Persuasion (Chapter 8, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 8

From this time Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot were repeatedly in the
same circle. They were soon dining in company together at Mr
Musgrove's, for the little boy's state could no longer supply his aunt
with a pretence for absenting herself; and this was but the beginning
of other dinings and other meetings.

Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to the
proof; former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection of
each; they could not but be reverted to; the year of their engagement
could not but be named by him, in the little narratives or descriptions
which conversation called forth. His profession qualified him, his
disposition lead him, to talk; and "That was in the year six;" "That
happened before I went to sea in the year six," occurred in the course
of the first evening they spent together: and though his voice did not
falter, and though she had no reason to suppose his eye wandering
towards her while he spoke, Anne felt the utter impossibility, from her
knowledge of his mind, that he could be unvisited by remembrance any
more than herself. There must be the same immediate association of
thought, though she was very far from conceiving it to be of equal pain.

They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the
commonest civility required. Once so much to each other! Now nothing!
There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the
drawing-room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to
cease to speak to one another. With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral
and Mrs Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could
allow no other exceptions even among the married couples), there could
have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so
in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers;
nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It
was a perpetual estrangement.

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