Persuasion (Chapter 9, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 9

Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home, to stay as long as
he liked, being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's fraternal
kindness as of his wife's. He had intended, on first arriving, to
proceed very soon into Shropshire, and visit the brother settled in
that country, but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this
off. There was so much of friendliness, and of flattery, and of
everything most bewitching in his reception there; the old were so
hospitable, the young so agreeable, that he could not but resolve to
remain where he was, and take all the charms and perfections of
Edward's wife upon credit a little longer.

It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day. The Musgroves could
hardly be more ready to invite than he to come, particularly in the
morning, when he had no companion at home, for the Admiral and Mrs
Croft were generally out of doors together, interesting themselves in
their new possessions, their grass, and their sheep, and dawdling about
in a way not endurable to a third person, or driving out in a gig,
lately added to their establishment.

Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth among the
Musgroves and their dependencies. It was unvarying, warm admiration
everywhere; but this intimate footing was not more than established,
when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them, to be a good deal
disturbed by it, and to think Captain Wentworth very much in the way.

Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins, and a very amiable,
pleasing young man, between whom and Henrietta there had been a
considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain Wentworth's
introduction. He was in orders; and having a curacy in the
neighbourhood, where residence was not required, lived at his father's
house, only two miles from Uppercross. A short absence from home had
left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period,
and when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners,
and of seeing Captain Wentworth.

Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters. They had each had money, but
their marriages had made a material difference in their degree of
consequence. Mr Hayter had some property of his own, but it was
insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's; and while the Musgroves were
in the first class of society in the country, the young Hayters would,
from their parents' inferior, retired, and unpolished way of living,
and their own defective education, have been hardly in any class at
all, but for their connexion with Uppercross, this eldest son of course
excepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman, and who was
very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest.

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