Several years ago, I wrote a sequel to PERSUASION that was posted online under the title THE UNEXPECTED PASSENGER. That story has been taken down and will be revised under the new title PERSUADED TO SAIL. I will publish it someday, but I’ve got CRESCENT CITY coming out this summer, and that’s taking up all my time.
This post, and the two that follow, are taken directly from PERSUADED TO SAIL. So, you’re getting a preview. Some notes:
- PERSUADED TO SAIL is intended as a companion piece to THE THREE COLONELS, as it takes place during the Hundred Days Crisis. So, I refer to Napoleon’s escape from Elba, and I have Captain Wentworth recalled to service.
- This offering is in three posts because of its length. Links will be offered at the end of each post.
- That’s right, for the next three days, I’m taking over Austen Variations! Bruhahaha!
March 10, 1815
“Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” recited the Reverend Edward Wentworth. “Forasmuch as Frederick and Anne have consented together in Holy Wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a Ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce that they be Man and Wife together, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
The bride and groom gave each other a smile while the service proceeded to Holy Communion. The congregation invited to witness this celebration was modest, about a score in number, so it was but a short time before the couple receded down the aisle. The bride, Anne Elliot Wentworth, was dressed in a lovely light blue gown, while the gentleman, Frederick Wentworth, was dashing in the full-dress uniform of a Post-Captain.
Following, limping on his bad leg and winking at his wife, was Captain Timothy Harville, a half-pay Post-Captain from Lyme. The two had become fast friends sailing together around the world before Harville’s injury. Harville and his wife were overjoyed with Frederick’s happiness and held Anne in high esteem.
Harville walked with Mrs. Smith clutching his arm. As Wentworth predicted, she was able to do her duty as witness for Anne. She was overjoyed to be so honored and was determined to make it down the aisle without the use of her wheel-chair.
Mrs. Smith’s glowing countenance was a stark counterpoint to the jealous anger which graced the face of Miss Elizabeth Elliot. The lady was incensed that Anne had married at all. It was insupportable that her younger sister would do so before the eldest was wed. Society would laugh at them! But her complaints fell on deaf ears. Anne would not relent, Lady Russell opposed her arguments, and Captain Wentworth offended her sensibilities. Her face still burned from the dressing down she received from that man.
Surely, all of Bath was chattering about this degradation. It was an insult to the name of Elliot! The only reason Elizabeth attended this farce was to prevent the gossip from reaching epic proportions.
Deep in her wounded soul, Elizabeth Elliot was despondent. Both her younger sisters had caught husbands and she had not. The Musgroves were nobodies, but Wentworth was a hero to the nation. The thought that Anne might enjoy a level of society far above that which Elizabeth occupied frightened her.
There was nothing to ease her dismay. Abandoned by Mr. William Elliot and betrayed by Mrs. Clay, she had neither beaux nor friend. Time was running out, and unless a man worthy of a baronet’s daughter appeared very soon, Elizabeth would be forever consigned to the spinsters’ shelf.
Within moments, the procession reached the door of the chapel and stepped into the bright March morning. To Wentworth’s eye, Bath had never looked more agreeable. He understood Anne’s desire not to be married from Kellynch Hall. To return to their ancestral estate as guests would be painful for her family. As for Wentworth, all he wanted was Anne—the location was meaningless.
The small group of well-wishers waved as the two climbed into the carriage that was to carry them to the Wedding Breakfast. Captain James Benwick slammed the door and cried, “Drive on!” The carriage got underway in a lurch.
Wentworth busily arranged himself on the seat—a sword could be an awkward business in a small coach—when he glanced over at Anne. Her intense look alarmed her husband.
“Anne, my own, what is amiss? Are you well?” he asked.
“Perfectly well, Frederick, I assure you.”
Hearing Anne’s sweet voice utter his Christian name sent a jolt of joy through his soul. “I am glad to hear it, but you have the most serious expression! Has something displeased you?”
“Nothing at all. Oh, Frederick, at last!” With that she threw herself into his arms and kissed him senseless.
At first the Captain was shocked into immobility, but a moment later he rallied and returned her passion. Finally the two came up for air.
Anne whispered, “How long must we remain at breakfast, Frederick?”
“Not a moment longer than necessary, my love.”
She sighed and leaned into his shoulder, and Wentworth reflected that marriage promised to be more pleasant than he expected.
The wedding breakfast begins HERE.
Want to refresh your memory with Jane’s Austen’s original work? Read Persuasion on Austen variations HERE.