Louisa and Henrietta have spent the evening with Captain Wentworth at a family dinner…
Louisa slowly brushed her hair out, the sugar-water her maid had applied to keep her unruly curls under control providing a battle, as it did every evening. When she finally finished deconstructing her ringlets and braided her hair for bed, Henrietta, blessed with beautiful waves that would curl or smooth whenever and wherever she wanted it to, was already in bed with the quilt pulled up to her shoulders.
“Do hurry, Lou, I’m freezing to death! I pity poor Captain Wentworth having to ride all the way back to Kellynch in this dreadful wind!”
Louisa considered this statement, the said slyly, “So what do you think of the handsome Captain, Hen?” Her sister immediately chimed in with a sigh, “I think him prodigiously handsome! Do not you?”
“I suppose,” Louisa said coolly. “he is handsome…it is a shame, however, that he is so tanned. One might think that he was a farmer with that rather weather-beaten complexion…but then I suppose one cannot help that when out on the sea.”
Henrietta looked at her with narrowed eyes. “Do not try to pull the wool over my eyes, my dear sister. You were practically drooling over the sleeve of his lovely coat during dinner. You need not think you can convince me that you are not interested in the captain and his prize money!”
After a pause, during which the two girls glared at each other, Louisa finally shrugged. “You are right Hen…you can’t blame a girl for trying.” She suddenly grinned at her sister. “Besides, you are practically engaged already…or have you forgotten our cousin Hayter?” She made a wickedly questioning face, with eyebrows almost to her hairline. Henrietta could never resist that silly face, which Louisa had perfected during their childhood. It could convey numerous feelings, but their parents had never seen it. Louisa knew better than to twist her face around in the presence of their doting parents. “Not lady-like Louisa dear!” “You must not make faces like that my dear or your face will freeze in that expression…and what man will want a wife with such a devilish face?” They both flung themselves over on the bed in a tumble to nightgowns and braids and laughed heartily.
After a few minutes, Louisa wiped her streaming eyes and looked into her sister’s face. “What do you really think of the captain, Hen?”
“Truthfully? I think he is delightful! Well-bred, but manly. Handsome, but not pretty. I am amazed that he is not married, but I suppose that he has had few chances to meet young ladies during the war. And you?”
Louisa closed her eyes, picturing Captain Wentworth. “Mmmm. I think he is a lovely man. I wondered how I could ever meet a decent gentleman in Uppercross…there are few enough eligible men out here in the country.” The two girls looked appraisingly at each other for a long moment.
“Do you think Captain Wentworth will come to Uppercross tomorrow?” Louisa finally asked.
“I think it likely,” Henrietta responded. “He was talking to Charles about hunting when the ladies withdrew after dinner. I know Charles is planning to hunt tomorrow, so he will almost certainly ask the captain to come.”
“Perhaps we could go with them,” Louisa said, “we could just walk along with them while they hunt…or maybe we could talk them into going for a walk.” Henrietta bounced once on the bed.
“Yes! Let us see if we could do that…do you think we must ask Mary and Anne to join us?” Henrietta grimaced. “I suppose we must…or, perhaps we could stop by the Cottage and say hello briefly before we go on our walk. If we don’t stop for more than a few minutes we can get away.”
Louisa paused a moment, then nodded. “Yes, I think that might work.”
Want to refresh your memory with Jane’s Austen’s original work? Read Persuasion on Austen variations HERE.