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Persuasion 200: The Wreck of the Asp, by Jack Caldwell — 27 Comments

  1. Wow, I really liked this — thank you for this great background of Wentworth’s distinguished naval career. I’ve taken for granted from Persuasion that he had a career worth noting at all, but is so much better to read about actual exploits, his bravery and loyalty, and the respect he gained. When Anne finally comes around she will also learn she has a lot to be proud of, in her new husband! I wonder if Jane Austen herself knew enough about the British Royal Navy (or military matters) to have been able to add this kind of detail to her stories if she had wanted to?

    • I don’t think Jane Austen knew any more than what she read in the newspapers. Her brothers who served in the Royal Navy would have never shared any details about battles. Ladies’ sensitivities, you know.

  2. What a wonderful chapter. The way it was written I felt I was the one awaiting court martial. I also liked how he was sat down & told he’d be scrutinized due, mainly, to jealousy, but also because of his choice of port so he could krrp the prize money. Well, we see he still loves Anne, but won:t put aside his resentment and pride. It also shows why he tried to choose Louise and his comment made to her about appreciating someone who knows her own mind.

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful chapter. Looking forward to the next.

    • To finish my thought, “My first wish,for all who I may be interested in, is they must be firm,” (which he implies Anne wasn’t) shows how, later, he was trying to avoid his attraction to Anne at all costs.

  3. I could have just kept reading…so enjoyable. So sad to see him “giving up” on Anne without a fight…not living up to his moniker here.

    • A successful commander knows when to pick his fights. That does not mean he is always correct. For the next few years, Wentworth will believe that Lady Russel has beaten him soundly. To be honest, she has. What neither realize is that while Lady Russel won the battle, the war for Anne Elliot’s heart goes on.

  4. Phew! I was worried when I first realised there was a court martial in the offing. Of course, if I’d thought about it properly, I’d have known that the outcome would be OK, otherwise we’d probably have heard about it in the original.

    When he put his pen down at the end, I wanted to shout at him “Oi! Aren’t you called Fightin’ Freddie? Live up to your name!” but of course we can’t have that, can we? Not yet, not for seven or more years. At least he’s come to realise something of the truth about what happened with Anne – “Wentworth tried to reach inside his heart for his old resentments but could not.” but I don’t think Lady R. will be on his Christmas Card list any time soon (not that they had such things then anyway.)

    Thaks for another interesting chapter, Jack. Looking forward to reading your next one towards the end of the month.

  5. Whew! That brought me to tears. The angst, even though we knew he would be acquitted, it was still a breath -holding moment. And the advice about watching his back…I don’t think many of us, especially those of us who don’t read war stories, realize how precarious these careers can be…not just from war but also from the competition, political and man to man. We all know from the original story that he will look back and regret not writing her but, oh, how we wish he had taken up his pen.

    Really great story…looking forward to the next one on June 24th! Thank you.

  6. Excellent, Jack! Not that I would have expected otherwise. I enjoyed the pictures you inserted as well. That blank piece of paper at the end tells the story, doesn’t it? – years more of bleak separation ahead.

  7. Really enjoyed this chapter, quite suspenseful even when I knew it turned out well for Wentworth.
    Such sadness when we see Frederick think of Anne yet do nothing…

  8. Jack, you are so good at bringing military details to life. Poor Wentworth…. his sword … was shabby and worn—all a poor commander could afford was heartbreaking; an officer could die if his sword wasn’t good enough. I hope he bought himself a new one with some of his prize money.

    Harville… had been engaged for almost three years. Did Wentworth ever consider asking Anne for a long engagement, you think?

    I was surprised that there would be sailors who did not know how to swim. Wentworth should take them aside for swimming lessons when they are ashore one day.

    Thank yuo for the new post, Jack!

    • I know it seems really strange, but most people in the era didn’t know how to swim, including most sailors! Kinda hard to wrap your head around, isn’t it?

    • Wentworth bought a new sword when he got promoted. Sailors are particular about that sort of thing. As for swimming lessons, Wentworth is more concerned about gunnery practice. That wins battles, my dear.

  9. You have me on the edge, Jack, wondering why would Wentworth be court-martialed. Fortunately he is found to be not guilty and receive a promotion instead. If he had only ask Anne again after being made post captain but pride got in his way. Are there anymore sea adventures to be had?

    • Just about the worst thing that can happen to a ship’s commander is losing that ship. A court-martial is almost automatic. At the time, it was more of a combination of a hearing, investigation, and trial. A captain had to prove his innocence. Most of the time, justice was done — most of the time. That’s why Wentworth was nervous.

  10. Ah the politics of the times! Well written Jack and very descriptive! I enjoyed how honourable Captain Wentworth is with taking the risk himself when the ‘Asp’ had to be taken out of the harbour. These men will serve him well over the next 7 years. Hope there will be more battle scenes to come!

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