Towards the end of “Persuasion,” Capt. Wentworth talks to Anne, telling her that when he realized the expectations others had regarding him and Louisa, he determined to leave Lyme, and subsequently Kellynch, to visit his brother, Edward. He hoped that his absence would diminish any feelings of attachment Louisa may have had towards him or speculations that others had. He tells Anne, “I was six weeks with Edward,” said he, “and saw him happy. I could have no other pleasure. I deserved none. He inquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eye you could never alter.”
Be sure to vote for the new Persuasion soap being made by Evie Cotton at the end of this missing scene! See instructions below to make sure you are entered in the giveaway.
Frederick and Edward dismounted their horses, laughing as they did. Frederick could not remember the last time he had laughed so hard his sides hurt.
They had raced, jumped stiles, leapt over streams, attempting to outdo the other, as they had done their entire life. Each had his share of victories over the other this mild winter day.
A stable boy came for the horses, and then Edward slapped his brother on the back.
“I am so glad you decided to stay.”
Frederick nodded. “My one week has turned into what, five weeks now?”
“It matters not. It has been far too long that we have had the time to truly enjoy each other’s company.”
Frederick cocked his head. “But what of Elise? Might she be tiring of my company?”
“On the contrary, she has truly enjoyed having you here.” Edward gave him a pointed look. “But have you enjoyed your stay? You are not merely staying on to avoid a certain lady, are you?”
Frederick felt his insides tighten at the mere hint of Anne. He looked down. “Or two ladies perhaps.”
Edward gave an affirmative nod of his head.
“I needed someone to whom I could talk and unload my burdens, and you have been a trusted listening ear. Thank you for allowing me to rant and rave without you giving me any advice or criticism.”
“You know you can always come and talk.” Edward pointed towards the house “Ah, Elise is coming.”
“It is about time you two returned!” Elise held a letter in her hand and extended it towards her husband. “It is from your sister and is addressed to the two of you.” She handed it to Edward and leaned over to kiss his cheek. “She most likely wonders what we have done with Frederick.”
“She was always like a mother to us, was she not? Always worrying.” Edward put his arm about Elise and drew her close. “Let us go in and see what she has to say.”
Frederick smiled at the evident love the two had for one another. He had noticed in the weeks he had been here how affectionate his brother and wife were with each other. Every kiss and embrace he witnessed caused an ache and yearning in the depths of him. Yes, he wished to marry. But the only person he could imagine being married to was Anne. The mere thought of her caused the pain to almost swallow him up.
Elise had some tea brought in to the drawing room as they sat down to see what news Sophie’s letter brought. Edward tore it open and began to read.
My dearest brothers,
I hope this letter finds the two of you still in each other’s company, as I suppose Frederick has not seen fit to depart. If he has, he shall have to answer to me, for he did not apprise me of his next destination.
We had a nice, quiet Christmas. We stayed at Kellynch to enjoy the peace and quiet by ourselves. Occasionally we get news from Uppercross, but recently we have seen very little of anyone in that household.
This is likely due to Miss Anne’s departure with Lady Russell to Bath, where she joined her family. Of all the people in the neighbourhood, we enjoyed her company the most. She is such a warm, caring young lady, and made us feel so welcomed. Such a position she was put in, but she handled it – and us – admirably.
Frederick listened with his hands clasped and his head down. When his brother paused, he knew he was looking at him. He drew in a breath and looked up. “I am well. Continue reading.”
Very softly he asked, “You said she did not know about Anne?”
Frederick fervently shook his head. “Heavens, no! What conspiring plans she would have concocted!” His mouth twisted and he drew in a long breath.
“Perhaps if you had, you would at least know for a certainty how Anne felt about you.”
Wentworth’s gaze dropped to his hand as he tapped the arm of the chair. “And I certainly would not have made such a fool of myself with Miss Louisa Musgrove.” He shook his head somberly. “I enjoyed the attention of both sisters and encouraged it solely to convince Anne that I was worthy of a woman’s attention.”
“Or make her jealous?”
“Initially, yes. I still felt anger when I first saw her, but I quickly felt the same love I had for her eight years ago take hold.” He looked up at his brother. “Again, I thank you for letting me talk to you about all that has occurred.”
“I am glad you felt the freedom to do so. I only wish…” His voice trailed off.
“Yes. I know.” Frederick nodded at the letter, encouraging his brother to continue.
With the cold of winter settling in, our exploration of the countryside has lessened. We received a light dusting of snow, making the scenery quite pretty. We spend a good deal of the day in the sitting room by the blazing fire. It is quite pleasant.
The Admiral has unfortunately been experiencing more and more discomfort from his gout. That is the only thing that has dampened our holiday spirits. We are hoping he finds relief soon.
I hope this letter finds you both well. Give our love to Elise.
And Frederick, please keep us informed of your plans.
Edward looked up at Frederick. “You had best find a wife soon, or you will never escape her mothering.” He chuckled softly, but then stopped when he saw his brother’s face. “Did you find that Anne changed much in the eight years you were apart?”
Frederick clenched his jaw and then rubbed it. “At first, I thought I noticed a difference; that perhaps she had lost a little of her bloom, but…” He looked up slowly.
“What is it?”
“No. She had not altered. She was – and is – very much the same woman I fell in love with.”
Later that evening, Frederick decided to write to his sister. He told her how good it has been to be with Edward and his wife and his stay extended longer than he had planned.
He could not yet return to Kellynch until he was certain to be free from Louisa and the stirrings of speculation about the two of them. It mattered not, as Anne was no longer there.
He put the pen down and leaned his head back on the chair. He wished so much to see Anne, but now that she was in Bath there was little chance of that.
Bath! The perfect place to go for someone with gout! If he could get his sister and her husband to go to Bath, he could visit them and possibly see Anne again – and without the Musgrove sisters to deal with!
He put his pen to the paper again.
Sophie, I just had a thought. Have you considered going to Bath? If you were to go there for a few weeks, the Admiral might begin to improve. It is only a suggestion. Once you are there, you could meet Sir Walter Elliot and his eldest daughter. I am sure they would be pleased to meet you.
He could not be certain about his last sentiment, but he might as well hope that would be the case. He finished the letter with a few more sentences, and then signed it. He would not promise them that he would join them in Bath if they took his advice and went. But at the moment, he felt very inclined to do so. It may not result in what he hoped, but he would at least be more than willing to give it a try.
New Soap to Honor Persuasion 200 – First Vote!
With each Persuasion 200 post during January, we’ll be asking fans to vote on one aspect of the special handmade soap that Evie Cotton (owner, Shirley’s Handicrafts) will be making to honor the Persuasion 200 project. (See our January 2nd post for more info about this contest and Evie and her soap making business.) As part of “Jane in January,” we’ll be giving away two bars of this special soap at the end of the month (US only). You can enter to win the soap by using Rafflecopter, which you’ll find included on most days this month with the “Jane in January” logo. Click here to go to one of the dates, log in, and then click that you commented.
The first vote is to decide which character the soap will be named for. We’ve picked characters whose personalities will inspire some fun but very different choices for the soap.
- Anne Elliot – the quiet heroine of Persuasion
- Captain Wentworth – the dashing naval officer who is still in love with Anne
- Mary Musgrove – Anne’s hypochondriac sister, married to Charles Musgrove
- Sir Walter Elliot – Anne’s self-centered father who is incredibly concerned about appearances
The poll is open until midnight today and results will be posted on the Austen Variations Facebook page on Friday. Visit us again on January 13th when you’ll be able to vote on the type of soap. The outcome of the voting today will determine the possible choices. Don’t miss your chance to vote!
Want to refresh your memory with Jane’s Austen’s original work? Read Persuasion on Austen variations HERE.