and
directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have
given the idea of her being younger than she was.  For thirteen years
had she been doing the honours, and laying down the domestic law at
home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking
immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and
dining-rooms in the country.  Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had
seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood
afforded, and thirteen springs shewn their blossoms, as she travelled
up to London with her father, for a few weeks' annual enjoyment of the
great world.  She had the remembrance of all this, she had the
consciousness of being nine-and-twenty to give her some regrets and
some apprehensions; she was fully satisfied of being still quite as
handsome as ever, but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and
would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by
baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two.  Then might she again
take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth,
but now she liked it not.  Always to be presented with the date of her
own birth and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister,
made the book an evil; and more than once, when her father had left it
open on the table near her, had she closed it, with averted eyes, and
pushed it away.

She had had a disappointment, moreover, which that book, and especially
the history of her own family, must ever present the remembrance of.
The heir presumptive, the very William Walter Elliot, Esq., whose
rights had been so generously supported by her father, had disappointed
her.

She had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to be,
in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to
marry him, and her father had always meant that she should.  He had not
been known to them as a boy; but soon after Lady Elliot's death, Sir
Walter had sought the acquaintance, and though his overtures had not
been met with any warmth, he had persevered in seeking it, making
allowance for the modest drawing-back of youth; and, in one of their
spring excursions to London, when Elizabeth was in her first bloom, Mr
Elliot had been forced into the introduction.

He was at that time a very young man, just engaged in the study of the
law; and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable, and every plan in his
favour was confirmed.  He was invited to Kellynch Hall; he was talked
of and expected all the rest of the year; but he never came.  The
following spring he was seen again in town, found equally agreeable,
again encouraged, invited, and expected, and again he did not come; and
the next tidings were that he was married.  Instead of pushing his
fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot, he
had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of
inferior birth.

Sir Walter 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 Tattersall's, and twice in the lobby of the House of
Commons."  His disapprobation was expressed, but apparently very little
regarded.  Mr Elliot had attempted no apology, and shewn himself as
unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family, as Sir Walter
considered him unworthy of it:  all acquaintance between them had
ceased.

This very awkward history of Mr Elliot was still, after an interval of
several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for
himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong
family pride could see only in him a proper match for Sir Walter
Elliot's eldest daughter.  There was not a baronet from A to Z whom her
feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal.  Yet so
miserably had he conducted himself, that though she was at this present
time (the summer of 1814) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could
not admit him to be worth thinking of again.  The disgrace of his first
marriage might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it
perpetuated by offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse;
but he had, as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends, they
had been informed, spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most
slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and
the honours which were hereafter to be his own.  This could not be
pardoned.

Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and sensations; such the cares
to alloy, the agitations to vary, the sameness and the elegance, the
prosperity and the nothingness of her scene of life; such the feelings
to give interest to a long, uneventful residence in one country circle,
to fill the vacancies which there were no habits of utility abroad, no
talents or accomplishments for home, to occupy.

But now, another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning to be
added to these.  Her father was growing distressed for money.  She
knew, that when he now took up the Baronetage, it was to drive the
heavy bills of his tradespeople, and the unwelcome hints of Mr
Shepherd, his agent, from his thoughts.  The Kellynch property was
good, but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required
in its possessor.  While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method,
moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income; but
with her had died all such right-mindedness, and from that period he
had been constantly exceeding it.  It had not been possible for him to
spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was
imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only
growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it
became vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his
daughter.  He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town;
he had gone so far even as to say, "Can we retrench?  Does it occur to
you that there is any one article in which we can retrench?" and
Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm,
set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed
these two branches of economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities,
and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room; to which
expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no
present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom.  But these
measures, however good in themselves, were insufficient for the real
extent of the evil, the whole of which Sir Walter found himself obliged
to confess to her soon afterwards.  Elizabeth had nothing to propose of
deeper efficacy.  She felt herself ill-used and unfortunate, as did her
father; and they were neither of them able to devise any means of
lessening their expenses without compromising their dignity, or
relinquishing their comforts in a way not to be borne.

There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could dispose
of; but had every acre been alienable, it would have made no
difference.  He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the
power, but he would never condescend to sell.  No; he would never
disgrace his name so far.  The Kellynch estate should be transmitted
whole and entire, as he had received it.

Their two confidential friends, Mr Shepherd, who lived in the
neighbouring market town, and Lady Russell, were called to advise them;
and both father and daughter seemed to expect that something should be
struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments and
reduce their expenditure, without involving the loss of any indulgence
of taste or pride.



Chapter 2


Mr Shepherd, a civil, cautious lawyer, who, whatever might be his hold
or his views on Sir Walter, would rather have the disagreeable prompted
by anybody else, excused himself from offering the slightest hint, and
only begged leave to recommend an implicit reference to the excellent
judgement of Lady Russell, from whose known good sense he fully
expected to have just such resolute measures advised as he meant to see
finally adopted.

Lady Russell was most anxiously zealous on the subject, and gave it
much serious consideration.  She was a woman rather of sound than of
quick abilities, whose difficulties in coming to any decision in this
instance were great, from the opposition of two leading principles.
She was of strict integrity herself, with a delicate sense of honour;
but she was as desirous of saving Sir Walter's feelings, as solicitous
for the credit of the family, as aristocratic in her ideas of what was
due to them, as anybody of sense and honesty could well be.  She was a
benevolent, charitable, good woman, and capable of strong attachments,
most correct in her conduct, strict in her notions of decorum, and with
manners that were held a standard of good-breeding.  She had a
cultivated mind, and was, generally speaking, rational and consistent;
but she had prejudices on the side of ancestry; she had a value for
rank and consequence, which blinded her a little to the faults of those
who possessed them.  Herself the widow of only a knight, she gave the
dignity of a baronet all its due; and Sir Walter, independent of his
claims as an old acquaintance, an attentive neighbour, an obliging
landlord, the husband of her very dear friend, the father of Anne and
her sisters, was, as being Sir Walter, in her apprehension, entitled to
a great deal of compassion and consideration under his present
difficulties.

They must retrench; that did not admit of a doubt.  But she was very
anxious to have it done with the least possible pain to him and
Elizabeth. She drew up plans of economy, she made exact calculations,
and she did what nobody else thought of doing:  she consulted Anne, who
never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the
question. She consulted, and in a degree was influenced by her in
marking out the scheme of retrenchment which was at last submitted to
Sir Walter. Every emendation of Anne's had been on the side of honesty
against importance.  She wanted more vigorous measures, a more complete
reformation, a quicker release from debt, a much higher tone of
indifference for everything but justice and equity.

"If we can persuade your father to all this," said Lady Russell,
looking over her paper, "much may be done.  If he will adopt these
regulations, in seven years he will be clear; and I hope we may be able
to convince him and Elizabeth, that Kellynch Hall has a respectability
in itself which cannot be affected by these reductions; and that the
true dignity of Sir Walter Elliot will be very far from lessened in the
eyes of sensible people, by acting like a man of principle.  What will
he be doing, in fact, but what very many of our first families have
done, or ought to do?  There will be nothing singular in his case; and
it is singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering, as
it always does of our conduct.  I have great hope of prevailing.  We
must be serious and decided; for after all, the person who has
contracted debts must pay them; and though a great deal is due to the
feelings of the gentleman, and the head of a house, like your father,
there is still more due to the character of an honest man."

This was the principle on which Anne wanted her father to be
proceeding, his friends to be urging him.  She considered it as an act
of indispensable duty to clear away the claims of creditors with all
the expedition which the most comprehensive retrenchments could secure,
and saw no dignity in anything short of it.  She wanted it to be
prescribed, and felt as a duty.  She rated Lady Russell's influence
highly; and as to the severe degree of self-denial which her own
conscience prompted, she believed there might be little more difficulty
in persuading them to a complete, than to half a reformation.  Her
knowledge of her father and Elizabeth inclined her to think that the
sacrifice of one pair of horses would be hardly less painful than of
both, and so on, through the whole list of Lady Russell's too gentle
reductions.

How Anne's more rigid requisitions might have been taken is of little
consequence.  Lady Russell's had no success at all: could not be put up
with, were not to be borne. "What! every comfort of life knocked off!
Journeys, London, servants, horses, table--contractions and
restrictions every where!  To live no longer with the decencies even of
a private gentleman!  No, he would sooner quit Kellynch Hall at once,
than remain in it on such disgraceful terms."

"Quit Kellynch Hall."  The hint was immediately taken up by Mr
Shepherd, whose interest was involved in the reality of Sir Walter's
retrenching, and who was perfectly persuaded that nothing would be done
without a change of abode.  "Since the idea had been started in the
very quarter which ought to dictate, he had no scruple," he said, "in
confessing his judgement to be entirely on that side.  It did not
appear to him that Sir Walter could materially alter his style of
living in a house which had such a character of hospitality and ancient
dignity to support.  In any other place Sir Walter might judge for
himself; and would be looked up to, as regulating the modes of life in
whatever way he might choose to model his household."

Sir Walter would quit Kellynch Hall; and after a very few days more of
doubt and indecision, the great question of whither he should go was
settled, and the first outline of this important change made out.

There had been three alternatives, London, Bath, or another house in
the country.  All Anne's wishes had been for the latter.  A small house
in their own neighbourhood, where they might still have Lady Russell's
society, still be near Mary, and still have the pleasure of sometimes
seeing the lawns and groves of Kellynch, was the object of her
ambition.  But the usual fate of Anne attended her, in having something
very opposite from her inclination fixed on.  She disliked Bath, and
did not think it agreed with her; and Bath was to be her home.

Sir Walter had at first thought more of London; but Mr Shepherd felt
that he could not be trusted in London, and had been 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 circumstance of her having been three years at school
there, after her mother's death; and secondly, from her happening to be
not in perfectly good spirits the only winter which she had afterwards
spent there with herself.

Lady Russell was fond of Bath, in short, and disposed to think it must
suit them all; and as to her young friend's health, by passing all the
warm months with her at Kellynch Lodge, every danger would be avoided;
and it was in fact, a change which must do both health and spirits
good.  Anne had been too little from home, too little seen. Her spirits
were not high.  A larger society would improve them.  She wanted her to
be more known.

The undesirableness of any other house in the same neighbourhood for
Sir Walter was certainly much strengthened by one part, and a very
material part of the scheme, which had been happily engrafted on the
beginning.  He was not only to quit his home, but to see it in the
hands of others; a trial of fortitude, which stronger heads than Sir
Walter's have found too much.  Kellynch Hall was to be let.  This,
however, was a profound secret, not to be breathed beyond their own
circle.

Sir Walter could not have borne the degradation of being known to
design letting his house.  Mr Shepherd had once mentioned the word
"advertise," but never dared approach it again.  Sir Walter spurned the
idea of its being offered in any manner; forbad the slightest hint
being dropped of his having such an intention; and it was only on the
supposition of his being spontaneously solicited by some most
unexceptionable applicant, on his own terms, and as a great favour,
that he would let it at all.

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!  Lady Russell
had another excellent one at hand, for being extremely glad that Sir
Walter and his family were to remove from the country.  Elizabeth had
been lately forming an intimacy, which she wished to see interrupted.
It was with the daughter of Mr Shepherd, who had returned, after an
unprosperous marriage, to her father's house, with the additional
burden of two children.  She was a clever young woman, who understood
the art of pleasing--the art of pleasing, at least, at Kellynch Hall;
and who had made herself so acceptable to Miss Elliot, as to have been
already staying there more than once, in spite of all that Lady
Russell, who thought it a friendship quite out of place, could hint of
caution and reserve.

Lady Russell, indeed, had scarcely any influence with Elizabeth, and
seemed to love her, rather because she would love her, than because
Elizabeth deserved it.  She had never received from her more than
outward attention, nothing beyond the observances of complaisance; had
never succeeded in any point which she wanted to carry, against
previous inclination.  She had been repeatedly very earnest in trying
to get Anne included in the visit to London, sensibly open to all the
injustice and all the discredit of the selfish arrangements which shut
her out, and on many lesser occasions had endeavoured to give Elizabeth
the advantage of her own better judgement and experience; but always in
vain:  Elizabeth would go her own way; and never had she pursued it in
more decided opposition to Lady Russell than in this selection of Mrs
Clay; turning from the society of so deserving a sister, to bestow her
affection and confidence on one who ought to have been nothing to her
but the object of distant civility.

From situation, Mrs Clay was, in Lady Russell's estimate, a very
unequal, and in her character she believed a very dangerous companion;
and a removal that would leave Mrs Clay behind, and bring a choice of
more suitable intimates within Miss Elliot's reach, was therefore an
object of first-rate importance.



Chapter 3


"I must take leave to observe, Sir Walter," said Mr Shepherd one
morning at Kellynch Hall, as he laid down the newspaper, "that the
present juncture is much in our favour.  This peace will be turning all
our rich naval officers ashore.  They will be all wanting a home.
Could not be a better time, Sir Walter, for having a choice of tenants,
very responsible tenants.  Many a noble fortune has been made during
the war.  If a rich admiral were to come in our way, Sir Walter--"

"He would be a very lucky man, Shepherd," replied Sir Walter; "that's
all I have to remark.  A prize indeed would Kellynch Hall be to him;
rather the greatest prize of all, let him have taken ever so many
before; hey, Shepherd?"

Mr Shepherd laughed, as he knew he must, at this wit, and then added--

"I presume to observe, Sir Walter, that, in the way of business,
gentlemen of the navy are well to deal with.  I have had a little
knowledge of their methods of doing business; and I am free to confess
that they have very liberal notions, and are as likely to make
desirable tenants as any set of people one should meet with.
Therefore, Sir Walter, what I would take leave to suggest is, that if
in consequence of any rumours getting abroad of your intention; which
must be contemplated as a possible thing, because we know how difficult
it is to keep the actions and designs of one part of the world from the
notice and curiosity of the other; consequence has its tax; I, John
Shepherd, might conceal any family-matters that I chose, for nobody
would think it worth their while to observe me; but Sir Walter Elliot
has eyes upon him which it may be very difficult to elude; and
therefore, thus much I venture upon, that it will not greatly surprise
me if, with all our caution, some rumour of the truth should get
abroad; in the supposition of which, as I was going to observe, since
applications will unquestionably follow, I should think any from our
wealthy naval commanders particularly worth attending to; and beg leave
to add, that two hours will bring me over at any time, to save you the
trouble of replying."

Sir Walter only nodded.  But soon afterwards, rising and pacing the
room, he observed sarcastically--

"There are few among the gentlemen of the navy, I imagine, who would
not be surprised to find themselves in a house of this description."

"They would look around them, no doubt, and bless their good fortune,"
said Mrs Clay, for Mrs Clay was present:  her father had driven her
over, nothing being of so much use to Mrs Clay's health as a drive to
Kellynch: "but I quite agree with my father in thinking a sailor might
be a very desirable tenant.  I have known a good deal of the
profession; and besides their liberality, they are so neat and careful
in all their ways!  These valuable pictures of yours, Sir Walter, if
you chose to leave them, would be perfectly safe.  Everything in and
about the house would be taken such excellent care of!  The gardens and
shrubberies would be kept in almost as high order as they are now.  You
need not be afraid, Miss Elliot, of your own sweet flower gardens being
neglected."

"As to all that," rejoined Sir Walter coolly, "supposing I were induced
to let my house, I have by no means made up my mind as to the
privileges to be annexed to it.  I am not particularly disposed to
favour a tenant.  The park would be open to him of course, and few navy
officers, or men of any other description, can have had such a range;
but what restrictions I might impose on the use of the
pleasure-grounds, is another thing.  I am not fond of the idea of my
shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss
Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower garden.  I am very
little disposed to grant a tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary
favour, I assure you, be he sailor or soldier."

After a short pause, Mr Shepherd presumed to say--

"In all these cases, there are established usages which make everything
plain and easy between landlord and tenant.  Your interest, Sir Walter,
is in pretty safe hands.  Depend upon me for taking care that no tenant
has more than his just rights.  I venture to hint, that Sir Walter
Elliot cannot be half so jealous for his own, as John Shepherd will be
for him."

Here Anne spoke--

"The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an
equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the
privileges which any home can give.  Sailors work hard enough for their
comforts, we must all allow."

"Very true, very true.  What Miss Anne says, is very true," was Mr
Shepherd's rejoinder, and "Oh! certainly," was his daughter's; but Sir
Walter's remark was, soon afterwards--

"The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any
friend of mine belonging to it."

"Indeed!" was the reply, and with a look of surprise.

"Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of
objection to it.  First, as being the means of bringing persons of
obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which
their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it
cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old
sooner than any other man.  I have observed it all my life.  A man is
in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one
whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of
becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other
line.  One day last spring, in town, I was in company with two men,
striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father
we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was
to give place to Lord St Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most
deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of
mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles,
nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top.  'In
the name of heaven, who is that old fellow?' said I to a friend of mine
who was standing near, (Sir Basil Morley).  'Old fellow!' cried Sir
Basil, 'it is Admiral Baldwin.  What do you take his age to be?'
'Sixty,' said I, 'or perhaps sixty-two.' 'Forty,' replied Sir Basil,
'forty, and no more.'  Picture to yourselves my amazement; I shall not
easily forget Admiral Baldwin.  I never saw quite so wretched an
example of what a sea-faring life can do; but to a degree, I know it is
the same with them all:  they are all knocked about, and exposed to
every climate, and every weather, till they are not fit to be seen.  It
is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once, before they reach
Admiral Baldwin's age."

"Nay, Sir Walter," cried Mrs Clay, "this is being severe indeed.  Have
a little mercy on the poor men.  We are not all born to be handsome.
The sea is no beautifier, certainly; sailors do grow old betimes; I
have observed it; they soon lose the look of youth.  But then, is not
it the same with many other professions, perhaps most other?  Soldiers,
in active service, are not at all better off:  and even in the quieter
professions, there is a toil and a labour of the mind, if not of the
body, which seldom leaves a man's looks to the natural effect of time.
The lawyer plods, quite care-worn; the physician is up at all hours,
and travelling in all weather; and even the clergyman--" she stopt a
moment to consider what might do for the clergyman;--"and even the
clergyman, you know is obliged to go into infected rooms, and expose
his health and looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere.  In
fact, as I have long been convinced, though every profession is
necessary and honourable in its turn, it is only the lot of those who
are not obliged to follow any, who can live in a regular way, in the
country, choosing their own hours, following their own pursuits, and
living on their own property, without the torment of trying for more;
it is only their lot, I say, to hold the blessings of health and a good
appearance to the utmost: I know no other set of men but what lose
something of their personableness when they cease to be quite young."

It seemed as if Mr Shepherd, in this anxiety to bespeak Sir Walter's
good will towards a naval officer as tenant, had been gifted with
foresight; for the very first application for the house was from an
Admiral Croft, with whom he shortly afterwards fell into company in
attending the quarter sessions at Taunton; and indeed, he had received
a hint of the Admiral from a London correspondent.  By the report which
he hastened over to Kellynch to make, Admiral Croft was a native of
Somersetshire, who having acquired a very handsome fortune, was wishing
to settle in his own country, and had come down to Taunton in order to
look at some advertised places in that immediate neighbourhood, which,
however, had not suited him; that accidentally hearing--(it was just as
he had foretold, Mr Shepherd observed, Sir Walter's concerns could not
be kept a secret,)--accidentally hearing of the possibility of
Kellynch Hall being to let, and understanding his (Mr Shepherd's)
connection with the owner, he had introduced himself to him in order to
make particular inquiries, and had, in the course of a pretty long
conference, expressed as strong an inclination for the place as a man
who knew it only by description could feel; and given Mr Shepherd, in
his explicit account of himself, every proof of his being a most
responsible, eligible tenant.

"And who is Admiral Croft?" was Sir Walter's cold suspicious inquiry.

Mr Shepherd answered for his being of a gentleman's family, and
mentioned a place; and Anne, after the little pause which followed,
added--

"He is a rear admiral of the white.  He was in the Trafalgar action,
and has been in the East Indies since; he was stationed there, I
believe, several years."

"Then I take it for granted," observed Sir Walter, "that his face is
about as orange as the cuffs and capes of my livery."

Mr Shepherd hastened to assure him, that Admiral Croft was a very hale,
hearty, well-looking man, a little weather-beaten, to be sure, but not
much, and quite the gentleman in all his notions and behaviour; not
likely to make the smallest difficulty about terms, only wanted a
comfortable home, and to get into it as soon as possible; knew he must
pay for his convenience; knew what rent a ready-furnished house of that
consequence might fetch; should not have been surprised if Sir Walter
had asked more; had inquired about the manor; would be glad of the
deputation, certainly, but made no great point of it; said he sometimes
took out a gun, but never killed; quite the gentleman.

Mr Shepherd was eloquent on the subject; pointing out all the
circumstances of the Admiral's family, which made him peculiarly
desirable as a tenant.  He was a married man, and without children; the
very state to be wished for.  A house was never taken good care of, Mr
Shepherd observed, without a lady: he did not know, whether furniture
might not be in danger of suffering as much where there was no lady, as
where there were many children.  A lady, without a family, was the very
best preserver of furniture in the world.  He had seen Mrs Croft, too;
she was at Taunton with the admiral, and had been present almost all
the time they were talking the matter over.

"And a very well-spoken, genteel, shrewd lady, she seemed to be,"
continued he; "asked more questions about the house, and terms, and
taxes, than the Admiral himself, and seemed more conversant with
business; and moreover, Sir Walter, I found she was not quite
unconnected in this country, any more than her husband; that is to say,
she is sister to a gentleman who did live amongst us once; she told me
so herself: sister to the gentleman who lived a few years back at
Monkford. Bless me! what was his name? At this moment I cannot
recollect his name, though I have heard it so lately. Penelope, my
dear, can you help me to the name of the gentleman who lived at
Monkford: Mrs Croft's brother?"

But Mrs Clay was talking so eagerly with Miss Elliot, that she did not
hear the appeal.

"I have no conception whom you can mean, Shepherd; I remember no
gentleman resident at Monkford since the time of old Governor Trent."

"Bless me! how very odd!  I shall forget my own name soon, I suppose.
A name that I am so very well acquainted with; knew the gentleman so
well by sight; seen him a hundred times; came to consult me once, I
remember, about a trespass of one of his neighbours; farmer's man
breaking into his orchard; wall torn down; apples stolen; caught in the
fact; and afterwards, contrary to my judgement, submitted to an
amicable compromise.  Very odd indeed!"

After waiting another moment--

"You mean Mr Wentworth, I suppose?" said Anne.

Mr Shepherd was all gratitude.

"Wentworth was the very name!  Mr Wentworth was the very man.  He had
the curacy of Monkford, you know, Sir Walter, some time back, for two
or three years.  Came there about the year ---5, I take it.  You
remember him, I am sure."

"Wentworth?  Oh! ay,--Mr Wentworth, the curate of Monkford.  You misled
me by the term gentleman.  I thought you were speaking of some man of
property:  Mr Wentworth was nobody, I remember; quite unconnected;
nothing to do with the Strafford family.  One wonders how the names of
many of our nobility become so common."

As Mr Shepherd perceived that this connexion of the Crofts did them no
service with Sir Walter, he mentioned it no more; returning, with all
his zeal, to dwell on the circumstances more indisputably in their
favour; their age, and number, and fortune; the high idea they had
formed of Kellynch Hall, and extreme solicitude for the advantage of
renting it; making it appear as if they ranked nothing beyond the
happiness of being the tenants of Sir Walter Elliot: an extraordinary
taste, certainly, could they have been supposed in the secret of Sir
Walter's estimate of the dues of a tenant.

It succeeded, however; and though Sir Walter must ever look with an
evil eye on anyone intending to inhabit that house, and think them
infinitely too well off in being permitted to rent it on the highest
terms, he was talked into allowing Mr Shepherd to proceed in the
treaty, and authorising him to wait on Admiral Croft, who still
remained at Taunton, and fix a day for the house being seen.

Sir Walter was not very wise; but still he had experience enough of the
world to feel, that a more unobjectionable tenant, in all essentials,
than Admiral Croft bid fair to be, could hardly offer.  So far went his
understanding; and his vanity supplied a little additional soothing, in
the Admiral's situation in life, which was just high enough, and not
too high.  "I have let my house to Admiral Croft," would sound
extremely well; very much better than to any mere Mr--; a Mr (save,
perhaps, some half dozen in the nation,) always needs a note of
explanation.  An admiral speaks his own consequence, and, at the same
time, can never make a baronet look small.  In all their dealings and
intercourse, Sir Walter Elliot must ever have the precedence.

Nothing could be done without a reference to Elizabeth: but her
inclination was growing so strong for a removal, that she was happy to
have it fixed and expedited by a tenant at hand; and not a word to
suspend decision was uttered by her.

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 4


He was not Mr Wentworth, the former curate of Monkford, however
suspicious appearances may be, but a Captain Frederick Wentworth, his
brother, who being made commander in consequence of the action off St
Domingo, and not immediately employed, had come into Somersetshire, in
the summer of 1806; and having no parent living, found a home for half
a year at Monkford.  He was, at that time, a remarkably fine young man,
with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy; and Anne an
extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling.
Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for
he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the
encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail.  They were
gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love.
It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the
other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his
declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.

A short period of exquisite felicity followed, and but a short one.
Troubles soon arose.  Sir Walter, on being applied to, without actually
withholding his consent, or saying it should never be, gave it all the
negative of great astonishment, great coldness, great silence, and a
professed resolution of doing nothing for his daughter.  He thought it
a very degrading alliance; and Lady Russell, though with more tempered
and pardonable pride, received it as a most unfortunate one.

Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw
herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement
with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no
hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain
profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in the
profession, would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to
think of!  Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be snatched off
by a stranger without alliance or fortune; or rather sunk by him into a
state of most wearing, anxious, youth-killing dependence!  It must not
be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from
one who had almost a mother's love, and mother's rights, it would be
prevented.

Captain Wentworth had no fortune.  He had been lucky in his profession;
but spending freely, what had come freely, had realized nothing.  But
he was confident that he should soon be rich: full of life and ardour,
he knew that he should soon have a ship, and soon be on a station that
would lead to everything he wanted.  He had always been lucky; he knew
he should be so still.  Such confidence, powerful in its own warmth,
and bewitching in the wit which often expressed it, must have been
enough for Anne; but Lady Russell saw it very differently.  His
sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated very differently on
her.  She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil.  It only added a
dangerous character to himself.  He was brilliant, he was headstrong.
Lady Russell had little taste for wit, and of anything approaching to
imprudence a horror.  She deprecated the connexion in every light.

Such opposition, as these feelings produced, was more than Anne could
combat.  Young and gentle as she was, it might yet have been possible
to withstand her father's ill-will, though unsoftened by one kind word
or look on the part of her sister; but Lady Russell, whom she had
always loved and relied on, could not, with such steadiness of opinion,
and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain.
She was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing:  indiscreet,
improper, hardly capable of success, and not deserving it.  But it was
not a merely selfish caution, under which she acted, in putting an end
to it.  Had she not imagined herself consulting his good, even more
than her own, she could hardly have given him up.  The belief of being
prudent, and self-denying, principally for his advantage, was her chief
consolation, under the misery of a parting, a final parting; and every
consolation was required, for she had to encounter all the additional
pain of opinions, on his side, totally unconvinced and unbending, and
of his feeling himself ill used by so forced a relinquishment.  He had
left the country in consequence.

A few months had seen the beginning and the end of their acquaintance;
but not with a few months ended Anne's share of suffering from it.  Her
attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every enjoyment of
youth, and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting
effect.

More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful
interest had reached its close; and time had softened down much,
perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him, but she had been too
dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place
(except in one visit to Bath soon after the rupture), or in any novelty
or enlargement of society.  No one had ever come within the Kellynch
circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he
stood in her memory.  No second attachment, the only thoroughly
natural, happy, and sufficient cure, at her time of life, had been
possible to the nice tone of her mind, the fastidiousness of her taste,
in the small limits of the society around them.  She had been
solicited, when about two-and-twenty, to change her name, by the young
man, who not long afterwards found a more willing mind in her younger
sister; and Lady Russell had lamented her refusal; for Charles Musgrove
was the eldest son of a man, whose landed property and general
importance were second in that country, only to Sir Walter's, and of
good character and appearance; and however Lady Russell might have
asked yet for something more, while Anne was nineteen, she would have
rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so respectably removed from the
partialities and injustice of her father's house, and settled so
permanently near herself.  But in this case, Anne had left nothing for
advice to do; and though Lady Russell, as satisfied as ever with her
own discretion, never wished the past undone, she began now to have the
anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's being tempted, by some
man of talents and independence, to enter a state for which she held
her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits.

They knew not each other's opinion, either its constancy or its change,
on the one leading point of Anne's conduct, for the subject was never
alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently
from what she had been made to think at nineteen.  She did not blame
Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been guided by her;
but she felt that were any young person, in similar circumstances, to
apply to her for counsel, they would never receive any of such certain
immediate wretchedness, such uncertain future good.  She was persuaded
that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every
anxiety attending his profession, all their probable fears, delays, and
disappointments, she should yet have been a happier woman in
maintaining the engagement, than she had been in the sacrifice of it;
and this, she fully believed, had the usual share, had even more than
the usual share of all such solicitudes and suspense been theirs,
without reference to the actual results of their case, which, as it
happened, would have bestowed earlier prosperity than could be
reasonably calculated on.  All his sanguine expectations, all his
confidence had been justified.  His genius and ardour had seemed to
foresee and to command his prosperous path.  He had, very soon after
their engagement ceased, got employ: and all that he had told her would
follow, had taken place.  He had distinguished himself, and early
gained the other step in rank, and must now, by successive captures,
have made a handsome fortune.  She had only navy lists and newspapers
for her authority, but she could not doubt his being rich; and, in
favour of his constancy, she had no reason to believe him married.

How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent, at least, were
her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful
confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems
to insult exertion and distrust Providence!  She had been forced into
prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the
natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.

With all these circumstances, recollections and feelings, she could not
hear that Captain Wentworth's sister was likely to live at Kellynch
without a revival of former pain; and many a stroll, and many a sigh,
were necessary to dispel the agitation of the idea.  She often told
herself it was folly, before she could harden her nerves sufficiently
to feel the continual discussion of the Crofts and their business no
evil.  She was assisted, however, by that perfect indifference and
apparent unconsciousness, among the only three of her own friends in
the secret of the past, which seemed almost to deny any recollection of
it.  She could do justice to the superiority of Lady Russell's motives
in this, over those of her father and Elizabeth; she could honour all
the better feelings of her calmness; but the general air of oblivion
among them was highly important from whatever it sprung; and in the
event of Admiral Croft's really taking Kellynch Hall, she rejoiced anew
over the conviction which had always been most grateful to her, of the
past being known to those three only among her connexions, by whom no
syllable, she believed, would ever be whispered, and in the trust that
among his, the brother only with whom he had been residing, had
received any information of their short-lived engagement.  That brother
had been long removed from the country and being a sensible man, and,
moreover, a single man at the time, she had a fond dependence on no
human creature's having heard of it from him.

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.



Chapter 5


On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs Croft's seeing Kellynch
Hall, Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk to Lady
Russell's, and keep out of the way till all was over; when she found it
most natural to be sorry that she had missed the opportunity of seeing
them.

This meeting of the two parties proved highly satisfactory, and decided
the whole business at once.  Each lady was previously well disposed for
an agreement, and saw nothing, therefore, but good manners in the
other; and with regard to the gentlemen, there was such an hearty good
humour, such an open, trusting liberality on the Admiral's side, as
could not but influence Sir Walter, who had besides been flattered into
his very best and most polished behaviour by Mr Shepherd's assurances
of his being known, by report, to the Admiral, as a model of good
breeding.

The house and grounds, and furniture, were approved, the Crofts were
approved, terms, time, every thing, and every body, was right; and Mr
Shepherd's clerks were set to work, without there having been a single
preliminary difference to modify of all that "This indenture sheweth."

Sir Walter, without hesitation, declared the Admiral to be the
best-looking sailor he had ever met with, and went so far as to say,
that if his own man might have had the arranging of his hair, he should
not be ashamed of being seen with him any where; and the Admiral, with
sympathetic cordiality, observed to his wife as they drove back through
the park, "I thought we should soon come to a deal, my dear, in spite
of what they told us at Taunton.  The Baronet will never set the Thames
on fire, but there seems to be no harm in him."--reciprocal
compliments, which would have been esteemed about equal.

The Crofts were to have possession at Michaelmas; and as Sir Walter
proposed removing to Bath in the course of the preceding month, there
was no time to be lost in making every dependent arrangement.

Lady Russell, convinced that Anne would not be allowed to be of any
use, or any importance, in the choice of the house which they were
going to secure, was very unwilling to have her hurried away so soon,
and wanted to make it possible for her to stay behind till she might
convey her to Bath herself after Christmas; but having engagements of
her own which must take her from Kellynch for several weeks, she was
unable to give the full invitation she wished, and Anne though dreading
the possible heats of September in all the white glare of Bath, and
grieving to forego all the influence so sweet and so sad of the
autumnal months in the country, did not think that, everything
considered, she wished to remain.  It would be most right, and most
wise, and, therefore must involve least suffering to go with the others.

Something occurred, however, to give her a different duty.  Mary, often
a little unwell, and always thinking a great deal of her own
complaints, and always in the habit of claiming Anne when anything was
the matter, was indisposed; and foreseeing that she should not have a
day's health all the autumn, entreated, or rather required her, for it
was hardly entreaty, to come to Uppercross Cottage, and bear her
company as long as she should want her, instead of going to Bath.

"I cannot possibly do without Anne," was Mary's reasoning; and
Elizabeth's reply was, "Then I am sure Anne had better stay, for nobody
will want her in Bath."

To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least
better than being rejected as no good at all; and Anne, glad to be
thought of some use, glad to have anything marked out as a duty, and
certainly not sorry to have the scene of it in the country, and her own
dear country, readily agreed to stay.

This invitation of Mary's removed all Lady Russell's difficulties, and
it was consequently soon settled that Anne should not go to Bath till
Lady Russell took her, and that all the intervening time should be
divided between Uppercross Cottage and Kellynch Lodge.

So far all was perfectly right; but Lady Russell was almost startled by
the wrong of one part of the Kellynch Hall plan, when it burst on her,
which was, Mrs Clay's being engaged to go to Bath with Sir Walter and
Elizabeth, as a most important and valuable assistant to the latter in
all the business before her.  Lady Russell was extremely sorry that
such a measure should have been resorted to at all, wondered, grieved,
and feared; and the affront it contained to Anne, in Mrs Clay's being
of so much use, while Anne could be of none, was a very sore
aggravation.

Anne herself was become hardened to such affronts; but she felt the
imprudence of the arrangement quite as keenly as Lady Russell.  With a
great deal of quiet observation, and a knowledge, which she often
wished less, of her father's character, she was sensible that results
the most serious to his family from the intimacy were more than
possible.  She did not imagine that her father had at present an idea
of the kind.  Mrs Clay had freckles, and a projecting tooth, and a
clumsy wrist, which he was continually making severe remarks upon, in
her absence; but she was young, and certainly altogether well-looking,
and possessed, in an acute mind and assiduous pleasing manners,
infinitely more dangerous attractions than any merely personal might
have been.  Anne was so impressed by the degree of their danger, that
she could not excuse herself from trying to make it perceptible to her
sister.  She had little hope of success; but Elizabeth, who in the
event of such a reverse would be so much more to be pitied than
herself, should never, she thought, have reason to reproach her for
giving no warning.

She spoke, and seemed only to offend.  Elizabeth could not conceive how
such an absurd suspicion should occur to her, and indignantly answered
for each party's perfectly knowing their situation.

"Mrs Clay," said she, warmly, "never forgets who she is; and as I am
rather better acquainted with her sentiments than you can be, I can
assure you, that upon the subject of marriage they are particularly
nice, and that she reprobates all inequality of condition and rank more
strongly than most people.  And as to my father, I really should not
have thought that he, who has kept himself single so long for our
sakes, need be suspected now.  If Mrs Clay were a very beautiful woman,
I grant you, it might be wrong to have her so much with me; not that
anything in the world, I am sure, would induce my father to make a
degrading match, but he might be rendered unhappy.  But poor Mrs Clay
who, with all her merits, can never have been reckoned tolerably
pretty, I really think poor Mrs Clay may be staying here in perfect
safety.  One would imagine you had never heard my father speak of her
personal misfortunes, though I know you must fifty times.  That tooth
of her's and those freckles.  Freckles do not disgust me so very much
as they do him.  I have known a face not materially disfigured by a
few, but he abominates them.  You must have heard him notice Mrs Clay's
freckles."

"There is hardly any personal defect," replied Anne, "which an
agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."

"I think very differently," answered Elizabeth, shortly; "an agreeable
manner may set off handsome features, but can never alter plain ones.
However, at any rate, as I have a great deal more at stake on this
point than anybody else can have, I think it rather unnecessary in you
to be advising me."

Anne had done; glad that it was over, and not absolutely hopeless of
doing good.  Elizabeth, though resenting the suspicion, might yet be
made observant by it.

The last office of the four carriage-horses was to draw Sir Walter,
Miss Elliot, and Mrs Clay to Bath. The party drove off in very good
spirits; Sir Walter prepared with condescending bows for all the
afflicted tenantry and cottagers who might have had a hint to show
themselves, and Anne walked up at the same time, in a sort of desolate
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
Uppercross Cottage, in the first stage of Lady Russell's journey.

Uppercross was a moderate-sized village, which a few years back had
been completely in the old English style, containing only two houses
superior in appearance to those of the yeomen and labourers; the
mansion of the squire, with its high walls, great gates, and old trees,
substantial and unmodernized, and the compact, tight parsonage,
enclosed in its own neat garden, with a vine and a pear-tree trained
round its casements; but upon the marriage of the young 'squire, it had
received the improvement of a farm-house elevated into a cottage, for
his residence, and Uppercross Cottage, with its veranda, French
windows, and other prettiness, was quite as likely to catch the
traveller's eye as the more consistent and considerable aspect and
premises of the Great House, about a quarter of a mile farther on.

Here Anne had often been staying. She knew the ways of Uppercross as
well as those of Kellynch. The two families were so continually
meeting, so much in the habit of running in and out of each other's
house at all hours, that it was rather a surprise to her to find Mary
alone; but being alone, her being unwell and out of spirits was almost
a matter of course. Though better endowed than the elder sister, Mary
had not Anne's understanding nor temper. While well, and happy, and
properly attended to, she had great good humour and excellent spirits;
but any indisposition sunk her completely. She had no resources for
solitude; and inheriting a considerable share of the Elliot
self-importance, was very prone to add to every other distress that of
fancying herself neglected and ill-used. In person, she was inferior to
both sisters, and had, even in her bloom, only reached the dignity of
being "a fine girl." She was now lying on the faded sofa of the pretty
little drawing-room, the once elegant furniture of which had been
gradually growing shabby, under the influence of four summers and two
children; and, on Anne's appearing, greeted her with--

"So, you are come at last!  I began to think I should never see you.  I
am so ill I can hardly speak.  I have not seen a creature the whole
morning!"

"I am sorry to find you unwell," replied Anne.  "You sent me such a
good account of yourself on Thursday!"

"Yes, I made the best of it; I always do:  but I was very far from well
at the time; and I do not think I ever was so ill in my life as I have
been all this morning:  very unfit to be left alone, I am sure.
Suppose I were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way, and not
able to ring the bell!  So, Lady Russell would not get out.  I do not
think she has been in this house three times this summer."

Anne said what was proper, and enquired after her husband.  "Oh!
Charles is out shooting.  I have not seen him since seven o'clock.  He
would go, though I told him how ill I was.  He said he should not stay
out long; but he has never come back, and now it is almost one.  I
assure you, I have not seen a soul this whole long morning."

"You have had your little boys with you?"

"Yes, as long as I could bear their noise; but they are so unmanageable
that they do me more harm than good.  Little Charles does not mind a
word I say, and Walter is growing quite as bad."

"Well, you will soon be better now," replied Anne, cheerfully.  "You
know I always cure you when I come.  How are your neighbours at the
Great House?"

"I can give you no account of them.  I have not seen one of them
to-day, except Mr Musgrove, who just stopped and spoke through the
window, but without getting off his horse; and though I told him how
ill I was, not one of them have been near me.  It did not happen to
suit the Miss Musgroves, I suppose, and they never put themselves out
of their way."

"You will see them yet, perhaps, before the morning is gone.  It is
early."

"I never want them, I assure you.  They talk and laugh a great deal too
much for me.  Oh! Anne, I am so very unwell!  It was quite unkind of
you not to come on Thursday."

"My dear Mary, recollect what a comfortable account you sent me of
yourself!  You wrote in the cheerfullest manner, and said you were
perfectly well, and in no hurry for me; and that being the case, you
must be aware that my wish would be to remain with Lady Russell to the
last: and besides what I felt on her account, I have really been so
busy, have had so much to do, that I could not very conveniently have
left Kellynch sooner."

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

"A great many things, I assure you.  More than I can recollect in a
moment; but I can tell you some.  I have been making a duplicate of the
catalogue of my father's books and pictures.  I have been several times
in the garden with Mackenzie, trying to understand, and make him
understand, which of Elizabeth's plants are for Lady Russell.  I have
had all my own little concerns to arrange, books and music to divide,
and all my trunks to repack, from not having understood in time what
was intended as to the waggons: and one thing I have had to do, Mary,
of a more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish, as
a sort of take-leave.  I was told that they wished it.  But all these
things took up a great deal of time."

"Oh! well!" and after a moment's pause, "but you have never asked me
one word about our dinner at the Pooles yesterday."

"Did you go then?  I have made no enquiries, because I concluded you
must have been obliged to give up the party."

"Oh yes! I went.  I was very well yesterday; nothing at all the matter
with me till this morning.  It would have been strange if I had not
gone."

"I am very glad you were well enough, and I hope you had a pleasant
party."

"Nothing remarkable.  One always knows beforehand what the dinner will
be, and who will be there; and it is so very uncomfortable not having a
carriage of one's own.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove took me, and we were so
crowded!  They are both so very large, and take up so much room; and Mr
Musgrove always sits forward.  So, there was I, crowded into the back
seat with Henrietta and Louisa; and I think it very likely that my
illness to-day may be owing to it."

A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on
Anne's side produced nearly a cure on Mary's.  She could soon sit
upright on the sofa, and began to hope she might be able to leave it by
dinner-time.  Then, forgetting to think of it, she was at the other end
of the room, beautifying a nosegay; then, she ate her cold meat; and
then she was well enough to propose a little walk.

"Where shall we go?" said she, when they were ready.  "I suppose you
will not like to call at the Great House before they have been to see
you?"

"I have not the smallest objection on that account," replied Anne.  "I
should never think of standing on such ceremony with people I know so
well as Mrs and the Miss Musgroves."

"Oh! but they ought to call upon you as soon as possible.  They ought
to feel what is due to you as my sister.  However, we may as well go
and sit with them a little  while, and when we have that over, we can
enjoy our walk."

Anne had always thought such a style of intercourse highly imprudent;
but she had ceased to endeavour to check it, from believing that,
though there were on each side continual subjects of offence, neither
family could now do without it.  To the Great House accordingly they
went, to sit the full half hour in the old-fashioned square parlour,
with a small carpet and shining floor, to which the present daughters
of the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a
grand piano-forte and a harp, flower-stands and little tables placed in
every direction.  Oh! could the originals of the portraits against the
wainscot, could the gentlemen in brown velvet and the ladies in blue
satin have seen what was going on, have been conscious of such an
overthrow of all order and neatness!  The portraits themselves seemed
to be staring in astonishment.

The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration,
perhaps of improvement.  The father and mother were in the old English
style, and the young people in the new.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove were a
very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated,
and not at all elegant.  Their children had more modern minds and
manners.  There was a numerous family; but the only two grown up,
excepting Charles, were Henrietta and Louisa, young ladies of nineteen
and twenty, who had brought from school at Exeter all the usual stock
of accomplishments, and were now like thousands of other young ladies,
living to be fashionable, happy, and merry.  Their dress had every
advantage, their faces were rather pretty, their spirits extremely
good, their manner unembarrassed and pleasant; they were of consequence
at home, and favourites abroad.  Anne always contemplated them as some
of the happiest creatures of her acquaintance; but still, saved as we
all are, by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for
the possibility of exchange, she would not have given up her own more
elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments; and envied them
nothing but that seemingly perfect good understanding and agreement
together, that good-humoured mutual affection, of which she had known
so little herself with either of her sisters.

They were received with great cordiality.  Nothing seemed amiss on the
side of the Great House family, which was generally, as Anne very well
knew, the least to blame.  The half hour was chatted away pleasantly
enough; and she was not at all surprised, at the end of it, to have
their walking party joined by both the Miss Musgroves, at Mary's
particular invitation.



Chapter 6


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

She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future, and think
with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having one
such truly sympathising friend as Lady Russell.

The Mr Musgroves had their own game to guard, and to destroy, their own
horses, dogs, and newspapers to engage them, and the females were fully
occupied in all the other common subjects of housekeeping, neighbours,
dress, dancing, and music.  She acknowledged it to be very fitting,
that every little social commonwealth should dictate its own matters of
discourse; and hoped, ere long, to become a not unworthy member of the
one she was now transplanted into.  With the prospect of spending at
least two months at Uppercross, it was highly incumbent on her to
clothe her imagination, her memory, and all her ideas in as much of
Uppercross as possible.

She had no dread of these two months.  Mary was not so repulsive and
unsisterly as Elizabeth, nor so inaccessible to all influence of hers;
neither was there anything among the other component parts of the
cottage inimical to comfort.  She was always on friendly terms with her
brother-in-law; and in the children, who loved her nearly as well, and
respected her a great deal more than their mother, she had an object of
interest, amusement, and wholesome exertion.

Charles Musgrove was civil and agreeable; in sense and temper he was
undoubtedly superior to his wife, but not of powers, or conversation,
or grace, to make the past, as they were connected together, at all a
dangerous contemplation; though, at the same time, Anne could believe,
with Lady Russell, that a more equal match might have greatly improved
him; and that a woman of real understanding might have given more
consequence to his character, and more usefulness, rationality, and
elegance to his habits and pursuits.  As it was, he did nothing with
much zeal, but sport; and his time was otherwise trifled away, without
benefit from books or anything else.  He had very good spirits, which
never seemed much affected by his wife's occasional lowness, bore with
her unreasonableness sometimes to Anne's admiration, and upon the
whole, though there was very often a little disagreement (in which she
had sometimes more share than she wished, being appealed to by both
parties), they might pass for a happy couple.  They were always
perfectly agreed in the want of more money, and a strong inclination
for a handsome present from his father; but here, as on most topics, he
had the superiority, for while Mary thought it a great shame that such
a present was not made, he always contended for his father's having
many other uses for his money, and a right to spend it as he liked.

As to the management of their children, his theory was much better than
his wife's, and his practice not so bad.  "I could manage them very
well, if it were not for Mary's interference," was what Anne often
heard him say, and had a good deal of faith in; but when listening in
turn to Mary's reproach of "Charles spoils the children so that I
cannot get them into any order," she never had the smallest temptation
to say, "Very true."

One of the least agreeable circumstances of her residence there was her
being treated with too much confidence by all parties, and being too
much in the secret of the complaints of each house.  Known to have some
influence with her sister, she was continually requested, or at least
receiving hints to exert it, beyond what was practicable.  "I wish you
could persuade Mary not to be always fancying herself ill," was
Charles's language; and, in an unhappy mood, thus spoke Mary: "I do
believe if Charles were to see me dying, he would not think there was
anything the matter with me.  I am sure, Anne, if you would, you might
persuade him that I really am very ill--a great deal worse than I ever
own."

Mary's declaration was, "I hate sending the children to the Great
House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she
humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much
trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross
for the rest of the day."  And Mrs Musgrove took the first opportunity
of being alone with Anne, to say, "Oh! Miss Anne, I cannot help wishing
Mrs Charles had a little of your method with those children.  They are
quite different creatures with you!  But to be sure, in general they
are so spoilt!  It is a pity you cannot put your sister in the way of
managing them.  They are as fine healthy children as ever were seen,
poor little dears! without partiality; but Mrs Charles knows no more
how they should be treated--!  Bless me! how troublesome they are
sometimes.  I assure you, Miss Anne, it prevents my wishing to see them
at our house so often as I otherwise should.  I believe Mrs Charles is
not quite pleased with my not inviting them oftener; but you know it is
very bad to have children with one that one is obligated to be checking
every moment; "don't do this," and "don't do that;" or that one can
only keep in tolerable order by more cake than is good for them."

She had this communication, moreover, from Mary.  "Mrs Musgrove thinks
all her servants so steady, that it would be high treason to call it in
question; but I am sure, without exaggeration, that her upper
house-maid and laundry-maid, instead of being in their business, are
gadding about the village, all day long.  I meet them wherever I go;
and I declare, I never go twice into my nursery without seeing
something of them.  If Jemima were not the trustiest, steadiest
creature in the world, it would be enough to spoil her; for she tells
me, they are always tempting her to take a walk with them." And on Mrs
Musgrove's side, it was, "I make a rule of never interfering in any of
my daughter-in-law's concerns, for I know it would not do; but I shall
tell you, Miss Anne, because you may be able to set things to rights,
that I have no very good opinion of Mrs Charles's nursery-maid: I hear
strange stories of her; she is always upon the gad; and from my own
knowledge, I can declare, she is such a fine-dressing lady, that she is
enough to ruin any servants she comes near.  Mrs Charles quite swears
by her, I know; but I just give you this hint, that you may be upon the
watch; because, if you see anything amiss, you need not be afraid of
mentioning it."

Again, it was Mary's complaint, that Mrs Musgrove was very apt not to
give her the precedence that was her due, when they dined at the Great
House with other families; and she did not see any reason why she was
to be considered so much at home as to lose her place.  And one day
when Anne was walking with only the Musgroves, one of them after
talking of rank, people of rank, and jealousy of rank, said, "I have no
scruple of observing to you, how nonsensical some persons are about
their place, because all the world knows how easy and indifferent you
are about it; but I wish anybody could give Mary a hint that it would
be a great deal better if she were not so very tenacious, especially if
she would not be always putting herself forward to take place of mamma.
Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of mamma, but it would be
more becoming in her not to be always insisting on it.  It is not that
mamma cares about it the least in the world, but I know it is taken
notice of by many persons."

How was Anne to set all these matters to rights?  She could do little
more than listen patiently, soften every grievance, and excuse each to
the other; give them all hints of the forbearance necessary between
such near neighbours, and make those hints broadest which were meant
for her sister's benefit.

In all other respects, her visit began and proceeded very well.  Her
own spirits improved by change of place and subject, by being removed
three miles from Kellynch; Mary's ailments lessened by having a
constant companion, and their daily intercourse with the other family,
since there was neither superior affection, confidence, nor employment
in the cottage, to be interrupted by it, was rather an advantage.  It
was certainly carried nearly as far as possible, for they met every
morning, and hardly ever spent an evening asunder; but she believed
they should not have done so well without the sight of Mr and Mrs
Musgrove's respectable forms in the usual places, or without the
talking, laughing, and singing of their daughters.

She played a great deal better than either of the Miss Musgroves, but
having no voice, no knowledge of the harp, and no fond parents, to sit
by and fancy themselves delighted, her performance was little thought
of, only out of civility, or to refresh the others, as she was well
aware.  She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to
herself; but this was no new sensation.  Excepting one short period of
her 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 neighbourhood was not large, but the Musgroves were visited by
everybody, and had more dinner-parties, and more callers, more visitors
by invitation and by chance, than any other family.  They were more
completely popular.

The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally,
in an unpremeditated little ball.  There was a family of cousins within
a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circumstances, who depended on
the Musgroves for all their pleasures:  they would come at any time,
and help play at anything, or dance anywhere; and Anne, very much
preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country
dances to them by the hour together; a kindness which always
recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr and Mrs Musgrove
more than anything else, and often drew this compliment;--"Well done,
Miss Anne! very well done indeed!  Lord bless me!  how those little
fingers of yours fly about!"

So passed the first three weeks.  Michaelmas came; and now Anne's heart
must be in Kellynch again.  A beloved home made over to others; all the
precious rooms and furniture, groves, and prospects, beginning to own
other eyes and other limbs!  She could not think of much else on the
29th of September; and she had this sympathetic touch in the evening
from Mary, who, on having occasion to note down the day of the month,
exclaimed, "Dear me, is not this the day the Crofts were to come to
Kellynch?  I am glad I did not think of it before.  How low it makes
me!"

The Crofts took possession with true naval alertness, and were to be
visited.  Mary deplored the necessity for herself.  "Nobody knew how
much she should suffer.  She should put it off as long as she could;"
but was not easy till she had talked Charles into driving her over on
an early day, and was in a very animated, comfortable state of
imaginary agitation, when she came back.  Anne had very sincerely
rejoiced in there being no means of her going.  She wished, however to
see the Crofts, and was glad to be within when the visit was returned.
They came:  the master of the house was not at home, but the two
sisters were together; and as it chanced that Mrs Croft fell to the
share of Anne, while the Admiral sat by Mary, and made himself very
agreeable by his good-humoured notice of her little boys, she was well
able to watch for a likeness, and if it failed her in the features, to
catch it in the voice, or in the turn of sentiment and expression.

Mrs Croft, though neither tall nor fat, had a squareness, uprightness,
and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person.  She had
bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face; though
her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence of her
having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem to have
lived some years longer in the world than her real eight-and-thirty.
Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no distrust
of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to
coarseness, however, or any want of good humour.  Anne gave her credit,
indeed, for feelings of great consideration towards herself, in all
that related to Kellynch, and it pleased her: especially, as she had
satisfied herself in the very first half minute, in the instant even of
introduction, that there was not the smallest symptom of any knowledge
or suspicion on Mrs Croft's side, to give a bias of any sort.  She was
quite easy on that head, and consequently full of strength and courage,
till for a moment electrified by Mrs Croft's suddenly saying,--

"It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the
pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country."

Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion
she certainly had not.

"Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married?" added Mrs Croft.

She could now answer as she ought; and was happy to feel, when Mrs
Croft's next words explained it to be Mr Wentworth of whom she spoke,
that she had said nothing which might not do for either brother. She
immediately felt how reasonable it was, that Mrs Croft should be
thinking and speaking of Edward, and not of Frederick; and with shame
at her own forgetfulness applied herself to the knowledge of their
former neighbour's present state with proper interest.

The rest was all tranquillity; till, just as they were moving, she
heard the Admiral say to Mary--

"We are expecting a brother of Mrs Croft's here soon; I dare say you
know him by name."

He was cut short by the eager attacks of the little boys, clinging to
him like an old friend, and declaring he should not go; and being too
much engrossed by proposals of carrying them away in his coat pockets,
&c., to have another moment for finishing or recollecting what he had
begun, Anne was left to persuade herself, as well as she could, that
the same brother must still be in question.  She could not, however,
reach such a degree of certainty, as not to be anxious to hear whether
anything had been said on the subject at the other house, where the
Crofts had previously been calling.

The folks of the Great House were to spend the evening of this day at
the Cottage; and it being now too late in the year for such visits to
be made on foot, the coach was beginning to be listened for, when the
youngest Miss Musgrove walked in.  That she was coming to apologize,
and that they should have to spend the evening by themselves, was the
first black idea; and Mary was quite ready to be affronted, when Louisa
made all right by saying, that she only came on foot, to leave more
room for the harp, which was bringing in the carriage.

"And I will tell you our reason," she added, "and all about it.  I am
come on to give you notice, that papa and mamma are out of spirits this
evening, especially mamma; she is thinking so much of poor Richard!
And we agreed it would be best to have the harp, for it seems to amuse
her more than the piano-forte.  I will tell you why she is out of
spirits.  When the Crofts called this morning, (they called here
afterwards, did not they?), they happened to say, that her brother,
Captain Wentworth, is just returned to England, or paid off, or
something, and is coming to see them almost directly; and most
unluckily it came into mamma's head, when they were gone, that
Wentworth, or something very like it, was the name of poor Richard's
captain at one time; I do not know when or where, but a great while
before he died, poor fellow!  And upon looking over his letters and
things, she found it was so, and is perfectly sure that this must be
the very man, and her head is quite full of it, and of poor Richard!
So we must be as merry as we can, that she may not be dwelling upon
such gloomy things."

The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were,
that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome,
hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his
twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and
unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any
time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard
of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death
abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.

He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for
him, by calling him "poor Richard," been nothing better than a
thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done
anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name,
living or dead.

He had been several years at sea, and had, in the course of those
removals to which all midshipmen are liable, and especially such
midshipmen as every captain wishes to get rid of, been six months on
board Captain Frederick Wentworth's frigate, the Laconia; and from the
Laconia he had, under the influence of his captain, written the only
two letters which his father and mother had ever received from him
during the whole of his absence; that is to say, the only two
disinterested letters; all the rest had been mere applications for
money.

In each letter he had spoken well of his captain; but yet, so little
were they in the habit of attending to such matters, so unobservant and
incurious were they as to the names of men or ships, that it had made
scarcely any impression at the time; and that Mrs Musgrove should have
been suddenly struck, this very day, with a recollection of the name of
Wentworth, as connected with her son, seemed one of those extraordinary
bursts of mind which do sometimes occur.

She had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and the
re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son
gone for ever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had
affected her spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for
him than she had 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 them.

To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his name
so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it
might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain
Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their
coming back from Clifton--a very fine young man--but they could not say
whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a new sort of trial to
Anne's nerves.  She found, however, that it was one to which she must
inure herself.  Since he actually was expected in the country, she must
teach herself to be insensible on such points.  And not only did it
appear that he was expected, and speedily, but the Musgroves, in their
warm gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick, and very high
respect for his character, stamped as it was by poor Dick's having been
six months under his care, and mentioning him in strong, though not
perfectly well-spelt praise, as "a fine dashing felow, only two
perticular about the schoolmaster," were bent on introducing
themselves, and seeking his acquaintance, as soon as they could hear of
his arrival.

The resolution of doing so helped to form the comfort of their evening.



Chapter 7


A very few days more, and Captain Wentworth was known to be at
Kellynch, and Mr Musgrove had called on him, and come back warm in his
praise, and he was engaged with the Crofts to dine at Uppercross, by
the end of another week.  It had been a great disappointment to Mr
Musgrove to find that no earlier day could be fixed, so impatient was
he to shew his gratitude, by seeing Captain Wentworth under his own
roof, and welcoming him to all that was strongest and best in his
cellars.  But a week must pass; only a week, in Anne's reckoning, and
then, she supposed, they must meet; and soon she began to wish that she
could feel secure even for a week.

Captain Wentworth made a very early return to Mr Musgrove's civility,
and she was all but calling there in the same half hour.  She and Mary
were actually setting forward for the Great House, where, as she
afterwards learnt, they must inevitably have found him, when they were
stopped by the eldest boy's being at that moment brought home in
consequence of a bad fall.  The child's situation put the visit
entirely aside; but she could not hear of her escape with indifference,
even in the midst of the serious anxiety which they afterwards felt on
his account.

His collar-bone was found to be dislocated, and such injury received in
the back, as roused the most alarming ideas.  It was an afternoon of
distress, and Anne had every thing to do at once; the apothecary to
send for, the father to have pursued and informed, the mother to
support and keep from hysterics, the servants to control, the youngest
child to banish, and the poor suffering one to attend and soothe;
besides sending, as soon as she recollected it, proper notice to the
other house, which brought her an accession rather of frightened,
enquiring companions, than of very useful assistants.

Her brother's return was the first comfort; he could take best care of
his wife; and the second blessing was the arrival of the apothecary.
Till he came and had examined the child, their apprehensions were the
worse for being vague; they suspected great injury, but knew not where;
but now the collar-bone was soon replaced, and though Mr Robinson felt
and felt, and rubbed, and looked grave, and spoke low words both to the
father and the aunt, still they were all to hope the best, and to be
able to part and eat their dinner in tolerable ease of mind; and then
it was, just before they parted, that the two young aunts were able so
far to digress from their nephew's state, as to give the information of
Captain Wentworth's visit; staying five minutes behind their father and
mother, to endeavour to express how perfectly delighted they were with
him, how much handsomer, how infinitely more agreeable they thought him
than any individual among their male acquaintance, who had been at all
a favourite before.  How glad they had been to hear papa invite him to
stay dinner, how sorry when he said it was quite out of his power, and
how glad again when he had promised in reply to papa and mamma's
farther pressing invitations to come and dine with them on the
morrow--actually on the morrow; and he had promised it in so pleasant a
manner, as if he felt all the motive of their attention just as he
ought.  And in short, he had looked and said everything with such
exquisite grace, that they could assure them all, their heads were both
turned by him; and off they ran, quite as full of glee as of love, and
apparently more full of Captain Wentworth than of little Charles.

The same story and the same raptures were repeated, when the two girls
came with their father, through the gloom of the evening, to make
enquiries; and Mr Musgrove, no longer under the first uneasiness about
his heir, could add his confirmation and praise, and hope there would
be now no occasion for putting Captain Wentworth off, and only be sorry
to think that the cottage party, probably, would not like to leave the
little boy, to give him the meeting.  "Oh no; as to leaving the little
boy," both father and mother were in much too strong and recent alarm
to bear the thought; and Anne, in the joy of the escape, could not help
adding her warm protestations to theirs.

Charles Musgrove, indeed, afterwards, shewed more of inclination; "the
child was going on so well, and he wished so much to be introduced to
Captain Wentworth, that, perhaps, he might join them in the evening; he
would not dine from home, but he might walk in for half an hour." But
in this he was eagerly opposed by his wife, with "Oh! no, indeed,
Charles, I cannot bear to have you go away.  Only think if anything
should happen?"

The child had a good night, and was going on well the next day.  It
must be a work of time to ascertain that no injury had been done to the
spine; but Mr Robinson found nothing to increase alarm, and Charles
Musgrove began, consequently, to feel no necessity for longer
confinement.  The child was to be kept in bed and amused as quietly as
possible; but what was there for a father to do?  This was quite a
female case, and it would be highly absurd in him, who could be of no
use at home, to shut himself up.  His father very much wished him to
meet Captain Wentworth, and there being no sufficient reason against
it, he ought to go; and it ended in his making a bold, public
declaration, when he came in from shooting, of his meaning to dress
directly, and dine at the other house.

"Nothing can be going on better than the child," said he; "so I told my
father, just now, that I would come, and he thought me quite right.
Your sister being with you, my love, I have no scruple at all.  You
would not like to leave him yourself, but you see I can be of no use.
Anne will send for me if anything is the matter."

Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be vain.
Mary knew, from Charles's manner of speaking, that he was quite
determined on going, and that it would be of no use to teaze him.  She
said nothing, therefore, till he was out of the room, but as soon as
there was only Anne to hear--

"So you and I are to be left to shift by ourselves, with this poor sick
child; and not a creature coming near us all the evening!  I knew how
it would be.  This is always my luck.  If there is anything
disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it, and Charles
is as bad as any of them.  Very unfeeling!  I must say it is very
unfeeling of him to be running away from his poor little boy.  Talks of
his being going on so well!  How does he know that he is going on well,
or that there may not be a sudden change half an hour hence?  I did not
think Charles would have been so unfeeling.  So here he is to go away
and enjoy himself, and because I am the poor mother, I am not to be
allowed to stir; and yet, I am sure, I am more unfit than anybody else
to be about the child.  My being the mother is the very reason why my
feelings should not be tried.  I am not at all equal to it.  You saw
how hysterical I was yesterday."

"But that was only the effect of the suddenness of your alarm--of the
shock.  You will not be hysterical again.  I dare say we shall have
nothing to distress us.  I perfectly understand Mr Robinson's
directions, and have no fears; and indeed, Mary, I cannot wonder at
your husband.  Nursing does not belong to a man; it is not his
province.  A sick child is always the mother's property:  her own
feelings generally make it so."

"I hope I am as fond of my child as any mother, but I do not know that
I am of any more use in the sick-room than Charles, for I cannot be
always scolding and teazing the poor child when it is ill; and you saw,
this morning, that if I told him to keep quiet, he was sure to begin
kicking about.  I have not nerves for the sort of thing."

"But, could you be comfortable yourself, to be spending the whole
evening away from the poor boy?"

"Yes; you see his papa can, and why should not I?  Jemima is so
careful; and she could send us word every hour how he was.  I really
think Charles might as well have told his father we would all come.  I
am not more alarmed about little Charles now than he is.  I was
dreadfully alarmed yesterday, but the case is very different to-day."

"Well, if you do not think it too late to give notice for yourself,
suppose you were to go, as well as your husband.  Leave little Charles
to my care.  Mr and Mrs Musgrove cannot think it wrong while I remain
with him."

"Are you serious?" cried Mary, her eyes brightening.  "Dear me!  that's
a very good thought, very good, indeed.  To be sure, I may just as well
go as not, for I am of no use at home--am I?  and it only harasses me.
You, who have not a mother's feelings, are a great deal the properest
person.  You can make little Charles do anything; he always minds you
at a word.  It will be a great deal better than leaving him only with
Jemima.  Oh! I shall certainly go; I am sure I ought if I can, quite as
much as Charles, for they want me excessively to be acquainted with
Captain Wentworth, and I know you do not mind being left alone.  An
excellent thought of yours, indeed, Anne.  I will go and tell Charles,
and get ready directly.  You can send for us, you know, at a moment's
notice, if anything is the matter; but I dare say there will be nothing
to alarm you.  I should not go, you may be sure, if I did not feel
quite at ease about my dear child."

The next moment she was tapping at her husband's dressing-room door,
and as Anne followed her up stairs, she was in time for the whole
conversation, which began with Mary's saying, in a tone of great
exultation--

"I mean to go with you, Charles, for I am of no more use at home than
you are.  If I were to shut myself up for ever with the child, I should
not be able to persuade him to do anything he did not like.  Anne will
stay; Anne undertakes to stay at home and take care of him.  It is
Anne's own proposal, and so I shall go with you, which will be a great
deal better, for I have not dined at the other house since Tuesday."

"This is very kind of Anne," was her husband's answer, "and I should be
very glad to have you go; but it seems rather hard that she should be
left at home by herself, to nurse our sick child."

Anne was now at hand to take up her own cause, and the sincerity of her
manner being soon sufficient to convince him, where conviction was at
least very agreeable, he had no farther scruples as to her being left
to dine alone, though he still wanted her to join them in the evening,
when the child might be at rest for the night, and kindly urged her to
let him come and fetch her, but she was quite unpersuadable; and this
being the case, she had ere long the pleasure of seeing them set off
together in high spirits.  They were gone, she hoped, to be happy,
however oddly constructed such happiness might seem; as for herself,
she was left with as many sensations of comfort, as were, perhaps, ever
likely to be hers.  She knew herself to be of the first utility to the
child; and what was it to her if Frederick Wentworth were only half a
mile distant, making himself agreeable to others?

She would have liked to know how he felt as to a meeting.  Perhaps
indifferent, if indifference could exist under such circumstances.  He
must be either indifferent or unwilling.  Had he wished ever to see her
again, he need not have waited till this time; he would have done what
she could not but believe that in his place she should have done long
ago, when events had been early giving him the independence which alone
had been wanting.

Her brother and sister came back delighted with their new acquaintance,
and their visit in general.  There had been music, singing, talking,
laughing, all that was most agreeable; charming manners in Captain
Wentworth, no shyness or reserve; they seemed all to know each other
perfectly, and he was coming the very next morning to shoot with
Charles.  He was to come to breakfast, but not at the Cottage, though
that had been proposed at first; but then he had been pressed to come
to the Great House instead, and he seemed afraid of being in Mrs
Charles Musgrove's way, on account of the child, and therefore,
somehow, they hardly knew how, it ended in Charles's being to meet him
to breakfast at his father's.

Anne understood it.  He wished to avoid seeing her.  He had inquired
after her, she found, slightly, as might suit a former slight
acquaintance, seeming to acknowledge such as she had acknowledged,
actuated, perhaps, by the same view of escaping introduction when they
were to meet.

The morning hours of the Cottage were always later than those of the
other house, and on the morrow the difference was so great that Mary
and Anne were not more than beginning breakfast when Charles came in to
say that they were just setting off, that he was come for his dogs,
that his sisters were following with Captain Wentworth; his sisters
meaning to visit Mary and the child, and Captain Wentworth proposing
also to wait on her for a few minutes if not inconvenient; and though
Charles had answered for the child's being in no such state as could
make it inconvenient, Captain Wentworth would not be satisfied without
his running on to give notice.

Mary, very much gratified by this attention, was delighted to receive
him, while a thousand feelings rushed on Anne, of which this was the
most consoling, that it would soon be over.  And it was soon over.  In
two minutes after Charles's preparation, the others appeared; they were
in the drawing-room.  Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a bow, a
curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all that
was right, said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark an easy
footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a few
minutes ended it.  Charles shewed himself at the window, all was ready,
their visitor had bowed and was gone, the Miss Musgroves were gone too,
suddenly resolving to walk to the end of the village with the
sportsmen:  the room was cleared, and Anne might finish her breakfast
as she could.

"It is over! it is over!" she repeated to herself again and again, in
nervous gratitude.  "The worst is over!"

Mary talked, but she could not attend.  She had seen him.  They had
met.  They had been once more in the same room.

Soon, however, she began to reason with herself, and try to be feeling
less.  Eight years, almost eight years had passed, since all had been
given up.  How absurd to be resuming the agitation which such an
interval had banished into distance and indistinctness!  What might not
eight years do?  Events of every description, changes, alienations,
removals--all, all must be comprised in it, and oblivion of the past--
how natural, how certain too!  It included nearly a third part of her
own life.

Alas! with all her reasoning, she found, that to retentive feelings
eight years may be little more than nothing.

Now, how were his sentiments to be read?  Was this like wishing to
avoid her?  And the next moment she was hating herself for the folly
which asked the question.

On one other question which perhaps her utmost wisdom might not have
prevented, she was soon spared all suspense; for, after the Miss
Musgroves had returned and finished their visit at the Cottage she had
this spontaneous information from Mary:--

"Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he was so
attentive to me.  Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they
went away, and he said, 'You were so altered he should not have known
you again.'"

Mary had no feelings to make her respect her sister's in a common way,
but she was perfectly unsuspicious of being inflicting any peculiar
wound.

"Altered beyond his knowledge."  Anne fully submitted, in silent, deep
mortification.  Doubtless it was so, and she could take no revenge, for
he was not altered, or not for the worse.  She had already acknowledged
it to herself, and she could not think differently, let him think of
her as he would.  No:  the years which had destroyed her youth and
bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no
respect lessening his personal advantages.  She had seen the same
Frederick Wentworth.

"So altered that he should not have known her again!"  These were words
which could not but dwell with her.  Yet she soon began to rejoice that
she had heard them.  They were of sobering tendency; they allayed
agitation; they composed, and consequently must make her happier.

Frederick Wentworth had used such words, or something like them, but
without an idea that they would be carried round to her.  He had
thought her wretchedly altered, and in the first moment of appeal, had
spoken as he felt.  He had not forgiven Anne Elliot.  She had used him
ill, deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a
feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident
temper could not endure.  She had given him up to oblige others.  It
had been the effect of over-persuasion.  It had been weakness and
timidity.

He had been most warmly attached to her, and had never seen a woman
since whom he thought her equal; but, except from some natural
sensation of curiosity, he had no desire of meeting her again.  Her
power with him was gone for ever.

It was now his object to marry.  He was rich, and being turned on
shore, fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly
tempted; actually looking round, ready to fall in love with all the
speed which a clear head and a quick taste could allow.  He had a heart
for either of the Miss Musgroves, if they could catch it; a heart, in
short, for any pleasing young woman who came in his way, excepting Anne
Elliot.  This was his only secret exception, when he said to his
sister, in answer to her suppositions:--

"Yes, here I am, Sophia, quite ready to make a foolish match.  Anybody
between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking.  A little beauty,
and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a lost
man.  Should not this be enough for a sailor, who has had no society
among women to make him nice?"

He said it, she knew, to be contradicted.  His bright proud eye spoke
the conviction that he was nice; and Anne Elliot was not out of his
thoughts, when he more seriously described the woman he should wish to
meet with.  "A strong mind, with sweetness of manner," made the first
and the last of the description.

"That is the woman I want," said he.  "Something a little inferior I
shall of course put up with, but it must not be much.  If I am a fool,
I shall be a fool indeed, for I have thought on the subject more than
most men."



Chapter 8


From this time Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were repeatedly in the
same circle.  They were soon dining in company together at Mr
Musgrove's, for the little boy's state could no longer supply his aunt
with a pretence for absenting herself; and this was but the beginning
of other dinings and other meetings.

Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to the
proof; former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection of
each; they could not but be reverted to; the year of their engagement
could not but be named by him, in the little narratives or descriptions
which conversation called forth.  His profession qualified him, his
disposition lead him, to talk; and "That was in the year six;" "That
happened before I went to sea in the year six," occurred in the course
of the first evening they spent together: and though his voice did not
falter, and though she had no reason to suppose his eye wandering
towards her while he spoke, Anne felt the utter impossibility, from her
knowledge of his mind, that he could be unvisited by remembrance any
more than herself.  There must be the same immediate association of
thought, though she was very far from conceiving it to be of equal pain.

They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the
commonest civility required.  Once so much to each other!  Now nothing!
There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the
drawing-room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to
cease to speak to one another.  With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral
and Mrs Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could
allow no other exceptions even among the married couples), there could
have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so
in unison, no countenances so beloved.  Now they were as strangers;
nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted.  It
was a perpetual estrangement.

When he talked, she heard the same voice, and discerned the same mind.
There was a very general ignorance of all naval matters throughout the
party; and he was very much questioned, and especially by the two Miss
Musgroves, who seemed hardly to have any eyes but for him, as to the
manner of living on board, daily regulations, food, hours, &c., and
their surprise at his accounts, at learning the degree of accommodation
and arrangement which was practicable, drew from him some pleasant
ridicule, which reminded Anne of the early days when she too had been
ignorant, and she too had been accused of supposing sailors to be
living on board without anything to eat, or any cook to dress it if
there were, or any servant to wait, or any knife and fork to use.

From thus listening and thinking, she was roused by a whisper of Mrs
Musgrove's who, overcome by fond regrets, could not help saying--

"Ah! Miss Anne, if it had pleased Heaven to spare my poor son, I dare
say he would have been just such another by this time."

Anne suppressed a smile, and listened kindly, while Mrs Musgrove
relieved her heart a little more; and for a few minutes, therefore,
could not keep pace with the conversation of the others.

When she could let her attention take its natural course again, she
found the Miss Musgroves just fetching the Navy List (their own navy
list, the first that had ever been at Uppercross), and sitting down
together to pore over it, with the professed view of finding out the
ships that Captain Wentworth had commanded.

"Your first was the Asp, I remember; we will look for the Asp."

"You will not find her there.  Quite worn out and broken up.  I was the
last man who commanded her.  Hardly fit for service then.  Reported fit
for home service for a year or two, and so I was sent off to the West
Indies."

The girls looked all amazement.

"The Admiralty," he continued, "entertain themselves now and then, with
sending a few hundred men to sea, in a ship not fit to be employed.
But they have a great many to provide for; and among the thousands that
may just as well go to the bottom as not, it is impossible for them to
distinguish the very set who may be least missed."

"Phoo! phoo!" cried the Admiral, "what stuff these young fellows talk!
Never was a better sloop than the Asp in her day.  For an old built
sloop, you would not see her equal.  Lucky fellow to get her!  He knows
there must have been twenty better men than himself applying for her at
the same time.  Lucky fellow to get anything so soon, with no more
interest than his."

"I felt my luck, Admiral, I assure you;" replied Captain Wentworth,
seriously.  "I was as well satisfied with my appointment as you can
desire.  It was a great object with me at that time to be at sea; a
very great object, I wanted to be doing something."

"To be sure you did.  What should a young fellow like you do ashore for
half a year together?  If a man had not a wife, he soon wants to be
afloat again."

"But, Captain Wentworth," cried Louisa, "how vexed you must have been
when you came to the Asp, to see what an old thing they had given you."

"I knew pretty well what she was before that day;" said he, smiling.
"I had no more discoveries to make than you would have as to the
fashion and strength of any old pelisse, which you had seen lent about
among half your acquaintance ever since you could remember, and which
at last, on some very wet day, is lent to yourself.  Ah! she was a dear
old Asp to me.  She did all that I wanted.  I knew she would.  I knew
that we should either go to the bottom together, or that she would be
the making of me; and I never had two days of foul weather all the time
I was at sea in her; and after taking privateers enough to be very
entertaining, I had the good luck in my passage home the next autumn,
to fall in with the very French frigate I wanted.  I brought her into
Plymouth; and here another instance of luck.  We had not been six hours
in the Sound, when a gale came on, which lasted four days and nights,
and which would have done for poor old Asp in half the time; our touch
with the Great Nation not having much improved our condition.
Four-and-twenty hours later, and I should only have been a gallant
Captain Wentworth, in a small paragraph at one corner of the
newspapers; and being lost in only a sloop, nobody would have thought
about me." Anne's shudderings were to herself alone; but the Miss
Musgroves could be as open as they were sincere, in their exclamations
of pity and horror.

"And so then, I suppose," said Mrs Musgrove, in a low voice, as if
thinking aloud, "so then he went away to the Laconia, and there he met
with our poor boy. Charles, my dear," (beckoning him to her), "do ask
Captain Wentworth where it was he first met with your poor brother.  I
always forgot."

"It was at Gibraltar, mother, I know.  Dick had been left ill at
Gibraltar, with a recommendation from his former captain to Captain
Wentworth."

"Oh! but, Charles, tell Captain Wentworth, he need not be afraid of
mentioning poor Dick before me, for it would be rather a pleasure to
hear him talked of by such a good friend."

Charles, being somewhat more mindful of the probabilities of the case,
only nodded in reply, and walked away.

The girls were now hunting for the Laconia; and Captain Wentworth could
not deny himself the pleasure of taking the precious volume into his
own hands to save them the trouble, and once more read aloud the little
statement of her name and rate, and present non-commissioned class,
observing over it that she too had been one of the best friends man
ever had.

"Ah! those were pleasant days when I had the Laconia!  How fast I made
money in her.  A friend of mine and I had such a lovely cruise together
off the Western Islands.  Poor Harville, sister!  You know how much he
wanted money:  worse than myself.  He had a wife.  Excellent fellow.  I
shall never forget his happiness.  He felt it all, so much for her
sake.  I wished for him again the next summer, when I had still the
same luck in the Mediterranean."

"And I am sure, Sir," said Mrs Musgrove, "it was a lucky day for us,
when you were put captain into that ship.  We shall never forget what
you did."

Her feelings made her speak low; and Captain Wentworth, hearing only in
part, and probably not having Dick Musgrove at all near his thoughts,
looked rather in suspense, and as if waiting for more.

"My brother," whispered one of the girls; "mamma is thinking of poor
Richard."

"Poor dear fellow!" continued Mrs Musgrove; "he was grown so steady,
and such an excellent correspondent, while he was under your care!  Ah!
it would have been a happy thing, if he had never left you.  I assure
you, Captain Wentworth, we are very sorry he ever left you."

There was a momentary expression in Captain Wentworth's face at this
speech, a certain glance of his bright eye, and curl of his handsome
mouth, which convinced Anne, that instead of sharing in Mrs Musgrove's
kind wishes, as to her son, he had probably been at some pains to get
rid of him; but it was too transient an indulgence of self-amusement to
be detected by any who understood him less than herself; in another
moment he was perfectly collected and serious, and almost instantly
afterwards coming up to the sofa, on which she and Mrs Musgrove were
sitting, took a place by the latter, and entered into conversation with
her, in a low voice, about her son, doing it with so much sympathy and
natural grace, as shewed the kindest consideration for all that was
real and unabsurd in the parent's feelings.

They were actually on the same sofa, for Mrs Musgrove had most readily
made room for him; they were divided only by Mrs Musgrove.  It was no
insignificant barrier, indeed.  Mrs Musgrove was of a comfortable,
substantial size, infinitely more fitted by nature to express good
cheer and good humour, than tenderness and sentiment; and while the
agitations of Anne's slender form, and pensive face, may be considered
as very completely screened, Captain Wentworth should be allowed some
credit for the self-command with which he attended to her large fat
sighings over the destiny of a son, whom alive nobody had cared for.

Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary
proportions.  A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep
affliction, as the most graceful set of limbs in the world.  But, fair
or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will
patronize in vain--which taste cannot tolerate--which ridicule will
seize.

The Admiral, after taking two or three refreshing turns about the room
with his hands behind him, being called to order by his wife, now came
up to Captain Wentworth, and without any observation of what he might
be interrupting, thinking only of his own thoughts, began with--

"If you had been a week later at Lisbon, last spring, Frederick, you
would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her
daughters."

"Should I?  I am glad I was not a week later then."

The Admiral abused him for his want of gallantry.  He defended himself;
though professing that he would never willingly admit any ladies on
board a ship of his, excepting for a ball, or a visit, which a few
hours might comprehend.

"But, if I know myself," said he, "this is from no want of gallantry
towards them.  It is rather from feeling how impossible it is, with all
one's efforts, and all one's sacrifices, to make the accommodations on
board such as women ought to have.  There can be no want of gallantry,
Admiral, in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high,
and this is what I do.  I hate to hear of women on board, or to see
them on board; and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family
of ladies anywhere, if I can help it."

This brought his sister upon him.

"Oh! Frederick!  But I cannot believe it of you.--All idle
refinement!--Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best house
in England.  I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and
I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man-of-war.  I
declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me, even at
Kellynch Hall," (with a kind bow to Anne), "beyond what I always had in
most of the ships I have lived in; and they have been five altogether."

"Nothing to the purpose," replied her brother.  "You were living with
your husband, and were the only woman on board."

"But you, yourself, brought Mrs Harville, her sister, her cousin, and
three children, round from Portsmouth to Plymouth.  Where was this
superfine, extraordinary sort of gallantry of yours then?"

"All merged in my friendship, Sophia.  I would assist any brother
officer's wife that I could, and I would bring anything of Harville's
from the world's end, if he wanted it.  But do not imagine that I did
not feel it an evil in itself."

"Depend upon it, they were all perfectly comfortable."

"I might not like them the better for that perhaps.  Such a number of
women and children have no right to be comfortable on board."

"My dear Frederick, you are talking quite idly.  Pray, what would
become of us poor sailors' wives, who often want to be conveyed to one
port or another, after our husbands, if everybody had your feelings?"

"My feelings, you see, did not prevent my taking Mrs Harville and all
her family to Plymouth."

"But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if
women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures.  We none of
us expect to be in smooth water all our days."

"Ah! my dear," said the Admiral, "when he had got a wife, he will sing
a different tune.  When he is married, if we have the good luck to live
to another war, we shall see him do as you and I, and a great many
others, have done.  We shall have him very thankful to anybody that
will bring him his wife."

"Ay, that we shall."

"Now I have done," cried Captain Wentworth.  "When once married people
begin to attack me with,--'Oh! you will think very differently, when
you are married.'  I can only say, 'No, I shall not;' and then they say
again, 'Yes, you will,' and there is an end of it."

He got up and moved away.

"What a great traveller you must have been, ma'am!" said Mrs Musgrove
to Mrs Croft.

"Pretty well, ma'am in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many
women have done more.  I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have
been once to the East Indies, and back again, and only once; besides
being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar.
But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West
Indies.  We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies."

Mrs Musgrove had not a word to say in dissent; she could not accuse
herself of having ever called them anything in the whole course of her
life.

"And I do assure you, ma'am," pursued Mrs Croft, "that nothing can
exceed the accommodations of a man-of-war; I speak, you know, of the
higher rates.  When you come to a frigate, of course, you are more
confined; though any reasonable woman may be perfectly happy in one of
them; and I can safely say, that the happiest part of my life has been
spent on board a ship.  While we were together, you know, there was
nothing to be feared.  Thank God!  I have always been blessed with
excellent health, and no climate disagrees with me.  A little
disordered always the first twenty-four hours of going to sea, but
never knew what sickness was afterwards.  The only time I ever really
suffered in body or mind, the only time that I ever fancied myself
unwell, or had any ideas of danger, was the winter that I passed by
myself at Deal, when the Admiral (Captain Croft then) was in the North
Seas.  I lived in perpetual fright at that time, and had all manner of
imaginary complaints from not knowing what to do with myself, or when I
should hear from him next; but as long as we could be together, nothing
ever ailed me, and I never met with the smallest inconvenience."

"Aye, to be sure.  Yes, indeed, oh yes!  I am quite of your opinion,
Mrs Croft," was Mrs Musgrove's hearty answer.  "There is nothing so bad
as a separation.  I am quite of your opinion.  I know what it is, for
Mr Musgrove always attends the assizes, and I am so glad when they are
over, and he is safe back again."

The evening ended with dancing.  On its being proposed, Anne offered
her services, as usual; and though her eyes would sometimes fill with
tears as she sat at the instrument, she was extremely glad to be
employed, and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved.

It was a merry, joyous party, and no one seemed in higher spirits than
Captain Wentworth.  She felt that he had every thing to elevate him
which general attention and deference, and especially the attention of
all the young women, could do.  The Miss Hayters, the females of the
family of cousins already mentioned, were apparently admitted to the
honour of being in love with him; and as for Henrietta and Louisa, they
both seemed so entirely occupied by him, that nothing but the continued
appearance of the most perfect good-will between themselves could have
made it credible that they were not decided rivals.  If he were a
little spoilt by such universal, such eager admiration, who could
wonder?

These were some of the thoughts which occupied Anne, while her fingers
were mechanically at work, proceeding for half an hour together,
equally without error, and without consciousness.  Once she felt that
he was looking at herself,  observing her altered features, perhaps,
trying to trace in them the ruins of the face which had once charmed
him; and once she knew that he must have spoken of her; she was hardly
aware of it, till she heard the answer; but then she was sure of his
having asked his partner whether Miss Elliot never danced?  The answer
was, "Oh, no; never; she has quite given up dancing.  She had rather
play.  She is never tired of playing."  Once, too, he spoke to her.
She had left the instrument on the dancing being over, and he had sat
down to try to make out an air which he wished to give the Miss
Musgroves an idea of.  Unintentionally she returned to that part of the
room; he saw her, and, instantly rising, said, with studied politeness--

"I beg your pardon, madam, this is your seat;" and though she
immediately drew back with a decided negative, he was not to be induced
to sit down again.

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



Chapter 9


Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home, to stay as long as
he liked, being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's fraternal
kindness as of his wife's.  He had intended, on first arriving, to
proceed very soon into Shropshire, and visit the brother settled in
that country, but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this
off.  There was so much of friendliness, and of flattery, and of
everything most bewitching in his reception there; the old were so
hospitable, the young so agreeable, that he could not but resolve to
remain where he was, and take all the charms and perfections of
Edward's wife upon credit a little longer.

It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day.  The Musgroves could
hardly be more ready to invite than he to come, particularly in the
morning, when he had no companion at home, for the Admiral and Mrs
Croft were generally out of doors together, interesting themselves in
their new possessions, their grass, and their sheep, and dawdling about
in a way not endurable to a third person, or driving out in a gig,
lately added to their establishment.

Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth among the
Musgroves and their dependencies.  It was unvarying, warm admiration
everywhere; but this intimate footing was not more than established,
when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them, to be a good deal
disturbed by it, and to think Captain Wentworth very much in the way.

Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins, and a very amiable,
pleasing young man, between whom and Henrietta there had been a
considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain Wentworth's
introduction.  He was in orders; and having a curacy in the
neighbourhood, where residence was not required, lived at his father's
house, only two miles from Uppercross.  A short absence from home had
left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period,
and when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners,
and of seeing Captain Wentworth.

Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters.  They had each had money, but
their marriages had made a material difference in their degree of
consequence.  Mr Hayter had some property of his own, but it was
insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's; and while the Musgroves were
in the first class of society in the country, the young Hayters would,
from their parents' inferior, retired, and unpolished way of living,
and their own defective education, have been hardly in any class at
all, but for their connexion with Uppercross, this eldest son of course
excepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman, and who was
very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest.

The two families had always been on excellent terms, there being no
pride on one side, and no envy on the other, and only such a
consciousness of superiority in the Miss Musgroves, as made them
pleased to improve their cousins.  Charles's attentions to Henrietta
had been observed by her father and mother without any disapprobation.
"It would not be a great match for her; but if Henrietta liked him,"--
and Henrietta did seem to like him.

Henrietta fully thought so herself, before Captain Wentworth came; but
from that time Cousin Charles had been very much forgotten.

Which of the two sisters was preferred by Captain Wentworth was as yet
quite doubtful, as far as Anne's observation reached.  Henrietta was
perhaps the prettiest, Louisa had the higher spirits; and she knew not
now, whether the more gentle or the more lively character were most
likely to attract him.

Mr and Mrs Musgrove, either from seeing little, or from an entire
confidence in the discretion of both their daughters, and of all the
young men who came near them, seemed to leave everything to take its
chance.  There was not the smallest appearance of solicitude or remark
about them in the Mansion-house; but it was different at the Cottage:
the young couple there were more disposed to speculate and wonder; and
Captain Wentworth had not been above four or five times in the Miss
Musgroves' company, and Charles Hayter had but just reappeared, when
Anne had to listen to the opinions of her brother and sister, as to
which was the one liked best.  Charles gave it for Louisa, Mary for
Henrietta, but quite agreeing that to have him marry either could be
extremely delightful.

Charles "had never seen a pleasanter man in his life; and from what he
had once heard Captain Wentworth himself say, was very sure that he had
not made less than twenty thousand pounds by the war.  Here was a
fortune at once; besides which, there would be the chance of what might
be done in any future war; and he was sure Captain Wentworth was as
likely a man to distinguish himself as any officer in the navy.  Oh! it
would be a capital match for either of his sisters."

"Upon my word it would," replied Mary.  "Dear me!  If he should rise to
any very great honours!  If he should ever be made a baronet!  'Lady
Wentworth' sounds very well.  That would be a noble thing, indeed, for
Henrietta!  She would take place of me then, and Henrietta would not
dislike that.  Sir Frederick and Lady Wentworth!  It would be but a new
creation, however, and I never think much of your new creations."

It suited Mary best to think Henrietta the one preferred on the very
account of Charles Hayter, whose pretensions she wished to see put an
end to.  She looked down very decidedly upon the Hayters, and thought
it would be quite a misfortune to have the existing connection between
the families renewed--very sad for herself and her children.

"You know," said she, "I cannot think him at all a fit match for
Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have made,
she has no right to throw herself away.  I do not think any young woman
has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and inconvenient
to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad connections to
those who have not been used to them.  And, pray, who is Charles
Hayter?  Nothing but a country curate.  A most improper match for Miss
Musgrove of Uppercross."

Her husband, however, would not agree with her here; for besides having
a regard for his cousin, Charles Hayter was an eldest son, and he saw
things as an eldest son himself.

"Now you are 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 something from the Bishop in
the course of a year or two; and you will please to remember, that he
is the eldest son; whenever my uncle dies, he steps into very pretty
property.  The estate at Winthrop is not less than two hundred and
fifty acres, besides the farm near Taunton, which is some of the best
land in the country.  I grant you, that any of them but Charles would
be a very shocking match for Henrietta, and indeed it could not be; he
is the only one that could be possible; but he is a very good-natured,
good sort of a fellow; and whenever Winthrop comes into his hands, he
will make a different sort of place of it, and live in a very different
sort of way; and with that property, he will never be a contemptible
man--good, freehold property.  No, no; Henrietta might do worse than
marry Charles Hayter; and if she has him, and Louisa can get Captain
Wentworth, I shall be very well satisfied."

"Charles may say what he pleases," cried Mary to Anne, as soon as he
was out of the room, "but it would be shocking to have Henrietta marry
Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me; and
therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may soon
put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he
has.  She took hardly any notice of Charles Hayter yesterday.  I wish
you had been there to see her behaviour.  And as to Captain Wentworth's
liking Louisa as well as Henrietta, it is nonsense to say so; for he
certainly does like Henrietta a great deal the best.  But Charles is so
positive!  I wish you had been with us yesterday, for then you might
have decided between us; and I am sure you would have thought as I did,
unless you had been determined to give it against me."

A dinner at Mr Musgrove's had been the occasion when all these things
should have been seen by Anne; but she had staid at home, under the
mixed plea of a headache of her own, and some return of indisposition
in little Charles.  She had thought only of avoiding Captain Wentworth;
but an escape from being appealed to as umpire was now added to the
advantages of a quiet evening.

As to Captain Wentworth's views, she deemed it of more consequence that
he should know his own mind early enough not to be endangering the
happiness of either sister, or impeaching his own honour, than that he
should prefer Henrietta to Louisa, or Louisa to Henrietta.  Either of
them would, in all probability, make him an affectionate, good-humoured
wife.  With regard to Charles Hayter, she had delicacy which must be
pained by any lightness of conduct in a well-meaning young woman, and a
heart to sympathize in any of the sufferings it occasioned; but if
Henrietta found herself mistaken in the nature of her feelings, the
alteration could not be understood too soon.

Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in his
cousin's behaviour.  She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly
estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and
leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross:  but there
was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as Captain
Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause.  He had been absent
only two Sundays, and when they parted, had left her interested, even
to the height of his wishes, in his prospect of soon quitting his
present curacy, and obtaining that of Uppercross instead.  It had then
seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr Shirley, the rector, who
for more than forty years had been zealously discharging all the duties
of his office, but was now growing too infirm for many of them, should
be quite fixed on engaging a curate; should make his curacy quite as
good as he could afford, and should give Charles Hayter the promise of
it.  The advantage of his having to come only to Uppercross, instead of
going six miles another way; of his having, in every respect, a better
curacy; of his belonging to their dear Dr Shirley, and of dear, good Dr
Shirley's being relieved from the duty which he could no longer get
through without most injurious fatigue, had been a great deal, even to
Louisa, but had been almost everything to Henrietta.  When he came
back, alas!  the zeal of the business was gone by.  Louisa could not
listen at all to his account of a conversation which he had just held
with Dr Shirley: she was at a window, looking out for Captain
Wentworth; and even Henrietta had at best only a divided attention to
give, and seemed to have forgotten all the former doubt and solicitude
of the negotiation.

"Well, I am very glad indeed:  but I always thought you would have it;
I always thought you sure.  It did not appear to me that--in short, you
know, Dr Shirley must have a curate, and you had secured his promise.
Is he coming, Louisa?"

One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at which Anne
had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the drawing-room at
the Cottage, where were only herself and the little invalid Charles,
who was lying on the sofa.

The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot, deprived
his manners of their usual composure:  he started, and could only say,
"I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here: Mrs Musgrove told me I
should find them here," before he walked to the window to recollect
himself, and feel how he ought to behave.

"They are up stairs with my sister:  they will be down in a few
moments, I dare say," had been Anne's reply, in all the confusion that
was natural; and if the child had not called her to come and do
something for him, she would have been out of the room the next moment,
and released Captain Wentworth as well as herself.

He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying, "I
hope the little boy is better," was silent.

She was obliged to kneel down by the sofa, and remain there to satisfy
her patient; and thus they continued a few minutes, when, to her very
great satisfaction, she heard some other person crossing the little
vestibule.  She hoped, on turning her head, to see the master of the
house; but it proved to be one much less calculated for making matters
easy--Charles Hayter, probably not at all better pleased by the sight
of Captain Wentworth than Captain Wentworth had been by the sight of
Anne.

She only attempted to say, "How do you do?  Will you not sit down?  The
others will be here presently."

Captain Wentworth, however, came from his window, apparently not
ill-disposed for conversation; but Charles Hayter soon put an end to
his attempts by seating himself near the table, and taking up the
newspaper; and Captain Wentworth returned to his window.

Another minute brought another addition.  The younger boy, a remarkable
stout, forward child, of two years old, having got the door opened for
him by some one without, made his determined appearance among them, and
went straight to the sofa to see what was going on, and put in his
claim to anything good that might be giving away.

There being nothing to eat, he could only have some play; and as his
aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten
himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was
about Charles, she could not shake him off.  She spoke to him, ordered,
entreated, and insisted in vain.  Once she did contrive to push him
away, but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back
again directly.

"Walter," said she, "get down this moment.  You are extremely
troublesome.  I am very angry with you."

"Walter," cried Charles Hayter, "why do you not do as you are bid?  Do
not you hear your aunt speak?  Come to me, Walter, come to cousin
Charles."

But not a bit did Walter stir.

In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of being
released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he had bent
down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were unfastened
from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away, before she knew
that Captain Wentworth had done it.

Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless.  She
could not even thank him.  She could only hang over little Charles,
with most disordered feelings.  His kindness in stepping forward to her
relief, the manner, the silence in which it had passed, the little
particulars of the circumstance, with the conviction soon forced on her
by the noise he was studiously making with the child, that he meant to
avoid hearing her thanks, and rather sought to testify that her
conversation was the last of his wants, produced such a confusion of
varying, but very painful agitation, as she could not recover from,
till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the Miss Musgroves to make
over her little patient to their cares, and leave the room.  She could
not stay.  It might have been an opportunity of watching the loves and
jealousies of the four--they were now altogether; but she could stay
for none of it.  It was evident that Charles Hayter was not well
inclined towards Captain Wentworth.  She had a strong impression of his
having said, in a vext tone of voice, after Captain Wentworth's
interference, "You ought to have minded me, Walter; I told you not to
teaze your aunt;" and could comprehend his regretting that Captain
Wentworth should do what he ought to have done himself.  But neither
Charles Hayter's feelings, nor anybody's feelings, could interest her,
till she had a little better arranged her own.  She was ashamed of
herself, quite ashamed of being so nervous, so overcome by such a
trifle; but so it was, and it required a long application of solitude
and reflection to recover her.



Chapter 10


Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to occur.
Anne had soon been in company with all the four together often enough
to have an opinion, though too wise to acknowledge as much at home,
where she knew it would have satisfied neither husband nor wife; for
while she considered Louisa to be rather the favourite, she could not
but think, as far as she might dare to judge from memory and
experience, that Captain Wentworth was not in love with either.  They
were more in love with him; yet there it was not love.  It was a little
fever of admiration; but it might, probably must, end in love with
some.  Charles Hayter seemed aware of being slighted, and yet Henrietta
had sometimes the air of being divided between them.  Anne longed for
the power of representing to them all what they were about, and of
pointing out some of the evils they were exposing themselves to.  She
did not attribute guile to any.  It was the highest satisfaction to her
to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of the pain he was
occasioning.  There was no triumph, no pitiful triumph in his manner.
He had, probably, never heard, and never thought of any claims of
Charles Hayter.  He was only wrong in accepting the attentions (for
accepting must be the word) of two young women at once.

After a short struggle, however, Charles Hayter seemed to quit the
field.  Three days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross; a
most decided change.  He had even refused one regular invitation to
dinner; and having been found on the occasion by Mr Musgrove with some
large books before him, Mr and Mrs Musgrove were sure all could not be
right, and talked, with grave faces, of his studying himself to death.
It was Mary's hope and belief that he had received a positive dismissal
from Henrietta, and her husband lived under the constant dependence of
seeing him to-morrow.  Anne could only feel that Charles Hayter was
wise.

One morning, about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth
being gone a-shooting together, as the sisters in the Cottage were
sitting quietly at work, they were visited at the window by the sisters
from the Mansion-house.

It was a very fine November day, and the Miss Musgroves came through
the little grounds, and stopped for no other purpose than to say, that
they were going to take a long walk, and therefore concluded Mary could
not like to go with them; and when Mary immediately replied, with some
jealousy at not being supposed a good walker, "Oh, yes, I should like
to join you very much, I am very fond of a long walk;" Anne felt
persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely what
they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the
family habits seemed to produce, of everything being to be
communicated, and everything being to be done together, however
undesired and inconvenient.  She tried to dissuade Mary from going, but
in vain; and that being the case, thought it best to accept the Miss
Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go likewise, as
she might be useful in turning back with her sister, and lessening the
interference in any plan of their own.

"I cannot imagine why they should suppose I should not like a long
walk," said Mary, as she went up stairs.  "Everybody is always
supposing that I am not a good walker; and yet they would not have been
pleased, if we had refused to join them.  When people come in this
manner on purpose to ask us, how can one say no?"

Just as they were setting off, the gentlemen returned.  They had taken
out a young dog, who had spoilt their sport, and sent them back early.
Their time and strength, and spirits, were, therefore, exactly ready
for this walk, and they entered into it with pleasure.  Could Anne have
foreseen such a junction, she would have staid at home; but, from some
feelings of interest and curiosity, she fancied now that it was too
late to retract, and the whole six set forward together in the
direction chosen by the Miss Musgroves, who evidently considered the
walk as under their guidance.

Anne's object was, not to be in the way of anybody; and where the
narrow paths across the fields made many separations necessary, to keep
with her brother and sister.  Her pleasure in the walk must arise from
the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year
upon the tawny leaves, and withered hedges, and from repeating to
herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of
autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind
of taste and tenderness, that season which had drawn from every poet,
worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of
feeling.  She occupied her mind as much as possible in such like
musings and quotations; but it was not possible, that when within reach
of Captain Wentworth's conversation with either of the Miss Musgroves,
she should not try to hear it; yet she caught little very remarkable.
It was mere lively chat, such as any young persons, on an intimate
footing, might fall into.  He was more engaged with Louisa than with
Henrietta.  Louisa certainly put more forward for his notice than her
sister.  This distinction appeared to increase, and there was one
speech of Louisa's which struck her.  After one of the many praises of
the day, which were continually bursting forth, Captain Wentworth
added:--

"What glorious weather for the Admiral and my sister!  They meant to
take a long drive this morning; perhaps we may hail them from some of
these hills.  They talked of coming into this side of the country.  I
wonder whereabouts they will upset to-day.  Oh! it does happen very
often, I assure you; but my sister makes nothing of it; she would as
lieve be tossed out as not."

"Ah! You make the most of it, I know," cried Louisa, "but if it were
really so, I should do just the same in her place.  If I loved a man,
as she loves the Admiral, I would always be with him, nothing should
ever separate us, and I would rather be overturned by him, than driven
safely by anybody else."

It was spoken with enthusiasm.

"Had you?" cried he, catching the same tone; "I honour you!" And there
was silence between them for a little while.

Anne could not immediately fall into a quotation again.  The sweet
scenes of autumn were for a while put by, unless some tender sonnet,
fraught with the apt analogy of the declining year, with declining
happiness, and the images of youth and hope, and spring, all gone
together, blessed her memory.  She roused herself to say, as they
struck by order into another path, "Is not this one of the ways to
Winthrop?" But nobody heard, or, at least, nobody answered her.

Winthrop, however, or its environs--for young men are, sometimes to be
met with, strolling about near home--was their destination; and after
another half mile of gradual ascent through large enclosures, where the
ploughs at work, and the fresh made path spoke the farmer counteracting
the sweets of poetical despondence, and meaning to have spring again,
they gained the summit of the most considerable hill, which parted
Uppercross and Winthrop, and soon commanded a full view of the latter,
at the foot of the hill on the other side.

Winthrop, without beauty and without dignity, was stretched before them;
an indifferent house, standing low, and hemmed in by the barns and
buildings of a farm-yard.

Mary exclaimed, "Bless me! here is Winthrop.  I declare I had no idea!
Well now, I think we had better turn back; I am excessively tired."

Henrietta, conscious and ashamed, and seeing no cousin Charles walking
along any path, or leaning against any gate, was ready to do as Mary
wished; but "No!" said Charles Musgrove, and "No, no!" cried Louisa
more eagerly, and taking her sister aside, seemed to be arguing the
matter warmly.

Charles, in the meanwhile, was very decidedly declaring his resolution
of calling on his aunt, now that he was so near; and very evidently,
though more fearfully, trying to induce his wife to go too.  But this
was one of the points on which the lady shewed her strength; and when
he recommended the advantage of resting herself a quarter of an hour at
Winthrop, as she felt so tired, she resolutely answered, "Oh! no,
indeed! walking up that hill again would do her more harm than any
sitting down could do her good;" and, in short, her look and manner
declared, that go she would not.

After a little succession of these sort of debates and consultations,
it was settled between Charles and his two sisters, that he and
Henrietta should just run down for a few minutes, to see their aunt and
cousins, while the rest of the party waited for them at the top of the
hill.  Louisa seemed the principal arranger of the plan; and, as she
went a little way with them, down the hill, still talking to Henrietta,
Mary took the opportunity of looking scornfully around her, and saying
to Captain Wentworth--

"It is very unpleasant, having such connexions!  But, I assure you, I
have never been in the house above twice in my life."

She received no other answer, than an artificial, assenting smile,
followed by a contemptuous glance, as he turned away, which Anne
perfectly knew the meaning of.

The brow of the hill, where they remained, was a cheerful spot: Louisa
returned; and Mary, finding a comfortable seat for herself on the step
of a stile, was very well satisfied so long as the others all stood
about her; but when Louisa drew Captain Wentworth away, to try for a
gleaning of nuts in an adjoining hedge-row, and they were gone by
degrees quite out of sight and sound, Mary was happy no longer; she
quarrelled with her own seat, was sure Louisa had got a much better
somewhere, and nothing could prevent her from going to look for a
better also.  She turned through the same gate, but could not see them.
Anne found a nice seat for her, on a dry sunny bank, under the
hedge-row, in which she had no doubt of their still being, in some spot
or other.  Mary sat down for a moment, but it would not do; she was
sure Louisa had found a better seat somewhere else, and she would go on
till she overtook her.

Anne, really tired herself, was glad to sit down; and she very soon
heard Captain Wentworth and Louisa in the hedge-row, behind her, as if
making their way back along the rough, wild sort of channel, down the
centre.  They were speaking as they drew near.  Louisa's voice was the
first distinguished.  She seemed to be in the middle of some eager
speech.  What Anne first heard was--

"And so, I made her go.  I could not bear that she should be frightened
from the visit by such nonsense.  What! would I be turned back from
doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right,
by the airs and interference of such a person, or of any person I may
say?  No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded.  When I have
made up my mind, I have made it; and Henrietta seemed entirely to have
made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day; and yet, she was as near
giving it up, out of nonsensical complaisance!"

"She would have turned back then, but for you?"

"She would indeed.  I am almost ashamed to say it."

"Happy for her, to have such a mind as yours at hand!  After the hints
you gave just now, which did but confirm my own observations, the last
time I was in company with him,  I need not affect to have no
comprehension of what is going on.  I see that more than a mere dutiful
morning visit to your aunt was in question; and woe betide him, and her
too, when it comes to things of consequence, when they are placed in
circumstances requiring fortitude and strength of mind, if she have not
resolution enough to resist idle interference in such a trifle as this.
Your sister is an amiable creature; but yours is the character of
decision and firmness, I see.  If you value her conduct or happiness,
infuse as much of your own spirit into her as you can.  But this, no
doubt, you have been always doing.  It is the worst evil of too
yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be
depended on.  You are never sure of a good impression being durable;
everybody may sway it.  Let those who would be happy be firm.  Here is
a nut," said he, catching one down from an upper bough, "to exemplify:
a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has
outlived all the storms of autumn.  Not a puncture, not a weak spot
anywhere.  This nut," he continued, with playful solemnity, "while so
many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still
in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed
capable of."  Then returning to his former earnest tone--"My first
wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm.  If
Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life,
she will cherish all her present powers of mind."

He had done, and was unanswered.  It would have surprised Anne if
Louisa could have readily answered such a speech:  words of such
interest, spoken with such serious warmth!  She could imagine what
Louisa was feeling.  For herself, she feared to move, lest she should
be seen.  While she remained, a bush of low rambling holly protected
her, and they were moving on.  Before they were beyond her hearing,
however, Louisa spoke again.

"Mary is good-natured enough in many respects," said she; "but she does
sometimes provoke me excessively, by her nonsense and pride--the Elliot
pride.  She has a great deal too much of the Elliot pride.  We do so
wish that Charles had married Anne instead.  I suppose you know he
wanted to marry Anne?"

After a moment's pause, Captain Wentworth said--

"Do you mean that she refused him?"

"Oh! yes; certainly."

"When did that happen?"

"I do not exactly know, for Henrietta and I were at school at the time;
but I believe about a year before he married Mary.  I wish she had
accepted him.  We should all have liked her a great deal better; and
papa and mamma always think it was her great friend Lady Russell's
doing, that she did not.  They think Charles might not be learned and
bookish enough to please Lady Russell, and that therefore, she
persuaded Anne to refuse him."

The sounds were retreating, and Anne distinguished no more.  Her own
emotions still kept her fixed.  She had much to recover from, before
she could move.  The listener's proverbial fate was not absolutely
hers; she had heard no evil of herself, but she had heard a great deal
of very painful import.  She saw how her own character was considered
by Captain Wentworth, and there had been just that degree of feeling
and curiosity about her in his manner which must give her extreme
agitation.

As soon as she could, she went after Mary, and having found, and walked
back with her to their former station, by the stile, felt some comfort
in their whole party being immediately afterwards collected, and once
more in motion together.  Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence
which only numbers could give.

Charles and Henrietta returned, bringing, as may be conjectured,
Charles Hayter with them.  The minutiae of the business Anne could not
attempt to understand; even Captain Wentworth did not seem admitted to
perfect confidence here; but that there had been a withdrawing on the
gentleman's side, and a relenting on the lady's, and that they were now
very glad to be together again, did not admit a doubt.  Henrietta
looked a little ashamed, but very well pleased;--Charles Hayter
exceedingly happy:  and they were devoted to each other almost from the
first instant of their all setting forward for Uppercross.

Everything now marked out Louisa for Captain Wentworth; nothing could
be plainer; and where many divisions were necessary, or even where they
were not, they walked side by side nearly as much as the other two.  In
a long strip of meadow land, where there was ample space for all, they
were thus divided, forming three distinct parties; and to that party of
the three which boasted least animation, and least complaisance, Anne
necessarily belonged.  She joined Charles and Mary, and was tired
enough to be very glad of Charles's other arm; but Charles, though in
very good humour with her, was out of temper with his wife.  Mary had
shewn herself disobliging to him, and was now to reap the consequence,
which consequence was his dropping her arm almost every moment to cut
off the heads of some nettles in the hedge with his switch; and when
Mary began to complain of it, and lament her being ill-used, according
to custom, in being on the hedge side, while Anne was never incommoded
on the other, he dropped the arms of both to hunt after a weasel which
he had a momentary glance of, and they could hardly get him along at
all.

This long meadow bordered a lane, which their footpath, at the end of
it was to cross, and when the party had all reached the gate of exit,
the carriage advancing in the same direction, which had been some time
heard, was just coming up, and proved to be Admiral Croft's gig.  He
and his wife had taken their intended drive, and were returning home.
Upon hearing how long a walk the young people had engaged in, they
kindly offered a seat to any lady who might be particularly tired; it
would save her a full mile, and they were going through Uppercross.
The invitation was general, and generally declined.  The Miss Musgroves
were not at all tired, and Mary was either offended, by not being asked
before any of the others, or what Louisa called the Elliot pride could
not endure to make a third in a one horse chaise.

The walking party had crossed the lane, and were surmounting an
opposite stile, and the Admiral was putting his horse in motion again,
when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say something
to his sister.  The something might be guessed by its effects.

"Miss Elliot, I am sure you are tired," cried Mrs Croft.  "Do let us
have the pleasure of taking you home.  Here is excellent room for
three, I assure you.  If we were all like you, I believe we might sit
four.  You must, indeed, you must."

Anne was still in the lane; and though instinctively beginning to
decline, she was not allowed to proceed.  The Admiral's kind urgency
came in support of his wife's; they would not be refused; they
compressed themselves into the smallest possible space to leave her a
corner, and Captain Wentworth, without saying a word, turned to her,
and quietly obliged her to be assisted into the carriage.

Yes; he had done it.  She was in the carriage, and felt that he had
placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she
owed it to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to give
her rest.  She was very much affected by the view of his disposition
towards her, which all these things made apparent.  This little
circumstance seemed the completion of all that had gone before.  She
understood him.  He could not forgive her, but he could not be
unfeeling.  Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with
high and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and
though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer,
without the desire of giving her relief.  It was a remainder of former
sentiment; it was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship;
it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not
contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that
she knew not which prevailed.

Her answers to the kindness and the remarks of her companions were at
first unconsciously given.  They had travelled half their way along the
rough lane, before she was quite awake to what they said.  She then
found them talking of "Frederick."

"He certainly means to have one or other of those two girls, Sophy,"
said the Admiral; "but there is no saying which.  He has been running
after them, too, long enough, one would think, to make up his mind.
Ay, this comes of the peace.  If it were war now, he would have settled
it long ago.  We sailors, Miss Elliot, cannot afford to make long
courtships in time of war.  How many days was it, my dear, between the
first time of my seeing you and our sitting down together in our
lodgings at North Yarmouth?"

"We had better not talk about it, my dear," replied Mrs Croft,
pleasantly; "for if Miss Elliot were to hear how soon we came to an
understanding, she would never be persuaded that we could be happy
together.  I had known you by character, however, long before."

"Well, and I had heard of you as a very pretty girl, and what were we
to wait for besides?  I do not like having such things so long in hand.
I wish Frederick would spread a little more canvass, and bring us home
one of these young ladies to Kellynch.  Then there would always be
company for them.  And very nice young ladies they both are; I hardly
know one from the other."

"Very good humoured, unaffected girls, indeed," said Mrs Croft, in a
tone of calmer praise, such as made Anne suspect that her keener powers
might not consider either of them as quite worthy of her brother; "and
a very respectable family.  One could not be connected with better
people.  My dear Admiral, that post!  we shall certainly take that
post."

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily
passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her
hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and
Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined
no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found
herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.



Chapter 11


The time now approached for Lady Russell's return:  the day was even
fixed; and Anne, being engaged to join her as soon as she was
resettled, was looking forward to an early removal to Kellynch, and
beginning to think how her own comfort was likely to be affected by it.

It would place her in the same village with Captain Wentworth, within
half a mile of him; they would have to frequent the same church, and
there must be intercourse between the two families.  This was against
her; but on the other hand, he spent so much of his time at Uppercross,
that in removing thence she might be considered rather as leaving him
behind, than as going towards him; and, upon the whole, she believed
she must, on this interesting question, be the gainer, almost as
certainly as in her change of domestic society, in leaving poor Mary
for Lady Russell.

She wished it might be possible for her to avoid ever seeing Captain
Wentworth at the Hall:  those rooms had witnessed former meetings which
would be brought too painfully before her; but she was yet more anxious
for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth never meeting
anywhere.  They did not like each other, and no renewal of acquaintance
now could do any good; and were Lady Russell to see them together, she
might think that he had too much self-possession, and she too little.

These points formed her chief solicitude in anticipating her removal
from Uppercross, where she felt she had been stationed quite long
enough.  Her usefulness to little Charles would always give some
sweetness to the memory of her two months' visit there, but he was
gaining strength apace, and she had nothing else to stay for.

The conclusion of her visit, however, was diversified in a way which
she had not at all imagined.  Captain Wentworth, after being unseen and
unheard of at Uppercross for two whole days, appeared again among them
to justify himself by a relation of what had kept him away.

A letter from his friend, Captain Harville, having found him out at
last, had brought intelligence of Captain Harville's being settled with
his family at Lyme for the winter; of their being therefore, quite
unknowingly, within twenty miles of each other.  Captain Harville had
never been in good health since a severe wound which he received two
years before, and Captain Wentworth's anxiety to see him had determined
him to go immediately to Lyme.  He had been there for four-and-twenty
hours.  His acquittal was complete, his friendship warmly honoured, a
lively interest excited for his friend, and his description of the fine
country about Lyme so feelingly attended to by the party, that an
earnest desire to see Lyme themselves, and a project for going thither
was the consequence.

The young people were all wild to see Lyme.  Captain Wentworth talked
of going there again himself, it was only seventeen miles from
Uppercross; though November, the weather was by no means bad; and, in
short, Louisa, who was the most eager of the eager, having formed the
resolution to go, and besides the pleasure of doing as she liked, being
now armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way, bore down
all the wishes of her father and mother for putting it off till summer;
and to Lyme they were to go--Charles, Mary, Anne, Henrietta, Louisa,
and Captain Wentworth.

The first heedless scheme had been to go in the morning and return at
night; but to this Mr Musgrove, for the sake of his horses, would not
consent; and when it came to be rationally considered, a day in the
middle of November would not leave much time for seeing a new place,
after deducting seven hours, as the nature of the country required, for
going and returning.  They were, consequently, to stay the night there,
and not to be expected back till the next day's dinner.  This was felt
to be a considerable amendment; and though they all met at the Great
House at rather an early breakfast hour, and set off very punctually,
it was so much past noon before the two carriages, Mr Musgrove's coach
containing the four ladies, and Charles's curricle, in which he drove
Captain Wentworth, were descending the long hill into Lyme, and
entering upon the still steeper street of the town itself, that it was
very evident they would not have more than time for looking about them,
before the light and warmth of the day were gone.

After securing accommodations, and ordering a dinner at one of the
inns, the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly
down to the sea.  They were come too late in the year for any amusement
or variety which Lyme, as a public place, might offer.  The rooms were
shut up, the lodgers almost all gone, scarcely any family but of the
residents left; and, as there is nothing to admire in the buildings
themselves, the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street
almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round
the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing
machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new
improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to
the east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek; and a very
strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate
environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.  The scenes in
its neighbourhood, Charmouth, with its high grounds and extensive
sweeps of country, and still more, its sweet, retired bay, backed by
dark cliffs, where fragments of low rock among the sands, make it the
happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in
unwearied contemplation; the woody varieties of the cheerful village of
Up Lyme; and, above all, Pinny, with its green chasms between romantic
rocks, where the scattered forest trees and orchards of luxuriant
growth, declare that many a generation must have passed away since the
first partial falling of the cliff prepared the ground for such a
state, where a scene so wonderful and so lovely is exhibited, as may
more than equal any of the resembling scenes of the far-famed Isle of
Wight:  these places must be visited, and visited again, to make the
worth of Lyme understood.

The party from Uppercross passing down by the now deserted and
melancholy looking rooms, and still descending, soon found themselves
on the sea-shore; and lingering only, as all must linger and gaze on a
first return to the sea, who ever deserved to look on it at all,
proceeded towards the Cobb, equally their object in itself and on
Captain Wentworth's account:  for in a small house, near the foot of an
old pier of unknown date, were the Harvilles settled.  Captain
Wentworth turned in to call on his friend; the others walked on, and he
was to join them on the Cobb.

They were by no means tired of wondering and admiring; and not even
Louisa seemed to feel that they had parted with Captain Wentworth long,
when they saw him coming after them, with three companions, all well
known already, by description, to be Captain and Mrs Harville, and a
Captain Benwick, who was staying with them.

Captain Benwick had some time ago been first lieutenant of the Laconia;
and the account which Captain Wentworth had given of him, on his return
from Lyme before, his warm praise of him as an excellent young man and
an officer, whom he had always valued highly, which must have stamped
him well in the esteem of every listener, had been followed by a little
history of his private life, which rendered him perfectly interesting
in the eyes of all the ladies.  He had been engaged to Captain
Harville's sister, and was now mourning her loss.  They had been a year
or two waiting for fortune and promotion.  Fortune came, his
prize-money as lieutenant being great; promotion, too, came at last;
but Fanny Harville did not live to know it.  She had died the preceding
summer while he was at sea.  Captain Wentworth believed it impossible
for man to be more attached to woman than poor Benwick had been to
Fanny Harville, or to be more deeply afflicted under the dreadful
change.  He considered his disposition as of the sort which must suffer
heavily, uniting very strong feelings with quiet, serious, and retiring
manners, and a decided taste for reading, and sedentary pursuits.  To
finish the interest of the story, the friendship between him and the
Harvilles seemed, if possible, augmented by the event which closed all
their views of alliance, and Captain Benwick was now living with them
entirely.  Captain Harville had taken his present house for half a
year; his taste, and his health, and his fortune, all directing him to
a residence inexpensive, and by the sea; and the grandeur of the
country, and the retirement of Lyme in the winter, appeared exactly
adapted to Captain Benwick's state of mind.  The sympathy and good-will
excited towards Captain Benwick was very great.

"And yet," said Anne to herself, as they now moved forward to meet the
party, "he has not, perhaps, a more sorrowing heart than I have.  I
cannot believe his prospects so blighted for ever.  He is younger than
I am; younger in feeling, if not in fact; younger as a man.  He will
rally again, and be happy with another."

They all met, and were introduced.  Captain Harville was a tall, dark
man, with a sensible, benevolent countenance; a little lame; and from
strong features and want of health, looking much older than Captain
Wentworth.  Captain Benwick looked, and was, the youngest of the three,
and, compared with either of them, a little man.  He had a pleasing
face and a melancholy air, just as he ought to have, and drew back from
conversation.

Captain Harville, though not equalling Captain Wentworth in manners,
was a perfect gentleman, unaffected, warm, and obliging.  Mrs Harville,
a degree less polished than her husband, seemed, however, to have the
same good feelings; and nothing could be more pleasant than their
desire of considering the whole party as friends of their own, because
the friends of Captain Wentworth, or more kindly hospitable than their
entreaties for their all promising to dine with them.  The dinner,
already ordered at the inn, was at last, though unwillingly, accepted
as a excuse; but they seemed almost hurt that Captain Wentworth should
have brought any such party to Lyme, without considering it as a thing
of course that they should dine with them.

There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all this, and such
a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon, so unlike
the usual style of give-and-take invitations, and dinners of formality
and display, that Anne felt her spirits not likely to be benefited by
an increasing acquaintance among his brother-officers.  "These would
have been all my friends," was her thought; and she had to struggle
against a great tendency to lowness.

On quitting the Cobb, they all went in-doors with their new friends,
and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the heart
could think capable of accommodating so many.  Anne had a moment's
astonishment on the subject herself; but it was soon lost in the
pleasanter feelings which sprang from the sight of all the ingenious
contrivances and nice arrangements of Captain Harville, to turn the
actual space to the best account, to supply the deficiencies of
lodging-house furniture, and defend the windows and doors against the
winter storms to be expected.  The varieties in the fitting-up of the
rooms, where the common necessaries provided by the owner, in the
common indifferent plight, were contrasted with some few articles of a
rare species of wood, excellently worked up, and with something curious
and valuable from all the distant countries Captain Harville had
visited, were more than amusing to Anne; connected as it all was with
his profession, the fruit of its labours, the effect of its influence
on his habits, the picture of repose and domestic happiness it
presented, made it to her a something more, or less, than gratification.

Captain Harville was no reader; but he had contrived excellent
accommodations, and fashioned very pretty shelves, for a tolerable
collection of well-bound volumes, the property of Captain Benwick.  His
lameness prevented him from taking much exercise; but a mind of
usefulness and ingenuity seemed to furnish him with constant employment
within.  He drew, he varnished, he carpentered, he glued; he made toys
for the children; he fashioned new netting-needles and pins with
improvements; and if everything else was done, sat down to his large
fishing-net at one corner of the room.

Anne thought she left great happiness behind her when they quitted the
house; and Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth into
raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy; their
friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness;
protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and
warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to
live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved.

They went back to dress and dine; and so well had the scheme answered
already, that nothing was found amiss; though its being "so entirely
out of season," and the "no thoroughfare of Lyme," and the "no
expectation of company," had brought many apologies from the heads of
the inn.

Anne found herself by this time growing so much more hardened to being
in Captain Wentworth's company than she had at first imagined could
ever be, that the sitting down to the same table with him now, and the
interchange of the common civilities attending on it (they never got
beyond), was become a mere nothing.

The nights were too dark for the ladies to meet again till the morrow,
but Captain Harville had promised them a visit in the evening; and he
came, bringing his friend also, which was more than had been expected,
it having been agreed that Captain Benwick had all the appearance of
being oppressed by the presence of so many strangers.  He ventured
among them again, however, though his spirits certainly did not seem
fit for the mirth of the party in general.

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

His looks shewing him not pained, but pleased with this allusion to his
situation, she was emboldened to go on; and feeling in herself the
right of seniority of mind, she ventured to recommend a larger
allowance of prose in his daily study; and on being requested to
particularize, mentioned such works of our best moralists, such
collections of the finest letters, such memoirs of characters of worth
and suffering, as occurred to her at the moment as calculated to rouse
and fortify the mind by the highest precepts, and the strongest
examples of moral and religious endurances.

Captain Benwick listened attentively, and seemed grateful for the
interest implied; and though with a shake of the head, and sighs which
declared his little faith in the efficacy of any books on grief like
his, noted down the names of those she recommended, and promised to
procure and read them.

When the evening was over, Anne could not but be amused at the idea of
her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man
whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing, on more
serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and
preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct
would ill bear examination.



Chapter 12


Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the
next morning, agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast.  They
went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine
south-easterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so
flat a shore admitted.  They praised the morning; gloried in the sea;
sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and were
silent; till Henrietta suddenly began again with--

"Oh! yes,--I am quite convinced that, with very few exceptions, the
sea-air always does good.  There can be no doubt of its having been of
the greatest service to Dr Shirley, after his illness, last spring
twelve-month.  He declares himself, that coming to Lyme for a month,
did him more good than all the medicine he took; and, that being by the
sea, always makes him feel young again.  Now, I cannot help thinking it
a pity that he does not live entirely by the sea.  I do think he had
better leave Uppercross entirely, and fix at Lyme.  Do not you, Anne?
Do not you agree with me, that it is the best thing he could do, both
for himself and Mrs Shirley?  She has cousins here, you know, and many
acquaintance, which would make it cheerful for her, and I am sure she
would be glad to get to a place where she could have medical attendance
at hand, in case of his having another seizure.  Indeed I think it
quite melancholy to have such excellent people as Dr and Mrs Shirley,
who have been doing good all their lives, wearing out their last days
in a place like Uppercross, where, excepting our family, they seem shut
out from all the world.  I wish his friends would propose it to him.  I
really think they ought.  And, as to procuring a dispensation, there
could be no difficulty at his time of life, and with his character.  My
only doubt is, whether anything could persuade him to leave his parish.
He is so very strict and scrupulous in his notions; over-scrupulous I
must say.  Do not you think, Anne, it is being over-scrupulous?  Do not
you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience, when a clergyman
sacrifices his health for the sake of duties, which may be just as well
performed by another person?  And at Lyme too, only seventeen miles
off, he would be near enough to hear, if people thought there was
anything to complain of."

Anne smiled more than once to herself during this speech, and entered
into the subject, as ready to do good by entering into the feelings of
a young lady as of a young man, though here it was good of a lower
standard, for what could be offered but general acquiescence?  She said
all that was reasonable and proper on the business; felt the claims of
Dr Shirley to repose as she ought; saw how very desirable it was that
he should have some active, respectable young man, as a resident
curate, and was even courteous enough to hint at the advantage of such
resident curate's being married.

"I wish," said Henrietta, very well pleased with her companion, "I wish
Lady Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr Shirley.  I
have always heard of Lady Russell as a woman of the greatest influence
with everybody!  I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to
anything!  I am afraid of her, as I have told you before, quite afraid
of her, because she is so very clever; but I respect her amazingly, and
wish we had such a neighbour at Uppercross."

Anne was amused by Henrietta's manner of being grateful, and amused
also that the course of events and the new interests of Henrietta's
views should have placed her friend at all in favour with any of the
Musgrove family; she had only time, however, for a general answer, and
a wish that such another woman were at Uppercross, before all subjects
suddenly ceased, on seeing Louisa and Captain Wentworth coming towards
them.  They came also for a stroll till breakfast was likely to be
ready; but Louisa recollecting, immediately afterwards that she had
something to procure at a shop, invited them all to go back with her
into the town.  They were all at her disposal.

When they came to the steps, leading upwards from the beach, a
gentleman, at the same moment preparing to come down, politely drew
back, and stopped to give them way.  They ascended and passed him; and
as they passed, Anne's face caught his eye, and he looked at her with a
degree of earnest admiration, which she could not be insensible of.
She was looking remarkably well; her very regular, very pretty
features, having the bloom and freshness of youth restored by the fine
wind which had been blowing on her complexion, and by the animation of
eye which it had also produced.  It was evident that the gentleman,
(completely a gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly.  Captain
Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his
noticing of it.  He gave her a momentary glance, a glance of
brightness, which seemed to say, "That man is struck with you, and even
I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again."

After attending Louisa through her business, and loitering about a
little longer, they returned to the inn; and Anne, in passing
afterwards quickly from her own chamber to their dining-room, had
nearly run against the very same gentleman, as he came out of an
adjoining apartment.  She had before conjectured him to be a stranger
like themselves, and determined that a well-looking groom, who was
strolling about near the two inns as they came back, should be his
servant.  Both master and man being in mourning assisted the idea.  It
was now proved that he belonged to the same inn as themselves; and this
second meeting, short as it was, also proved again by the gentleman's
looks, that he thought hers very lovely, and by the readiness and
propriety of his apologies, that he was a man of exceedingly good
manners.  He seemed about thirty, and though not handsome, had an
agreeable person.  Anne felt that she should like to know who he was.

They had nearly done breakfast, when the sound of a carriage, (almost
the first they had heard since entering Lyme) drew half the party to
the window.  It was a gentleman's carriage, a curricle, but only coming
round from the stable-yard to the front door; somebody must be going
away.  It was driven by a servant in mourning.

The word curricle made Charles Musgrove jump up that he might compare
it with his own; the servant in mourning roused Anne's curiosity, and
the whole six were collected to look, by the time the owner of the
curricle was to be seen issuing from the door amidst the bows and
civilities of the household, and taking his seat, to drive off.

"Ah!" cried Captain Wentworth, instantly, and with half a glance at
Anne, "it is the very man we passed."

The Miss Musgroves agreed to it; and having all kindly watched him as
far up the hill as they could, they returned to the breakfast table.
The waiter came into the room soon afterwards.

"Pray," said Captain Wentworth, immediately, "can you tell us the name
of the gentleman who is just gone away?"

"Yes, Sir, a Mr Elliot, a gentleman of large fortune, came in last
night from Sidmouth.  Dare say you heard the carriage, sir, while you
were at dinner; and going on now for Crewkherne, in his way to Bath and
London."

"Elliot!"  Many had looked on each other, and many had repeated the
name, before all this had been got through, even by the smart rapidity
of a waiter.

"Bless me!" cried Mary; "it must be our cousin; it must be our Mr
Elliot, it must, indeed!  Charles, Anne, must not it?  In mourning, you
see, just as our Mr Elliot must be.  How very extraordinary!  In the
very same inn with us!  Anne, must not it be our Mr Elliot?  my
father's next heir?  Pray sir," turning to the waiter, "did not you
hear, did not his servant say whether he belonged to the Kellynch
family?"

"No, ma'am, he did not mention no particular family; but he said his
master was a very rich gentleman, and would be a baronight some day."

"There! you see!" cried Mary in an ecstasy, "just as I said!  Heir to
Sir Walter Elliot!  I was sure that would come out, if it was so.
Depend upon it, that is a circumstance which his servants take care to
publish, wherever he goes.  But, Anne, only conceive how extraordinary!
I wish I had looked at him more.  I wish we had been aware in time, who
it was, that he might have been introduced to us.  What a pity that we
should not have been introduced to each other!  Do you think he had the
Elliot countenance?  I hardly looked at him, I was looking at the
horses; but I think he had something of the Elliot countenance, I
wonder the arms did not strike me!  Oh! the great-coat was hanging over
the panel, and hid the arms, so it did; otherwise, I am sure, I should
have observed them, and the livery too; if the servant had not been in
mourning, one should have known him by the livery."

"Putting all these very extraordinary circumstances together," said
Captain Wentworth, "we must consider it to be the arrangement of
Providence, that you should not be introduced to your cousin."

When she could command Mary's attention, Anne quietly tried to convince
her that their father and Mr Elliot had not, for many years, been on
such terms as to make the power of attempting an introduction at all
desirable.

At the same time, however, it was a secret gratification to herself to
have seen her cousin, and to know that the future owner of Kellynch was
undoubtedly a gentleman, and had an air of good sense.  She would not,
upon any account, mention her having met with him the second time;
luckily Mary did not much attend to their having passed close by him in
their earlier walk, but she would have felt quite ill-used by Anne's
having actually run against him in the passage, and received his very
polite excuses, while she had never been near him at all; no, that
cousinly little interview must remain a perfect secret.

"Of course," said Mary, "you will mention our seeing Mr Elliot, the
next time you write to Bath.  I think my father certainly ought to hear
of it; do mention all about him."

Anne avoided a direct reply, but it was just the circumstance which she
considered as not merely unnecessary to be communicated, but as what
ought to be suppressed.  The offence which had been given her father,
many years back, she knew; Elizabeth's particular share in it she
suspected; and that Mr Elliot's idea always produced irritation in both
was beyond a doubt.  Mary never wrote to Bath herself; all the toil of
keeping up a slow and unsatisfactory correspondence with Elizabeth fell
on Anne.

Breakfast had not been long over, when they were joined by Captain and
Mrs Harville and Captain Benwick; with whom they had appointed to take
their last walk about Lyme.  They ought to be setting off for
Uppercross by one, and in the 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
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 of August, when he came home from the Cape,
just made into the Grappler.  I was at Plymouth dreading to hear of
him; he sent in letters, but the Grappler was under orders for
Portsmouth.  There the news must follow him, but who was to tell it?
not I.  I would as soon have been run up to the yard-arm.  Nobody could
do it, but that good fellow" (pointing to Captain Wentworth.)  "The
Laconia had come into Plymouth the week before; no danger of her being
sent to sea again.  He stood his chance for the rest; wrote up for
leave of absence, but without waiting the return, travelled night and
day till he got to Portsmouth, rowed off to the Grappler that instant,
and never left the poor fellow for a week.  That's what he did, and
nobody else could have saved poor James.  You may think, Miss Elliot,
whether he is dear to us!"

Anne did think on the question with perfect decision, and said as much
in reply as her own feeling could accomplish, or as his seemed able to
bear, for he was too much affected to renew the subject, and when he
spoke again, it was of something totally different.

Mrs Harville's giving it as her opinion that her husband would have
quite walking enough by the time he reached home, determined the
direction of all the party in what was to be their last walk; they
would accompany them to their door, and then return and set off
themselves.  By all their calculations there was just time for this;
but as they drew near the Cobb, there was such a general wish to walk
along it once more, all were so inclined, and Louisa soon grew so
determined, that the difference of a quarter of an hour, it was found,
would be no difference at all; so with all the kind leave-taking, and
all the kind interchange of invitations and promises which may be
imagined, they parted from Captain and Mrs Harville at their own door,
and still accompanied by Captain Benwick, who seemed to cling to them
to the last, proceeded to make the proper adieus to the Cobb.

Anne found Captain Benwick again drawing near her.  Lord Byron's "dark
blue seas" could not fail of being brought forward by their present
view, and she gladly gave him all her attention as long as attention
was possible.  It was soon drawn, perforce another way.

There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant
for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and
all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight,
excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth.
In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the
sensation was delightful to her.  The hardness of the pavement for her
feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it,
however.  She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment,
ran up the steps to be jumped down again.  He advised her against it,
thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she
smiled and said, "I am determined I will:" he put out his hands; she
was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the
Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!  There was no wound, no blood,
no visible bruise; but her eyes were closed, she breathed not, her face
was like death.  The horror of the moment to all who stood around!

Captain Wentworth, who had caught her up, knelt with her in his arms,
looking on her with a face as pallid as her own, in an agony of
silence.  "She is dead! she is dead!" screamed Mary, catching hold of
her husband, and contributing with his own horror to make him
immoveable; and in another moment, Henrietta, sinking under the
conviction, lost her senses too, and would have fallen on the steps,
but for Captain Benwick and Anne, who caught and supported her between
them.

"Is there no one to help me?" were the first words which burst from
Captain Wentworth, in a tone of despair, and as if all his own strength
were gone.

"Go to him, go to him," cried Anne, "for heaven's sake go to him.  I
can support her myself.  Leave me, and go to him.  Rub her hands, rub
her temples; here are salts; take them, take them."

Captain Benwick obeyed, and Charles at the same moment, disengaging
himself from his wife, they were both with him; and Louisa was raised
up and supported more firmly between them, and everything was done that
Anne had prompted, but in vain; while Captain Wentworth, staggering
against the wall for his support, exclaimed in the bitterest agony--

"Oh God! her father and mother!"

"A surgeon!" said Anne.

He caught the word; it seemed to rouse him at once, and saying only--
"True, true, a surgeon this instant," was darting away, when Anne
eagerly suggested--

"Captain Benwick, would not it be better for Captain Benwick?  He knows
where a surgeon is to be found."

Every one capable of thinking felt the advantage of the idea, and in a
moment (it was all done in rapid moments) Captain Benwick had resigned
the poor corpse-like  figure entirely to the brother's care, and was
off for the town with the utmost rapidity.

As to the wretched party left behind, it could scarcely be said which
of the three, who were completely rational, was suffering most: Captain
Wentworth, Anne, or Charles, who, really a very affectionate brother,
hung over Louisa with sobs of grief, and could only turn his eyes from
one sister, to see the other in a state as insensible, or to witness
the hysterical agitations of his wife, calling on him for help which he
could not give.

Anne, attending with all the strength and zeal, and thought, which
instinct supplied, to Henrietta, still tried, at intervals, to suggest
comfort to the others, tried to quiet Mary, to animate Charles, to
assuage the feelings of Captain Wentworth.  Both seemed to look to her
for directions.

"Anne, Anne," cried Charles, "What is to be done next?  What, in
heaven's name, is to be done next?"

Captain Wentworth's eyes were also turned towards her.

"Had not she better be carried to the inn?  Yes, I am sure: carry her
gently to the inn."

"Yes, yes, to the inn," repeated Captain Wentworth, comparatively
collected, and eager to be doing something.  "I will carry her myself.
Musgrove, take care of the others."

By this time the report of the accident had spread among the workmen
and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected near them, to be
useful if wanted, at any rate, to enjoy the sight of a dead young lady,
nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first
report.  To some of the best-looking of these good people Henrietta was
consigned, for, though partially revived, she was quite helpless; and
in this manner, Anne walking by her side, and Charles attending to his
wife, they set forward, treading back with feelings unutterable, the
ground, which so lately, so very lately, and so light of heart, they
had passed along.

They were not off the Cobb, before the Harvilles met them.  Captain
Benwick had been seen flying by their house, with a countenance which
showed something to be wrong; and they had set off immediately,
informed and directed as they passed, towards the spot.  Shocked as
Captain Harville was, he brought senses and nerves that could be
instantly useful; and a look between him and his wife decided what was
to be done.  She must be taken to their house; all must go to their
house; and await the surgeon's arrival there.  They would not listen to
scruples:  he was obeyed; they were all beneath his roof; and while
Louisa, under Mrs Harville's direction, was conveyed up stairs, and
given possession of her own bed, assistance, cordials, restoratives
were supplied by her husband to all who needed them.

Louisa had once opened her eyes, but soon closed them again, without
apparent consciousness.  This had been a proof of life, however, of
service to her sister; and Henrietta, though perfectly incapable of
being in the same room with Louisa, was kept, by the agitation of hope
and fear, from a return of her own insensibility.  Mary, too, was
growing calmer.

The surgeon was with them almost before it had seemed possible.  They
were sick with horror, while he examined; but he was not hopeless.  The
head had received a severe contusion, but he had seen greater injuries
recovered from:  he was by no means hopeless; he spoke cheerfully.

That he did not regard it as a desperate case, that he did not say a
few hours must end it, was at first felt, beyond the hope of most; and
the ecstasy of such a reprieve, the rejoicing, deep and silent, after a
few fervent ejaculations of gratitude to Heaven had been offered, may
be conceived.

The tone, the look, with which "Thank God!" was uttered by Captain
Wentworth, Anne was sure could never be forgotten by her; nor the sight
of him afterwards, as he sat near a table, leaning over it with folded
arms and face concealed, as if overpowered by the various feelings of
his soul, and trying by prayer and reflection to calm them.

Louisa's limbs had escaped.  There was no injury but to the head.

It now became necessary for the party to consider what was best to be
done, as to their general situation.  They were now able to speak to
each other and consult.  That Louisa must remain where she was, however
distressing to her friends to be involving the Harvilles in such
trouble, did not admit a doubt.  Her removal was impossible.  The
Harvilles silenced all scruples; and, as much as they could, all
gratitude.  They had looked forward and arranged everything before the
others began to reflect.  Captain Benwick must give up his room to
them, and get another bed elsewhere; and the whole was settled.  They
were only concerned that the house could accommodate no more; and yet
perhaps, by "putting the children away in the maid's room, or swinging
a cot somewhere," they could hardly bear to think of not finding room
for two or three besides, supposing they might wish to stay; though,
with regard to any attendance on Miss Musgrove, there need not be the
least uneasiness in leaving her to Mrs Harville's care entirely.  Mrs
Harville was a very experienced nurse, and her nursery-maid, who had
lived with her long, and gone about with her everywhere, was just such
another.  Between these two, she could want no possible attendance by
day or night.  And all this was said with a truth and sincerity of
feeling irresistible.

Charles, Henrietta, and Captain Wentworth were the three in
consultation, and for a little while it was only an interchange of
perplexity and terror.  "Uppercross, the necessity of some one's going
to Uppercross; the news to be conveyed; how it could be broken to Mr
and Mrs Musgrove; the lateness of the morning; an hour already gone
since they ought to have been off; the impossibility of being in
tolerable time." At first, they were capable of nothing more to the
purpose than such exclamations; but, after a while, Captain Wentworth,
exerting himself, said--

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

Charles agreed, but declared his resolution of not going away.  He
would be as little incumbrance as possible to Captain and Mrs Harville;
but as to leaving his sister in such a state, he neither ought, nor
would.  So far it was decided; and Henrietta at first declared the
same.  She, however, was soon persuaded to think differently.  The
usefulness of her staying!  She who had not been able to remain in
Louisa's room, or to look at her, without sufferings which made her
worse than helpless!  She was forced to acknowledge that she could do
no good, yet was still unwilling to be away, till, touched by the
thought of her father and mother, she gave it up; she consented, she
was anxious to be at home.

The plan had reached this point, when Anne, coming quietly down from
Louisa's room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour door
was open.

"Then it is settled, Musgrove," cried Captain Wentworth, "that you
stay, and that I take care of your sister home.  But as to the rest, as
to the others, if one stays to assist Mrs Harville, I think it need be
only one.  Mrs Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to
her children; but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as
Anne."

She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing herself so
spoken of.  The other two warmly agreed with what he said, and she then
appeared.

"You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her;" cried he,
turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which
seemed almost restoring the past.  She coloured deeply, and he
recollected himself and moved away.  She expressed herself most
willing, ready, happy to remain.  "It was what she had been thinking
of, and wishing to be allowed to do.  A bed on the floor in Louisa's
room would be sufficient for her, if Mrs Harville would but think so."

One thing more, and all seemed arranged.  Though it was rather
desirable that Mr and Mrs Musgrove should be previously alarmed by some
share of delay; yet the time required by the Uppercross horses to take
them back, would be a dreadful extension of suspense; and Captain
Wentworth proposed, and Charles Musgrove agreed, that it would be much
better for him to take a chaise from the inn, and leave Mr Musgrove's
carriage and horses to be sent home the next morning early, when there
would be the farther advantage of sending an account of Louisa's night.

Captain Wentworth now hurried off to get everything ready on his part,
and to be soon followed by the two ladies.  When the plan was made
known to Mary, however, there was an end of all peace in it.  She was
so wretched and so vehement, complained so much of injustice in being
expected to go away instead of Anne; Anne, who was nothing to Louisa,
while she was her sister, and had the best right to stay in Henrietta's
stead!  Why was not she to be as useful as Anne?  And to go home
without Charles, too, without her husband!  No, it was too unkind.  And
in short, she said more than her husband could long withstand, and as
none of the others could oppose when he gave way, there was no help for
it; the change of Mary for Anne was inevitable.

Anne had never submitted more reluctantly to the jealous and
ill-judging claims of Mary; but so it must be, and they set off for the
town, Charles taking care of his sister, and Captain Benwick attending
to her.  She gave a moment's recollection, as they hurried along, to
the little circumstances which the same spots had witnessed earlier in
the morning.  There she had listened to Henrietta's schemes for Dr
Shirley's leaving Uppercross; farther on, she had first seen Mr Elliot;
a moment seemed all that could now be given to any one but Louisa, or
those who were wrapt up in her welfare.

Captain Benwick was most considerately attentive to her; and, united as
they all seemed by the distress of the day, she felt an increasing
degree of good-will towards him, and a pleasure even in thinking that
it might, perhaps, be the occasion of continuing their acquaintance.

Captain Wentworth was on the watch for them, and a chaise and four in
waiting, stationed for their convenience in the lowest part of the
street; but his evident surprise and vexation at the substitution of
one sister for the other, the change in his countenance, the
astonishment, the expressions begun and suppressed, with which Charles
was listened to, made but a mortifying reception of Anne; or must at
least convince her that she was valued only as she could be useful to
Louisa.

She endeavoured to be composed, and to be just.  Without emulating the
feelings of an Emma towards her Henry, she would have attended on
Louisa with a zeal above the common claims of regard, for his sake; and
she hoped he would not long be so unjust as to suppose she would shrink
unnecessarily from the office of a friend.

In the meanwhile she was in the carriage.  He had handed them both in,
and placed himself between them; and in this manner, under these
circumstances, full of astonishment and emotion to Anne, she quitted
Lyme.  How the long stage would pass; how it was to affect their
manners; what was to be their sort of intercourse, she could not
foresee.  It was all quite natural, however.  He was devoted to
Henrietta; always turning towards her; and when he spoke at all, always
with the view of supporting her hopes and raising her spirits.  In
general, his voice and manner were studiously calm.  To spare Henrietta
from agitation seemed the governing principle.  Once only, when she had
been grieving over the last ill-judged, ill-fated walk to the Cobb,
bitterly lamenting that it ever had been thought of, he burst forth, as
if wholly overcome--

"Don't talk of it, don't talk of it," he cried.  "Oh God! that I had
not given way to her at the fatal moment!  Had I done as I ought!  But
so eager and so resolute! Dear, sweet Louisa!"

Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the
justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and
advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him
that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its
proportions and limits.  She thought it could scarcely escape him to
feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of
happiness as a very resolute character.

They got on fast.  Anne was astonished to recognise the same hills and
the same objects so soon.  Their actual speed, heightened by some dread
of the conclusion, made the road appear but half as long as on the day
before.  It was growing quite dusk, however, before they were in the
neighbourhood of Uppercross, and there had been total silence among
them for some time, Henrietta leaning back in the corner, with a shawl
over her face, giving the hope of her having cried herself to sleep;
when, as they were going up their last hill, Anne found herself all at
once addressed by Captain Wentworth.  In a low, cautious voice, he
said:--

"I have been considering what we had best do.  She must not appear at
first.  She could not stand it.  I have been thinking whether you had
not better remain in the carriage with her, while I go in and break it
to Mr and Mrs Musgrove.  Do you think this is a good plan?"

She did:  he was satisfied, and said no more.  But the remembrance of
the appeal remained a pleasure to her, as a proof of friendship, and of
deference for her judgement, a great pleasure; and when it became a
sort of parting proof, its value did not lessen.

When the distressing communication at Uppercross was over, and he had
seen the father and mother quite as composed as could be hoped, and the
daughter all the better for being with them, he announced his intention
of returning in the same carriage to Lyme; and when the horses were
baited, he was off.

(End of volume one.)



Chapter 13


The remainder of Anne's time at Uppercross, comprehending only two
days, was spent entirely at the Mansion House; and she had the
satisfaction of knowing herself extremely useful there, both as an
immediate companion, and as assisting in all those arrangements for the
future, which, in Mr and Mrs Musgrove's distressed state of spirits,
would have been difficulties.

They had an early account from Lyme the next morning.  Louisa was much
the same.  No symptoms worse than before had appeared.  Charles came a
few hours afterwards, to bring a later and more particular account.  He
was tolerably cheerful.  A speedy cure must not be hoped, but
everything was going on as well as the nature of the case admitted.  In
speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed unable to satisfy his own sense of
their kindness, especially of Mrs Harville's exertions as a nurse.
"She really left nothing for Mary to do.  He and Mary had been
persuaded to go early to their inn last night.  Mary had been
hysterical again this morning.  When he came away, she was going to
walk out with Captain Benwick, which, he hoped, would do her good.  He
almost wished she had been prevailed on to come home the day before;
but the truth was, that Mrs Harville left nothing for anybody to do."

Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon, and his father had at
first half a mind to go with him, but the ladies could not consent.  It
would be going only to multiply trouble to the others, and increase his
own distress; and a much better scheme followed and was acted upon.  A
chaise was sent for from Crewkherne, and Charles conveyed back a far
more useful person in the old nursery-maid of the family, one who
having brought up all the children, and seen the very last, the
lingering and long-petted Master Harry, sent to school after his
brothers, was now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings and
dress all the blains and bruises she could get near her, and who,
consequently, was only too happy in being allowed to go and help nurse
dear Miss Louisa.  Vague wishes of getting Sarah thither, had occurred
before to Mrs Musgrove and Henrietta; but without Anne, it would hardly
have been resolved on, and found practicable so soon.

They were indebted, the next day, to Charles Hayter, for all the minute
knowledge of Louisa, which it was so essential to obtain every
twenty-four hours.  He made it his business to go to Lyme, and his
account was still encouraging.  The intervals of sense and
consciousness were believed to be stronger.  Every report agreed in
Captain Wentworth's appearing fixed in Lyme.

Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all dreaded.
"What should they do without her?  They were wretched comforters for
one another."  And so much was said in this way, that Anne thought she
could not do better than impart among them the general inclination to
which she was privy, and persuaded them all to go to Lyme at once.  She
had little difficulty; it was soon determined that they would go; go
to-morrow, fix themselves at the inn, or get into lodgings, as it
suited, and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved.  They must be
taking off some trouble from the good people she was with; they might
at least relieve Mrs Harville from the care of her own children; and in
short, they were so happy in the decision, that Anne was delighted with
what she had done, and felt that she could not spend her last morning
at Uppercross better than in assisting their preparations, and sending
them off at an early hour, though her being left to the solitary range
of the house was the consequence.

She was the last, excepting the little boys at the cottage, she was the
very last, the only remaining one of all that had filled and animated
both houses, of all that had given Uppercross its cheerful character.
A few days had made a change indeed!

If Louisa recovered, it would all be well again.  More than former
happiness would be restored.  There could not be a doubt, to her mind
there was none, of what would follow her recovery.  A few months hence,
and the room now so deserted, occupied but by her silent, pensive self,
might be filled again with all that was happy and gay, all that was
glowing and bright in prosperous love, all that was most unlike Anne
Elliot!

An hour's complete leisure for such reflections as these, on a dark
November day, a small thick rain almost blotting out the very few
objects ever to be discerned from the windows, was enough to make the
sound of Lady Russell's carriage exceedingly welcome; and yet, though
desirous to be gone, she could not quit the Mansion House, or look an
adieu to the Cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless veranda,
or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of
the village, without a saddened heart.  Scenes had passed in Uppercross
which made it precious.  It stood the record of many sensations of
pain, once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of relenting
feeling, some breathings of friendship and reconciliation, which could
never be looked for again, and which could never cease to be dear.  She
left it all behind her, all but the recollection that such things had
been.

Anne had never entered Kellynch since her quitting Lady Russell's house
in September.  It had not been necessary, and the few occasions of its
being possible for her to go to the Hall she had contrived to evade and
escape from.  Her first return was to resume her place in the modern
and elegant apartments of the Lodge, and to gladden the eyes of its
mistress.

There was some anxiety mixed with Lady Russell's joy in meeting her.
She knew who had been frequenting Uppercross.  But happily, either Anne
was improved in plumpness and looks, or Lady Russell fancied her so;
and Anne, in receiving her compliments on the occasion, had the
amusement of connecting them with the silent admiration of her cousin,
and of hoping that she was to be blessed with a second spring of youth
and beauty.

When they came to converse, she was soon sensible of some mental
change.  The subjects of which her heart had been full on leaving
Kellynch, and which she had felt slighted, and been compelled to
smother among the Musgroves, were now become but of secondary interest.
She had lately lost sight even of her father and sister and Bath.
Their concerns had been sunk under those of Uppercross; and when Lady
Russell reverted to their former hopes and fears, and spoke her
satisfaction in the house in Camden Place, which had been taken, and
her regret that Mrs Clay should still be with them, Anne would have
been ashamed to have it known how much more she was thinking of Lyme
and Louisa Musgrove, and all her acquaintance there; how much more
interesting to her was the home and the friendship of the Harvilles and
Captain Benwick, than her own father's house in Camden Place, or her
own sister's intimacy with Mrs Clay.  She was actually forced to exert
herself to meet Lady Russell with anything like the appearance of equal
solicitude, on topics which had by nature the first claim on her.

There was a little awkwardness at first in their discourse on another
subject.  They must speak of the accident at Lyme.  Lady Russell had
not been arrived five minutes the day before, when a full account of
the whole had burst on her; but still it must be talked of, she must
make enquiries, she must regret the imprudence, lament the result, and
Captain Wentworth's name must be mentioned by both.  Anne was conscious
of not doing it so well as Lady Russell.  She could not speak the name,
and look straight forward to Lady Russell's eye, till she had adopted
the expedient of telling her briefly what she thought of the attachment
between him and Louisa.  When this was told, his name distressed her no
longer.

Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish them happy, but
internally her heart revelled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt,
that the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of
the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed
by a Louisa Musgrove.

The first three or four days passed most quietly, with no circumstance
to mark them excepting the receipt of a note or two from Lyme, which
found their way to Anne, she could not tell how, and brought a rather
improving account of Louisa.  At the end of that period, Lady Russell's
politeness could repose no longer, and the fainter self-threatenings of
the past became in a decided tone, "I must call on Mrs Croft; I really
must call upon her soon.  Anne, have you courage to go with me, and pay
a visit in that house?  It will be some trial to us both."

Anne did not shrink from it; on the contrary, she truly felt as she
said, in observing--

"I think you are very likely to suffer the most of the two; your
feelings are less reconciled to the change than mine.  By remaining in
the neighbourhood, I am become inured to it."

She could have said more on the subject; for she had in fact so high an
opinion of the Crofts, and considered her father so very fortunate in
his tenants, felt the parish to be so sure of a good example, and the
poor of the best attention and relief, that however sorry and ashamed
for the necessity of the removal, she could not but in conscience feel
that they were gone who deserved not to stay, and that Kellynch Hall
had passed into better hands than its owners'.  These convictions must
unquestionably have their own pain, and severe was its kind; but they
precluded that pain which Lady Russell would suffer in entering the
house again, and returning through the well-known apartments.

In such moments Anne had no power of saying to herself, "These rooms
ought to belong only to us.  Oh, how fallen in their destination!  How
unworthily occupied!  An ancient family to be so driven away!
Strangers filling their place!" No, except when she thought of her
mother, and remembered where she had been used to sit and preside, she
had no sigh of that description to heave.

Mrs Croft always met her with a kindness which gave her the pleasure of
fancying herself a favourite, and on the present occasion, receiving
her in that house, there was particular attention.

The sad accident at Lyme was soon the prevailing topic, and on
comparing their latest accounts of the invalid, it appeared that each
lady dated her intelligence from the same hour of yestermorn; that
Captain Wentworth had been in Kellynch yesterday (the first time since
the accident), had brought Anne the last note, which she had not been
able to trace the exact steps of; had staid a few hours and then
returned again to Lyme, and without any present intention of quitting
it any more.  He had enquired after her, she found, particularly; had
expressed his hope of Miss Elliot's not being the worse for her
exertions, and had spoken of those exertions as great.  This was
handsome, and gave her more pleasure than almost anything else could
have done.

As to the sad catastrophe itself, it could be canvassed only in one
style by a couple of steady, sensible women, whose judgements had to
work on ascertained events; and it was perfectly decided that it had
been the consequence of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence; that
its effects were most alarming, and that it was frightful to think, how
long Miss Musgrove's recovery might yet be doubtful, and how liable she
would still remain to suffer from the concussion hereafter!  The
Admiral wound it up summarily by exclaiming--

"Ay, a very bad business indeed.  A new sort of way this, for a young
fellow to be making love, by breaking his mistress's head, is not it,
Miss Elliot?  This is breaking a head and giving a plaster, truly!"

Admiral Croft's manners were not quite of the tone to suit Lady
Russell, but they delighted Anne.  His goodness of heart and simplicity
of character were irresistible.

"Now, this must be very bad for you," said he, suddenly rousing from a
little reverie, "to be coming and finding us here.  I had not
recollected it before, I declare, but it must be very bad.  But now, do
not stand upon ceremony.  Get up and go over all the rooms in the house
if you like it."

"Another time, Sir, I thank you, not now."

"Well, whenever it suits you.  You can slip in from the shrubbery at
any time; and there you will find we keep our umbrellas hanging up by
that door.  A good place is not it?  But," (checking himself), "you
will not think it a good place, for yours were always kept in the
butler's room.  Ay, so it always is, I believe.  One man's ways may be
as good as another's, but we all like our own best.  And so you must
judge for yourself, whether it would be better for you to go about the
house or not."

Anne, finding she might decline it, did so, very gratefully.

"We have made very few changes either," continued the Admiral, after
thinking a moment.  "Very few.  We told you about the laundry-door, at
Uppercross.  That has been a very great improvement.  The wonder was,
how any family upon earth could bear with the inconvenience of its
opening as it did, so long!  You will tell Sir Walter what we have
done, and that Mr Shepherd thinks it the greatest improvement the house
ever had.  Indeed, I must do ourselves the justice to say, that the few
alterations we have made have been all very much for the better.  My
wife should have the credit of them, however.  I have done very little
besides sending away some of the large looking-glasses from my
dressing-room, which was your father's.  A very good man, and very much
the gentleman I am sure: but I should think, Miss Elliot," (looking
with serious reflection), "I should think he must be rather a dressy
man for his time of life.  Such a number of looking-glasses! oh Lord!
there was no getting away from one's self.  So I got Sophy to lend me a
hand, and we soon shifted their quarters; and now I am quite snug, with
my little shaving glass in one corner, and another great thing that I
never go near."

Anne, amused in spite of herself, was rather distressed for an answer,
and the Admiral, fearing he might not have been civil enough, took up
the subject again, to say--

"The next time you write to your good father, Miss Elliot, pray give
him my compliments and Mrs Croft's, and say that we are settled here
quite to our liking, and have no fault at all to find with the place.
The breakfast-room chimney smokes a little, I grant you, but it is only
when the wind is due north and blows hard, which may not happen three
times a winter.  And take it altogether, now that we have been into
most of the houses hereabouts and can judge, there is not one that we
like better than this.  Pray say so, with my compliments.  He will be
glad to hear it."

Lady Russell and Mrs Croft were very well pleased with each other: but
the acquaintance which this visit began was fated not to proceed far at
present; for when it was returned, the Crofts announced themselves to
be going away for a few weeks, to visit their connexions in the north
of the county, and probably might not be at home again before Lady
Russell would be removing to Bath.

So ended all danger to Anne of meeting Captain Wentworth at Kellynch
Hall, or of seeing him in company with her friend.  Everything was safe
enough, and she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on
the subject.



Chapter 14


Though Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme much longer after Mr and
Mrs Musgrove's going than Anne conceived they could have been at all
wanted, they were yet the first of the family to be at home again; and
as soon as possible after their return to Uppercross they drove over to
the Lodge.  They had left Louisa beginning to sit up; but her head,
though clear, was exceedingly weak, and her nerves susceptible to the
highest extreme of tenderness; and though she might be pronounced to be
altogether doing very well, it was still impossible to say when she
might be able to bear the removal home; and her father and mother, who
must return in time to receive their younger children for the Christmas
holidays, had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring her with them.

They had been all in lodgings together.  Mrs Musgrove had got Mrs
Harville's children away as much as she could, every possible supply
from Uppercross had been furnished, to lighten the inconvenience to the
Harvilles, while the Harvilles had been wanting them to come to dinner
every day; and in short, it seemed to have been only a struggle on each
side as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable.

Mary had had her evils; but upon the whole, as was evident by her
staying so long, she had found more to enjoy than to suffer.  Charles
Hayter had been at Lyme oftener than suited her; and when they dined
with the Harvilles there had been only a maid-servant to wait, and at
first Mrs Harville had always given Mrs Musgrove precedence; but then,
she had received so very handsome an apology from her on finding out
whose daughter she was, and there had been so much going on every day,
there had been so many walks between their lodgings and the Harvilles,
and she had got books from the library, and changed them so often, that
the balance had certainly been much in favour of Lyme.  She had been
taken to Charmouth too, and she had bathed, and she had gone to church,
and there were a great many more people to look at in the church at
Lyme than at Uppercross; and all this, joined to the sense of being so
very useful, had made really an agreeable fortnight.

Anne enquired after Captain Benwick. Mary's face was clouded directly.
Charles laughed.

"Oh! Captain Benwick is very well, I believe, but he is a very odd
young man.  I do not know what he would be at.  We asked him to come
home with us for a day or two:  Charles undertook to give him some
shooting, and he seemed quite delighted, and, for my part, I thought it
was all settled; when behold! on Tuesday night, he made a very awkward
sort of excuse; 'he never shot' and he had 'been quite misunderstood,'
and he had promised this and he had promised that, and the end of it
was, I found, that he did not mean to come.  I suppose he was afraid of
finding it dull; but upon my word I should have thought we were lively
enough at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as Captain Benwick."

Charles laughed again and said, "Now Mary, you know very well how it
really was.  It was all your doing," (turning to Anne.) "He fancied
that if he went with us, he should find you close by: he fancied
everybody to be living in Uppercross; and when he discovered that Lady
Russell lived three miles off, his heart failed him, and he had not
courage to come.  That is the fact, upon my honour. Mary knows it is."

But Mary did not give into it very graciously, whether from not
considering Captain Benwick entitled by birth and situation to be in
love with an Elliot, or from not wanting to believe Anne a greater
attraction to Uppercross than herself, must be left to be guessed.
Anne's good-will, however, was not to be lessened by what she heard.
She boldly acknowledged herself flattered, and continued her enquiries.

"Oh! he talks of you," cried Charles, "in such terms--" Mary
interrupted him. "I declare, Charles, I never heard him mention Anne
twice all the time I was there.  I declare, Anne, he never talks of you
at all."

"No," admitted Charles, "I do not know that he ever does, in a general
way; but however, it is a very clear thing that he admires you
exceedingly.  His head is full of some books that he is reading upon
your recommendation, and he wants to talk to you about them; he has
found out something or other in one of them which he thinks--oh! I
cannot pretend to remember it, but it was something very fine--I
overheard him telling Henrietta all about it; and then 'Miss Elliot'
was spoken of in the highest terms!  Now Mary, I declare it was so, I
heard it myself, and you were in the other room.  'Elegance, sweetness,
beauty.' Oh! there was no end of Miss Elliot's charms."

"And I am sure," cried Mary, warmly, "it was a very little to his
credit, if he did.  Miss Harville only died last June.  Such a heart is
very little worth having; is it, Lady Russell?  I am sure you will
agree with me."

"I must see Captain Benwick before I decide," said Lady Russell,
smiling.

"And that you are very likely to do very soon, I can tell you, ma'am,"
said Charles.  "Though he had not nerves for coming away with us, and
setting off again afterwards to pay a formal visit here, he will make
his way over to Kellynch one day by himself, you may depend on it.  I
told him the distance and the road, and I told him of the church's
being so very well worth seeing; for as he has a taste for those sort
of things, I thought that would be a good excuse, and he listened with
all his understanding and soul; and I am sure from his manner that you
will have him calling here soon.  So, I give you notice, Lady Russell."

"Any acquaintance of Anne's will always be welcome to me," was Lady
Russell's kind answer.

"Oh! as to being Anne's acquaintance," said Mary, "I think he is rather
my acquaintance, for I have been seeing him every day this last
fortnight."

"Well, as your joint acquaintance, then, I shall be very happy to see
Captain Benwick."

"You will not find anything very agreeable in him, I assure you, ma'am.
He is one of the dullest young men that ever lived.  He has walked with
me, sometimes, from one end of the sands to the other, without saying a
word.  He is not at all a well-bred young man.  I am sure you will not
like him."

"There we differ, Mary," said Anne.  "I think Lady Russell would like
him.  I think she would be so much pleased with his mind, that she
would very soon see no deficiency in his manner."

"So do I, Anne," said Charles.  "I am sure Lady Russell would like him.
He is just Lady Russell's sort.  Give him a book, and he will read all
day long."

"Yes, that he will!" exclaimed Mary, tauntingly.  "He will sit poring
over his book, and not know when a person speaks to him, or when one
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."

This decision checked Mary's eagerness, and stopped her short in the
midst of the Elliot countenance.

With regard to Captain Wentworth, though Anne hazarded no enquiries,
there was voluntary communication sufficient.  His spirits had been
greatly recovering lately as might be expected.  As Louisa improved, he
had improved, and he was now quite a different creature from what he
had been the first week.  He had not seen Louisa; and was so extremely
fearful of any ill consequence to her from an interview, that he did
not press for it at all; and, on the contrary, seemed to have a plan of
going away for a week or ten days, till her head was stronger.  He had
talked of going down to Plymouth for a week, and wanted to persuade
Captain Benwick to go with him; but, as Charles maintained to the last,
Captain Benwick seemed much more disposed to ride over to Kellynch.

There can be no doubt that Lady Russell and Anne were both occasionally
thinking of Captain Benwick, from this time.  Lady Russell could not
hear the door-bell without feeling that it might be his herald; nor
could Anne return from any stroll of solitary indulgence in her
father's grounds, or any visit of charity in the village, without
wondering whether she might see him or hear of him.  Captain Benwick
came not, however.  He was either less disposed for it than Charles had
imagined, or he was too shy; and after giving him a week's indulgence,
Lady Russell determined him to be unworthy of the interest which he had
been beginning to excite.

The Musgroves came back to receive their happy boys and girls from
school, bringing with them Mrs Harville's little children, to improve
the noise of Uppercross, and lessen that of Lyme.  Henrietta remained
with Louisa; but all the rest of the family were again in their usual
quarters.

Lady Russell and Anne paid their compliments to them once, when Anne
could not but feel that Uppercross was already quite alive again.
Though neither Henrietta, nor Louisa, nor Charles Hayter, nor Captain
Wentworth were there, the room presented as strong a contrast as could
be wished to the last state she had seen it in.

Immediately surrounding Mrs Musgrove were the little Harvilles, whom
she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from
the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them.  On one side was a table
occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and
on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn
and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole
completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to be
heard, in spite of all the noise of the others.  Charles and Mary also
came in, of course, during their visit, and Mr Musgrove made a point of
paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten
minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the
children on his knees, generally in vain.  It was a fine family-piece.

Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have deemed such a
domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves, which Louisa's
illness must have so greatly shaken.  But Mrs Musgrove, who got Anne
near her on purpose to thank her most cordially, again and again, for
all her attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what
she had suffered herself by observing, with a happy glance round the
room, that after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do
her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home.

Louisa was now recovering apace.  Her mother could even think of her
being able to join their party at home, before her brothers and sisters
went to school again.  The Harvilles had promised to come with her and
stay at Uppercross, whenever she returned.  Captain Wentworth was gone,
for the present, to see his brother in Shropshire.

"I hope I shall remember, in future," said Lady Russell, as soon as
they were reseated in the carriage, "not to call at Uppercross in the
Christmas holidays."

Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters; and
sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather
than their quantity.  When Lady Russell not long afterwards, was
entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course
of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of
other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of
newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of
pattens, she made no complaint.  No, these were noises which belonged
to the winter pleasures; her spirits rose under their influence; and
like Mrs Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being
long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet
cheerfulness.

Anne did not share these feelings.  She persisted in a very determined,
though very silent disinclination for Bath; caught the first dim view
of the extensive buildings, smoking in rain, without any wish of seeing
them better; felt their progress through the streets to be, however
disagreeable, yet too rapid; for who would be glad to see her when she
arrived?  And looked back, with fond regret, to the bustles of
Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch.

Elizabeth's last letter had communicated a piece of news of some
interest.  Mr Elliot was in Bath.  He had called in Camden Place; had
called a second time, a third; had been pointedly attentive.  If
Elizabeth and her father did not deceive themselves, had been taking
much pains to seek the acquaintance, and proclaim the value of the
connection, as he had formerly taken pains to shew neglect.  This was
very wonderful if it were true; and Lady Russell was in a state of very
agreeable curiosity and perplexity about Mr Elliot, already recanting
the sentiment she had so lately expressed to Mary, of his being "a man
whom she had no wish to see."  She had a great wish to see him.  If he
really sought to reconcile himself like a dutiful branch, he must be
forgiven for having dismembered himself from the paternal tree.

Anne was not animated to an equal pitch by the circumstance, but she
felt that she would rather see Mr Elliot again than not, which was more
than she could say for many other persons in Bath.

She was put down in Camden Place; and Lady Russell then drove to her
own lodgings, in Rivers Street.



Chapter 15


Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty
dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he
and Elizabeth were settled there, much to their satisfaction.

Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of
many months, and anxiously saying to herself, "Oh! when shall I leave
you again?"  A degree of unexpected cordiality, however, in the welcome
she received, did her good.  Her father and sister were glad to see
her, for the sake of shewing her the house and furniture, and met her
with kindness.  Her making a fourth, when they sat down to dinner, was
noticed as an advantage.

Mrs Clay was very pleasant, and very smiling, but her courtesies and
smiles were more a matter of course.  Anne had always felt that she
would pretend what was proper on her arrival, but the complaisance of
the others was unlooked for.  They were evidently in excellent spirits,
and she was soon to listen to the causes.  They had no inclination to
listen to her.  After laying out for some compliments of being deeply
regretted in their old neighbourhood, which Anne could not pay, they
had only a few faint enquiries to make, before the talk must be all
their own.  Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it
was all Bath.

They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered
their expectations in every respect.  Their house was undoubtedly the
best in Camden Place; their drawing-rooms had many decided advantages
over all the others which they had either seen or heard of, and the
superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up, or the taste
of the furniture.  Their acquaintance was exceedingly sought after.
Everybody was wanting to visit them.  They had drawn back from many
introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by people
of whom they knew nothing.

Here were funds of enjoyment.  Could Anne wonder that her father and
sister were happy?  She might not wonder, but she must sigh that her
father should feel no degradation in his change, should see nothing to
regret in the duties and dignity of the resident landholder, should
find so much to be vain of in the littlenesses of a town; and she must
sigh, and smile, and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw open the
folding-doors and walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the
other, boasting of their space; at the possibility of that woman, who
had been mistress of Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of
between two walls, perhaps thirty feet asunder.

But this was not all which they had to make them happy.  They had Mr
Elliot too.  Anne had a great deal to hear of Mr Elliot.  He was not
only pardoned, they were delighted with him.  He had been in Bath about
a fortnight; (he had passed through Bath in November, in his way to
London, when the intelligence of Sir Walter's being settled there had
of course reached him, though only twenty-four hours in the place, but
he had not been able to avail himself of it;) but he had now been a
fortnight in Bath, and his first object on arriving, had been to leave
his card in Camden Place, following it up by such assiduous endeavours
to meet, and when they did meet, by such great openness of conduct,
such readiness to apologize for the past, such solicitude to be
received as a relation again, that their former good understanding was
completely re-established.

They had not a fault to find in him.  He had explained away all the
appearance of neglect on his own side.  It had originated in
misapprehension entirely.  He had never had an idea of throwing himself
off; he had feared that he was thrown off, but knew not why, and
delicacy had kept him silent.  Upon the hint of having spoken
disrespectfully or carelessly of the family and the family honours, he
was quite indignant.  He, who had ever boasted of being an Elliot, and
whose feelings, as to connection, were only too strict to suit the
unfeudal tone of the present day.  He was astonished, indeed, but his
character and general conduct must refute it.  He could refer Sir
Walter to all who knew him; and certainly, the pains he had been taking
on this, the first opportunity of reconciliation, to be restored to the
footing of a relation and heir-presumptive, was a strong proof of his
opinions on the subject.

The circumstances of his marriage, too, were found to admit of much
extenuation.  This was an article not to be entered on by himself; but
a very intimate friend of his, a Colonel Wallis, a highly respectable
man, perfectly the gentleman, (and not an ill-looking man, Sir Walter
added), who was living in very good style in Marlborough Buildings, and
had, at his own particular request, been admitted to their acquaintance
through Mr Elliot, had mentioned one or two things relative to the
marriage, which made a material difference in the discredit of it.

Colonel Wallis had known Mr Elliot long, had been well acquainted also
with his wife, had perfectly understood the whole story.  She was
certainly not a woman of family, but well educated, accomplished, rich,
and excessively in love with his friend.  There had been the charm.
She had sought him.  Without that attraction, not all her money would
have tempted Elliot, and Sir Walter was, moreover, assured of her
having been a very fine woman.  Here was a great deal to soften the
business.  A very fine woman with a large fortune, in love with him!
Sir Walter seemed to admit it as complete apology; and though Elizabeth
could not see the circumstance in quite so favourable a light, she
allowed it be a great extenuation.

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

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

Anne mentioned the glimpses she had had of him at Lyme, but without
being much attended to.  "Oh! yes, perhaps, it had been Mr Elliot.
They did not know.  It might be him, perhaps."  They could not listen
to her description of him.  They were describing him themselves; Sir
Walter especially.  He did justice to his very gentlemanlike
appearance, his air of elegance and fashion, his good shaped face, his
sensible eye; but, at the same time, "must lament his being very much
under-hung, a defect which time seemed to have increased; nor could he
pretend to say that ten years had not altered almost every feature for
the worse.  Mr Elliot appeared to think that he (Sir Walter) was
looking exactly as he had done when they last parted;" but Sir Walter
had "not been able to return the compliment entirely, which had
embarrassed him.  He did not mean to complain, however.  Mr Elliot was
better to look at than most men, and he had no objection to being seen
with him anywhere."

Mr Elliot, and his friends in Marlborough Buildings, were talked of the
whole evening.  "Colonel Wallis had been so impatient to be introduced
to them! and Mr Elliot so anxious that he should!" and there was a Mrs
Wallis, at present known only to them by description, as she was in
daily expectation of her confinement; but Mr Elliot spoke of her as "a
most charming woman, quite worthy of being known in Camden Place," and
as soon as she recovered they were to be acquainted.  Sir Walter
thought much of Mrs Wallis; she was said to be an excessively pretty
woman, beautiful.  "He longed to see her.  He hoped she might make some
amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the
streets.  The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women.  He did
not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the
plain was out of all proportion.  He had frequently observed, as he
walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or
five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond
Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another,
without there being a tolerable face among them.  It had been a frosty
morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a
thousand could stand the test of.  But still, there certainly were a
dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men!  they
were infinitely worse.  Such scarecrows as the streets were full of!
It was evident how little the women were used to the sight of anything
tolerable, by the effect which a man of decent appearance produced.  He
had never walked anywhere arm-in-arm with Colonel Wallis (who was a
fine military figure, though sandy-haired) without observing that every
woman's eye was upon him; every woman's eye was sure to be upon Colonel
Wallis."  Modest Sir Walter!  He was not allowed to escape, however.
His daughter and Mrs Clay united in hinting that Colonel Wallis's
companion might have as good a figure as Colonel Wallis, and certainly
was not sandy-haired.

"How is Mary looking?" said Sir Walter, in the height of his good
humour.  "The last time I saw her she had a red nose, but I hope that
may not happen every day."

"Oh! no, that must have been quite accidental.  In general she has been
in very good health and very good looks since Michaelmas."

"If I thought it would not tempt her to go out in sharp winds, and grow
coarse, I would send her a new hat and pelisse."

Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a gown,
or a cap, would not be liable to any such misuse, when a knock at the
door suspended everything.  "A knock at the door! and so late!  It was
ten o'clock.  Could it be Mr Elliot?  They knew he was to dine in
Lansdown Crescent.  It was possible that he might stop in his way home
to ask them how they did.  They could think of no one else.  Mrs Clay
decidedly thought it Mr Elliot's knock."  Mrs Clay was right.  With all
the state which a butler and foot-boy could give, Mr Elliot was ushered
into the room.

It was the same, the very same man, with no difference but of dress.
Anne drew a little back, while the others received his compliments, and
her sister his apologies for calling at so unusual an hour, but "he
could not be so near without wishing to know that neither she nor her
friend had taken cold the day before," &c. &c; which was all as
politely done, and as politely taken, as possible, but her part must
follow then.  Sir Walter talked of his youngest daughter; "Mr Elliot
must give him leave to present him to his youngest daughter" (there was
no occasion for remembering Mary); and Anne, smiling and blushing, very
becomingly shewed to Mr Elliot the pretty features which he had by no
means forgotten, and instantly saw, with amusement at his little start
of surprise, that he had not been at all aware of who she was.  He
looked completely astonished, but not more astonished than pleased; his
eyes brightened! and with the most perfect alacrity he welcomed the
relationship, alluded to the past, and entreated to be received as an
acquaintance already.  He was quite as good-looking as he had appeared
at Lyme, his countenance improved by speaking, and his manners were so
exactly what they ought to be, so polished, so easy, so particularly
agreeable, that she could compare them in excellence to only one
person's manners.  They were not the same, but they were, perhaps,
equally good.

He sat down with them, and improved their conversation very much.
There could be no doubt of his being a sensible man.  Ten minutes were
enough to certify that.  His tone, his expressions, his choice of
subject, his knowing where to stop; it was all the operation of a
sensible, discerning mind.  As soon as he could, he began to talk to
her of Lyme, wanting to compare opinions respecting the place, but
especially wanting to speak of the circumstance of their happening to
be guests in the same inn at the same time; to give his own route,
understand something of hers, and regret that he should have lost such
an opportunity of paying his respects to her.  She gave him a short
account of her party and business at Lyme.  His regret increased as he
listened.  He had spent his whole solitary evening in the room
adjoining theirs; had heard voices, mirth continually; thought they
must be a most delightful set of people, longed to be with them, but
certainly without the smallest suspicion of his possessing the shadow
of a right to introduce himself.  If he had but asked who the party
were!  The name of Musgrove would have told him enough.  "Well, it
would serve to cure him of an absurd practice of never asking a
question at an inn, which he had adopted, when quite a young man, on
the principal of its being very ungenteel to be curious.

"The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty," said he, "as to
what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing, are more
absurd, I believe, than those of any other set of beings in the world.
The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the
folly of what they have in view."

But he must not be addressing his reflections to Anne alone: he knew
it; he was soon diffused again among the others, and it was only at
intervals that he could return to Lyme.

His enquiries, however, produced at length an account of the scene she
had been engaged in there, soon after his leaving the place.  Having
alluded to "an accident,"  he must hear the whole.  When he questioned,
Sir Walter and Elizabeth began to question also, but the difference in
their manner of doing it could not be unfelt.  She could only compare
Mr Elliot to Lady Russell, in the wish of really comprehending what had
passed, and in the degree of concern for what she must have suffered in
witnessing it.

He staid an hour with them.  The elegant little clock on the mantel-piece
had struck "eleven with its silver sounds," and the watchman was
beginning to be heard at a distance telling the same tale, before Mr
Elliot or any of them seemed to feel that he had been there long.

Anne could not have supposed it possible that her first evening in
Camden Place could have passed so well!



Chapter 16


There was one point which Anne, on returning to her family, would have
been more thankful to ascertain even than Mr Elliot's being in love
with Elizabeth, which was, her father's not being in love with Mrs
Clay; and she was very far from easy about it, when she had been at
home a few hours.  On going down to breakfast the next morning, she
found there had just been a decent pretence on the lady's side of
meaning to leave them.  She could imagine Mrs Clay to have said, that
"now Miss Anne was come, she could not suppose herself at all wanted;"
for Elizabeth was replying in a sort of whisper, "That must not be any
reason, indeed.  I assure you I feel it none.  She is nothing to me,
compared with you;"  and she was in full time to hear her father say,
"My dear madam, this must not be.  As yet, you have seen nothing of
Bath.  You have been here only to be useful.  You must not run away
from us now.  You must stay to be acquainted with Mrs Wallis, the
beautiful Mrs Wallis.  To your fine mind, I well know the sight of
beauty is a real gratification."

He spoke and looked so much in earnest, that Anne was not surprised to
see Mrs Clay stealing a glance at Elizabeth and herself.  Her
countenance, perhaps, might express some watchfulness; but the praise
of the fine mind did not appear to excite a thought in her sister.  The
lady could not but yield to such joint entreaties, and promise to stay.

In the course of the same morning, Anne and her father chancing to be
alone together, he began to compliment her on her improved looks; he
thought her "less thin in her person, in her cheeks; her skin, her
complexion, greatly improved; clearer, fresher.  Had she been using any
thing in particular?"  "No, nothing."  "Merely Gowland," he supposed.
"No, nothing at all."  "Ha! he was surprised at that;" and added,
"certainly you cannot do better than to continue as you are; you cannot
be better than well; or I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of
Gowland, during the spring months.  Mrs Clay has been using it at my
recommendation, and you see what it has done for her.  You see how it
has carried away her freckles."

If Elizabeth could but have heard this!  Such personal praise might
have struck her, especially as it did not appear to Anne that the
freckles were at all lessened.  But everything must take its chance.
The evil of a marriage would be much diminished, if Elizabeth were also
to marry.  As for herself, she might always command a home with Lady
Russell.

Lady Russell's composed mind and polite manners were put to some trial
on this point, in her intercourse in Camden Place.  The sight of Mrs
Clay in such favour, and of Anne so overlooked, was a perpetual
provocation to her there; and vexed her as much when she was away, as a
person in Bath who drinks the water, gets all the new publications, and
has a very large acquaintance, has time to be vexed.

As Mr Elliot became known to her, she grew more charitable, or more
indifferent, towards the others.  His manners were an immediate
recommendation; and on conversing with him she found the solid so fully
supporting the superficial, that she was at first, as she told Anne,
almost ready to exclaim, "Can this be Mr Elliot?" and could not
seriously picture to herself a more agreeable or estimable man.
Everything united in him; good understanding, correct opinions,
knowledge of the world, and a warm heart.  He had strong feelings of
family attachment and family honour, without pride or weakness; he
lived with the liberality of a man of fortune, without display; he
judged for himself in everything essential, without defying public
opinion in any point of worldly decorum.  He was steady, observant,
moderate, candid; never run away with by spirits or by selfishness,
which fancied itself strong feeling; and yet, with a sensibility to
what was amiable and lovely, and a value for all the felicities of
domestic life, which characters of fancied enthusiasm and violent
agitation seldom really possess.  She was sure that he had not been
happy in marriage.  Colonel Wallis said it, and Lady Russell saw it;
but it had been no unhappiness to sour his mind, nor (she began pretty
soon to suspect) to prevent his thinking of a second choice.  Her
satisfaction in Mr Elliot outweighed all the plague of Mrs Clay.

It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and her
excellent friend could sometimes think differently; and it did not
surprise her, therefore, that Lady Russell should see nothing
suspicious or inconsistent, nothing to require more motives than
appeared, in Mr Elliot's great desire of a reconciliation.  In Lady
Russell's view, it was perfectly natural that Mr Elliot, at a mature
time of life, should feel it a most desirable object, and what would
very generally recommend him among all sensible people, to be on good
terms with the head of his family; the simplest process in the world of
time upon a head naturally clear, and only erring in the heyday of
youth.  Anne presumed, however, still to smile about it, and at last to
mention "Elizabeth."  Lady Russell listened, and looked, and made only
this cautious reply:--"Elizabeth! very well; time will explain."

It was a reference to the future, which Anne, after a little
observation, felt she must submit to.  She could determine nothing at
present.  In that house Elizabeth must be first; and she was in the
habit of such general observance as "Miss Elliot," that any
particularity of attention seemed almost impossible.  Mr Elliot, too,
it must be remembered, had not been a widower seven months.  A little
delay on his side might be very excusable.  In fact, Anne could never
see the crape round his hat, without fearing that she was the
inexcusable one, in attributing to him such imaginations; for though
his marriage had not been very happy, still it had existed so many
years that she could not comprehend a very rapid recovery from the
awful impression of its being dissolved.

However it might end, he was without any question their pleasantest
acquaintance in Bath:  she saw nobody equal to him; and it was a great
indulgence now and then to talk to him about Lyme, which he seemed to
have as lively a wish to see again, and to see more of, as herself.
They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great many
times.  He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with some
earnestness.  She knew it well; and she remembered another person's
look also.

They did not always think alike.  His value for rank and connexion she
perceived was greater than hers.  It was not merely complaisance, it
must be a liking to the cause, which made him enter warmly into her
father and sister's solicitudes on a subject which she thought unworthy
to excite them.  The Bath paper one morning announced the arrival of
the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, and her daughter, the Honourable
Miss Carteret; and all the comfort of No. --, Camden Place, was swept
away for many days; for the Dalrymples (in Anne's opinion, most
unfortunately) were cousins of the Elliots; and the agony was how to
introduce themselves properly.

Anne had never seen her father and sister before in contact with
nobility, and she must acknowledge herself disappointed.  She had hoped
better things from their high ideas of their own situation in life, and
was reduced to form a wish which she had never foreseen; a wish that
they had more pride; for "our cousins Lady Dalrymple and Miss
Carteret;" "our cousins, the Dalrymples," sounded in her ears all day
long.

Sir Walter had once been in company with the late viscount, but had
never seen any of the rest of the family; and the difficulties of the
case arose from there having been a suspension of all intercourse by
letters of ceremony, ever since the death of that said late viscount,
when, in consequence of a dangerous illness of Sir Walter's at the same
time, there had been an unlucky omission at Kellynch.  No letter of
condolence had been sent to Ireland.  The neglect had been visited on
the head of the sinner; for when poor Lady Elliot died herself, no
letter of condolence was received at Kellynch, and, consequently, there
was but too much reason to apprehend that the Dalrymples considered the
relationship as closed.  How to have this anxious business set to
rights, and be admitted as cousins again, was the question:  and it was
a question which, in a more rational manner, neither Lady Russell nor
Mr Elliot thought unimportant.  "Family connexions were always worth
preserving, good company always worth seeking; Lady Dalrymple had taken
a house, for three months, in Laura Place, and would be living in
style.  She had been at Bath the year before, and Lady Russell had
heard her spoken of as a charming woman.  It was very desirable that
the connexion should be renewed, if it could be done, without any
compromise of propriety on the side of the Elliots."

Sir Walter, however, would choose his own means, and at last wrote a
very fine letter of ample explanation, regret, and entreaty, to his
right honourable cousin.  Neither Lady Russell nor Mr Elliot could
admire the letter; but it did all that was wanted, in bringing three
lines of scrawl from the Dowager Viscountess.  "She was very much
honoured, and should be happy in their acquaintance." The toils of the
business were over, the sweets began.  They visited in Laura Place,
they had the cards of Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, and the Honourable
Miss Carteret, to be arranged wherever they might be most visible:  and
"Our cousins in Laura Place,"--"Our cousin, Lady Dalrymple and Miss
Carteret," were talked of to everybody.

Anne was ashamed.  Had Lady Dalrymple and her daughter even been very
agreeable, she would still have been ashamed of the agitation they
created, but they were nothing.  There was no superiority of manner,
accomplishment, or understanding.  Lady Dalrymple had acquired the name
of "a charming woman," because she had a smile and a civil answer for
everybody.  Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain and so
awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but
for her birth.

Lady Russell confessed she had expected something better; but yet "it
was an acquaintance worth having;" and when Anne ventured to speak her
opinion of them to Mr Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing in
themselves, but still maintained that, as a family connexion, as good
company, as those who would collect good company around them, they had
their value.  Anne smiled and said,

"My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever,
well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is
what I call good company."

"You are mistaken," said he gently, "that is not good company; that is
the best.  Good company requires only birth, education, and manners,
and with regard to education is not very nice.  Birth and good manners
are essential; but a little learning is by no means a dangerous thing
in good company; on the contrary, it will do very well.  My cousin Anne
shakes her head.  She is not satisfied.  She is fastidious.  My dear
cousin" (sitting down by her), "you have a better right to be
fastidious than almost any other woman I know; but will it answer?
Will it make you happy?  Will it not be wiser to accept the society of
those good ladies in Laura Place, and enjoy all the advantages of the
connexion as far as possible?  You may depend upon it, that they will
move in the first set in Bath this winter, and as rank is rank, your
being known to be related to them will have its use in fixing your
family (our family let me say) in that degree of consideration which we
must all wish for."

"Yes," sighed Anne, "we shall, indeed, be known to be related to them!"
then recollecting herself, and not wishing to be answered, she added,
"I certainly do think there has been by far too much trouble taken to
procure the acquaintance.  I suppose" (smiling) "I have more pride than
any of you; but I confess it does vex me, that we should be so
solicitous to have the relationship acknowledged, which we may be very
sure is a matter of perfect indifference to them."

"Pardon me, dear cousin, you are unjust in your own claims.  In London,
perhaps, in your present quiet style of living, it might be as you say:
but in Bath; Sir Walter Elliot and his family will always be worth
knowing:  always acceptable as acquaintance."

"Well," said Anne, "I certainly am proud, too proud to enjoy a welcome
which depends so entirely upon place."

"I love your indignation," said he; "it is very natural.  But here you
are in Bath, and the object is to be established here with all the
credit and dignity which ought to belong to Sir Walter Elliot.  You
talk of being proud; I am called proud, I know, and I shall not wish to
believe myself otherwise; for our pride, if investigated, would have
the same object, I have no doubt, though the kind may seem a little
different.  In one point, I am sure, my dear cousin," (he continued,
speaking lower, though there was no one else in the room) "in one
point, I am sure, we must feel alike.  We must feel that every addition
to your father's society, among his equals or superiors, may be of use
in diverting his thoughts from those who are beneath him."

He looked, as he spoke, to the seat which Mrs Clay had been lately
occupying:  a sufficient explanation of what he particularly meant; and
though Anne could not believe in their having the same sort of pride,
she was pleased with him for not liking Mrs Clay; and her conscience
admitted that his wishing to promote her father's getting great
acquaintance was more than excusable in the view of defeating her.



Chapter 17


While Sir Walter and Elizabeth were assiduously pushing their good
fortune in Laura Place, Anne was renewing an acquaintance of a very
different description.

She had called on her former governess, and had heard from her of there
being an old school-fellow in Bath, who had the two strong claims on
her attention of past kindness and present suffering.  Miss Hamilton,
now Mrs Smith, had shewn her kindness in one of those periods of her
life when it had been most valuable.  Anne had gone unhappy to school,
grieving for the loss of a mother whom she had dearly loved, feeling
her separation from home, and suffering as a girl of fourteen, of
strong sensibility and not high spirits, must suffer at such a time;
and Miss Hamilton, three years older than herself, but still from the
want of near relations and a settled home, remaining another year at
school, had been useful and good to her in a way which had considerably
lessened her misery, and could never be remembered with indifference.

Miss Hamilton had left school, had married not long afterwards, was
said to have married a man of fortune, and this was all that Anne had
known of her, till now that their governess's account brought her
situation forward in a more decided but very different form.

She was a widow and poor.  Her husband had been extravagant; and at his
death, about two years before, had left his affairs dreadfully
involved.  She had had difficulties of every sort to contend with, and
in addition to these distresses had been afflicted with a severe
rheumatic fever, which, finally settling in her legs, had made her for
the present a cripple.  She had come to Bath on that account, and was
now in lodgings near the hot baths, living in a very humble way, unable
even to afford herself the comfort of a servant, and of course almost
excluded from society.

Their mutual friend answered for the satisfaction which a visit from
Miss Elliot would give Mrs Smith, and Anne therefore lost no time in
going.  She mentioned nothing of what she had heard, or what she
intended, at home.  It would excite no proper interest there.  She only
consulted Lady Russell, who entered thoroughly into her sentiments, and
was most happy to convey her as near to Mrs Smith's lodgings in
Westgate Buildings, as Anne chose to be taken.

The visit was paid, their acquaintance re-established, their interest
in each other more than re-kindled.  The first ten minutes had its
awkwardness and its emotion.  Twelve years were gone since they had
parted, and each presented a somewhat different person from what the
other had imagined.  Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming,
silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of
seven-and-twenty, with every beauty except bloom, and with manners as
consciously right as they were invariably gentle; and twelve years had
transformed the fine-looking, well-grown Miss Hamilton, in all the glow
of health and confidence of superiority, into a poor, infirm, helpless
widow, receiving the visit of her former protegee as a favour; but all
that was uncomfortable in the meeting had soon passed away, and left
only the interesting charm of remembering former partialities and
talking over old times.

Anne found in Mrs Smith the good sense and agreeable manners which she
had almost ventured to depend on, and a disposition to converse and be
cheerful beyond her expectation.  Neither the dissipations of the
past--and she had lived very much in the world--nor the restrictions of
the present, neither sickness nor sorrow seemed to have closed her
heart or ruined her spirits.

In the course of a second visit she talked with great openness, and
Anne's astonishment increased.  She could scarcely imagine a more
cheerless situation in itself than Mrs Smith's.  She had been very fond
of her husband:  she had buried him.  She had been used to affluence:
it was gone.  She had no child to connect her with life and happiness
again, no relations to assist in the arrangement of perplexed affairs,
no health to make all the rest supportable.  Her accommodations were
limited to a noisy parlour, and a dark bedroom behind, with no
possibility of moving from one to the other without assistance, which
there was only one servant in the house to afford, and she never
quitted the house but to be conveyed into the warm bath.  Yet, in spite
of all this, Anne had reason to believe that she had moments only of
languor and depression, to hours of occupation and enjoyment.  How
could it be?  She watched, observed, reflected, and finally determined
that this was not a case of fortitude or of resignation only.  A
submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply
resolution, but here was something more; here was that elasticity of
mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily
from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of
herself, which was from nature alone.  It was the choicest gift of
Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which,
by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counterbalance almost
every other want.

There had been a time, Mrs Smith told her, when her spirits had nearly
failed.  She could not call herself an invalid now, compared with her
state on first reaching Bath.  Then she had, indeed, been a pitiable
object; for she had caught cold on the journey, and had hardly taken
possession of her lodgings before she was again confined to her bed and
suffering under severe and constant pain; and all this among strangers,
with the absolute necessity of having a regular nurse, and finances at
that moment particularly unfit to meet any extraordinary expense.  She
had weathered it, however, and could truly say that it had done her
good.  It had increased her comforts by making her feel herself to be
in good hands.  She had seen too much of the world, to expect sudden or
disinterested attachment anywhere, but her illness had proved to her
that her landlady had a character to preserve, and would not use her
ill; and she had been particularly fortunate in her nurse, as a sister
of her landlady, a nurse by profession, and who had always a home in
that house when unemployed, chanced to be at liberty just in time to
attend her.  "And she," said Mrs Smith, "besides nursing me most
admirably, has really proved an invaluable acquaintance.  As soon as I
could use my hands she taught me to knit, which has been a great
amusement; and she put me in the way of making these little
thread-cases, pin-cushions and card-racks, which you always find me so
busy about, and which supply me with the means of doing a little good
to one or two very poor families in this neighbourhood.  She had a
large acquaintance, of course professionally, among those who can
afford to buy, and she disposes of my 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 good sense and
observation, which, as a companion, make her infinitely superior to
thousands of those who having only received 'the best education in the
world,' know nothing worth attending to.  Call it gossip, if you will,
but when Nurse Rooke has half an hour's leisure to bestow on me, she is
sure to have something to relate that is entertaining and profitable:
something that makes one know one's species better.  One likes to hear
what is going on, to be au fait as to the newest modes of being
trifling and silly.  To me, who live so much alone, her conversation, I
assure you, is a treat."

Anne, far from wishing to cavil at the pleasure, replied, "I can easily
believe it.  Women of that class have great opportunities, and if they
are intelligent may be well worth listening to.  Such varieties of
human nature as they are in the habit of witnessing!  And it is not
merely in its follies, that they are well read; for they see it
occasionally under every circumstance that can be most interesting or
affecting.  What instances must pass before them of ardent,
disinterested, self-denying attachment, of heroism, fortitude,
patience, resignation:  of all the conflicts and all the sacrifices
that ennoble us most.  A sick chamber may often furnish the worth of
volumes."

"Yes," said Mrs Smith more doubtingly, "sometimes it may, though I fear
its lessons are not often in the elevated style you describe.  Here and
there, human nature may be great in times of trial; but generally
speaking, it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a
sick chamber:  it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity
and fortitude, that one hears of.  There is so little real friendship
in the world! and unfortunately" (speaking low and tremulously) "there
are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late."

Anne saw the misery of such feelings.  The husband had not been what he
ought, and the wife had been led among that part of mankind which made
her think worse of the world than she hoped it deserved.  It was but a
passing emotion however with Mrs Smith; she shook it off, and soon
added in a different tone--

"I do not suppose the situation my friend Mrs Rooke is in at present,
will furnish much either to interest or edify me.  She is only nursing
Mrs Wallis of Marlborough Buildings; a mere pretty, silly, expensive,
fashionable woman, I believe; and of course will have nothing to report
but of lace and finery.  I mean to make my profit of Mrs Wallis,
however.  She has plenty of money, and I intend she shall buy all the
high-priced things I have in hand now."

Anne had called several times on her friend, before the existence of
such a person was known in Camden Place.  At last, it became necessary
to speak of her. Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Mrs Clay, returned one
morning from Laura Place, with a sudden invitation from Lady Dalrymple
for the same evening, and Anne was already engaged, to spend that
evening in Westgate Buildings.  She was not sorry for the excuse.  They
were only asked, she was sure, because Lady Dalrymple being kept at
home by a bad cold, was glad to make use of the relationship which had
been so pressed on her; and she declined on her own account with great
alacrity--"She was engaged to spend the evening with an old
schoolfellow."  They were not much interested in anything relative to
Anne; but still there were questions enough asked, to make it
understood what this old schoolfellow was; and Elizabeth was
disdainful, and Sir Walter severe.

"Westgate Buildings!" said he, "and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be
visiting in Westgate Buildings?  A Mrs Smith.  A widow Mrs Smith; and
who was her husband?  One of five thousand Mr Smiths whose names are to
be met with everywhere.  And what is her attraction?  That she is old
and sickly.  Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most
extraordinary taste!  Everything that revolts other people, low
company, paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting
to you.  But surely you may put off this old lady till to-morrow:  she
is not so near her end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another
day.  What is her age?  Forty?"

"No, sir, she is not one-and-thirty; but I do not think I can put off
my engagement, because it is the only evening for some time which will
at once suit her and myself.  She goes into the warm bath to-morrow,
and for the rest of the week, you know, we are engaged."

"But what does Lady Russell think of this acquaintance?" asked
Elizabeth.

"She sees nothing to blame in it," replied Anne; "on the contrary, she
approves it, and has generally taken me when I have called on Mrs
Smith."

"Westgate Buildings must have been rather surprised by the appearance
of a carriage drawn up near its pavement," observed Sir Walter.  "Sir
Henry Russell's widow, indeed, has no honours to distinguish her arms,
but still it is a handsome equipage, and no doubt is well known to
convey a Miss Elliot.  A widow Mrs Smith lodging in Westgate Buildings!
A poor widow barely able to live, between thirty and forty; a mere Mrs
Smith, an every-day Mrs Smith, of all people and all names in the
world, to be the chosen friend of Miss Anne Elliot, and to be preferred
by her to her own family connections among the nobility of England and
Ireland!  Mrs Smith!  Such a name!"

Mrs Clay, who had been present while all this passed, now thought it
advisable to leave the room, and Anne could have said much, and did
long to say a little in 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 surname of dignity.

Anne kept her appointment; the others kept theirs, and of course she
heard the next morning that they had had a delightful evening.  She had
been the only one of the set absent, for Sir Walter and Elizabeth had
not only been quite at her ladyship's service themselves, but had
actually been happy to be employed by her in collecting others, and had
been at the trouble of inviting both Lady Russell and Mr Elliot; and Mr
Elliot had made a point of leaving Colonel Wallis early, and Lady
Russell had fresh arranged all her evening engagements in order to wait
on her.  Anne had the whole history of all that such an evening could
supply from Lady Russell.  To her, its greatest interest must be, in
having been very much talked of between her friend and Mr Elliot; in
having been wished for, regretted, and at the same time honoured for
staying away in such a cause.  Her kind, compassionate visits to this
old schoolfellow, sick and reduced, seemed to have quite delighted Mr
Elliot.  He thought her a most extraordinary young woman; in her
temper, manners, mind, a model of female excellence.  He could meet
even Lady Russell in a discussion of her merits; and Anne could not be
given to understand so much by her friend, could not know herself to be
so highly rated by a sensible man, without many of those agreeable
sensations which her friend meant to create.

Lady Russell was now perfectly decided in her opinion of Mr Elliot.
She was as much convinced of his meaning to gain Anne in time as of his
deserving her, and was beginning to calculate the number of weeks which
would free him from all the remaining restraints of widowhood, and
leave him at liberty to exert his most open powers of pleasing.  She
would not speak to Anne with half the certainty she felt on the
subject, she would venture on little more than hints of what might be
hereafter, of a possible attachment on his side, of the desirableness
of the alliance, supposing such attachment to be real and returned.
Anne heard her, and made no violent exclamations; she only smiled,
blushed, and gently shook her head.

"I am no match-maker, as you well know," said Lady Russell, "being much
too well aware of the uncertainty of all human events and calculations.
I only mean that if Mr Elliot should some time hence pay his addresses
to you, and if you should be disposed to accept him, I think there
would be every possibility of your being happy together.  A most
suitable connection everybody must consider it, but I think it might be
a very happy one."

"Mr Elliot is an exceedingly agreeable man, and in many respects I
think highly of him," said Anne; "but we should not suit."

Lady Russell let this pass, and only said in rejoinder, "I own that to
be able to regard you as the future mistress of Kellynch, the future
Lady Elliot, to look forward and see you occupying your dear mother's
place, succeeding to all her rights, and all her popularity, as well as
to all her virtues, would be the highest possible gratification to me.
You are your mother's self in countenance and disposition; and if I
might be allowed to fancy you such as she was, in situation and name,
and home, presiding and blessing in the same spot, and only superior to
her in being more highly valued!  My dearest Anne, it would give me
more delight than is often felt at my time of life!"

Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table,
and, leaning there in pretended employment, try to subdue the feelings
this picture excited.  For a few moments her imagination and her heart
were bewitched.  The idea of becoming what her mother had been; of
having the precious name of "Lady Elliot" first revived in herself; of
being restored to Kellynch, calling it her home again, her home for
ever, was a charm which she could not immediately resist.  Lady Russell
said not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own
operation; and believing that, could Mr Elliot at that moment with
propriety have spoken for himself!--she believed, in short, what Anne
did not believe.  The same image of Mr Elliot speaking for himself
brought Anne to composure again.  The charm of Kellynch and of "Lady
Elliot" all faded away.  She never could accept him.  And it was not
only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one; her
judgement, on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a
case was against Mr Elliot.

Though they had now been acquainted a month, she could not be satisfied
that she really knew his character.  That he was a sensible man, an
agreeable man, that he talked well, professed good opinions, seemed to
judge properly and as a man of principle, this was all clear enough.
He certainly knew what was right, nor could she fix on any one article
of moral duty evidently transgressed; but yet she would have been
afraid to answer for his conduct.  She distrusted the past, if not the
present.  The names which occasionally dropt of former associates, the
allusions to former practices and pursuits, suggested suspicions not
favourable of what he had been.  She saw that there had been bad
habits; that Sunday travelling had been a common thing; that there had
been a period of his life (and probably not a short one) when he had
been, at least, careless in all serious matters; and, though he might
now think very differently, who could answer for the true sentiments of
a clever, cautious man, grown old enough to appreciate a fair
character?  How could it ever be ascertained that his mind was truly
cleansed?

Mr Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open.  There
was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight,
at the evil or good of others.  This, to Anne, was a decided
imperfection.  Her early impressions were incurable.  She prized the
frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others.  Warmth
and enthusiasm did captivate her still.  She felt that she could so
much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or
said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind
never varied, whose tongue never slipped.

Mr Elliot was too generally agreeable.  Various as were the tempers in
her father's house, he pleased them all.  He endured too well, stood
too well with every body.  He had spoken to her with some degree of
openness of Mrs Clay; had appeared completely to see what Mrs Clay was
about, and to hold her in contempt; and yet Mrs Clay found him as
agreeable as any body.

Lady Russell saw either less or more than her young friend, for she saw
nothing to excite distrust.  She could not imagine a man more exactly
what he ought to be than Mr Elliot; nor did she ever enjoy a sweeter
feeling than the hope of seeing him receive the hand of her beloved
Anne in Kellynch church, in the course of the following autumn.



Chapter 18


It was the beginning of February; and Anne, having been a month in
Bath, was growing very eager for news from Uppercross and Lyme.  She
wanted to hear much more than Mary had communicated.  It was three
weeks since she had heard at all.  She only knew that Henrietta was at
home again; and that Louisa, though considered to be recovering fast,
was still in Lyme; and she was thinking of them all very intently one
evening, when a thicker letter than usual from Mary was delivered to
her; and, to quicken the pleasure and surprise, with Admiral and Mrs
Croft's compliments.

The Crofts must be in Bath!  A circumstance to interest her.  They were
people whom her heart turned to very naturally.

"What is this?" cried Sir Walter.  "The Crofts have arrived in Bath?
The Crofts who rent Kellynch?  What have they brought you?"

"A letter from Uppercross Cottage, Sir."

"Oh! those letters are convenient passports.  They secure an
introduction.  I should have visited Admiral Croft, however, at any
rate.  I know what is due to my tenant."

Anne could listen no longer; she could not even have told how the poor
Admiral's complexion escaped; her letter engrossed her.  It had been
begun several days back.


"February 1st.

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

"Mary M---.

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


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


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


Mary need not have feared her sister's being in any degree prepared for
the news.  She had never in her life been more astonished.  Captain
Benwick and Louisa Musgrove!  It was almost too wonderful for belief,
and it was with the greatest effort that she could remain in the room,
preserve an air of calmness, and answer the common questions of the
moment.  Happily for her, they were not many.  Sir Walter wanted to
know whether the Crofts travelled with four horses, and whether they
were likely to be situated in such a part of Bath as it might suit Miss
Elliot and himself to visit in; but had little curiosity beyond.

"How is Mary?" said Elizabeth; and without waiting for an answer, "And
pray what brings the Crofts to Bath?"

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

"Gout and decrepitude!" said Sir Walter.  "Poor old gentleman."

"Have they any acquaintance here?" asked Elizabeth.

"I do not know; but I can hardly suppose that, at Admiral Croft's time
of life, and in his profession, he should not have many acquaintance in
such a place as this."

"I suspect," said Sir Walter coolly, "that Admiral Croft will be best
known in Bath as the renter of Kellynch Hall.  Elizabeth, may we
venture to present him and his wife in Laura Place?"

"Oh, no! I think not.  Situated as we are with Lady Dalrymple, cousins,
we ought to be very careful not to embarrass her with acquaintance she
might not approve.  If we were not related, it would not signify; but
as cousins, she would feel scrupulous as to any proposal of ours.  We
had better leave the Crofts to find their own level.  There are several
odd-looking men walking about here, who, I am told, are sailors.  The
Crofts will associate with them."

This was Sir Walter and Elizabeth's share of interest in the letter;
when Mrs Clay had paid her tribute of more decent attention, in an
enquiry after Mrs Charles Musgrove, and her fine little boys, Anne was
at liberty.

In her own room, she tried to comprehend it.  Well might Charles wonder
how Captain Wentworth would feel!  Perhaps he had quitted the field,
had given Louisa up, had ceased to love, had found he did not love her.
She could not endure the idea of treachery or levity, or anything akin
to ill usage between him and his friend.  She could not endure that
such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly.

Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove!  The high-spirited, joyous-talking
Louisa Musgrove, and the dejected, thinking, feeling, reading, Captain
Benwick, seemed each of them everything that would not suit the other.
Their minds most dissimilar!  Where could have been the attraction?
The answer soon presented itself.  It had been in situation.  They had
been thrown together several weeks; they had been living in the same
small family party:  since Henrietta's coming away, they must have been
depending almost entirely on each other, and Louisa, just recovering
from illness, had been in an interesting state, and Captain Benwick was
not inconsolable.  That was a point which Anne had not been able to
avoid suspecting before; and instead of drawing the same conclusion as
Mary, from the present course of events, they served only to confirm
the idea of his having felt some dawning of tenderness toward herself.
She did not mean, however, to derive much more from it to gratify her
vanity, than Mary might have allowed.  She was persuaded that any
tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for
him would have received the same compliment.  He had an affectionate
heart.  He must love somebody.

She saw no reason against their being happy.  Louisa had fine naval
fervour to begin with, and they would soon grow more alike.  He would
gain cheerfulness, and she would learn to be an enthusiast for Scott
and Lord Byron; nay, that was probably learnt already; of course they
had fallen in love over poetry.  The idea of Louisa Musgrove turned
into a person of literary taste, and sentimental reflection was
amusing, but she had no doubt of its being so.  The day at Lyme, the
fall from the Cobb, might influence her health, her nerves, her
courage, her character to the end of her life, as thoroughly as it
appeared to have influenced her fate.

The conclusion of the whole was, that if the woman who had been
sensible of Captain Wentworth's merits could be allowed to prefer
another man, there was nothing in the engagement to excite lasting
wonder; and if Captain Wentworth lost no friend by it, certainly
nothing to be regretted.  No, it was not regret which made Anne's heart
beat in spite of herself, and brought the colour into her cheeks when
she thought of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free.  She had some
feelings which she was ashamed to investigate.  They were too much like
joy, senseless joy!

She longed to see the Crofts; but when the meeting took place, it was
evident that no rumour of the news had yet reached them.  The visit of
ceremony was paid and returned; and Louisa Musgrove was mentioned, and
Captain Benwick, too, without even half a smile.

The Crofts had placed themselves in lodgings in Gay Street, perfectly
to Sir Walter's satisfaction.  He was not at all ashamed of the
acquaintance, and did, in fact, think and talk a great deal more about
the Admiral, than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him.

The Crofts knew quite as many people in Bath as they wished for, and
considered their intercourse with the Elliots as a mere matter of form,
and not in the least likely to afford them any pleasure.  They brought
with them their country habit of being almost always together.  He was
ordered to walk to keep off the gout, and Mrs Croft seemed to go shares
with him in everything, and to walk for her life to do him good.  Anne
saw them wherever she went.  Lady Russell took her out in her carriage
almost every morning, and she never failed to think of them, and never
failed to see them.  Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a most
attractive picture of happiness to her.  She always watched them as
long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be
talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally
delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he
encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation
when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs Croft
looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her.

Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking
herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or ten days
after the Croft's arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or
her friend's carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone
to Camden Place, and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good
fortune to meet with the Admiral.  He was standing by himself at a
printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation
of some print, and she not only might have passed him unseen, but was
obliged to touch as well as address him before she could catch his
notice.  When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done
with all his usual frankness and good humour.  "Ha! is it you?  Thank
you, thank you.  This is treating me like a friend.  Here I am, you
see, staring at a picture.  I can never get by this shop without
stopping.  But what a thing here is, by way of a boat!  Do look at it.
Did you ever see the like?  What queer fellows your fine painters must
be, to think that anybody would venture their lives in such a shapeless
old cockleshell as that?  And yet here are two gentlemen stuck up in it
mightily at their ease, and looking about them at the rocks and
mountains, as if they were not to be upset the next moment, which they
certainly must be.  I wonder where that boat was built!" (laughing
heartily); "I would not venture over a horsepond in it.  Well,"
(turning away), "now, where are you bound?  Can I go anywhere for you,
or with you?  Can I be of any use?"

"None, I thank you, unless you will give me the pleasure of your
company the little way our road lies together.  I am going home."


"That I will, with all my heart, and farther, too.  Yes, yes we will
have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go
along.  There, take my arm; that's right; I do not feel comfortable if
I have not a woman there.  Lord! what a boat it is!" taking a last look
at the picture, as they began to be in motion.

"Did you say that you had something to tell me, sir?"

"Yes, I have, presently.  But here comes a friend, Captain Brigden; I
shall only say, 'How d'ye do?' as we pass, however.  I shall not stop.
'How d'ye do?'  Brigden stares to see anybody with me but my wife.
She, poor soul, is tied by the leg.  She has a blister on one of her
heels, as large as a three-shilling piece.  If you look across the
street, you will see Admiral Brand coming down and his brother.  Shabby
fellows, both of them!  I am glad they are not on this side of the way.
Sophy cannot bear them.  They played me a pitiful trick once: got away
with some of my best men.  I will tell you the whole story another
time.  There comes old Sir Archibald Drew and his grandson.  Look, he
sees us; he kisses his hand to you; he takes you for my wife.  Ah! the
peace has come too soon for that younker.  Poor old Sir Archibald!  How
do you like Bath, Miss Elliot?  It suits us very well.  We are always
meeting with some old friend or other; the streets full of them every
morning; sure to have plenty of chat; and then we get away from them
all, and shut ourselves in our lodgings, and draw in our chairs, and
are as snug as if we were at Kellynch, ay, or as we used to be even at
North Yarmouth and Deal.  We do not like our lodgings here the worse, I
can tell you, for putting us in mind of those we first had at North
Yarmouth.  The wind blows through one of the cupboards just in the same
way."

When they were got a little farther, Anne ventured to press again for
what he had to communicate.  She hoped when clear of Milsom Street to
have her curiosity gratified; but she was still obliged to wait, for
the Admiral had made up his mind not to begin till they had gained the
greater space and quiet of Belmont; and as she was not really Mrs
Croft, she must let him have his own way.  As soon as they were fairly
ascending Belmont, he began--

"Well, now you shall hear something that will surprise you.  But first
of all, you must tell me the name of the young lady I am going to talk
about.  That young lady, you know, that we have all been so concerned
for.  The Miss Musgrove, that all this has been happening to.  Her
Christian name:  I always forget her Christian name."

Anne had been ashamed to appear to comprehend so soon as she really
did; but now she could safely suggest the name of "Louisa."

"Ay, ay, Miss Louisa Musgrove, that is the name.  I wish young ladies
had not such a number of fine Christian names.  I should never be out
if they were all Sophys, or something of that sort.  Well, this Miss
Louisa, we all thought, you know, was to marry Frederick.  He was
courting her week after week.  The only wonder was, what they could be
waiting for, till the business at Lyme came; then, indeed, it was clear
enough that they must wait till her brain was set to right.  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, the same Miss
Musgrove, instead of being to marry Frederick, is to marry James
Benwick.  You know James Benwick."

"A little.  I am a little acquainted with Captain Benwick."

"Well, she is to marry him.  Nay, most likely they are married already,
for I do not know what they should wait for."

"I thought Captain Benwick a very pleasing young man," said Anne, "and
I understand that he bears an excellent character."

"Oh! yes, yes, there is not a word to be said against James Benwick.
He is only a commander, it is true, made last summer, and these are bad
times for getting on, but he has not another fault that I know of.  An
excellent, good-hearted fellow, I assure you; a very active, zealous
officer too, which is more than you would think for, perhaps, for that
soft sort of manner does not do him justice."

"Indeed you are mistaken there, sir; I should never augur want of
spirit from Captain Benwick's manners.  I thought them particularly
pleasing, and I will answer for it, they would generally please."

"Well, well, ladies are the best judges; but James Benwick is rather
too piano for me; and though very likely it is all our partiality,
Sophy and I cannot help thinking Frederick's manners better than his.
There is something about Frederick more to our taste."

Anne was caught.  She had only meant to oppose the too common idea of
spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other, not at all to
represent Captain Benwick's manners as the very best that could
possibly be; and, after a little hesitation, she was beginning to say,
"I was not entering into any comparison of the two friends," but the
Admiral interrupted her with--

"And the thing is certainly true.  It is not a mere bit of gossip.  We
have it from Frederick himself.  His sister had a letter from him
yesterday, in which he tells us of it, and he had just had it in a
letter from Harville, written upon the spot, from Uppercross.  I fancy
they are all at Uppercross."

This was an opportunity which Anne could not resist; she said,
therefore, "I hope, Admiral, I hope there is nothing in the style of
Captain Wentworth's letter to make you and Mrs Croft particularly
uneasy.  It did seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment
between him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to
have worn out on each side equally, and without violence.  I hope his
letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man."

"Not at all, not at all; there is not an oath or a murmur from
beginning to end."

Anne looked down to hide her smile.

"No, no; Frederick is not a man to whine and complain; he has too much
spirit for that.  If the girl likes another man better, it is very fit
she should have him."

"Certainly.  But what I mean is, that I hope there is nothing in
Captain Wentworth's manner of writing to make you suppose he thinks
himself ill-used by his friend, which might appear, you know, without
its being absolutely said.  I should be very sorry that such a
friendship as has subsisted between him and Captain Benwick should be
destroyed, or even wounded, by a circumstance of this sort."

"Yes, yes, I understand you.  But there is nothing at all of that
nature in the letter.  He does not give the least fling at Benwick;
does not so much as say, 'I wonder at it, I have a reason of my own for
wondering at it.'  No, you would not guess, from his way of writing,
that he had ever thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself.
He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is
nothing very unforgiving in that, I think."

Anne did not receive the perfect conviction which the Admiral meant to
convey, but it would have been useless to press the enquiry farther.
She therefore satisfied herself with common-place remarks or quiet
attention, and the Admiral had it all his own way.

"Poor Frederick!" said he at last.  "Now he must begin all over again
with somebody else.  I think we must get him to Bath.  Sophy must
write, and beg him to come to Bath.  Here are pretty girls enough, I am
sure.  It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other
Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson.  Do
not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?"



Chapter 19


While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and expressing his
wish of getting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Wentworth was
already on his way thither.  Before Mrs Croft had written, he was
arrived, and the very next time Anne walked out, she saw him.

Mr Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs Clay.  They were in
Milsom Street.  It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter
desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for
Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady
Dalrymple's carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she,
Anne, and Mrs Clay, therefore, turned into Molland's, while Mr Elliot
stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance.  He soon joined
them again, successful, of course; Lady Dalrymple would be most happy
to take them home, and would call for them in a few minutes.

Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four
with any comfort.  Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it
was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden
Place ladies.  There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot.  Whoever
suffered inconvenience, she must suffer none, but it occupied a little
time to settle the point of civility between the other two.  The rain
was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with
Mr Elliot.  But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay; she would
hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much
thicker than Miss Anne's; and, in short, her civility rendered her
quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr Elliot as Anne could be,
and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so
determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss
Elliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr
Elliot deciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the
thickest.

It was fixed accordingly, that Mrs Clay should be of the party in the
carriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat
near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain
Wentworth walking down the street.

Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that
she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and
absurd!  For a few minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all
confusion.  She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she
found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr Elliot (always
obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs
Clay's.

She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted to
see if it rained.  Why was she to suspect herself of another motive?
Captain Wentworth must be out of sight.  She left her seat, she would
go; one half of her should not be always so much wiser than the other
half, or always suspecting the other of being worse than it was.  She
would see if it rained.  She was sent back, however, in a moment by the
entrance of Captain Wentworth himself, among a party of gentlemen and
ladies, evidently his acquaintance, and whom he must have joined a
little below Milsom Street.  He was more obviously struck and confused
by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite
red.  For the first time, since their renewed acquaintance, she felt
that she was betraying the least sensibility of the two.  She had the
advantage of him in the preparation of the last few moments.  All the
overpowering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise
were over with her.  Still, however, she had enough to feel!  It was
agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery.

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

After a short interval, however, he came towards her, and spoke again.
Mutual enquiries on common subjects passed:  neither of them, probably,
much the wiser for what they heard, and Anne continuing fully sensible
of his being less at ease than formerly.  They had by dint of being so
very much together, got to speak to each other with a considerable
portion of apparent indifference and calmness; but he could not do it
now.  Time had changed him, or Louisa had changed him.  There was
consciousness of some sort or other.  He looked very well, not as if he
had been suffering in health or spirits, and he talked of Uppercross,
of the Musgroves, nay, even of Louisa, and had even a momentary look of
his own arch significance as he named her; but yet it was Captain
Wentworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was.

It did not surprise, but it grieved Anne to observe that Elizabeth
would not know him.  She saw that he saw Elizabeth, that Elizabeth saw
him, that there was complete internal recognition on each side; she was
convinced that he was ready to be acknowledged as an acquaintance,
expecting it, and she had the pain of seeing her sister turn away with
unalterable coldness.

Lady Dalrymple's carriage, for which Miss Elliot was growing very
impatient, now drew up; the servant came in to announce it.  It was
beginning to rain again, and altogether there was a delay, and a
bustle, and a talking, which must make all the little crowd in the shop
understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot.  At
last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattended but by the servant, (for
there was no cousin returned), were walking off; and Captain Wentworth,
watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rather than words,
was offering his services to her.

"I am much obliged to you," was her answer, "but I am not going with
them.  The carriage would not accommodate so many.  I walk:  I prefer
walking."

"But it rains."

"Oh! very little,  Nothing that I regard."

After a moment's pause he said:  "Though I came only yesterday, I have
equipped myself properly for Bath already, you see," (pointing to a new
umbrella); "I wish you would make use of it, if you are determined to
walk; though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a
chair."

She was very much obliged to him, but declined it all, repeating her
conviction, that the rain would come to nothing at present, and adding,
"I am only waiting for Mr Elliot.  He will be here in a moment, I am
sure."

She had hardly spoken the words when Mr Elliot walked in.  Captain
Wentworth recollected him perfectly.  There was no difference between
him and the man who had stood on the steps at Lyme, admiring Anne as
she passed, except in the air and look and manner of the privileged
relation and friend.  He came in with eagerness, appeared to see and
think only of her, apologised for his stay, was grieved to have kept
her waiting, and anxious to get her away without further loss of time
and before the rain increased; and in another moment they walked off
together, her arm under his, a gentle and embarrassed glance, and a
"Good morning to you!" being all that she had time for, as she passed
away.

As soon as they were out of sight, the ladies of Captain Wentworth's
party began talking of them.

"Mr Elliot does not dislike his cousin, I fancy?"

"Oh! no, that is clear enough.  One can guess what will happen there.
He is always with them; half lives in the family, I believe.  What a
very good-looking man!"

"Yes, and Miss Atkinson, who dined with him once at the Wallises, says
he is the most agreeable man she ever was in company with."

"She is pretty, I think; Anne Elliot; very pretty, when one comes to
look at her.  It is not the fashion to say so, but I confess I admire
her more than her sister."

"Oh! so do I."

"And so do I.  No comparison.  But the men are all wild after Miss
Elliot.  Anne is too delicate for them."

Anne would have been particularly obliged to her cousin, if he would
have walked by her side all the way to Camden Place, without saying a
word.  She had never found it so difficult to listen to him, though
nothing could exceed his solicitude and care, and though his subjects
were principally such as were wont to be always interesting: praise,
warm, just, and discriminating, of Lady Russell, and insinuations
highly rational against Mrs Clay.  But just now she could think only of
Captain Wentworth.  She could not understand his present feelings,
whether he were really suffering much from disappointment or not; and
till that point were settled, she could not be quite herself.

She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas!  she must
confess to herself that she was not wise yet.

Another circumstance very essential for her to know, was how long he
meant to be in Bath; he had not mentioned it, or she could not
recollect it.  He might be only passing through.  But it was more
probable that he should be come to stay.  In that case, so liable as
every body was to meet every body in Bath, Lady Russell would in all
likelihood see him somewhere.  Would she recollect him?  How would it
all be?

She had already been obliged to tell Lady Russell that Louisa Musgrove
was to marry Captain Benwick.  It had cost her something to encounter
Lady Russell's surprise; and now, if she were by any chance to be
thrown into company with Captain Wentworth, her imperfect knowledge of
the matter might add another shade of prejudice against him.

The following morning Anne was out with her friend, and for the first
hour, in an incessant and fearful sort of watch for him in vain; but at
last, in returning down Pulteney Street, she distinguished him on the
right hand pavement at such a distance as to have him in view the
greater part of the street.  There were many other men about him, many
groups walking the same way, but there was no mistaking him.  She
looked instinctively at Lady Russell; but not from any mad idea of her
recognising him so soon as she did herself.  No, it was not to be
supposed that Lady Russell would perceive him till they were nearly
opposite.  She looked at her however, from time to time, anxiously; and
when the moment approached which must point him out, though not daring
to look again (for her own countenance she knew was unfit to be seen),
she was yet perfectly conscious of Lady Russell's eyes being turned
exactly in the direction for him--of her being, in short, intently
observing him.  She could thoroughly comprehend the sort of fascination
he must possess over Lady Russell's mind, the difficulty it must be for
her to withdraw her eyes, the astonishment she must be feeling that
eight or nine years should have passed over him, and in foreign climes
and in active service too, without robbing him of one personal grace!

At last, Lady Russell drew back her head.  "Now, how would she speak of
him?"

"You will wonder," said she, "what has been fixing my eye so long; but
I was looking after some window-curtains, which Lady Alicia and Mrs
Frankland were telling me of last night.  They described the
drawing-room window-curtains of one of the houses on this side of the
way, and this part of the street, as being the handsomest and best hung
of any in Bath, but could not recollect the exact number, and I have
been trying to find out which it could be; but I confess I can see no
curtains hereabouts that answer their description."

Anne sighed and blushed and smiled, in pity and disdain, either at her
friend or herself.  The part which provoked her most, was that in all
this waste of foresight and caution, she should have lost the right
moment for seeing whether he saw them.

A day or two passed without producing anything.  The theatre or the
rooms, where he was most likely to be, were not fashionable enough for
the Elliots, whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant
stupidity of private parties, in which they were getting more and more
engaged; and Anne, wearied of such a state of stagnation, sick of
knowing nothing, and fancying herself stronger because her strength was
not tried, was quite impatient for the concert evening.  It was a
concert for the benefit of a person patronised by Lady Dalrymple.  Of
course they must attend.  It was really expected to be a good one, and
Captain Wentworth was very fond of music.  If she could only have a few
minutes conversation with him again, she fancied she should be
satisfied; and as to the power of addressing him, she felt all over
courage if the opportunity occurred.  Elizabeth had turned from him,
Lady Russell overlooked him; her nerves were strengthened by these
circumstances; she felt that she owed him attention.

She had once partly promised Mrs Smith to spend the evening with her;
but in a short hurried call she excused herself and put it off, with
the more decided promise of a longer visit on the morrow.  Mrs Smith
gave a most good-humoured acquiescence.

"By all means," said she; "only tell me all about it, when you do come.
Who is your party?"

Anne named them all.  Mrs Smith made no reply; but when she was leaving
her said, and with an expression half serious, half arch, "Well, I
heartily wish your concert may answer; and do not fail me to-morrow if
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.



Chapter 20


Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of all
their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be
waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon
Room.  But hardly were they so settled, when the door opened again, and
Captain Wentworth walked in alone.  Anne was the nearest to him, and
making yet a little advance, she instantly spoke.  He was preparing
only to bow and pass on, but her gentle "How do you do?" brought him
out of the straight line to stand near her, and make enquiries in
return, in spite of the formidable father and sister in the back
ground.  Their being in the back ground was a support to Anne; she knew
nothing of their looks, and felt equal to everything which she believed
right to be done.

While they were speaking, a whispering between her father and Elizabeth
caught her ear.  She could not distinguish, but she must guess the
subject; and on Captain Wentworth's making a distant bow, she
comprehended that her father had judged so well as to give him that
simple acknowledgement of acquaintance, and she was just in time by a
side glance to see a slight curtsey from Elizabeth herself.  This,
though late, and reluctant, and ungracious, was yet better than
nothing, and her spirits improved.

After talking, however, of the weather, and Bath, and the concert,
their conversation began to flag, and so little was said at last, that
she was expecting him to go every moment, but he did not; he seemed in
no hurry to leave her; and presently with renewed spirit, with a little
smile, a little glow, he said--

"I have hardly seen you since our day at Lyme.  I am afraid you must
have suffered from the shock, and the more from its not overpowering
you at the time."

She assured him that she had not.

"It was a frightful hour," said he, "a frightful day!" and he passed
his hand across his eyes, as if the remembrance were still too painful,
but in a moment, half smiling again, added, "The day has produced some
effects however; has had some consequences which must be considered as
the very reverse of frightful.  When you had the presence of mind to
suggest that Benwick would be the properest person to fetch a surgeon,
you could have little idea of his being eventually one of those most
concerned in her recovery."

"Certainly I could have none.  But it appears--I should hope it would
be a very happy match.  There are on both sides good principles and
good temper."

"Yes," said he, looking not exactly forward; "but there, I think, ends
the resemblance.  With all my soul I wish them happy, and rejoice over
every circumstance in favour of it.  They have no difficulties to
contend with at home, no opposition, no caprice, no delays.  The
Musgroves are behaving like themselves, most honourably and kindly,
only anxious with true parental hearts to promote their daughter's
comfort.  All this is much, very much in favour of their happiness;
more than perhaps--"

He stopped.  A sudden recollection seemed to occur, and to give him
some taste of that emotion which was reddening Anne's cheeks and fixing
her eyes on the ground.  After clearing his throat, however, he
proceeded thus--

"I confess that I do think there is a disparity, too great a disparity,
and in a point no less essential than mind.  I regard Louisa Musgrove
as a very amiable, sweet-tempered girl, and not deficient in
understanding, but Benwick is something more.  He is a clever man, a
reading man; and I confess, that I do consider his attaching himself to
her with some surprise.  Had it been the effect of gratitude, had he
learnt to love her, because he believed her to be preferring him, it
would have been another thing.  But I have no reason to suppose it so.
It seems, on the contrary, to have been a perfectly spontaneous,
untaught feeling on his side, and this surprises me.  A man like him,
in his situation! with a heart pierced, wounded, almost broken!  Fanny
Harville was a very superior creature, and his attachment to her was
indeed attachment.  A man does not recover from such a devotion of the
heart to such a woman.  He ought not; he does not."

Either from the consciousness, however, that his friend had recovered,
or from other consciousness, he went no farther; and Anne who, in spite
of the agitated voice in which the latter part had been uttered, and in
spite of all the various noises of the room, the almost ceaseless slam
of the door, and ceaseless buzz of persons walking through, had
distinguished every word, was struck, gratified, confused, and
beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a
moment.  It was impossible for her to enter on such a subject; and yet,
after a pause, feeling the necessity of speaking, and having not the
smallest wish for a total change, she only deviated so far as to say--

"You were a good while at Lyme, I think?"

"About a fortnight.  I could not leave it till Louisa's doing well was
quite ascertained.  I had been too deeply concerned in the mischief to
be soon at peace.  It had been my doing, solely mine.  She would not
have been obstinate if I had not been weak.  The country round Lyme is
very fine.  I walked and rode a great deal; and the more I saw, the
more I found to admire."

"I should very much like to see Lyme again," said Anne.

"Indeed!  I should not have supposed that you could have found anything
in Lyme to inspire such a feeling.  The horror and distress you were
involved in, the stretch of mind, the wear of spirits!  I should have
thought your last impressions of Lyme must have been strong disgust."

"The last hours were certainly very painful," replied Anne; "but when
pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.  One does
not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been
all suffering, nothing but suffering, which was by no means the case at
Lyme.  We were only in anxiety and distress during the last two hours,
and previously there had been a great deal of enjoyment.  So much
novelty and beauty! I have travelled so little, that every fresh place
would be interesting to me; but there is real beauty at Lyme; and in
short" (with a faint blush at some recollections), "altogether my
impressions of the place are very agreeable."

As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party
appeared for whom they were waiting.  "Lady Dalrymple, Lady Dalrymple,"
was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness compatible with
anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet
her.  Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr Elliot and
Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant,
advanced into the room.  The others joined them, and it was a group in
which Anne found herself also necessarily included.  She was divided
from Captain Wentworth.  Their interesting, almost too interesting
conversation must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance
compared with the happiness which brought it on!  She had learnt, in
the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all
his feelings than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the
demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with
exquisite, though agitated sensations.  She was in good humour with
all.  She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and
kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.

The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping back
from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw that
he was gone.  She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert
Room.  He was gone; he had disappeared, she felt a moment's regret.
But "they should meet again.  He would look for her, he would find her
out before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as
well to be asunder.  She was in need of a little interval for
recollection."

Upon Lady Russell's appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was
collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed
into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power,
draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people
as they could.

Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in.
Elizabeth arm in arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the broad back
of the dowager Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had nothing to wish
for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne--but it would be an
insult to the nature of Anne's felicity, to draw any comparison between
it and her sister's; the origin of one all selfish vanity, of the other
all generous attachment.

Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room.  Her
happiness was from within.  Her eyes were bright and her cheeks glowed;
but she knew nothing about it.  She was thinking only of the last half
hour, and as they passed to their seats, her mind took a hasty range
over it.  His choice of subjects, his expressions, and still more his
manner and look, had been such as she could see in only one light.  His
opinion of Louisa Musgrove's inferiority, an opinion which he had
seemed solicitous to give, his wonder at Captain Benwick, his feelings
as to a first, strong attachment; sentences begun which he could not
finish, his half averted eyes and more than half expressive glance,
all, all declared that he had a heart returning to her at least; that
anger, resentment, avoidance, were no more; and that they were
succeeded, not merely by friendship and regard, but by the tenderness
of the past.  Yes, some share of the tenderness of the past.  She could
not contemplate the change as implying less.  He must love her.

These were thoughts, with their attendant visions, which occupied and
flurried her too much to leave her any power of observation; and she
passed along the room without having a glimpse of him, without even
trying to discern him.  When their places were determined on, and they
were all properly arranged, she looked round to see if he should happen
to be in the same part of the room, but he was not; her eye could not
reach him; and the concert being just opening, she must consent for a
time to be happy in a humbler way.

The party was divided and disposed of on two contiguous benches: Anne
was among those on the foremost, and Mr Elliot had manoeuvred so well,
with the assistance of his friend Colonel Wallis, as to have a seat by
her.  Miss Elliot, surrounded by her cousins, and the principal object
of Colonel Wallis's gallantry, was quite contented.

Anne's mind was in a most favourable state for the entertainment of the
evening; it was just occupation enough:  she had feelings for the
tender, spirits for the gay, attention for the scientific, and patience
for the wearisome; and had never liked a concert better, at least
during the first act.  Towards the close of it, in the interval
succeeding an Italian song, she explained the words of the song to Mr
Elliot.  They had a concert bill between them.

"This," said she, "is nearly the sense, or rather the meaning of the
words, for certainly the sense of an Italian love-song must not be
talked of, but it is as nearly the meaning as I can give; for I do not
pretend to understand the language.  I am a very poor Italian scholar."

"Yes, yes, I see you are.  I see you know nothing of the matter.  You
have only knowledge enough of the language to translate at sight these
inverted, transposed, curtailed Italian lines, into clear,
comprehensible, elegant English.  You need not say anything more of
your ignorance.  Here is complete proof."

"I will not oppose such kind politeness; but I should be sorry to be
examined by a real proficient."

"I have not had the pleasure of visiting in Camden Place so long,"
replied he, "without knowing something of Miss Anne Elliot; and I do
regard her as one who is too modest for the world in general to be
aware of half her accomplishments, and too highly accomplished for
modesty to be natural in any other woman."

"For shame! for shame! this is too much flattery.  I forget what we are
to have next," turning to the bill.

"Perhaps," said Mr Elliot, speaking low, "I have had a longer
acquaintance with your character than you are aware of."

"Indeed!  How so?  You can have been acquainted with it only since I
came to Bath, excepting as you might hear me previously spoken of in my
own family."

"I knew you by report long before you came to Bath.  I had heard you
described by those who knew you intimately.  I have been acquainted
with you by character many years.  Your person, your disposition,
accomplishments, manner; they were all present to me."

Mr Elliot was not disappointed in the interest he hoped to raise.  No
one can withstand the charm of such a mystery.  To have been described
long ago to a recent acquaintance, by nameless people, is irresistible;
and Anne was all curiosity.  She wondered, and questioned him eagerly;
but in vain.  He delighted in being asked, but he would not tell.

"No, no, some time or other, perhaps, but not now.  He would mention no
names now; but such, he could assure her, had been the fact.  He had
many years ago received such a description of Miss Anne Elliot as had
inspired him with the highest idea of her merit, and excited the
warmest curiosity to know her."

Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality of
her many years ago as the Mr Wentworth of Monkford, Captain Wentworth's
brother.  He might have been in Mr Elliot's company, but she had not
courage to ask the question.

"The name of Anne Elliot," said he, "has long had an interesting sound
to me.  Very long has it possessed a charm over my fancy; and, if I
dared, I would breathe my wishes that the name might never change."

Such, she believed, were his words; but scarcely had she received their
sound, than her attention was caught by other sounds immediately behind
her, which rendered every thing else trivial.  Her father and Lady
Dalrymple were speaking.

"A well-looking man," said Sir Walter, "a very well-looking man."

"A very fine young man indeed!" said Lady Dalrymple.  "More air than
one often sees in Bath.  Irish, I dare say."

"No, I just know his name.  A bowing acquaintance.  Wentworth; Captain
Wentworth of the navy.  His sister married my tenant in Somersetshire,
the Croft, who rents Kellynch."

Before Sir Walter had reached this point, Anne's eyes had caught the
right direction, and distinguished Captain Wentworth standing among a
cluster of men at a little distance.  As her eyes fell on him, his
seemed to be withdrawn from her.  It had that appearance.  It seemed as
if she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe,
he did not look again:  but the performance was recommencing, and she
was forced to seem to restore her attention to the orchestra and look
straight forward.

When she could give another glance, he had moved away.  He could not
have come nearer to her if he would; she was so surrounded and shut in:
but she would rather have caught his eye.

Mr Elliot's speech, too, distressed her.  She had no longer any
inclination to talk to him.  She wished him not so near her.

The first act was over.  Now she hoped for some beneficial change; and,
after a period of nothing-saying amongst the party, some of them did
decide on going in quest of tea.  Anne was one of the few who did not
choose to move.  She remained in her seat, and so did Lady Russell; but
she had the pleasure of getting rid of Mr Elliot; and she did not mean,
whatever she might feel on Lady Russell's account, to shrink from
conversation with Captain Wentworth, if he gave her the opportunity.
She was persuaded by Lady Russell's countenance that she had seen him.

He did not come however.  Anne sometimes fancied she discerned him at a
distance, but he never came.  The anxious interval wore away
unproductively.  The others returned, the room filled again, benches
were reclaimed and repossessed, and another hour of pleasure or of
penance was to be sat out, another hour of music was to give delight or
the gapes, as real or affected taste for it prevailed.  To Anne, it
chiefly wore the prospect of an hour of agitation.  She could not quit
that room in peace without seeing Captain Wentworth once more, without
the interchange of one friendly look.

In re-settling themselves there were now many changes, the result of
which was favourable for her.  Colonel Wallis declined sitting down
again, and Mr Elliot was invited by Elizabeth and Miss Carteret, in a
manner not to be refused, to sit between them; and by some other
removals, and a little scheming of her own,  Anne was enabled to place
herself much nearer the end of the bench than she had been before, much
more within reach of a passer-by.  She could not do so, without
comparing herself with Miss Larolles, the inimitable Miss Larolles; but
still she did it, and not with much happier effect; though by what
seemed prosperity in the shape of an early abdication in her next
neighbours, she found herself at the very end of the bench before the
concert closed.

Such was her situation, with a vacant space at hand, when Captain
Wentworth was again in sight.  She saw him not far off.  He saw her
too; yet he looked grave, and seemed irresolute, and only by very slow
degrees came at last near enough to speak to her.  She felt that
something must be the matter.  The change was indubitable.  The
difference between his present air and what it had been in the Octagon
Room was strikingly great.  Why was it?  She thought of her father, of
Lady Russell.  Could there have been any unpleasant glances?  He began
by speaking of the concert gravely, more like the Captain Wentworth of
Uppercross; owned himself disappointed, had expected singing; and in
short, must confess that he should not be sorry when it was over.  Anne
replied, and spoke in 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 improvement held; he even looked down towards the
bench, as if he saw a place on it well worth occupying; when at that
moment a touch on her shoulder obliged Anne to turn round.  It came
from Mr Elliot.  He begged her pardon, but she must be applied to, to
explain Italian again.  Miss Carteret was very anxious to have a
general idea of what was next to be sung.  Anne could not refuse; but
never had she sacrificed to politeness with a more suffering spirit.

A few minutes, though as few as possible, were inevitably consumed; and
when her own mistress again, when able to turn and look as she had done
before, she found herself accosted by Captain Wentworth, in a reserved
yet hurried sort of farewell.  "He must wish her good night; he was
going; he should get home as fast as he could."

"Is not this song worth staying for?" said Anne, suddenly struck by an
idea which made her yet more anxious to be encouraging.

"No!" he replied impressively, "there is nothing worth my staying for;"
and he was gone directly.

Jealousy of Mr Elliot!  It was the only intelligible motive.  Captain
Wentworth jealous of her affection!  Could she have believed it a week
ago; three hours ago!  For a moment the gratification was exquisite.
But, alas! there were very different thoughts to succeed.  How was such
jealousy to be quieted?  How was the truth to reach him?  How, in all
the peculiar disadvantages of their respective situations, would he
ever learn of her real sentiments?  It was misery to think of Mr
Elliot's attentions.  Their evil was incalculable.



Chapter 21


Anne recollected with pleasure the next morning her promise of going to
Mrs Smith, meaning that it should engage her from home at the time when
Mr Elliot would be most likely to call; for to avoid Mr Elliot was
almost a first object.

She felt a great deal of good-will towards him.  In spite of the
mischief of his attentions, she owed him gratitude and regard, perhaps
compassion.  She could not help thinking much of the extraordinary
circumstances attending their acquaintance, of the right which he
seemed to have to interest her, by everything in situation, by his own
sentiments, by his early prepossession.  It was altogether very
extraordinary; flattering, but painful.  There was much to regret.  How
she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case,
was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and be the
conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be
his for ever.  Their union, she believed, could not divide her more
from other men, than their final separation.

Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could
never have passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting
with from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings.  It was almost enough to
spread purification and perfume all the way.

She was sure of a pleasant reception; and her friend seemed this
morning particularly obliged to her for coming, seemed hardly to have
expected her, though it had been an appointment.

An account of the concert was immediately claimed; and Anne's
recollections of the concert were quite happy enough to animate her
features and make her rejoice to talk of it.  All that she could tell
she told most gladly, but the all was little for one who had been
there, and unsatisfactory for such an enquirer as Mrs Smith, who had
already heard, through the short cut of a laundress and a waiter,
rather more of the general success and produce of the evening than Anne
could relate, and who now asked in vain for several particulars of the
company.  Everybody of any consequence or notoriety in Bath was well
know by name to Mrs Smith.

"The little Durands were there, I conclude," said she, "with their
mouths open to catch the music, like unfledged sparrows ready to be
fed.  They never miss a concert."

"Yes; I did not see them myself, but I heard Mr Elliot say they were in
the room."

"The Ibbotsons, were they there? and the two new beauties, with the
tall Irish officer, who is talked of for one of them."

"I do not know.  I do not think they were."

"Old Lady Mary Maclean?  I need not ask after her.  She never misses, I
know; and you must have seen her.  She must have been in your own
circle; for as you went with Lady Dalrymple, you were in the seats of
grandeur, round the orchestra, of course."

"No, that was what I dreaded.  It would have been very unpleasant to me
in every respect.  But happily Lady Dalrymple always chooses to be
farther off; and we were exceedingly well placed, that is, for hearing;
I must not say for seeing, because I appear to have seen very little."

"Oh! you saw enough for your own amusement.  I can understand.  There
is a sort of domestic enjoyment to be known even in a crowd, and this
you had.  You were a large party in yourselves, and you wanted nothing
beyond."

"But I ought to have looked about me more," said Anne, conscious while
she spoke that there had in fact been no want of looking about, that
the object only had been deficient.

"No, no; you were better employed.  You need not tell me that you had a
pleasant evening.  I see it in your eye.  I perfectly see how the hours
passed:  that you had always something agreeable to listen to.  In the
intervals of the concert it was conversation."

Anne half smiled and said, "Do you see that in my eye?"

"Yes, I do.  Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in
company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in
the world, the person who interests you at this present time more than
all the rest of the world put together."

A blush overspread Anne's cheeks.  She could say nothing.

"And such being the case," continued Mrs Smith, after a short pause, "I
hope you believe that I do know how to value your kindness in coming to
me this morning.  It is really very good of you to come and sit with
me, when you must have so many pleasanter demands upon your time."

Anne heard nothing of this.  She was still in the astonishment and
confusion excited by her friend's penetration, unable to imagine how
any report of Captain Wentworth could have reached her.  After another
short silence--

"Pray," said Mrs Smith, "is Mr Elliot aware of your acquaintance with
me?  Does he know that I am in Bath?"

"Mr Elliot!" repeated Anne, looking up surprised.  A moment's
reflection shewed her the mistake she had been under.  She caught it
instantaneously; and recovering her courage with the feeling of safety,
soon added, more composedly, "Are you acquainted with Mr Elliot?"

"I have been a good deal acquainted with him," replied Mrs Smith,
gravely, "but it seems worn out now.  It is a great while since we met."

"I was not at all aware of this.  You never mentioned it before.  Had I
known it, I would have had the pleasure of talking to him about you."

"To confess the truth," said Mrs Smith, assuming her usual air of
cheerfulness, "that is exactly the pleasure I want you to have.  I want
you to talk about me to Mr Elliot.  I want your interest with him.  He
can be of essential service to me; and if you would have the goodness,
my dear Miss Elliot, to make it an object to yourself, of course it is
done."

"I should be extremely happy; I hope you cannot doubt my willingness to
be of even the slightest use to you," replied Anne; "but I suspect that
you are considering me as having a higher claim on Mr Elliot, a greater
right to influence him, than is really the case.  I am sure you have,
somehow or other, imbibed such a notion.  You must consider me only as
Mr Elliot's relation.  If in that light there is anything which you
suppose his cousin might fairly ask of him, I beg you would not
hesitate to employ me."

Mrs Smith gave her a penetrating glance, and then, smiling, said--

"I have been a little premature, I perceive; I beg your pardon.  I
ought to have waited for official information.  But now, my dear Miss
Elliot, as an old friend, do give me a hint as to when I may speak.
Next week?  To be sure by next week I may be allowed to think it all
settled, and build my own selfish schemes on Mr Elliot's good fortune."

"No," replied Anne, "nor next week, nor next, nor next.  I assure you
that nothing of the sort you are thinking of will be settled any week.
I am not going to marry Mr Elliot.  I should like to know why you
imagine I am?"

Mrs Smith looked at her again, looked earnestly, smiled, shook her
head, and exclaimed--

"Now, how I do wish I understood you!  How I do wish I knew what you
were at!  I have a great idea that you do not design to be cruel, when
the right moment occurs.  Till it does come, you know, we women never
mean to have anybody.  It is a thing of course among us, that every man
is refused, till he offers.  But why should you be cruel?  Let me plead
for my--present friend I cannot call him, but for my former friend.
Where can you look for a more suitable match?  Where could you expect a
more gentlemanlike, agreeable man?  Let me recommend Mr Elliot.  I am
sure you hear nothing but good of him from Colonel Wallis; and who can
know him better than Colonel Wallis?"

"My dear Mrs Smith, Mr Elliot's wife has not been dead much above half
a year.  He ought not to be supposed to be paying his addresses to any
one."

"Oh! if these are your only objections," cried Mrs Smith, archly, "Mr
Elliot is safe, and I shall give myself no more trouble about him.  Do
not forget me when you are married, that's all.  Let him know me to be
a friend of yours, and then he will think little of the trouble
required, which it is very natural for him now, with so many affairs
and engagements of his own, to avoid and get rid of as he can; very
natural, perhaps.  Ninety-nine out of a hundred would do the same.  Of
course, he cannot be aware of the importance to me.  Well, my dear Miss
Elliot, I hope and trust you will be very happy.  Mr Elliot has sense
to understand the value of such a woman.  Your peace will not be
shipwrecked as mine has been.  You are safe in all worldly matters, and
safe in his character.  He will not be led astray; he will not be
misled by others to his ruin."

"No," said Anne, "I can readily believe all that of my cousin.  He
seems to have a calm decided temper, not at all open to dangerous
impressions.  I consider him with great respect.  I have no reason,
from any thing that has fallen within my observation, to do otherwise.
But I have not known him long; and he is not a man, I think, to be
known intimately soon.  Will not this manner of speaking of him, Mrs
Smith, convince you that he is nothing to me?  Surely this must be calm
enough.  And, upon my word, he is nothing to me.  Should he ever
propose to me (which I have very little reason to imagine he has any
thought of doing), I shall not accept him.  I assure you I shall not.
I assure you, Mr Elliot had not the share which you have been
supposing, in whatever pleasure the concert of last night might afford:
not Mr Elliot; it is not Mr Elliot that--"

She stopped, regretting with a deep blush that she had implied so much;
but less would hardly have been sufficient.  Mrs Smith would hardly
have believed so soon in Mr Elliot's failure, but from the perception
of there being a somebody else.  As it was, she instantly submitted,
and with all the semblance of seeing nothing beyond; and Anne, eager to
escape farther notice, was impatient to know why Mrs Smith should have
fancied she was to marry Mr Elliot; where she could have received the
idea, or from whom she could have heard it.

"Do tell me how it first came into your head."

"It first came into my head," replied Mrs Smith, "upon finding how much
you were together, and feeling it to be the most probable thing in the
world to be wished for by everybody belonging to either of you; and you
may depend upon it that all your acquaintance have disposed of you in
the same way.  But I never heard it spoken of till two days ago."

"And has it indeed been spoken of?"

"Did you observe the woman who opened the door to you when you called
yesterday?"

"No.  Was not it Mrs Speed, as usual, or the maid?  I observed no one
in particular."

"It was my friend Mrs Rooke; Nurse Rooke; who, by-the-bye, had a great
curiosity to see you, and was delighted to be in the way to let you in.
She came away from Marlborough Buildings only on Sunday; and she it was
who told me you were to marry Mr Elliot.  She had had it from Mrs
Wallis herself, which did not seem bad authority.  She sat an hour with
me on Monday evening, and gave me the whole history." "The whole
history," repeated Anne, laughing.  "She could not make a very long
history, I think, of one such little article of unfounded news."

Mrs Smith said nothing.

"But," continued Anne, presently, "though there is no truth in my
having this claim on Mr Elliot, I should be extremely happy to be of
use to you in any way that I could.  Shall I mention to him your being
in Bath?  Shall I take any message?"

"No, I thank you:  no, certainly not.  In the warmth of the moment, and
under a mistaken impression, I might, perhaps, have endeavoured to
interest you in some circumstances; but not now.  No, I thank you, I
have nothing to trouble you with."

"I think you spoke of having known Mr Elliot many years?"

"I did."

"Not before he was married, I suppose?"

"Yes; he was not married when I knew him first."

"And--were you much acquainted?"

"Intimately."

"Indeed!  Then do tell me what he was at that time of life.  I have a
great curiosity to know what Mr Elliot was as a very young man.  Was he
at all such as he appears now?"

"I have not seen Mr Elliot these three years," was Mrs Smith's answer,
given so gravely that it was impossible to pursue the subject farther;
and Anne felt that she had gained nothing but an increase of curiosity.
They were both silent:  Mrs Smith very thoughtful.  At last--

"I beg your pardon, my dear Miss Elliot," she cried, in her natural
tone of cordiality, "I beg your pardon for the short answers I have
been giving you, but I have been uncertain what I ought to do.  I have
been doubting and considering as to what I ought to tell you.  There
were many things to be taken into the account.  One hates to be
officious, to be giving bad impressions, making mischief.  Even the
smooth surface of family-union seems worth preserving, though there may
be nothing durable beneath.  However, I have determined; I think I am
right; I think you ought to be made acquainted with Mr Elliot's real
character.  Though I fully believe that, at present, you have not the
smallest intention of accepting him, there is no saying what may
happen.  You might, some time or other, be differently affected towards
him.  Hear the truth, therefore, now, while you are unprejudiced.  Mr
Elliot is a man without heart or conscience; a designing, wary,
cold-blooded being, who thinks only of himself; whom for his own
interest or ease, would be guilty of any cruelty, or any treachery,
that could be perpetrated without risk of his general character.  He
has no feeling for others.  Those whom he has been the chief cause of
leading into ruin, he can neglect and desert without the smallest
compunction.  He is totally beyond the reach of any sentiment of
justice or compassion.  Oh! he is black at heart, hollow and black!"

Anne's astonished air, and exclamation of wonder, made her pause, and
in a calmer manner, she added,

"My expressions startle you.  You must allow for an injured, angry
woman.  But I will try to command myself.  I will not abuse him.  I
will only tell you what I have found him.  Facts shall speak.  He was
the intimate friend of my dear husband, who trusted and loved him, and
thought him as good as himself.  The intimacy had been formed before
our marriage.  I found them most intimate friends; and I, too, became
excessively pleased with Mr Elliot, and entertained the highest opinion
of him.  At nineteen, you know, one does not think very seriously; but
Mr Elliot appeared to me quite as good as others, and much more
agreeable than most others, and we were almost always together.  We
were principally in town, living in very good style.  He was then the
inferior in circumstances; he was then the poor one; he had chambers in
the Temple, and it was as much as he could do to support the appearance
of a gentleman.  He had always a home with us whenever he chose it; he
was always welcome; he was like a brother.  My poor Charles, who had
the finest, most generous spirit in the world, would have divided his
last farthing with him; and I know that his purse was open to him; I
know that he often assisted him."

"This must have been about that very period of Mr Elliot's life," said
Anne, "which has always excited my particular curiosity.  It must have
been about the same time that he became known to my father and sister.
I never knew him myself; I only heard of him; but there was a something
in his conduct then, with regard to my father and sister, and
afterwards in the circumstances of his marriage, which I never could
quite reconcile with present times.  It seemed to announce a different
sort of man."

"I know it all, I know it all," cried Mrs Smith.  "He had been
introduced to Sir Walter and your sister before I was acquainted with
him, but I heard him speak of them for ever.  I know he was invited and
encouraged, and I know he did not choose to go.  I can satisfy you,
perhaps, on points which you would little expect; and as to his
marriage, I knew all about it at the time.  I was privy to all the fors
and againsts; I was the friend to whom he confided his hopes and plans;
and though I did not know his wife previously, her inferior situation
in society, indeed, rendered that impossible, yet I knew her all her
life afterwards, or at least till within the last two years of her
life, and can answer any question you may wish to put."

"Nay," said Anne, "I have no particular enquiry to make about her.  I
have always understood they were not a happy couple.  But I should like
to know why, at that time of his life, he should slight my father's
acquaintance as he did.  My father was certainly disposed to take very
kind and proper notice of him.  Why did Mr Elliot draw back?"

"Mr Elliot," replied Mrs Smith, "at that period of his life, had one
object in view:  to make his fortune, and by a rather quicker process
than the law.  He was determined to make it by marriage.  He was
determined, at least, not to mar it by an imprudent marriage; and I
know it was his belief (whether justly or not, of course I cannot
decide), that your father and sister, in their civilities and
invitations, were designing a match between the heir and the young
lady, and it was impossible that such a match should have answered his
ideas of wealth and independence.  That was his motive for drawing
back, I can assure you.  He told me the whole story.  He had no
concealments with me.  It was curious, that having just left you behind
me in Bath, my first and principal acquaintance on marrying should be
your cousin; and that, through him, I should be continually hearing of
your father and sister.  He described one Miss Elliot, and I thought
very affectionately of the other."

"Perhaps," cried Anne, struck by a sudden idea, "you sometimes spoke of
me to Mr Elliot?"

"To be sure I did; very often.  I used to boast of my own Anne Elliot,
and vouch for your being a very different creature from--"

She checked herself just in time.

"This accounts for something which Mr Elliot said last night," cried
Anne.  "This explains it.  I found he had been used to hear of me.  I
could not comprehend how.  What wild imaginations one forms where dear
self is concerned!  How sure to be mistaken!  But I beg your pardon; I
have interrupted you.  Mr Elliot married then completely for money?
The circumstances, probably, which first opened your eyes to his
character."

Mrs Smith hesitated a little here.  "Oh! those things are too common.
When one lives in the world, a man or woman's marrying for money is too
common to strike one as it ought.  I was very young, and associated
only with the young, and we were a thoughtless, gay set, without any
strict rules of conduct.  We lived for enjoyment.  I think differently
now; time and sickness and sorrow have given me other notions; but at
that period I must own I saw nothing reprehensible in what Mr Elliot
was doing.  'To do the best for himself,' passed as a duty."

"But was not she a very low woman?"

"Yes; which I objected to, but he would not regard.  Money, money, was
all that he wanted.  Her father was a grazier, her grandfather had been
a butcher, but that was all nothing.  She was a fine woman, had had a
decent education, was brought forward by some cousins, thrown by chance
into Mr Elliot's company, and fell in love with him; and not a
difficulty or a scruple was there on his side, with respect to her
birth.  All his caution was spent in being secured of the real amount
of her fortune, before he committed himself.  Depend upon it, whatever
esteem Mr Elliot may have for his own situation in life now, as a young
man he had not the smallest value for it.  His chance for the Kellynch
estate was something, but all the honour of the family he held as cheap
as dirt.  I have often heard him declare, that if baronetcies were
saleable, anybody should have his for fifty pounds, arms and motto,
name and livery included; but I will not pretend to repeat half that I
used to hear him say on that subject.  It would not be fair; and yet
you ought to have proof, for what is all this but assertion, and you
shall have proof."

"Indeed, my dear Mrs Smith, I want none," cried Anne.  "You have
asserted nothing contradictory to what Mr Elliot appeared to be some
years ago.  This is all in confirmation, rather, of what we used to
hear and believe.  I am more curious to know why he should be so
different now."

"But for my satisfaction, if you will have the goodness to ring for
Mary; stay:  I am sure you will have the still greater goodness of
going yourself into my bedroom, and bringing me the small inlaid box
which you will find on the upper shelf of the closet."

Anne, seeing her friend to be earnestly bent on it, did as she was
desired.  The box was brought and placed before her, and Mrs Smith,
sighing over it as she unlocked it, said--

"This is full of papers belonging to him, to my husband; a small
portion only of what I had to look over when I lost him.  The letter I
am looking for was one written by Mr Elliot to him before our marriage,
and happened to be saved; why, one can hardly imagine.  But he was
careless and immethodical, like other men, about those things; and when
I came to examine his papers, I found it with others still more
trivial, from different people scattered here and there, while many
letters and memorandums of real importance had been destroyed.  Here it
is; I would not burn it, because being even then very little satisfied
with Mr Elliot, I was determined to preserve every document of former
intimacy.  I have now another motive for being glad that I can produce
it."

This was the letter, directed to "Charles Smith, Esq. Tunbridge Wells,"
and dated from London, as far back as July, 1803:--

"Dear Smith,--I have received yours.  Your kindness almost overpowers
me.  I wish nature had made such hearts as yours more common, but I
have lived three-and-twenty years in the world, and have seen none like
it.  At present, believe me, I have no need of your services, being in
cash again.  Give me joy:  I have got rid of Sir Walter and Miss.  They
are gone back to Kellynch, and almost made me swear to visit them this
summer; but my first visit to Kellynch will be with a surveyor, to tell
me how to bring it with best advantage to the hammer.  The baronet,
nevertheless, is not unlikely to marry again; he is quite fool enough.
If he does, however, they will leave me in peace, which may be a decent
equivalent  for the reversion.  He is worse than last year.

"I wish I had any name but Elliot.  I am sick of it.  The name of
Walter I can drop, thank God! and I desire you will never insult me
with my second W. again, meaning, for the rest of my life, to be only
yours truly,--Wm. Elliot."

Such a letter could not be read without putting Anne in a glow; and Mrs
Smith, observing the high colour in her face, said--

"The language, I know, is highly disrespectful.  Though I have forgot
the exact terms, I have a perfect impression of the general meaning.
But it shows you the man.  Mark his professions to my poor husband.
Can any thing be stronger?"

Anne could not immediately get over the shock and mortification of
finding such words applied to her father.  She was obliged to recollect
that her seeing the letter was a violation of the laws of honour, that
no one ought to be judged or to be known by such testimonies, that no
private correspondence could bear the eye of others, before she could
recover calmness enough to return the letter which she had been
meditating over, and say--

"Thank you.  This is full proof undoubtedly; proof of every thing you
were saying.  But why be acquainted with us now?"

"I can explain this too," cried Mrs Smith, smiling.

"Can you really?"

"Yes.  I have shewn you Mr Elliot as he was a dozen years ago, and I
will shew him as he is now.  I cannot produce written proof again, but
I can give as authentic oral testimony as you can desire, of what he is
now wanting, and what he is now doing.  He is no hypocrite now.  He
truly wants to marry you.  His present attentions to your family are
very sincere:  quite from the heart.  I will give you my authority: his
friend Colonel Wallis."

"Colonel Wallis! you are acquainted with him?"

"No.  It does not come to me in quite so direct a line as that; it
takes a bend or two, but nothing of consequence.  The stream is as good
as at first; the little rubbish it collects in the turnings is easily
moved away.  Mr Elliot talks unreservedly to Colonel Wallis of his
views on you, which said Colonel Wallis, I imagine to be, in himself, a
sensible, careful, discerning sort of character; but Colonel Wallis has
a very pretty silly wife, to whom he tells things which he had better
not, and he repeats it all to her.  She in the overflowing spirits of
her recovery, repeats it all to her nurse; and the nurse  knowing my
acquaintance with you, very naturally brings it all to me.  On Monday
evening, my good friend Mrs Rooke let me thus much into the secrets of
Marlborough Buildings.  When I talked of a whole history, therefore,
you see I was not romancing so much as you supposed."

"My dear Mrs Smith, your authority is deficient.  This will not do.  Mr
Elliot's having any views on me will not in the least account for the
efforts he made towards a reconciliation with my father.  That was all
prior to my coming to Bath.  I found them on the most friendly terms
when I arrived."

"I know you did; I know it all perfectly, but--"

"Indeed, Mrs Smith, we must not expect to get real information in such
a line.  Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so
many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in another, can
hardly have much truth left."

"Only give me a hearing.  You will soon be able to judge of the general
credit due, by listening to some particulars which you can yourself
immediately contradict or confirm.  Nobody supposes that you were his
first inducement.  He had seen you indeed, before he came to Bath, and
admired you, but without knowing it to be you.  So says my historian,
at least.  Is this true?  Did he see you last summer or autumn,
'somewhere down in the west,' to use her own words, without knowing it
to be you?"

"He certainly did.  So far it is very true.  At Lyme.  I happened to be
at Lyme."

"Well," continued Mrs Smith, triumphantly, "grant my friend the credit
due to the establishment of the first point asserted.  He saw you then
at Lyme, and liked you so well as to be exceedingly pleased to meet
with you again in Camden Place, as Miss Anne Elliot, and from that
moment, I have no doubt, had a double motive in his visits there.  But
there was another, and an earlier, which I will now explain.  If there
is anything in my story which you know to be either false or
improbable, stop me.  My account states, that your sister's friend, the
lady now staying with you, whom I have heard you mention, came to Bath
with Miss Elliot and Sir Walter as long ago as September (in short when
they first came themselves), and has been staying there ever since;
that she is a clever, insinuating, handsome woman, poor and plausible,
and altogether such in situation and manner, as to give a general idea,
among Sir Walter's acquaintance, of her meaning to be Lady Elliot, and
as general a surprise that Miss Elliot should be apparently, blind to
the danger."

Here Mrs Smith paused a moment; but Anne had not a word to say, and she
continued--

"This was the light in which it appeared to those who knew the family,
long before you returned to it; and Colonel Wallis had his eye upon
your father enough to be sensible of it, though he did not then visit
in Camden Place; but his regard for Mr Elliot gave him an interest in
watching all that was going on there, and when Mr Elliot came to Bath
for a day or two, as he happened to do a little before Christmas,
Colonel Wallis made him acquainted with the appearance of things, and
the reports beginning to prevail.  Now you are to understand, that time
had worked a very material change in Mr Elliot's opinions as to the
value of a baronetcy.  Upon all points of blood and connexion he is a
completely altered man.  Having long had as much money as he could
spend, nothing to wish for on the side of avarice or indulgence, he has
been gradually learning to pin his happiness upon the consequence he is
heir to.  I thought it coming on before our acquaintance ceased, but it
is now a confirmed feeling.  He cannot bear the idea of not being Sir
William.  You may guess, therefore, that the news he heard from his
friend could not be very agreeable, and you may guess what it produced;
the resolution of coming back to Bath as soon as possible, and of
fixing himself here for a time, with the view of renewing his former
acquaintance, and recovering such a footing in the family as might give
him the means of ascertaining the degree of his danger, and of
circumventing the lady if he found it material.  This was agreed upon
between the two friends as the only thing to be done; and Colonel
Wallis was to assist in every way that he could.  He was to be
introduced, and Mrs Wallis was to be introduced, and everybody was to
be introduced.  Mr Elliot came back accordingly; and on application was
forgiven, as you know, and re-admitted into the family; and there it
was his constant object, and his only object (till your arrival added
another motive), to watch Sir Walter and Mrs Clay.  He omitted no
opportunity of being with them, threw himself in their way, called at
all hours; but I need not be particular on this subject.  You can
imagine what an artful man would do; and with this guide, perhaps, may
recollect what you have seen him do."

"Yes," said Anne, "you tell me nothing which does not accord with what
I have known, or could imagine.  There is always something offensive in
the details of cunning.  The manoeuvres of selfishness and duplicity
must ever be revolting, but I have heard nothing which really surprises
me.  I know those who would be shocked by such a representation of Mr
Elliot, who would have difficulty in believing it; but I have never
been satisfied.  I have always wanted some other motive for his conduct
than appeared.  I should like to know his present opinion, as to the
probability of the event he has been in dread of; whether he considers
the danger to be lessening or not."

"Lessening, I understand," replied Mrs Smith.  "He thinks Mrs Clay
afraid of him, aware that he sees through her, and not daring to
proceed as she might do in his absence.  But since he must be absent
some time or other, I do not perceive how he can ever be secure while
she holds her present influence.  Mrs Wallis has an amusing idea, as
nurse tells me, that it is to be put into the marriage articles when
you and Mr Elliot marry, that your father is not to marry Mrs Clay.  A
scheme, worthy of Mrs Wallis's understanding, by all accounts; but my
sensible nurse Rooke sees the absurdity of it.  'Why, to be sure,
ma'am,' said she, 'it would not prevent his marrying anybody else.'
And, indeed, to own the truth, I do not think nurse, in her heart, is a
very strenuous opposer of Sir Walter's making a second match.  She must
be allowed to be a favourer of matrimony, you know; and (since self
will intrude) who can say that she may not have some flying visions of
attending the next Lady Elliot, through Mrs Wallis's recommendation?"

"I am very glad to know all this," said Anne, after a little
thoughtfulness.  "It will be more painful to me in some respects to be
in company with him, but I shall know better what to do.  My line of
conduct will be more direct.  Mr Elliot is evidently a disingenuous,
artificial, worldly man, who has never had any better principle to
guide him than selfishness."

But Mr Elliot was not done with.  Mrs Smith had been carried away from
her first direction, and Anne had forgotten, in the interest of her own
family concerns, how much had been originally implied against him; but
her attention was now called to the explanation of those first hints,
and she listened to a recital which, if it did not perfectly justify
the unqualified bitterness of Mrs Smith, proved him to have been very
unfeeling in his conduct towards her; very deficient both in justice
and compassion.

She learned that (the intimacy between them continuing unimpaired by Mr
Elliot's marriage) they had been as before always together, and Mr
Elliot had led his friend into expenses much beyond his fortune.  Mrs
Smith did not want to take blame to herself, and was most tender of
throwing any on her husband; but Anne could collect that their income
had never been equal to their style of living, and that from the first
there had been a great deal of general and joint extravagance.  From
his wife's account of him she could discern Mr Smith to have been a man
of warm feelings, easy temper, careless habits, and not strong
understanding, much more amiable than his friend, and very unlike him,
led by him, and probably despised by him.  Mr Elliot, raised by his
marriage to great affluence, and disposed to every gratification of
pleasure and vanity which could be commanded without involving himself,
(for with all his self-indulgence he had become a prudent man), and
beginning to be rich, just as his friend ought to have found himself to
be poor, seemed to have had no concern at all for that friend's
probable finances, but, on the contrary, had been prompting and
encouraging expenses which could end only in ruin; and the Smiths
accordingly had been ruined.

The husband had died just in time to be spared the full knowledge of
it.  They had previously known embarrassments enough to try the
friendship of their friends, and to prove that Mr Elliot's had better
not be tried; but it was not till his death that the wretched state of
his affairs was fully known.  With a confidence in Mr Elliot's regard,
more creditable to his feelings than his judgement, Mr Smith had
appointed him the executor of his will; but Mr Elliot would not act,
and the difficulties and distress which this refusal had heaped on her,
in addition to the inevitable sufferings of her situation, had been
such as could not be related without anguish of spirit, or listened to
without corresponding indignation.

Anne was shewn some letters of his on the occasion, answers to urgent
applications from Mrs Smith, which all breathed the same stern
resolution of not engaging in a fruitless trouble, and, under a cold
civility, the same hard-hearted indifference to any of the evils it
might bring on her.  It was a dreadful picture of ingratitude and
inhumanity; and Anne felt, at some moments, that no flagrant open crime
could have been worse.  She had a great deal to listen to; all the
particulars of past sad scenes, all the minutiae of distress upon
distress, which in former conversations had been merely hinted at, were
dwelt on now with a natural indulgence.  Anne could perfectly
comprehend the exquisite relief, and was only the more inclined to
wonder at the composure of her friend's usual state of mind.

There was one circumstance in the history of her grievances of
particular irritation.  She had good reason to believe that some
property of her husband in the West Indies, which had been for many
years under a sort of sequestration for the payment of its own
incumbrances, might be recoverable by proper measures; and this
property, though not large, would be enough to make her comparatively
rich.  But there was nobody to stir in it.  Mr Elliot would do nothing,
and she could do nothing herself, equally disabled from personal
exertion by her state of bodily weakness, and from employing others by
her want of money.  She had no natural connexions to assist her even
with their counsel, and she could not afford to purchase the assistance
of the law.  This was a cruel aggravation of actually 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 weakening her claims, was hard to bear.

It was on this point that she had hoped to engage Anne's good offices
with Mr Elliot.  She had previously, in the anticipation of their
marriage, been very apprehensive of losing her friend by it; but on
being assured that he could have made no attempt of that nature, since
he did not even know her to be in Bath, it immediately occurred, that
something might be done in her favour by the influence of the woman he
loved, and she had been hastily preparing to interest Anne's feelings,
as far as the observances due to Mr Elliot's character would allow,
when Anne's refutation of the supposed engagement changed the face of
everything; and while it took from her the new-formed hope of
succeeding in the object of her first anxiety, left her at least the
comfort of telling the whole story her own way.

After listening to this full description of Mr Elliot, Anne could not
but express some surprise at Mrs Smith's having spoken of him so
favourably in the beginning of their conversation.  "She had seemed to
recommend and praise him!"

"My dear," was Mrs Smith's reply, "there was nothing else to be done.
I considered your marrying him as certain, though he might not yet have
made the offer, and I could no more speak the truth of him, than if he
had been your husband.  My heart bled for you, as I talked of
happiness; and yet he is sensible, he is agreeable, and with such a
woman as you, it was not absolutely hopeless.  He was very unkind to
his first wife.  They were wretched together.  But she was too ignorant
and giddy for respect, and he had never loved her.  I was willing to
hope that you must fare better."

Anne could just acknowledge within herself such a possibility of having
been induced to marry him, as made her shudder at the idea of the
misery which must have followed.  It was just possible that she might
have been persuaded by Lady Russell!  And under such a supposition,
which would have been most miserable, when time had disclosed all, too
late?

It was very desirable that Lady Russell should be no longer deceived;
and one of the concluding arrangements of this important conference,
which carried them through the greater part of the morning, was, that
Anne had full liberty to communicate to her friend everything relative
to Mrs Smith, in which his conduct was involved.



Chapter 22


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


She found, on reaching home, that she had, as she intended, escaped
seeing Mr Elliot; that he had called and paid them a long morning
visit; but hardly had she congratulated herself, and felt safe, when
she heard that he was coming again in the evening.

"I had not the smallest intention of asking him," said Elizabeth, with
affected carelessness, "but he gave so many hints; so Mrs Clay says, at
least."

"Indeed, I do say it.  I never saw anybody in my life spell harder for
an invitation.  Poor man!  I was really in pain for him; for your
hard-hearted sister, Miss Anne, seems bent on cruelty."

"Oh!" cried Elizabeth, "I have been rather too much used to the game to
be soon overcome by a gentleman's hints.  However, when I found how
excessively he was regretting that he should miss my father this
morning, I gave way immediately, for I would never really omit an
opportunity of 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."

"Quite delightful!" cried Mrs Clay, not daring, however, to turn her
eyes towards Anne.  "Exactly like father and son!  Dear Miss Elliot,
may I not say father and son?"

"Oh! I lay no embargo on any body's words.  If you will have such
ideas!  But, upon my word, I am scarcely sensible of his attentions
being beyond those of other men."

"My dear Miss Elliot!" exclaimed Mrs Clay, lifting her hands and eyes,
and sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence.

"Well, my dear Penelope, you need not be so alarmed about him.  I did
invite him, you know.  I sent him away with smiles.  When I found he
was really going to his friends at Thornberry Park for the whole day
to-morrow, I had compassion on him."

Anne admired the good acting of the friend, in being able to shew such
pleasure as she did, in the expectation and in the actual arrival of
the very person whose presence must really be interfering with her
prime object.  It was impossible but that Mrs Clay must hate the sight
of Mr Elliot; and yet she could assume a most obliging, placid look,
and appear quite satisfied with the curtailed license of devoting
herself only half as much to Sir Walter as she would have done
otherwise.

To Anne herself it was most distressing to see Mr Elliot enter the
room; and quite painful to have him approach and speak to her.  She had
been used before to feel that he could not be always quite sincere, but
now she saw insincerity in everything.  His attentive deference to her
father, contrasted with his former language, was odious; and when she
thought of his cruel conduct towards Mrs Smith, she could hardly bear
the sight of his present smiles and mildness, or the sound of his
artificial good sentiments.

She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might provoke a
remonstrance on his side.  It was a great object to her to escape all
enquiry or eclat; but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to
him as might be compatible with their relationship; and to retrace, as
quietly as she could, the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had
been gradually led along.  She was accordingly more guarded, and more
cool, than she had been the night before.

He wanted to animate her curiosity again as to how and where he could
have heard her formerly praised; wanted very much to be gratified by
more solicitation; but the charm was broken: he found that the heat and
animation of a public room was necessary to kindle his modest cousin's
vanity; he found, at least, that it was not to be done now, by any of
those attempts which he could hazard among the too-commanding claims of
the others.  He little surmised that it was a subject acting now
exactly against his interest, bringing immediately to her thoughts all
those parts of his conduct which were least excusable.

She had some satisfaction in finding that he was really going out of
Bath the next morning, going early, and that he would be gone the
greater part of two days.  He was invited again to Camden Place the
very evening of his return; but from Thursday to Saturday evening his
absence was certain.  It was bad enough that a Mrs Clay should be
always before her; but that a deeper hypocrite should be added to their
party, seemed the destruction of everything like peace and comfort.  It
was so humiliating to reflect on the constant deception 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 necessary communication; and she would have gone
directly after breakfast, but that Mrs Clay was also going out on some
obliging purpose of saving her sister trouble, which determined her to
wait till she might be safe from such a companion.  She saw Mrs Clay
fairly off, therefore, before she began to talk of spending the morning
in Rivers Street.

"Very well," said Elizabeth, "I have nothing to send but my love.  Oh!
you may as well take back that tiresome book she would lend me, and
pretend I have read it through.  I really cannot be plaguing myself for
ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out.
Lady Russell quite bores one with her new publications.  You need not
tell her so, but I thought her dress hideous the other night.  I used
to think she had some taste in dress, but I was ashamed of her at the
concert.  Something so formal and _arrangé_ 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, remembering the preconcerted visits, at all hours, of Mr
Elliot, would have expected him, but for his known engagement seven
miles off.  After the usual period of suspense, the usual sounds of
approach were heard, and "Mr and Mrs Charles Musgrove" were ushered
into the room.

Surprise was the strongest emotion raised by their appearance; but Anne
was really glad to see them; and the others were not so sorry but that
they could put on a decent air of welcome; and as soon as it became
clear that these, their nearest relations, were not arrived with 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, beside their two selves.  He gave her a very plain,
intelligible account of the whole; a narration in which she saw a great
deal of most characteristic proceeding.  The scheme had received its
first impulse by Captain Harville's wanting to come to Bath on
business.  He had begun to talk of it a week ago; and by way of doing
something, as shooting was over, Charles had proposed coming with him,
and Mrs Harville had seemed to like the idea of it very much, as an
advantage to her husband; but Mary could not bear to be left, and had
made herself so unhappy about it, that for a day or two everything
seemed to be in suspense, or at an end.  But then, it had been taken up
by his father and mother.  His mother had some old friends in Bath whom
she wanted to see; it was thought a good opportunity for Henrietta to
come and buy wedding-clothes for herself and her sister; and, in short,
it ended in being his mother's party, that everything might be
comfortable and easy to Captain Harville; and he and Mary were included
in it by way of general convenience.  They had arrived late the night
before.  Mrs Harville, her children, and Captain Benwick, remained with
Mr Musgrove and Louisa at Uppercross.

Anne's only surprise was, that affairs should be in forwardness enough
for Henrietta's wedding-clothes to be talked of.  She had imagined such
difficulties of fortune to exist there as must prevent the marriage
from being near at hand; but she learned from Charles that, very
recently, (since Mary's last letter to herself), Charles Hayter had
been applied to by a friend to hold a living for a youth who could not
possibly claim it under many years; and that on the strength of his
present income, with almost a certainty of something more permanent
long before the term in question, the two families had consented to the
young people's wishes, and that their marriage was likely to take place
in a few months, quite as soon as Louisa's.  "And a very good living it
was," Charles added:  "only five-and-twenty miles from Uppercross, and
in a very fine country: fine part of Dorsetshire.  In the centre of
some of the best preserves in the kingdom, surrounded by three great
proprietors, each more careful and jealous than the other; and to two
of the three at least, Charles Hayter might get a special
recommendation.  Not that he will value it as he ought," he observed,
"Charles is too cool about sporting. That's the worst of him."

"I am extremely glad, indeed," cried Anne, "particularly glad that this
should happen; and that of two sisters, who both deserve equally well,
and who have always been such good friends, the pleasant prospect of
one should not be dimming those of the other--that they should be so
equal in their prosperity and comfort.  I hope your father and mother
are quite happy with regard to both."

"Oh! yes.  My father would be well pleased if the gentlemen were
richer, but he has no other fault to find.  Money, you know, coming
down with money--two daughters at once--it cannot be a very agreeable
operation, and it streightens him as to many things.  However, I do not
mean to say they have not a right to it.  It is very fit they should
have daughters' shares; and I am sure he has always been a very kind,
liberal father to me.  Mary does not above half like Henrietta's match.
She never did, you know.  But she does not do him justice, nor think
enough about Winthrop.  I cannot make her attend to the value of the
property.  It is a very fair match, as times go; and I have liked
Charles Hayter all my life, and I shall not leave off now."

"Such excellent parents as Mr and Mrs Musgrove," exclaimed Anne,
"should be happy in their children's marriages.  They do everything to
confer happiness, I am sure.  What a blessing to young people to be in
such hands!  Your father and mother seem so totally free from all those
ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct and misery,
both in young and old.  I hope you think Louisa perfectly recovered
now?"

He answered rather hesitatingly, "Yes, I believe I do; very much
recovered; but she is altered; there is no running or jumping about, no
laughing or dancing; it is quite different.  If one happens only to
shut the door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young
dab-chick in the water; and Benwick sits at her elbow, reading verses,
or whispering to her, all day long."

Anne could not help laughing.  "That cannot be much to your taste, I
know," said she; "but I do believe him to be an excellent young man."

"To be sure he is.  Nobody doubts it; and I hope you do not think I am
so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and
pleasures as myself.  I have a great value for Benwick; and when one
can but get him to talk, he has plenty to say.  His reading has done
him no harm, for he has fought as well as read.  He is a brave fellow.
I got more acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before.  We
had a famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning in my father's great
barns; and he played his part so well that I have liked him the better
ever since."

Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles's
following the others to admire mirrors and china; but Anne had heard
enough to understand the present state of Uppercross, and rejoice in
its happiness; and though she sighed as she rejoiced, her sigh had none
of the ill-will of envy in it.  She would certainly have risen to their
blessings if she could, but she did not want to lessen theirs.

The visit passed off altogether in high good humour.  Mary was in
excellent spirits, enjoying the gaiety and the change, and so well
satisfied with the journey in her mother-in-law's carriage with four
horses, and with her own complete independence of Camden Place, that
she was exactly in a temper to admire everything as she ought, and
enter most readily into all the superiorities of the house, as they
were detailed to her.  She had no demands on her father or sister, and
her consequence was just enough increased by their handsome
drawing-rooms.

Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal.  She felt that
Mrs Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them; but
she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of
servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been
always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch.  It was a struggle
between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then
Elizabeth was happy again.  These were her internal persuasions: "Old
fashioned notions; country hospitality; we do not profess to give
dinners; few people in Bath do; Lady Alicia never does; did not even
ask her own sister's family, though they were here a month: and I dare
say it would be very inconvenient to Mrs Musgrove; put her quite out of
her way.  I am sure she would rather not come; she cannot feel easy
with us.  I will ask them all for an evening; that will be much better;
that will be a novelty and a treat.  They have not seen two such
drawing rooms before.  They will be delighted to come to-morrow
evening.  It shall be a regular party, small, but most elegant."  And
this satisfied Elizabeth:  and when the invitation was given to the two
present, and promised for the absent, Mary was as completely satisfied.
She was particularly asked to meet Mr Elliot, and be introduced to Lady
Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, who were fortunately already engaged to
come; and she could not have received a more gratifying attention.
Miss Elliot was to have the honour of calling on Mrs Musgrove in the
course of the morning; and Anne walked off with Charles and Mary, to go
and see her and Henrietta directly.

Her plan of sitting with Lady Russell must give way for the present.
They all three called in Rivers Street for a couple of minutes; but
Anne convinced herself that a day's delay of the intended communication
could be of no consequence, and hastened forward to the White Hart, to
see again the friends and companions of the last autumn, with an
eagerness of good-will which many associations contributed to form.

They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and
Anne had the kindest welcome from each.  Henrietta was exactly in that
state of recently-improved views, of fresh-formed happiness, which made
her full of regard and interest for everybody she had ever liked before
at all; and Mrs Musgrove's real affection had been won by her
usefulness when they were in distress.  It was a heartiness, and a
warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad
want of such blessings at home.  She was entreated to give them as much
of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or
rather claimed as part of the family; and, in return, she naturally
fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on
Charles's leaving them together, was listening to Mrs Musgrove's
history of Louisa, and to Henrietta's of herself, giving opinions on
business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help
which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts;
from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to
convince her that she was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well
amused as she generally was, in her station at a window overlooking the
entrance to the Pump Room, could not but have her moments of imagining.

A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected.  A large party in
an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene.  One five minutes
brought a note, the next a parcel; and Anne had not been there half an
hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more than half
filled:  a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs Musgrove,
and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth.  The
appearance of the latter could not be more than the surprise of the
moment.  It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel that this
arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together
again.  Their last meeting had been most important in opening his
feelings; she had derived from it a delightful conviction; but she
feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion, which had
hastened him away from the Concert Room, still governed.  He did not
seem to want to be near enough for conversation.

She tried to be calm, and leave things to take their course, and tried
to dwell much on this argument of rational dependence:--"Surely, if
there be constant attachment on each side, our hearts must understand
each other ere long.  We are not boy and girl, to be captiously
irritable, misled by every moment's inadvertence, and wantonly playing
with our own happiness."  And yet, a few minutes afterwards, she felt
as if their being in company with each other, under their present
circumstances, could only be exposing them to inadvertencies and
misconstructions of the most mischievous kind.

"Anne," cried Mary, still at her window, "there is Mrs Clay, I am sure,
standing under the colonnade, and a gentleman with her.  I saw them
turn the corner from Bath Street just now.  They seemed deep in talk.
Who is it?  Come, and tell me.  Good heavens! I recollect.  It is Mr
Elliot himself."

"No," cried Anne, quickly, "it cannot be Mr Elliot, I assure you.  He
was to leave Bath at nine this morning, and does not come back till
to-morrow."

As she spoke, she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her, the
consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her, and made her regret
that she had said so much, simple as it was.

Mary, resenting that she should be supposed not to know her own cousin,
began talking very warmly about the family features, and protesting
still more positively that it was Mr Elliot, calling again upon Anne to
come and look for herself, but Anne did not mean to stir, and tried to
be cool and unconcerned.  Her distress returned, however, on perceiving
smiles and intelligent glances pass between two or three of the lady
visitors, as if they believed themselves quite in the secret.  It was
evident that the report concerning her had spread, and a short pause
succeeded, which seemed to ensure that it would now spread farther.

"Do come, Anne," cried Mary, "come and look yourself.  You will be too
late if you do not make haste.  They are parting; they are shaking
hands.  He is turning away.  Not know Mr Elliot, indeed!  You seem to
have forgot all about Lyme."

To pacify Mary, and perhaps screen her own embarrassment, Anne did move
quietly to the window.  She was just in time to ascertain that it
really was Mr Elliot, which she had never believed, before he
disappeared on one side, as Mrs Clay walked quickly off on the other;
and checking the surprise which she could not but feel at such an
appearance of friendly conference between two persons of totally
opposite interest, she calmly said, "Yes, it is Mr Elliot, certainly.
He has changed his hour of going, I suppose, that is all, or I may be
mistaken, I might not attend;" and walked back to her chair,
recomposed, and with the comfortable hope of having acquitted herself
well.

The visitors took their leave; and Charles, having civilly seen them
off, and then made a face at them, and abused them for coming, began
with--

"Well, mother, I have done something for you that you will like.  I
have been to the theatre, and secured a box for to-morrow night.  A'n't
I a good boy?  I know you love a play; and there is room for us all.
It holds nine.  I have engaged Captain Wentworth.  Anne will not be
sorry to join us, I am sure.  We all like a play.  Have not I done
well, mother?"

Mrs Musgrove was good humouredly beginning to express her perfect
readiness for the play, if Henrietta and all the others liked it, when
Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaiming--

"Good heavens, Charles! how can you think of such a thing?  Take a box
for to-morrow night!  Have you forgot that we are engaged to Camden
Place to-morrow night? and that we were most particularly asked to meet
Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, and Mr Elliot, and all the principal
family connexions, on purpose to be introduced to them?  How can you be
so forgetful?"

"Phoo! phoo!" replied Charles, "what's an evening party?  Never worth
remembering.  Your father might have asked us to dinner, I think, if he
had wanted to see us.  You may do as you like, but I shall go to the
play."

"Oh! Charles, I declare it will be too abominable if you do, when you
promised to go."

"No, I did not promise.  I only smirked and bowed, and said the word
'happy.'  There was no promise."

"But you must go, Charles.  It would be unpardonable to fail.  We were
asked on purpose to be introduced.  There was always such a great
connexion between the Dalrymples and ourselves.  Nothing ever happened
on either side that was not announced immediately.  We are quite near
relations, you know; and Mr Elliot too, whom you ought so particularly
to be acquainted with!  Every attention is due to Mr Elliot.  Consider,
my father's heir:  the future representative of the family."

"Don't talk to me about heirs and representatives," cried Charles.  "I
am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the rising
sun.  If I would not go for the sake of your father, I should think it
scandalous to go for the sake of his heir.  What is Mr Elliot to me?"
The careless expression was life to Anne, who saw that Captain
Wentworth was all attention, looking and listening with his whole soul;
and that the last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to
herself.

Charles and Mary still talked on in the same style; he, half serious
and half jesting, maintaining the scheme for the play, and she,
invariably serious, most warmly opposing it, and not omitting to make
it known that, however determined to go to Camden Place herself, she
should not think herself very well used, if they went to the play
without her.  Mrs Musgrove interposed.

"We had better put it off.  Charles, you had much better go back and
change the box for Tuesday.  It would be a pity to be divided, and we
should be losing Miss Anne, too, if there is a party at her father's;
and I am sure neither Henrietta nor I should care at all for the play,
if Miss Anne could not be with us."

Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness; and quite as much so
for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying--

"If it depended only on my inclination, ma'am, the party at home
(excepting on Mary's account) would not be the smallest impediment.  I
have no pleasure in the sort of meeting, and should be too happy to
change it for a play, and with you.  But, it had better not be
attempted, perhaps."  She had spoken it; but she trembled when it was
done, conscious that her words were listened to, and daring not even to
try to observe their effect.

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

Captain Wentworth left his seat, and walked to the fire-place; probably
for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and taking a
station, with less bare-faced design, by Anne.

"You have not been long enough in Bath," said he, "to enjoy the evening
parties of the place."

"Oh! no.  The usual character of them has nothing for me.  I am no
card-player."

"You were not formerly, I know.  You did not use to like cards; but
time makes many changes."

"I am not yet so much changed," cried Anne, and stopped, fearing she
hardly knew what misconstruction.  After waiting a few moments he said,
and as if it were the result of immediate feeling, "It is a period,
indeed!  Eight years and a half is a period."

Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's imagination
to ponder over in a calmer hour; for while still hearing the sounds he
had uttered, she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta, eager to
make use of the present leisure for getting out, and calling on her
companions to lose no time, lest somebody else should come in.

They were obliged to move.  Anne talked of being perfectly ready, and
tried to look it; but she felt that could Henrietta have known the
regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair, in preparing
to quit the room, she would have found, in all her own sensations for
her cousin, in the very security of his affection, wherewith to pity
her.

Their preparations, however, were stopped short.  Alarming sounds were
heard; other visitors approached, and the door was thrown open for Sir
Walter and Miss Elliot, whose entrance seemed to give a general chill.
Anne felt an instant oppression, and wherever she looked saw symptoms
of the same.  The comfort, the freedom, the gaiety of the room was
over, hushed into cold composure, determined silence, or insipid talk,
to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister.  How
mortifying to feel that it was so!

Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular.  Captain Wentworth was
acknowledged again by each, by Elizabeth more graciously than before.
She even addressed him once, and looked at him more than once.
Elizabeth was, in fact, revolving a great measure.  The sequel
explained it.  After the waste of a few minutes in saying the proper
nothings, she began to give the invitation which was to comprise all
the remaining dues of the Musgroves.  "To-morrow evening, to meet a few
friends:  no formal party." It was all said very gracefully, and the
cards with which she had provided herself, the "Miss Elliot at home,"
were laid on the table, with a courteous, comprehensive smile to all,
and one smile and one card more decidedly for Captain Wentworth.  The
truth was, that Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath to understand
the importance of a man of such an air and appearance as his.  The past
was nothing.  The present was that Captain Wentworth would move about
well in her drawing-room.  The card was pointedly given, and Sir Walter
and Elizabeth arose and disappeared.

The interruption had been short, though severe, and ease and animation
returned to most of those they left as the door shut them out, but not
to Anne.  She could think only of the invitation she had with such
astonishment witnessed, and of the manner in which it had been
received; a manner of doubtful meaning, of surprise rather than
gratification, of polite acknowledgement rather than acceptance.  She
knew him; she saw disdain in his eye, and could not venture to believe
that he had determined to accept such an offering, as an atonement for
all the insolence of the past.  Her spirits sank.  He held the card in
his hand after they were gone, as if deeply considering it.

"Only think of Elizabeth's including everybody!" whispered Mary very
audibly.  "I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted!  You see he
cannot put the card out of his hand."

Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, and his mouth form itself
into a momentary expression of contempt, and turned away, that she
might neither see nor hear more to vex her.

The party separated.  The gentlemen had their own pursuits, the ladies
proceeded on their own business, and they met no more while Anne
belonged to them.  She was earnestly begged to return and dine, and
give them all the rest of the day, but her spirits had been so long
exerted that at present she felt unequal to more, and fit only for
home, where she might be sure of being as silent as she chose.

Promising to be with them the whole of the following morning,
therefore, she closed the fatigues of the present by a toilsome walk to
Camden Place, there to spend the evening chiefly in listening to the
busy arrangements of Elizabeth and Mrs Clay for the morrow's party, the
frequent enumeration of the persons invited, and the continually
improving detail of all the embellishments which were to make it the
most completely elegant of its kind in Bath, while harassing herself
with the never-ending question, of whether Captain Wentworth would come
or not?  They were reckoning him as certain, but with her it was a
gnawing solicitude never appeased for five minutes together.  She
generally thought he would come, because she generally thought he
ought; but it was a case which she could not so shape into any positive
act of duty or discretion, as inevitably to defy the suggestions of
very opposite feelings.

She only roused herself from the broodings of this restless agitation,
to let Mrs Clay know that she had been seen with Mr Elliot three hours
after his being supposed to be out of Bath, for having watched in vain
for some intimation of the interview from the lady herself, she
determined to mention it, and it seemed to her there was guilt in Mrs
Clay's face as she listened.  It was transient: cleared away in an
instant; but Anne could imagine she read there the consciousness of
having, by some complication of mutual trick, or some overbearing
authority of his, been obliged to attend (perhaps for half an hour) to
his lectures and restrictions on her designs on Sir Walter.  She
exclaimed, however, with a very tolerable imitation of nature:--

"Oh! dear! very true.  Only think, Miss Elliot, to my great surprise I
met with Mr Elliot in Bath Street.  I was never more astonished.  He
turned back and walked with me to the Pump Yard.  He had been prevented
setting off for Thornberry, but I really forget by what; for I was in a
hurry, and could not much attend, and I can only answer for his being
determined not to be delayed in his return.  He wanted to know how
early he might be admitted to-morrow.  He was full of 'to-morrow,' and
it is very evident that I have been full of it too, ever since I
entered the house, and learnt the extension of your plan and all that
had happened, or my seeing him could never have gone so entirely out of
my head."



Chapter 23


One day only had passed since Anne's conversation with Mrs Smith; but a
keener interest had succeeded, and she was now so little touched by Mr
Elliot's conduct, except by its effects in one quarter, that it became
a matter of course the next morning, still to defer her explanatory
visit in Rivers Street.  She had promised to be with the Musgroves from
breakfast to dinner.  Her faith was plighted, and Mr Elliot's
character, like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head, must live another
day.

She could not keep her appointment punctually, however; the weather was
unfavourable, and she had grieved over the rain on her friends'
account, and felt it very much on her own, before she was able to
attempt the walk.  When she reached the White Hart, and made her way to
the proper apartment, she found herself neither arriving quite in time,
nor the first to arrive.  The party before her were, Mrs Musgrove,
talking to Mrs Croft, and Captain Harville to Captain Wentworth; and
she immediately heard that Mary and Henrietta, too impatient to wait,
had gone out the moment it had cleared, but would be back again soon,
and that the strictest injunctions had been left with Mrs Musgrove to
keep her there till they returned.  She had only to submit, sit down,
be outwardly composed, and feel herself plunged at once in all the
agitations which she had merely laid her account of tasting a little
before the morning closed.  There was no delay, no waste of time.  She
was deep in the happiness of such misery, or the misery of such
happiness, instantly.  Two minutes after her entering the room, Captain
Wentworth said--

"We will write the letter we were talking of, Harville, now, if you
will give me materials."

Materials were at hand, on a separate table; he went to it, and nearly
turning his back to them all, was engrossed by writing.

Mrs Musgrove was giving Mrs Croft the history of her eldest daughter's
engagement, and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which was
perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper.  Anne felt that
she did not belong to the conversation, and yet, as Captain Harville
seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk, she could not avoid hearing
many undesirable particulars; such as, "how Mr Musgrove and my brother
Hayter had met again and again to talk it over; what my brother Hayter
had said one day, and what Mr Musgrove had proposed the next, and what
had occurred to my sister Hayter, and what the young people had wished,
and what I said at first I never could consent to, but was afterwards
persuaded to think might do very well," and a great deal in the same
style of open-hearted communication:  minutiae which, even with every
advantage of taste and delicacy, which good Mrs Musgrove could not
give, could be properly interesting only to the principals.  Mrs Croft
was attending with great good-humour, and whenever she spoke at all, it
was very sensibly.  Anne hoped the gentlemen might each be too much
self-occupied to hear.

"And so, ma'am, all these thing considered," said Mrs Musgrove, in her
powerful whisper, "though we could have wished it different, yet,
altogether, we did not think it fair to stand out any longer, for
Charles Hayter was quite wild about it, and Henrietta was pretty near
as bad; and so we thought they had better marry at once, and make the
best of it, as many others have done before them.  At any rate, said I,
it will be better than a long engagement."

"That is precisely what I was going to observe," cried Mrs Croft.  "I
would rather have young people settle on a small income at once, and
have to struggle with a few difficulties together, than be involved in
a long engagement.  I always think that no mutual--"

"Oh! dear Mrs Croft," cried Mrs Musgrove, unable to let her finish her
speech, "there is nothing I so abominate for young people as a long
engagement.  It is what I always protested against for my children.  It
is all very well, I used to say, for young people to be engaged, if
there is a certainty of their being able to marry in six months, or
even in twelve; but a long engagement--"

"Yes, dear ma'am," said Mrs Croft, "or an uncertain engagement, an
engagement which may be long.  To begin without knowing that at such a
time there will be the means of marrying, I hold to be very unsafe and
unwise, and what I think all parents should prevent as far as they can."

Anne found an unexpected interest here.  She felt its application to
herself, felt it in a nervous thrill all over her; and at the same
moment that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table,
Captain Wentworth's pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing,
listening, and he turned round the next instant to give a look, one
quick, conscious look at her.

The two ladies continued to talk, to re-urge the same admitted truths,
and enforce them with such examples of the ill effect of a contrary
practice as had fallen within their observation, but Anne heard nothing
distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in her ear, her mind was in
confusion.

Captain Harville, who had in truth been hearing none of it, now left
his seat, and moved to a window, and Anne seeming to watch him, though
it was from thorough absence of mind, became gradually sensible that he
was inviting her to join him where he stood.  He looked at her with a
smile, and a little motion of the head, which expressed, "Come to me, I
have something to say;" and the unaffected, easy kindness of manner
which denoted the feelings of an older acquaintance than he really was,
strongly enforced the invitation.  She roused herself and went to him.
The window at which he stood was at the other end of the room from
where the two ladies were sitting, and though nearer to Captain
Wentworth's table, not very near.  As she joined him, Captain
Harville's countenance re-assumed the serious, thoughtful expression
which seemed its natural character.

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

"Certainly:  Captain Benwick."

"Yes, and you may guess who it is for.  But," (in a deep tone,) "it was
not done for her.  Miss Elliot, do you remember our walking together at
Lyme, and grieving for him?  I little thought then--but no matter.
This was drawn at the Cape.  He met with a clever young German artist
at the Cape, and in compliance with a promise to my poor sister, sat to
him, and was bringing it home for her; and I have now the charge of
getting it properly set for another!  It was a commission to me!  But
who else was there to employ?  I hope I can allow for him.  I am not
sorry, indeed, to make it over to another.  He undertakes it;" (looking
towards Captain Wentworth,) "he is writing about it now."  And with a
quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding, "Poor Fanny! she would
not have forgotten him so soon!"

"No," replied Anne, in a low, feeling voice. "That I can easily
believe."

"It was not in her nature.  She doted on him."

"It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved."

Captain Harville smiled, as much as to say, "Do you claim that for your
sex?" and she answered the question, smiling also, "Yes.  We certainly
do not forget you as soon as you forget us.  It is, perhaps, our fate
rather than our merit.  We cannot help ourselves.  We live at home,
quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.  You are forced on
exertion.  You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some
sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and
continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions."

"Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men
(which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply to
Benwick.  He has not been forced upon any exertion.  The peace turned
him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us, in our
little family circle, ever since."

"True," said Anne, "very true; I did not recollect; but what shall we
say now, Captain Harville?  If the change be not from outward
circumstances, it must be from within; it must be nature, man's nature,
which has done the business for Captain Benwick."

"No, no, it is not man's nature.  I will not allow it to be more man's
nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or
have loved.  I believe the reverse.  I believe in a true analogy
between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are
the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough
usage, and riding out the heaviest weather."

"Your feelings may be the strongest," replied Anne, "but the same
spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most
tender.  Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived;
which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments.
Nay, it would be too hard upon you, if it were otherwise.  You have
difficulties, and privations, and dangers enough to struggle with.  You
are always labouring and toiling, exposed to every risk and hardship.
Your home, country, friends, all quitted.  Neither time, nor health,
nor life, to be called your own.  It would be hard, indeed" (with a
faltering voice), "if woman's feelings were to be added to all this."

"We shall never agree upon this question," Captain Harville was
beginning to say, when a slight noise called their attention to Captain
Wentworth's hitherto perfectly quiet division of the room.  It was
nothing more than that his pen had fallen down; but Anne was startled
at finding him nearer than she had supposed, and half inclined to
suspect that the pen had only fallen because he had been occupied by
them, striving to catch sounds, which yet she did not think he could
have caught.

"Have you finished your letter?" said Captain Harville.

"Not quite, a few lines more.  I shall have done in five minutes."

"There is no hurry on my side.  I am only ready whenever you are.  I am
in very good anchorage here," (smiling at Anne,) "well supplied, and
want for nothing.  No hurry for a signal at all.  Well, Miss Elliot,"
(lowering his voice,) "as I was saying we shall never agree, I suppose,
upon this point.  No man and woman, would, probably.  But let me
observe that all histories are against you--all stories, prose and
verse.  If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty
quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I
ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon
woman's inconstancy.  Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's
fickleness.  But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men."

"Perhaps I shall.  Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in
books.  Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.
Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been
in their hands.  I will not allow books to prove anything."

"But how shall we prove anything?"

"We never shall.  We never can expect to prove any thing upon such a
point.  It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof.
We each begin, probably, with a little bias towards our own sex; and
upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has
occurred within our own circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps
those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as
cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence, or in some
respect saying what should not be said."

"Ah!" cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, "if I could
but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at
his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off
in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, 'God knows
whether we ever meet again!' And then, if I could convey to you the
glow of his soul when he does see them again; when, coming back after a
twelvemonth's absence, perhaps, and obliged to put into another port,
he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to
deceive himself, and saying, 'They cannot be here till such a day,' but
all the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them
arrive at last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner
still!  If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear
and do, and glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his
existence!  I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!"
pressing his own with emotion.

"Oh!" cried Anne eagerly, "I hope I do justice to all that is felt by
you, and by those who resemble you.  God forbid that I should
undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my
fellow-creatures!  I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to
suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman.
No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married
lives.  I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every
domestic forbearance, so long as--if I may be allowed the
expression--so long as you have an object.  I meanwhile the woman you
love lives, and lives for you.  All the privilege I claim for my own
sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of
loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."

She could not immediately have uttered another sentence; her heart was
too full, her breath too much oppressed.

"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 Benwick, my tongue is tied."

Their attention was called towards the others.  Mrs Croft was taking
leave.

"Here, Frederick, you and I part company, I believe," said she.  "I am
going home, and you have an engagement with your friend.  To-night we
may have the pleasure of all meeting again at your party," (turning to
Anne.)  "We had your sister's card yesterday, and I understood
Frederick had a card too, though I did not see it; and you are
disengaged, Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves?"

Captain Wentworth was folding up a letter in great haste, and either
could not or would not answer fully.

"Yes," said he, "very true; here we separate, but Harville and I shall
soon be after you; that is, Harville, if you are ready, I am in half a
minute.  I know you will not be sorry to be off.  I shall be at your
service in half a minute."

Mrs Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his letter
with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated
air, which shewed impatience to be gone.  Anne 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 crossing the room to the writing table, he drew out a
letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes
of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a time, and hastily collecting his
gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs Musgrove was aware
of his being in it: the work of an instant!

The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond
expression.  The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to "Miss A.
E.--," was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily.
While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also
addressing her!  On the contents of that letter depended all which this
world could do for her.  Anything was possible, anything might be
defied rather than suspense.  Mrs Musgrove had little arrangements of
her own at her own table; to their protection she must trust, and
sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very
spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following
words:


"I can listen no longer in silence.  I must speak to you by such means
as are within my reach.  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half
hope.  Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are
gone for ever.  I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your
own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.  Dare
not say that man forgets sooner than  woman, that his love has an
earlier death.  I have loved none but you.  Unjust I may have been,
weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.  You alone have
brought me to Bath.  For you alone, I think and plan.  Have you not
seen this?  Can you fail to have understood my wishes?  I had not
waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think
you must have penetrated mine.  I can hardly write.  I am every instant
hearing something which overpowers me.  You sink your voice, but I can
distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.
Too good, too excellent creature!  You do us justice, indeed.  You do
believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.  Believe
it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

"I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow
your party, as soon as possible.  A word, a look, will be enough to
decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."


Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from.  Half an hour's
solitude and reflection might have tranquillized her; but the ten
minutes only which now passed before she was interrupted, with all the
restraints of her situation, could do nothing towards tranquillity.
Every moment rather brought fresh agitation.  It was overpowering
happiness.  And before she was beyond the first stage of full
sensation, Charles, Mary, and Henrietta all came in.

The absolute necessity of seeming like herself produced then an
immediate struggle; but after a while she could do no more.  She began
not to understand a word they said, and was obliged to plead
indisposition and excuse herself.  They could then see that she looked
very ill, were shocked and concerned, and would not stir without her
for the world.  This was dreadful.  Would they only have gone away, and
left her in the quiet possession of that room it would have been her
cure; but to have them all standing or waiting around her was
distracting, and in desperation, she said she would go home.

"By all means, my dear," cried Mrs Musgrove, "go home directly, and
take care of yourself, that you may be fit for the evening.  I wish
Sarah was here to doctor you, but I am no doctor myself.  Charles, ring
and order a chair.  She must not walk."

But the chair would never do.  Worse than all!  To lose the possibility
of speaking two words to Captain Wentworth in the course of her quiet,
solitary progress up the town (and she felt almost certain of meeting
him) could not be borne.  The chair was earnestly protested against,
and Mrs Musgrove, who thought only of one sort of illness, having
assured herself with some anxiety, that there had been no fall in the
case; that Anne had not at any time lately slipped down, and got a blow
on her head; that she was perfectly convinced of having had no fall;
could part with her cheerfully, and depend on finding her better at
night.

Anxious to omit no possible precaution, Anne struggled, and said--

"I am afraid, ma'am, that it is not perfectly understood.  Pray be so
good as to mention to the other gentlemen that we hope to see your
whole party this evening.  I am afraid there had been some mistake; and
I wish you particularly to assure Captain Harville and Captain
Wentworth, that we hope to see them both."

"Oh! my dear, it is quite understood, I give you my word.  Captain
Harville has no thought but of going."

"Do you think so?  But I am afraid; and I should be so very sorry.
Will you promise me to mention it, when you see them again?  You will
see them both this morning, I dare say.  Do promise me."

"To be sure I will, if you wish it.  Charles, if you see Captain
Harville anywhere, remember to give Miss Anne's message.  But indeed,
my dear, you need not be uneasy.  Captain Harville holds himself quite
engaged, I'll answer for it; and Captain Wentworth the same, I dare
say."

Anne could do no more; but her heart prophesied some mischance to damp
the perfection of her felicity.  It could not be very lasting, however.
Even if he did not come to Camden Place himself, it would be in her
power to send an intelligible sentence by Captain Harville.  Another
momentary vexation occurred.  Charles, in his real concern and good
nature, would go home with her; there was no preventing him.  This was
almost cruel.  But she could not be long ungrateful; he was sacrificing
an engagement at a gunsmith's, to be of use to her; and she set off
with him, with no feeling but gratitude apparent.

They were on Union Street, when a quicker step behind, a something of
familiar sound, gave her two moments' preparation for the sight of
Captain Wentworth.  He joined them; but, as if irresolute whether to
join or to pass on, said nothing, only looked.  Anne could command
herself enough to receive that look, and not repulsively.  The cheeks
which had been pale now glowed, and the movements which had hesitated
were decided.  He walked by her side.  Presently, struck by a sudden
thought, Charles said--

"Captain Wentworth, which way are you going?  Only to Gay Street, or
farther up the town?"

"I hardly know," replied Captain Wentworth, surprised.

"Are you going as high as Belmont?  Are you going near Camden Place?
Because, if you are, I shall have no scruple in asking you to take my
place, and give Anne your arm to her father's door.  She is rather done
for this morning, and must not go so far without help, and I ought to
be at that fellow's in the Market Place.  He promised me the sight of a
capital gun he is just going to send off; said he would keep it
unpacked to the last possible moment, that I might see it; and if I do
not turn back now, I have no chance.  By his description, a good deal
like the second size double-barrel of mine, which you shot with one day
round Winthrop."

There could not be an objection.  There could be only the most proper
alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined
in and spirits dancing in private rapture.  In half a minute Charles
was at the bottom of Union Street again, and the other two proceeding
together:  and soon words enough had passed between them to decide
their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel
walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a
blessing indeed, and prepare it for all the immortality which the
happiest recollections of their own future lives could bestow.  There
they exchanged again those feelings and those promises which had once
before seemed to secure everything, but which had been followed by so
many, many years of division and estrangement.  There they returned
again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their
re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more
tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and
attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting.  And there, as
they slowly paced the gradual ascent, heedless of every group around
them, seeing neither sauntering politicians, bustling housekeepers,
flirting girls, nor nursery-maids and children, they could indulge in
those retrospections and acknowledgements, and especially in those
explanations of what had directly preceded the present moment, which
were so poignant and so ceaseless in interest.  All the little
variations of the last week were gone through; and of yesterday and
today there could scarcely be an end.

She had not mistaken him.  Jealousy of Mr Elliot had been the retarding
weight, the doubt, the torment.  That had begun to operate in the very
hour of first meeting her in Bath; that had returned, after a short
suspension, to ruin the concert; and that had influenced him in
everything he had said and done, or omitted to say and do, in the last
four-and-twenty hours.  It had been gradually yielding to the better
hopes which her looks, or words, or actions occasionally encouraged; it
had been vanquished at last by those sentiments and those tones which
had reached him while she talked with Captain Harville; and under the
irresistible governance of which he had seized a sheet of paper, and
poured out his feelings.

Of what he had then written, nothing was to be retracted or qualified.
He persisted in having loved none but her.  She had never been
supplanted.  He never even believed himself to see her equal.  Thus
much indeed he was obliged to acknowledge:  that he had been constant
unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her,
and believed it to be done.  He had imagined himself indifferent, when
he had only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because
he had been a sufferer from them.  Her character was now fixed on his
mind as perfection itself, maintaining the loveliest medium of
fortitude and gentleness; but he was obliged to acknowledge that only
at Uppercross had he learnt to do her justice, and only at Lyme had he
begun to understand himself.  At Lyme, he had received lessons of more
than one sort.  The passing admiration of Mr Elliot had at least roused
him, and the scenes on the Cobb and at Captain Harville's had fixed her
superiority.

In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the
attempts of angry pride), he protested that he had for ever felt it to
be impossible; that he had not cared, could not care, for Louisa;
though till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed
it, he had not understood the perfect excellence of the mind with which
Louisa's could so ill bear a comparison, or the perfect unrivalled hold
it possessed over his own.  There, he had learnt to distinguish between
the steadiness of principle and the obstinacy of self-will, between the
darings of heedlessness and the resolution of a collected mind.  There
he had seen everything to exalt in his estimation the woman he had
lost; and there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of
resentment, which had kept him from trying to regain her when thrown in
his way.

From that period his penance had become severe.  He had no sooner been
free from the horror and remorse attending the first few days of
Louisa's accident, no sooner begun to feel himself alive again, than he
had begun to feel himself, though alive, not at liberty.

"I found," said he, "that I was considered by Harville an engaged man!
That neither Harville nor his wife entertained a doubt of our mutual
attachment.  I was startled and shocked.  To a degree, I could
contradict this instantly; but, when I began to reflect that others
might have felt the same--her own family, nay, perhaps herself--I was
no longer at my own disposal.  I was hers in honour if she wished it.
I had been unguarded.  I had not thought seriously on this subject
before.  I had not considered that my excessive intimacy must have its
danger of ill consequence in many ways; and that I had no right to be
trying whether I could attach myself to either of the girls, at the
risk of raising even an unpleasant report, were there no other ill
effects.  I had been grossly wrong, and must abide the consequences."

He found too late, in short, that he had entangled himself; and that
precisely as he became fully satisfied of his not caring for Louisa at
all, he must regard himself as bound to her, if her sentiments for him
were what the Harvilles supposed.  It determined him to leave Lyme, and
await her complete recovery elsewhere.  He would gladly weaken, by any
fair means, whatever feelings or speculations concerning him might
exist; and he went, therefore, to his brother's, meaning after a while
to return to Kellynch, and act as circumstances might require.

"I was six weeks with Edward," said he, "and saw him happy.  I could
have no other pleasure.  I deserved none.  He enquired after you very
particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little
suspecting that to my eye you could never alter."

Anne smiled, and let it pass.  It was too pleasing a blunder for a
reproach.  It is something for a woman to be assured, in her
eight-and-twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier
youth; but the value of such homage was inexpressibly increased to
Anne, by comparing it with former words, and feeling it to be the
result, not the cause of a revival of his warm attachment.

He had remained in Shropshire, lamenting the blindness of his own
pride, and the blunders of his own calculations, till at once released
from Louisa by the astonishing and felicitous intelligence of her
engagement with Benwick.

"Here," said he, "ended the worst of my state; for now I could at least
put myself in the way of happiness; I could exert myself; I could do
something.  But to be waiting so long in inaction, and waiting only for
evil, had been dreadful.  Within the first five minutes I said, 'I will
be at Bath on Wednesday,' and I was.  Was it unpardonable to think it
worth my while to come? and to arrive with some degree of hope?  You
were single.  It was possible that you might retain the feelings of the
past, as I did; and one encouragement happened to be mine.  I could
never doubt that you would be loved and sought by others, but I knew to
a certainty that you had refused one man, at least, of better
pretensions than myself; and I could not help often saying, 'Was this
for me?'"

Their first meeting in Milsom Street afforded much to be said, but the
concert still more.  That evening seemed to be made up of exquisite
moments.  The moment of her stepping forward in the Octagon Room to
speak to him:  the moment of Mr Elliot's appearing and tearing her
away, and one or two subsequent moments, marked by returning hope or
increasing despondency, were dwelt on with energy.

"To see you," cried he, "in the midst of those who could not be my
well-wishers; to see your cousin close by you, conversing and smiling,
and feel all the horrible eligibilities and proprieties of the match!
To consider it as the certain wish of every being who could hope to
influence you!  Even if your own feelings were reluctant or
indifferent, to consider what powerful supports would be his!  Was it
not enough to make the fool of me which I appeared?  How could I look
on without agony?  Was not the very sight of the friend who sat behind
you, was not the recollection of what had been, the knowledge of her
influence, the indelible, immoveable impression of what persuasion had
once done--was it not all against me?"

"You should have distinguished," replied Anne.  "You should not have
suspected me now; the case is so different, and my age is so different.
If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to
persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk.  When I yielded,
I thought it was to duty, but no duty could be called in aid here.  In
marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred,
and all duty violated."

"Perhaps I ought to have reasoned thus," he replied, "but I could not.
I could not derive benefit from the late knowledge I had acquired of
your character.  I could not bring it into play; it was overwhelmed,
buried, lost in those earlier feelings which I had been smarting under
year after year.  I could think of you only as one who had yielded, who
had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by me.
I saw you with the very person who had guided you in that year of
misery.  I had no reason to believe her of less authority now.  The
force of habit was to be added."

"I should have thought," said Anne, "that my manner to yourself might
have spared you much or all of this."

"No, no! your manner might be only the ease which your engagement to
another man would give.  I left you in this belief; and yet, I was
determined to see you again.  My spirits rallied with the morning, and
I felt that I had still a motive for remaining here."

At last Anne was at home again, and happier than any one in that house
could have conceived.  All the surprise and suspense, and every other
painful part of the morning dissipated by this conversation, she
re-entered the house so happy as to be obliged to find an alloy in some
momentary apprehensions of its being impossible to last.  An interval
of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of
everything dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her
room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her
enjoyment.

The evening came, the drawing-rooms were lighted up, the company
assembled.  It was but a card party, it was but a mixture of those who
had never met before, and those who met too often; a commonplace
business, too numerous for intimacy, too small for variety; but Anne
had never found an evening shorter.  Glowing and lovely in sensibility
and happiness, and more generally admired than she thought about or
cared for, she had cheerful or forbearing feelings for every creature
around her.  Mr Elliot was there; she avoided, but she could pity him.
The Wallises, she had amusement in understanding them.  Lady Dalrymple
and Miss Carteret--they would soon be innoxious cousins to her.  She
cared not for Mrs Clay, and had nothing to blush for in the public
manners of her father and sister.  With the Musgroves, there was the
happy chat of perfect ease; with Captain Harville, the kind-hearted
intercourse of brother and sister; with Lady Russell, attempts at
conversation, which a delicious consciousness cut short; with Admiral
and Mrs Croft, everything of peculiar cordiality and fervent interest,
which the same consciousness sought to conceal; and with Captain
Wentworth, some moments of communications continually occurring, and
always the hope of more, and always the knowledge of his being there.

It was in one of these short meetings, each apparently occupied in
admiring a fine display of greenhouse plants, that she said--

"I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge of
the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe
that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly
right in being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you
do now.  To me, she was in the place of a parent.  Do not mistake me,
however.  I am not saying that she did not err in her advice.  It was,
perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the
event decides; and for myself, I certainly never should, in any
circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such advice.  But I mean,
that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done
otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement
than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my
conscience.  I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in
human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I mistake not, a
strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman's portion."

He looked at her, looked at Lady Russell, and looking again at her,
replied, as if in cool deliberation--

"Not yet.  But there are hopes of her being forgiven in time.  I trust
to being in charity with her soon.  But I too have been thinking over
the past, and a  question has suggested itself, whether there may not
have been one person more my enemy even than that lady?  My own self.
Tell me if, when I returned to England in the year eight, with a few
thousand pounds, and was posted into the Laconia, if I had then written
to you, would you have answered my letter?  Would you, in short, have
renewed the engagement then?"

"Would I!" was all her answer; but the accent was decisive enough.

"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 24


Who can be in doubt of what followed?  When any two young people take
it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to
carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever
so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate comfort.
This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to be
truth; and if such parties succeed, how should a Captain Wentworth and
an Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of mind, consciousness
of right, and one independent fortune between them, fail of bearing
down every opposition?  They might in fact, have borne down a great
deal more than they met with, for there was little to distress them
beyond the want of graciousness and warmth.  Sir Walter made no
objection, and Elizabeth did nothing worse than look cold and
unconcerned.  Captain Wentworth, with five-and-twenty thousand pounds,
and as high in his profession as merit and activity could place him,
was no longer nobody.  He was now esteemed quite worthy to address the
daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, who had not had principle
or sense enough to maintain himself in the situation in which
Providence had placed him, and who could give his daughter at present
but a small part of the share of ten thousand pounds which must be hers
hereafter.

Sir Walter, indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no vanity
flattered, to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far from
thinking it a bad match for her.  On the contrary, when he saw more of
Captain Wentworth, saw him repeatedly by daylight, and eyed him well,
he was very much struck by his personal claims, and felt that his
superiority of appearance might be not unfairly balanced against her
superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-sounding name,
enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen, with a very good grace,
for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.

The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could excite any
serious anxiety was Lady Russell.  Anne knew that Lady Russell must be
suffering some pain in understanding and relinquishing Mr Elliot, and
be making some struggles to become truly acquainted with, and do
justice to Captain Wentworth.  This however was what Lady Russell had
now to do.  She must learn to feel that she had been mistaken with
regard to both; that she had been unfairly influenced by appearances in
each; that because Captain Wentworth's manners had not suited her own
ideas, she had been too quick in suspecting them to indicate a
character of dangerous impetuosity; and that because Mr Elliot's
manners had precisely pleased her in their propriety and correctness,
their general politeness and suavity, she had been too quick in
receiving them as the certain result of the most correct opinions and
well-regulated mind.  There was nothing less for Lady Russell to do,
than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to take up
a new set of opinions and of hopes.

There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the discernment
of character, a natural penetration, in short, which no experience in
others can equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in this part of
understanding than her young friend.  But she was a very good woman,
and if her second object was to be sensible and well-judging, her first
was to see Anne happy.  She loved Anne better than she loved her own
abilities; and when the awkwardness of the beginning was over, found
little hardship in attaching herself as a mother to the man who was
securing the happiness of her other child.

Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately gratified
by the circumstance.  It was creditable to have a sister married, and
she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the
connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn; and as her own
sister must be better than her husband's sisters, it was very agreeable
that Captain Wentworth should be a richer man than either Captain
Benwick or Charles Hayter.  She had something to suffer, perhaps, when
they came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of
seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a
future to look forward to, of powerful consolation.  Anne had no
Uppercross Hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family;
and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a baronet,
she would not change situations with Anne.

It would be well for the eldest sister if she were equally satisfied
with her situation, for a change is not very probable there.  She had
soon the mortification of seeing Mr Elliot withdraw, and no one of
proper condition has since presented himself to raise even the
unfounded hopes which sunk with him.

The news of his 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.

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 followed in turn, is but a state of
half enjoyment.

Anne, satisfied at a very early period of Lady Russell's meaning to
love Captain Wentworth as she ought, had no other alloy to the
happiness of her prospects than what arose from the consciousness of
having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value.
There she felt her own inferiority very keenly.  The disproportion in
their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment's regret; but
to have no family to receive and estimate him properly, nothing of
respectability, of harmony, of good will to offer in return for all the
worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and
sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could well be
sensible of under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity.  She had
but two friends in the world to add to his list, Lady Russell and Mrs
Smith.  To those, however, he was very well disposed to attach himself.
Lady Russell, in spite of all her former transgressions, he could now
value from his heart.  While he was not obliged to say that he believed
her to have been right in originally dividing them, he was ready to say
almost everything else in her favour, and as for Mrs Smith, she had
claims of various kinds to recommend her quickly and permanently.

Her recent good offices by Anne had been enough in themselves, and
their marriage, instead of depriving her of one friend, secured her
two.  She was their earliest visitor in their settled life; and Captain
Wentworth, by putting her in the way of recovering her husband's
property in the West Indies, by writing for her, acting for her, and
seeing her through all the petty difficulties of the case with the
activity and exertion of a fearless man and a determined friend, fully
requited the services which she had rendered, or ever meant to render,
to his wife.

Mrs Smith's enjoyments were not spoiled by this improvement of income,
with some improvement of health, and the acquisition of such friends to
be often with, for her cheerfulness and mental alacrity did not fail
her; and while these prime supplies of good remained, she might have
bid defiance even to greater accessions of worldly prosperity.  She
might have been absolutely rich and perfectly healthy, and yet be
happy.  Her spring of felicity was in the glow of her spirits, as her
friend Anne's was in the warmth of her heart.  Anne was tenderness
itself, and she had the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth's
affection.  His profession was all that could ever make her friends
wish that tenderness less, the dread of a future war all that could dim
her sunshine.  She gloried in being a sailor's wife, but she must pay
the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if
possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its
national importance.



Finis





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Persuasion" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home