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,...
(The entire section contains 544 words.)
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