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|I think "now" makes sense...
Written by Tuija
(4/9/2013 1:32 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, which makes more?, penned by Stephanie
... She was quite easy on that head, and consequently full of strength and courage, till for a moment electrified by Mrs. Croft's suddenly saying --
"It was you, and not your sister, I find, that my brother had the pleasure of being acquainted with, when he was in this country."
Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not.
At this point, Anne is full of emotion and cannot say anything. As she is having a conversation alone with Mrs Croft, she should say something as a response, but in this first rush of emotion, she cannot 'answer as she ought'.
"Perhaps you may not have heard that he is married?" added Mrs. Croft.
She could now answer as she ought; and was happy to feel, when Mrs. Croft's next words explained it to be Mr. Wentworth of whom she spoke, that she had said nothing which might not do for either brother.
When Mrs Croft added the news about the marriage, Anne was able to reply with something fairly appropriate, whether a platitude or even just "Oh, really?" - Anne just needs to say something that keeps the conversation going. And when Mrs Croft keeps talking, Anne is glad that she responded 'as she ought' also in the sense that it was appropriate for either brother.
If Anne had not answered 'as she ought', would not Mrs Croft have noticed it in some way? Now it appears that Mrs Croft sees nothing odd in the way Anne responds to the topic of her brother and his marriage. My impression of Mrs Croft is that she is fairly perceptive, though tactful, and if there was something out of the ordinary in Anne's behaviour at this point, Mrs Croft would have noticed and wondered at it (and Austen would have given us a hint that she is doing so).
It's fun to speculate - thanks for taking up this point, Stephanie.
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