Summary, Chapter VIII, pages 63-72
Wentworth and the Crofts visit Uppercross frequently, and Anne learns to steel herself in his company. She conceals her horror when he describes for everyone his escapades in the navy. When Mrs. Musgrove reminds him that her own son, Richard, was under his command, Wentworth sits down beside her and talks kindly of Richard. Anne, who is on the same sofa, just on the other side of Mrs. Musgrove, detects that Wentworth is concealing his true feelings about the wayward and troublesome Richard Musgrove. Anne is also forced to listen as the Admiral teases Wentworth for declaring that women—specifically a wife—should not be aboard a ship, although Wentworth has ferried the wives of fellow officers. Mrs. Croft speaks up about the many times she has resided on her husband’s ship and declares that nothing can be more comfortable.
Anne unselfishly plays the piano while the others dance, grateful that she can hide her tears. Once, when she takes a break and returns to the piano to find Wentworth in her seat, she is embarrassed by how quickly he gets up. “Anne did not wish for more of such looks and speeches. His cold politeness, his ceremonious grace, were worse than any thing [sic].”
Mrs. Croft’s declaration that a wife can comfortably live alongside her navy husband on a ship provides for Anne an example of what her life might have been like if she had married Wentworth. That Wentworth has given passage to wives of officers also suggests that women can by married to navy men without enduring long separations from them. Such women are loved and valued; such women are tough and hardy—everything that Wentworth believes Anne is not. His opinion is further confirmed by the way Anne is forced into the shadows of the party, as one who does not dance, as one who is not deemed valuable or important enough to dance among the young people. Dance, for them, is a means of courtship; Anne is considered well out of the courtship dance.
Summary, Chapter IX, pages 72-80
Wentworth visits Uppercross almost every day. His presence bothers Charles Hayter, a Musgrove cousin, who has Henrietta in his sights as a wife. Henrietta seemed agreeable to that arrangement, until Captain Wentworth showed up to compete for her attention. Anne cannot determine which sister, Henrietta or Louisa, is Wentworth’s favorite, and she must listen to the confidential speculations of Mary and Charles about which sister has the upper hand. Mary tells Anne that she thinks it would be beneath Henrietta to marry Charles Hayter, who is only a curate, when she might capture rich Captain Wentworth.
One morning, Wentworth comes to the cottage in search of Henrietta and Louisa, but instead he finds Anne alone with her mending nephew. When a younger nephew comes into the room and climbs on Anne’s back to play, Anne cannot get the child to let go of her. Charles, who has come in to read the paper, admonishes the child, but to no avail. It is Captain Wentworth who in a flash removes the child from Anne’s back. She is touched by his gallant behavior toward her, but she is also abashed that he avoids her thanks. It takes Anne a long time to recover her composure after this encounter.
Captain Wentworth’s behavior shows that he still has some feelings for Anne. Beneath his gallantry—which he might perform for any woman—lies a concern for Anne’s welfare, a tenderness that he immediately hides by pretending that the rescue was nothing to him, a deed not even worthy of her thanks.
Summary, Chapter X, pages 80-90
Anne observes as Louisa and Henrietta vie for Wentworth’s affections. She believes that Wentworth is “not in the least aware of the pain he was occasioning,” by confusing Henrietta and frustrating Charles Hayter in his courtship of her.
One morning, the ladies decide to take a long walk. The Miss Musgroves hint that Mary should not come, for the walk will be too far for her. Of course, Mary immediately demands to come along. Anne, knowing the Miss Musgroves do not wish for Mary’s company, tries to persuade Mary to remain behind, but she is unsuccessful and ends up having to accompany them all herself. As they begin to walk, the men join them. Anne hangs back by herself, enjoying the countryside and idly listening to the others chat.
She hears Wentworth joke about how his sister is brave to get in a carriage driven by her husband, who frequently turns them over. Louisa declares that she would not be afraid of being in a cart with a man she loved, no matter how bad a driver he was. Wentworth seems impressed by her lack of fear.
The party comes upon a view of Winthrop, the home of the Hayters. After some manipulation by Louisa, it is decided that Charles and Henrietta will go down to call upon their cousins. Mary sits down to rest in one spot, while Anne chooses another. Soon she overhears Wentworth and Louisa talking as they stroll along a hedge. Louisa talks of Henrietta’s hesitation to visit the Hayters, playing herself up as the more determined, less passive sister. Her ploy works, for Anne hears Wentworth praising her for having a “‘character of decision and firmness.’” In fact, he gushes about the importance of being decisive and unyielding, so much so that Anne knows Louisa must be quite flattered. Soon, Louisa turns the subject to Mary. She tells Wentworth that Charles originally wanted to marry Anne, but that Anne refused him. Louisa’s parents suspect Lady Russell persuaded Anne against the marriage. Wentworth wishes to know when Anne’s refusal occurred. As Louisa and Wentworth walk too far away to be heard, she fears that what Louisa has told him has even further cemented his opinion that Anne is a weak woman.
Henrietta returns, joined by Charles Hayter, and so it becomes clear that Louisa is “for” Captain Wentworth. The Crofts drive up in their gig and offer a ride to anyone who is tired. Everyone protests that they are not tired, but when Mrs. Croft cries that Anne looks tired, Wentworth immediately ushers her into the gig with the Admiral and his wife. Anne realizes he was being kind because he saw that she was tired. She is touched and confused by his consideration.
In the carriage, Admiral and Mrs. Croft tell Anne that they expect Wentworth to propose to one of the Musgrove girls any day. They laugh when they confide that they themselves married after little acquaintance. Mrs. Croft hints that she does not find the Musgrove girls good enough for her brother.
Admiral and Mrs. Croft continue to be examples of a good marriage, the kind that Anne might have had with Wentworth—if only she had been brave and forthright in her love for him. But what is the difference between being decisive and strong, as Mrs. Croft is, and being headstrong and determined, as Louisa Musgrave is? Mrs. Croft’s hint that she does not find Louisa good enough throws into light how very good for Wentworth Anne might be. Louisa trumpets her independent nature because she knows it will please Wentworth. Anne has, over the years since her break up with Wentworth, become quietly independent and determined not to ever be persuaded against her love again. Anne has suffered for her determination; her independence, as well as her refusal of a second marriage proposal, has earned Anne little value in her family and in the eyes of others. Louisa’s independent demeanor hides a selfish motive: to snag Wentworth. Anne’s independence hides true love for him.