Persuasion HTML version

Chapter 14
Though Charles and Mary had remained at Lyme much longer after Mr. and Mrs.
Musgrove's going than Anne conceived they could have been at all wanted, they
were yet the first of the family to be at home again; and as soon as possible after
their return to Uppercross they drove over to the Lodge. They had left Louisa
beginning to sit up; but her head, though clear, was exceedingly weak, and her
nerves susceptible to the highest extreme of tenderness; and though she might
be pronounced to be altogether doing very well, it was still impossible to say
when she might be able to bear the removal home; and her father and mother,
who must return in time to receive their younger children for the Christmas
holidays, had hardly a hope of being allowed to bring her with them.
They had been all in lodgings together. Mrs. Musgrove had got Mrs. Harville's
children away as much as she could, every possible supply from Uppercross had
been furnished, to lighten the inconvenience to the Harvilles, while the Harvilles
had been wanting them to come to dinner every day; and in short, it seemed to
have been only a struggle on each side as to which should be most disinterested
and hospitable.
Mary had had her evils; but upon the whole, as was evident by her staying so
long, she had found more to enjoy than to suffer. Charles Hayter had been at
Lyme oftener than suited her; and when they dined with the Harvilles there had
been only a maid-servant to wait, and at first Mrs. Harville had always given Mrs
Musgrove precedence; but then, she had received so very handsome an apology
from her on finding out whose daughter she was, and there had been so much
going on every day, there had been so many walks between their lodgings and
the Harvilles, and she had got books from the library, and changed them so
often, that the balance had certainly been much in favour of Lyme. She had been
taken to Charmouth too, and she had bathed, and she had gone to church, and
there were a great many more people to look at in the church at Lyme than at
Uppercross; and all this, joined to the sense of being so very useful, had made
really an agreeable fortnight.
Anne enquired after Captain Benwick, Mary's face was clouded directly. Charles
"Oh! Captain Benwick is very well, I believe, but he is a very odd young man. I do
not know what he would be at. We asked him to come home with us for a day or
two: Charles undertook to give him some shooting, and he seemed quite
delighted, and, for my part, I thought it was all settled; when behold! on Tuesday
night, he made a very awkward sort of excuse; `he never shot' and he had `been
quite misunderstood,' and he had promised this and he had promised that, and
the end of it was, I found, that he did not mean to come. I suppose he was afraid
of finding it dull; but upon my word I should have thought we were lively enough
at the Cottage for such a heart-broken man as Captain Benwick."
Charles laughed again and said, "Now Mary, you know very well how it really
was. It was all your doing," (turning to Anne.) "He fancied that if he went with us,
he should find you close by: he fancied everybody to be living in Uppercross; and
when he discovered that Lady Russell lived three miles off, his heart failed him,