Persuasion (Chapter 4, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 4

He was not Mr Wentworth, the former curate of Monkford, however
suspicious appearances may be, but a Captain Frederick Wentworth, his
brother, who being made commander in consequence of the action off St
Domingo, and not immediately employed, had come into Somersetshire, in
the summer of 1806; and having no parent living, found a home for half
a year at Monkford. He was, at that time, a remarkably fine young man,
with a great deal of intelligence, spirit, and brilliancy; and Anne an
extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling.
Half the sum of attraction, on either side, might have been enough, for
he had nothing to do, and she had hardly anybody to love; but the
encounter of such lavish recommendations could not fail. They were
gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love.
It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the
other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his
declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.

A short period of exquisite felicity followed, and but a short one.
Troubles soon arose. Sir Walter, on being applied to, without actually
withholding his consent, or saying it should never be, gave it all the
negative of great astonishment, great coldness, great silence, and a
professed resolution of doing nothing for his daughter. He thought it
a very degrading alliance; and Lady Russell, though with more tempered
and pardonable pride, received it as a most unfortunate one.

Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw
herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement
with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no
hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain
profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in the
profession, would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to
think of! Anne Elliot, so young; known to so few, to be snatched off
by a stranger without alliance or fortune; or rather sunk by him into a
state of most wearing, anxious, youth-killing dependence! It must not
be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from
one who had almost a mother's love, and mother's rights, it would be
prevented.

Captain Wentworth had no fortune. He had been lucky in his profession;
but spending freely, what had come freely, had realized nothing. But
he was confident that he should soon be rich: full of life and ardour,
he knew that he should soon have a ship, and soon be on a station that
would lead to everything he wanted. He had always been lucky; he knew
he should be so still. Such confidence, powerful in its own warmth,
and bewitching in the wit which often expressed it, must have been
enough for Anne; but Lady Russell saw it very differently. His
sanguine temper, and fearlessness of mind, operated very differently on
her. She saw in it but an aggravation of the evil. It only added a
dangerous character to himself. He was brilliant, he was headstrong.
Lady Russell had little taste for wit, and of anything approaching to
imprudence a horror. She deprecated the connexion in every light.

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