Persuasion
Jane Austen
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob

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Chapter 13-14
Summary

Chapter 13

Louisa slowly begins to recover in Lyme, and the Musgroves are brought continual updates about her health by family friends. Anne decides to go and stay with Lady Russell for a while, leaving Uppercross. The Musgroves travel to Lyme to see Louisa and to provide assistance to Mrs. Harville in looking after her.

Lady Russell collects Anne in her carriage. Anne finds that conversing with Lady Russell is a bit difficult at first, as she finds it difficult to place much importance on the things that the older lady usually talks about. Lady Russell thinks that Anne’s appearance is much better, and that she looks plumper and prettier than before. Anne informs Lady Russell about Captain Wentworth’s apparent attachment to Louisa.

Lady Russell and Anne go to Kellynch to visit Mrs. Croft. Even though Anne likes the Crofts very much, she finds it difficult to witness people other than her family living at her family home. Admiral Croft has insight into how Anne must feel, and he gives her full freedom to go and look about the house. While she is grateful for this thoughtfulness, she doesn’t take him up on this offer. The Admiral mentions that he has made some small improvements to the house and grounds. He says that he has removed some of the many mirrors found in Sir Walter’s dressing room. The Crofts mention that Captain Wentworth has said favorable things about Anne, such as how helpful she was in aiding the Musgroves. Anne is flattered and pleased by this. The Crofts say that they will be leaving Kellynch soon to venture into the country, and that they then plan to stay in Bath for a few weeks. Anne feels a bit disappointed, as this means that she will not have much chance of coming across Captain Wentworth in the coming weeks.

Chapter 14

Mary and Charles come home from Lyme, and they visit Anne and Lady Russell. They inform them that Louisa is now well enough to sit up, but that her head remains very weak. Mary declares that she thoroughly enjoyed her two weeks in Lyme, and that she went to church, dined nightly, bathed, and borrowed several books from the library. It is clear that nursing Louisa did not interfere with any of her pursuits.

Anne inquires after Captain Benwick, asking how he is doing. Charles only laughs in response. He believes that Captain Benwick has a romantic interest in Anne, and he informs Anne of how highly the young gentleman thinks of her. Mary disagrees with her husband’s belief. She does not believe that Captain Benwick is interested in Anne, and she would not think him worthy of being connected to the Elliot family in any case. Lady Russell says she is keen to see Captain Benwick herself so that she can form her own opinion of him. It is thought that he will soon travel over to Kellynch to visit Anne, but he never does. Lady Russell concludes that he must not be worthy of Anne’s interest.

The Musgroves come back to Uppercross. They have brought the Harville’s children with them, so that they may care for them as well as their own younger ones. Anne and Lady Russell go to Uppercross to visit them. The narrator points out the differences between how the Musgrove household now and how it was a few weeks ago. It is now full of children, activity, light, and food, while a few weeks ago it was sombre with the news of Louisa’s injury. Louisa is recovering well and it is expected that she will be able to come home soon.

Anne is not eager to go to Bath to join her father and sister. She does not like the city and feels that its buildings are large and unattractive. Elizabeth sends Anne a letter saying that Mr. Elliot, their cousin, is in Bath. It seems that he has visited Sir Walter and received his forgiveness. The gentleman is now to be again accepted into his uncle and cousin’s company. Lady Russell and Anne both hope to see Mr. Elliot, and they set off for Bath.

Analysis

These chapters offer reflection on the contrasts between the characteristics of characters such as Mary, the Musgroves, and Lady Russell. The various differences between Sir Walter Elliot and Admiral Croft become evident in the conversation with the Crofts. Admiral Crofts cannot help but think it’s silly for there to be numerous mirrors surrounding him in the dressing room. His comments make the vanity and foolishness of Sir Walter abundantly clear. In a similar way, Anne ponders the contrast between the presently animated and cheerful Musgrove house with how it was a few weeks before. Also, her visit to such a friendly place makes how she feels in the coldness of Bath more poignant.

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