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|The Importance of Being Frederick
Written by JanELT
(10/29/2008 12:29 a.m.)
(1) He was embarrassed.
Ch 19: "He was more obviously struck and confused by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite red ... He spoke to her, and then turned away. The character of his manner was embarrassment. She could not have called it either cold or friendly, or anything so certainly as embarrassed."
IMO, the fortuitous meeting between them at Molland's wasn't the main cause of CW's embarrassment. I think that spending several months at his brother's house had given CW time to reflect on recent events, his actions/reactions and cause/effects. If he'd been down on himself, it would explain his state of mind when he bumped into Anne in the store.
I wasn't sure if I should go out on a limb and say that he was more than embarrassed. I think he was ashamed... of himself, of his circumstances, of his own behavior?
According to the footnotes in Wordsworth Classics edition of "Persuasion," Molland's was a "smart modern cafe." Interesting that JA should pick a place like that for the two to meet. Something bitter, something sweet? Something hot, something cold? LOL.
(2) He was nervous in front of Anne.
Ch 19: "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 ... but yet it was Captain Wentworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was."
All those niceties toward Louisa and Henrietta and the Musgroves... were all a show.
I would love to have seen Anne's face when she observed him in this state, although Anne being Anne, I would supposed she would be sympathetic towards CW and not make him feel any worse than he already was.
(3) He still couldn't see Anne suffer.
Ch 19: "Captain Wentworth...was offering his services to her ... "I wish you would make use of it [new umbrella], if you are determined to walk; though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a chair."
"But it rains." This conversation reminds me of earlier in the book when CW "could not see her suffer without the desire of giving her relief." Here again, he did not want to see Anne walking in the rain without an umbrella, which he must've noticed she wasn't carrying.
It's possible to say he was just being polite, since he had the umbrella, but I think it's more than that. He came in with a company of people, and some of the women in his group might also have a need for his umbrella. But no, he only offered it to her.
I would say that CW's love language is service and he wanted to serve her in any way he could, from plucking little Walter off her back in Ch 9 to asking Mrs Croft to give her a ride home in Ch 10.
It was possible that CW was also caring by nature as reflected by his concerns for Benwick as he endured his personal tragedy.
(4) He felt a terrible need to explain his past behavior. Remorse?
Ch 20: After talking, however, of the weather, and Bath, and the concert, their conversation began to flag, and so little was said at last, that she was expecting him to go every moment, but he did not: he seemed in no hurry to leave her; and presently with renewed spirit, with a little smile, a little glow, he said -- "I have hardly seen you since our day at Lyme. I am afraid you must have suffered from the shock, and the more from its not overpowering you at the time."
I think that was his way of trying to spend more time talking to Anne, and to explain Louisa and hence clear himself. And he eventually found a way to break the ice without waiting too long.
(5) He felt an urge to tell Anne his true feelings, but he was afraid of how she might take it.
Ch 20: "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."
He had spoken it with an "agitated voice." Benwick/Louisa was just a cover story. He was really talking about himself and Anne.
What I don't understand is why Anne didn't let him speak further? You know, like, "Tell me more, Captain." Instead, she said, "You were a good while at Lyme, I think?" What? What kind of a reply is that to a confession :-) Instead we get something on the level of, "BTW, how's the weather in Lyme?"
(6) He was filled with regrets.
Ch 20: "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 --
I think foremost on CW's mind was Anne's family's disapproval of him. He'd carried that thought with him for 8 years. I think more than Anne, he had blamed them all from LR to Sir Walter. He'd wished Anne had been stronger to say no to her family. But indeed she could be. CW must've remembered her refusing Charles.
(7) He finally admitted his weakness.
All this time, it seemed that CW had been accusing and blaming Anne for being weak.
Ch 10: "It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on.... My first wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm."
But now it was good to see CW blaming himself for part of the mess in his life.
Ch 20: "I could not leave it till Louisa's doing well was quite ascertained. 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."
Ch 23: "Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."
Now, what kind of weakness was he referring to here? At first I thought it was all about fooling around with the Miss Musgroves, but then that might not be it. What made CW think he was "weak" here? Was it of his inability to give Anne a second try sooner? And resentful? Was it of Mr Elliot?
(8) He was jealous.
Back at Uppercross, CW had no reason to be jealous of Anne. But now he saw that Anne had an admirer. Seeing Mr Elliot sit next to Anne, asking her to translate Italian, and hearing gossips around the Octagon Room were all probably too much for him to bear.
Ch 20: Such was her situation, with a vacant space at hand, when Captain Wentworth was again in sight. She saw him not far off. He saw her too; yet he looked grave, and seemed irresolute, and only by very slow degrees came at last near enough to speak to her. She felt that something must be the matter. The change was indubitable. The difference between his present air and what it had been in the Octagon Room was strikingly great.
Here, I once again marvel at Anne's ability to dispense grace when it was needed, and it had the interesting effect of reviving a downtrodden heart (just as she did revive Benwick's heart back at Lyme).
Ch 20: He began by speaking of the concert gravely; more like the Captain Wentworth of Uppercross; owned himself disappointed, had expected better singing; and, in short, must confess that he should not be sorry when it was over. Anne replied, and spoke in defence of the performance so well, and yet in allowance for his feelings so pleasantly, that his countenance improved, and he replied again with almost a smile. They talked for a few minutes more: the improvement held; he even looked down towards the bench, as if he saw a place on it well worth occupying..."
Check that out! Anne transformed this guy right before his very eyes :-)
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