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 strength and that he admires that trait. He has no time to waste on someone who is easily persuaded to do what...
(The entire section contains 700 words.)
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