When Mr. Elliot visits in the evening and solicits Anne’s attention, she finds that her new information renders him altogether insincere and unpleasant. She no longer feels any pity for his affections and is glad when she learns that he will be leaving Bath for a couple days.
Mrs. Smith’s information completely changes Anne’s regard for Mr. Elliot; all of his admiration and recommendations no longer hold any sway on her sympathies and gratitude.
The next morning, Charles and Mary arrive in a surprise visit. Several of the Musgroves are in town to buy Henrietta wedding clothes. Anne talks with Charles about what a blessing it must be to have parents who are more concerned about their children’s happiness than personal ambition in spousal choice.
While Austen makes it clear that there are many facets of a compatible and good marriage, she also affirms the importance of family support: parental approval poses a real challenge or encouragement to young couples.
Anne spends the afternoon with the Musgroves. Mary and Charles argue over their plans for the evening; Charles wants to see a play, but Mary wants to attend her father’s party and meet the Dalrymples and Mr. Elliot. Anne remarks that she would much prefer the play over the party, which Captain Wentworth overhears. Sir Walter and Elizabeth arrive to extend their invitation to the Musgroves and Captain Wentworth, before returning home to make party preparations. It is decided that they will all attend the evening party.
The argument between Mary and Charles serves to contrast the values of the Elliots and the Musgroves: Mary is more concerned about social climbing and connection, while Charles finds the prospect of an evening with aristocracy dull. Anne continues to carefully regulate her behavior in an attempt to hint to Captain Wentworth regarding her true feelings, as she supports Charles’s inclination and distaste for the Elliots.