Persuaded To Sail
Anne was deposited on the pier at Plymouth watching the action about her. She had chosen not to embark the ship, but rather take the opportunity to watch the commotion involved with the task of preparing a ship to sail. Up until this time, she had seen so little of England, much less what lay beyond her shores. Most of her life was spent at Kellynch, and occasionally, Bath. How she had detested Bath and everything associated with it. The society to Anne was disagreeable and she had spent three lonely years in school there directly after the death of her dear mother. Now there were memories that did more than cheer, they rejuvenated her with a vengeance.
The preparations for a sea voyage were extensive. They appeared to Anne to be like a dance or stage play; everything had its exact place. Anne could tell by the execution of the men that each knew his duty. There was little conversation, only that which was necessary to give or attain assistance. Anne sensed amongst these men a keen desire to be at sea, which exhibited itself in a precision and haste in their preparations. Once on board she hoped to have the opportunity to investigate this packing further - if she would not be underfoot. This was her first voyage and she was impatient to experience it all. More than mere adventure; this was the acquisition of knowledge. She had no fear; she was with Frederick and so all would be well.
Captain Frederick Wentworth stood at the top of the gangplank observing the loading of the food stuffs for their sailing. As all seemed momentarily under control, he perused the pier for his wife. His wife; this was a thing he did not believe he would ever do. At least not in regards to a sea voyage; and certainly not of Anne. He had given up hope many years ago, but now his life seemed to have come full circle. He had been devastated nine years hence when Anne told him she could not be his wife, that she must withdraw her acceptance of his proposal. It took him over eight years to grasp that not only was his pride wounded, but his soul as well. He had no idea how this rejection would effect his actions and thoughts. No woman since could match Anne; no one so capable, so intelligent, so sensible and yet so lovely. Anne was also full of feeling, but one must be trusted before this was shown them. He was so blessed to be the chief beneficiary of this trust. Now he could see his wife watching the preparations perched on top of her steamer trunk, her feet not even reaching the ground. Frederick half expected to see them swinging to and fro like a child's, but no, she was calm. He recognized the look on her face and knew that she was enraptured with the whole expedition, just as he unceasingly was. Anne insisted on watching the process rather than wait in their cabin. She did not wish to impose so it was agreed she would sit on the pier and use the size of her trunk as a spurious excuse for doing so. He wanted so much to join her and to discuss the operation, but he knew there was not time now. Frederick looked forward to the coming evening when, being underway, he and Anne could discuss the day. Just as he was about to return to his duties, Anne turned her head and caught his eye. She gave him the slow smile he had come to understand was a sign of contentment. He smiled back and suddenly remembered to tip his hat. They had discussed this signal; it would be his way of telling her he loved her, since it was not always appropriate to verbalize this sentiment.
Anne could not help herself, she beamed; a facial expression she knew, for her, was unfamiliar. Frederick remembered their signal. At that moment her dreams and reality were grafted together. She was so blessed. This wonderful man had re-entered her life after so long. She was being allowed not only the opportunity at adventures that up until now she had only read about or discussed with her new sister-in-law, but she was able to do all these things with Frederick. She was able to remove herself from her family and cleave to this man who had grown so much in such a short time. He was still steady, observant, moderate, candid and of course, handsome; but now he possessed a patience she had not known him to exhibit, even when they became reacquainted at the Musgrove's in Uppercross. Time had only proved to make their love, esteem and gratitude for one another stronger. They tried not to discuss what had befallen them: Lady Russell's interference, his resentment of Anne, all the time that had passed. They tried not consider it wasted, it was agreed to be considered a time to better themselves, so that now would be precious. This is why Frederick insisted she join him at sea. He broached the subject himself, reminding her of his comments at the Musgrove's dinner party when he stated he would never have a woman on his ship. It was one of many times since they were again engaged that he begged her to forgive him. Anne spent much time dispelling this need. She reminded him often of the wonderful letter her wrote to her and that all was forgiven that day.
Anne, lost in thought, had forgotten to watch the preparations and was drawn back to the moment by the sudden quiet. She looked up in time to see Frederick coming towards her. The action had now moved to the deck of the ship and it was time for her to board. Just as he was about to reach her, he held out his hand in assistance. At this moment she grasped the corner of her bonnet and tugged - she too could give a signal . He instantly withdrew his outstretched hand and proceeded to place them both about her waist. Frederick stared into her eyes for a moment. He did not care if his men were watching; it was high time they had a proper example of how a man can esteem a woman. He leaned in. Just before his lips touched hers, Frederick whispered his reciprocation of Anne's unuttered sentiment.
© 1997 Copyright held by the author.