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
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 connection 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.
The two families had always been on excellent terms, there being no pride on
one side, and no envy on the other, and only such a consciousness of superiority
in the Miss Musgroves, as made them pleased to improve their cousins.
Charles's attentions to Henrietta had been observed by her father and mother
without any disapprobation. "It would not be a great match for her; but if Henrietta
liked him,"-- and Henrietta did seem to like him.