The cancelled chapters of Persuasion

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The original manuscript of the "cancelled chapters" of Jane Austen's novel Persuasion contains a rough draft of the original Chapter 10, Volume 2 of the book (which was heavily rewritten as Chapters 10 and 11 of Volume 2 in the first edition of Persuasion, published in 1817), and of the last chapter, originally numbered Chapter 11 (this became Chapter 12 of Volume 2 -- or Chapter 24 if the chapters are not numbered separately by volume). The following posting from AUSTEN-L gives the final state of the manuscript text for those parts of the last chapters of Persuasion where Jane Austen's draft differs most significantly from the text of the printed novel.

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 14:08:31 -0500
From: Edith Lank
Subject: cancelled chapters

We know that on July 8, 1816, Jane Austen began what she called Chapter 10 of the second volume of Persuasion. On the last page of Chapter 11 she wrote "Finish July 18 1816". According to her nephew's account "She thought [the ending] tame and flat", and some days later re-wrote the final chapters.

The cancelled chapters are the only manuscript from any of the six novels that we have in original form -- crossings-out, emendations and all. The fragment is now in the British Museum.

(There are few paragraphs in this -- hope it's not too much of a strain to read, but I feel unequal to the task of copyediting Jane Austen.)

The Original Chapters of Persuasion

With all this knowledge of Mr. E---- & this authority to impart it, Anne left Westgate Buildgs -- her mind deeply busy in revolving what she had heard, feeling, thinking, recalling & forseeing everything; shocked at Mr. Elliot -- sighing over future Kellynch, and pained for Lady Russell, whose confidence in him had been entire. -- The Embarrassment which must be felt from this hour in his presence! -- How to behave to him? -- how to get rid of him? -- what to do by any of the Party at home? -- where to be blind? where to be active? -- It was altogether a confusion of Images & Doubts -- a perplexity, an agitation which she could not see the end of -- and she was in Gay St. & still so much engrossed, that she started on being addressed by Adml Croft, as if he were a person unlikely to be met there. It was within a few steps of his own door. -- "You are going to call upon my wife," said he, "she will be very glad to see you." -- Anne denied it "No -- she really had not time, she was in her way home" -- but while she spoke, the Adml had stepped back & knocked at the door, calling out, "Yes, yes, do go in; she is all alone, go in & rest yourself." -- Anne felt so little disposed at this time to be in company of any sort, that it vexed her to be thus constrained -- but she was obliged to stop. "Since you are so very kind, said she, I will just ask Mrs. Croft how she does, but I really cannot stay 5 minutes. -- You are sure she is quite alone." -- The possibility of Capt. W. had occurred -- and most fearfully anxious was she to be assured -- either that he was within or that he was not; which, might have been a question. -- "Oh! yes, quite alone -- Nobody but her Mantuamaker with her, & they have been shut up together this half hour, so it must be over soon." -- "Her Mantua maker! -- then I am sure my calling now, wd be most inconvenient. -- Indeed you must allow me to leave my Card & be so good as to explain it afterwards to Mrs. C." "No, no, not at all, not at all. She will be very happy to see you. Mind -- I will not swear that she has not something particular to say to you -- but that will all come out in the right place. I give no hints. -- Why, Miss Elliot, we begin to hear strange things of you" -- (smiling in her face) -- "But you have not much the Look of it -- as Grave as a little Judge." -- Anne blushed. -- "Aye, aye, that will do. Now, it is right. I thought we were not mistaken." She was left to guess at the direction of his Suspicions; -- the first wild idea had been of some disclosure from his Br in law -- but she was ashamed the next moment -- & felt how far more probably that he should be meaning Mr. E. -- The door was opened -- & the Man evidently beginning to deny his Mistress, when the sight of his Master stopped him. The Adml enjoyed the joke exceedingly. Anne thought his triumph over Stephen rather too long. At least however, he was able to invite her upstairs, & stepping before her said -- "I will just go up with you myself & shew you in. -- I cannot stay, because I must go to the P. Office, but if you will only sit down for 5 minutes I am sure Sophy will come -- and you will find nobody to disturb you -- there is nobody but Frederick here --" opening the door as he spoke. -- Such a person to be passed over as a Nobody to her! After being allowed to feel quite secure -- indifferent -- at her ease, to have it burst on her that she was to be the next moment in the same room with him! -- No time for recollection! -- for planning behaviour, or regulating manners! -- There was only time to turn pale, before she had passed through the door, & met the astonished eyes of Capt. W----, who was sitting by the fire pretending to read & prepared for no greater surprise than the Admiral's hasty return. -- Equally unexpected was the meeting, on each side. There was nothing to be done however, but to stifle feelings & be quietly polite; -- and the Admiral was too much on the alert, to leave any troublesome pause. -- He repeated again what he had said before about his wife & everybody -- insisted on Anne's sitting down & being perfectly comfortable, was sorry he must leave her himself, but was sure Mrs. Croft wd be down very soon, & wd go upstairs & give her notice directly. -- Anne was sitting down, but now she arose again -- to entreat him not to interrupt Mrs. C. -- & re-urge the wish of going away & calling another time. -- But the Adml would not hear of it; -- and if she did not return to the charge with unconquerable Perseverance, or did not with a more passive Determination walk quietly out of the room -- (as certainly she might have done) may she not be pardoned? -- If she had no horror of a few minutes Tête a Tête with Capt. W----, may she not be pardoned for not wishing to give him the idea that she had? -- She reseated herself, & the Adml took leave; but on reaching the door, said, "Frederick, a word with you, if you please." -- Capt. W---- went to him; and instantly, before they were well out of the room, the Adml continued -- "As I am going to leave you together, it is but fair I should give you something to talk of -- & so, if you please --" Here the door was very firmly closed; she could guess by which of the two; and she lost entirely what immediately followed; but it was impossible for her not to distinguish parts of the rest, for the Adml on the strength of the Door's being shut was speaking without any management of voice, tho' she cd hear his companion trying to check him. -- She could not doubt their being speaking of her. She heard her own name & Kellynch repeatedly -- she was very much distressed. She knew not what to do, or what to expect -- and among other agonies felt the possibility of Capt. W----'s not returning into the room at all, after which her consenting to stay would have been -- too bad for Language. -- They seemed to be talking of the Adml's Lease of Kellynch. She heard him say something of "the Lease being signed or not signed" -- that was not likely to be a very agitating subject -- but then followed "I hate to be at an uncertainty -- I must know at once -- Sophy thinks the same." Then, in a lower tone, Capt. W---- seemed remonstrating -- wanting to be excused -- wanting to put something off. "Phoo, Phoo --" answered the Admiral "now is the Time. If you will not speak, I will stop & speak myself." -- "Very well Sir, very well Sir," followed with some impatience from his companion, opening the door as he spoke. -- "You will then -- you promise you will?" replied the Admiral, in all the power of his natural voice, unbroken even by one thin door. -- "Yes -- Sir -- Yes." And the Adml was hastily left, the door was closed, and the moment arrived in which Anne was alone with Capt. W----.

She could not attempt to see how he looked; but he walked immediately to a window, as if irresolute & embarrassed; -- and for about the space of 5 seconds, she repented what she had done -- censured it as unwise, blushed over it as indelicate. -- She longed to be able to speak of the weather or the Concert -- but could only compass the releif of taking a Newspaper in her hand. -- The distressing pause was soon over however; he turned round in half a minute, and coming towards the Table where she sat, said, in a voice of effort & constraint -- "You must have heard too much already, Madam, to be in any doubt of my having promised Adml Croft to speak to you on some particular subject -- & this conviction determines me to do it -- however repugnant to my -- to all my sense of propriety, to be taking so great a liberty. -- You will acquit me of Impertinence, I trust, by considering me as speaking only for another, and speaking by Necessity; -- and the Adml is a Man who can never be thought Impertinent by one who knows him as you do. -- His Intentions are always the kindest & the Best; -- and you will perceived that he is actuated by none other, in the application which I am now with -- with very peculiar feelings -- obliged to make." -- He stopped -- but merely to recover breath; -- not seeming to expect any answer. -- Anne listened, as if her Life depended on the issue of his Speech. -- He proceeded, with a forced alacrity. -- "The Adml, Madam, was this morning confidently informed that you were -- upon my word I am quite at a loss, ashamed" -- (breathing & speaking quick) -- "the awkwardness of giving Information of this sort to one of the Parties -- You can be at no loss to understand me -- It was very confidently said that Mr. Elliot -- that everything was settled in the family for an Union between Mr. Elliot -- & yourself. It was added that you were to live at Kellynch -- that Kellynch was to be given up. This, the Admiral knew could not be correct -- But it occurred to him that it might be the wish of the Parties -- And my commission from him, Madam, is to say that if the Family wish is such, his Lease of Kellynch shall be cancel'd, & he & my sister will provide themselves with another home, without imagining themselves to be doing anything which under similar circumstances wd not be done for them. -- This is all, Madam. -- A very few words in replay from you will be sufficient. -- That I should be the person commissioned on this subject is extraordinary! -- and beleive me, Madam, it is no less painful. -- A very few words however will put an end to the awkwardness & distress we may both be feeling." Anne spoke a word or two, but they were un-intelligible -- And before she could command herself, he added, -- "If you only tell me that the Adml may address a Line to Sir Walter, it will be enough. Pronounce only the words, he may. -- I shall immediately follow him with your message. --" This was spoken with a fortitude which seemed to meet the message. -- "No Sir" -- said Anne -- "There is no message. -- You are misin-- the Adml is misinformed. -- I do justice to the kindness of his Intentions, but he is quite mistaken. There is no Truth in any such report." -- He was a moment silent. -- She turned her eyes toward him for the first time since his re-entering the room. His colour was varying -- & he was looking at her with all the Power & Keenness, which she beleived no other eyes than his, possessed. "No Truth in any such report!" -- he repeated. -- "No Truth in any part of it?" -- "None." -- He had been standing by a chair -- enjoying the releif of leaning on it -- or of playing with it; -- he now sat down -- drew it a little nearer to her -- & looked, with an expression which had something more than penetration in it, something softer; -- Her Countenance did not discourage. -- It was a silent, but a very powerful Dialogue; -- on his side, Supplication, on her's acceptance. -- Still a little nearer -- and a hand taken and pressed -- and "Anne, my own dear Anne!" -- bursting forth in the fullness of exquisite feeling -- and all Suspense & Indecision were over. -- They were re-united. They were restored to all that had been lost. They were carried back to the past, with only an increase of attachement & confidence, & only such a flutter of present Delight as made them little fit for the interruption of Mrs. Croft, when she joined them not long afterwards. -- She probably, in the observations of the next ten minutes, saw something to suspect -- & tho' it was hardly possible for a woman of her description to wish the Mantuamaker had imprisoned her longer, she might be very likely wishing for some excuse to run about the house, some storm to break the windows above, or a summons to the Admiral's Shoemaker below. -- Fortune favoured them all however in another way -- in a gentle, steady rain -- just happily set in as the Admiral returned & Anne rose to go. -- She was earnestly invited to stay dinner; -- a note was dispatched to Camden Place -- and she staid; -- staid till 10 at night. And during that time, the Husband and wife, either by the wife's contrivance, or by simply going on in their usual way, were frequently out of the room together -- gone up stairs to hear a noise, or down stairs to settle their accounts, or upon the Landing place to trim the Lamp. -- And these precious moments were turned to so good an account that all the most anxious feelings of the past were gone through. -- Before they parted at night, Anne had the felicity of being assured in the first place that -- (so far from being altered for the worse!) -- she had gained inexpressibly in personal Loveliness; & that as the Character -- her's was now fixed on his Mind as Perfection itself -- maintaining the just Medium of Fortitude & Gentleness; -- that he had never ceased to love & prefer her, though it had been only at Uppercross that he had learn't to do her Justice -- & only at Lyme that he had begin to understand his own sensations; -- that at Lyme he had received Lessons of more than one kind; -- the passing admiration of Mr. Elliot had at least roused him, and the scenes on the Cobb & at Capt. Harville's had fixed her superiority. -- In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the attempts of Anger & Pique), -- he protested that he had continually felt the impossibility of really caring for Louisa, though till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed it, he had not understood the perfect excellence of the Mind, with which Louisa's could so ill bear a comparison, or the perfect, the unrivalled hold it possessed over his own. -- There he had learnt to distinguish between the steadiness of Principle & the Obstinacy of Self-will, between the Darings of Heedlessness, & the Resolution of a collected Mind -- there he had seen everything to exalt in his estimation the Woman he had lost, & there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of resentment which had kept him from trying to regain her, when thrown in his way. From that period to the present had his penance been the most severe. -- He had no sooner...


"I should have thought, said Anne, that my Manner to yourself, might have spared you much, or all of this." -- "No -- No -- Your manner might be only the ease, which your engagement to another Man would give. -- I left you with this beleif. -- And yet -- I was determined to see you again. -- My spirits rallied with the morning, & I felt that I had still a motive for remaining here. -- The Admirals news indeed, was a revulsion. Since that moment, I have been decided what to do -- and had it been confirmed, this would have been my last day in Bath."

There was time for all this to pass -- with such Interruptions only as enhanced the charm of the communications -- and Bath cd scarcely contain any other two Beings at once so rationally & so rapturously happy as during that eveng occupied the Sopha of Mrs. Croft's Drawing room in Gay St.

Capt. W---- had taken care to meet the Adml as he returned into the house, to satisfy him as to Mr. E---- & Kellynch; -- and the delicacy of the Admiral's good nature kept him from saying another word on the subject to Anne. -- He was quite concerned lest he might have been giving her pain by touching a tender part. Who could say? -- She might be liking her Cousin, better than he liked her. -- And indeed, upon recollection, if they had been to marry at all why should they have waited so long? --

When the Eveng closed, it is probably that the Adml received some new Ideas from his Wife; -- whose particularly friendly manner in parting with her, gave Anne the gratifying persuasion of her seeing & approving.

It had been such a day to Anne! -- the hours which had passed since her leaving Camden Place, had done so much! -- She was almost bewildered, almost too happy in looking back. -- It was necessary to sit up half the Night & lie awake the remainder to comprehend with composure her present state, & pay for the overplus of Bliss, by Headake & Fatigue. --


This starts:

"Who can be in doubt of what followed? -- When any two Young People take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point --"

and seems pretty much like what we have in the final version, except for a few interesting changes of a word here and there.

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