Austen loved Lyme, and in this chapter we get her longest and most fluid narrative description of any setting or location in all of her work.
We’re also introduced to a third set of people. We’ve met the vain and aristocratic Elliots—and the hearty Musgrove clan—and now we get to meet more of the naval 'family!' And what an absolute wonder and delight they are! With all their warm manners and closely knit ties, functioning off values entirely different, startling, fresh and contrasting!
With Anne’s conversation with Benwick, we also see more fully just how well read she is, and also a fascinating glimpse of what a truly good conversationalist and speaker she can be. Soliloquizing with herself later, she even shows a trace of Lizzy Bennet’s humor and amusement. So altogether a wonderful and deepening glimpse into our lovely heroine!
“…but she was yet more anxious for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth never meeting any where.” pg. 93
“…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.” pg. 97-98
“There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all this, and such a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon, so unlike the usual style of give-and-take invitations, and dinners of formality and display, that Anne felt her spirits not likely to be benefited by an increasing acquaintance among his brother-officers.” pg. 98
“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.” pg. 98
“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.” pg. 101
Possible discussion question/s:
~ It’s been pointed out that the naval community represents an entirely different form of society—not based on “land” at all (land physically or as a running system of inheritance). So what are some personal qualities inherent in an individual (i.e. bravery, dedication, a value for hard work, etc.) that would shape their social system?