Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 13
The remainder of Anne's time at Uppercross, comprehending only two days, was
spent entirely at the Mansion House; and she had the satisfaction of knowing
herself extremely useful there, both as an immediate companion, and as
assisting in all those arrangements for the future, which, in Mr. and Mrs.
Musgrove's distressed state of spirits, would have been difficulties.
They had an early account from Lyme the next morning. Louisa was much the
same. No symptoms worse than before had appeared. Charles came a few
hours afterwards, to bring a later and more particular account. He was tolerably
cheerful. A speedy cure must not be hoped, but everything was going on as well
as the nature of the case admitted. In speaking of the Harvilles, he seemed
unable to satisfy his own sense of their kindness, especially of Mrs. Harville's
exertions as a nurse. "She really left nothing for Mary to do. He and Mary had
been persuaded to go early to their inn last night. Mary had been hysterical again
this morning. When he came away, she was going to walk out with Captain
Benwick, which, he hoped, would do her good. He almost wished she had been
prevailed on to come home the day before; but the truth was, that Mrs Harville
left nothing for anybody to do."
Charles was to return to Lyme the same afternoon, and his father had at first half
a mind to go with him, but the ladies could not consent. It would be going only to
multiply trouble to the others, and increase his own distress; and a much better
scheme followed and was acted upon. A chaise was sent for from Crewkherne,
and Charles conveyed back a far more useful person in the old nursery-maid of
the family, one who having brought up all the children, and seen the very last, the
lingering and long-petted Master Harry, sent to school after his brothers, was
now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings and dress all the blains and
bruises she could get near her, and who, consequently, was only too happy in
being allowed to go and help nurse dear Miss Louisa. Vague wishes of getting
Sarah thither, had occurred before to Mrs. Musgrove and Henrietta; but without
Anne, it would hardly have been resolved on, and found practicable so soon.
They were indebted, the next day, to Charles Hayter, for all the minute
knowledge of Louisa, which it was so essential to obtain every twenty-four hours.
He made it his business to go to Lyme, and his account was still encouraging.
The intervals of sense and consciousness were believed to be stronger. Every
report agreed in Captain Wentworth's appearing fixed in Lyme.
Anne was to leave them on the morrow, an event which they all dreaded. "What
should they do without her? They were wretched comforters for one another."
And so much was said in this way, that Anne thought she could not do better
than impart among them the general inclination to which she was privy, and
persuaded them all to go to Lyme at once. She had little difficulty; it was soon
determined that they would go; go to-morrow, fix themselves at the inn, or get
into lodgings, as it suited, and there remain till dear Louisa could be moved. They
must be taking off some trouble from the good people she was with; they might at
least relieve Mrs. Harville from the care of her own children; and in short, they
were so happy in the decision, that Anne was delighted with what she had done,