Persuasion (Chapter 4, page 2 of 4)


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Chapter 4

Such opposition, as these feelings produced, was more than Anne could
combat. Young and gentle as she was, it might yet have been possible
to withstand her father's ill-will, though unsoftened by one kind word
or look on the part of her sister; but Lady Russell, whom she had
always loved and relied on, could not, with such steadiness of opinion,
and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain.
She was persuaded to believe the engagement a wrong thing: indiscreet,
improper, hardly capable of success, and not deserving it. But it was
not a merely selfish caution, under which she acted, in putting an end
to it. Had she not imagined herself consulting his good, even more
than her own, she could hardly have given him up. The belief of being
prudent, and self-denying, principally for his advantage, was her chief
consolation, under the misery of a parting, a final parting; and every
consolation was required, for she had to encounter all the additional
pain of opinions, on his side, totally unconvinced and unbending, and
of his feeling himself ill used by so forced a relinquishment. He had
left the country in consequence.

A few months had seen the beginning and the end of their acquaintance;
but not with a few months ended Anne's share of suffering from it. Her
attachment and regrets had, for a long time, clouded every enjoyment of
youth, and an early loss of bloom and spirits had been their lasting
effect.

More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful
interest had reached its close; and time had softened down much,
perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him, but she had been too
dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place
(except in one visit to Bath soon after the rupture), or in any novelty
or enlargement of society. No one had ever come within the Kellynch
circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he
stood in her memory. No second attachment, the only thoroughly
natural, happy, and sufficient cure, at her time of life, had been
possible to the nice tone of her mind, the fastidiousness of her taste,
in the small limits of the society around them. She had been
solicited, when about two-and-twenty, to change her name, by the young
man, who not long afterwards found a more willing mind in her younger
sister; and Lady Russell had lamented her refusal; for Charles Musgrove
was the eldest son of a man, whose landed property and general
importance were second in that country, only to Sir Walter's, and of
good character and appearance; and however Lady Russell might have
asked yet for something more, while Anne was nineteen, she would have
rejoiced to see her at twenty-two so respectably removed from the
partialities and injustice of her father's house, and settled so
permanently near herself. But in this case, Anne had left nothing for
advice to do; and though Lady Russell, as satisfied as ever with her
own discretion, never wished the past undone, she began now to have the
anxiety which borders on hopelessness for Anne's being tempted, by some
man of talents and independence, to enter a state for which she held
her to be peculiarly fitted by her warm affections and domestic habits.

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