ther 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 tomorrow. Anne could only feel that Charles Hayter was wise.
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 mansionhouse.
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 every thing being to be communicated, and every thing 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. “Every
body 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 any body, 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
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
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 confirmmy 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 morningvisit 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. Every body 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 a nd 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 extreme agitation.
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 canvas, 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, una ffected 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
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.
he 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 any where. 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 chie 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
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 prizemoney
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 unexpensive, 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-andtake 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 indoors 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 every
thing 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
“nothorough-fare of Lyme,” and the “no expectation of company,”
had brought many apologies from the heads of the
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.
nne 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 southeasterly 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 twelvemonth. 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 any thing 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 overscrupulous?
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
“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 every
body! I always look upon her as able to persuade a person
to any thing! 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 at
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
“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 and London.”
“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
“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 meanwhile 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
“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 per force 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 every thing 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 for directions.
“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
“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
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
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
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 maids’ 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 was inevitable.
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 their acquaintance.
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
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.
(перевод с англ.)