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Chapter 7

  • While Admiral Croft was taking this walk with Anne, and expressing his wish o_etting Captain Wentworth to Bath, Captain Wentworth was already on his wa_hither. Before Mrs Croft had written, he was arrived, and the very next tim_nne walked out, she saw him.
  • Mr Elliot was attending his two cousins and Mrs Clay. They were in Milso_treet. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable fo_omen, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have th_dvantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple's carriage, which was see_aiting at a little distance; she, Anne, and Mrs Clay, therefore, turned int_olland's, while Mr Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request he_ssistance. He soon joined them again, successful, of course; Lady Dalrympl_ould be most happy to take them home, and would call for them in a fe_inutes.
  • Her ladyship's carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four wit_ny comfort. Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it was no_easonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden Place ladies.
  • There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot. Whoever suffered inconvenience, sh_ust suffer none, but it occupied a little time to settle the point o_ivility between the other two. The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was mos_incere in preferring a walk with Mr Elliot. But the rain was also a mer_rifle to Mrs Clay; she would hardly allow it even to drop at all, and he_oots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne's; and, in short, he_ivility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr Elliot a_nne could be, and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polit_nd so determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Mis_lliot maintaining that Mrs Clay had a little cold already, and Mr Ellio_eciding on appeal, that his cousin Anne's boots were rather the thickest.
  • It was fixed accordingly, that Mrs Clay should be of the party in th_arriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat near th_indow, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain Wentworth walkin_own the street.
  • Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that she wa_he greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and absurd! For _ew minutes she saw nothing before her; it was all confusion. She was lost,
  • and when she had scolded back her senses, she found the others still waitin_or the carriage, and Mr Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Unio_treet on a commission of Mrs Clay's.
  • She now felt a great inclination to go to the outer door; she wanted to see i_t rained. Why was she to suspect herself of another motive? Captain Wentwort_ust be out of sight. She left her seat, she would go; one half of her shoul_ot be always so much wiser than the other half, or always suspecting th_ther of being worse than it was. She would see if it rained. She was sen_ack, however, in a moment by the entrance of Captain Wentworth himself, amon_ party of gentlemen and ladies, evidently his acquaintance, and whom he mus_ave joined a little below Milsom Street. He was more obviously struck an_onfused by the sight of her than she had ever observed before; he looke_uite red. For the first time, since their renewed acquaintance, she felt tha_he was betraying the least sensibility of the two. She had the advantage o_im in the preparation of the last few moments. All the overpowering,
  • blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her.
  • Still, however, she had enough to feel! It was agitation, pain, pleasure, _omething between delight and misery.
  • He spoke to her, and then turned away. The character of his manner wa_mbarrassment. She could not have called it either cold or friendly, o_nything so certainly as embarrassed.
  • After a short interval, however, he came towards her, and spoke again. Mutua_nquiries on common subjects passed: neither of them, probably, much the wise_or what they heard, and Anne continuing fully sensible of his being less a_ase than formerly. They had by dint of being so very much together, got t_peak to each other with a considerable portion of apparent indifference an_almness; but he could not do it now. Time had changed him, or Louisa ha_hanged him. There was consciousness of some sort or other. He looked ver_ell, not as if he had been suffering in health or spirits, and he talked o_ppercross, of the Musgroves, nay, even of Louisa, and had even a momentar_ook of his own arch significance as he named her; but yet it was Captai_entworth not comfortable, not easy, not able to feign that he was.
  • It did not surprise, but it grieved Anne to observe that Elizabeth would no_now him. She saw that he saw Elizabeth, that Elizabeth saw him, that ther_as complete internal recognition on each side; she was convinced that he wa_eady to be acknowledged as an acquaintance, expecting it, and she had th_ain of seeing her sister turn away with unalterable coldness.
  • Lady Dalrymple's carriage, for which Miss Elliot was growing very impatient,
  • now drew up; the servant came in to announce it. It was beginning to rai_gain, and altogether there was a delay, and a bustle, and a talking, whic_ust make all the little crowd in the shop understand that Lady Dalrymple wa_alling to convey Miss Elliot. At last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattende_ut by the servant, (for there was no cousin returned), were walking off; an_aptain Wentworth, watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rathe_han words, was offering his services to her.
  • "I am much obliged to you," was her answer, "but I am not going with them. Th_arriage would not accommodate so many. I walk: I prefer walking."
  • "But it rains."
  • "Oh! very little, Nothing that I regard."
  • After a moment's pause he said: "Though I came only yesterday, I have equippe_yself properly for Bath already, you see," (pointing to a new umbrella); "_ish you would make use of it, if you are determined to walk; though I thin_t would be more prudent to let me get you a chair."
  • She was very much obliged to him, but declined it all, repeating he_onviction, that the rain would come to nothing at present, and adding, "I a_nly waiting for Mr Elliot. He will be here in a moment, I am sure."
  • She had hardly spoken the words when Mr Elliot walked in. Captain Wentwort_ecollected him perfectly. There was no difference between him and the man wh_ad stood on the steps at Lyme, admiring Anne as she passed, except in the ai_nd look and manner of the privileged relation and friend. He came in wit_agerness, appeared to see and think only of her, apologised for his stay, wa_rieved to have kept her waiting, and anxious to get her away without furthe_oss of time and before the rain increased; and in another moment they walke_ff together, her arm under his, a gentle and embarrassed glance, and a "Goo_orning to you!" being all that she had time for, as she passed away.
  • As soon as they were out of sight, the ladies of Captain Wentworth's part_egan talking of them.
  • "Mr Elliot does not dislike his cousin, I fancy?"
  • "Oh! no, that is clear enough. One can guess what will happen there. He i_lways with them; half lives in the family, I believe. What a very good-
  • looking man!"
  • "Yes, and Miss Atkinson, who dined with him once at the Wallises, says he i_he most agreeable man she ever was in company with."
  • "She is pretty, I think; Anne Elliot; very pretty, when one comes to look a_er. It is not the fashion to say so, but I confess I admire her more than he_ister."
  • "Oh! so do I."
  • "And so do I. No comparison. But the men are all wild after Miss Elliot. Ann_s too delicate for them."
  • Anne would have been particularly obliged to her cousin, if he would hav_alked by her side all the way to Camden Place, without saying a word. She ha_ever found it so difficult to listen to him, though nothing could exceed hi_olicitude and care, and though his subjects were principally such as wer_ont to be always interesting: praise, warm, just, and discriminating, of Lad_ussell, and insinuations highly rational against Mrs Clay. But just now sh_ould think only of Captain Wentworth. She could not understand his presen_eelings, whether he were really suffering much from disappointment or not;
  • and till that point were settled, she could not be quite herself.
  • She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas! she must confes_o herself that she was not wise yet.
  • Another circumstance very essential for her to know, was how long he meant t_e in Bath; he had not mentioned it, or she could not recollect it. He migh_e only passing through. But it was more probable that he should be come t_tay. In that case, so liable as every body was to meet every body in Bath,
  • Lady Russell would in all likelihood see him somewhere. Would she recollec_im? How would it all be?
  • She had already been obliged to tell Lady Russell that Louisa Musgrove was t_arry Captain Benwick. It had cost her something to encounter Lady Russell'_urprise; and now, if she were by any chance to be thrown into company wit_aptain Wentworth, her imperfect knowledge of the matter might add anothe_hade of prejudice against him.
  • The following morning Anne was out with her friend, and for the first hour, i_n incessant and fearful sort of watch for him in vain; but at last, i_eturning down Pulteney Street, she distinguished him on the right han_avement at such a distance as to have him in view the greater part of th_treet. There were many other men about him, many groups walking the same way,
  • but there was no mistaking him. She looked instinctively at Lady Russell; bu_ot from any mad idea of her recognising him so soon as she did herself. No,
  • it was not to be supposed that Lady Russell would perceive him till they wer_early opposite. She looked at her however, from time to time, anxiously; an_hen the moment approached which must point him out, though not daring to loo_gain (for her own countenance she knew was unfit to be seen), she was ye_erfectly conscious of Lady Russell's eyes being turned exactly in th_irection for him— of her being, in short, intently observing him. She coul_horoughly comprehend the sort of fascination he must possess over Lad_ussell's mind, the difficulty it must be for her to withdraw her eyes, th_stonishment she must be feeling that eight or nine years should have passe_ver him, and in foreign climes and in active service too, without robbing hi_f one personal grace!
  • At last, Lady Russell drew back her head. "Now, how would she speak of him?"
  • "You will wonder," said she, "what has been fixing my eye so long; but I wa_ooking after some window-curtains, which Lady Alicia and Mrs Frankland wer_elling me of last night. They described the drawing-room window-curtains o_ne of the houses on this side of the way, and this part of the street, a_eing the handsomest and best hung of any in Bath, but could not recollect th_xact number, and I have been trying to find out which it could be; but _onfess I can see no curtains hereabouts that answer their description."
  • Anne sighed and blushed and smiled, in pity and disdain, either at her frien_r herself. The part which provoked her most, was that in all this waste o_oresight and caution, she should have lost the right moment for seein_hether he saw them.
  • A day or two passed without producing anything. The theatre or the rooms,
  • where he was most likely to be, were not fashionable enough for the Elliots,
  • whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant stupidity of privat_arties, in which they were getting more and more engaged; and Anne, wearie_f such a state of stagnation, sick of knowing nothing, and fancying hersel_tronger because her strength was not tried, was quite impatient for th_oncert evening. It was a concert for the benefit of a person patronised b_ady Dalrymple. Of course they must attend. It was really expected to be _ood one, and Captain Wentworth was very fond of music. If she could only hav_ few minutes conversation with him again, she fancied she should b_atisfied; and as to the power of addressing him, she felt all over courage i_he opportunity occurred. Elizabeth had turned from him, Lady Russel_verlooked him; her nerves were strengthened by these circumstances; she fel_hat she owed him attention.
  • She had once partly promised Mrs Smith to spend the evening with her; but in _hort hurried call she excused herself and put it off, with the more decide_romise of a longer visit on the morrow. Mrs Smith gave a most good-humoure_cquiescence.
  • "By all means," said she; "only tell me all about it, when you do come. Who i_our party?"
  • Anne named them all. Mrs Smith made no reply; but when she was leaving he_aid, and with an expression half serious, half arch, "Well, I heartily wis_our concert may answer; and do not fail me to-morrow if you can come; for _egin to have a foreboding that I may not have many more visits from you."
  • Anne was startled and confused; but after standing in a moment's suspense, wa_bliged, and not sorry to be obliged, to hurry away.