Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 10
Other opportunities of making her observations could not fail to occur. Anne had
soon been in company with all the four together often enough to have an opinion,
though too wise to acknowledge as much at home, where she knew it would
have satisfied neither husband nor wife; for while she considered Louisa to be
rather the favourite, she could not but think, as far as she might dare to judge
from memory and experience, that Captain Wentworth was not in love with
either. They were more in love with him; yet there it was not love. It was a little
fever of admiration; but it might, probably must, end in love with some. Charles
Hayter seemed aware of being slighted, and yet Henrietta had sometimes the air
of being divided between them. Anne longed for the power of representing to
them all what they were about, and of pointing out some of the evils they were
exposing themselves to. She did not attribute guile to any. It was the highest
satisfaction to her to believe Captain Wentworth not in the least aware of the pain
he was occasioning. There was no triumph, no pitiful triumph in his manner. He
had, probably, never heard, and never thought of any claims of Charles Hayter.
He was only wrong in accepting the attentions (for accepting must be the word)
of two young women at once.
After a short struggle, however, Charles Hayter seemed to quit the field. Three
days had passed without his coming once to Uppercross; a most decided
change. He had even refused one regular invitation to dinner; and having been
found on the occasion by Mr. Musgrove with some large books before him, Mr
and Mrs. Musgrove were sure all could not be right, and talked, with grave faces,
of his studying himself to death. It was Mary's hope and belief that he had
received a positive dismissal from Henrietta, and her husband lived under the
constant dependence of seeing him to-morrow. Anne could only feel that Charles
Hayter was wise.
One morning, about this time Charles Musgrove and Captain Wentworth being
gone a-shooting together, as the sisters in the Cottage were sitting quietly at
work, they were visited at the window by the sisters from the Mansion-house.
It was a very fine November day, and the Miss Musgroves came through the little
grounds, and stopped for no other purpose than to say, that they were going to
take a long walk, and therefore concluded Mary could not like to go with them;
and when Mary immediately replied, with some jealousy at not being supposed a
good walker, "Oh, yes, I should like to join you very much, I am very fond of a
long walk;" Anne felt persuaded, by the looks of the two girls, that it was precisely
what they did not wish, and admired again the sort of necessity which the family
habits seemed to produce, of everything being to be communicated, and
everything being to be done together, however undesired and inconvenient. She
tried to dissuade Mary from going, but in vain; and that being the case, thought it
best to accept the Miss Musgroves' much more cordial invitation to herself to go
likewise, as she might be useful in turning back with her sister, and lessening the
interference in any plan of their own.
"I cannot imagine why they should suppose I should not like a long walk," said
Mary, as she went up stairs. "Everybody is always supposing that I am not a