Persuasion

The protagonist of the novel, Anne Elliot is the sensible, gentle, and capable middle daughter of the aristocratic Elliot family at Kellynch Hall. Unlike her vain and spendthrift father, she possesses a calm mind and kind heart resembling her deceased mother. She is often overlooked by her superficial father and sister, who prize beauty, wealth, and blood above subtler character graces. While Anne also possesses a sense of family pride, it is moderated by her recognition of the deeper dignity of integrity, honor, and charity. Though Anne harbors a steadfast and passionate love for Captain Wentworth, she yields to the persuasion of her mentor and friend, Lady Russell, prioritizing duty and prudence in breaking off the engagement with her beloved. She poses a mature, compassionate, and levelheaded contrast to the younger Musgrove daughters, as she balances the humble consideration of others’ feelings and advice with her own dedication to principle, practicality, and duty.

Anne Elliot Quotes in Persuasion

The Persuasion quotes below are all either spoken by Anne Elliot or refer to Anne Elliot. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Persuasion published in 1997.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in that profession; would be, indeed, a throwing away, which [Lady Russell] grieved to think of! . . . It must not be, if by any fair interference of friendship, any representations from one who had almost a mother’s love, and mother’s rights, it would be prevented.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Lady Russell
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful interest had reached its close, and time had softened down much, perhaps nearly all of peculiar attachment to him,--but she had been too dependent on time alone; no aid had been given in change of place . . . or in any novelty or enlargement of society.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anne, at seven and twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen.—She did not blame Lady Russell, she did not blame herself for having been guided by her; but she felt that were any young person, in similar circumstances, to apply to her for counsel, they would never receive any of such certain immediate wretchedness, such uncertain future good. . . . She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older—the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Lady Russell
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove were a very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated and not at all elegant. . . . Anne always contemplated them as some of the happiest creatures of her acquaintance; but still, saved as we all are by some comfortable feelings of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange, she would not have given up her own more elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments; and envied them nothing but that seemingly perfect good understanding and agreement together, that good-humoured mutual affection, of which she had known so little herself with either of her sisters.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Mr. & Mrs. Musgrove
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross, to learn that a removal from one set of people to another, though at a distance of only three miles, will often include a total change of conversation, opinion, and idea. She had never been staying there before, without being struck by it, or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in seeing how unknown, or unconsidered there, were the affairs which at Kellynch-hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading interest.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot
Related Symbols: Kellynch Hall
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

O; the years which had destroyed [Anne’s] youth and bloom had only given [Captain Wentworth] a more glowing, manly, open look, in no respect lessoning his personal advantages. . . . It was now his object to marry. He was rich, and being turned on shore, fully intended to settle as soon as he could be properly tempted; actually looing round, ready to fall in love with all the speed which a clear head and quick taste could allow.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Captain Wentworth had not forgiven Anne Elliot. She had used him ill; deserted and disappointed him; and worse, she had shewn a feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others. It had been the effect of over-persuasion. It had been weakness and timidity.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

Once so much to each other! Now nothing! . . . With the exception of Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could allow no other exception even among the married couples) there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

Yes—he had done it. She was in the carriage, and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she owed it to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to giver her rest. . . . It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impulse pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded with pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

It was evident that the gentleman admired her exceedingly. Captain Wentworth looked round at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it. He gave her a momentary glance,—a glance of brightness, which seemed to say, “That man is struck with you,—and even I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again.”

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth, Mr. William Elliot
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him, that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel, that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness, as a very resolute character.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

[Anne] might not wonder, but she must sigh that her father should feel no degradation in his change; should see nothing to regret in the duties and dignity of the resident land-holder; should find so much to be vain of in the littleness of a town; and she must sigh, and smile, and wonder too, as Elizabeth threw open the folding-doors and walked with exultation from one drawing-room to the other, boasting of their space, at the possibility of that woman, who had been mistress of Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of between two walls, perhaps thirty feet asunder.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Sir Walter Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot
Related Symbols: Kellynch Hall
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

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[Mr. Elliot] was quite as good-looking as he had appeared at Lyme, his countenance improved by speaking, and his manners were so exactly what they ought to be, so polished, so easy, so particularly agreeable, that she could compare them in excellence to only one person’s manners. . . . There could be no doubt of his being a sensible man. Ten minutes were enough to certify that. His tone, his expressions, his choice of subject, his knowing where to stop—it was all the operation of a sensible, discerning mind.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Mr. William Elliot
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot (speaker), Mr. William Elliot
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

A submissive spirit might be patient, a strong understanding would supply resolution, but here was something more; here was that elasticity of mind, that disposition to be comforted, that power of turning readily from evil to good, and of finding employment which carried her out of herself, which was from Nature alone. It was the choicest gift of Heaven; and Anne viewed her friend as one of those instances in which, by a merciful appointment, it seems designed to counterbalance almost every other want.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Smith
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished—but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable . . . She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped. Mr. Elliot was too generally agreeable.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Mr. William Elliot
Page Number: 118-119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

We [women] certainly do not forget you, so soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions. . . . All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot (speaker), Captain and Mrs. Harville
Page Number: 173-175
Explanation and Analysis:

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There [Anne and Captain Wentowrth] returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other’s character, truth, and attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot, Captain Frederick Wentworth
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

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If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot (speaker)
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

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I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my conscience. I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I mistake not, a strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman’s portion.

Related Characters: Anne Elliot (speaker), Lady Russell
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anne Elliot Character Timeline in Persuasion

The timeline below shows where the character Anne Elliot appears in Persuasion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...includes his own lineage. His own wife bore him three daughters before passing away: Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary respectively. (full context)
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...helped Sir Walter to raise his daughters. Elizabeth is beautiful and vain, her father’s favorite; Anne has her mother’s elegance of mind and sweetness of character, appreciated by Lady Russell, though... (full context)
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...for enhancing his family’s importance through a suitable marriage rest on Elizabeth, as he deems Anne’s beauty to have faded and Mary’s marriage to have “given all the honour, and received... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...good sense and honesty, as she attempts to persuade him to a more modest budget. Anne feels their spending should be cut even further; she is less concerned with aristocratic displays... (full context)
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Lady Russell heartily approves this relocation. Although Anne dislikes Bath, Lady Russell feels that it will be good for the family financially. She... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...is authorized to arrange the deal, and Elizabeth is pleased at the prospect of Bath. Anne departs with the anticipation that she may soon see her first love. (full context)
Chapter 4
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Captain Frederick Wentworth, Mr. Wentworth’s brother, is the subject of Anne’s anticipation; he lived in Monkford in 1806, seven years earlier when he and Anne were... (full context)
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Anne and Captain Wentworth planned to marry, but Sir Walter and Lady Russell considered the alliance... (full context)
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Seven years later, Anne has had no second attachment (although Charles Musgrove proposed to her before marrying her sister... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Mary complains that she is feeling unwell and Anne must stay with her at Uppercross Cottage, instead of heading straight to Bath with Sir... (full context)
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...is displeased that Mrs. Clay plans to travel to Bath with Sir Walter and Elizabeth; Anne also worries that Mrs. Clay’s persistent flattery may induce Sir Walter to take her as... (full context)
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When Anne visits Mary, she finds her in a sour mood. Mary is prone to self-pity, complaining... (full context)
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...Louisa are nineteen and twenty, newly returned from school at Exeter, and several young children. Anne regards their family as some of the happiest people she knows for their good-humored mutual... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Anne is struck again by how dramatically the concerns of the Musgroves differ from the Elliots;... (full context)
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Anne is well-liked by the Musgroves. The children respect her more than their mother, and all... (full context)
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The first weeks of Anne’s visit pass pleasantly in neighborhood visits and dinner parties, as the Musgroves are very popular.... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Anne feels very anxious about seeing Captain Wentworth again after so many years. However, the day... (full context)
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...stay at home to care for the boy and miss out on meeting Captain Wentworth. Anne offers to stay at home with the boy herself, and Mary delightedly departs. (full context)
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...calls on Mary the following morning, before leaving to hunt with Charles. He briefly acknowledges Anne’s presence and is gone. Later, she learns from Mary that he told Henrietta he thought... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth, for his part, has not forgiven Anne; he was deeply attached to her, and believed her actions in breaking the engagement to... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Captain Wentworth and Anne see each other frequently at dinners and other meetings, as they are now in the... (full context)
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The evening ends with dancing and music. Anne plays at the piano, her eyes occasionally tearing with emotion. Everyone is having a delightful... (full context)
Chapter 9
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One morning, Captain Wentworth inadvertently finds himself alone with Anne and the little invalid child while looking for Henrietta and Louisa. The two are unsettled;... (full context)
Chapter 10
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After further observation, Anne believes that Captain Wentworth is in love with neither Henrietta nor Louisa. They are more... (full context)
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...for a long walk. Mary insists on joining them, though her presence is clearly unwelcome; Anne joins as well with the intention of tempering the situation. They run into Charles Musgrove... (full context)
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...satisfied with sitting still, as she is convinced that Louisa has found a better spot; Anne takes the opportunity to rest behind a shrub. (full context)
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Anne overhears Louisa telling Captain Wentworth that she encouraged Henrietta to visit Charles Hayter, though Henrietta... (full context)
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As they walk away, Louisa tells Captain Wentworth that she wishes her brother had married Anne instead of the snobbish Mary. He inquires interestedly in the affair, learning that Anne refused... (full context)
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...into Admiral and Mrs. Croft in their carriage. Captain Wentworth arranges for them to give Anne a lift, displaying a touching and gallant sensitivity to her fatigue. She receives it as... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Just as Anne anticipates visiting Lady Russell, Captain Wentworth returns from a visit with friends at Lyme with... (full context)
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...Mrs. Harville’s sister, excites the others’ sympathy. Although melancholy and reserved at first, he and Anne form a friendship over poetry. Anne recommends prose reading and encourages him to fortitude; she... (full context)
Chapter 12
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The next day, Anne and Henrietta go for an early morning walk. They amiably discuss the local affairs and... (full context)
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At the inn, Anne discovers that the admiring gentleman is also staying at their inn. Captain Wentworth inquires as... (full context)
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The entire company goes for an afternoon stroll along the seaside. Captain Benwick converses with Anne; Captain Harville later praises her for her help in rejuvenating his widower friend. Louisa is... (full context)
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...is decided that Louisa will stay with the Harvilles to recover under the care of Anne, and Captain Wentworth, Henrietta, and Mary will report the accident to the Musgroves. However, Mary... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth is deeply grieved and blames himself for giving way to Louisa’s foolish determination. Anne wonders if he now reconsiders the virtue of unwavering resolution, if he might realize that... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...slowly under the capable Mrs. Harville’s care. Various family friends bring updates of her health. Anne makes herself helpful around the distressed Uppercross household, and after persuading the entire Musgrove family... (full context)
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Anne leaves Uppercross with mixed feelings; it has been a place of some reconciliation and friendship,... (full context)
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Lady Russell and Anne call on Mrs. Croft. Though Anne is pained to have her home occupied by others,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...remain at Lyme to nurse Louisa, who is rapidly improving and is expected home soon. Anne dreads joining her sister and father in Bath, but learns from Elizabeth the intriguing news... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...with unexpected warmth, though they display little interest in the affairs of Uppercross or Kellynch. Anne wonders that their vanities are so satisfied by the cheap thrills of a small town,... (full context)
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Anne wonders at his efforts for reconciliation, guessing it may be for Elizabeth’s sake. Mrs. Clay... (full context)
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Just then, Mr. Elliot visits. Anne is shyly amused and pleased to find him as admiring of her as ever; he... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Sir Walter and Elizabeth insist that Mrs. Clay continue to stay with them even after Anne’s arrival, increasing Anne’s concern about the development of an attachment between her father and Mrs.... (full context)
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Despite their regard for each other, Anne and Mr. Elliot do not always agree. When Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, their estranged... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Anne renews her acquaintance with a former school friend, Miss Hamilton. Lately widowed, the now Mrs.... (full context)
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The twelve years since they last saw each other have transformed Anne from a blooming, silent girl to an elegant woman with gentle and kind manners, while... (full context)
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When Anne turns down a dinner invitation with the Dalrymples because of a previously arranged visit to... (full context)
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Lady Russell later reports to Anne that Mr. Elliot displayed the highest regard for her during dinner. He finds her a... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...in Bath as they please, but they dutifully take up their connection with the Elliots. Anne sees them regularly, and she often observes them taking daily walks and sharing in everything... (full context)
Chapter 19
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One day, Anne goes out with Elizabeth, Mrs. Clay, and Mr. Elliot. Because of rain, it is decided... (full context)
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For her own part, Anne cannot understand Captain Wentworth’s feelings—whether he suffers over Louisa. The next day, Lady Russell pretends... (full context)
Chapter 20
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At the concert, Captain Wentworth greets Anne and the two speak. To Anne’s gratification, Sir Walter and Elizabeth acknowledge their acquaintance. Captain... (full context)
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Anne experiences some dismay at these hints, but she is mainly preoccupied with Captain Wentworth and... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Anne visits Mrs. Smith, reflecting along the way on Mr. Elliot’s attentions with gratitude and regret.... (full context)
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...the intention of keeping Mrs. Clay from Sir Walter. While he was truly impressed with Anne, their marriage also figures in his schemes as he wants to write into their marriage... (full context)
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Anne shudders to think that Lady Russell might have persuaded her into marrying Mr. Elliot. She... (full context)
Chapter 22
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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Anne spends the afternoon with the Musgroves. Mary and Charles argue over their plans for the... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Anne spends the day with the Musgroves. Mrs. Musgrove and Mrs. Croft discuss the evils of... (full context)
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...depart to mail his letter. However, Captain Wentworth returns a moment later to hastily slip Anne a note. Upon reading it, she finds a declaration of love: Captain Wentworth had indeed... (full context)
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Anne is overwhelmed with emotion. The others fret that she is unwell, and Charles insists on... (full context)
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Despite his determination to forget Anne, Captain Wentworth has loved her all along. Though he flirted with Louisa out of angry... (full context)
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Captain Wentworth recounts the ecstasy and agony of seeing Anne at Bath, where he went immediately in the hopes of winning her back. He was... (full context)
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At home, Anne reflects with wonder and gratitude at the turn of events. That evening at the party,... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...compares the determination of young couples to marry against all odds with the advantages of Anne and Captain Wentworth, who possess maturity of mind, consciousness of right, and independence of fortune.... (full context)
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While Anne regrets that she has few connections of real merit in friends and family to offer... (full context)
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Anne and Captain Wentworth enjoy a happy marriage; her tenderness is met in his affection. She... (full context)