Summary, Chapter I, pages 115-122
Charles Musgrove arrives the next morning to report that Louisa is the same. He takes back with him an old nursemaid of the Miss Musgroves who “was now living in her deserted nursery to mend stockings, and dress all the blains and bruises she could get near her. . . .”
Charles Hayter also provides news of Louisa and confirms that Captain Wentworth is staying by her side. Everyone at Uppercross decides to go to Lyme, leaving Anne alone until Lady Russell fetches her a few days later. Anne leaves, sure that when she returns to visit Mary at Uppercross cottage, she will find Louisa and Wentworth married. She and Lady Russell catch up on news of Sir Walter and Elizabeth, whom Anne realizes she has scarcely thought about, and they discuss Louisa’s accident. Lady Russell is secretly delighted that “the man who at twenty-three had seemed to understand somewhat of the value of an Anne Elliot, should, eight years afterwards, be charmed by a Louisa Musgrove.”
Lady Russell and Anne call on Mrs. Croft at Kellynch. Anne is able to visit her old home without awkwardness, for she truly esteems the Crofts and feels they are good tenants for her father. Of course, Louisa’s accident is talked of by the ladies. Anne finds that Wentworth had visited the day before and left Anne a note; he also asked after her “particularly” and described her actions at Lyme to Mrs. Croft as “great.” Anne is pleased. She is also tickled when Admiral Croft, recounting the changes they have made at Kellynch, says he has removed many of the mirrors in the house, especially in Sir Walter’s old rooms. Sir Walter, he remarks, “‘must be rather a dressy man forhis time of life.—Such a number of looking-glasses! Oh Lord! There was no getting away from oneself.’”
Anne is now among people who truly value her—people who are well able to distinguish between self-serving vanity and true beauty. Lady Russell remembers the smart, overly confident young Wentworth who gave up so easily on Anne when she disappointed him. For all his flash and determination, he did not truly value or love Anne enough to fight for her; his attention was all on his own wounded pride that Anne had refused him and sided with her family. Admiral Croft, a man of more real importance and character than Sir Walter, finds no need to constantly look at himself to confirm his importance. Good looks and vanity, in his experience, are not necessary for self worth.
Summary, Chapter II, pages 122-129
Charles and Mary return to Uppercross and come visit Anne at Lady Russell’s. Mary, in her usual way, reports that she was annoyed at having to share the limelight with the other Musgroves, but she remained amused enough not to have had too bad a stay in Lyme. She also reports that Charles Hayter was there a lot. She says that she invited Captain Benwick to come home with them, but after saying he would, he refused to come. Charles laughs at Mary’s pique and says that Benwick declined when he found out that Anne did not also live at Uppercross with them. Anne is flattered, although Mary quickly tells her that Benwick never mentioned Anne. Charles agrees, but he also tells Anne that “‘it is a very clear thing that he admires you exceedingly.—His head is full of some books that he is reading upon your recommendation, and he wants to talk to you about them. . . .’” Mary sniffs that admiration from a man who seems to have recovered so quickly from losing his fiancé is “‘very little worth having.’”
Mary changes the subject to tell Lady Russell how she and Anne saw Mr. Elliot at Lyme, but Lady Russell reminds her, curtly, that Mr. Elliot is “‘in disfavor’” with her.
Charles reports that Captain Wentworth, whose spirits have improved greatly as Louisa has recovered, has not actually seen Louisa during her illness. Wentworth claimed he did not want to excite her, Charles says, and he has talked of going away for a week or more. Captain Benwick was invited to go with him, but Benwick seemed determined to pay a visit to Kellynch, according to Charles.
Lady Russell and Anne each secretly await Benwick’s arrival, but he does not come. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove return to Uppercross with the Harville children in tow for Christmas, and Anne gets all the latest news on Louisa’s recovery, including the information that Wentworth is now visiting his brother in Shropshire.
Anne is conveyed by Lady Russell to Bath after Christmas. Lady Russell welcomes the winter bustle of the city, but Anne is silent and pensive about Bath. She anticipates that Sir Walter and Elizabeth will not have missed her or care that she has come. She has had a letter from Elizabeth, however, that has piqued her interest. Mr. Elliot, it seems, is in Bath, and he has renewed his connection with Sir Walter.
The news that Mr. Elliot has purposefully sought to repair his rift with Sir Walter is significant. Why would a young man who so blatantly refused to acknowledge the man from whom he will inherit an estate suddenly want to act properly as the heir to Kellynch? Anne is curious to see and formally be introduced to this mysterious, now well-mannered cousin.