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|The Captain Benwick debate
Written by Jenny Allan
(10/14/2005 6:58 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Agreeing with Mary, penned by Line
Whether Capt. Benwick was "a heart worth having" is a perennial favorite debate at the Persuasion Board. I've always tended to stick up for the Captain (and tended to be in rather thin company.) Anne instantly understands that the Captain, though wallowing a bit at the time she meets him, will rally again. That he is young "as a man" and will have plenty of opportunities to have a second chance at love. This second chance, the importance of which is described in the early chapters of Persuasion, is largely just that...chance. Whether or not it rolls his way, is down to fate. Whether the Captain will grab at it when it does, is down to him, but Anne seems to recognized something vital in him, and knows that he will reach out for that chance.
Everyone seems to think the Captain is romantically interested in Anne at this point. Maybe he is, but that hasn't been proven. What he is, however, is interested. He finally has found someone who he can connect with intellectually and that he is wanting to follow up on that. This may be the first small step to recovery.
Part of me agrees with Mary, that his affection must not be worth having if his grief only lasted a few months. Persoanally, I'd be very very cautious. Having been single for the first 32 years of my life, I saw my share of "rebound" relationships go bad.
Then again, does grief ever adhere to any proper time scale. Mr. Elliot just lost his wife too, and everyone seems ready to marry him off again. Some people recover quickly, some slowly, some never. That is the way of it. Perhaps Benwick's grief, for all its intensity, was rather short-lived, like a quick and powerful storm.
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