Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 24
Who can be in doubt of what followed? When any two young people take it into
their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be
they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to
each other's ultimate comfort. This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I
believe it to be truth; and if such parties succeed, how should a Captain
Wentworth and an Anne Elliot, with the advantage of maturity of mind,
consciousness of right, and one independent fortune between them, fail of
bearing down every opposition? They might in fact, have borne down a great
deal more than they met with, for there was little to distress them beyond the
want of graciousness and warmth. Sir Walter made no objection, and Elizabeth
did nothing worse than look cold and unconcerned. Captain Wentworth, with five-
and-twenty thousand pounds, and as high in his profession as merit and activity
could place him, was no longer nobody. He was now esteemed quite worthy to
address the daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, who had not had principle
or sense enough to maintain himself in the situation in which Providence had
placed him, and who could give his daughter at present but a small part of the
share of ten thousand pounds which must be hers hereafter.
Sir Walter, indeed, though he had no affection for Anne, and no vanity flattered,
to make him really happy on the occasion, was very far from thinking it a bad
match for her. On the contrary, when he saw more of Captain Wentworth, saw
him repeatedly by daylight, and eyed him well, he was very much struck by his
personal claims, and felt that his superiority of appearance might be not unfairly
balanced against her superiority of rank; and all this, assisted by his well-
sounding name, enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen, with a very good
grace, for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour.
The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could excite any serious
anxiety was Lady Russell. Anne knew that Lady Russell must be suffering some
pain in understanding and relinquishing Mr. Elliot, and be making some struggles
to become truly acquainted with, and do justice to Captain Wentworth. This
however was what Lady Russell had now to do. She must learn to feel that she
had been mistaken with regard to both; that she had been unfairly influenced by
appearances in each; that because Captain Wentworth's manners had not suited
her own ideas, she had been too quick in suspecting them to indicate a character
of dangerous impetuosity; and that because Mr. Elliot's manners had precisely
pleased her in their propriety and correctness, their general politeness and
suavity, she had been too quick in receiving them as the certain result of the
most correct opinions and well-regulated mind. There was nothing less for Lady
Russell to do, than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to
take up a new set of opinions and of hopes.
There is a quickness of perception in some, a nicety in the discernment of
character, a natural penetration, in short, which no experience in others can
equal, and Lady Russell had been less gifted in this part of understanding than
her young friend. But she was a very good woman, and if her second object was
to be sensible and well-judging, her first was to see Anne happy. She loved Anne