A Winter's Persuasion - Chapter Twenty
Ooh - now things are getting good. Captain Wentworth turns up at the concert and Anne steps forward to speak to him, regardless of how her family might see it. She's acting out of her own sense of what is proper, and not deferring to others. Way to grow a spine, Anne!
As it turns out, her father actually acknowledges Captain Wentworth, which essentially forces Elizabeth into doing it as well. But that's not the big news. The big news is the extremely personal conversation between Wentworth and Anne, wherein he talks about things like feelings and makes reference (intentionally or not) to their shared past. And check out this rather oblique reference to how the good captain is feeling:
"I confess that I do think there is a disparity, too great a disparity, and in a point no less essential than mind. I regard Louisa Musgrove as a very amiable, sweet-tempered girl, and not deficient in understanding, but Benwick is something more. He is a clever man, a reading man; and I confess, that I do consider his attaching himself to her with some surprise. Had it been the effect of gratitude, had he learnt to love her, because he believed her to be preferring him, it would have been another thing. But I have no reason to suppose it so. It seems, on the contrary, to have been a perfectly spontaneous, untaught feeling on his side, and this surprises me. A man like him, in his situation! with a heart pierced, wounded, almost broken! Fanny Harville was a very superior creature, and his attachment to her was indeed attachment. A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not." [Kelly swoons.]
Either from the consciousness, however, that his friend had recovered, or from other consciousness, he went no farther; and Anne who, in spite of the agitated voice in which the latter part had been uttered, and in spite of all the various noises of the room, the almost ceaseless slam of the door, and ceaseless buzz of persons walking through, had distinguished every word, was struck, gratified, confused, and beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a moment.
Where were we again? Sorry - I was still swooning. If you've seen Rupert Penry-Jones deliver those lines (which have been moved to the Molland's set in the 2007 ITV version) you'd be swooning too. And Ciaran Hinds delivery in the 1995 movie version is pretty swell also.
The two of them are separated by the hubbub surrounding the arrival of Lady Dalrymple, but Anne figures "they should meet again. He would look for her, he would find her out before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as well to be asunder. She was in need of a little interval for recollection."
Ah, Anne. So naive. Not reckoning on the power of gossip in a place like Bath. But what is Wentworth to think when people are whispering about how Mr. Elliot has the hots for her and will likely propose, and there's Anne, whispering into Mr. Elliot's ear during the concert? How is he to know that she's merely translating the Italian for him and trying to get him to stop complimenting her? She is quite certain that Mr. Elliot is up to something, and she doesn't care for it one bit. She cares for Wentworth and he is . . . leaving? WTF?
Okay, Anne does not say WTF. She goes with the polite equivalent - "Is not this song worth staying for?" - to which Wentworth replies in what might be consdiered a rude manner, but what he's really saying is "GAH! I cannot see anything now that my eyesight has gone completely green!" Off goes Wentworth, and Anne is smart enough to figure out why:
Jealousy of Mr. Elliot! It was the only intelligible motive. Captain Wentworth jealous of her affection! Could she have believed it a week ago; three hours ago! For a moment the gratification was exquisite. But, alas! there were very different thoughts to succeed. How was such jealousy to be quieted? How was the truth to reach him? How, in all the peculiar disadvantages of their respective situations, would he ever learn of her real sentiments? It was misery to think of Mr. Elliot's attentions. Their evil was incalculable.
Poor Anne. Mr. Elliot's attentions are about to become more evil still. But that's for tomorrow's entry.