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Persuasion 200: Lady Russell and Anne Consult on Retrenchment by Maria Grace — 28 Comments

  1. Well, I like to hear about Lady Russell offering to help poor Anne. It’s high time her father listen to reason and since he does not listen to his middle daughter, then Lady Russell is the next best candidate to present the idea of retrenching to Bath. I hope they involve Shepherd as well to support this scheme as he is the man in charge of Sir Walter’s financial management. Thanks for sharing this well-written story, Maria.

    • I think the idea coming from Lady Russell, since she is a ‘Lady’ has a little more weight than coming from ‘just Anne.’
      Thanks Luthien!

  2. Thank you for this scene Maria. We now know how Lady Russell gets involved in a family matter that she really shouldn’t be involved in. I, too agree with Luthien84, that Shepherd needs to be involved. He will truly be the only one Sir Walter will listen to. Not lowly Anne or nosy Lady Russell (Sir Walter’s thoughts). I so feel for Anne. All falls on her shoulders and they don’t listen to her. The only one in that household with a head on her shoulders.

    I like how Lady Russel , again, feels “a twinge of guilt” over Wentworth & how she does notice Anne has no joy in her smile since then…about 8 yrs ago now? I also like how Lady arussel is only helping due to her love for her “dear, dear friend and only deserving daughter” (emphasis on only). Again, the only reason for her involvement.

    A wonderful look into Last Russel’s involvement and you have made us feel even more for Anne’s distress and dislike Sir Walter more. That merchants should be happy to serve him…not be paid…Anne is down to earth ans understands people need to be paid. I love how you get us so emotionally involved in the characters you write. Thank you. Well done.

    • Thanks, Deborah. I’m really not sure about Mr. Shepard though. He is middle class, therefore, not likely to have much sway with a Baronet. There also hints that he’s rather a blackguard himself, considering the way he places his daughter to be Sir Walter’s mistress. I’m not thinking he’s going to be much help here…

      I’m glad you’re liking Lady Russell. I do feel rather sorry for her as her intentions are very good, but not correctly predicting Wentworth’s success leaves her rather a villain to most.

  3. Really enjoyed reading about Sir Walter’s calamitous disregard for the seriousness of their situations. I agree with Luthien and Deborah’s comments that Lady Russell’s a bit too inclined to run the life of others, but you can understand here that she does it out of concern. Poor Anne, what a heavy burden to shoulder.

  4. It’s about time Lady Russell did something constructive for Anne. But again…how things look and the impropriety of Sir Walter’s situation seem to have been the final impetus for Lady Russell. All for Anne but not always the best timing. Did Lady Russell not see this problem coming before it was to the threat of debtor’s prison? Still can’t like Lady Russell. Was a wonderful scene and really showed Anne’s quiet desperation and the concern for Anne that Lady Russell has. Thanks Maria.

    • I think she saw the problem coming, but was hesitant to step into something that really wasn’t her business. Sir Walter is a pretty touchy fellow and dealing with him would require a great deal of wherewithal. Then there’s the rather upside down business of her advice about Wentworth…I think she wants to tread pretty carefully now.

      Thanks Maggie!

  5. Lady Russell seems blinded to the ways Anne is mistreated by her father and sisters. Seems Lady Russell should have tried helping Anne find happiness with Captain Wentworth instead of advising Anne differently.

    • I know it is hard to forgive her for interfering, but I think, considering the period realities, she had good reasons for what she said and did. thanks, Barbara!

  6. This is a painful discussion! I really loved this, Grace, even though it’s a dreadful situation. I think it entirely appropriate for Lady Russell to force herself to act for Anne’s sake. I liked her brief ‘almost regret’ over Captain Wentworth too.

    Poor Anne, what an awful time it must have been. It is all touched upon so lightly in the novel, isn’t it, and this really brings home the reality (along with Diana’s post – they make a good companion piece for each other!) of just how dire the situation is.

    Every time I prepare to read a new scene for this story, I don’t think I can dislike Sir Walter and his unpleasant daughter any more than I do already – but I continue to be proven wrong!

  7. It has all been stated by others. No surprises in this depiction but wouldn’t you have liked to have been a fly on the wall and witness the confrontation at Bond’s. (Except for seeing Anne’s embarrassment.) I am sure Elizabitch would not have been embarrassed! Well written and are we to address you as Maria, Grace or Maria Grace? I have noticed various titles.

    • It would have really been interesting to hear that conversation, wouldn’t it?

      Since you asked, in real life, I go by Grace since Maria is my mother’s name. But I answer to about anything these days, including ‘hey you’ and mom. LO

      Thanks, Sheila!

  8. Often wonder why it took so long for someone to approach Sir Walter, Anne had been trying her best, but those two took little notice of Anne an definitely didn’t want to hear her view on economy. But Lady Russell had been intimately involved since Lady Elliot “handled” Sir Walter, and should have stepped in sooner. As for Mr Sheppard, little chance Sir Walter paid him much heed anyway and have wondered if he was siphoning a little off the top for himself. SirWalter would never have noticed I sure.

  9. Is “retrench” a particularly regency-era euphemism for “be thrifty?” I don’t remember if I recall reading that word in Persuasion (though I haven’t read it in a while). So frustrating for Anne – her life is really depressing, what with her careless family, and she still tries to be a good person. It is amazing she hadn’t given up on them, but I suppose she didn’t have very many options.

    • Yes, ‘retrench’ is used a few times in Persuasion; I always felt it did mean some form of thriftiness by cutting back on expenses?

  10. A very charming scene you have painted for us, Maria Grace. Thank you.
    I don’t want to seem sanctimonious, but this passage opened my eyes to something. Have those of you making negative comments on Sir Walter & Elizabeth thought about how human their failings are? Jane Austen’s characters are real to us because we know real people who are like that. I don’t happen to be knee-deep in unpaid bills & I don’t berate my relatives, but these are common enough faults. Austen could just as easily have given the Elliott my own weaknesses. Realizing that makes it hard for me to ask, “Why don’t they just stop buying things? Why don’t they see what a treasure Anne is?” Because I could just as easily ask myself, “Why did you buy a passion fruit bombe today after weighing yourself this morning & seeing your weight is up two pounds?”
    There but for the grace of God go I.

    • I think that was one of the brilliant aspects of Jane Austen’s works. She created characters whose humanity and failings are truly timeless. Thanks Beatrice!

  11. I am typing on/fighting this new tablet that keeps dropping letters or else auto-correcting my words. I see in my previous comment my email address is missing two letters.
    Anyway, I feel Lady Russell deserves to be forgiven for her error in judgment re Wentworth, no matter how much it blighted two lives. As Elizabeth Bennet tells us in P&P, “Remember the past only as it gives you pleasure.” [The first time I typed that, auto-correct changed it to “Dismember the act inky as it gives you pleasure..”]

  12. I was glad to see that Lady Russell had a twinge of regret for underestimating Wentworth. Do you think she might have considered matchmaking Anne with some widower in Bath?

    Thank you for the post, and for giving Anne someone to speak with!

  13. I too am glad Lady Russell felt a twinge of guilt over Wentworth. As for her meddling into the Elliott’s retrenching, I think is appropriate as Anne is not listened to and she does care for her. Coming from a close friend and ‘Lady’, Sir Walter may listen (as we know he does). Thank you Maria!

  14. I can hardly imagine Lady Russell, as a good friend and mother figure not having a bit of regret over Wentworth, even if she believed and still believes her advice was sound. Thanks, Carole!

  15. Pingback: Persuasion 200: Lady Russell Hints about Dangers of Mrs. Clay - Random Bits of Fascination

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