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|It is bewitching…
Written by Robbin
(10/10/2005 1:04 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, It does show a relaxed similarity between the four of them, penned by Tracy W
JA always set the scene as she does for a reason. The recent discussion of the carriage ride at the end of Chapter 12 was stunning to me in the new way it made me see their tightly held passions. However, I have to confess that often the reason escapes me and this was one of them until I read your comments and it got me to stop and really examine the passages again, more closely obviously. You make a lot of sense and your finger is definitely pointing in the right direction, IMO. I am sure you are right as this is a very intricate setup with three interested ladies and the one gentleman who has had an interest in each. These are my thoughts, after pondering your observation and rereading Chapter 12, up to the point where they find out whom the gentleman seen on the stairs is.
The sea air gives Henrietta the perfect opportunity to give her opinions about Dr. Shirley, now of great interest to her as she is enthusiastic about the concerns of Charles Hayter again. Henrietta is very vehement concerning these opinions and seems to need Anne agreement, blessing, verification of their rightness? Anne seems to be happy for Henrietta and tries to do good by agreeing as much as possible. Is this conversation to show that Henrietta is definitely no longer interested in Captain Wentworth?
Is Henrietta hoping that Anne will take it upon herself to advise Dr. Shirley, that seems unlikely or does she hope Anne will talk with Lady Russell with that hope that she will advise Dr. Shirley, she is after all “able to persuade a person to anything.” This seems unlikely too. Anne is amazed that anything could happen that would bring her friend into so much favor with one of the Musgroves. Anne only gets to give Henrietta a general answer with the hope that some such woman will appear when they must cease their conservation at the appearance of Louisa and Captain Wentworth. I do not see it taken up again, maybe it has served its purpose?
I would think they stop their conservation out of politeness but Louisa then takes them all in hand by inviting them to accompany her to the shops. It then says “They were all at her disposal.” Is this to show that Louisa is becoming too aggressive in managing others, of wanting her own way, it does not really seem so bad—she invited them and they accepted? I guess my question is do they feel obligated to accept, I think Captain Wentworth would if no one else volunteered, as he came out with her and then would not send her off alone. What about Henrietta and Anne? They were in a very animated conversation, one close to Henrietta’s heart and it is given up rather easily. Does Henrietta not want their agreement also? Does this mean anything at all? Truthfully, I do not know.
It occurs to me now that this is quite a romantic setting by the sea, one very dashing and eligible hero with three potential women to choose from, all active and ready for adventure as you pointed out, all enamored of him at some point and he with at least agreeable thoughts for two and passion for one—even if he will not admit it. When passing on the stairs, Mr. Elliot gives “a degree of earnest admiration” not to Henrietta or Louisa who are younger, supposedly still in their bloom, but to serene Anne, who’s bloom has been restored by the sea air. A stranger comes among them and immediately singles out Anne as the one most desirable—“It was evident that the gentleman (completely a gentleman in manner), admired her exceedingly.” Captain Wentworth notices this and looks at Anne and must agree to see “something like Anne Elliot.”
Perhaps this setup is to compare the three ladies and show that Anne is truly the most worthy of attention. Perhaps it is to grab Captain Wentworth’s attention by pointing out that a gentleman, completely a gentleman would choose Anne out of the three—is this to nettle our fine Captain since Lady Russell previously thought him not good enough for Anne. Is this why Henrietta speaks of Lady Russell’s renowned ability to persuade—to remind the reader?
I think this incident does get Captain Wentworth’s attention but exactly where his thoughts lie, I am unsure, except that I do believe he is greatly annoyed and regrets asking the waiter for the identity of the gentleman just gone away. What could be more annoying to him than for the man to be an Elliot? A member of the family who, just like Lady Russell, did not think him good enough for Anne—but of course Sir Walter and Elizabeth would have been thinking more that he was not good enough to be related to them. This is shown I think, in his peevish comment to Mary, who is harping on the extraordinary circumstances, lamenting not being introduced, and of the much vaulted Elliot countenance, “Putting all these very extraordinary circumstances together we must consider it to be the arrangement of Providence that you should not be introduced to your cousin.” This is sort of a put down to me--as if he cares whether Anne’s sister is introduced to her cousin.
Last note: I think Anne does love the Musgroves for their casual friendliness and I think she begins to love the manners of the Harville’s also. There is so much of the companionship and feeling which Anne has longed for. She is not used to the sincere giving hospitality she finds in Lyme that no one expects any return for, besides Lady Russell and perhaps the Musgroves, no one else has ever acted this way to Anne or in front of Anne, certainly not at Kellynch. I think she cannot help but love their ways and admire them.
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