Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Sir Walter Elliot is a conceited man, vain of both his good looks and his title. He lives at his country seat, Kellynch Hall, with two of his daughters, Elizabeth and Anne. Elizabeth, handsome and much like her father, is the oldest and her father’s favorite. Anne, sweet, self-effacing, and quietly intelligent, is ignored and underrated by both. Mary, the youngest daughter, is married to an agreeable young man named Charles Musgrove; they live in an untidy house at Uppercross, three miles from Kellynch Hall.
Living beyond his means had brought financial disaster to Sir Walter. On the advice of his solicitor and of a family friend, Lady Russell, he is persuaded to rent Kellynch Hall and take a smaller house in Bath. Anne would have preferred to take a modest house near home, but as usual, her father and sister have their way in the matter.
Reluctantly, Sir Walter lets his beloved country seat to Admiral Croft and his wife, who is the sister of a former suitor of Anne, Captain Frederick Wentworth. Anne and Captain Wentworth had fallen in love when they were both very young, but the match had been discouraged. Anne’s father felt that the young man’s family was not good enough for his own, and Lady Russell considered the engagement unwise because Captain Wentworth had no financial means beyond his navy pay. Anne had followed their advice and broken the engagement, but Wentworth had advanced and became rich in the navy, just as he had said he...
(The entire section is 1045 words.)
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Volume I Summary
The novel opens in the summer of 1814 with Sir Walter Elliot, widower and father of three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary, in Kellynch Hall, his estate in Somersetshire, England. Sir Walter's greatest pleasure is to pick up the Baronetage, a book that documents his and his family's history and social standing. He is very close to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who shares his vanity and class consciousness, and who has been the mistress of Kellynch Hall for the past thirteen years since her mother died. Elizabeth has struck up a friendship with Mrs. Clay, the daughter of the family lawyer, which troubles Anne, who does not trust Mrs. Clay's motives.
Sir Walter's extravagant spending habits have placed the family into considerable debt. Neither he nor Elizabeth has been able to devise any means of easing their financial burdens without compromising their dignity or relinquishing the comforts they regard as necessities for anyone of their breeding and social position. As a result, Sir Walter begs their close family friend, Lady Russell, to advise them, along with Mr. Shepherd, their lawyer.
Kind-hearted and generally rational, Lady Russell draws up, with Anne's help, a plan for them to economize. However, her father can not approve the suggestions Lady Russell has made for changes in his lifestyle. He decides that he would rather leave his home than live in a manner that he considers undignified. As a result, he determines to find a smaller...
(The entire section is 1013 words.)
Volume II Summary
After Anne moves to Bath, she becomes friendly with William Elliot, her cousin and the heir presumptive to the Elliot estate, who has been accepted back into the family after a period of estrangement. She also renews her friendship with Mrs. Smith, a widowed schoolmate of hers, who suffers from ill-health and financial problems.
A month later, Anne is thrilled over the news that Louisa and Benwick are engaged, which puts to rest her fears over her friend's attachment to Wentworth. Wentworth soon comes to Bath to visit the Crofts, who have come for a short stay. One evening, when they are all gathered together at a party, Anne begins to suspect that he still has feelings for her after he appears jealous over Mr. Elliot's attentions towards her. The next morning, Anne visits Mrs. Smith who tells her that Mr. Elliot is a man "without heart or conscience," who had led her husband into debt.
The next day Anne discusses with Harville the difference between men's and women's emotions, both claiming that their own sex retains feelings of love the longest. During this conversation, Wentworth writes a letter, which everyone assumes is to Captain Benwick. As they leave, Wentworth leaves the letter where only Anne will discover it. The letter reveals how much he still loves her and his hopes that she returns his affections. Anne becomes overwhelmed with emotion. Later, when they meet on the street, they both declare their love for each other. Anne admits...
(The entire section is 316 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1817) was published after her death and is considered by some critics as her best novel. The story’s protagonist is Anne Russell, the second oldest daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, a pompous and vain man. Anne’s mother died before the story begins, leaving Sir Elliot with the task of raising three girls: Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary (who is already wed).
The story begins with an unflattering reflection of Sir Elliot. One of the first things Austen points out is that Sir Elliot is not well-read. The only material he spends any time with is a book in which is recorded the history of many important English families. Sir Elliot’s attention is drawn to the portion of this book that includes details of his personal heritage. While pouring over the family’s history, the reader is informed of the death of Sir Elliot’s wife and the fact that since Sir Elliot has no son (his only son died at birth), his fortune and home will be passed on to William Walter Elliot, cousin of Sir Elliot’s daughters.
Sir Elliot was very handsome in his youth, the narrator states; this might be the source of the man’s great vanity. His rank in British society as well as his fortunate marriage only added to his self-admiration. It was through Lady Elliot’s promotion that Sir Elliot enjoyed a comfortable position in society: his wife ignored or concealed his flaws. Before her death, Lady Elliot secured the assistance of a friend to help raise her children. Lady Elliot brought Lady Russell (a widow) to the village of Kellynch. After Lady Elliot’s death, Lady Russell continued to advise the three girls, and Anne is her favorite. Thirteen years have gone by since the death of Lady Elliot. Although some neighbors had thought Lady Russell and Sir Elliot would eventually marry, they never did.
Elizabeth, the oldest daughter of Sir Elliot’s, was her father’s favorite. In his eyes, she was the most beautiful of his children. Although he does not notice it, Elizabeth has inherited her father’s vanity. To Sir Elliot, his other two daughters are inferior. In Sir Elliot’s mind, at least Mary had managed to marry. But Anne, whom most people considered intelligent and sweetly mannered, was nothing in her father’s eyes. He never paid attention to anything she had to say.
Elizabeth had, at one time, hoped to marry William Walter Elliot, the heir apparent of her father’s estate. But...
(The entire section is 582 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
Mr. Shepherd, Sir Elliot’s lawyer, bows out of the discussion of how to budget the remaining Elliot fortune. Before leaving, he submits his full recommendation for Lady Russell.
Upon reading Lady Russell’s proposal, Anne objects to it. She finds the changes too timid. Instead, Anne suggests streamlining the spending to a point that would disengage the family from all debts in seven years. All spending would be cut back, from the foods they eat to the purchase of new horses. Anne’s suggestions might have worked, but there is no opportunity for her father to read her budget. Sir Elliot looks over Lady Russell’s proposal first and turns it down. Sir Elliot is completely unwilling to give up any of his extravagancies.
The only other option remaining to them is to lease their manor, Kellynch Hall, but this must be done in a very contrived way. There will be no advertising, for Sir Elliot does not want it to appear that he is in need. It will have to seem as if Sir Elliot were graciously bowing out of his home for the benefit of someone else who needs it more than he does.
First the Elliot family must decide where to move. Three suggestions are made. They might go to London, but Mr. Shepherd does not like this choice because he does not trust Sir Elliot in the large city. There would be too many temptations there. Sir Elliot would be tempted to keep up appearances of the wealth to which he no longer has access.
The second option is to take a smaller place in Kellynch, but this would be too humiliating. Everyone would be aware of the family’s declining finances if they were to stay in the same neighborhood.
The third option, moving to Bath, is chosen by the process of elimination. Bath is close enough to Kellynch that a trip home can be arranged from time to time. Mary lives near Kellynch, and visiting her will also not provide a hardship. It is also more convenient for Lady Russell to travel to Bath than it would have been for her to travel to London. Mr. Shepherd also realizes that, in Bath, Sir Elliot can continue to enjoy the sense of a higher station in society than he could ever hope to maintain in London. In addition, by living in Bath as opposed to living in a small home in Kellynch, Sir Elliot will not have to suffer the indignity of seeing someone else living in his old home.
Anne is against the idea of living in Bath. She does not feel the environment will be...
(The entire section is 582 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
Mr. Shepherd takes it upon himself to find someone to rent Sir Elliot’s house. Shepherd begins by building up the notion that a man in the navy might make the perfect tenant. A man in the British Navy, Shepherd tells Sir Walter, is known for taking particular care of his own possessions. Therefore, he most assuredly would take great care not only of Sir Elliot’s manor but any paintings or furnishings Sir Elliot may wish to leave behind or store at the house. Shepherd’s daughter, Penelope Clay, agrees with her father and supports his assumptions about naval men. She claims to have known several sailors and backs up her father’s statements concerning the reputation naval men have for being neat. They would even take care of the gardens, Penelope tells Sir Elliot.
This thought annoys Sir Elliot (who is called Sir Walter by his friends). He considers his gardens, it appears, more personal than the insides of his house. They idea of someone wandering about his shrubberies is something he does not want to tolerate. Sir Walter then begins to share his general feelings about men in the navy.
Before he begins, Anne defends the profession by pointing out that men in the navy work very hard. Sir Walter agrees to this statement—but adds that he would be very sorry if any of his friends belonged to the navy. One of his complaints against the navy is that a person with no family of any distinction can make a name for himself, no matter what his previous background has been. A man in the navy can gain rank and thus be granted undue honors. A person of obscure birth could rise above a man who his own father or grandfather might never have deigned to speak to. Sir Walter also claims that men in the navy age much more quickly than do men in any other profession. The constant contact with the sea weathers their faces, turning their skin orange and very wrinkled, Sir Walter says.
Penelope Clay tells Sir Walter he is being too severe. There are many professions besides the navy that make men age. She points out that doctors are constantly in the presence of the sick, thus breathing in the germs of their patients. Anyone who must work according to another person’s schedule ages more quickly than does a man who can afford to rise from bed, eat his dinner, and do what he wants on his own time. She insists that only the wealthy do not age.
The discussion ends and time passes before Shepherd finds a tenant. As if...
(The entire section is 656 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
This chapter offers information about Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne’s relationship with him. Wentworth was an orphan; his only relations were his sister and brother. In the summer of 1806, he lived for six months at Monkford. He is described as having been handsome and intelligent. When he and Anne met that year, they quickly became friends and almost as quickly fell in love.
Although their love ran deep, their connection was thwarted by Anne’s father and Lady Russell. Sir Walter never deliberately forbade the relationship between Anne and Captain Wentworth, but he went out of his way to express the reasons why Anne should not pursue it. He thought the relationship was beneath his family’s name. Lady Russell was a little more diplomatic about her feelings concerning the alliance between the two young people, but in the end she agreed with Sir Walter.
Anne was young at the time—merely nineteen years of age. She had a family name, money, and good looks. She could have her choice of any eligible bachelor. Her friends could not see why she would want a man without a family, without wealth, and with little or no prospects. Acting as a mother figure, Lady Russell carried a lot of weight in Anne’s mind. Anne did not feel she could go forward in her acknowledgement and acceptance of Wentworth’s promise of love if Lady Russell was against it. Anne knew that Lady Russell would do all she could to prevent it. Lady Russell’s influence was more than Anne was capable of fighting.
In the end, Anne believed that an engagement to Captain Wentworth was wrong. It was improper, and there was no chance of success if they should marry. She gave him up—not so much to protect herself but to save him. She would sacrifice her own needs to provide an advantage for him. If she should marry him against her father’s and Lady Russell’s approval, Captain Wentworth might suffer social disgrace. After receiving Anne’s refusal, Captain Wentworth immediately left the country.
After his departure, Anne suffered greatly. Everything seemed colored by her despair. No other young man appealed to her. No one could compare to her Captain Wentworth. No one could rouse her emotions as he had done. Anne’s depression caused her to weaken physically. Her vibrant beauty slowly faded.
Seven years have passed, and still Anne is affected by her memory of him. The emotional strain has diminished somewhat over...
(The entire section is 666 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
The meeting between Sir Walter and the Crofts proves successful. Without any hesitation on either side, an agreement is reached and dates are set. Sir Walter even admits that Admiral Croft is the most handsome sailor he has ever met. The Elliots will begin moving out immediately and the Crofts will move in before Christmas. The Elliots plan to be settled in Bath by the next month.
Lady Russell hopes Anne will stay with her until after the holidays. She assumes Sir Walter and Elizabeth will not consult Anne in the choice of a house and, therefore, will not need Anne. But Lady Russell finds she has obligations to attend to and must be away from her home. Anne does not want to have to deal with the heat in Bath and is not looking forward to being with her family as they prepare for their new home. When her younger sister, Mary, exclaims that she is not feeling well and cannot do without Anne’s help, Anne chooses the lesser of two evils and goes to stay with Mary. Lady Russell feels relieved that Anne will not have to suffer the neglect that Sir Walter and Elizabeth would have surely imposed on her. However, when she discovers that Penelope Clay has been invited to join the father and daughter in Bath, Lady Russell is very upset. It offends her that Elizabeth considers Penelope to be of more use than her own sister.
Anne is not personally offended by her sister’s action, though she thinks it is imprudent that Mrs. Clay spends so much time in Sir Walter’s company. When she suggests this to her sister, Elizabeth brushes the concerns aside. She states that their father would not be interested in Penelope Clay because the woman has freckles.
Anne feels glad she has spoken about her concerns, warning her sister of the possibility that something might develop between Mrs. Clay and their father, even if Elizabeth has dismissed them. At least Anne will not be accused of not pointing out the potential dangers. Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Clay leave while Anne remains in the country to keep company with her younger sister, Mary.
Mary often complains about the slightest nuisance and is constantly in need of attention. Upon Anne’s arrival, Mary complains that her husband left her alone to go hunting, that her children were so noisy she had to send them to her in-laws, and that her sisters-in-law have completely ignored her all day even though they know she is not feeling well. She also admonishes Anne...
(The entire section is 524 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
Anne finds life at Uppercross with her sister Mary and the Musgroves to be quite different from what her life had been at Kellynch. Everything from conversations and opinions to daily chores at Uppercross seem distinctive. Now that Anne has stepped out of her familiar circle and crossed into the lives of others, she sees life through a completely new perspective. She feels fortunate for the experience and wishes her father and sisters (as well as the Musgroves) could have similar experiences. But given that the occurrence is only hers, she settles in to study it and learn from it.
Staying with her sister is not hard to adjust to. Anne finds that Mary is more open to her than Elizabeth is, that Charles is friendly with her, and that Mary’s children enjoy her company—usually more so than they do their mother’s. She has much to amuse her and hold her interest.
Over the weeks, Anne has ample opportunities to observe Charles and finds she has to agree with Lady Russell’s assessment that Charles would probably have been much more improved if Anne, or someone like her, had married him rather than Mary. Anne would have encouraged the development of his ambition and character. He would have become more useful, more rational and elegant. He would have read more and had more zeal in life; he would not waste so much of his time in the sport of hunting. Although Mary does not promote Charles’s betterment, as she is mostly lost in her own complaints, Mary and Charles do have the appearance of being a satisfactory couple. They have their arguments but none seem to go deeply.
Their children are at times unruly, and Charles appears to be the better parent in disciplining them. One of Charles’s few complaints is that he could manage his sons better without Mary’s interference. Mary, on the other hand, criticizes her husband for spoiling their sons.
For Anne, one of the more difficult tasks of staying at Uppercross is listening to everyone’s gossip, which usually includes suggestions Anne should pass on to different members of the Musgrove family. She is taken into their confidence and expected to act on everyone’s requests. For example, Mary complains about sending her sons to her mother-in-law. Mary is under the impression that the boys’ grandmother requires seeing them on a frequent basis, but when the boys are at the main house, the elder Mrs. Musgrove feeds them too many sweets in her attempt...
(The entire section is 678 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
News of Captain Wentworth’s arrival at Kellynch causes a stir in the Musgrove houses. Mr. Musgrove goes immediately to Kellynch and invites the Captain and the Crofts to dinner. He comes home to announce their acceptance, though he is disappointed that they could not make it earlier than next week.
Anne is agitated by the prospects of finally reuniting with Wentworth. On the night of the dinner, one of Mary’s sons suffers a bad fall that causes him great pain. A doctor is summoned—there are no broken bones. Then Charles and Mary discuss the altered arrangements that must be made. At first, both parents offer to stay at home and miss the planned dinner with Wentworth. But after seeing how their son is improving, Charles states that he will go to the main house for just a short while. Mary wants no part of this. She tells her husband that she would not know what to do without him. He must stay at home.
Upon hearing this discussion and already feeling torn between wanting to see Wentworth and still not feeling ready to be near him, Anne offers to stay home and care for new nephew so the parents can go to the Musgrove’s dinner party together. In many ways, Anne is relieved to postpone the inevitable meeting between herself and the man she once loved.
While her sister and brother-in-law are at the dinner, Anne wonders how Wentworth might have greeted her: Would he have pretended he did not know her? Did he want to see her? If he had really wanted to be with her, why had he waited for an invitation from the Musgroves? If he yearned to be together with her, would he not have come much earlier on his own?
When Mary returns from the dinner, she tells Anne all about the evening, the music, the talking, and the laughter. Captain Wentworth has excellent manners, Mary tells Anne. He made them all feel as if they had known one another for a long time. Mary also informs Anne that Wentworth is going hunting with Charles the next day and will share breakfast with the family. But he will not be coming to Mary’s cottage. The breakfast will, instead, be served at the main house. Anne takes this to mean that Wentworth does not choose to see her. To Anne’s thinking, he is obviously avoiding her.
As Anne and Mary eat their breakfast in the cottage, Charles and Wentworth appear briefly when Charles comes to retrieve his dogs. For just a few minutes, Anne is in Wentworth’s presence. They eye one...
(The entire section is 673 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
As time passes, Anne often finds herself in the company of Captain Wentworth. Although they share dinners at the Musgroves, they seldom speak to one another. In his conversations with others, though, Wentworth often makes references to the time when he and she had been in love. Anne takes these allusions to be secret insinuations that only he and she understand. For instance, he often refers to the time before he went to sea, which corresponds to the time they were together. Sometimes he interjects a phrase such as “that happened in the year six,” which was the year they were in love. Every time she hears him making these references, it stirs her emotions. She cannot imagine that he is not also affected by these memories.
As she listens and watches him, it is hard for her to conceive how much they had once meant to each other and how unfamiliar they now seem. When he talks, she hears the same voice she had heard when they were in love. Although he thinks she has drastically changed, she finds that he still looks much the same as he did before—or maybe his appearance has even improved.
The Miss Musgroves are obviously taken by Captain Wentworth. They are much agitated in his presence and want to talk of nothing more than his experiences at sea. The young women want to know the names of all the ships Wentworth has commanded. After discovering these names, the young women spend a lot of time looking them up in a book called the Navy List.
Mrs. Musgrove wants to know all the details of her son Richard’s experience on Captain Wentworth’s ship, but Wentworth has very little to say on the topic. Anne reads Wentwowrth’s facial expression when he is asked and concludes that the captain does not retain good memories of the lad.
During an evening spent at the Musgroves’ home, Anne is sitting on the couch with Mrs. Musgrove when Wentworth walks across the room to speak with the older woman. He sits down on the couch, and Mrs. Musgrove is the only obstacle between him and Anne. While he sits there, a conversation ensues between Wentworth and his sister. Wentworth criticizes the practice of allowing women on a ship. He feels they are not suited to such conditions. His sister has accompanied her husband on several of his voyages. She disagrees and admonishes her brother for thinking that women are too frail to be able to handle conditions at sea. Admiral Croft suggests that when Wentworth is married,...
(The entire section is 525 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Captain Wentworth is feeling quite at home at Kellynch with his sister and brother-in-law. Although he had not planned to stay so long, he finds living with the Crofts suitable to his present needs. With Uppercross so nearby, his stay at Kellynch is proving even more satisfactory. He is enjoying the warmth of the older Musgroves and the agreeability of the younger Musgroves, Louisa and Henrietta. The Musgroves are more than pleased to have Wentworth’s frequent company. Charles and Mary often debate which of the Musgrove sisters Wentworth might be most interested in.
Although the captain does not really have any competition in the interests of Louisa and Henrietta, there is a man who had once interested them. His name is Charles Hayter, the eldest of the Musgrove cousins. It had been supposed that Charles and Henrietta might one day wed—but this was before Captain Wentworth made an appearance at the Musgrove home.
Charles Hayter’s mother and Mrs. Musgrove are sisters. The sisters’ subsequent marriages have provided them very different results. Charles’s father has money and land, but his possessions are far less than those of Mr. Musgrove. Thus, the Musgroves enjoy a higher position in society and are better educated. Charles, who has chosen to be a scholar, is the exception in the Hayter family.
Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove had noticed the attraction between Charles Hayter and their daughter Henrietta, and they had not disapproved. Henrietta would be marrying beneath her station, but if she liked him—and she did seem to like him—then the decision would be hers. But again, this was all before Captain Wentworth arrived. Now Henrietta has all but forgotten Charles. Even her sister all but ignores him.
Charles Hayter is no longer the topic on most people’s minds; now they wonder which of the Musgrove sisters Captain Wentworth might prefer. Anne analyzes the attributes of the two women. Henrietta, Anne believes, is the prettier of the two. However, Louisa has a more lively personality. Anne has to conclude finally that she does not know which of the two young women Wentworth might choose.
Charles Musgrove thinks that, whomever Wentworth chooses, one of his sisters will be very well married. He believes that Wentworth is a man of great promise; surely he will rise in rank as the years go on, and already he is said to have a considerable amount of money. Mary is excited about the...
(The entire section is 690 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Charles Hayter has not visited the Musgroves for several days. This does not go unnoticed. So when the Musgrove sisters appear at Mary’s door one morning and suggest that they all take a walk, Mary is unsuspecting where the walk will take them. All that the Musgrove sisters tell Mary is that it will be a long walk. Anne suspects that the young women have defined this as a “long” walk to dissuade Mary from joining them, and she notices a bit of contempt on the sisters’ faces when Mary accepts their invitation. Although she does not feel much like a walk herself, Anne agrees to go along, hoping she will be able to defuse some of Mary’s banter, which can be annoying. As they are about to leave, Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth return from hunting and agree to join the women.
Anne wishes she could bow out but it is too late. She resigns herself to observing Wentworth and his attentions to the young Musgrove sisters. As the walk progresses, she considers the two young women and Wentworth; she wonders if any of them are in love with one another. The young women are surely interested in Wentworth, and Wentworth is decidedly enjoying the attention. But Anne cannot detect any expressions of true love among them.
The party of walkers continues far down the path. When they ascend one of the tallest hills along the way, Mary finally realizes where they are. They are standing above the small village of Winthrop, where the Hayter family lives. Mary refuses to go any farther, claiming that she is exhausted. Her husband suggests that the walk down the hill could not tire her any more than she already is, and a rest at the Hayters’ abode will help her regain her strength to continue. Mary refuses to listen to her husband’s logic and will not budge. So Charles and Henrietta decide to go visit their cousins alone. Henrietta wants to see Charles Hayter. The rest of the group will wait for their return.
Louisa and Wentworth wander off, looking for nuts in a grove nearby, while Mary and Anne search for a comfortable place to sit. Mary believes that Louisa has found a much nicer place to rest and trots after her, leaving Anne alone. While sitting in the shade of a holly tree, Anne overhears a conversation between Wentworth and Louisa. The topic of their conversation is strength of character. Louisa complains that her sister Henrietta is too easily swayed. Wentworth tells Louisa that he has noticed Louisa’s...
(The entire section is 700 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Lady Russell returns home after taking care of obligations that have kept her away for six weeks. Anne is looking forward to returning to Kellynch—not to her old home but less than half a mile away. She will be staying with Lady Russell. She worries that this will put her closer to Captain Wentworth. She is not looking forward to constantly running into him. However, Captain Wentworth spends so much time at Uppercross with the Musgroves that, in some way, Anne is actually moving away from him. One other thing that concerns Anne is the possibility that Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth will one day meet. Neither likes the other.
Captain Wentworth has been missing from Uppercross for a few days. Word finally reaches the Musgroves that Captain Wentworth received word that an old friend, Captain Harville, is living nearby in Lyme. Captain Wentworth has gone to visit him. Wentworth will soon return home, but he mentions that he would like to go back to Lyme as soon as possible. He invites the Musgroves, including Anne, to go with him. The Musgrove sisters are thrilled with the idea and plans are made.
Upon arriving in Lyme, Captain Wentworth introduces the Musgroves and Anne to Captain Harville, his wife, and a mutual friend who is staying with the Harvilles, Captain Benwick. Benwick is in mourning, Anne discovers. He had been very much in love with Captain Harville’s sister, Fanny. While he was away at sea, Fanny died. Benwick is having difficulty getting over her. Anne develops a special fondness for Benwick immediately, believing that in some ways they share a similar grief. Anne ascertains that Benwick has a better future ahead of him. Even though she and Benwick are a similar age, Benwick appears younger—and he is a man. He will eventually recover, but Anne must consider this to be impossible for herself.
Although Anne enjoys meeting Wentworth’s friends, she is also saddened by the occasion. She finds the Harvilles and Benwick pleasing and comfortable to be around, but she realizes that without a connection to Wentworth in the future, she will have no opportunity to develop these acquaintances. Her mood loses some of its lightness, but she does not allow herself to become saddened.
In the evening, after the Musgroves find rooms to lease for the night, Captain Wentworth comes to visit. He brings with him with Captains Harville and Benwick. Benwick had not been expected to come because his...
(The entire section is 542 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
In Lyme the next morning, Anne and Henrietta are the first to get up and decide to go for a walk along the beach as they wait for the others to awaken. They are soon joined by Louisa and Wentworth and the others, then they all head to breakfast together. On their way, a very elegant young man in stylish clothes, who demonstrates gentlemanly manners, steps to the side to allow them to pass. The man pays special attention to Anne and stares at her as she walks by. Anne notices this. She also sees that Wentworth reacts to this man by watching him and then by looking back at Anne to see what the young man was looking at. Anne feels as if Wentworth sees her through new eyes, and possibly he approves of her looks more than he had recently. Maybe Wentworth is finally seeing her as the Anne he had once loved.
Later, as the group is finishing breakfast, they see the same young man again. They notice he has a servant and a very elegant horse and carriage. They watch through the window of the inn as the man enters his carriage and drives away. Wentworth asks one of the workers at the restaurant if he knows the name of the man. The worker says the man is Mr. Elliot. Upon hearing this, Mary blurts out that he must be her cousin—this is the Elliot who is heir apparent to the Elliot fortune. They did not know one another because Mr. Elliot and Sir Walter (Mary and Anne’s father) have not had much to do with one another in recent years. This is the same Mr. Elliot whom Elizabeth had fancied marrying several years ago, the Mr. Elliot who had chosen instead a woman with a lot of money.
Once the excitement of crossing paths with Mr. Elliot passes, Captain and Mrs. Harville along with Captain Benwick join the group for a last walk around Lyme before the Musgroves, Anne, and Wentworth must return to Uppercross. Captain Harville, once he has Anne’s attention, thanks Anne for her gentle consideration of Benwick the previous night. He appreciates Anne’s ability to get Benwick to talk. Anne assures Harville that all Benwick needs is time to heal.
Louisa then insists that they walk along the shoreline one more time before they leave. Mrs. Harville knows her husband tires from too much walking (he still suffers from a wound he received while in the navy), so she tells them she and her husband will walk home. The others walk along the Cobb, a sea wall that runs along the beach. When Louisa begins her descent of the stairs, she...
(The entire section is 728 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
The next day, Charles Musgrove arrives at Uppercross to bring the news to his family that Louisa’s condition is unchanged. The doctor says it is a good sign that her condition has not worsened. Charles also relays the news that Mrs. Harville is taking excellent care of Louisa, watching over her day and night. When Charles returns that night to Lyme to watch over his sister, he takes with him the old nursery maid who had raised the Musgrove children.
On her last day at Uppercross, Anne encourages the remaining members of the Musgrove family to travel to Lyme to be with Louisa. She informs them that their presence might help Louisa recover. While there, they might also help relieve Mrs. Harville. They can wait in Lyme until Louisa feels strong enough to come home. The Musgroves agree and leave for Lyme.
Lady Russell arrives at Uppercross to take Anne back to her home in Kellynch. Anne is a little wary of the conversations she will surely have with Lady Russell. Lady Russell is aware that Captain Wentworth has moved in nearby with his sister, Mrs. Croft. Lady Russell must also know that Wentworth has visited Uppercross and has seen Anne. To her surprise, Lady Russell does not bore into this topic. Instead, she is happy to see the change in Anne’s appearance. Anne looks healthier and happier. The main focus of conversation turns to Louisa’s accident in Lyme and the new home Anne’s father has acquired in Bath. Eventually, news arrives at Kellynch of Louisa’s improvement. Although she continues to suffer from weakness and headaches, the prognosis is good. She will recover.
Conversing on the subject of Captain Wentworth has felt awkward between Anne and Lady Russell. However, once Anne mentions what she supposes to be a strong connection between Louisa and Wentworth, Lady Russell eases at the mention of Wentworth’s name. Outwardly Lady Russell states that she wishes the couple well and that she is happy for them. But inwardly, despite her earlier condemnation of the man, she is angered at the thought of Wentworth’s choosing Louisa over Anne. She does not mention this to Anne.
A few days after their return, Lady Russell and Anne go to Kellynch Hall to visit the Crofts. The Crofts graciously show them around the manor, pointing out small changes they have made to the house. One of those alterations Anne finds humorous. Admiral Croft points out that he had to get rid of all the mirrors he found...
(The entire section is 533 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Louisa is now sitting up in bed, though she still feels weak. Her thoughts are clearer but she is very sensitive to noises and even acts of kindness to her. She requires a very stable environment. The Musgroves hoped to take her home for the Christmas holidays, but it is obvious that Louisa is not yet ready to travel.
During her stay in Lyme, Mrs. Musgrove does her best to entertain all the children. She takes the Harvilles’ children with her to the lodge where she and her family are staying. She also makes sure that the Harvilles are supplied with as many commodities from Uppercross as will make their care of Louisa as easy as possible. Then the Musgroves return home, taking with them the Harville children to celebrate the holidays at Uppercross.
When Anne visits Mary and the Musgroves upon their return to Uppercross, she asks about Captain Benwick. Mary’s face darkens at this question, and she tells Anne that Benwick is a very strange man. He is often too quiet, preferring to read rather than engage in conversation. When Charles invited him to stay with them and hunt at Uppercross, Benwick made his excuses and turned them down.
Charles laughs at his wife and tells Anne a very different version of the story. Charles claims that Benwick was at first very excited about visiting Uppercross. It was only after he was told that Anne was no longer living there that he declined. Charles adds that Benwick was heartbroken when he realized he would not see Anne. When Charles continues to tell Anne how often Benwick talked about her, Mary interupts, saying that she never heard such a thing. Charles then clarifies his statement. He says that even if Benwick had not mentioned Anne’s name, Charles knows how much Benwick admires Anne. Charles relates that Benwick has read all the books Anne recommended to him and he felt anxious to discuss the information he had gathered from them. Charles had overheard Benwick talking to Henrietta, his conversation filled with compliments of Anne. Charles says Benwick thinks of Anne as charming, elegant, sweet, and beautiful.
Mary finds these details disgusting. She asks how Benwick could be talking about another woman in such terms after losing the woman he loved just six months ago.
After listening to Benwick described, Lady Russell mentions that she would be interested in meeting him. Charles tells her that he is sure Benwick will make his way straight for...
(The entire section is 544 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Anne settles into her life in Bath. The house her father has acquired is roomy and distinguished. She is surprised to find that Sir Walter and Elizabeth seem pleased to have her with them. Anne quickly discovers that her presence gives them someone new to talk to about how happy they are to be in Bath. As usual, they have little interest in listening to anything Anne has to say. They are attentive only to a few details about Lyme, Uppercross, and Kellynch before they are again talking about their own experiences in Bath.
Mrs. Clay is still in residence with Sir Walter and Elizabeth. Anne finds this a little disturbing. Anne notices how pleasant Mrs. Clay acts but thinks it is all a pretense.
Young Mr. Elliot has been a frequent visitor to their home in Bath. Anne cannot believe how easily her father and Elizabeth have forgiven him. Not only are his past transgressions forgotten, but both Sir Walter and Elizabeth appear unusually excited about the attention that Mr. Elliot is now paying them.
Sir Walter tells Anne that he has investigated Elliot’s background; in particular, he has sought information about his marriage. Through a friend of Elliot’s, Sir Walter has learned that the woman Elliot married had pursued him, not the other way around. She was a woman of money, but she had loved Elliot first and won his heart. With this story, the rumors that Elliot married her merely for her money are dismissed. Elliot has, therefore, been welcomed into Sir Walter’s home more than once. Both Sir Walter and Elizabeth look forward to seeing him again. It even seems to Anne that Sir Walter and Elizabeth feel graced by Mr. Elliot’s return.
Anne feels very suspicious. She cannot figure out what Mr. Elliot hopes to gain. He is already richer than her father is and stands to inherit everything her father possesses. She wonders if Mr. Elliot is hoping to develop a friendship with Elizabeth.
A new discussion ensues in which Sir Walter takes the forefront. The topic this time is about the lack of pretty women in Bath. Sir Walter cannot believe a town could have so few. He tells his daughters that he even spent one day standing on the corner in town, counting the women who passed by. The ratio of pretty women to plain ones was difficult to comprehend. Sir Walter’s thoughts remain on the surface of things.
Later in the evening, there is a knock on the door. It is Mr. Elliot, who makes a...
(The entire section is 546 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
Anne remains unsettled with Mrs. Clay’s constant presence in the Elliot home. One morning, she overhears Mrs. Clay saying to Elizabeth and Sir Walter that perhaps it is time for her to leave, now that Anne is living there. Elizabeth assures Mrs. Clay that there is no need for her to leave, and then she confides that she truly prefers Mrs. Clay to Anne. Sir Walter also confirms that Mrs. Clay has only been with them a short time and should not be leaving so soon.
Later, when Anne is alone with her father, Sir Walter comments on Anne’s improved looks. He asks her if she is using any lotions. Anne answers in the negative; she has not been using anything. Sir Walter recommends a special cream, and he says he made the same offer to Mrs. Clay. Then Sir Walter suggests that Anne inspect Mrs. Clay’s complexion so she will see the effects this ointment has had. Mrs. Clay, Sir Walter tells Anne, no longer has any freckles.
These incidents make Anne consider the possibility that her father might one day marry Mrs. Clay. Both her father and sister are very much affected by Mrs. Clay. If Elizabeth should marry first, then there would be no problem; Elizabeth would not be forced to find a place to live on her own. Anne believes she would live with Lady Russell if her father should marry.
One day while speaking to Lady Russell, Anne realizes that she and Lady Russell do not have the same thoughts about Mr. Elliot. Lady Russell finds that Mr. Elliot has completely turned his character around. Now that Mr. Elliot is a widower, Lady Russell believes it is only natural that he would be seeking a new wife. She also thinks that the mistakes he made in the past were because of his youth. He has matured, and so naturally his character has improved. She forgives him for having turned his back on Elizabeth and the rest of the Elliot family. She also tells Anne that if Mr. Elliot should want to marry Elizabeth, that would be an excellent decision on his part.
Anne, on the other hand, still thinks there is something suspicious in Mr. Elliot’s pursuit of Elizabeth. She still cannot figure out what he would gain in the marriage. Internally, Anne also berates Mr. Elliot for seeking a new wife so shortly after his first wife’s death. She believes he should spend more time in mourning.
Despite her misgivings, Anne has to admit that she enjoys Mr. Elliot’s company. She knows no one else who is as pleasing to...
(The entire section is 719 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
Anne learns that an old school friend is living in Bath. When they were in school together, Miss Hamilton had helped Anne when she was lonely at school and in mourning for her mother. She had married soon after school and became Mrs. Smith. Anne had heard that she married a wealthy man, but when they meet in Bath, Mrs. Smith is poor and sickly.
Mrs. Smith’s husband squandered all his money and died young, leaving her quite poor. Mrs. Smith also came down with rheumatic fever, which weakened her heart and left her with damage to her legs. She came to Bath in the hopes that it would restore some of her health.
Anne is delighted with Mrs. Smith’s company. Whereas someone else who might have been so afflicted both with loss of health and wealth might have been very bitter about life, Mrs. Smith’s spirits are high and entertaining. Anne visits with her as often as she can.
During one conversation, Mrs. Smith tells Anne about the sister of her landlady, who lives in the building and nursed her to sufficient health when she first arrived in Bath. The nurse has many and varied patients, so when she comes home, she has fascinating tales to relate about people in the community. These stories entertain Mrs. Smith, who is barely more than an invalid. Mrs. Smith is incapable of being in society, but this friend brings her news of what is happening in the outside world. She also finds purchasers for Mrs. Smith’s knitting.
One night, when Anne must excuse herself from joining her family in a social visit with Lady Dalrymple, Sir Walter quizzes her about what her plans are. When he finds out that Anne prefers the company of some sickly widow who lives on the poor side of town, he becomes angry. He demands to know why Anne would waste her time when Lady Dalrymple offers so much more in social standing. Sir Walter repeats Mrs. Smith’s name over and over, emphasizing how insignificant it is. There is no family history behind it. There is no elegance or stature. Sir Walter makes such a big issue of this fact that Mrs. Clay, who also has a plain name and no social standing, excuses herself from the room. Anne, in the meantime, wonders if her father realizes how much Mrs. Clay represents exactly what he has been complaining about in Mrs. Smith. Anne keeps her appointment with Mrs. Smith, in defiance of her father’s wishes.
Later Anne has a discussion with Lady Russell, who remains steadfast in her...
(The entire section is 656 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
Anne has been in Bath for more than a month. During this time, she has heard little about what has been going on at Uppercross and Lyme. She is curious about Louisa’s health, but she has an even a stronger urge to know what Wentworth is doing. Finally she receives a letter from Mary.
In her letter, Mary tells Anne that she has the most extraordinary news. Not only is Louisa better and returning to Uppercross but she will soon be receiving Captain Benwick. As it turns out, Benwick has proposed to Louisa and has written ahead to Mr. Musgrove and obtained his permission to marry his daughter.
Mary is very surprised by this turn of events. She quickly tells Anne that she was right all along. She reminds Anne that she said Benwick had no interest in Anne, contrary to what Charles claimed. For her part, Mary is thankful for the engagement, though she mentions that she is not so grateful about whom Henrietta has chosen. Henrietta and Mr. Hayter are now constant companions.
In other news, Mary tells Anne that the Harville children are still staying at Uppercross. This has greatly upset Mary because she believes her mother-in-law prefers the Harville children over her own grandchildren. Mary also finds it odd that Mrs. Harville could be without her children for so long; thus she criticizes Mrs. Harville’s parenting. Mary closes her letter with the hope that she might be invited to visit at Bath. She states that she could get away for a few weeks or maybe even a month without her children.
Mary’s letter also announces that Admiral and Mrs. Croft are on their way to Bath. Anne’s father is not happy with this turn of events. The admiral probably knows no one here, Sir Walter says. The best way people will know of him, Sir Walter announces, is by his being the renter of Kellynch.
One day Anne runs into the admiral while she is walking. The admiral joins her. As they continue on their way, the admiral is stopped several times by people who admire him and people who know him through his naval service, thus proving Sir Walter wrong again.
Before leaving Anne at the door of her house, the admiral tells Anne that he has heard from Captain Wentworth. Anne is anxious to know how Wentworth has taken the news that his best friend, Benwick, is about to marry Louisa, a woman whom Wentworth seemed to be pursuing. The admiral assures Anne that Wentworth does not seem affected by the news at...
(The entire section is 471 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Unbeknownst to Anne, Captain Wentworth has arrived in Bath. While Anne is out shopping one day with her sister, Mrs. Clay, and Mr. Elliot, it begins to rain. The four of them step quickly into a store to wait for the rain to stop. While Anne is standing at the window, she sees Captain Wentworth coming down the street. She makes an excuse to go check on the storm. She meets Captain Wentworth at the door. He is with a group of gentlemen and ladies. Anne and Wentworth are unable to say much to one another, but Anne notices that he is much more uneasy upon seeing her than he was at Uppercross. Anne looks as if she is about to leave, so Wentworth insists that she either take his new umbrella or allow him to call a carriage for her. Anne refuses both. She announces that she is waiting for Mr. Elliot, who will see her home.
About that time, Elliot appears. It is evident to Wentworth that Elliot’s attention is fully on Anne. Elliot sees no one else but Anne and is very serious about attending to her. Elliot apologizes to Anne for making her wait and tells her that he is anxious to get her away before the storm gets worse. Anne has only a second to say goodbye to Wentworth before she leaves.
When Wentworth is left alone, the women in his company come forward and make many complimentary comments about both Mr. Elliot and Anne. Mr. Elliot, they say, is very handsome. They also note that Mr. Elliot is often seen with Anne and most assuredly has feelings for his cousin. Then they talk about Anne. They think her much more appealing than her sister Elizabeth, and they admire her more.
As Anne walks on with Mr. Elliot, she barely hears a word he is saying. All she can think about is Captain Wentworth. She wants desperately to know what his feelings are concerning Louisa and Captain Benwick’s engagement. She must find some excuse to talk to him. She also wants to know how long he will be staying in Bath. With his sister, Mrs. Croft, in town, Anne hopes Wentworth will be there for a while.
The next day, Anne is walking with Lady Russell when she sees Wentworth up ahead. She is sure Lady Russell is staring at him and wonders what she is thinking. After Lady Russell finally turns to Anne, she acknowledges that Anne must wonder what has taken her attention. Then Lady Russell makes up some story about searching for some curtains that someone had told her to look for. She was having trouble finding the right house....
(The entire section is 578 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Sir Walter is out for the evening with both his daughters and Mrs. Clay. They are waiting for the arrival of Lady Dalrymple before they go into the main hall for the night’s recital. While they are waiting, Captain Wentworth walks in. He looks as if he might pass Anne with a mere bow, but he stops to talk to her once Anne calls out to him.
Wentworth comments about the time that has elapsed since they last saw one another at Lyme. They continue in conversation about the events that took place while they were both there and what has happened since then, especially the development between Louisa and Captain Benwick. Although Wentworth wishes the couple well, he does cast some doubt as to whether Benwick and Louisa will be happy. Louisa is a very friendly person and “not deficient in understanding,” Wentworth says, but he questions if this is enough for Benwick, who is deeper and more clever. He wonders if Benwick might have attached himself to Louisa prematurely—perhaps he needed her comfort too much and has confused this feeling with love. Louisa was also in need and might be thinking they are well matched. Wentworth wonders if their feelings for one another are strong enough to last.
The conversation between Anne and Wentworth is interrupted when Lady Dalrymple enters the hall, escorted by Mr. Elliot. Captain Wentworth becomes somewhat lost in the crowd of the new arrivals and Anne’s family. Anne looks for him but cannot find him. She enters the main room with this entourage, though her thoughts remain with Wentworth. She wonders, do his comments about Louisa imply that he did not hold Louisa in as high esteem as she had imagined? Had he felt all along that Louisa’s emotional and intellectual depth were lacking? Anne allowed her imagination to bloom as she wondered if the attention he paid to her this evening as well as his willingness to open up to her meant that he might still love her.
Mr. Elliot interrupts Anne’s thoughts to ask her to supply a translation of the Italian lyrics being sung by the performers. She blushes when Elliot praises her too much, telling her that he is well aware of her humility when she claims not to be an Italian scholar. He informs her that he has learned a lot about her over the years. He has made inquiries, though he will not name his sources. He has been interested in her for a long time.
When Anne notices that Wentworth has re-entered the room, she...
(The entire section is 524 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
The next day, Anne visits the ailing Mrs. Smith. Her friend notices that Anne is in good spirits and suggests that it might have something to do with Anne’s outing to the musical performance the previous night. Anne thinks that Mrs. Smith is very observant and blushes. But as Mrs. Smith continues the discussion, Anne realizes that Mrs. Smith believes that the object of her excitement is Mr. Elliot, not Captain Wentworth.
Mrs. Smith suggests that Anne will soon be engaged to be married to Mr. Elliot. Rumors are abundant around town that this is so. When Anne attempts to deny this, Mrs. Smith thinks that she has overstepped a social boundary in her assumption. Anne insists that Mrs. Smith has not done so. Anne merely wants to make the point that though she does not know Mr. Elliot’s intentions, she has no intention of marrying him.
Upon hearing this, Mrs. Smith provides an interesting story that includes details of Mr. Elliot’s background. First she tells Anne that she and her husband once were close friends of Mr. Elliot’s. The acquaintance began before Elliot’s marriage. At that time, Elliot had very little money. He confessed to Mrs. Smith and her husband that he was looking for someone to marry who could afford him a great inheritance. This occurred when Anne’s sister, Elizabeth, was considering marrying Elliot. Mrs. Smith shows a letter Elliot had written to her husband in which he stated all the reasons why he wanted nothing to do with Elizabeth. In essence, the letter claims that Elliot found Sir Walter and Elizabeth so disgusting that he wished he could change his name so as to not be associated with them. He wanted nothing to do with their pompous attitude.
Shortly afterward, Elliot found the woman he would marry. She had no claim to society, being the daughter of a butcher, but she did inherit a lot of money. After marrying her, Elliot got into the habit of spending great sums of money. Mrs. Smith’s husband attempted to keep a similar style of life as Elliot’s and took his accounts to the point of bankruptcy. This is why Mrs. Smith was left almost penniless. In an attempt to reclaim some of her husband’s estate, Mrs. Smith was going to ask Anne to beseech Mr. Elliot, on her account, to look into a parcel of land her husband still owned. Mrs. Smith did not have the money to hire a lawyer to file the necessary papers; she hoped Mr. Elliot would do that for her.
When Anne asks...
(The entire section is 657 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Anne is anxious to talk with Lady Russell about what she has recently learned about Mr. Elliot. However, the next morning, Mary and Charles Musgrove surprise Sir Walter’s family. They have come to Bath with Mrs. Musgrove and Henrietta. There was shopping to do because both Henrietta and Louisa will soon be married. Louisa has been left at home with Mr. Musgrove and Captain Benwick because she is not quite fit enough to travel yet. She is not the same woman she used to be. She is not as playful or as physically active. Louisa now spends most of her days sitting around listening to Captain Benwick read poetry.
While Mary is at Sir Walter’s new home, she makes it known that her party has taken lodgings in town. Upon hearing this, Sir Walter and Elizabeth relax. They were not comfortable with the thought of having to supply rooms for the Musgroves. Elizabeth decides to arrange a small gathering the following night. She is not about to offer them dinner because that would only demonstrate to Mary and the Musgroves how much Sir Walter’s expenses have been curtailed. However, they could have a small, elegant party without spending too much money.
Later, Anne goes with Mary to visit with Mrs. Musgrove at the hotel in which they are staying. Shortly after they arrive, Charles shows up with Captain Wentworth and Captain Harville, who had traveled with the Musgroves to Bath. Anne attempts to remain calm, though Wentworth does not make any effort to come close enough to talk to her.
Mary has been standing at the window and looking out at the street; she notices Mrs. Clay talking to Mr. Elliot. Mary calls Anne to the window to verify that the gentleman she sees is Mr. Elliot. Anne tells her that it cannot be: Mr. Elliot had announced at Sir Walter’s house that he was going out of town. But when Anne finally goes to the window, she acknowledges that it is indeed Mr. Elliot. How strange, she thinks to herself, that Mr. Elliot should be meeting in this way with Mrs. Clay.
Elizabeth and Sir Walter appear at the hotel next, having come with formal invitations to their party the next evening. Anne watches in surprise as Elizabeth hands an invitation to Captain Wentworth. The captain holds and stares at the envelope as if he is considering whether he will attend. Anne is impressed with her sister’s change of attitude. Only a few days ago, Elizabeth barely acknowledged Captain Wentworth’s presence. Now she...
(The entire section is 523 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
Anne has not discussed with Lady Russell what she has learned about Mr. Elliot from Mrs. Smith, but she concludes that the matter must wait. She has other, more pressing, and more interesting thoughts in her head. She promised to spend the day with the Musgroves, and she hopes that Captain Wentworth will be among them.
She hurries over to the hotel where the Musgroves are staying and finds that Mrs. Croft has already arrived. Also there are Captain Harville and Captain Wentworth. Soon after her arrival, Captain Wentworth tells Captain Harville that he will write the letter they discussed if Harville will supply the writing materials, which he does. As Mrs. Musgrove is busy providing details to Mrs. Croft about the histories of her two daughters, Anne is left to converse with Captain Harville, who motions her to his side.
When Anne reaches him, Harville shows her a small print and asks if she knows whose portrait it is. Anne identifies it as Captain Benwick. Harville tells her that Benwick had it made for Fanny, Harville’s sister, whom Benwick claimed to love. Now he is going to give it to Louisa Musgrove. Harville has trouble understanding how Benwick could redirect his feelings so quickly. Harville’s sister died less than a year ago, and now Benwick claims to be in love with another woman. Harville states that he does not believe Fanny would have forgotten Benwick so quickly had the circumstances been reversed.
Anne agrees, and they begin a long discussion about the differences between men and women. Anne claims that women feel more deeply and hold onto their emotions much longer than men do. She believes this is because women do not live out in the world as men do. Women live at home, where they have little to distract them. Men, on the other hand, have professions, and they busy themselves with the details of continuing in those professions. Women harbor their feelings because they are all they have to think about.
Harville does not agree with Anne completely. This is particularly not true, Harville says, in Benwick’s case. Benwick did not go back into the world after Fanny’s death. Instead, he has been convalescing at the Harville home. He was nursing his depression and not working until Louisa came along.
Anne says that maybe the difference between men and women does not have anything to do with men’s having jobs out in the world. Maybe it is just in women’s nature to...
(The entire section is 864 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
The author sums up the reactions to Anne’s and Wentworth’s engagement. After becoming better acquainted with Captain Wentworth, Sir Walter gives his approval of the marriage. Elizabeth is not one to demonstrate warm emotions toward her sister, and she continues to act the same, though she has no obvious objections. Mary is somewhat happy with the arrangement, though more for personal reasons than for her sister’s sake. Mary is pleased with the marriage because Anne will not outdo her in social rank. Once Charles inherits the Musgrove estate, Mary will rise in status above that of Anne. This would not have been true if Anne had wed Mr. Elliot; Mary believes Anne has made the proper decision.
Mr. Elliot is truly shocked when he heard of Anne’s engagement, and he leaves Bath shortly afterward. Rumors have it that Mrs. Clay follows him. It is a strange arrangement, but Mr. Elliot seems to have taken on the obligation of taking care of Mrs. Clay, possibly to assure that at least this woman will not stand between him and the Elliot estate.
The only person’s opinion about which Anne was truly concerned was that of Lady Russell. Anne realizes that for Lady Russell to accept Wentworth, she will have to admit that she was wrong in keeping him and Anne apart. Anne is quite pleased when Lady Russell does admit this. She claims that she might have been hasty in judging Wentworth previously. Now she sees that he will be a good provider and she is pleased that Anne is happy.
Anne also hopes that Mrs. Smith will accept Anne’s choice of husband because Anne values her relationship with Mrs. Smith. There is no reason for Mrs. Smith not to be happy for Anne, and she learns much about Wentworth’s character when he takes on the responsibility of securing Mrs. Smith’s estate. Wentworth files all the papers and covers all the details so Mrs. Smith can obtain the land her husband owns, thus providing her with a decent amount of money on which to live. As proof of her friendship and approval, Mrs. Smith is the first visitor to Anne’s new home. The renewal of wealth has also allowed Mrs. Smith to regain some of her health. The friendship between Anne and Mrs. Smith shows signs that it will continue to grow, which pleases Anne.
Anne is happy to be a sailor’s wife, though she does worry some about the possibility of there being another war, which would mean her husband would be taken away from her. She also...
(The entire section is 514 words.)