Persuasion 200: Wentworth Sees Anne for the First Time in Eight Years by Marilyn Brant — 33 Comments

  1. What regret and pain. Poor Anne, so altered but she could probably say the same of Frederick. The only good thing about meeting for the first time in the middle of a gaggle of Musgroves was the protection it provided. Shows how clueless they all are…no one picks up on what is happening between these two. Good writing, Marilyn

    • Maggie
      Thank you!!
      And yes…there’s something that’s always so poignant to me, too, about the fact that no one else is realizing what’s happening between Anne and Frederick. Such a torturous internal battle within them both and no one with whom either can share their feelings. No one observant enough to see what’s going on either. (Although, perhaps Sophia has some clue about her brother… 😉 )

  2. The thing that always strikes me about this is I don’t know how someone would NOT be significantly altered after eight years of heartache, regret and familial servitude. At some point I would want to walk off the pier and put an end to it all. The deep sadness of her eyes…I can only imagine.

    • Stephanie,
      So true! Even in the absence of heartache and regret, eight years from age 19 to 27 changes nearly everyone. Add in pain, loss, and Anne’s “ever delightful” family and…well… You make a good point!

  3. As I have watched this movie many times the scene plays out in my mind: Anne griping the chair back rail with her hand, the look on her face and the complete ignorance of all others as to what just happened between Anne and Frederick. And then there are those words of Mary’s…”He said you were so altered he would not have known you.” How cutting they were but as Stephanie said, how could someone NOT be significantly altered after the struggles of 8 years”. And no cosmetics to soften the years…(a little lightness to such heavy angst here, please!)

    Oh, what pangs Anne is going to suffer in his presence as he “punishes” her for her rejection by flirting with Louisa…and Henrietta, to an extent.

    Yes, you made it all sharply clear with this chapter. I don’t know whether to cry or thank you.

    • Oh, Sheila, thank you!
      I’m so glad (?? I think? 🙂 ) that I was able to bring this chapter to life for you, though it is a sad scene.
      And LOL about the lack of cosmetics during that time! Yes, a little concealer would go a long way, wouldn’t it?!

  4. All I can do is to echo Shelia’s comments. I too love that particular movie version. Anne’s hand reaching back to grip the chair to steady herself, Frederick’s unwillingness to look her in the eye and the poignancy of their meeting (as Shelia said) is completely unnoticed by the Musgroves. Frederick is only fooling himself – as he will eventually learn – but what misery Anne must continue to endure in the weeks to come. I truly enjoyed this chapter as you wrote it. Thank you.

    • Linda, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed my chapter — thank you!!
      I completely agree with you about Frederick fooling himself, and that it’s such a long, hard road until he’s able to take the steps necessary to let Anne know his true feelings. The biggest leap for him comes when he finally lets *himself* admit that he’s never stopped loving her, but he’s clearly not there yet…

  5. All I can picture in my mind is the look of sadness, fear and longing in Anne’s eyes. Sadness that she rejected him, fear he would realize how she still loves him, and longing to finally see him after all these years. No one truly sees Anne until they need something from her. It’s surprising they don’t feel the electricity in the air but the description of the girls as a gaggle of geese is so apt. Then, of course, Mary only wishing to speak about herself and Charles standing off quietly to the side. Well done Marilyn! This too is my favourite version of ‘Persuasion’.

    Is that a picture of Siesta Keys with the seagulls? The sand is very white.

    • Carole,
      Thank you!!
      I so appreciated your comments about this chapter and your impressions of the characters and their emotions. What you wrote about nobody really seeing Anne “until they need something from her” is *spot on*!! She’s too mature and compassionate to dwell on that herself, but I think anyone who genuinely cares about her — like Frederick, as soon as he admits it to himself — couldn’t help but notice the negligent treatment…
      As for the seagull picture, I don’t know for sure if it’s FL, but when I saw it, I thought immediately of Siesta Key, too! 🙂

    • LOL, Shannon! So glad you liked that line!! I figured that anyone who loved sailing during that time period, like Frederick, would have at least seen that famous phrase on old maps 😀 .
      Thank you!

  6. It is so true about Anne and Frederick. And seeing this through Frederick’s eyes. His turmoil is so great, and as stated above, he is going to make Anne pay for the anguish he still feels and felt for so long. His thought….”Anyone but Anne.”. He will later eat those words. He is only fooling himself. In the mean time, they both suffer. As others have said, how could no one feel the undercurrents? Too much honking from the gaggle of geese?

    The consolation for us…..we know the end result will be an HEA. Wonderful writing Marilyn. I felt such turmoil while reading this scene. I so enjoyed (not sure if that is the peopwe word) it and felt for both of them.

    • “Too much honking from the gaggle of geese?”
      HA!!! That’s so funny, Deborah! That very well have been the reason they missed it 😀 .
      Yes, you’re right…*WE* know a happily ever after is coming, but Anne and Frederick certainly have to earn it during the course of their story. As much as I love and will always love P&P, there’s something so compelling about Persuasion. Jane Austen gave us characters with such human and understandable flaws. I think we feel their pain so strongly because we know too well how easy it can be to make a mistake of judgment and to feel the sting of resentment, hurt pride and regret.
      Thanks so much for your kind comments! I’m so glad you “enjoyed” (?? 🙂 ) the writing!

    • No worries!!
      I just returned from an afternoon appointment and I refused to reply to comments here from my phone because of that darned autocorrect! Almost every time I post from it, it’ll try to change something… 😉

  7. How agonizing! So many emotions swirling between them; it’s like time has stopped for them, while everyone else is a vortex of blabbery blabbedy blab. lol (I love the image of the girls, and Mary too, as geese!) How do you hold that in?!

    • LOL, Monica!!
      Oh, you’re so awesome! “A vortex of blabbery blabbedy blab” might just be the perfect expression to describe everyone around Frederick & Anne. I love it 🙂 .
      Thanks, as always, for your wonderful comments and for taking the time to stop by and read my scene!

  8. “And Frederick added, “Is your son still suffering terribly from his injury?””

    Oh, the power of that little conjunction ‘And’ in showing Frederick’s ambivalence! Good thing he’s a seasoned commander since he now has quite a battle to fight… with himself.

    • Quite true about that battle ahead, Abigail!
      I do think it’s those things that somebody rails against so strongly that tend to bring about the most memorable and most needed life lessons…

  9. Another well written chapter in this tale. Always one of the saddest moments in the story for me. Anne, after a long night of caring for Little Charles, tired and worn out, must face Frederick for the first time ,t he awkwardness of the sudden meeting. Nice to see it from Fredericks perspective.

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I’m so glad you liked it ;).
      And you’re right that Anne would be especially weary (more so than Little Charles’s parents) because she’d been the one primarily handling the little boy’s care. Perhaps that’s something Frederick might have even realized, if he hadn’t been so preoccupied with his own feelings and trying to deny how much he’d cared about her… I’d like to think that he comes to that understanding — sooner rather than later — after a bit of reflection!

  10. This was so touching! Frederick is having a real war with himself, contradicting his emotions at every turn, and looking to get away as soon as possible. It seems like he’s been doing just that for 8 years so that he can be really busy and not dwell on any painful memories.

    His impression of seeing Anne for the first time made me think that it would have been hard to recall her very accurately in an era when you didn’t have photographs or instagram to help you remember people and events! So not seeing someone for 8 years, you really would be struck by what you remembered versus what you saw. Will Frederick specifically later reflect on what was different about her, from what he remembered? So interesting what others pointed out that it’s not only that she would change from age, but just from the overall sadness of her life since they last saw each other.

    • Kathy, thank you so much!!
      It *is* interesting about the reliance on actual memory back then, in the absence of photographs and social media! I’ve often wondered about the reverse — how difficult it is these days to try to *forget* about former relationships (especially in the case of celebrities who had messy breakups) when it’s nearly impossible to escape the images of past loves on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But it’s certainly not as jarring for us now to see someone face to face, even after several years have gone by, because we have such easy access to the Internet… So, yeah, it must have been quite a shock for both Frederick & Anne to face each other again in person! 🙂

      • Such a good point! I hadn’t thought of that. I’m sure they probably literally expected they’d never see each other again. Especially Anne, as she’s the lady she can’t really just up and track him down. Now, if you want to get a masochistic peek at your ex you can just find a facebook page or something. I mean, not that I’ve ever done that or would know… *shifty eyes*

        • Monica, haha!!
          I’ve only done a little Facebook “tracking” (i.e., ex-boyfriend stalking), but it was in the name of “book research” 😀 . In Friday Mornings at Nine, one of the married characters ends up communicating again with her college boyfriend through online interactions, so I had to find out how easy/difficult it might be to look up old flames via the Internet. Let’s just say, I gathered some significant data on this topic!! 🙂
          But, you know, it was totally for the purpose of authenticity in writing…
          *shifty eyes back*

  11. This was a magical episode, Marilyn-I loved hearing all of Captain Wentworth’s thoughts – thank you – I felt I was there!

  12. This is so memorable, Marilyn. To deny his past feelings and memories from resurfacing again is to deny his very existence and it is so heart wrenching to read about his struggles. Thanks for writing this wonderful episode.

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