Saturday, February 28, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 24

We finished!!! On the 28th of February!!!!!

And first, thank you all so much for enthusiastically joining in here and making it all such a thoroughly splendid success!! :) (As a note, don’t worry if you’re still finishing up… There’s no rush. Feel free to read and comment whenever you can! ;))

~ ~ ~

In this chapter Austen wraps everything up so wonderfully. Realistically (without happy tidiness in every direction), but with resolution and a good amount of cheerful spirit spread into the corners—and with deep happiness for the people we love most. 

(Oh, my…. I do love Persuasion so much! But I mentioned something about that in my last post, didn’t I? ;))

Next week there will be a celebratory giveaway and I’m also hoping to do a post on Wentworth and Anne—so keep visiting! 

Favorite lines/quotes:

“Sir Walter, indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no vanity flattered, to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far from thinking it a bad match for her. On the contrary, when he saw more of Captain Wentworth, saw him repeatedly by daylight, and eyed him well, he was very much struck by his personal claims, and felt that his superiority of appearance might be not unfairly balanced against her superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-sounding name, enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen, with a very good grace, for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.” pg. 244

“There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the discernment of character, a natural penetration, in short, which no experience in others can equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in this part of understanding than her young friend. But she was a very good woman, and if her second object was to be sensible and well-judging, her first was to see Anne happy. She loved Anne better than she loved her own abilities; and when the awkwardness of the beginning was over, found little hardship in attaching herself as a mother to the man who was securing the happiness of her other child.

“Of all the family, Mary was probably the one most immediately gratified by the circumstance. It was creditable to have a sister married, and she might flatter herself with having been greatly instrumental to the connexion, by keeping Anne with her in the autumn…” pg. 245

“Anne, satisfied at a very early period of Lady Russell's meaning to love Captain Wentworth as she ought, had no other alloy to the happiness of her prospects than what arose from the consciousness of having no relations to bestow on him which a man of sense could value. There she felt her own inferiority very keenly. The disproportion in their fortune was nothing; it did not give her a moment's regret; but to have no family to receive and estimate him properly, nothing of respectability, of harmony, of good will to offer in return for all the worth and all the prompt welcome which met her in his brothers and sisters, was a source of as lively pain as her mind could well be sensible of under circumstances of otherwise strong felicity.” pg. 247

“Captain Wentworth, by putting her (Mrs. Smith) in the way of recovering her husband's property in the West Indies, by writing for her, acting for her, and seeing her through all the petty difficulties of the case with the activity and exertion of a fearless man and a determined friend, fully requited the services which she had rendered, or ever meant to render, to his wife.” pg. 247

“She (Mrs. Smith) might have been absolutely rich and perfectly healthy, and yet be happy. Her spring of felicity was in the glow of her spirits, as her friend Anne's was in the warmth of her heart. Anne was tenderness itself, and she had the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth's affection.” – pg. 248

Possible discussion question/s:

~ What do you think of the final revelation of Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay’s characters?

~ Do you think everyone and everything is well resolved?

~ Have you enjoyed Persuasion?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 23


From Mrs. Musgrove and Mrs. Croft at the beginning on through Anne and Captain Harville and then…yes, I can’t say anymore. It’s my favorite chapter in all of Austen!

Lord willing, I’ll be discussing this chapter quite a bit in a summary post next week, so I really am refraining from saying much at present. More to come soon!

And…my apologies, but I gave up on favorite lines. :) I’ve read and listened to this chapter so many times I quite truly and literally have it memorized. After starting off with the first three I promptly realized it was hopeless!!! So here you have those first three and CW’s letter (which has to be transcribed no matter what, whatever else happens).

Favorite lines/quotes:

“Her faith was plighted, and Mr Elliot's character, like the Sultaness Scheherazade's head, must live another day.” pg. 225

“…There was no delay, no waste of time. She was deep in the happiness of such misery, or the misery of such happiness, instantly.” pg. 225

“Mrs Musgrove was giving Mrs Croft the history of her eldest daughter's engagement, and just in that inconvenient tone of voice which was perfectly audible while it pretended to be a whisper.” pg. 226

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.” pg. 233

~ ....THE ENTIRE CHAPTER!!!!!! ~

Possible discussion question/s:

~ What is your favorite moment in this grand, marvelous, splendid, beautiful chapter? Your favorite line?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 22

This chapter is wonderful—and I’m so glad to see Mary and Charles again! There are LOTS of quotes (naturally), but one thing I particularly love about this chapter is the description of the Musgroves' hospitable and spacious hotel dining room:

“A morning of thorough confusion was to be expected. A large party in an hotel ensured a quick-changing, unsettled scene. One five minutes brought a note, the next a parcel; and Anne had not been there half an hour, when their dining-room, spacious as it was, seemed more than half filled: a party of steady old friends were seated around Mrs Musgrove, and Charles came back with Captains Harville and Wentworth. The appearance of the latter could not be more than the surprise of the moment. It was impossible for her to have forgotten to feel that this arrival of their common friends must be soon bringing them together again.” 

(Such an overflow of warm delight! And all of this cheerful hospitality is now directly contrasted with the cold insipidity and elegance of Elizabeth and Sir Walter.)

I also love the short conversation between Wentworth and Anne, filled with all the awkwardness of not knowing what in the world to say—what can be said when so many doubts and fears and uncertainties are hovering under the surface. A conversation filled most of all with the fear of opening up only to be hurt again, and the burning fear of being too late.

Favorite quotes/lines:

“There was no longer anything of tenderness due to him (Mr. Elliot). He stood as opposed to Captain Wentworth, in all his own unwelcome obtrusiveness…” pg. 208

“She…had all the distress of foreseeing many evils, without knowing how to avert any one of them.” pg. 208

“…till Sir Walter and Elizabeth were walking Mary into the other drawing-room, and regaling themselves with her admiration, Anne could not draw upon Charles's brain for a regular history of their coming…” pg. 212

(Charles speaking): “…I am sure he has always been a very kind, liberal father to me. Mary does not above half like Henrietta's match. She never did, you know. But she does not do him justice, nor think enough about Winthrop. I cannot make her attend to the value of the property. It is a very fair match, as times go; and I have liked Charles Hayter all my life, and I shall not leave off now.” pg. 214

“To be sure he (Captain Benwick) is. Nobody doubts it; and I hope you do not think I am so illiberal as to want every man to have the same objects and pleasures as myself. I have a great value for Benwick; and when one can but get him to talk, he has plenty to say. His reading has done him no harm, for he has fought as well as read. He is a brave fellow. I got more acquainted with him last Monday than ever I did before. We had a famous set-to at rat-hunting all the morning in my father's great barns; and he played his part so well that I have liked him the better ever since.” 

“Here they were interrupted by the absolute necessity of Charles's following the others to admire mirrors and china; but Anne had heard enough to understand the present state of Uppercross, and rejoice in its happiness; and though she sighed as she rejoiced, her sigh had none of the ill-will of envy in it. She would certainly have risen to their blessings if she could, but she did not want to lessen theirs.” pg. 214-215

“They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. Henrietta was exactly in that state of recently-improved views, of fresh-formed happiness, which made her full of regard and interest for everybody she had ever liked before at all; and Mrs Musgrove's real affection had been won by her usefulness when they were in distress. It was a heartiness, and a warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad want of such blessings at home. She was entreated to give them as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or rather claimed as part of the family; and, in return, she naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance…” pg. 216

“The visitors took their leave; and Charles, having civilly seen them off, and then made a face at them, and abused them for coming…” pg. 218

“Don't talk to me about heirs and representatives,” cried Charles. “I am not one of those who neglect the reigning power to bow to the rising sun. If I would not go for the sake of your father, I should think it scandalous to go for the sake of his heir. What is Mr Elliot to me?” The careless expression was life to Anne, who saw that Captain Wentworth was all attention, looking and listening with his whole soul; and that the last words brought his enquiring eyes from Charles to herself.” pg. 219

“Anne felt truly obliged to her for such kindness; and quite as much so for the opportunity it gave her of decidedly saying— “If it depended only on my inclination, ma'am, the party at home (excepting on Mary's account) would not be the smallest impediment. I have no pleasure in the sort of meeting, and should be too happy to change it for a play, and with you. But, it had better not be attempted, perhaps.” She had spoken it; but she trembled when it was done, conscious that her words were listened to, and daring not even to try to observe their effect.” pg. 220

“Captain Wentworth left his seat, and walked to the fire-place; probably for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and taking a station, with less bare-faced design, by Anne.” pg. 220

“Whether he would have proceeded farther was left to Anne's imagination to ponder over in a calmer hour; for while still hearing the sounds he had uttered, she was startled to other subjects by Henrietta, eager to make use of the present leisure for getting out, and calling on her companions to lose no time, lest somebody else should come in. 

“They were obliged to move. Anne talked of being perfectly ready, and tried to look it; but she felt that could Henrietta have known the regret and reluctance of her heart in quitting that chair, in preparing to quit the room, she would have found, in all her own sensations for her cousin, in the very security of his affection, wherewith to pity her.” pg. 221

“The comfort, the freedom, the gaiety of the room was over, hushed into cold composure, determined silence, or insipid talk, to meet the heartless elegance of her father and sister. How mortifying to feel that it was so! 

“Her jealous eye was satisfied in one particular. Captain Wentworth was acknowledged again by each, by Elizabeth more graciously than before. She even addressed him once, and looked at him more than once. Elizabeth was, in fact, revolving a great measure. The sequel explained it. …The truth was, that Elizabeth had been long enough in Bath to understand the importance of a man of such an air and appearance as his. The past was nothing. The present was that Captain Wentworth would move about well in her drawing-room.” pg. 221-222

“Anne caught his eye, saw his cheeks glow, and his mouth form itself into a momentary expression of contempt, and turned away, that she might neither see nor hear more to vex her.” pg. 222

“…They were reckoning him as certain, but with her it was a gnawing solicitude never appeased for five minutes together. She generally thought he would come, because she generally thought he ought; but it was a case which she could not so shape into any positive act of duty or discretion, as inevitably to defy the suggestions of very opposite feelings.” pg. 223

Possible discussion question/s:

~ It says: “Elizabeth was, for a short time, suffering a good deal. She felt that Mrs Musgrove and all her party ought to be asked to dine with them; but she could not bear to have the difference of style, the reduction of servants, which a dinner must betray, witnessed by those who had been always so inferior to the Elliots of Kellynch. It was a struggle between propriety and vanity; but vanity got the better, and then Elizabeth was happy again.” 

In a way, Elizabeth is given a final chance to change in this chapter—and she turns it down. Later she shows a bit of change by inviting Captain Wentworth, but even then it’s not a heart change so much as wanting to have him fit tidily into the new, nice, spick-and-span world she’s constructing. Anne (while living actively and readying herself to be proactive) isn't trying to construct the world around her. 

Do you see this as a strong contrast between them?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 21

This chapter is long…the longest in the book. (And…we have two wonderful chapters coming up next—both entirely rich, splendid, and wonderful!!!!!!! ;)) But wait, let us collect ourselves.

At the moment, we’ve come to the revelation of Mr. Elliot’s schemes and infamy. A lot of his misdemeanors (or far worse) are merely hinted at, but I was thinking about how his treatment of Mrs. Smith alone is really hugely reprehensible. Biblically speaking, there are strong injunctions against such injustice; God does not look favorably on those who mistreat widows and orphans. 

I got thinking about quite a few more things in here, too, but I decided to save some of the points for a huge post I’m writing up on Wentworth and Anne (hopefully to be posted the first week of March after we’re ‘officially’ finished). I’m also planning a giveaway for that week so there’s lots of excitement in store!

Favorite lines/quotes:

“There was much to regret. How she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case, was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be his for ever. Their union, she believed, could not divide her more from other men, than their final separation.” pg. 188

“Anne half smiled and said, “Do you see that in my eye?” “Yes, I do. Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in the world, the person who interests you at this present time more than all the rest of the world put together.” pg. 190

“I have not known him (Mr. Elliot) long; and he is not a man, I think, to be known intimately soon. …I assure you, Mr. Elliot had not the share which you have been supposing, in whatever pleasure the concert of last night might afford: not Mr. Elliot; it is not Mr. Elliot that—” She stopped, regretting with a deep blush that she had implied so much; but less would hardly have been sufficient. Mrs. Smith would hardly have believed so soon in Mr. Elliot’s failure, but from the perception of there being a somebody else. As it was, she instantly submitted, and with all the semblance of seeing nothing beyond…” pg. 192-193

“What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken!” pg. 197

Possible discussion question/s:

~ Does Mr. Elliot strike you as a deep dyed villain? Why or why not?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 20

I LOVE this chapter! With all its opening hopes—from the conversation in the octagon room (with its deep desires on both sides running under the surface) all the way on through Anne’s further expanding, exquisite realizations—it's simply beautiful! And then there’s the end where we’re left hanging in suspense…

Mr. Elliot is starting to get very annoying, but then, to balance that annoyance, we have Sir Walter acknowledging CW (first by bowing in the octagon room and later in his delightful little aside to Lady Dalrymple). And I always love how Austen perfectly describes everyone moving and shifting during the concert itself—such realism and surety of language!

Again there are a LOT of quotes here ;) so make sure to scroll to the bottom for the discussion question! And does anyone want to do another guest post before we finish at the end of next week? On Anne…or Wentworth…or life in Regency England…or the navy…or anything else applicable? 

Favorite lines/quotes:

“Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of all their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon Room. But hardly were they so settled, when the door opened again, and Captain Wentworth walked in alone. Anne was the nearest to him, and making yet a little advance, she instantly spoke. He was preparing only to bow and pass on, but her gentle "How do you do?" brought him out of the straight line to stand near her, and make enquiries in return, in spite of the formidable father and sister in the back ground.” pg. 178

“The Musgroves are behaving like themselves, most honourably and kindly, only anxious with true parental hearts to promote their daughter's comfort. All this is much, very much in favour of their happiness; more than perhaps—” 

“He stopped. A sudden recollection seemed to occur, and to give him some taste of that emotion which was reddening Anne's cheeks and fixing her eyes on the ground. After clearing his throat, however, he proceeded thus— “…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.”

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.” pg. 179-180

“The last hours were certainly very painful,” replied Anne; “but when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it…” pg. 180-181

“Their interesting, almost too interesting conversation must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had learnt, in the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all his feelings than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with exquisite, though agitated sensations. She was in good humour with all. She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.” pg. 181

“Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room. Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright and her cheeks glowed; but she knew nothing about it. She was thinking only of the last half hour, and as they passed to their seats, her mind took a hasty range over it. His choice of subjects, his expressions, and still more his manner and look, had been such as she could see in only one light. His opinion of Louisa Musgrove's inferiority, an opinion which he had seemed solicitous to give, his wonder at Captain Benwick, his feelings as to a first, strong attachment; sentences begun which he could not finish, his half averted eyes and more than half expressive glance, all, all declared that he had a heart returning to her at least; that anger, resentment, avoidance, were no more; and that they were succeeded, not merely by friendship and regard, but by the tenderness of the past. Yes, some share of the tenderness of the past. She could not contemplate the change as implying less. He must love her. 

“These were thoughts, with their attendant visions, which occupied and flurried her too much to leave her any power of observation…” pg 182-183

“…her attention was caught by other sounds immediately behind her, which rendered every thing else trivial. Her father and Lady Dalrymple were speaking. “A well-looking man,” said Sir Walter, “a very well-looking man.” “A very fine young man indeed!” said Lady Dalrymple. “More air than one often sees in Bath. Irish, I dare say.” “No, I just know his name. A bowing acquaintance. Wentworth; Captain Wentworth of the navy. His sister married my tenant in Somersetshire, the Croft, who rents Kellynch.” pg. 185

“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.” pg. 187

Possible discussion question/s:

~ Captain Wentworth says about the accident at Lyme: “I had been too deeply concerned in the mischief to be soon at peace. It had been my doing, solely mine. She would not have been obstinate if I had not been weak.” What do you think of his impressive assumption of responsibility?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 19

This is one of my favorite chapters in all of Persuasion, surpassed only by two of the following ones (though naturally I tend to think of them together). The little discussion in the shop between the Camden Place ladies and Mr. Elliot? And Captain Wentworth entering the shop? And Anne and Wentworth’s awkward little conversation? All entirely wonderful!

This time around I was particularly noticing Elizabeth and Lady Russell’s reactions to his arrival in Bath. Change is landing on their doorstep, and they can’t evade it by wishing it away or ignoring it.

Change has to be met by stepping forward—unafraid. At the same time, it’s not a heedless, headlong rush. It’s in wisely knowing and awaiting a fitting, mature opportunity, knowing when the time comes ripe—as Anne does—and then being “all over courage” awaiting it. 

Favorite lines/quotes:

“While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and expressing his wish of getting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Wentworth was already on his way thither. Before Mrs Croft had written, he was arrived, and the very next time Anne walked out, she saw him.” pg. 171

“…the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr Elliot deciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest.” pg. 171-172

“…they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain Wentworth walking down the street.

“Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and absurd! For a few minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all confusion. She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs Clay's. 

“She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted to see if it rained. Why was she to suspect herself of another motive? Captain Wentworth must be out of sight. She left her seat, she would go; one half of her should not be always so much wiser than the other half, or always suspecting the other of being worse than it was. She would see if it rained. She was sent back, however, in a moment by the entrance of Captain Wentworth himself… He was more obviously struck and confused by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite red. For the first time, since their renewed acquaintance, she felt that she was betraying the least sensibility of the two. She had the advantage of him in the preparation of the last few moments. All the overpowering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her. Still, however, she had enough to feel! It was agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery.” pg. 172

“They had by dint of being so very much together, got to speak to each other with a considerable portion of apparent indifference and calmness; but he could not do it now. Time had changed him, or Louisa had changed him. There was consciousness of some sort or other. He looked very well, not as if he had been suffering in health or spirits, and he talked of Uppercross, of the Musgroves, nay, even of Louisa, and had even a momentary look of his own arch significance as he named her; but yet it was Captain Wentworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was.” pg. 173

“She is pretty, I think; Anne Elliot; very pretty, when one comes to look at her. It is not the fashion to say so, but I confess I admire her more than her sister.” pg. 174

“She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas! she must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.” pg. 175

Possible discussion question/s:

~ Stemming from pride, Elizabeth’s motives in refusing to acknowledge Captain Wentworth are fairly transparent. Why do you think Lady Russell ignores him? Is it because she’s still assiduously pushing the Mr. Elliot connection?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 18

This chapter is positively delicious; bringing also a tremendous somersault! First we have a letter from Mary (delightfully blending the important with the inconsequential), followed by Anne trying to comprehend the huge turn of events, and finally her wonderful talk with Admiral Croft.

Incidentally, I noticed Mary’s letter is dated February 1st and, as the rest of the book takes place over just a couple weeks, all the subsequent action corresponds almost exactly to where we are in our read-along in the month of February! Quite unplanned, actually, but very neat I think.

Also, the particular quotes below for this chapter are an extreme sampling of my favorites. If it was at all practicable, I’d transcribe all of Mary’s letter and of Admiral Croft and Anne’s conversation. As it is, I realized I put in rather a lot… 

Favorite lines/quotes:

“Mary need not have feared her sister's being in any degree prepared for the news. She had never in her life been more astonished. Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! It was almost too wonderful for belief, and it was with the greatest effort that she could remain in the room, preserve an air of calmness, and answer the common questions of the moment.” pg. 162

“Gout and decrepitude!” said Sir Walter. “Poor old gentleman.” pg. 162

“I suspect,” said Sir Walter coolly, “that Admiral Croft will be best known in Bath as the renter of Kellynch Hall. Elizabeth, may we venture to present him and his wife in Laura Place?” “Oh, no! I think not. Situated as we are with Lady Dalrymple, cousins, we ought to be very careful not to embarrass her with acquaintance she might not approve. If we were not related, it would not signify; but as cousins, she would feel scrupulous as to any proposal of ours. We had better leave the Crofts to find their own level.” pg. 162-163

“In her own room, she tried to comprehend it. Well might Charles wonder how Captain Wentworth would feel! Perhaps he had quitted the field, had given Louisa up, had ceased to love, had found he did not love her. She could not endure the idea of treachery or levity, or anything akin to ill usage between him and his friend. She could not endure that such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly.” pg. 163

“Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove! The high-spirited, joyous-talking Louisa Musgrove, and the dejected, thinking, feeling, reading, Captain Benwick, seemed each of them everything that would not suit the other. Their minds most dissimilar! Where could have been the attraction? …The conclusion of the whole was, that if the woman who had been sensible of Captain Wentworth's merits could be allowed to prefer another man, there was nothing in the engagement to excite lasting wonder; and if Captain Wentworth lost no friend by it, certainly nothing to be regretted. No, it was not regret which made Anne's heart beat in spite of herself, and brought the colour into her cheeks when she thought of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free. She had some feelings which she was ashamed to investigate. They were too much like joy, senseless joy!” pg. 163-164

“The Crofts had placed themselves in lodgings in Gay Street, perfectly to Sir Walter's satisfaction. He was not at all ashamed of the acquaintance, and did, in fact, think and talk a great deal more about the Admiral, than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him.” pg. 164-165

“That I will, with all my heart, and farther, too. Yes, yes we will have a snug walk together, and I have something to tell you as we go along. There, take my arm; that's right; I do not feel comfortable if I have not a woman there.” pg. 166

“It did seem, last autumn, as if there were an attachment between him and Louisa Musgrove; but I hope it may be understood to have worn out on each side equally, and without violence. I hope his letter does not breathe the spirit of an ill-used man.” “Not at all, not at all; there is not an oath or a murmur from beginning to end.” Anne looked down to hide her smile.” pg. 169

“Yes, yes, I understand you. But there is nothing at all of that nature in the letter. He does not give the least fling at Benwick; does not so much as say, ‘I wonder at it, I have a reason of my own for wondering at it.’ No, you would not guess, from his way of writing, that he had ever thought of this Miss (what's her name?) for himself. He very handsomely hopes they will be happy together; and there is nothing very unforgiving in that, I think.” pg. 169

“Poor Frederick!" said he at last. "Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?” pg. 170

Possible discussion question/s:

~ Were you surprised by Benwick and Louisa’s engagement? And do you think they’ll be happy together?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 17

Here Mrs. Smith is introduced and we get a glimpse of Anne standing up to her family, fighting for what she knows to be right and doing it all with such extreme respect! And we later have Lady Russell arguing Mr. Elliot’s cause, which leads to one of my favorite eulogies on some of the differences between him and CW.

We also get this observation: “Mr Elliot is an exceedingly agreeable man, and in many respects I think highly of him," said Anne; "but we should not suit.” Love is such a mystery… Sometimes everything would seem to be perfectly aligned between two people and nothing happens—while in a quite different direction there are obstacles and cold water and roadblocks galore and it hangs on stubbornly.

Favorite lines/quotes:

“Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming, silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of seven-and-twenty, with every beauty except bloom, and with manners as consciously right as they were invariably gentle…” pg. 150

“Call it gossip, if you will, but when Nurse Rooke has half an hour's leisure to bestow on me, she is sure to have something to relate that is entertaining and profitable: something that makes one know one's species better. One likes to hear what is going on, to be au fait as to the newest modes of being trifling and silly.” pg. 152

“Lady Russell said not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own operation; and believing that, could Mr Elliot at that moment with propriety have spoken for himself!--she believed, in short, what Anne did not believe. The same image of Mr Elliot speaking for himself brought Anne to composure again. The charm of Kellynch and of “Lady Elliot” all faded away. She never could accept him. And it was not only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one; her judgement, on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a case was against Mr Elliot. Though they had now been acquainted a month, she could not be satisfied that she really knew his character. That he was a sensible man, an agreeable man, that he talked well, professed good opinions, seemed to judge properly and as a man of principle, this was all clear enough. He certainly knew what was right, nor could she fix on any one article of moral duty evidently transgressed; but yet she would have been afraid to answer for his conduct. She distrusted the past, if not the present…

…Mr Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.” pg. 157-158

Possible discussion question/s:

~ It says Anne felt “she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.” Leaving allowance, of course, for all of us striving hard and wanting never to have our tongues slip—do you tend to agree with this statement?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Persuasion Read-Along: Chapter 16

The long description of Mr. Elliot here is quite striking! Apparently he’s a model of perfection: “Everything united in him; good understanding, correct opinions, knowledge of the world, and a warm heart. He had strong feelings of family attachment and family honour, without pride or weakness; he lived with the liberality of a man of fortune, without display; he judged for himself in everything essential, without defying public opinion in any point of worldly decorum. He was steady, observant, moderate, candid…”

And now pause and listen carefully to the rest! “…never run away with by spirits or by selfishness, which fancied itself strong feeling; and yet, with a sensibility to what was amiable and lovely, and a value for all the felicities of domestic life, which characters of fancied enthusiasm and violent agitation seldom really possess. She was sure that he had not been happy in marriage. Colonel Wallis said it, and Lady Russell saw it…” Did you notice how the description switched to Lady Russell’s personal opinion of what high spirits and enthusiasm indicate?

And I always end up smiling happily about this bit: “In the course of the same morning, Anne and her father chancing to be alone together, he began to compliment her on her improved looks; he thought her “less thin in her person, in her cheeks; her skin, her complexion, greatly improved; clearer, fresher. Had she been using any thing in particular?” “No, nothing.” “Merely Gowland,” he supposed. “No, nothing at all.” “Ha! he was surprised at that;” and added, “certainly you cannot do better than to continue as you are; you cannot be better than well; or I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of Gowland, during the spring months.” (Of course, we all know why she’s blooming…seeing how she’s been in company with a Certain Person over the past few months!)

Some favorite lines/quotes:

“Lady Russell's composed mind and polite manners were put to some trial on this point, in her intercourse in Camden Place. The sight of Mrs Clay in such favour, and of Anne so overlooked, was a perpetual provocation to her there; and vexed her as much when she was away, as a person in Bath who drinks the water, gets all the new publications, and has a very large acquaintance, has time to be vexed.” pg. 143

“It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and her excellent friend could sometimes think differently…” pg. 144

“She could determine nothing at present. In that house Elizabeth must be first; and she was in the habit of such general observance as “Miss Elliot,” that any particularity of attention seemed almost impossible. Mr Elliot, too, it must be remembered, had not been a widower seven months. A little delay on his side might be very excusable. In fact, Anne could never see the crape round his hat, without fearing that she was the inexcusable one, in attributing to him such imaginations; for though his marriage had not been very happy, still it had existed so many years that she could not comprehend a very rapid recovery from the awful impression of its being dissolved. However it might end, he was without any question their pleasantest acquaintance in Bath: she saw nobody equal to him; and it was a great indulgence now and then to talk to him about Lyme, which he seemed to have as lively a wish to see again, and to see more of, as herself. They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great many times. He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with some earnestness. She knew it well; and she remembered another person's look also.” pg. 144-145

Possible discussion question/s:

~ (Anne says), “My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.” “You are mistaken,” said he gently, “that is not good company; that is the best. Good company requires only birth, education, and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. Birth and good manners are essential; but a little learning is by no means a dangerous thing in good company; on the contrary, it will do very well.”

This is such a gently humorous debate, expanding much farther than the excerpt above. Which side do you tend to agree with? Do you think Anne is being overly fastidious?