Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Winter's Persuasion - Chapter Fourteen

Chapter 14, in which precious little happens. Charles and Mary Musgrove return home, followed shortly by Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove, come home for Christmas to greet their younger children, home on holiday, and bringing along the Harville children as well. Louisa and Henrietta are still in Lyme, along with the Harvilles and Captain Benwick. Captain Wentworth, out of excessive concern for Louisa, refuses to visit her, and plans on going away for a while, or such is the report received. This bit reminds me a bit of Lucy Steele's comments in Sense and Sensibility about why she so seldom sees her secret fiancé, Edward Ferrars, and is undoubtedly just as truthful (or not, as the case may be):

Lucy . . . believed herself to be inflicting a severe disappointment when she told [Elinor] that Edward certainly would not be in Harley Street on Tuesday, and even hoped to be carrying the pain still farther by persuading her that he was kept away by the extreme affection for herself, which he could not conceal when they were together. [Italics are mine.]

Mary and Charles report that Captain Benwick has been reading the books Anne recommended, and Charles reports that he speaks highly of Anne. Lady Russell and Anne expect him to ride over for a visit, but he never does.

At chapter's end, Anne and Lady Russell head into Bath, putting Anne into quite a somber mood:

Anne did not share these feelings. She persisted in a very determined, though very silent disinclination for Bath; caught the first dim view of the extensive buildings, smoking in rain, without any wish of seeing them better; felt their progress through the streets to be, however disagreeable, yet too rapid; for who would be glad to see her when she arrived? And looked back, with fond regret, to the bustles of Uppercross and the seclusion of Kellynch.

Nevertheless, Anne is put down in Camden Place (a good address, by the way), where she can look forward to time with her silly father, her equally silly sister, the possibly dangerous Mrs. Clay (whom Anne fears may have designs on Sir Walter), and, quite likely, an official meeting with Mr. William Elliot (who we talked about back in our discussion of Chapter One.

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