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?


  1. Well, I couldn't help myself and went ahead and finished the book on Saturday. I have some thoughts on Elizabeth but they're mixed in with some thoughts of her from the last chapter so they'd be a bit precipitate now.

    On another line, I really do like Charles Musgrove in this chapter. Overall too. I think if he and Anne had married they would've been fairly happy together.

    1. Yes, I think Anne and Charles would fit each other to a T!

    2. Yes, it seems Anne can get along well with almost anyone and Charles is certainly a good man. I'm not sure he would have stretched her over time---giving her everything she needed---but I think they would have done fine together. And I love their brother-sister camaraderie!

      And George,
      Don't worry, I thought that might happen :P -- I'll look forward to your thoughts then when we reach Chapter 24!

    3. I think that Charles would have been far happier with Anne than he is with Mary. Anne can content herself with many situations, and certainly she would have been happier as mistress of her own home with a husband who valued her than living with her father and sister who ignored her.

  2. On the same page as George... literally. These last few chapters were so exciting that I skipped ahead and ended up finishing. Anyhow...

    This chapter really shows how Elizabeth makes a perfect contrast to Anne. You could say that Elizabeth is mostly a foil character. Her need for social standing and good appearances contrasts strongly with Anne who looks for the good in individuals outside their social class and also does good works but remains in the backround, never seeking attention.

    1. Susanna,
      Oh, that's quite all right! (Now you'll have plenty of free time, right? ;)) And they are super exciting, aren't they? I can't wait to get working on Chapter 23 this afternoon! :D

      Yes, I think Elizabeth is definitely a foil character.... And you really nailed so many of the aspects of how she is!! Most excellent!

  3. I very nearly went ahead and finished the book too :-o But it was 11 and I figured I ought to go to bed instead -- saved my sleepiness!

    Anyway, Charles Musgrove comes off rather well in this chapter, doesn't he? Being sensible enough for Anne to get an account of who all is visiting, insisting on still liking Charles Hayter, and liking Captain Benwick :-) I love the image of him and Benwick hunting rats together!

    But anyway, I was particularly struck by this passage: "...Anne convinced herself that a delay's delay of the intended communication could be of no consequence." We see Anne again persuading herself of something, just like she did earlier when she tried ti persuade herself she had no ulterior motive for going over to the window. We also have her thinking bout CW, "...she feared from his looks, that the same unfortunate persuasion which hastened him away from the Concert Room, still governed." Those are only a page apart -- I really feel like Austen is driving home the theme of "self-persuasion being the most potentially damaging" as we near the end of the book.

    1. Hamlette, I am again (somewhat)! Dutifully back on track with my RA comments. ;) And yes, I LOVE Charles in this chapter. He's just so warmly wonderful, isn't he? I think he comes across very well, indeed. I love how Austen so nicely leaves us with him and Mary in these last couple chapters.

      And that's a super interesting point about "self-persuasion." Yes, because in the end you are the one taking action on the other person's persuading efforts. So it would fit in with justifying your own actions to yourself.

      Hmmm. Not exactly sure where I was going with that.....sorry, my brain's a bit foggy. :p

    2. Okay, so... DKoren and I refer to Richard Armitage as RA (we tend to refer to a lot of actors by initials or nicknames). So you said, "back on track with my RA comments," and I was like, "Um, wait! Did Richard Armitage play Wentworth in an adaptation I don't know about yet?!?!?!" And then I finished reading the rest of your comment and went back, and read that first paragraph twice more, and finally figured out that you weren't talking about Richard Armitage at all, you meant Read Along.

      But, you see, I just finished my second viewing of N&S last night and so I kind of have it and all people involved on the brain...

      Anyway, glad my ramblings about self- persuasion made sense!

    3. Hee! VERY funny, indeed..... :)

      And oh my, I don't know HOW you're going to be able to concentrate on the end of Persuasion here or Little Women next week! (N&S usually takes me almost a solid week to get to the point where I can think logically about anything else. ;D) Can't wait to hear your full thoughts! :D

    4. Here's hoping I find time this weekend for the blog post I want to do on it! Otherwise, you'll be in for a long email at some point.

      Short version: I love 99% of the characters. Even Henry! But not Fanny.

    5. Hamlette,
      So looking forward to it! I cannot wait to hear the long version! ;D

      (And yes, I like Fanny now....but I think sometimes she's a bit of an acquired taste. ;))


Challenging questions and thoughts are most welcome! Please just keep all comments wholesome and God-honoring. Also, if someone else has left a comment you’d like to reply to/interact with—do feel free!