Persuasion 200: An engagement, and two hearts, broken — 19 Comments

  1. Oh dear, these excerpts are so painful to read. I am sure they were equally emotionally hard to write!

    You capture their reactions so well, I have an ache in my throat as I am reading! Poor Anne, poor Wentworth. Sigh…

  2. Beautifully written. Both Wentworth’s & Anne’s pain are palpable. I wanted to cry with Anne. Glad Wentworth calmed down amd had pity on the horse after he was blinded anger, when trying to escape from the pain. This shoes how affected he was. Thank you for such emotional excerpt on both their sides.

  3. A difficult two scenes to write, I imagine. You wrote of their respective sorrows quite realistically. Looking forward to more…

    • Thanks Leslie! I tried to go by Captain Wentworth’s description of his feelings, which he tells us later in the book. Anne’s temperament is more to suffer in silence, but I’m sure that she was not with feeling!

  4. What a difficult scene — it’s such a painful moment. No wonder Jane Austen preferred to present these scenes in retrospect. Imagine how many years it will be before they finally get together again. Nicely written C.Allyn!

  5. Thanks Monica! It’s painful, but I enjoy the breadth of events we can imagine in our retelling…Persuasion has far more back story than any other of Austen’s books!

  6. The two scenes you depicted are so poignant and touching, Carey. It puts things into perspective on how Anne react to the hurt she caused to dear Frederick and how he tried to vent his anger and frustration by slighting her character but came to realise it is unfair of him. Great job!

  7. You’ve really captured their misery well — and this is just the first day of their long separation! So painful, and so sad. To think they’ll be pondering this breakup, and all the reasons behind it, for years to come before they meet each other again. I was also struck by how Anne realized she wouldn’t get any sympathy from her family. It’s not even that they’d be happy that she came around to agreeing with her family and doing as they recommend; they would just dismiss how she felt about losing Frederick and wouldn’t be able to sympathize or comfort her.

  8. Outside it is grey, foggy, cold (4 C), and raining….an appropriate backdrop for reading this story, I should think. It is so sad. I do feel badly for Anne, but I have to say I am still much more sympathetic toward Wentworth….it was, after all, her decision. I know she was influenced by others whom she looked up to, but still, I agree with Wentworth when he says (thinks) “she had not had the strength to overcome the snobbish views of her family and friends and marry the man she said that she loved.”

    Thanks for this beautifully sad portrayal of their emotions.

  9. I agree, Eileen, that Wentworth was put in a difficult position, but the book doesn’t tell us how she turned him down…we have chosen to indicate that she is too young and he is not far enough along in his career- we don’t really know how Anne worded her rejection, but if she indicated anything of this, then Wentworth should have realized that when he was established in his career and she was older and had seem more of life and society her family might not have been against the marriage- we find out at the end of Persuasion that if he had come back and asked her again after he was made captain she would have accepted him- he kicks himself for allowing his pride to prevent all those years of happiness. It would be difficult to leave and show up again, hat in hand, and ask her again, but if he had not been so angry with her he might have realized that she did love him and that turning him down at age 19 was not necessarily the wrong thing. Maturity was required for both of them to find happiness.

  10. What beautiful writing! We all knew that the tales telling this part of the story would be heart-wrenching but you’ve done this so well. They both feel anguish at Anne’s decision and the way it’s expressed here, in their different ways, definitely brings a lump to the throat.

    I can’t add anything else that others haven’t already said above, except to ask this. Will the point mentioned by C. Allyn about Frederick considering coming back after being made Captain be part of these tales? I do hope so, even thought it’s a whole load more angst.

  11. Another beautifully written , though heart-breakingly sad installment. Poor Anne left to suffer alone, no sympathy, no shoulder to cry on…years of unhappiness ahead. While Wentworth, angry and dejected, still sees Anne’s worth but considers her weak for ending the engagement. If only they had communicated better,she only wanted to wait awhile, but his wounded ego only heard her ending the engagement. They may have found happiness much sooner.

  12. You have written this so well. Wentworth’s pain and anger and Anne’s suffering over giving him up. I wonder while he is at sea, that he does not look back and kick himself for not seeing Anne’s position a little more clearly.

  13. Anji: We certainly should include that, since he says that he considered it when he tells all at the end of the book!

  14. And I keep thinking about how she spoke to Capt. Harville in Bath, “We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.” All those years Anne will suffer, her only relief what she reads in the news or Naval lists about him. Also Anne said to Harville and how we may think Wentworth was occupied – “you are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impression.

    Well written even if it leaves me despondent.

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