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Persuasion 200: The Initial Proposal — 34 Comments

  1. Beautiful, Shannon.

    I think you have captured the youthful Anne perfectly, and in his eloquence you can detect the man who will one day pen the most romantic letter of all time!

    It is such a bitter sweet moment and you wrote it with such lovely description, I felt as though I was there with them.

    • High praise, Cassandra. Thank you! I’m so glad you feel I did the characters and situation justice. In the next scene I write, I have to bust the lovers up again. 🙁 Knowing that is what adds the bitter to the sweet of this moment.

  2. Sigh. So very romantic! How could young Anne have yielded to persuasion and given him up? Really well written and so sad that they wasted so many years when they could have been together.

    • “For the locusts have eaten them and nothing can bring them back…”
      That’s a line from my book about the lost years. Yes, so sad. We just have to trust that the joy, once they are reunited, will make up for all the rest. Thanks for your comment, Monica!

  3. Beautifully written Shannon. I felt like I was eavesdropping on the pair. How could Anne allow Lady Russel to sway her? Yes, because her mother told her to listen to her,,,,but still? I am interested in (definitely can’ say looking forward to) hearing how she persuaded Anne. So many wasted years, as Monica said. How said. but, this is a love that stands the test of time.

    Well done and many thanks, 🙂

    • It’s like when I used to watch Law and Order (strange comparison, but bear with me). After the prosecution presented its case, I was ready to pronounce sentence. But then the defense came up, and they were just as convincing (or should I say “persuasive”). Then I wasn’t sure what the right decision was anymore. Anne has the same dilemma. On the one hand she has Cpt. W. and her love for him saying “get married.” On the other, she has a trusted friend, duty to family, and logic saying “don’t” or at least “wait,” until she doesn’t know which is the right thing to do. At least we know they end up together and happy. Thanks for reading, Deborah!

  4. Anne must have lost her mind if she could reject him after that. It was beautiful, romantic, and affected me immensely. I was sitting here yelling “Say yes!” At five in the morning no less. The beauty of this scene makes her subsequent rejection seem inconceivable. Of course we must allow for the times, when daughters did listen to, and obey their parents, no matter what. This scene was especially good too, because aside from the kisses, this sounded and felt very much like Austen. I will hate it when Sir Walter and Lady Russell interfere, and persuade her not to follow her heart. Lady Russell always comes across as a toffee nosed, interfering busybody, and Sir Walter is always just an idiot. He was a comical figure, and a total metrosexual, but his vanity is what was unforgivable. Because of it, he frequently slighted Anne, and he made stupid and/or silly decisions. Until the next chapter, and beyond that, I will treasure this lovely imagining of Anne’s proposal. It fits the characters like a glove. Excellent, beautiful job.

    • Thanks so much, Mari, and I think you’re right. It’s difficult for us, living in the culture we do, to imagine a young woman (although Anne was only 19 at this point) giving in to the influence of her elders, especially when her father wasn’t someone she really respected. Lady Russell she did respect and love. In the novel, you’ll see Anne maintains the friendship and never blames LR for the advice that cost her so much.

  5. I’m in love with Wentworth! You’ve done a lovely job of presenting him as a strong but gentle man who loves Anne deeply. I loved how he asked Anne to trust him and how he described himself as not only resourceful and hard working but also as lucky. He believes in himself and his power to achieve his goals. Thanks for this.

    • I’m delighted that you liked it, Susan! As you know, it was an intimidating segment to write – so wanted to do justice to the characters and to this defining moment.

  6. So lovely and so sad, knowing what is to come. You did a superb job, Shannon! (And your comment above made me think about when I was on jury duty and the same thing happened. I found the prosecutors very persuasive and then the defense attorney just as convincing. How do I weigh which one has greater merit?)

    • Very true, Kara. I think that’s one of the more difficult aspects of life – making decisions when there isn’t a clear distinction between right and wrong, or even better and best. We don’t know until later, or never, if we’ve made the right decision. We don’t really even know that Anne made the wrong decision here, because we cannot see what would have happened if she had gone through with the marriage at this point. It might have been a disaster, just as Lady Russell predicted!

  7. Lovely and well written, Shannon. I love it very much. It’s unfortunate that Lady Russell’s advice took precedence and she has to break the engagement off. Thanks for sharing this very beautiful proposal scene.

  8. Oh, I have tears in my eyes. Poignant moment – and in knowing what is to come…immediately after and in the future. But this was so romantic! What a proposal should be (Darcy!). Wentworth has faith in himself and his future and wants her to share it! But only remember the past as it gives you pleasure is to be their motto in the end!

    • Thanks, Sheila! I’m glad you thing I did the proposal justice. We’re kind of an insiders’ club, aren’t we? – knowing what awaits the young couple before they know it themselves. That’s why we can’t quite begin to be happy for them… not yet anyway!

  9. A sweet and beautifully written chapter…
    brought a smile to my face all day…
    heartbreaking when you think of what is to come.
    Am interested to see how Lady Russell is written..
    I’ve never much like the character…will she be a
    true villain or just over protective???

    • I don’t know, Stephanie. I don’t get to write that one, although I did have fun with the comparable scene for my own book. We’re trying to be true to the original novel with P200, but everybody’s interpretation is a little different. I see Lady Russell as truly caring for Anne and for her happiness. She just can’t imagine Captain Wentworth, in his current circumstances, being able to provide what she thinks Anne needs.

  10. Such a lovely moment of true happiness for them both! (kicks Lady Russell for not letting them have a long engagement…. and what did Lady Russell do about finding Anne another suitor? Nada!)

    • You’re right, June, at least as far as we know. We’re told that no second attachment came along and that LR would have been happy to see Anne marry Charles Musgrove a few years later. That’s it. Of course, her ideal match or Anne would have been William Walter Elliot, and what a disaster that would have been!

  11. Lady Russell is blamed by Louisa Musgrove as the reason Anne did NOT accept her brother’s proposal as Louisa and Capt. Wentworth walk and talk while gathering nuts & waiting for Charles and Henrietta to return from visiting the Heyter’s during the long walk everyone took together. Anne is sitting behind some hedges and overhears the discussion without their knowledge. Capt. Wentworth is surprised that Anne had another proposal and questions Louisa about it.

    “They think it was her great friend Lady Russell’s doing, that she did not. – They think Charles might not be learned and bookish enough to please Lady Russel, and that therefore, she persuaded Anne to refuse him.”

    • Very true, Sheila, except that was only their assumption. The real reason Anne turned Charles down, as we know, is that she is already in love with somebody else! Actually, Captain Wentworth takes encouragement from hearing that Anne has already turned down a very eligible match (perhaps for him? he wonders). As for Lady Russell’s true sentiments, I’ll refer you to chapter 4, where it says,

      “Lady Russell had lamented her refusal; for Charles Musgrove was the eldest son of a man, whose landed property and general importance, were second, in that country, only to Sir Walter’s, and of good character and appearance; and however Lady Russell might have asked yet for something more, while Anne was nineteen, she would have rejoiced to see her at twenty-two, so respectably removed from the partialities and injustice of her father’s house, and settled so permanently near herself.”

  12. Sublime…yes, Darcy could have learned from Captain Wentworth! At least Anne has this ‘moment’ to savour for a long, long time…Can’t imagine the agony Anne will go through when she is confronted by Lady Russell and her heartbreaking decision to end their engagement.

    • I know, Carole. This is grueling, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why JA quickly skipped over these events to pick up the story much later – so that her readers wouldn’t have to suffer so much and so long. Haha! At least we have the advantage over Anne of know it will all finally come out right in the end. 😀

  13. Beautifully written! And Darcy definitely could learn a thing or two about proposing properly! I’m glad JA skipped the sad intervening years as I feel it would have made the story too sad (I remember it being very slow going to get through the initial chapters of Persuasion the first time I read it, but loved it once Wentworth came back). I’m glad we know it all comes out right in the end but I’m curious to see what fresh perspectives we find from all of you as this progresses. I wonder if we’ll have any other fantastic side stories like Charlotte’s tale in P&P200.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Megan, and thanks for your comments! As for what will come out of this P200 project, it’s only limited by the imagination, and you know there’s a lot of imagination represented in this group of authors! Stay tuned.

  14. I’m very late in commenting, but wanted to add my praise to your chapter, it’s so well-written and touching. I think it’s hard to imagine that you would give up true love under the advisement of your parents/parental figures – but as you said, at 19, she wasn’t all that worldly and sophisticated and in theory, her parental figures had her best interests at heart — how would she know better? And even if she at any time thought she and Frederick would eventually get back together, she probably couldn’t have imagined it would have taken 8 years!

    • I’m glad you came to the party, Kathy, and thanks for your comments! I’m glad you enjoyed this chapter. I’ll have some others coming up soon. I’ve always believed Anne decided to break off the engagement hoping it would be only a postponement of their plans, not a permanent separation. When Cpt. W. was in a better position to take a wife, they could go ahead with their detractors’ objections silenced. The problem was Wentworth was too proud to come back and try her again (as they discuss at the end of the novel). That’s the real tragedy!

  15. Finally getting to read this post…life is in a busy phase at present. What can I say about your story that has not already been said? It was sweet, romantic, and sad, so sad, for those of us who know what is to come. Thank you.

    • Life is challenging, isn’t it? Sometimes more than others. Aren’t we glad we have delightful diversions like Jane Austen? Thanks for fitting us into your busy life, Eileen!

  16. Pingback: The Regency Interpreter looks at Jane Austen's Persuasion, part 1 - Random Bits of Fascination

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