And here I think we really need a picture:
Reading it this time, Mansfield Park suddenly occurred to me. In MF (finished just two years before Persuasion), such advice and arguments as Lady Russell’s would (on a personal level) be most wise and applicable for Fanny’s mother near the beginning, as she defiantly chooses to marry the seagoing Mr. Price. Their life together turned out very much as Lady Russell envisions Anne’s potential marriage.
And (because we want everyone quite happy) here’s another…
Okay, so now that that’s handled, let’s concentrate.
It says Lady Russell received the engagement as a “most unfortunate” connection. “Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in that profession; would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to think of! Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be snatched off by a stranger without alliance or fortune; or rather sunk by him into a state of most wearing, anxious, youth-killing dependence! It must not be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from one who had almost a mother's love, and mother’s rights, it would be prevented.”
And then about Wentworth’s personality: “Lady Russell saw it very differently.—His sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated very differently on her. She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil. It only added a dangerous character to himself. He was brilliant, he was headstrong.—Lady Russell had little taste for wit; and of any thing approaching to imprudence a horror. She deprecated the connexion in every light.”
Yet even in Mansfield Park, the Price children are shown as scrambling up well into maturity… So over and over, it seems Austen reminds us that there is no surefire formula in life—but there is grace in hard situations, and there is such a thing as a life well lived.
And along those lines, does anyone want to do a guest post on Anne?
“He was, at that time, a remarkably fine young man, with a great deal of intelligence, spirit and brilliancy; and Anne an extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling. —Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough…but the encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail. They were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love. It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other, or which had been the happiest; she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.” pg. 27
“…in this case, Anne had left nothing for advice to do…” pg. 30
“How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been,—how eloquent, at least, were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems to insult exertion and distrust Providence! —She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older—the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.” pg. 31
“…the brother only with whom he had been residing, had received any information of their short-lived engagement. —That brother had been long removed from the country—and being a sensible man, and, moreover, a single man at the time, she had a fond dependence on no human creature’s having heard of it from him.” pg. 31
Possible discussion question/s:
~ How do you think Wentworth and Anne might have first become acquainted? Does it seem like the Elliots would have graced a general assembly ball with their presence? Or was the local curate actually on calling terms with Sir Walter?
~ Why do you think Sir Walter (while refusing to do anything for her), didn’t go all the way and withhold his consent to the engagement?