Persuasion (Chapter 10, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 10

Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to occur.
Anne had soon been in company with all the four together often enough
to have an opinion, though too wise to acknowledge as much at home,
where she knew it would have satisfied neither husband nor wife; for
while she considered Louisa to be rather the favourite, she could not
but think, as far as she might dare to judge from memory and
experience, that Captain Wentworth was not in love with either. They
were more in love with him; yet there it was not love. It was a little
fever of admiration; but it might, probably must, end in love with
some. Charles Hayter seemed aware of being slighted, and yet Henrietta
had sometimes the air of being divided between them. Anne longed for
the power of representing to them all what they were about, and of
pointing out some of the evils they were exposing themselves to. She
did not attribute guile to any. It was the highest satisfaction to her
to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of the pain he was
occasioning. There was no triumph, no pitiful triumph in his manner.
He had, probably, never heard, and never thought of any claims of
Charles Hayter. He was only wrong in accepting the attentions (for
accepting must be the word) of two young women at once.

After a short struggle, however, Charles Hayter seemed to quit the
field. Three days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross; a
most decided change. He had even refused one regular invitation to
dinner; and having been found on the occasion by Mr Musgrove with some
large books before him, Mr and Mrs Musgrove were sure all could not be
right, and talked, with grave faces, of his studying himself to death.
It was Mary's hope and belief that he had received a positive dismissal
from Henrietta, and her husband lived under the constant dependence of
seeing him to-morrow. Anne could only feel that Charles Hayter was
wise.

One morning, about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth
being gone a-shooting together, as the sisters in the Cottage were
sitting quietly at work, they were visited at the window by the sisters
from the Mansion-house.

It was a very fine November day, and the Miss Musgroves came through
the little grounds, and stopped for no other purpose than to say, that
they were going to take a long walk, and therefore concluded Mary could
not like to go with them; and when Mary immediately replied, with some
jealousy at not being supposed a good walker, "Oh, yes, I should like
to join you very much, I am very fond of a long walk;" Anne felt
persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely what
they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the
family habits seemed to produce, of everything being to be
communicated, and everything being to be done together, however
undesired and inconvenient. She tried to dissuade Mary from going, but
in vain; and that being the case, thought it best to accept the Miss
Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go likewise, as
she might be useful in turning back with her sister, and lessening the
interference in any plan of their own.

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