Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 21
Anne recollected with pleasure the next morning her promise of going to Mrs.
Smith, meaning that it should engage her from home at the time when Mr. Elliot
would be most likely to call; for to avoid Mr. Elliot was almost a first object.
She felt a great deal of good-will towards him. In spite of the mischief of his
attentions, she owed him gratitude and regard, perhaps compassion. She could
not help thinking much of the extraordinary circumstances attending their
acquaintance, of the right which he seemed to have to interest her, by everything
in situation, by his own sentiments, by his early prepossession. It was altogether
very extraordinary; flattering, but painful. There was much to regret. How she
might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case, was not worth
enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and be the conclusion of the present
suspense good or bad, her affection would be his for ever. Their union, she
believed, could not divide her more from other men, than their final separation.
Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could never have
passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting with from Camden
Place to Westgate Buildings. It was almost enough to spread purification and
perfume all the way.
She was sure of a pleasant reception; and her friend seemed this morning
particularly obliged to her for coming, seemed hardly to have expected her,
though it had been an appointment.
An account of the concert was immediately claimed; and Anne's recollections of
the concert were quite happy enough to animate her features and make her
rejoice to talk of it. All that she could tell she told most gladly, but the all was little
for one who had been there, and unsatisfactory for such an enquirer as Mrs.
Smith, who had already heard, through the short cut of a laundress and a waiter,
rather more of the general success and produce of the evening than Anne could
relate, and who now asked in vain for several particulars of the company.
Everybody of any consequence or notoriety in Bath was well know by name to
Mrs. Smith.
"The little Durands were there, I conclude," said she, "with their mouths open to
catch the music, like unfledged sparrows ready to be fed. They never miss a
"Yes; I did not see them myself, but I heard Mr. Elliot say they were in the room."
"The Ibbotsons, were they there? and the two new beauties, with the tall Irish
officer, who is talked of for one of them."
"I do not know. I do not think they were."
"Old Lady Mary Maclean? I need not ask after her. She never misses, I know;
and you must have seen her. She must have been in your own circle; for as you
went with Lady Dalrymple, you were in the seats of grandeur, round the
orchestra, of course."
"No, that was what I dreaded. It would have been very unpleasant to me in every
respect. But happily Lady Dalrymple always chooses to be farther off; and we
were exceedingly well placed, that is, for hearing; I must not say for seeing,
because I appear to have seen very little."