Persuasion 200: William Elliot meets his cousin Elizabeth — 47 Comments

  1. I enjoy this prequel chapter. The younger Mr Elliot seems to be a cross between Wickham and Mr Collins. You really help us to see what a opportunist he is. unfortunately Elizabeth and her father do not see him in this light at any point. Your writing has made me dislike him immensely whereas before when reading persuasion I did not think quite as poorly of him. Thank you so much for taking your time to present this to us.

    near the beginning of the story you talked about gambling hell, and although I feel that way about gambling I believe you meant it to be a gambling hall. little later it saysattempting to find avoid the Elliotts believe you meant to say attempting to avoid the Elliotts and later in the paragraph it says CITS I believe you meant chits. my typing is far from perfect so I know when you’re working fast errors are made. I make more than my share and always have my report cards read over before I send them out to the parents, otherwise there a few times I would have been real embarrassed. have a wonderful day.

  2. Actually, the term “gambling hell” and “Cit” were common terms from the Regency. A gambling hell was the term used for the gambling clubs in the Regency, whether they had elegant accoutrements or were in the back room of a ramshackle house (depending on whether the patrons liked to go slumming). A gambling hell would have Faro, roulette, etc. while the more refined gentlemen’s social clubs, like White’s, would have only had a room where members could get together to play cards or toss the dice in an informal way.
    Cits is the derogatory term used in the Regency for people who lived and worked in the “City”, the business district of London City. Merchants and business men were looked down upon by those of the upper class, who did not have to work for a living, and their children would have been looked down upon as a match for a child of either the gentry or aristocracy, no matter how wealthy the merchants might be. The woman William Elliot eventually married was the granddaughter of a butcher and the daughter of a grazier (someone who raises cattle for meat) and even though her family was very wealthy and she had had a good education and the training to be refined and have the manners of someone from the gentry class, her family’s source of wealth would have kept any gentleman who valued his family name from having anything to do with her. Her background would have cut him off from polite society when he married her. The daughters of those who were wealthy merchants, bankers, etc. were sometimes married by the gentry if they were in desperate financial straits and if the young lady wanted to enter a higher level of society than she could manage married to someone of her own class, but it would have been considered a misalliance.

    • History and vocabulary (I should say). 🙂
      Is there anyplace I can find a source for this so I do not again open mouth (type) and insert foot? 🙁

      • Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels are very historically accurate and she used a lot of slang terms when she has men hanging out together (some things never change! 🙂 Jennifer Kloester has written a book called “Georgette Heyer’s Regency World” that covers many aspects of Regency society, including glossaries of commonly used words and expressions that are used. It uses a lot of specific characters from Heyer’s books to illustrate particular society norms, but you don’t have to have read the books to understand the explanations. It covers pretty much every aspect of daily life in the upper classes and is a great one-book resource.

        Daniel Poole’s book “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew” is a good reference for English 19th Century societal customs, how the military worked, how do you address people of different ranks, who has a higher rank, etc. It does not, however, separate Regency from Victorian customs- for many things this doesn’t matter because how you address a Duke or who sits where at a dinner party did not change, but some things I wonder if there were changes over the entire century. Poole also does not include things like slang terms, as Kloester does.

        Happy reading!!

        • I have purchsed both for my NOOK and they are now at the top of my TBR list so I don’t put my foot in it again. Thank you so much. Happy writing to you. 🙂

  3. This was a wonderful chapter! This Persuasion project has gotten off to a great start. The prequel scenes were a great idea and are being executed beautifully. Thank you for your time and efforts!

    P.S. I hope it’s OK to go off topic here for a second and say I really enjoyed your book Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, which I recently read. It was also really well written and I absolutely loved the cameos, especially Sir Andrew Ffoulkes and the Tournays! (I am a big Scarlet Pimpernel fan.) I only wish they had been supporting roles rather than just cameos and that Sir Percy himself had made an appearance. 🙂 Very fun. I really hope you will write another book very soon. I’m always so glad to find creative yet clean reads!

    • Thank you so much Amy B! I’m glad you picked up the Scarlet Pimpernel references…not many have! The Comte de Tournay will be back in my next book…”Miss Bingley’s Pas de Deux”. There is also a visitor in MDLS from Jane Eyre…can you spot him? 🙂

      • It’s sad to me that TSP is not more popular. The books and movie with Anthony Andrews are fantastic stuff. It’s funny- I only just finished the old BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre and before that knew only the barest bones of the story so I sadly missed that reference. But since your book is definitely worth re-reading, I’ll be sure to look for that next time! Can’t wait for your next book!

        • I haven’t seen the Anthony Andrews version, but I like the Leslie Howard/Merle Oberon version. Unfortunately, it is a very early film and in black and white, and poor quality black and white! It’s still worth a peek. Your comment has made me want to see the Anthony Andrews very, tho. Perhaps a quick trip fo Amazon is in order! 🙂

          • I see I need to reread TSP. It’s been close to 25 years since I have. I also have the Anthony Andrews version, which I thoroughly enjoy, but it’s been many years since I’ve watched it. Time to torture my hubby again. I just put him throught the 1995 and 1971 versions of Persuasion….

  4. William Elliot is just as I imagined him…a real actor, only out for his own good! And I learned something also. I always thought “cits” was short for citizens. Thank you for this flashback into William…and Smith’s role in his life. Sir Walter and daughter, Elizabeth, haven’t changed from JA’s tale. Pompous A****s!

  5. Yes, Sheila LM, I think WE is an expert at presenting himself as he wants to be seen. He reminds of serial killer Ted Bundy- no one who ever met him, or worked with him had any idea he was a monster…

  6. I really enjoyed this chapter, too. I’m so glad you’re not making William Elliot out to be anything other than the thoroughly bad boy that I’ve always imagined him to be. This project has got off to a fantastic start with the prequel chapters. I’ve just finished re-reading the original and, as it had been a couple of years since I last read it, it had slipped my mind about the “Smith” connection. I’m also glad you’ve managed to bring that into the story.

    I knew about the term “gambling hell” but was going to ask about “Cits”. Deborah’s beaten me to it and I’ve had a history lesson, too.

    • Thanks Anji! I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you read Georgette Heyer you will see both gambling hell and Cit used in some. Although our views on the social status of business people has changed, those who work in the City of London (who are mostly financial people now- bankers, investment analyst, etc) still just call it “The City” and it is a rather small area of the over all London Metropolitan area. To the English in the southern half of England London is always “The City”- no other description needed! 🙂

      I’m excited about Persuasion 200 as well because there is a lot of back story before the book starts and I think we can do a lot of fun things with those!

  7. Thank you for this insight into William Elliott’s life before we meet him in Persuasion, and exposing his selfish and unfeeling approach to people! I always appreciate your writing and look forward to more….
    (Your “And This Our Life” was one of the first P&P sequels I read, and it still is a favorite. I anxiously awaited for more from you, and enjoyed “Mr Darcy’s Little Sister” when it came out! )

  8. Wonderful chapter! Each personality , to me, is true to the essence that Jane wrote.

    I always thought William Elliot was a worm. AppArently, I wasn’t the only one!

    And, I firmly agree about georgette Heyer ! The best of the best!

  9. Great insight into William Elliot and his ‘friend’ Smith. You captured his character well and exactly as I imagined him. ..cruel, selfish and self-centered! But agree with Deborah that he is somewhat a cross between Wickham and Collins. The stage is being well set for us into each of the characters. Jane, I think, would be proud!

    I too enjoyed ‘Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister’. I do have ‘And This Our Life’ on my TBR list! Looking forward to your new book with Miss Bingley!

  10. Thank you for the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved how well you have developed his character…you can see and hear him. 🙂

  11. I am really enjoying the prequel chapters,
    cannot wait until someone gets inside of Fredericks head.
    William Eliot has always been one of my hated characters
    his villainy is covered by his smarmy charm.
    Will like to see how he is further portrayed in coming chapters.

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  13. Great job! You’ve captured WE as a young man just as I have always thought he’d be like. At that age, he could be overly cruel, it’s only after he got older that he would develop the ability to mask that trait with charm.

  14. Allyn, do you think he might have ‘assisted’ his first wife into her early grave? I wish his father-in-law had thought to require the return of his daughter’s dowry in the absence of any grandchildren.

    I’ve always wondered why William Elliot would have wanted to marry Anne. Any ideas?

    Thank you for the look at WE’s first meeting with Elizabeth and Sir Walter! It was very enlightening, and truly looked like a missing scene that Jane Austen might have imagined.

  15. From Persuasion: “The news of his cousins Anne’s engagement burst on Mr. Elliot most unexpectedly. It deranged his best plan of domestic happiness, his best hope of keeping Sir Walter single by the watchfulness which a son-in-law’s rights would have given.” He wanted to make sure Sir Walter did not marry Mrs. Clay and have a son by her – thus disinheriting him. By marrying Anne he would be able to be on the spot, to see and talk to Sir Walter daily to point out how beneath him Mrs. Clay was, so that he would not be inclined to marry her.

  16. But wouldn’t Elizabeth Elliot have suited that purpose just as well? Plus Elizabeth is Sir Walter’s favorite…

    • He didn’t like Elizabeth. If he had to marry a daughter, Anne was much easier to live with. Elizabeth and her father were snobs with no real tastes. William found Anne much more personable. He had been “courting” Elizabeth until Anne showed up in Bath. He quickly moved his attentions to Anne.

  17. I loved all the references to the actual text you included – what he told his friend, Smith, about the Elliots etc and how you set up the background to William Elliot’s character – what he desired from a marriage and why he was not tempted by Elizabeth.

    Great excerpt!!!

  18. I loved how you conveyed William Elliot’s character, Carey, and gave us just enough to wonder about the ‘attractive’ Miss Elizabeth Elliot…

  19. The three characters you introduced us to in your prequel are despicable, avaricious, self-absorbed, and evil. Such a sharp contrast to sweet Anne and gentlemanly Wentworth. Well done!

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  21. Thanks for this great prequel chapter. William Elliot is not only unredeemable, he’s also picky … to want to find a sensible heiress, and to prefer Anne over Elizabeth (which any rational man would) when he’s really primarily motivated by protecting his inheritance and keeping himself comfortable. Elizabeth is unpleasant and difficult, but you would have thought someone would have found her appealing in some way because of her father’s title. (Kinda like Caroline Bingley!)

    I’ve found Georgette Heyer’s novels instructive but they sometimes have SO much slang of the times that I’m a bit lost. And certainly her various characters spend enough time in gambling hells and meandering around society that there’s a lot of expressions to wade through! I’ll have to look up those books you recommended for reference!

  22. Your depiction of William Elliot is spot on, Carey. I love reading this backstory and how William gave Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot the snub. I presume that Smith is not married to Anne’s school friend yet so correct me if I’m wrong.

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