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|Frederick Wentworth (very, very long)
Written by gianni
(10/13/2011 3:15 a.m.)
We're treated to a detailed, almost stream-of-consciousness treatment of Anne's point of view (the first in the English language! Thanks, Cheryl). But we're not granted any insight at all into Frederick Wentworth -- we see him only through Anne's fears and self-recriminations. Let me speculate on Frederick's point of view as might reasonably be inferred from what Austen does give us -- not, of course, even attempting to measure up to Austen's gorgeous prose! And, bear in mind that I see much more of Anne's stream of consciousnes, and much less of dispassionate narrator, than many others (for example, see the thread "Frederick's Contradictions" beginning in message 51845).
So, Frederick arrives at Kellynch to visit his sister and brother-in-law. He's deliberately putting off a visit to his brother and his bride for an introduction deemed by his society to be obligatory, if not necessarily urgent. Hmm.
Mr. Musgrove immediately calls on him. Frederick returns the visit.
He's been told that Anne is with the Musgroves, even though none of them know of the history of Anne and Frederick. He's expecting to see her; maybe he's even anxious to see whether there might be anything to resurrect between them.
She doesn't show. Is she indifferent? is she oblivious? is she avoiding him? Ok, so the kid is hurt. You'd expect the parents, and likely a visiting aunt, to cancel any outings for this.
But the second day, when he comes to dinner, she still doesn't show. The parents come, but not Anne. Did she urge the parents out to visit him so she wouldn't have to face him? The parents obviously aren't much concerned for the kid; why should an aunt stay behind (bear in mind he doesn't know yet that she's the only level head in the neighborhood)? It seems there's not much interest left on her side, and maybe still some antipathy, if she won't take a few hundred yards' walk to greet him after nearly eight years. Maybe he really ought to hold back and show there's nothing to anticipate or to fear from him, either. After all, she's the one who broke his heart eight years ago.
But still, the next morning, when he comes to shoot with Charles, he makes a point of visiting the cottage to meet her and Mary. Anne just curtsies, hardly sparing him a glance.
On the way to the field, Henrietta asks him what he thinks of Anne; not wishing to raise any suspicions, and maybe a bit irritated by his reception, he simply observes that she's so changed from eight years ago that he would hardly have known her.
Later, discussing his plans with sister Sophia, he says he really wants a woman of strong mind and sweet temper (unfortunately, only he knows that Anne is in his mind).
Anne continues to be distant. She apparently hasn't relented from her abandonment of their engagement; she makes no effort at all to be more than minimally civil.
When he sits down with Mrs. Musgrove and Anne to talk about Poor Dick, she doesn't look at him; makes no comment at all. She simply sits back and ignores him.
When the rest of the girls are gushing over his career, demanding all the details of all his commands and cruises, she sits unimpressed, uninterested.
The group begins dancing. Anne claims the privilege of playing for the dancers; she clearly doesn't want to dance -- especially with him? He makes a point of asking whether she usually dances; the response is "never". So, maybe it's not just to avoid him.
At the end of the night, he tries to be civil, offering her his seat; she refuses his offer.
Frederick puts off even longer his planned visit to Edward and his bride to remain at Kellynch and visit Uppercross and Anne -- no, the Misses Musgrove? -- practically every day. The Misses Musgrove are very pleasant, attentive girls, but he gets to see Anne only in the company of others. Is she arranging it that way?
Shortly after Charles Hayter returns, Frederick is invited to dinner again; Anne begs off again, pleading headache and need to tend the sick child. Now, how can she tend the kid if she's incapacitated with a headache? Again, the parents come; she stays away. The kid's clearly an excuse.
A few mornings later he goes down to the cottage to see the girls and finds Anne and little Charles. She greets him distantly, and seems about to escape from the room when the child demands her attention.
Charles Hayter arrives and enters, and rebuffs his greeting shortly -- what's the matter with him? He knows why Anne is treating him this way, but what have he and Charles Hayter in common that might cause such treatment?
The other child comes in and he starts demanding Anne's attention. He jumps on the poor woman, and nothing she can do will get him to behave; Hayter makes some ineffective scolding noises, and Frederick can't put up with it any more -- no matter she wants nothing to do with him, he must give her some relief from the child. He grabs the miscreant and pulls him off, does some playing with him to distract him from her, and as soon as the girls come in, she makes her escape without so much as a thank-you.
There's no pleasing the woman. Can't she understand by now that he's not going to impose himself on her?
Frederick is now a part of the Uppercross society; Edward and his bride are effectively forgotten. The two girls are constantly making themselves pleasant; Anne frequently comes along but restricts herself to an occasional smile at some pleasant or diverting comment from one of the group. Hayter seems sullen; Henrietta seems to divide her attention between Hayter and himself. After some short time, Hayter disappears.
One morning in November, Frederick and Musgrove go out shooting, but a young, untaught dog spoils the outing and they return early. The girls, Mary, and Anne are about to go for a walk; they invite the returning sportsmen to accompany them.
The six walk for a while. Anne is remote, looking around at the scenery; maybe reciting poetry to herself as she once did to him? Henrietta is less attentive to him than previously; that's a relief, if the problem with Charles Hayter really comes from jealousy of her.
Louisa replies to a comment from him regarding the Admiral and his wife's driving: she would rather be upset by her man than driven safely by anyone else; she would be inseparable from him. He replies appropriately, but is disturbed by unpleasant memories.
At the top of a very pleasant hill there's a little dispute about visiting Hayter's family; Musgrove and Henrietta eventually continue on to Hayter's residence, the rest discuss what they will do in the meantime. Mary Musgrove, who has been quite unpleasant in refusing to visit her husband's relations dismisses them with a sneer that completely disgusts Frederick; he's relieved when Louisa draws him away to pick nuts from a nearby hedgerow.
During the chatter, Louisa comments that she had to practically force Henrietta to go with Charles; Henrietta had been influenced by Mary's sniping to hang back and stay away from Winthrop and Charles Hayter. Frederick replies appropriately, adding some extra comments charged by unpleasant private recollections.
Then she reveals that Anne had refused Charles Musgrove. Also that Lady Russell is blamed by the family for persuading her not to marry an inferior man. Ann is living up to her old weak-hearted standard, unfortunately.
Charles and Henrietta return with Charles Hayter, and all seems well between the couple. Louisa attaches herself triumphantly to Frederick, and the walk continues.
Soon they meet Admiral and Mrs. Croft; they offer a ride to any lady who might be tired. It's been clear to Frederick for some time that Anne is tired; he quietly begs Sophie to overrule Anne's polite refusal and hands her into the carriage, careful not to make any sign that he might want to impose himself upon her.
Frederick receives a letter from a friend, Captain Harville, telling him that Harville has settled just seventeen miles away in Lyme. He immediately travels to Lyme to spend a day with Harville, then returns and makes his excuses to the Uppercross group.
The girls express an eager desire to visit Lyme and Captain Harville; Louisa is insistent (is she showing off her independence of will that he praised just a short while ago?).
The six go to Lyme; during their first walk, they pass Harville's house, where Frederick stops to visit. The rest continue, only to be joined in a short while by Frederick, Harville, Mrs. Harville, and Capt, Benwick. They are invited to dinner, but they've already reserved dinner at the inn.
However, they agree to stop by the Harvilles' residence on the way back to the inn, and the Harvilles and Benwick make Frederick proud with their generous hospitality and open manners (well, the Harvilles, at least), and the group continues on to dinner. Harville promises a visit after dinner.
At dinner Anne is now comfortable enough that it's clear she no longer considers Frederick an imposition or a threat to her comfort. She talks politely and openly. It's a great relief to Frederick.
Harville arrives with Benwick. Again they make Frederick proud, especially Benwick who spends the evening discussing literature wih Anne.
Frederick and Louisa join Anne and Henrietta on the shore. Louisa wants to go shopping, so they all ascend the steps from the beach to the street, where a gentleman stranger notices Anne quite pointedly. This attracts Frederick's notice, and he becomes aware that she has very much improved from his earlier notice in Uppercross Cottage. She reminds him very much of her former self, he realizes with mixed pleasure and pain.
Later, at breakfast, the group, who had thought themselves alone in the inn, if not in Lyme, are attracted to the window by the departure of a gentleman from the inn; he turns out to be the very same gentleman who had noticed with such pleasure Anne's beauty, and drawn Frederick into considering it more carefully. The gentleman also turns out to be Anne's cousin Mr. Elliot.
After breakfast, the Harvilles and Benwick join them for a last turn around Lyme. They reach the Harvilles' home and the Harvilles stop, since Capt. Harville's infirmity is showing (to his wife, at least).
The six and Capt. Benwick continue, and decide (at Louisa's insistent prodding) to take one last walk along the Cobb. To get out of the wind, they descend to the lower Cobb; Louisa indulges her habit of insisting on jumping from any small height into Frederick's arms. She decides she must do it again, and, disregarding Frederick's urgent attempt to dissuade her, eagerly runs up the stair again and jumps -- too eagerly this time, as he is not ready for her.
She falls and is badly hurt; so badly, that she is unconscious. Frederick, realizing that she has been injured by his inability to either control her exuberance, or avoid the consequence of that exuberance, is completely unmanned for a while; it is left to Anne to manage the immediate care of Louisa and Henrietta (who has fainted), send the appropriate person for medical help, and get everyone arranged to carry the girls to safety.
Frederick, still disoriented, consigns himself, too, to Anne's direction and as Benwick runs to get a doctor, the rest, with help from local bystanders, carry Louisa and Henrietta back toward the inn. They are met by the Harvilles, who convince them to bring Louisa to their home for care, as Mrs. Harville and her nursery-maid are experienced nurses.
Frederick is beginning to recover, and part of that is recognizing the powerful part played by his friends the Harvilles, but particularly the part played by Anne. He directs the disposition of friends and family, proposing that he will take Henrietta home himself, and that the only one of them truly appropriate to stay with Louisa is Anne. She enters at that moment, and he enthusiastically repeats the recommendation, then realizes that he's pressing too hard; she may be led to believe he's pressing himself on her again. He shuts up.
After more discussion, he leaves to get the inn's chaise and prepare to take Mary and Henrietta back to Uppercross. Expecting those two ladies, he is surprised to see Anne and Henrietta; when the change is explained to him, he is irritated at such an incredibly silly, and possibly harmful, disposition of affairs. Even his little experience with the Uppercross couple has convinced him that Mary can do only harm; how can Anne help if she's banished to Uppercross? Too stupid! They'll just have to depend upon Mrs. Harville and her nursemaid.
He drives particularly fast, devoting much of his attention to Henrietta, who is still quite distressed; he is still discomposed enough that one of her outbursts forces out his own outburst against his ill-judged accomodation of Louisa's willful exuberance.
At the end of the trip, he has recovered enough that he quietly proposes to Anne that she stay for a few minutes with Henrietta so he can go in and break the news to the Musgroves. They do this; and after things have settled down somewhat, he returns to Lyme.
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