Part 2 out of 5
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,
"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.
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
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 taking 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
"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
"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
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
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.)
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
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