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 has resented it.  As the head of the house, he felt that he

ought to have been consulted, especially after taking the young man so

publicly by the hand; "For they must have been seen together," he

observed, "once at 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 Louise; and I think it very likely that my

illness to-day may be owing to it."

 

A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on

Anne's side produced nearly a cure on Mary's.  She could soon sit

upright on the sofa, and began to hope she might be able to leave it by

dinner-time.  Then, forgetting to think of it, she was at the other end

of the room, 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.  There were more

completely popular.

 

The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally,

in an unpremeditated little ball.  There was a family of cousins within

a walk of Uppercross, in less affluent circumstances, who depended on

the Musgroves for all their pleasures:  they would come at any time,

and help play at anything, or dance anywhere; and Anne, very much

preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country

dances to them by the hour together; a kindness which always

recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr and Mrs Musgrove

more than anything else, and often drew this compliment;--"Well done,

Miss Anne! very well done indeed!  Lord bless me!  how those little

fingers of yours fly about!"

 

So passed the first three weeks.  Michaelmas came; and now Anne's heart

must be in Kellynch again.  A beloved home made over to others; all the

precious rooms and furniture, groves, and prospects, beginning to own

other eyes and other limbs!  She could not think of much else on the

29th of September; and she had this sympathetic touch in the evening

from Mary, who, on having occasion to note down the day of the month,

exclaimed, "Dear me, is not this the day the Crofts were to come to

Kellynch?  I am glad I did not think of it before.  How low it makes

me!"

 

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

alternation could not be understood too soon.

 

Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in his

cousin's behaviour.  She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly

estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and

leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross:  but there

was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as Captain

Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause.  He had 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 mean while were to be all together, and

out of doors as long as they could.

 

Anne found Captain Benwick getting near her, as soon as they were all

fairly in the street.  Their conversation the preceding evening did not

disincline him to seek her again; and they walked together some time,

talking as before of Mr Scott and Lord Byron, and still as unable as

before, and as unable as any other two readers, to think exactly alike

of the merits of either, till something occasioned an almost general

change amongst their party, and instead of Captain Benwick, she had

Captain Harville by her side.

 

"Miss Elliot," said he, speaking rather low, "you have done a good deed

in making that poor fellow talk so much.  I wish he could have such

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 mean while she was in the carriage.  He had handed them both in,

and placed himself between them; and in this manner, under these

circumstances, full of astonishment and emotion to Anne, she quitted

Lyme.  How the long stage would pass; how it was to affect their

manners; what was to be their sort of intercourse, she could not

foresee.  It was all quite natural, however.  He was devoted to

Henrietta; always turning towards her; and when he spoke at all, always

with the view of supporting her hopes and raising her spirits.  In

general, his voice and manner were studiously calm.  To spare Henrietta

from agitation seemed the governing principle.  Once only, when she had

been grieving over the last ill-judged, ill-fated walk to the Cobb,

bitterly lamenting that it ever had been thought of, he burst forth, as

if wholly overcome--

 

"Don't talk of it, don't talk of it," he cried.  "Oh God! that I had

not given way to her at the fatal moment!  Had I done as I ought!  But

so eager and so resolute! Dear, sweet Louisa!"

 

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

drop's one's scissors, or anything that happens.  Do you think Lady

Russell would like that?"

 

Lady Russell could not help laughing.  "Upon my word," said she, "I

should not have supposed that my opinion of any one could have admitted

of such difference of conjecture, steady and matter of fact as I may

call myself.  I have really a curiosity to see the person who can give

occasion to such directly opposite notions.  I wish he may be induced

to call here.  And when he does, Mary, you may depend upon hearing my

opinion; but I am determined not to judge him beforehand."

 

"You will not like him, I will answer for it."

 

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,