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− О жизни и творчестве Джейн Остин
− О жизни и творчестве Элизабет Гaскелл
− Уголок любовного романа.
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− Джейн Остин,
− Элизабет Гaскелл.
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− Фанфики по романам Джейн Остин.
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«Литературные забавы»



Джейн Остин

«Мир романов Джейн Остин - это мир обычных мужчин и обычных женщин: молоденьких "уездных" барышень, мечтающих о замужестве, охотящихся за наследством; отнюдь не блистающих умом почтенных матрон; себялюбивых и эгоистичных красоток, думающих, что им позволено распоряжаться судьбами других людей...»

Впервые на русском
языке и только на Apropos:


Полное собрание «Ювенилии»
(ранние произведения Джейн Остин)

«"Ювенилии" Джейн Остен, как они известны нам, состоят из трех отдельных тетрадей (книжках для записей, вроде дневниковых). Названия на соответствующих тетрадях написаны почерком самой Джейн...»

Экранизации...

экранизация романа Джейн Остин
Первые впечатления, или некоторые заметки по поводу экранизаций романа Джейн Остин "Гордость и предубеждение"

«Самый совершенный роман Джейн Остин "Гордость и предубеждение" и, как утверждают, "лучший любовный роман всех времен и народов" впервые был экранизирован в 1938 году (для телевидения) и с того времени почти ни одно десятилетие не обходилось без его новых постановок...»

экранизация романа Джейн Остин
Как снимали
«Гордость и предубеждение»

«Я знаю, что бы мне хотелось снять — «Гордость и предубеждение», и снять как живую, новую историю о реальных людях. И хотя в книге рассказывается о многом, я бы сделала акцент на двух главных темах — сексуальном влечении и деньгах, как движущих силах сюжета...»

Всем сестрам по серьгам - кинорецензия: «Гордость и предубеждение». США, 1940 г.: «То, что этот фильм черно-белый, не помешал моему восторгу от него быть розовым...»


Джейн Остин и ее роман "Гордость и предубеждение"

* Знакомство с героями. Первые впечатления
* Нежные признания
* Любовь по-английски, или положение женщины в грегорианской Англии
* Счастье в браке
* Популярные танцы во времена Джейн Остин
* Дискуссии о пеших прогулках и дальних путешествиях
* О женском образовании и «синих чулках»
* Джейн Остин и денди
* Гордость Джейн Остин
* Мэнсфилд-парк Джейн Остен «Анализ "Мэнсфилд-парка", предложенный В. Набоковым, интересен прежде всего взглядом писателя, а не критика...» и др.


Фанфики по роману "Гордость и предубеждение"

* В т е н и История Энн де Бер. Роман
* Пустоцвет История Мэри Беннет. Роман (Не закончен)
* Эпистолярные забавы Роман в письмах (Не закончен)
* Новогодняя пьеса-Буфф Содержащая в себе любовные треугольники и прочие фигуры галантной геометрии. С одной стороны - Герой, Героини (в количестве – двух). А также Автор (исключительно для симметрии)
* Пренеприятное известие Диалог между супругами Дарси при получении некоего неизбежного, хоть и не слишком приятного для обоих известия. Рассказ.
* Благая весть Жизнь в Пемберли глазами Джорджианы и ее реакция на некую весьма важную для четы Дарси новость… Рассказ.
* Девушка, у которой все есть Один день из жизни мисс Джорджианы Дарси. Цикл рассказов.
* Один день из жизни мистера Коллинза Насыщенный событиями день мистера Коллинза. Рассказ.
* Один день из жизни Шарлотты Коллинз, или В страшном сне Нелегко быть женой мистера Коллинза… Рассказ.


«Осенний рассказ»:

Осень

«Дождь был затяжной, осенний, рассыпающийся мелкими бисеринами дождинок. Собираясь в крупные капли, они не спеша стекали по стеклу извилистыми ручейками. Через открытую форточку было слышно, как переливчато журчит льющаяся из водосточного желоба в бочку вода. Сквозь завораживающий шелест дождя издалека долетел прощальный гудок проходящего поезда...»

Дождь

«Вот уже который день идёт дождь. Небесные хляби разверзлись. Кажется, чёрные тучи уже израсходовали свой запас воды на несколько лет вперёд, но всё новые и новые потоки этой противной, холодной жидкости продолжают низвергаться на нашу грешную планету. Чем же мы так провинились?...»

Дуэль

«Выйдя на крыльцо, я огляделась и щелкнула кнопкой зонта. Его купол, чуть помедлив, словно лениво размышляя, стоит ли шевелиться, раскрылся, оживив скучную сырость двора веселенькими красно-фиолетовыми геометрическими фигурами, разбросанными по сиреневому фону...»


«Новогодниe (рождественские) истории»:

Новогодняя история

«...устроилась поудобнее на заднем сидении, предвкушая поездку по вечернему Нижнему Новгороду. Она расстегнула куртку и похолодела: сумочки на ремне, в которой она везла деньги, не было… Полторы тысячи баксов на новогодние покупки, причем половина из них − чужие.  «Господи, какой ужас! Где она? Когда я могла снять сумку?» − Стойте, остановитесь! − закричала она водителю...»

Метель в пути, или Немецко-польский экзерсис на шпионской почве

«В эти декабрьские дни 1811 года Вестхоф выхлопотал себе служебную поездку в Литву не столько по надобности министерства, сколько по указанию, тайно полученному из Франции: наладить в Вильне работу агентурных служб в связи с дислокацией там Первой Западной российской армии. По прибытии на место ему следовало встретиться с неким Казимиром Пржанским, возглавляющим виленскую сеть, выслушать его отчет, отдать необходимые распоряжения и самолично проследить за их исполнением...»

Башмачок

«- Что за черт?! - Муравский едва успел перехватить на лету какой-то предмет, запущенный прямо ему в лицо.
- Какого черта?! – разозлившись, опять выругался он, при слабом лунном свете пытаясь рассмотреть пойманную вещь. Ботинок! Маленький, явно женский, из мягкой кожи... Муравский оценивающе взвесил его на руке. Легкий. Попади он в цель, удар не нанес бы ему ощутимого вреда, но все равно как-то не очень приятно получить по лицу ботинком. Ни с того, ни с сего...»

О, малыш, не плачь...

«...чего и следовало ожидать! Три дня продержалась теплая погода, все растаяло, а нынче ночью снова заморозки. Ну, конечно, без несчастных случаев не обойтись! – так судачили бабки, когда шедшая рядом в темной арке девушка, несмотря на осторожность, поскользнулась и все-таки упала, грохоча тяжелыми сумками...»

Вкус жизни

«Где-то внизу загремело, отдалось музыкальным звуком, словно уронили рояль или, по меньшей мере, контрабас. Рояль или контрабас? Он с трудом разлепил глаза и повернулся на бок, обнаружив, что соседняя подушка пуста...»

Елка

«Она стояла на большой площади. На самой главной площади этого огромного города. Она сверкала всеми мыслимыми и немыслимыми украшениями...»

Пастушка и пират

«− Ах, простите! – Маша неловко улыбнулась турку в чалме, нечаянно наступив ему на ногу в толпе, загораживающей выход из душной залы...»

Попутчики

«Такого снегопада, такого снегопада… Давно не помнят здешние места… - незатейливый мотив старой песенки навязчиво крутился в его голове, пока он шел к входу в метрополитен, искусно лавируя между пешеходами, припаркованными машинами и огромными сугробами, завалившими Москву буквально «по макушку» за несколько часов...»

Мария

«− Мария!
  Я удивленно оглянулась. Кто может звать меня по имени здесь, в абсолютно чужом районе...»

Представление на Рождество

«Летом дом просыпался быстро, весело, будто молодое, полное сил существо, а зимой и поздней осенью нехотя, как старуха...»

Рождественская сказка

«Выбеленное сплошными облаками зимнее небо нехотя заглядывало в комнату, скупо освещая ее своим холодным светом...»


 

О жизни и творчестве Джейн Остин

Библиотека

Persuasion
by Jane Austen

Начало      Пред. гл.

Chapter 22

anne went home to think over all that she had heard. In one point, her feelings were relieved by this knowledge of Mr. Elliot. There was no longer anything of tenderness due to him. He stood, as opposed to Captain Wentworth, in all his own unwelcome obtrusiveness; and the evil of his attentions last night, the irremediable mischief he might have done, was considered with sensations unqualified, unperplexed. — Pity for him was all over. But this was the only point of relief. In every other respect, in looking around her, or penetrating forward, she saw more to distrust and to apprehend. She was concerned for the disappointment and pain Lady Russell would be feeling, for the mortifications which must be hanging over her father and sister, and had all the distress of foreseeing many evils, without knowing how to avert any one of them. — She was most thankful for her own knowledge of him. She had never considered herself as entitled to reward for not slighting an old friend like Mrs. Smith, but here was a reward indeed springing from it! — Mrs. Smith had been able to tell her what no one else could have done. Could the knowledge have been extended through her family! — But this was a vain idea. She must talk to Lady Russell, tell her, consult with her, and having done her best, wait the event with as much composure as possible; and after all, her greatest want of composure would be in that quarter of the mind which could not be opened to Lady Russell, in that flow of anxieties and fears which must be all to herself.
    She found, on reaching home, that she had, as she intended, escaped seeing Mr. Elliot; that he had called and paid them a long morning visit; but hardly had she congratulated herself, and felt safe till to-morrow, when she heard that he was coming again in the evening.
    “I had not the smallest intention of asking him,” said Elizabeth, with affected carelessness, “but he gave so many hints; so Mrs. Clay says, at least.”
    “Indeed I do say it. I never saw any body in my life spell harder for an invitation. Poor man! I was really in pain for him; for your hard-hearted sister, Miss Anne, seems bent on cruelty.”
    “Oh!” cried Elizabeth, “I have been rather too much used to the game to be soon overcome by a gentleman’s hints. However, when I found how excessively he was regretting that he should miss my father this morning, I gave way immediately, for I would never really omit an opportunity of bring him and Sir Walter together. They appear to so much advantage in company with each other! Each behaving so pleasantly! Mr. Elliot looking up with so much respect!”
    “Quite delightful!” cried Mrs. Clay, not daring, however, to turn her eyes towards Anne. “Exactly like father and son! Dear Miss Elliot, may I not say father and son?”
    “Oh! I lay no embargo on any body’s words. If you will have such ideas! But, upon my word, I am scarcely sensible of his attentions being beyond those of other men.”
    “My dear Miss Elliot!” exclaimed Mrs. Clay, lifting her hands and eyes, and sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence.
    “Well, my dear Penelope, you need not be so alarmed about him. I did invite him, you know. I sent him away with smiles. When I found he was really going to his friends at Thornberry-park for the whole day to-morrow, I had compassion on him.”
    Anne admired the good acting of the friend, in being able to shew such pleasure as she did, in the expectation, and in the actual arrival of the very person whose presence must really be interfering with her prime object. It was impossible but that Mrs. Clay must hate the sight of Mr. Elliot; and yet she could assume a most obliging, placid look, and appear quite satisfied with the curtailed license of devoting herself only half as much to Sir Walter as she would have done otherwise.
    To Anne herself it was most distressing to see Mr. Elliot enter the room; and quite painful to have him approach and speak to her. She had been used before to feel that he could not be always quite sincere, but now she saw insincerity in every thing. His attentive deference to her father, contrasted with his former language, was odious; and when she thought of his cruel conduct towards Mrs. Smith, she could hardly bear the sight of his present smiles and mildness, or the sound of his artificial good sentiments. She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might provoke a remonstrance on his side. It was a great object to her to escape all enquiry or eclat; but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to him as might be compatible with their relationship, and to retrace, as quietly as she could, the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had been gradually led along. She was accordingly more guarded, and more cool, than she had been the night before.
    He wanted to animate her curiosity again as to how and where he could have heard her formerly praised; wanted very much to be gratified by more solicitation; but the charm was broken: he found that the heat and animation of a public room was necessary to kindle his modest cousin’s vanity; he found, at least, that it was not to be done now, by any of those attempts which he could hazard among the too-commanding claims of the others. He little surmised that it was a subject acting now exactly against his interest, bringing immediately to her thoughts all those parts of his conduct which were least excusable.
    She had some satisfaction in finding that he was really going out of Bath the next morning, going early, and that he would be gone the greater part of two days. He was invited again to Camden-place the very evening of his return; but from Thursday to Saturday evening his absence was certain. It was bad enough that a Mrs. Clay should be always before her; but that a deeper hypocrite should be added to their party, seemed the destruction of every thing like peace and comfort. It was so humiliating to reflect on the constant deception practiced on her father and Elizabeth; to consider the various sources of mortification preparing for them! Mrs. Clay’s selfishness was not so complicate nor so revolting as his; and Anne would have compounded for the marriage at once, with all its evils, to be clear of Mr. Elliot’s subtleties, in endeavouring to prevent it.
    On Friday morning she meant to go very early to Lady Russell, and accomplish the necessary communication; and she would have gone directly after breakfast but that Mrs. Clay was also going out on some obliging purpose of saving her sister trouble, which determined her to wait till she might be safe from such a companion. She saw Mrs. Clay fairly off, therefore, before she began to talk of spending the morning in Rivers-street.
    “Very well,” said Elizabeth, “I have nothing to send but my love. Oh! you may as well take back that tiresome book she would lend me, and pretend I have read it through. I really cannot be plaguing myself for ever with all the new poems and states of the nation that come out. Lady Russell quite bores one with her new publications. You need not tell her so, but I thought her dress hideous the other night. I used to think she had some taste in dress, but I was ashamed of her at the concert. Something so formal and arrangй in her air! and she sits so upright! My best love, of course.” “And mine,” added Sir Walter. “Kindest regards. And you may say, that I mean to call upon her soon. Make a civil message. But I shall only leave my card. Morning visits are never fair by women at her time of life, who make themselves up so little. If she would only wear rouge, she would not be afraid of being seen; but last time I called, I observed the blinds were let down immediately.”
    While her father spoke, there was a knock at the door.
    Who could it be? Anne, remembering the preconcerted visits, at all hours, of Mr. Elliot, would have expected him, but for his known engagement seven miles off. After the usual period of suspense, the usual sounds of approach were heard, and “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Musgrove” were ushered into the room.
    Surprise was the strongest emotion raised by their appearance; but Anne was really glad to see them; and the others were not so sorry but that they could put on a decent air of welcome; and as soon as it became clear that these, their nearest relations, were not arrived with an views of accommodation in that house, Sir Walter and Elizabeth were able to rise in cordiality, and do the honours of it very well. They were come to Bath for a few days with Mrs. Musgrove, and were at the White Hart. So much was pretty soon understood; but till Sir Walter and Elizabeth were walking Mary into the other drawing-room, and regaling themselves with her admiration, Anne could not draw upon Charles’s brain for a regular history of their coming, or an explanation of some smiling hints of particular business, which had been ostentatiously dropped by Mary, as well as of some apparent confusion as to whom their party consisted of.
    She then found that it consisted of Mrs. Musgrove, Henrietta, and Captain Harville, beside their two selves.      He gave her a very plain, intelligible account of the whole; a narration in which she saw a great deal of most characteristic proceeding. The scheme had received its first impulse by Captain Harville’s wanting to come to Bath on business. He had begun to talk of it a week ago; and by way of doing something, as shooting was over, Charles had proposed coming with him, and Mrs. Harville had seemed to like the idea of it very much, as an advantage to her husband; but Mary could not bear to be left, and had made herself so unhappy about it that, for a day or two, every thing seemed to be in suspense, or at an end. But then, it had been taken up by his father and mother. His mother had some old friends in Bath, whom she wanted to see; it was thought a good opportunity for Henrietta to come and buy wedding-clothes for herself and her sister; and, in short, it ended in being his mother’s party, that every thing might be comfortable and easy to Captain Harville; and he and Mary were included in it, by way of general convenience. They had arrived late the night before. Mrs. Harville, her children, and Captain Benwick, remained with Mr. Musgrove and Louisa at Uppercross.
    Anne’s only surprise was, that affairs should be in forwardness enough for Henrietta’s wedding-clothes to be talked of: she had imagined such difficulties of fortune to exist there as must prevent the marriage from being near at hand; but she learned from Charles that, very recently, (since Mary’s last letter to herself) Charles Hayter had been applied to by a friend to hold a living for a youth who could not possibly claim it under many years; and that, on the strength of his present income, with almost a certainty of something more permanent long before the term in question, the two families had consented to the young people’s wishes, and that their marriage was likely to take place in a few months, quite as soon as Louisa’s. “And a very good living it was,” Charles added, “only five-and-twenty miles from Uppercross, and in a very fine country — fine part of Dorsetshire. In the centre of some of the best preserves in the kingdom, surrounded by three great proprietors, each more careful and jealous than the other; and to two of the three, at least, Charles Hayter might get a special recommendation.
    Not that he will value it as he ought,” he observed,
    “Charles is too cool about sporting. That’s the worst of him.”
    “I am extremely glad, indeed,” cried Anne, “particularly glad that this should happen: and that of two sisters, who both deserve equally well, and who have always been such good friends, the pleasant prospect of one should not be dimming those of the other — that they should be so equal in their prosperity and comfort. I hope your father and mother are quite happy with regard to both.”
    “Oh! yes. My father would be well pleased if the gentlemen were richer, but he has no other fault to find. Money, you know, coming down with money — two daughters at once — it cannot be a very agreeable operation, and it streightens him as to many things. However, I do not mean to say they have not a right to it. It is very fit they should have daughters’ shares; and I am sure he has always been a very kind, liberal father to me. Mary does not above half like Henrietta’s match. She never did, you know. But she does not do him justice, nor think enough about Winthrop. I cannot make her attend to the value of the property. It is a very fair match, as times go; and I have liked Charles Hayter all my life, and I shall not leave off now.”
    “Such excellent parents as Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove,” exclaimed Anne, “should be happy in their children’s marriages. They do every thing to confer happiness, I am sure. What a blessing to young people to be in such hands! Your father and mother seem so totally free from all those ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct and misery, both in young and old! I hope you think Louisa perfectly recovered now?”
    He answered rather hesitatingly, “Yes, I believe I do — very much recovered; but she is altered; there is no running or jumping about, no laughing or dancing; it is quite different. If one happens only to shut the door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young dab chick in the water; and Benwick sits at her elbow, reading verses, or whispering to her, all day long.”
    Anne could not help laughing. “That cannot be much to your taste, I know,” said she; “but I do believe him to be an excellent young man.”
    “To be sure he is. Nobody doubts it; and I hope you do not think I am so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and pleasures as myself. I have a great value for Benwick; and when one can but get him to talk, he has plenty to say. His reading has done him no harm, for he has fought as well as read. He is a brave fellow. I got more acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before. We had a famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning, in my father’s great barns; and he played his part so well, that I have liked him the better ever since.”
    Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles’s following the others to admire mirrors and china; but Anne had heard enough to understand the present state of Uppercross, and rejoice in its happiness; and though she sighed as she rejoiced, her sigh had none of the ill-will of envy in it. She would certainly have risen to their blessings if she could, but she did not want to lessen theirs.
    The visit passed off altogether in high good humour. Mary was in excellent spirits, enjoying the gaiety and the change; and so well satisfied with the journey in her motherin- law’s carriage with four horses, and with her own complete independence of Camden-place, that she was exactly in a temper to admire every thing as she ought, and enter most readily into all the superiorities of the house, as they were detailed to her. She had no demands on her father or sister, and her consequence was just enough increased by their handsome drawing-rooms.
    Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal. She felt that Mrs. Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them, but she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch. It was a struggle between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then Elizabeth was happy again. These were her internal persuasions. — ”Old fashioned notions — country hospitality — we do not profess to give dinners — few people in Bath do — Lady Alicia never does; did not even ask her own sister’s family, though they were here a month: and I dare say it would be very inconvenient to Mrs. Musgrove — put her quite out of her way. I am sure she would rather not come — she cannot feel easy with us. I will ask them all for an evening; that will be much better — that will be a novelty and a treat. They have not seen two such drawing rooms before. They will be delighted to come to-morrow evening. It shall be a regular party — small, but most elegant.” And this satisfied Elizabeth: and when the invitation was given to the two present, and promised for the absent, Mary was as completely satisfied. She was particularly asked to meet Mr. Elliot, and be introduced to Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, who were fortunately already engaged to come; and she could not have received a more gratifying attention. Miss Elliot was to have the honour of calling on Mrs. Musgrove in the course of the morning, and Anne walked off with Charles and Mary, to go and see her and Henrietta directly.
    Her plan of sitting with Lady Russell must give way for the present. They all three called in Rivers-street for a couple of minutes; but Anne convinced herself that a day’s delay of the intended communication could be of no consequence, and hastened forward to the White Hart, to see again the friends and companions of the last autumn, with an eagerness of good-will which many associations contributed to form.
    They found Mrs. Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. Henrietta was exactly in that state of recentlyimproved views, of fresh-formed happiness, which made her full of regard and interest for every body she had ever liked before at all; and Mrs. Musgrove’s real affection had been won by her usefulness when they were in distress. It was a heartiness, and a warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad want of such blessings at home. She was intreated to give them as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or rather claimed as part of the family; and in return, she naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on Charles’s leaving them together, was listening to Mrs. Musgrove’s history of Louisa, and to Henrietta’s of herself, giving opinions on business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts, from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to convince her that she was not ill used by any body; which Mary, well amused as she generally was in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the pump room, could not but have her moments of imagining.
    A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected. A large party in an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene. One five minutes brought a note, the next a parcel, and Anne had not been there half an hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more than half filled: a party of steady old friends were seated round Mrs. Musgrove, and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth. The appearance of the latter could not be more than the surprise of the moment. It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel, that this arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together again. Their last meeting had been most important in opening his feelings; she had derived from it a delightful conviction; but she feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion, which had hastened him away from the concert room, still governed. He did not seem to want to be near enough for conversation.
    She tried to be calm, and leave things to take their course; and tried to dwell much on this argument of rational dependence —”Surely, if there be constant attachment on each side, our hearts must understand each other ere long. We are not boy and girl, to be captiously irritable, misled by every moment’s inadvertence, and wantonly playing with our own happiness.” And yet, a few minutes afterwards, she felt as if their being in company with each other, under their present circumstances, could only be exposing them to inadvertencies and misconstructions of the most mischievous kind.
    “Anne,” cried Mary, still at her window, “there is Mrs. Clay, I am sure, standing under the colonnade, and a gentleman with her. I saw them turn the corner from Bath-street just now. They seemed deep in talk. Who is it? — Come, and tell me. Good heavens! I recollect. — It is Mr. Elliot himself.”
    “No,” cried Anne, quickly, “it cannot be Mr. Elliot, I assure you. He was to leave Bath at nine this morning, and does not come back till to-morrow.”
    As she spoke, she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her; the consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her, and made her regret that she had said so much, simple as it was.
    Mary, resenting that she should be supposed not to know her own cousin, began talking very warmly about the family features, and protesting still more positively that it was Mr. Elliot, calling again upon Anne to come and look for herself; but Anne did not mean to stir, and tried to be cool and unconcerned. Her distress returned, however, on perceiving smiles and intelligent glances pass between two or three of the lady visitors, as if they believed themselves quite in the secret. It was evident that the report concerning her had spread; and a short pause succeeded, which seemed to ensure that it would now spread farther.
    “Do come, Anne,” cried Mary, “come and look yourself. You will be too late, if you do not make haste. They are parting, they are shaking hands. He is turning away. Not know Mr. Elliot, indeed! — You seem to have forgot all about Lyme.”
    To pacify Mary, and perhaps screen her own embarrassment, Anne did move quietly to the window. She was just in time to ascertain that it really was Mr. Elliot (which she had never believed), before he disappeared on one side, as Mrs. Clay walked quickly off on the other; and checking the surprise which she could not but feel at such an appearance of friendly conference between two persons of totally opposite interest, she calmly said, “Yes, it is Mr. Elliot certainly. He has changed his hour of going, I suppose, that is all — or I may be mistaken; I might not attend;” and walked back to her chair, recomposed, and with the comfortable hope of having acquitted herself well.
    The visitors took their leave; and Charles, having civilly seen them off, and then made a face at them, and abused them for coming, began with —
    “Well, mother, I have done something for you that you will like. I have been to the theatre, and secured a box for to-morrow night. A’n’t I a good boy? I know you love a play; and there is room for us all. It holds nine. I have engaged Captain Wentworth. Anne will not be sorry to join us, I am sure. We all like a play. Have not I done well, mother?” Mrs. Musgrove was good humouredly beginning to express her perfect readiness for the play, if Henrietta and all the others liked it, when Mary eagerly interrupted her by exclaiming,
    “Good heavens, Charles! how can you think of such a thing? Take a box for to-morrow night! Have you forgot that we are engaged to Camden-place to-morrow night? and that we were most particularly asked to meet Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, and Mr. Elliot — and all the principal family connexions — on purpose to be introduced to them? How can you be so forgetful?”
    “Phoo! phoo!” replied Charles, “what’s an evening party? Never worth remembering. Your father might have asked us to dinner, I think, if he had wanted to see us. You may do as you like, but I shall go to the play.”
    “Oh! Charles, I declare it will be too abominable if you do! when you promised to go.”
    “No, I did not promise. I only smirked and bowed, and said the word ‘happy.’ There was no promise.”
    “But you must go, Charles. It would be unpardonable to fail. We were asked on purpose to be introduced. There was always such a great connexion between the Dalrymples and ourselves. Nothing ever happened on either side that was not announced immediately. We are quite near relations, you know: and Mr. Elliot too, whom you ought so particularly to be acquainted with! Every attention is due to Mr. Elliot. Consider, my father’s heir — the future representative of the family.”
    “Don’t talk to me about heirs and representatives,” cried Charles. “I am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the rising sun. If I would not go for the sake of your father, I should think it scandalous to go for the sake of his heir. What is Mr. Elliot to me?”
    The careless expression was life to Anne, who saw that Captain Wentworth was all attention, looking and listening with his whole soul; and that the last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to herself.
    Charles and Mary still talked on in the same style; he, half serious and half jesting, maintaining the scheme for the play; and she, invariably serious, most warmly opposing it, and not omitting to make it known, that however determined to go to Camden-place herself, she should not think herself very well used, if they went to the play without her. Mrs. Musgrove interposed.
    “We had better put it off. Charles, you had much better go back and change the box for Tuesday. It would be a pity to be divided, and we should be losing Miss Anne too, if there is a party at her father’s; and I am sure neither Henrietta nor I should care at all for the play, if Miss Anne could not be with us.”
    Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness; and quite as much so, moreover, for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying —
    “If it depended only on my inclination, ma’am, the party at home (excepting on Mary’s account) would not be the smallest impediment. I have no pleasure in the sort of meeting, and should be too happy to change it for a play, and with you. But, it had better not be attempted, perhaps.” She had spoken it; but she trembled when it was done, conscious that her words were listened to, and daring not even to try to observe their effect.
    It was soon generally agreed that Tuesday should be the day, Charles only reserving the advantage of still teasing his wife, by persisting that he would go to the play tomorrow if nobody else would.
    Captain Wentworth left his seat, and walked to the fireplace; probably for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and taking a station, with less bare-faced design, by Anne.
    “You have not been long enough in Bath,” said he, “to enjoy the evening parties of the place.”
    “Oh! no. The usual character of them has nothing for me. I am no card-player.”
    “You were not formerly, I know. You did not use to like cards; but time makes many changes.”
    “I am not yet so much changed,” cried Anne, and stopped, fearing she hardly knew what misconstruction. After waiting a few moments he said — and as if it were the result of immediate feeling — ”It is a period, indeed! Eight years and a half is a period.”
    Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne’s imagination to ponder over in a calmer hour; for while still hearing the sounds he had uttered, she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta, eager to make use of the present leisure for getting out, and calling on her companions to lose no time, lest somebody else should come in.
    They were obliged to move. Anne talked of being perfectly ready, and tried to look it; but she felt that could Henrietta have known the regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair, in preparing to quit the room, she would have found, in all her own sensations for her cousin, in the very security of his affection, wherewith to pity her.
    Their preparations, however, were stopped short. Alarming sounds were heard; other visitors approached, and the door was thrown open for Sir Walter and Miss Elliot, whose entrance seemed to give a general chill. Anne felt an instant oppression, and, wherever she looked, saw symptoms of the same. The comfort, the freedom, the gaiety of the room was over, hushed into cold composure, determined silence, or insipid talk, to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister. How mortifying to feel that it was so!
    Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular. Captain Wentworth was acknowledged again by each, by Elizabeth more graciously than before. She even addressed him once, and looked at him more than once. Elizabeth was, in fact, revolving a great measure. The sequel explained it. After the waste of a few minutes in saying the proper nothings, she began to give the invitation which was to comprise all the remaining dues of the Musgroves. “To-morrow evening, to meet a few friends, no formal party.” It was all said very gracefully, and the cards with which she had provided herself, the “Miss Elliot at home,” were laid on the table, with a courteous, comprehensive smile to all; and one smile and one card more decidedly for Captain Wentworth. The truth was, that Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath, to understand the importance of a man of such an air and appearance as his. The past was nothing. The present was that Captain Wentworth would move about well in her drawing- room. The card was pointedly given, and Sir Walter and Elizabeth arose and disappeared.
    The interruption had been short, though severe; and ease and animation returned to most of those they left, as the door shut them out, but not to Anne. She could think only of the invitation she had with such astonishment witnessed; and of the manner in which it had been received, a manner of doubtful meaning, of surprise rather than grati- fication, of polite acknowledgement rather than acceptance. She knew him; she saw disdain in his eye, and could not venture to believe that he had determined to accept such an offering, as atonement for all the insolence of the past. Her spirits sank. He held the card in his hand after they were gone, as if deeply considering it.
    “Only think of Elizabeth’s including everybody!” whispered Mary very audibly. “I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted! You see he cannot put the card out of his hand.”
    Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, and his mouth form itself into a momentary expression of contempt, and turned away, that she might neither see nor hear more to vex her.
    The party separated. The gentlemen had their own pursuits, the ladies proceeded on their own business, and they met no more while Anne belonged to them. She was earnestly begged to return and dine, and give them all the rest of the day; but her spirits had been so long exerted, that at present she felt unequal to more, and fit only for home, where she might be sure of being as silent as she chose.
    Promising to be with them the whole of the following morning, therefore, she closed the fatigues of the present, by a toilsome walk to Camden-place, there to spend the evening chiefly in listening to the busy arrangements of Elizabeth and Mrs. Clay for the morrow’s party, the frequent enumeration of the persons invited, and the continually improving detail of all the embellishments which were to make it the most completely elegant of its kind in Bath, while harassing herself with the never-ending question, of whether Captain Wentworth would come or not?
    They were reckoning him as certain, but, with her, it was a gnawing solicitude never appeased for five minutes together. She generally thought he would come, because she generally thought he ought; but it was a case which she could not so shape into any positive act of duty or discretion, as inevitably to defy the suggestions of very opposite feelings.
    She only roused herself from the broodings of this restless agitation, to let Mrs. Clay know that she had been seen with Mr. Elliot three hours after his being supposed to be out of Bath; for having watched in vain for some intimation of the interview from the lady herself, she determined to mention it; and it seemed to her there was guilt in Mrs. Clay’s face as she listened. It was transient, cleared away in an instant, but Anne could imagine she read there the consciousness of having, by some complication of mutual trick, or some overbearing authority of his, been obliged to attend (perhaps for half an hour) to his lectures and restrictions on her designs on Sir Walter. She exclaimed, however, with a very tolerable imitation of nature,
    “Oh dear! very true. Only think, Miss Elliot, to my great surprise I met with Mr. Elliot in Bath-street! I was never more astonished. He turned back and walked with me to the Pump-yard. He had been prevented setting off for Thornberry, but I really forget by what — for I was in a hurry, and could not much attend, and I can only answer for his being determined not to be delayed in his return. He wanted to know how early he might be admitted tomorrow.
    He was full of “to-morrow;” and it is very evident that I have been full of it too ever since I entered the house, and learnt the extension of your plan, and all that had happened, or my seeing him could never have gone so entirely out of my head.”

Chapter 23

ne day only had passed since Anne’s conversation with Mrs. Smith; but a keener interest had succeeded, and she was now so little touched by Mr. Elliot’s conduct, except by its effects in one quarter, that it became a matter of course the next morning, still to defer her explanatory visit in Rivers-street. She had promised to be with the Musgroves from breakfast to dinner. Her faith was plighted, and Mr. Elliot’s character, like the Sultaness Scheherazade’s head, must live another day.
    She could not keep her appointment punctually, however; the weather was unfavourable, and she had grieved over the rain on her friends’ account, and felt it very much on her own, before she was able to attempt the walk. When she reached the White Hart, and made her way to the proper apartment, she found herself neither arriving quite in time, nor the first to arrive. The party before her were Mrs. Musgrove, talking to Mrs. Croft, and Captain Harville to Captain Wentworth, and she immediately heard that Mary and Henrietta, too impatient to wait, had gone out the moment it had cleared, but would be back again soon, and that the strictest injunctions had been left with Mrs. Musgrove, to keep her there till they returned. She had only to submit, sit down, be outwardly composed, and feel herself plunged at once in all the agitations which she had merely laid her account of tasting a little before the morning closed. There was no delay, no waste of time. She was deep in the happiness of such misery, or the misery of such happiness, instantly. Two minutes after her entering the room, Captain Wentworth said,
    “We will write the letter we were talking of, Harville, now, if you will give me materials.”
    Materials were all at hand, on a separate table; he went to it, and nearly turning his back on them all, was engrossed by writing.
    Mrs. Musgrove was giving Mrs. Croft the history of her eldest daughter’s engagement, and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which was perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper. Anne felt that she did not belong to the conversation, and yet, as Captain Harville seemed thoughtful and not disposed to talk, she could not avoid hearing many undesirable particulars, such as “how Mr. Musgrove and my brother Hayter had met again and again to talk it over; what my brother Hayter had said one day, and what Mr. Musgrove had proposed the next, and what had occurred to my sister Hayter, and what the young people had wished, and what I said at first I never could consent to, but was afterwards persuaded to think might do very well,” and a great deal in the same style of open-hearted communication — Minutiж which, even with every advantage of taste and delicacy which good Mrs. Musgrove could not give, could be properly interesting only to the principals. Mrs. Croft was attending with great good humour, and whenever she spoke at all, it was very sensibly. Anne hoped the gentlemen might each be too much self-occupied to hear.
    “And so, ma’am, all these thing considered,” said Mrs. Musgrove, in her powerful whisper, “though we could have wished it different, yet altogether we did not think it fair to stand out any longer; for Charles Hayter was quite wild about it, and Henrietta was pretty near as bad; and so we thought they had better marry at once, and make the best of it, as many others have done before them. At any rate, said I, it will be better than a long engagement.”
    “That is precisely what I was going to observe,” cried Mrs. Croft. “I would rather have young people settle on a small income at once, and have to struggle with a few dif- ficulties together, than be involved in a long engagement. I always think that no mutual —”
    “Oh! dear Mrs. Croft,” cried Mrs. Musgrove, unable to let her finish her speech, “there is nothing I so abominate for young people as a long engagement. It is what I always protested against for my children. It is all very well, I used to say, for young people to be engaged, if there is a certainty of their being able to marry in six months, or even in twelve, but a long engagement!”
    “Yes, dear ma’am,” said Mrs. Croft, “or an uncertain engagement; an engagement which may be long. To begin without knowing that at such a time there will be the means of marrying, I hold to be very unsafe and unwise, and what, I think, all parents should prevent as far as they can.”
    Anne found an unexpected interest here. She felt its application to herself, felt it in a nervous thrill all over her, and at the same moment that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table, Captain Wentworth’s pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing, listening, and he turned round the next instant to give a look—one quick, conscious look at her.
    The two ladies continued to talk, to re-urge the same admitted truths, and enforce them with such examples of the ill effect of a contrary practice, as had fallen within their observation, but Anne heard nothing distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in her ear, her mind was in confusion.
    Captain Harville, who had in truth been hearing none of it, now left his seat, and moved to a window; and Anne seeming to watch him, though it was from thorough absence of mind, became gradually sensible that he was inviting her to join him where he stood. He looked at her with a smile, and a little motion of the head, which expressed, “Come to me, I have something to say;” and the unaffected, easy kindness of manner which denoted the feelings of an older acquaintance than he really was, strongly enforced the invitation. She roused herself and went to him. The window at which he stood, was at the other end of the room from where the two ladies were sitting, and though nearer to Captain Wentworth’s table, not very near. As she joined him, Captain Harville’s countenance reassumed the serious, thoughtful expression which seemed its natural character.
    “Look here,” said he, unfolding a parcel in his hand, and displaying a small miniature painting, “do you know who that is?”
    “Certainly, Captain Benwick.”
    “Yes, and you may guess who it is for. But (in a deep tone) it was not done for her. Miss Elliot, do you remember our walking together at Lyme, and grieving for him? I little thought then — but no matter. This was drawn at the Cape. He met with a clever young German artist at the Cape, and in compliance with a promise to my poor sister, sat to him, and was bringing it home for her. And I have now the charge of getting it properly set for another! It was a commission to me! But who else was there to employ? I hope I can allow for him. I am not sorry, indeed, to make it over to another. He undertakes it — (looking towards Captain Wentworth) he is writing about it now.” And with a quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding, “Poor Fanny! she would not have forgotten him so soon!”
    “No,” replied Anne, in a low feeling voice. “That, I can easily believe.”
    “It was not in her nature. She doated on him.”
    “It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved.”
    Captain Harville smiled, as much as to say, “Do you claim that for your sex?” and she answered the question, smiling also, “Yes. We certainly do not forget you, so soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.”
    “Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men, (which, however, I do not think I shall grant) it does not apply to Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. The peace turned him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us, in our little family- circle, ever since.”
    “True,” said Anne, “very true; I did not recollect; but what shall we say now, Captain Harville? If the change be not from outward circumstances, it must be from within; it must be nature, man’s nature, which has done the business for Captain Benwick.”
    “No, no, it is not man’s nature. I will not allow it to be more man’s nature than woman’s to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or have loved. I believe the reverse. I believe in a true analogy between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage, and riding out the heaviest weather.”
    “Your feelings may be the strongest,” replied Anne, “but the same spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most tender. Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived; which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments. Nay, it would be too hard upon you, if it were otherwise. You have difficulties, and privations, and dangers enough to struggle with. You are always labouring and toiling, exposed to every risk and hardship. Your home, country, friends, all quitted. Neither time, nor health, nor life, to be called your own. It would be too hard, indeed” (with a faltering voice) “if woman’s feelings were to be added to all this.”
    “We shall never agree upon this question”—Captain Harville was beginning to say, when a slight noise called their attention to Captain Wentworth’s hitherto perfectly quiet division of the room. It was nothing more than that his pen had fallen down, but Anne was startled at finding him nearer than she had supposed, and half inclined to suspect that the pen had only fallen, because he had been occupied by them, striving to catch sounds, which yet she did not think he could have caught.
    “Have you finished your letter?” said Captain Harville.
    “Not quite, a few lines more. I shall have done in five minutes.”
    “There is no hurry on my side. I am only ready whenever you are. — I am in very good anchorage here,” (smiling at Anne) “well supplied, and want for nothing. — No hurry for a signal at all. — Well, Miss Elliot,” (lowering his voice) “as I was saying, we shall never agree I suppose upon this point. No man and woman would, probably. But let me observe that all histories are against you, all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.”
    “Perhaps I shall. — Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.”
    “But how shall we prove any thing?”
    “We never shall. We never can expect to prove any thing upon such a point. It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof. We each begin probably with a little bias towards our own sex, and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has occurred within our own circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as cannot be brought forward without betraying a confi- dence, or in some respect saying what should not be said.”
    “Ah!” cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, “if I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, “God knows whether we ever meet again!” And then, if I could convey to you the glow of his soul when he does see them again; when, coming back after a twelvemonth’s absence perhaps, and obliged to put into another port, he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to deceive himself, and saying, ‘They cannot be here till such a day,’ but all the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them arrive at last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner still! If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and glories to do for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!” pressing his own with emotion.
    “Oh!” cried Anne eagerly, “I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow-creatures! I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman. No, I believe you capable of every thing great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as— if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.”
    She could not immediately have uttered another sentence; her heart was too full, her breath too much oppressed.
    “You are a good soul,” cried Captain Harville, putting his hand on her arm, quite affectionately. “There is no quarreling with you. — And when I think of Benwick, my tongue is tied.”
    Their attention was called towards the others.— Mrs. Croft was taking leave.
    “Here, Frederick, you and I part company, I believe,” said she. “I am going home, and you have an engagement with your friend. — To-night we may have the pleasure of all meeting again, at your party,” (turning to Anne.) “We had your sister’s card yesterday, and I understood Frederick had a card too, though I did not see it — and you are disengaged, Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves?”
    Captain Wentworth was folding up a letter in great haste, and either could not or would not answer fully.
    “Yes,” said he, “very true; here we separate, but Harville and I shall soon be after you, that is, Harville, if you are ready, I am in half a minute. I know you will not be sorry to be off. I shall be at your service in half a minute.”
    Mrs. Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth, having sealed his letter with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated air, which shewed impatience to be gone. Anne knew not how to understand it. She had the kindest “Good morning, God bless you!” from Captain Harville, but from him not a word, nor a look. He had passed out of the room without a look!
    She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened; it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves, and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, and standing with his back to Mrs. Musgrove, he drew out a letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a moment, and hastily collecting his gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs. Musgrove was aware of his being in it — the work of an instant!
    The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to “Miss A. E. — —.” was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily. While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also addressing her! On the contents of that letter depended all which this world could do for her. Any thing was possible, any thing might be defied rather than suspense. Mrs. Musgrove had little arrangements of her own at her own table; to their protection she must trust, and sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following words:

    I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. — Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? — I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others. — Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

    F. W.

    I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening, or never.

    Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from. Half and hour’s solitude and reflection might have tranquillized her; but the ten minutes only, which now passed before she was interrupted, with all the restraints of her situation, could do nothing towards tranquillity. Every moment rather brought fresh agitation. It was overpowering happiness. And before she was beyond the first stage of full sensation, Charles, Mary, and Henrietta all came in.
    The absolute necessity of seeming like herself produced then an immediate struggle; but after a while she could do no more. She began not to understand a word they said, and was obliged to plead indisposition and excuse herself. They could then see that she looked very ill — were shocked and concerned — and would not stir without her for the world. This was dreadful! Would they only have gone away, and left her in the quiet possession of that room, it would have been her cure; but to have them all standing or waiting around her was distracting, and, in desperation, she said she would go home.
    “By all means, my dear,” cried Mrs. Musgrove, “go home directly and take care of yourself, that you may be fit for the evening. I wish Sarah was here to doctor you, but I am no doctor myself. Charles, ring and order a chair. She must not walk.”
    But the chair would never do. Worse than all! To lose the possibility of speaking two words to Captain Wentworth in the course of her quiet, solitary progress up the town (and she felt almost certain of meeting him) could not be borne. The chair was earnestly protested against; and Mrs. Musgrove, who thought only of one sort of illness, having assured herself, with some anxiety, that there had been no fall in the case; that Anne had not, at any time lately, slipped down, and got a blow on her head; that she was perfectly convinced of having had no fall, could part with her cheerfully, and depend on finding her better at night.
    Anxious to omit no possible precaution, Anne struggled, and said,
    “I am afraid, ma’am, that it is not perfectly understood. Pray be so good as to mention to the other gentlemen that we hope to see your whole party this evening. I am afraid there had been some mistake; and I wish you particularly to assure Captain Harville, and Captain Wentworth, that we hope to see them both.”
    “Oh! my dear, it is quite understood, I give you my word. Captain Harville has no thought but of going.”
    “Do you think so? But I am afraid; and I should be so very sorry! Will you promise me to mention it, when you see them again? You will see them both this morning, I dare say. Do promise me.”
    “To be sure I will, if you wish it. Charles, if you see Captain Harville any where, remember to give Miss Anne’s message. But indeed, my dear, you need not be uneasy. Captain Harville holds himself quite engaged, I’ll answer for it; and Captain Wentworth the same, I dare say.”
    Anne could do no more; but her heart prophesied some mischance, to damp the perfection of her felicity. It could not be very lasting, however. Even if he did not come to Camden-place himself, it would be in her power to send an intelligible sentence by Captain Harville.
    Another momentary vexation occurred. Charles, in his real concern and good-nature, would go home with her; there was no preventing him. This was almost cruel! But she could not be long ungrateful; he was sacrificing an engagement at a gunsmith’s to be of use to her; and she set off with him, with no feeling but gratitude apparent.
    They were on Union-street, when a quicker step behind, a something of familiar sound, gave her two moments preparation for the sight of Captain Wentworth. He joined them; but, as if irresolute whether to join or to pass on, said nothing — only looked. Anne could command herself enough to receive that look, and not repulsively. The cheeks which had been pale now glowed, and the movements which had hesitated were decided. He walked by her side. Presently, struck by a sudden thought, Charles said,
    “Captain Wentworth, which way are you going? Only to Gay-street, or farther up the town?”
    “I hardly know,” replied Captain Wentworth, surprised.
    “Are you going as high as Belmont? Are you going near Camden-place? Because if you are, I shall have no scruple in asking you to take my place, and give Anne your arm to her father’s door. She is rather done for this morning, and must not go so far without help. And I ought to be at that fellow’s in the market-place. He promised me the sight of a capital gun he is just going to send off; said he would keep it unpacked to the last possible moment, that I might see it; and if I do not turn back now, I have no chance. By his description, a good deal like the second-size double-barrel of mine, which you shot with one day, round Winthrop.”
    There could not be an objection. There could be only the most proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture. In half a minute, Charles was at the bottom of Union-street again, and the other two proceeding together; and soon words enough had passed between them to decide their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel-walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a blessing indeed; and prepare for it all the immortality which the happiest recollections of their own future lives could bestow. There they exchanged again those feelings and those promises which had once before seemed to secure every thing, but which had been followed by so many, many years of division and estrangement. There they returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other’s character, truth, and attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting. And there, as they slowly paced the gradual ascent, heedless of every group around them, seeing neither sauntering politicians, bustling housekeepers, flirting girls, nor nursery-maids and children, they could indulge in those retrospections and acknowledgements, and especially in those explanations of what had directly preceded the present moment, which were so poignant and so ceaseless in interest. All the little variations of the last week were gone through; and of yesterday and to-day there could scarcely be an end.
    She had not mistaken him. Jealousy of Mr. Elliot had been the retarding weight, the doubt, the torment. That had begun to operate in the very hour of first meeting her in Bath; that had returned, after a short suspension, to ruin the concert; and that had influenced him in every thing he had said and done, or omitted to say and do, in the last four-and-twenty hours. It had been gradually yielding to the better hopes which her looks, or words, or actions occasionally encouraged; it had been vanquished at last by those sentiments and those tones which had reached him while she talked with Captain Harville; and under the irresistible governance of which he had seized a sheet of paper, and poured out his feelings.
    Of what he had then written, nothing was to be retracted or qualified. He persisted in having loved none but her. She had never been supplanted. He never even believed himself to see her equal. Thus much indeed he was obliged to acknowledge — that he had been constant unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her, and believed it to be done. He had imagined himself indifferent, when he had only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because he had been a sufferer from them. Her character was now fixed on his mind as perfection itself, maintaining the loveliest medium of fortitude and gentleness; but he was obliged to acknowledge that only at Uppercross had he learnt to do her justice, and only at Lyme had he begun to understand himself.
    At Lyme, he had received lessons of more than one sort. The passing admiration of Mr. Elliot had at least roused him, and the scenes on the Cobb, and at Captain Harville’s, had fixed her superiority.
    In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the attempts of angry pride), he protested that he had for ever felt it to be impossible; that he had not cared, could not care for Louisa; though, till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed it, he had not understood the perfect excellence of the mind with which Louisa’s could so ill bear a comparison; or the perfect, unrivalled hold it possessed over his own. There, he had learnt to distinguish between the steadiness of principle and the obstinacy of selfwill, between the darings of heedlessness and the resolution of a collected mind. There, he had seen everything to exalt in his estimation the woman he had lost, and there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of resentment, which had kept him from trying to regain her when thrown in his way.
    From that period his penance had become severe. He had no sooner been free from the horror and remorse attending the first few days of Louisa’s accident, no sooner begun to feel himself alive again, than he had begun to feel himself, though alive, not at liberty.
    “I found,” said he, “that I was considered by Harville an engaged man! That neither Harville nor his wife entertained a doubt of our mutual attachment. I was startled and shocked. To a degree, I could contradict this instantly; but, when I began to reflect that others might have felt the same — her own family, nay, perhaps herself, I was no longer at my own disposal. I was hers in honour if she wished it. I had been unguarded. I had not thought seriously on this subject before. I had not considered that my excessive intimacy must have its danger of ill consequence in many ways; and that I had no right to be trying whether I could attach myself to either of the girls, at the risk of raising even an unpleasant report, were there no other ill effects. I had been grossly wrong, and must abide the consequences.”
    He found too late, in short, that he had entangled himself; and that precisely as he became fully satisfied of his not caring for Louisa at all, he must regard himself as bound to her, if her sentiments for him were what the Harvilles supposed. It determined him to leave Lyme, and await her complete recovery elsewhere. He would gladly weaken, by any fair means, whatever feelings or speculations concerning him might exist; and he went, therefore, to his brother’s, meaning after a while to return to Kellynch, and act as circumstances might require.
    “I was six weeks with Edward,” said he, “and saw him happy. I could have no other pleasure. I deserved none. He enquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eye you could never alter.”
    Anne smiled, and let it pass. It was too pleasing a blunder for a reproach. It is something for a woman to be assured, in her eight-and-twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier youth: but the value of such homage was inexpressibly increased to Anne, by comparing it with former words, and feeling it to be the result, not the cause of a revival of his warm attachment.
    He had remained in Shropshire, lamenting the blindness of his own pride, and the blunders of his own calculations, till at once released from Louisa by the astonishing and felicitous intelligence of her engagement with Benwick.
    “Here,” said he, “ended the worst of my state; for now I could at least put myself in the way of happiness, I could exert myself; I could do something. But to be waiting so long in inaction, and waiting only for evil, had been dreadful. Within the first five minutes I said, “I will be at Bath on Wednesday,” and I was. Was it unpardonable to think it worth my while to come? and to arrive with some degree of hope? You were single. It was possible that you might retain the feelings of the past, as I did; and one encouragement happened to be mine. I could never doubt that you would be loved and sought by others, but I knew to a certainty that you had refused one man at least, of better pretensions than myself; and I could not help often saying, Was this for me?”
    Their first meeting in Milsom-street afforded much to be said, but the concert still more. That evening seemed to be made up of exquisite moments. The moment of her stepping forward in the octagon-room to speak to him, the moment of Mr. Elliot’s appearing and tearing her away, and one or two subsequent moments, marked by returning hope or increasing despondence, were dwelt on with energy.
    “To see you,” cried he, “in the midst of those who could not be my well-wishers, to see your cousin close by you, conversing and smiling, and feel all the horrible eligibilities and proprieties of the match! To consider it as the certain wish of every being who could hope to influence you! Even if your own feelings were reluctant or indifferent, to consider what powerful supports would be his! Was it not enough to make the fool of me which I appeared? How could I look on without agony? Was not the very sight of the friend who sat behind you, was not the recollection of what had been, the knowledge of her influence, the indelible, immoveable impression of what persuasion had once done — was it not all against me?”
    “You should have distinguished,” replied Anne. “You should not have suspected me now; the case is so different, and my age is so different. If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.”
    “Perhaps I ought to have reasoned thus,” he replied, “but I could not. I could not derive benefit from the late knowledge I had acquired of your character. I could not bring it into play: it was overwhelmed, buried, lost in those earlier feelings which I had been smarting under year after year. I could think of you only as one who had yielded, who had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by me. I saw you with the very person who had guided you in that year of misery. I had no reason to believe her of less authority now.— The force of habit was to be added.”
    “I should have thought,” said Anne, “that my manner to yourself might have spared you much or all of this.”
    “No, no! your manner might be only the ease which your engagement to another man would give. I left you in this belief; and yet — I was determined to see you again. My spirits rallied with the morning, and I felt that I had still a motive for remaining here.”
    At last Anne was at home again, and happier than any one in that house could have conceived. All the surprise and suspense, and every other painful part of the morning dissipated by this conversation, she reentered the house so happy as to be obliged to find an alloy in some momentary apprehensions of its being impossible to last. An interval of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of every thing dangerous in such high-wrought felicity; and she went to her room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her enjoyment.
    The evening came, the drawing-rooms were lighted up, the company assembled. It was but a card-party, it was but a mixture of those who had never met before, and those who met too often — a common-place business, too numerous for intimacy, too small for variety; but Anne had never found an evening shorter. Glowing and lovely in sensibility and happiness, and more generally admired than she thought about or cared for, she had cheerful or forbearing feelings for every creature around her. Mr. Elliot was there; she avoided, but she could pity him. The Wallises; she had amusement in understanding them. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret; they would soon be innoxious cousins to her.
    She cared not for Mrs. Clay, and had nothing to blush for in the public manners of her father and sister. With the Musgroves, there was the happy chat of perfect ease; with Captain Harville, the kind-hearted intercourse of brother and sister; with Lady Russell, attempts at conversation, which a delicious consciousness cut short; with Admiral and Mrs. Croft, every thing of peculiar cordiality and fervent interest, which the same consciousness sought to conceal; — and with Captain Wentworth, some moments of communications continually occurring, and always the hope of more, and always the knowledge of his being there!
    It was in one of these short meetings, each apparently occupied in admiring a fine display of green-house plants, that she said —
    “I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge of the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly right in being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you do now.
    To me, she was in the place of a parent. Do not mistake me, however. I am not saying that she did not err in her advice. It was, perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the event decides; and for myself, I certainly never should, in any circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such advice. But I mean, that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my conscience.
    I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I mistake not, a strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman’s portion.”
    He looked at her, looked at Lady Russell, and looking again at her, replied, as if in cool deliberation,
    “Not yet. But there are hopes of her being forgiven in time. I trust to being in charity with her soon. But I too have been thinking over the past, and a question has suggested itself, whether there may not have been one person more my enemy even than that lady? My own self. Tell me if, when I returned to England in the year eight, with a few thousand pounds, and was posted into the Laconia, if I had then written to you, would you have answered my letter? would you, in short, have renewed the engagement then?”
    “Would I!” was all her answer; but the accent was decisive enough.
    “Good God!” he cried, “you would! It is not that I did not think of it, or desire it, as what could alone crown all my other success. But I was proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes, and would not understand you, or do you justice. This is a recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself. Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is a sort of pain, too, which is new to me. I have been used to the gratification of believing myself to earn every blessing that I enjoyed. I have valued myself on honourable toils and just rewards. Like other great men under reverses,” he added, with a smile, “I must endeavour to subdue my mind to my fortune. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”

Chapter 24

ho can be in doubt of what followed? When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other’s ultimate comfort. This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to be truth; and if such parties succeed, how should a Captain Wentworth and an Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of mind, consciousness of right, and one independent fortune between them, fail of bearing down every opposition? They might in fact have borne down a great deal more than they met with, for there was little to distress them beyond the want of graciousness and warmth.—Sir Walter made no objection, and Elizabeth did nothing worse than look cold and unconcerned. Captain Wentworth, with fiveand- twenty thousand pounds, and as high in his profession as merit and activity could place him, was no longer nobody. He was now esteemed quite worthy to address the daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, who had not had principle or sense enough to maintain himself in the situation in which Providence had placed him, and who could give his daughter at present but a small part of the share of ten thousand pounds which must be hers hereafter.
    Sir Walter indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no vanity flattered, to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far from thinking it a bad match for her. On the contrary, when he saw more of Captain Wentworth, saw him repeatedly by daylight and eyed him well, he was very much struck by his personal claims, and felt that his superiority of appearance might be not unfairly balanced against her superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-sounding name, enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen with a very good grace for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.
    The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could excite any serious anxiety, was Lady Russell. Anne knew that Lady Russell must be suffering some pain in understanding and relinquishing Mr. Elliot, and be making some struggles to become truly acquainted with, and do justice to Captain Wentworth. This however was what Lady Russell had now to do. She must learn to feel that she had been mistaken with regard to both; that she had been unfairly influenced by appearances in each; that because Captain Wentworth’s manners had not suited her own ideas, she had been too quick in suspecting them to indicate a character of dangerous impetuosity; and that because Mr. Elliot’s manners had precisely pleased her in their propriety and correctness, their general politeness and suavity, she had been too quick in receiving them as the certain result of the most correct opinions and well regulated mind. There was nothing less for Lady Russell to do, than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to take up a new set of opinions and of hopes.
    There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the discernment of character, a natural penetration, in short, which no experience in others can equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in this part of understanding than her young friend. But she was a very good woman, and if her second object was to be sensible and well-judging, her first was to see Anne happy. She loved Anne better than she loved her own abilities; and when the awkwardness of the beginning was over, found little hardship in attaching herself as a mother to the man who was securing the happiness of her other child.
    Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately gratified by the circumstance. It was creditable to have a sister married, and she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn; and as her own sister must be better than her husband’s sisters, it was very agreeable that Captain Wentworth should be a richer man than either Captain Benwick or Charles Hayter.— She had something to suffer, perhaps, when they came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a future to look forward to, of powerful consolation. Anne had no Uppercross-hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family; and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a baronet, she would not change situations with Anne.
    It would be well for the eldest sister if she were equally satisfied with her situation, for a change is not very probable there. She had soon the mortification of seeing Mr. Elliot withdraw; and no one of proper condition has since presented himself to raise even the unfounded hopes which sunk with him.
    The news of his cousins Anne’s engagement burst on Mr. Elliot most unexpectedly. It deranged his best plan of domestic happiness, his best hope of keeping Sir Walter single by the watchfulness which a son-in-law’s rights would have given. But, though discomfited and disappointed, he could still do something for his own interest and his own enjoyment. He soon quitted Bath; and on Mrs. Clay’s quitting it soon afterwards, and being next heard of as established under his protection in London, it was evident how double a game he had been playing, and how determined he was to save himself from being cut out by one artful woman, at least.
    Mrs. Clay’s affections had overpowered her interest, and she had sacrificed, for the young man’s sake, the possibility of scheming longer for Sir Walter. She has abilities, however, as well as affections; and it is now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or hers, may finally carry the day; whether, after preventing her from being the wife of Sir Walter, he may not be wheedled and caressed at last into making her the wife of Sir William.
    It cannot be doubted that Sir Walter and Elizabeth were shocked and mortified by the loss of their companion, and the discovery of their deception in her. They had their great cousins, to be sure, to resort to for comfort; but they must long feel that to flatter and follow others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment.
    Anne, satisfied at a very early period of Lady Russell’s meaning to love Captain Wentworth as she ought, had no other alloy to the happiness of her prospects than what arose from the consciousness of having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value. There she felt her own inferiority very keenly. The disproportion in their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment’s regret; but to have no family to receive and estimate him properly; nothing of respectability, of harmony, of good-will to offer in return for all the worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could well be sensible of, under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity. She had but two friends in the world to add to his list, Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith. To those, however, he was very well disposed to attach himself. Lady Russell, in spite of all her former transgressions, he could now value from his heart. While he was not obliged to say that he believed her to have been right in originally dividing them, he was ready to say almost every thing else in her favour; and as for Mrs. Smith, she had claims of various kinds to recommend her quickly and permanently.
    Her recent good offices by Anne had been enough in themselves; and their marriage, instead of depriving her of one friend, secured her two. She was their earliest visitor in their settled life; and Captain Wentworth, by putting her in the way of recovering her husband’s property in the West Indies; by writing for her, acting for her, and seeing her through all the petty difficulties of the case, with the activity and exertion of a fearless man and a determined friend, fully requited the services which she had rendered, or ever meant to render, to his wife.
    Mrs. Smith’s enjoyments were not spoiled by this improvement of income, with some improvement of health, and the acquisition of such friends to be often with, for her cheerfulness and mental alacrity did not fail her; and while these prime supplies of good remained, she might have bid defiance even to greater accessions of worldly prosperity. She might have been absolutely rich and perfectly healthy, and yet be happy. Her spring of felicity was in the glow of her spirits, as her friend Anne’s was in the warmth of her heart. Anne was tenderness itself, and she had the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth’s affection. His profession was all that could ever make her friends wish that tenderness less; the dread of a future war all that could dim her sunshine. She gloried in being a sailor’s wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.

Finis

Preface to Persuasion by Henry Austen

Роман "Доводы рассудка" (перевод с англ.)

О жизни и творчестве Джейн Остин

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