top of page


Engagement Reaction Series


Sir Walter Elliot’s Reaction to Anne’s Announcement, Part 1

Anne Elliot observed the door to the drawing room with some trepidation. The last time she had attempted this, her father was so affronted that he had railed and threatened her passionately and proceeded to shut himself in his study for a whole day.

And now she was to attempt it again.

“This time will be different,” she assured herself, breathing deeply. She turned the knob and pushed the door open.

Her father was sitting on the sofa, monocle to his eye, reading the society papers with much interest. Anne looked about the room to see if Elizabeth was seated nearby; she found her on the chaise closer to the fire employed in embroidery.

“Father. Elizabeth. Mrs. Clay. How are you all this morning?”

Mrs. Clay nodded politely and declared herself in great spirits from the success of the previous evening’s entertainment, complimenting Elizabeth’s hosting a tremendous success. Elizabeth made no answer other than to smile as Mrs. Clay fondly.

Her father looked up. “Anne,” he acknowledged with a disinterested glance. “Our cousins, Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, are expecting us for dinner tomorrow night; I hope you will deign to grace us with your presence if you are not otherwise occupied by the Musgroves or Mrs. Smith.”

“Will Mary and Charles be included in the party?”

“Indeed; it is with great compliment to our family that this dinner is being held — so that due attention can be given to your sister’s arrival. It was decided in yesterday’s gathering.”

“And Lady Russell?”

“She is included, of course, and Mr. Elliot.”

Anne blanched at the prospect of Mr. Elliot. She would have been well satisfied never to see him again. Her suspicions of his nature and Mrs. Smith’s confirmation of his selfish character was enough to cause feelings of distaste that she was not sure she could effectively disguise the more she was in his company. Even though she was not inclined to waste an evening away from Captain Wentworth, she did not want to give her father a reason to oppose what she desired most in her heart.

“Then I will attend.”

With some hesitation, she sat opposite her father. “Father, I was wondering if I may broach a topic with you.”

He did not respond; merely raised an eyebrow. Anne, awaiting her father’s response, also remained silent.

“Well? I do not have all day,” he finally said with more than an ounce of annoyance.

“I was wondering, Father, if you might prefer we have some privacy.”

“We have no secrets here, Anne,” he emphasized.

Realizing that there was no reason to delay and eager to have the task completed, Anne took a deep breath and made her announcement. Her voice began soft, with a slight tremor, but she rallied herself to confidence with each word. “Well, Father, I have been proposed to and I have decided to accept.”

At this, Sir Walter looked up from his paper in great surprise. He put down his monocle and folded his paper with alarming briskness. “And pray, Miss Anne, who had deigned to seek your hand before conversing with me first?”

Anne noticed that Elizabeth had looked up from her embroidery with thinly veiled surprise; Mrs. Clay made no secret of her own strong interest in the news.

“I am of age, Father, to accept a proposal if I so wish,” Anne replied with some forcefulness; she worried that any sign of weakness in her voice would lead her father to assume a lack of conviction and open her up to censure and bullying as had been the case years before.

“I hope that you have not made some alliance that could tar the name of Elliot! I would hate to make ourselves a laughingstock of our cousins!” He huffed. “Do not let us hold our breaths in suspense. Out with it!”

“It is Captain Wentworth, Father.”

“Him! Again! I must say that I am surprised.” He leaned back and Anne watched as his expression changed and he silently considered her news. “Him. I understand he has more wealth and prospects now than he did before. Lady Dalrymple had complimented his air and seemed satisfied with his attendance in yesterday’s soirée.”

Anne remained silent and left him to ruminate all he had to consider. She glanced at the ladies again and saw that Mrs. Clay seemed intrigued; Elizabeth had a look of surprise and annoyance, but immediately schooled her expression to one of cool indifference when their gazes met.

“Bid him to attend me this afternoon. If I am satisfied with his audience, then I will write to Lady Dalrymple to include him tomorrow — if the numbers allow. Lady Dalrymple would never abide an uneven table! Nor would I, of course. There is nothing so distressing as a formal dinner imperfectly matched.”

Sir Elliot waved his hand. “You may go and make the arrangements. I have much to read.”

Anne, eager to make her exit, hastily curtsied and left to do as she was bid. She was not sure what she expected, but his quick acceptance of her announcement was not one of them. She had spent the previous night restlessly considering all possible objections and rehearsing her answers that she had walked into the drawing room ready to defend her utmost desires. The result was an anxious energy that had not been spent.

Rather than pen a note to be sent by messenger, she asked for her cloak and bonnet and resolved to visit the Crofts herself without undue delay. By the time she reached their residence, she had a healthy flush that gave her an energetic and youthful appearance.

“Miss Elliot, how well you look!” Admiral Croft, ever solicitous, immediately ushered her to the best parlour to offer her refreshments. “You have caught us without Mrs. Croft, I am afraid.”

“I see. I will not stay long then, but is Captain Wentworth home? I would be glad for the escort back to Camden Place..”

“Of course!”

In short order, Captain Wentworth was collected. He was surprised to discover Anne’s visit, perhaps because he had not expected her to call so early in the day. When the admiral explained that Anne needed the escort home upon discovering that Mrs. Croft was not in residence, Captain Wentworth immediately approved of the plan and quickly readied himself for the task.

Soon, they were outside - the weather had turned and droplets began to fall from the sky. Captain Wentworth rushed her to a portico where they conversed without concern for the puddles that began to form at their feet.

“I have told my father. He wants you to call on him this afternoon.”

“How did he react to the news? Was his objection extreme?”

Anne shook her head. “It was not. I was expecting his dissatisfaction with the engagement, but he accepted it without resistance.” She noted his expression and continued. “I am as surprised as you, of course, but I believe Lady Dalrymple had been pleased with your countenance. I cannot claim that his acceptance came from genuine approval of your character; you know him well enough to know that it is not that. I can say that his vanity was not offended, at the very least.”

“And it is his vanity that I need to preserve when I meet with him, I assume?”

“If we want his support. You know that I will marry you regardless.” She hoped that her looks conveyed conviction and that he would trust that the events of eight years ago would not be repeated. He looked at her thoughtfully.

“I will not keep you from your family. I daresay I will never be on intimate terms with them, but I will do my utmost to pursue harmony. If I can.”

Anne knew enough of Captain Wentworth’s disposition and her own family’s faults and foibles to know that what he said was true. She harboured no great ambitions for intimacy with her family, but she hoped for peace.

A pause in the rain urged both to quicken their pace back to Camden Place.

“I will call on your father at three o’clock,” he told her as the door was opened by a footman. They had one final lingering look before they separated.

Sir Walter Elliot’s Reaction to Anne’s Announcement, Part 2

The appointed hour came with Captain Wentworth arriving promptly, an unflappable look on his face. Anne had been waiting for him by pacing the hall. When the bell was rung and he was finally ushered in by the footman, Anne approached eagerly, impatient for the servant to collect his gloves and hat.

“Father is at his study and awaits you there. Do you know what you shall say?”

“That I wish to marry you and I can provide amply for your comforts,” he answered emphatically. “If he should ask more of me, then I will endeavour to answer the best that I can, of course. Do you believe he will demand more?”

“I am uncertain,” Anne admitted with a rueful glance. “He may discuss my portion — it may be diminished. I am unsure of what may be left of my mother’s estate and what father can contribute to it.”

They pause before her father’s study. Anne knocked softly before entering. “Father, Captain Wentworth has come.”

Anne was grateful that her father maintained all appearances of respect and civility by standing as Captain Wentworth entered the room. Anne noted the fine way her Captain had bowed, thinking that surely there was nothing in his appearance that would offend her father.

“You may leave, Anne, and please close the door behind you,” her father instructed.

Anne knew not what they spoke of; no sound escaped from the closed door. She stayed outside without care for the opinions the servants may have on the matter. She intended to be present as soon as Captain Wentworth and Sir Walter exited, eager as she was to observe the expressions on each gentleman’s face.

She surmised she may have been waiting above half an hour when the door finally opened. Anne stood to attention and trained her gaze at Captain Wentworth’s face. He had no signs of upset or anger or discomfort; however their interaction was, Anne knew that he comported himself calmly and with much credit to his character and training. Satisfied that all was well with him, she quickly shifted her attention to her father who had sat back on his chair. He too seemed unbothered, but Anne noted that there was at least a satisfied air about him.

Captain Wentworth closed the door behind him, thereby ending Anne’s observations into the study.

“Well?” she asked breathlessly. “What was discussed? I declare! I waited here for almost an hour!”

Captain Wentworth smiled at her fondly. “Perhaps you should have waited more patiently elsewhere. But I will not keep you in suspense. He demanded to know how much I was worth as soon as I had settled into my seat. I told him, of course.”

“Should I dare ask this question of you? It seems impolite.”

“You are entitled to know yourself since you are to be my wife. I am not so managing that I would keep such concerns from my own wife.” Anne blushed with pleasure at his words — that she would become his wife!

“I have five and twenty thousand. I hope that is sufficient for your needs,” he teased.

“So much! I did not expect it; although I knew you had done extremely well in the war. I am glad for you; I must admit, I am glad for me too. But,” she emphasized, “I would have married you regardless. I have regretted too much what time we had lost together. Were the settlements discussed?”

“They were, and I am to add to it in supplement and ensure you are happy with your pin money.”

“That is not necessary. I have lived frugally these past few years; my family’s excesses had to be balanced somehow. If my economies could have only spared father the embarrassment of a reduced lifestyle— but I cannot regret all that had transpired. It brought your sister and her husband to our county.”

“The point of your finances was important to Sir Walter. He intends for you to cut a dashing figure in society as befits an Elliot, he said. I will not have anyone say that I did not provide amply for you.” Anne noted the stubbornness in his voice and surmised that the sensitivities of the past could never truly fade.

“Did he invite you to dinner this eve?”

“He did not; perhaps it is just as well. It should give you some time to speak with him. He did, however, insist that I make no dinner plans tomorrow. Is there an event?”

Anne nodded. “We have dinner with Lady Dalrymple; I have said I would go, though I would much rather spend it in better company; but if Father is able to acquire an invitation for you as well, then I would be very happy!”

“With such elevated connections, my sister and the Admiral would surely question why I would have been invited. We may have to tell them soon; before tomorrow’s dinner, surely.”

“And I would also have to tell Mary and the Musgroves,” added Anne. “Mary and Charles are to attend the dinner as well. And Lady Russell; we mustn’t forget Lady Russell.”

His eyes darkened for a moment at the mention of Anne’s closest confidante, but he said nothing. Instead, he looked thoughtfully at the clock by the door. “It is too close to dinner to make our announcements now. We had best do it tomorrow.” He paused his progression to the door as if regretting having to leave so soon. “I shall see you tomorrow, dearest Anne. You have made me a very happy man.”

He lifted her hand to his lips and gave it a kiss. “Adieu, for now. I will call on you in the morning and we can make our rounds then.”

Anne wistfully watched him depart, but comforted herself in the knowledge that all had gone as well as it could have, and that plans can be made so that they would never have to spend a day apart that they themselves had not chosen.

Her father did not depart from his study, but a bell was rung shortly after Captain Wentworth’s appearance precipitating the arrival of a footman who, soon after, came forth bearing a note for delivery to Lady Dalrymple’s household. Satisfied that this was the hoped for request for another invitation, Anne quit the hall and returned to her room.

No more was said about the matter until the family came together for dinner.

Anne found Sir Walter consumed by news of some lord this or that who had found himself in scandal. Eager to assuage her own curiosity, when a natural break in the topic provided an opportunity for an interruption in the conversation, Anne seized the moment with, “Father, how did the interview with Captain Wentworth go? Were you satisfied with his offer?”

“How does the result of my interview matter if you have already said you intend to marry him regardless?” he asked crossly at the interruption.

“Your opinion matters a great deal to me, Father.”

“And so it should,” he responded, placated. “I have no objection to the match. Of course, he is no great personage, but he brings sufficient resources. I have insisted that he keep you up in style, of course, since he has no title to elevate him otherwise.”

“Perhaps he can elevate himself to a knighthood or a baronetcy? The crown is always doing that in times of war,” Mrs. Clay observed.

“Marrying him is no great distinction,” Elizabeth added. “You can never lead society in any meaningful way, Anne. But he should do in our drawing room well enough.”

Anne accepted Elizabeth’s concession with much grace. She had no wish to lead society — such ambitions were her father’s and sister’s. All she wished was to be content in her situation and be with the person whose regard she valued the most. To be given a second chance! Such a gift was not to be overlooked and belittled in her eyes, however it was minimized by her own family.

“And you have asked Lady Dalrymple to invite him to dinner tomorrow?”

“I have. I do not think such a connection, though not distinctive, would embarrass us. He does look very well. For a captain! My word — should another war come, I hope his looks are not marred in any way. A few more years in the navy, and he would be quite ancient! The salt air never pays anyone any favours.”

Anne’s eyes drifted to her plate. If anything could dampen her happiness, it was the thought that her beloved may be called to serve yet again. She took a deep breath and resolved to think about that another day, intent as she was not to affect her felicity in any way.

“Mary has to be told, of course,” her father continued.

“Yes, Father,” she acknowledged. “The Captain and I will make our rounds tomorrow. I will also speak to him about the banns tomorrow.”

“All is in hand then. Elizabeth, did you see Lord Granville yesterday? How peaked he looked! The man must be ill!”

Her father’s attention duly progressed to other matters, Anne was left to her happy thoughts about the days to come. She wondered at her dear friends’ reactions to the news. In particular, it was Lady Russell’s acceptance that took most of her attention as she contemplated over her quail.

The Crofts’ Reaction to Frederick’s Announcement

Captain Wentworth called on Anne early the following day. As they stepped out into the portico of Camden Place, the Captain observed the weather — “With everyone we have to visit today, I daresay we will need the weather to cooperate.”

“Whom should we inform first?” Anne asked.

“Would it be acceptable to you if we went to my sister and the Admiral first? I believe they’ve sensed my restlessness and have been wondering if something was amiss. They wondered too where I would have been going so early this morning; I deflected as best I could without saying any falsehoods, but it would bring me some comfort to know that I have nothing to hide.”

Anne acquiesced. “I am quite anxious about their reaction,” Anne admitted. “Do they know of me? Of us from years ago?”

“Edward, of course, knew. Brothers often tell each other such things. I do not believe I have told my sister anything while she was away at sea; and I do not believe my brother would have betrayed my confidence.”

“So this will come as a surprise!”

“But a pleasant one! The Admiral and my sister have been hoping for me to settle for quite some time now.”

Anne accepted his words with some alacrity and proceeded to enjoy their walk to the Crofts’ lodgings. The Admiral was surprised to see Captain Wentworth returned so soon after quitting the house and he was even more surprised to discover that Anne was with him.

“Why Miss Elliot! You surprise us once again!” He then turned to address Captain  Wentworth. “Where did you come upon Miss Elliot? Mrs. Croft will be delighted to see you today; she regretted having missed you yesterday.”

He called out for Mrs. Croft who proceeded to greet Anne warmly at the hall. After calling for tea, they sat themselves at the parlour.

“I am very happy to see you, Miss Elliot! I had heard you had come to visit yesterday. I had an errand at the milliner’s that kept me from home.” Anne could see that Mrs. Croft’s keen sense was alerted when she spied the woman glance from Anne to the Captain. “Where did Frederick come upon you?”

It was Captain Wentworth who answered; Anne could only blush with embarrassment.

“Well, Sophia, I collected Anne from her house and brought her here. We wished to give you some news.”

Mrs. Croft’s eyes widened in understanding at once; her husband, still oblivious to the news, remained unchanged from his neutral but jovial expression.

“Miss Elliot has made me a very happy man by agreeing to become my wife,” he finally announced.

Mrs. Croft’s joy could not be contained. She leapt from her seat almost instantly to grasp both their hands, her eyes glistening. The admiral, on the other hand, looked around in confusion for a moment but similarly stood from his perch to give his warmest congratulations.

“But how can this be? When did this develop?” Mrs. Croft asked.

“You have kept much concealed from us, Frederick, eh!” Admiral Croft cajoled.

Anne laughed at their simultaneous expression. “I shall leave the Captain to tell the story since I am unsure what you already know.”

“You know, Sophia, how Anne and I were acquainted years ago. Through Edward.”

“Yes, yes. I had heard… Did a renewed acquaintance force you to see her in a different light? We all thought your attachment laid elsewhere,” Mrs. Croft admitted.

Her brother spoke of all, though his recollection was much kinder towards Anne than she felt she deserved. “Anne had my heart all those years ago. Circumstances, my want of stability, prevented us from truly pursuing a future then. Perhaps we needed these years to come to our own as well. But it had always been Anne, nobody else. It just took me these last few weeks to realize that she still felt the same way; perhaps I needed to realize it as well.”

“That I did not know you had formed an attachment!”

“You were away at sea, Sophia. You could not have known.”

“I mean these last few weeks at Kellynch Hall. I knew you held her in high regard. Ah, but Miss Elliot — we all hold you in such high regard that I did not think anything amiss. You were very careful in how much attention you paid her, Frederick.”

“I confess, we were both uncertain of our own friendship, let alone understand the depth of our attachment,” Captain Wentworth defended. Anne, on her part, said nothing, since she knew in her heart that she had always known where she stood. What she felt was not a mystery to herself.

“Admiral and Mrs. Croft — I must thank you both for renting Kellynch and giving us both opportunity to reacquaint ourselves.” Anne declared this with such a depth of feeling that Mrs. Croft looked extremely gratified and the admiral looked proud at having been instrumental in bringing two lovers together again.

It was at this moment that the Admiral recalled an invitation that arrived for Captain Wentworth while he was out. “Well, Frederick. I imagine this invitation has something to do with your engagement? It is not everyday that our household gets an invitation from a dowager viscountess!”

Knowing that her brother would not be home that evening, Mrs. Croft insisted on Anne and Captain Wentworth staying for a light luncheon. “I am looking forward to getting to know more of my new sister.”

Anne, eager to please, wholeheartedly agreed. “We shall have time enough to visit Lady Russell and the Musgroves before I must return home to dress and leave for dinner.”

“I cannot deny my bride,” Captain Wentworth added gallantly.

Admiral Croft looked at the couple with amusement. “There, there. You’ve made her blush again, Frederick. I assure you, Miss Elliot, that our Frederick shall be quite generous with his compliments and you will learn to get used to them.”

“And if he should be sparing with them,” added Mrs. Croft, “you need only tell me and I will make sure to give him a proper set down.”

The merriment continued during the luncheon. Anne happily observed the warm and easy way brother and sister had with each other; her only regret at this moment was that she could not provide her Captain with a similarly warm reception on her side of the family.

With luncheon concluded, the couple bid their adieus and prepared to continue their visits to make their announcement. Before they left, Mrs. Croft brought her brother to the side for a silent exchange which he would later share with Anne.

“I will not ask you if you are happy with your choice; I cannot deny what my own eyes see. It is only with some regret that I did not recognize love much earlier. Frederick, you have made an excellent choice! I had worried when I thought you were in love with Louisa Musgrove — what relief it was when you did not get engaged. The Musgrove ladies are very kind and very pretty, I daresay, but I did not believe they were your equal in intelligence and temperament. But Anne Elliot! She is a credit to her family.”

“Sophia, you truly approve of the match?”

She assured him warmly that she indeed approved, though he had no need for her approval.

Plans were made for Mrs. Croft and Anne to meet and discuss the details of the wedding and the breakfast following. Content that all was well at hand and there was happy acceptance from all concerned, Captain Wentworth stood a little bit taller and smiled a little wider as they walked towards their next destination.

The Musgrove’s Reaction to Anne’s Announcement

Anne and her betrothed ambled towards the White Hart, happy and full from their last visit. They employed a comfortable silence that anyone who could spy on them would only see harmony in all things.

“Have you given thought to when you would like to marry?” Anne asked with some eagerness. She hoped in her heart that he would not ask for a long engagement.

In this, her captain did not disappoint. “I do not wish to wait too long. We have waited long enough! I do not think it wise to share the day with the Musgroves; they deserve to have all the attention on them on their day.” With an amused glance, he added, “I know Sir Walter would want to show distinction with the day.”

After much discussion, which took most of the time on their walk to the Musgroves’ inn, they settled on a full month after Henrietta and Louisa’s own nuptials, which would allow for plenty of time for both the banns and the customary shopping for the trousseau.

“Where would we marry?” asked Anne.

“What say you? I believe your side of the family will have more considerations than myself. Would you want to marry out of Kellynch Hall?”

“How I would have treasured that! But I know my father and my sister — they will not suffer the embarrassment of having a daughter marry from Kellynch Hall and not be its primary resident. We had best marry here, in Bath, where my family can maintain their dignity and affectations.”

“You dislike Bath!”

“Oh, but I dislike it less now that it has brought us back together. Mrs. Smith, my friend, is here as well. She has not fully recovered. It is also not too far that Mary and Charles cannot be persuaded to return. If your sister is amenable, I would love to spend some time in Kellynch after the wedding instead.”

Captain Wentworth conceded the truth in her words and agreed that reuniting her with her childhood home following the wedding would be a wish fulfilled.

When they reached the Musgroves’ rooms at the White Hart, they were immediately ushered into the drawing room where they were met by a gregarious group conversing in different nooks and employed in various entertainments. Mrs. Musgrove sat on the cards table with Henrietta and Mary. Charles and Captain Harville were conversing animatedly by the fire, glasses of port on both their hands. All looked up when they arrived.

“Captain Wentworth!” “Anne!” “Dearest Anne!” “Miss Elliot!” “Wentworth!”

Voices came in uniform to greet the newcomers enthusiastically, most of all the two men who immediately walked forward to assist in getting them settled.

“You have brought Anne to us, Captain Wentworth! I must say, we are obliged to you,” Charles Musgrove said, pumping the captain’s hand warmly. “Come, sit,” he bade them both.

Mary smiled at the Captain and immediately began her monologue. “How pleased I am to see you both. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to rouse myself to go visit Camden Place today, so it is good that Anne has come here instead. The damp yesterday has put me out of sorts. You understand, don’t you, Captain? Someone with my constitution cannot be out of doors when it rains so much. Well, Anne, you do not look worse for wear at least. Whereupon did you see the captain? As you can see, I am trying my utmost to recover so that we can attend the dinner at Lady Dalrymple’s.”

At this her husband interrupted. “Why must we set aside another evening? We only have two days left here in Bath. I would have much preferred the theatre. We had already seen the Dalrymples at Camden Place the other night.”

“Charles, you promised not to complain. We cannot ignore a direct invitation from my cousins. We have been singled out! I am sure this is a compliment to us.”

Husband and wife quarrelled in their usual way, so neither Anne nor Captain Wentworth were obliged to answer with any immediacy. Anne attempted multiple times to raise her voice above her sister’s to make her announcement, but finding it was hopeless to do so, settled comfortably into her seat instead.

Mrs. Musgrove joined them at the settee and angled herself towards Anne. “We shall be off in a few days, Miss Anne. I am happy to report that Henrietta has purchased everything needed for her wedding and the trousseau, save for lace for her bonnet. Why we have had difficulty with the lace, I do not know.”

“We had seen many, Anne, but they either did not suit my dress or did not suit my mama’s pocket,” Henrietta explained.

Anne nodded in commiseration. “I am sure you will find something. I might be able to write a list of reasonably priced merchants that might meet your needs to your satisfaction.”

“And what are your plans tonight, Wentworth?” Captain Harville asked from his position beside the fireplace. “With Charles occupied yet again, I am in need of a companion.”

“I’m afraid you’ll have to find someone else to join you in tonight’s exploits, Harville. I will be occupied as well.”

“Are you? With what?”

Captain Wentworth threw Anne a meaningful look. She nodded encouragingly.

“I have been invited to Lady Dalrymple’s for dinner,” Captain Wentworth rejoined.

Mary overheard and immediately ceased her argument with her husband. “Captain, that is quite the privilege. How did you acquire an invitation?”

“Sir Walter secured it for me.”

“My father? Sir Walter Elliot?”

“The very one.”

Mary’s surprise could on be equalled by Charles’. “That is extraordinary! I mean no offence, Wentworth, but Sir Walter isn’t the kind to do favours.”

“I heartily agree with that assessment. It was not as a favour to me, but merely an invitation that suited what believed was due him.”

“Pray, I still do not understand.” Mary looked at him with confusion.

At this, Anne finally found the perfect moment. “Mary, the Captain and I have decided to marry.”

A silence descended the room and shock showed on all the faces save for Captain Harville, who had a knowing satisfied expression. It was the latter who approached them both with very happy congratulations.

“I had hoped for such a result!” Captain Harville declared.

Charles recovered first and offered his own congratulations. “This is a shock! But a very happy shock indeed!” Mrs. Musgrove and Henrietta followed next, giving the couple all their wishes for marital felicity. The latter expressed pleasure in being able to discuss wedding matters together; the former was excited to let the residents of Uppercross know of the news at once.

Mary, still in disbelief, neglected to give her congratulations and asked, “But how did this come about?”

“I have always been partial to the Captain, ever since I knew him eight and a half years ago,” Anne explained patiently. “Circumstances were not in our favour then, but meeting here in Bath has given us new resolve.” Though they all had expectant faces as if hoping to hear more, Anne could not stand to have all the attention on herself as she bared her feelings and could not help but flush with embarrassment.

Captain Wentworth, with all charm and self-assurance, continued the story. “As you all know, Anne and I had been acquainted years before. I had wanted dearly to marry her then. Circumstances were not ideal, however. I had no fortune to support her and the prospect of war loomed over us. I was devastated, of course. How can one separate from a special woman as Miss Anne Elliot and feel anything less?”

Captain Harville nodded somberly. “I can attest to that. By the time I met Miss Elliot at Lyme, I felt like I knew her already. Far away from our families, we young sailors often shared confidences with each other, and Miss Anne Elliot was discussed more times than I could count, especially in the early years.”

Anne blushed even more. She wondered if Captain Harville had known of her, but no overt discussion was had to confirm. Now that she knew for sure that she was discussed, she wondered with mortification at what was discussed and what was his opinion of her. He was one of Captain Wentworth’s dearest and most highly esteemed friends; Anne found herself desiring his regard and approval. Captain Harville did not disappoint her; he immediately declared, “I am very happy for you, Wentworth! I had watched your interaction in Lyme and suspected that there were still feelings there, though neither of you were obvious.”

“And to think we thought your interest laid in another direction,” Mrs. Musgrove added. It was Captain Wentworth’s turn to look embarrassed, but Mrs. Musgrove patted him gently on the hand and said, “But all’s well that ends well. We are very pleased for both of you!”

“Indeed,” agreed Henrietta. “It all sounds very romantic!”

Mary, who had, for once, been silent as she absorbed the information, seemed to have now accepted the announcement which would relegate her own status among her sisters. “My congratulations to both of you! I am pleased. Pleased indeed! My goodness, Anne! You would be kitted up in style, I daresay. Even more than my own sisters-in-law!”

Charles hushed his wife quickly lest she say anything else of poor taste.

With the news now announced, both Anne and Captain Wentworth relaxed and lent their voices to the cacophony in the room. Henrietta and Mrs. Musgrove were insistent on telling Anne about all the best stores for wedding dresses and gloves. “Perhaps you can join us in our search for the perfect lace,” Henrietta suggested, “in case you find one you would like yourself.”

Anne noticed that Captain Wentworth and Captain Harville had their heads bent near in deep conversation, seemingly sharing confidences that brothers at arms are wont to share. Both had contented smiles on their faces.

“I believe we should be off, my dear,” Captain Wentworth said, looking at his pocket watch. Anne felt thrill at the endearment.

“You must leave so soon?” Charles asked.

“Anne would like to visit Lady Russell at Rivers Street before she returns to Camden Place to ready for dinner. I myself would need to return to my sister’s lodgings to prepare.”

Mary nodded understandingly. “We all need to be at our most presentable with our cousins, of course.”

Charles insisted on accompanying Anne to collect her cloak. “Dearest Anne. I had wondered why my proposal was not accepted all those years ago. Was it because of Captain Wentworth?”

Anne nodded shyly.

“There is no competing with what the heart wants. I am truly very happy for you. No doubt, when you are married, you would no longer visit Uppercross with as much regularity, but please know that you both are most welcome! Mary treasures your visits you know, as do the rest of my family. The permanent addition of Captain Wentworth would bring pleasure to us all.”

Lady Russell's Reaction to Anne's Announcement

“Would you mind if I attend Lady Russell alone and break the news to her gently?” Anne asked as she walked with her beloved towards Rivers Street, her hand resting comfortably on his forearm. “She does not yet know that we have reconciled let alone engaged in such a short period. Her hopes and dreams for me, unfortunately, still lie in a different direction.”

“I agree, that may be best. I can leave you at her doorstep and return at my sister’s prior to dressing for dinner. How would you make your way home?”

“A hackney is quite easy to acquire from her street, if she does not send me in her own carriage.”

Captain Wentworth nodded. He then seemed to consider something silently before adding, “Would it offend you if I admit my own anxieties regarding her reaction?”

Anne was grateful that he showed his vulnerability and was willing to discuss this next visit with honesty. “It is natural that it would, but you need not worry. Nothing,” she added passionately, “Nothing can persuade me away from you now. You who have been occupying my thoughts daily for almost a decade. I am more confident in my own decisions and the constancy of my feelings now that I am an older woman. I wish I had been as confident and firm when we were first together; I will regret that forever.”

“You know my feelings in the matter. We had discussed it previously.  As I had told you then, I will forgive her — one day — because I must. You love her; it may take some time for me to see her in the same light, but I intend to try.”

His voice was all seriousness that Anne could not doubt his intention. It was the most she could hope for. She prayed that, in time, all would be forgiven and Captain Wentworth would come to see Lady Russell as much of a family as Anne did.

When they came upon Lady Russell’s lodgings, Captain Wentworth waited for the door to be opened before giving his intended a lingering kiss on her hand before withdrawing back to the street. Anne blushed with pleasure and was still in high spirits when she met with Lady Russell at her drawing room.

“Ah, Anne! Finally! It has been days since we have been alone together. You have been busy with the Musgroves, of course.”

“I have been,” Anne admitted, sitting across from the woman she considers almost like her mother.

“And you are attending Lady Dalrymple’s tonight?”

“We are. My father has made me promise to attend, and I have other reasons for going.”

“Ahh, Mr. Elliot shall be attending as well, won’t he? And Colonel Wallis, I imagine.”

Anne nodded, silently trying to will herself to reveal her news. Her heart pounded so loudly that she could not ignore the anxiety her happy news had elicited.

“There is another who will be in attendance I wanted to tell you of,” she began hesitatingly.

“You seem perplexed, dear child. Who?”

“Captain Wentworth,” Anne answered simply.

Lady Russell’s surprise could not be concealed. “How could he have acquired an invitation? It seemed to me that the dinner was supposed to be a fairly intimate affair.”

“My father procured the invitation.”

“Your father! Sir Walter would never, unless…” Realization dawned on Lady Russell’s face. A frown formed on her lips. “You cannot mean to say that you have formed some sort of understanding with Captain Wentworth!”

Anne angled closer to her godmother and clasped her hands. “Oh I have so wanted to tell you these last few days, but, when I saw you last, it was at Elizabeth’s soirée and there were too many people. Since Captain Wentworth’s return, we have had the opportunity to speak and reconnect. He still felt the same way; he was angry, but he still loves me.”

“And you…you love him?”

“Yes, I have. For years, I had tried in vain to move forward; but I was always thinking of him.”

“What of Mr. Elliot? It seemed like you were both getting along so well. I don’t believe I imagined his partiality,” Lady Russell pressed. “He has been so wonderful with your family. So reconciled. So charming and attentive to you all. And do you not find his wit to your taste?”

At Lady Russell’s words, Anne found her agitation building. To build up such a man as Mr. Elliot after all he had done!

“Captain Wentworth is the better man. He has always acted with honour in all things. There is truly no comparison. Mr. Elliot does not hold a candle to Captain Wentworth; he may be good in appearance, but not in his heart.” Disdain seeped into Anne’s voice.

“Why? What has Mr. Elliot done to you to elicit such contempt?”

At once, Anne felt herself compelled to share all the particulars that Mrs. Smith had shared. She stated it simply without flourish; the details, she felt, would speak for themselves. Lady Russell was disbelieving at first; when Anne finished speaking, she did not believe that her dearest friend and confidante was wholly convinced of her report on Mr. Elliot’s character. Lady Russell did not know Mrs. Smith the way Anne did.

“I have no proof with me that all I have said is true, other than I have known Mrs. Smith for years and I have no reason to believe that she would be duplicitous. Mr. Elliot, on the other hand, is someone we have only been recently acquainted with.” Anne noted her friend’s perplexed expression and softened her tone. “Oh Lady Russell, you know your opinion is one I hold the most dear. You are the closest thing I have to a mother. Even if Mr. Elliot is not the scoundrel Mrs. Smith had shown him to be, I love Captain Wentworth. That I have a second chance is something I could never have dreamt of. Please, please may you reconcile yourself to him?”

Lady Russell took a moment to collect herself. After a deep breath, she said, “I love you, Anne, as a daughter. Of course I will reconcile myself to it. Captain Wentworth, perhaps, was not my first choice, but if he can make you happy, then he will be fulfilling my dearest wish. I still find it difficult to believe all the accounts your Mrs. Smith has of Mr. Elliot, but, as you say, that matters not. He was never your choice. I will try my best to get to know your captain. Perhaps, in time, my opinion of him will match your own. In loving you and choosing you, he already has proven good judgment. Perhaps I can build on that.”

Her words lifted Anne’s spirits. It gave her hope — hope that the two people dearest to her heart would one day learn to value each other the way she valued them. She knew that nothing could sway her from marrying Captain Wentworth; not even Lady Russell. Though she did not admit it out loud even to herself, she knew that if Lady Russell refused to accept him, then she would have had no choice but to sever the connexion that had sustained her throughout her life. To know that this would not be necessary filled her with relief.

Anne quitted Lady Russell’s soon after; the latter promised to act in all ways that was inviting and civil in meeting with Anne’s betrothed during Lady Dalrymple’s dinner. Reassurances completed, Lady Russell called for her carriage to convey Anne back to Camden Place with expressed instructions for it to hurry back to Rivers Street to collect her for that evening’s event.

Persuasion Fan Fic: Mr. Elliot’s Reaction to Anne’s Announcement

The appointed time came and Anne found herself assembled at the hall in Camden Place with her father, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Clay.

“How exciting that you should have your first engagement as a betrothed woman!” Mrs. Clay declared. “Is the Captain to meet us at Lady Dalrymple’s?”

Anne did not have the opportunity to answer since her father interjected with some feeling, “Though our dear relation knows of the engagement, some in attendance would not yet have learned the news.  Her ladyship mentioned in her note that she would set aside time after the soup course to make the announcement. I hope you appreciate the kind condescension Lady Dalrymple is providing you Anne. Of course, as a member of her esteemed family, it is your due.”

Sir Walter continued in this vein until the party had quit the house and entered the carriage. Anne was obliged to remain silent as Elizabeth and Sir Walter exchanged on dits about the host and her daughter, with Mrs. Clay offering the occasional comment.

Anne was grateful for the opportunity to be silent. She found herself restless with excitement at the thought of seeing her betrothed and to have the freedom to acknowledge him as one who was most special to her. Though it was not a big event, Lady Dalrymple’s announcement to the greater party, to the gratification of her father, would allow them to attend more events together without requiring any pretense of impartiality.

Their arrival at Laura Place was exactly how Sir Walter expected to be received. The footman announced them with a clear voice and as much pomp as could be possible in a private home.

Captain Wentworth was not yet in Laura Place. Anne observed the different persons surrounding the fire at the drawing room and did not see his distinguished presence amongst those assembled. Instead she was met with the eager gaze of Mr. Elliot, who immediately left the Wallises and Miss Carteret to approach the group to provide his greetings and most solicitous compliments. Anne immediately recollected her friend Mrs. Smith’s account of his dealings with her husband and herself; she arranged herself behind her group and hoped she would not attract his attention lest her distaste would become apparent.

Anne was looking distractedly towards the entrance in anticipation of Captain Wentworth’s arrival that she failed to notice Mr. Elliot had disengaged from her father to join her — him whom she had hoped with all her heart to ignore. She then recalled what he had said during the concert; she had hoped to spare herself from any more interactions with him until after her betrothal was made known to him.

“Miss Anne, how well you look tonight!” he began. “You rarely attend these events at Laura Place.”

Anne nodded with a placid smile. “Indeed. I have had other friends I have had obligations to which prevented me from attending here.”

“But now you are here; I am grateful that we are the benefactors of your conversation this evening. No one else who attends these things can provide as much diversion for me.”

Anne glanced at the entrance yet again.

“You seem to be eager to flee this place. I hope to entertain you enough that you would stay the whole evening!”

Despite her feelings on his treatment of her dear friend, Anne felt shame at the appearance of inattentiveness and shook her head. “Not at all. I am merely anticipating the arrival of the remainder of our party. My sister, Mary, and her husband Charles will be arriving shortly. Lady Russell said she will come this evening too. And,” she added, “there is another…”

At this moment, the individuals she spoke of arrived en masse. Lady Russell was announced first; she saw Anne and immediately smiled warmly at her direction. As she spied Mr. Elliot stood by her goddaughter, her expression betrayed her regret on what could have been.

Shortly after, Mary entered the room with Charles and Captain Wentworth flanking her on both sides.

Despite having only seen him hours before, Anne felt excitement at the sight of her future husband. He presented himself so well that Anne could not help but feel pride at the nobleness of his appearance. He stood tall and with so much ease that it seemed as if he had always been amongst the ranks of Lady Dalrymple and Sir Walter Elliot.

Their eyes met and nothing needed to be said — they were immediately in harmony. Anne worried for a moment what he would think to see Mr. Elliot stand so closely beside her, but her anxiety was immediately assuaged by his expression of admiration at beholding her. He inclined his head in acknowledgment before following Charles and Mary to where Sir Walter stood with the hostess by the fire.

“I see you have arrived,” Sir Walter remarked once the Musgroves and Captain Wentworth provided their respective bows and curtsy. “And you have brought Captain Wentworth with you. Lady Dalrymple, please allow me to present the Captain whom you would have met at our little gathering the previous evening at Camden Place. He is grateful for your kind invitation to such an intimate event of only the closed connections.”

Captain Wentworth obliged with a graceful bow of his head, showing his figure to great advantage. “It is indeed a great honour, my lady.”

“Do you have family in Ireland, Captain Wentworth?” Lady Dalrymple asked.

“No close relations that I am aware of, ma’am, but possibly a distant connection.”

“I am somewhat familiar with a family with the same name from there. Quite distinguished and old, I assure you!”

“I shall endeavour to ask my sister if she has any information,” he replied obligingly.

As the exchange continued, Mr. Elliot turned to Anne once again and quietly confided, “I am surprised by the invitation. Lady Dalrymple hardly invites new acquaintances to these smaller dinners. What is his connection with your own family and the Musgroves? This is perhaps the third time I have seen him in your circle.”

“His sister and her husband, Admiral Croft, became the tenants of Kellynch Hall when Father and Elizabeth quit for Bath. He has spent much time with the Musgroves upon returning to the county these last few weeks.”

“I see,” Mr. Elliot replied, eyeing Captain Wentworth from behind. “And yet he does not seem to be your father’s usual society.”

“That is true. And yet— Mrs. Clay is not his usual society either.”

“Touché, Miss Anne. Exceptions are always possible when in good company. And yet, one would hope that Sir Walter takes greater care of his exceptions, on occasion.” He gave Mrs. Clay a furtive glance.

Anne made no response and instead wished to be away from him, knowing him for a hypocrite of the highest order. She wondered now at how she ever gave him so much attention in the early days since her arrival in Bath. His conversation, wittier than some, was perhaps the only draw, but what she valued most were the inner qualities that made a fine gentleman.

She glanced appreciatively at her captain and saw that his interlude with Lady Dalrymple had concluded. With a bow of his head, Captain Wentworth made his excuses and approached Anne, standing on her other side.

“Miss Anne,” he greeted.

Anne blushed at having been found conversing with Mr. Elliot. “Captain Wentworth, I hope your carriage ride over was an easy one.”

“It was. I had the fortune of spying Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove’s arrival shortly after my own, so I waited for them before entering.” Captain Wentworth eyed Mr. Elliot coolly which the other gentleman returned with an equally icy expression.

“You recall Mr. Elliot, our cousin?” Anne remarked.

Captain Wentworth nodded. “Of course.”

“Mr Elliot, do you remember Captain Wentworth? You may have met him at the concert or at the card party Elizabeth hosted.”

Both gentlemen bowed, neither one showing enthusiasm for the ritual.

Mr. Elliot waited a moment longer, perhaps anticipating Captain Wentworth’s departure. When it became obvious that the captain had no plans of leaving Anne’s side, Mr. Elliot narrowed his eyes and declared, “I will see you at dinner, Miss Anne. Sir Walter may appreciate some company — it seems he has been abandoned by the women in favour of the Wallises.”

Anne and Captain Wentworth watched as he retreated from their circle. When he was finally out of earshot, she said, “I hope you know that I did not seek his company. He had approached and it was my misfortune that I could not escape him. We have not spoken of it yet, but I also know too much of Mr. Elliot to hold him in any sort of regard now.”

Captain Wentworth’s eyebrow angled in surprise. “I am glad that your opinion of him is not as high as I had feared at the concert. You see — you must see it, since I cannot hide it — the jealousy I feel that he had had your attention and companionship in Bath because I had been too much of a fool to have taken my chance in Somerset. It is regret I feel, but I do not fear inconstancy in your feelings. 

Perhaps, on another day, however, you can share with me the circumstances around your knowledge of him that he no longer esteems highly in your eyes.” With a playful twinkle, he added, “I am not so gallant that I would not rejoice in the inferiority of character of one I had considered a challenger for your regard.”

“Captain Wentworth! You need not worry or rejoice anything; he was never of much import when it came to my heart. It was too full of you, even if I did not think your own was inclined towards me.”

“Dearest, Anne. I will always regret that I did not reassure you my heart was always yours at the first moment of our reunion.”

It was at this moment that dinner was announced. Lady Dalrymple had arranged it so that, for this meal at least, the captain and his future bride were seated beside each other. As promised, when the bowls that held their consommé were taken away, Lady Dalrymple bid everyone to give her attention due to her as the hostess.

“Since we are assembled here with intimate friends and dear family relations, we thought it appropriate to take this opportunity to make an announcement. Sir Walter, if you please,” Lady Dalrymple beckoned.

A footman pulled his seat as Anne’s father arose. Her heart beat faster knowing that soon all attention would be on her. She was keenly aware that she did not know some of the people in the room on intimate terms, but this was her father’s society. She was just grateful that this opportunity was now at her grasp; she could not imagine any such acceptance eight years ago.

“I thank you, my lady, for the kind opportunity to make this announcement while at your home. It is all very new. While you are here assembled, we would like to share the news that my middle daughter, Anne, is now engaged to be married to—,” with a flourish, Sir Walter concluded, “Captain Frederick Wentworth.”

Lady Dalrymple and those in her immediate family already knew. They clapped with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Miss Carteret smiled politely at the news, though not caring at the least. The Wallises and Mr. Elliot had expressions that held the most surprise. Anne noticed Colonel Wallis give Mr. Elliot a sharp look, while Mr. Elliot’s own face showed first confusion, then surprise, then disappointment.

Anne tried her best not to look flustered as Captain Wentworth held out his hand to assist her in standing from their seats. They remained standing momentarily and accepted the congratulations with silent graciousness, inclining their heads at the table. Lady Russell met Captain Wentworth’s eye and immediately looked embarrassed, though she held his gaze and nodded her encouragement.

When the applause concluded, they once again returned to their seats. Anne felt her heart, which had begun to race as the soup course concluded, finally calm. At last everyone’s attention was away from her, except for one. Mr. Elliot continued to look at her direction, a slight frown marring his face.

It is done. By tomorrow, everyone should know, Anne thought happily. We now need not hide our feelings for each other.

The dinner continued without incident and any further embarrassing attention towards themselves. Instead, both captain and lady were content to speak of other matters with other people while stealing happy glances at each other.

Just before their party was to leave Laura Place and Captain Wentworth was engaged in conversation with Colonel Wallis, Anne found herself yet again in the company of Mr. Elliot.

“Miss Anne,” he began. “Please allow me to offer my heartfelt congratulations.”

Anne thanked him and was about to excuse herself when he continued. “I admit, I was very surprised. I did not know that you and the captain would have known each other well enough to reach an agreement so quickly. Did he not only enter your county when his sister and her husband took the tenancy at Kellynch? Is that not what you said?”

“My acquaintance with him is much longer than that. I have known him for eight years now; ever since his brother was curate at Monksford; his brother moved and we were separated by war, as many people were. We reconnected when the Crofts took Kellynch,” she admitted. More kindly, though she felt he did not deserve it, she explained, “It is only since his coming to Bath that we formed an understanding.”

Mr. Elliot did not attempt to hide his disappointment. “He is wealthy too, I understand, but he has no title that I am aware of to make his prospects more than other men of your acquaintance.”

“That is true. But I have always regarded him as the best man I have met in my lifetime — an opinion I had held for all these years. An opinion I know that my close friend, Mrs. Smith, would also have once she gets to know him.”

“Mrs. Smith?” Realization dawned on his face. He knew then that his own chances were now completely gone. “Ah. Then I wish you both happy.” He bowed again then abruptly turned his heels and strode to another side of the room where Mrs. Clay and Elizabeth were in conversation.

Captain Wentworth joined her after, intent to monopolize her until it was time for all to say goodnight. He seemed tranquil and unguarded; his eyes shone with admiration for her and her alone. 

Anne was content.


bottom of page