Anne Elliot has become engaged to Commander Frederick Wentworth. He just finished a gruelling interview with her father as he applied for her hand, which is briefly covered in Chapter 4 of Persuasion. As this segment begins, Anne is anxiously waiting for him to return to her to find out whether her father has given his consent.
Anne waited patiently in the parlour for any sound that would indicate Frederick and her father had finished their meeting. Her emotions were in a tumult, fearing for what her father might say, while thrilled at the prospect of marrying the finest gentleman she had ever known and the only one she had ever come to love.
She heard the sound of firm footsteps approaching, and her hand went over her heart. She did not think she could bear to hear what he would tell her; regardless, her emotions would be more forceful than she had ever experienced. In the few moments before he arrived, she tried to determine whether his stride revealed his anger or his elation.
“Ohh!” she exclaimed, gripping her hands tightly together. “I cannot tell!”
Her eyes were wide with inquiry as he came through the door. She rushed up to him, intending to stop before him, but Wentworth held out his arms to her, then wrapped them around her, pulling her close. She found herself firmly pressed up against his chest.
“Frederick, what did my father say? Oh, I cannot bear to wait a moment longer.” She lifted up her head and looked up into his eyes.
Instead of replying, Wentworth quickly glanced about to see if anyone was near and then leaned down and gently touched his lips to hers.
Pulling away slightly, he smiled. “We are to marry, my dearest Anne. He has given his consent.”
Anne was breathless, the effect of both the news and his kiss. “We are to marry!” she whispered. “I have never known such happiness!”
Wentworth pulled her close again, savouring the feel of her in his arms before releasing her and reaching for her hand. “Come, let us take a turn about the garden. We have much to discuss.”
As they walked through the house towards the front door, Anne held tightly to his arm. Never had she felt as strongly the need for a gentleman’s support.
They were quiet until they stepped outside into the warmth of the day. The blossoming flowers and tree branches waving in the breeze seemed a suitable welcome to the newly engaged couple.
“Was my father terribly difficult?”
Wentworth shook his head. “He was no more difficult than some of the captains I have been under at sea.” He looked down at her and smiled. Just the sight of her sparkling eyes was almost enough to rid him of all the indignation he felt towards her father.
“I hope he did not disparage you in any way. It would have pained me so.”
A scowl darkened Wentworth’s face, but he shook it away with a smile directed at Anne. “I cannot wait until you are mine.” He stopped and turned to her, lifting her chin with two of his fingers. “Anne, you are so lovely, and so sweet, and so perfectly… perfect!”
Anne blushed. “I know I am not perfect, Frederick.”
“Oh, you are to me. Trust me.”
“But tell me, what did he say?”
“I can barely remember, my darling. All I know is that he gave his consent.”
“I feared so while you were in with him. My father can be… He can be so severe.”
Frederick merely murmured an affirmative.
As they walked a little further down a lane and then round a bend, Wentworth drew to a stop. He turned and looked down at Anne. “Instead of asking me to recollect everything your father said to me, why do we not talk about what happens from now on; what happens once we are married?”
“That sounds lovely.”
Wentworth laughed. “What sounds lovely? Being married or talking about being married?”
Anne squeezed his arm. “Both, I think, although I believe once we are married we shall enjoying that state much more than merely talking about it.”
“I can guarantee the truth of that!” Frederick laughed, and his eyes sparkled with mischief.
Wentworth stopped again and stood in front of Anne, reaching for her petite hands. They were dwarfed in his large ones. “I want you to know that although things may not be easy at first, I will provide for you as best as I am able. My pay should be adequate for rooms close to the port. We will not need much in the beginning, my dear.” He caressed the back of her hands.
“Having you is all I need.” She looked up at him, tilting her head. “But certainly my father shall be able to do something for us.”
Wentworth gave a quick shake of his head. “No. He has refused any assistance.”
Anne stepped back and covered her mouth with her hand. “Refused?”
“Anne, while I am certainly disappointed, we need nothing from him. We shall have each other, and that is all that matters.”
Anne lifted her head to Wentworth, feeling all the assurance of his words. “Yes, that is all that matters.”
He leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. “It will be a comfort knowing you will be close to port with my shipmates’ wives for company, and finer ladies you will never find. Best of all, I will see you that much sooner on my return. Does this meet with your approval?”
“I would have it no other way.”
“We shall weather any tempest that comes our way.”
Anne smiled. “Yes, but any storms we encounter will be few and feeble.”
Frederick drew in a long, deep sigh. “I regret the weeks and months I shall be required to be away from you, but when we are together, I shall do all I can to make up for those long absences.”
Anne nodded. “All I ask is that you come back to me when you have been away.”
Frederick nodded. “I shall allow nothing to stop me.” He leaned over as he lifted her hands to his lips, kissing the back of each one. “You know, my dearest Anne, that I shall labour to distinguish myself in the navy. I have no wealth to offer you now, but with luck and hard work, we shall get our share of prizes and more. I shall acquire a handsome fortune for you in a very short time – you wait and see.” He touched the tip of her nose with his finger.
Anne had no doubt about that. She felt so safe and secure and loved by Frederick. His kisses stirred her in ways that she had never known.
They began walking aimlessly again. “I have some family near the port, and my sister, Sophia, and her husband, Admiral Croft, shall be coming in and out of port.” A broad smile appeared. “I do believe you will like Sophia and her husband.”
“Oh, I know I shall! I believe you told me she sails often with her husband.”
Frederick nodded, a brief scowl touching his features. “I cannot conceive of it!” He tilted his head down to look at her. “You would not wish to do such a thing, I think?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I have never before been on a ship.”
“There is nothing else that compares to being out at sea, at the mercy of the winds and the waves.” He looked down at her and shook his head. “But it lacks the comforts of home, and the sailors can be so raucous. It is truly not a place for ladies.”
She tucked her arm more tightly in his. “I know I would feel perfectly safe with you.”
Wentworth rubbed his chin at her declaration.
They walked quietly, enjoying the presence of the other. They had an easy silence between them, neither feeling the need to say anything, as their emotions were so strong.
“When I have secured my fortune, I would like to find a nice place to settle in the country, as far away from the ports as possible. I think you would like that, would you not?”
“You know how much I love living in the country. We shall find just the perfect sized home with a small garden.”
Wentworth let out a deep sigh. “We shall be very happy, Anne.”
Anne nodded and then asked very softly, “Frederick, what are your thoughts on children?”
He smiled. “Ours or someone else’s?”
Anne laughed. “Ours, of course. Do you enjoy children?”
“Those of a good, obedient nature I do.” He cupped Anne’s hand in both of his. “I am certain we shall have the most compliant, sweet, mild mannered children, Anne, for they shall all take after you.” He let out a breathy chuckle. “Heaven forbid that they take after me.”
“And what do you plan to do if our children take after you?”
“I shall insist they go to sea with me. I shall put them to work, and they shall learn obedience and respect as they swab the decks.” He laughed and squeezed Anne’s hand. “I shall make right seamen out of them.”
“If you do take them out to sea with you, I shall insist on coming on board, as well. I shall comfort them with hugs and kisses when they come to me in tears.”
“We shall have to see about that.” He turned his head and looked at Anne with a raised a brow and a playful smile. “As I said, a ship is no place for ladies, no matter what my sister says. If by some odd chance you are on board, you must promise me that you will confine your comforting and hugs and kisses to our children.” He shook his head. “While the sailors may need it on occasion, that is not for you to do.”
“No, I would imagine not.” Anne felt a slight blush tinting her cheeks.
“Our children will know they are loved. There may be times when I must be stern with them, but I intend to let them know I love them as much as I love you.” He paused and looked down at her, pain reflected on his face. “Do you realize how much I love you, Anne?”
“Yes, Frederick. I do.”
“Good. I do not want you to forget it. And our children will know we both love them. It is easier for a woman to naturally demonstrate her love, but I shall endeavour to do so, as well.”
“I do believe you shall make a very good father.”
“And I believe that you shall make a most excellent mother.”
“Oh, Frederick. I love you so much. I know we shall always be happy.”
“Yes, Anne.” Wentworth ran his fingers along the side of Anne’s face. “Perfectly and exquisitely happy. Forever.”
I hope you enjoyed this segment. Don’t we just want to warn Anne and Wentworth not to let anything get in the way of their love and devotion? I would love to hear your comments!