Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 12
Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the next morning,
agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast. They went to the sands, to
watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine south-easterly breeze was bringing in
with all the grandeur which so flat a shore admitted. They praised the morning;
gloried in the sea; sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze--and
were silent; till Henrietta suddenly began again with--
"Oh! yes,--I am quite convinced that, with very few exceptions, the sea-air always
does good. There can be no doubt of its having been of the greatest service to Dr
Shirley, after his illness, last spring twelve-month. He declares himself, that
coming to Lyme for a month, did him more good than all the medicine he took;
and, that being by the sea, always makes him feel young again. Now, I cannot
help thinking it a pity that he does not live entirely by the sea. I do think he had
better leave Uppercross entirely, and fix at Lyme. Do not you, Anne? Do not you
agree with me, that it is the best thing he could do, both for himself and Mrs.
Shirley? She has cousins here, you know, and many acquaintance, which would
make it cheerful for her, and I am sure she would be glad to get to a place where
she could have medical attendance at hand, in case of his having another
seizure. Indeed I think it quite melancholy to have such excellent people as Dr
and Mrs. Shirley, who have been doing good all their lives, wearing out their last
days in a place like Uppercross, where, excepting our family, they seem shut out
from all the world. I wish his friends would propose it to him. I really think they
ought. And, as to procuring a dispensation, there could be no difficulty at his time
of life, and with his character. My only doubt is, whether anything could persuade
him to leave his parish. He is so very strict and scrupulous in his notions; over-
scrupulous I must say. Do not you think, Anne, it is being over-scrupulous? Do
not you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience, when a clergyman
sacrifices his health for the sake of duties, which may be just as well performed
by another person? And at Lyme too, only seventeen miles off, he would be near
enough to hear, if people thought there was anything to complain of."
Anne smiled more than once to herself during this speech, and entered into the
subject, as ready to do good by entering into the feelings of a young lady as of a
young man, though here it was good of a lower standard, for what could be
offered but general acquiescence? She said all that was reasonable and proper
on the business; felt the claims of Dr Shirley to repose as she ought; saw how
very desirable it was that he should have some active, respectable young man,
as a resident curate, and was even courteous enough to hint at the advantage of
such resident curate's being married.
"I wish," said Henrietta, very well pleased with her companion, "I wish Lady
Russell lived at Uppercross, and were intimate with Dr Shirley. I have always
heard of Lady Russell as a woman of the greatest influence with everybody! I
always look upon her as able to persuade a person to anything! I am afraid of
her, as I have told you before, quite afraid of her, because she is so very clever;
but I respect her amazingly, and wish we had such a neighbour at Uppercross."