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Written by Deborah Y
(10/26/2005 9:31 p.m.)
"There they exchanged again those feelings and those promises which had once before seemed to secure everything, but which had been followed by so many, many years of division and estrangement. There they returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their reunion, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting. And there, as they slowly paced the gradual ascent, heedless of every group around them, seeing neither sauntering politicians, bustling house-keepers, flirting girls, nor nurserymaids and children, they could indulge in those retrospections and acknowledgments, and especially in those explanations of what had directly preceded the present moment, which were so poignant and so ceaseless in interest. All the little variations of the last week were gone through; and of yesterday and to-day there could scarcely be an end."
I especially love the image of the two of them in their own little world, oblivious to the people passing around them (an image that, I suspect, the director of the movie had in mind when he staged that ludicrous kiss with the circus passing by). For the whole book, we've keenly felt Anne's terrible isolation from everyone around her, as if she were inside a bubble, sealed off from any real human contact. And now she may still be inside a bubble, but she finally has someone there to share it with her. It's very satisfying.
I also think that the last lovely half-sentence -- "of yesterday and today there could scarcely be an end" -- is meant to underline the transience and fragility of their happiness, even at the moment of its realization: yesterday is already gone (all those years together that they lost), and today, of course, will end, too. The last sentences of the book do the same thing, by reminding us that war and death could separate them at any moment. To me, this sense of the interconnectedness of happiness and loss is what makes Persuasion such a lovely, bittersweet, emotionally intense experience -- probably also why the book means more and more to me as I get older.
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