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 prospects as well. It would be lovely to refer to one of her sisters-in-law as Lady Wentworth. Mary hopes Wentworth will select Henrietta if for no other reason than to prohibit Charles...
(The entire section contains 690 words.)
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