While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and expressing his wish of
getting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Wentworth was already on his way
thither. Before Mrs. Croft had written, he was arrived, and the very next time
Anne walked out, she saw him.
Mr. Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs. Clay. They were in Milsom
Street. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for
women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the
advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple's carriage, which was
seen waiting at a little distance; she, Anne, and Mrs. Clay, therefore, turned into
Molland's, while Mr. Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance.
He soon joined them again, successful, of course; Lady Dalrymple would be
most happy to take them home, and would call for them in a few minutes.
Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four with any
comfort. Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it was not reasonable
to expect accommodation for all the three Camden Place ladies. There could be
no doubt as to Miss Elliot. Whoever suffered inconvenience, she must suffer
none, but it occupied a little time to settle the point of civility between the other
two. The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk
with Mr. Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs. Clay; she would hardly
allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss
Anne's; and, in short, her civility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk
with Mr. Elliot as Anne could be, and it was discussed between them with a
generosity so polite and so determined, that the others were obliged to settle it
for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs. Clay had a little cold already, and Mr.
Elliot deciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest.
It was fixed accordingly, that Mrs. Clay should be of the party in the carriage; and
they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat near the window,
descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain Wentworth walking down the
Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that she was the
greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and absurd! For a few
minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all confusion. She was lost, and when
she had scolded back her senses, she found the others still waiting for the
carriage, and Mr. Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a
commission of Mrs. Clay's.
She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted to see if it
rained. Why was she to suspect herself of another motive? Captain Wentworth
must be out of sight. She left her seat, she would go; one half of her should not
be always so much wiser than the other half, or always suspecting the other of
being worse than it was. She would see if it rained. She was sent back, however,
in a moment by the entrance of Captain Wentworth himself, among a party of
gentlemen and ladies, evidently his acquaintance, and whom he must have
joined a little below Milsom Street. He was more obviously struck and confused
by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looked quite red. For