Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 22
Anne went home to think over all that she had heard. In one point, her feelings
were relieved by this knowledge of Mr. Elliot. There was no longer anything of
tenderness due to him. He stood as opposed to Captain Wentworth, in all his
own unwelcome obtrusiveness; and the evil of his attentions last night, the
irremediable mischief he might have done, was considered with sensations
unqualified, unperplexed. Pity for him was all over. But this was the only point of
relief. In every other respect, in looking around her, or penetrating forward, she
saw more to distrust and to apprehend. She was concerned for the
disappointment and pain Lady Russell would be feeling; for the mortifications
which must be hanging over her father and sister, and had all the distress of
foreseeing many evils, without knowing how to avert any one of them. She was
most thankful for her own knowledge of him. She had never considered herself
as entitled to reward for not slighting an old friend like Mrs. Smith, but here was a
reward indeed springing from it! Mrs. Smith had been able to tell her what no one
else could have done. Could the knowledge have been extended through her
family? But this was a vain idea. She must talk to Lady Russell, tell her, consult
with her, and having done her best, wait the event with as much composure as
possible; and after all, her greatest want of composure would be in that quarter of
the mind which could not be opened to Lady Russell; in that flow of anxieties and
fears which must be all to herself.
She found, on reaching home, that she had, as she intended, escaped seeing
Mr. Elliot; that he had called and paid them a long morning visit; but hardly had
she congratulated herself, and felt safe, when she heard that he was coming
again in the evening.
"I had not the smallest intention of asking him," said Elizabeth, with affected
carelessness, "but he gave so many hints; so Mrs. Clay says, at least."
"Indeed, I do say it. I never saw anybody in my life spell harder for an invitation.
Poor man! I was really in pain for him; for your hard-hearted sister, Miss Anne,
seems bent on cruelty."
"Oh!" cried Elizabeth, "I have been rather too much used to the game to be soon
overcome by a gentleman's hints. However, when I found how excessively he
was regretting that he should miss my father this morning, I gave way
immediately, for I would never really omit an opportunity of bring him and Sir
Walter together. They appear to so much advantage in company with each other.
Each behaving so pleasantly. Mr. Elliot looking up with so much respect."
"Quite delightful!" cried Mrs. Clay, not daring, however, to turn her eyes towards
Anne. "Exactly like father and son! Dear Miss Elliot, may I not say father and
"Oh! I lay no embargo on any body's words. If you will have such ideas! But,
upon my word, I am scarcely sensible of his attentions being beyond those of
other men."
"My dear Miss Elliot!" exclaimed Mrs. Clay, lifting her hands and eyes, and
sinking all the rest of her astonishment in a convenient silence.