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Persuasion

Jane Austen

Chapters 13–14

Chapters 11–12

Chapters 15–16

Summary

Chapter 13

Louisa's health continues to slowly improve at Lyme, and family friends bring constant updates of her condition to the Musgroves at Uppercross. Anne decides to leave Uppercross to stay with Lady Russell. The Musgroves go to Lyme to visit Louisa and to help Mrs. Harville with her own children while she is caring for their daughter.

Lady Russell comes in her carriage to collect Anne, and conversation between them is initially strained; Anne finds it hard to place importance on any of the normal events that Lady Russell is concerned about. Lady Russell finds Anne much improved in her plumpness and good looks. Anne is pleased by Lady Russel's evaluation. Anne tells Lady Russell about Captain Wentworth's attachment to Louisa Musgrove.

Lady Russell and Anne pay a visit to Mrs. Croft at Kellynch, and it pains Anne to see someone else occupying her house, though she likes the Crofts exceedingly. Admiral Croft, sensitive to her feelings, offers Anne the freedom to look about the house as much as she desires. She is grateful, but declines his offer. He mentions some of the small improvements he has happily made around Kellynch: fixing a creaky laundry door and having some of the numerous mirrors removed from Sir Walter's dressing room. He finds two small mirrors quite sufficient for himself.

The Crofts mention Captain Wentworth and how he has complimented Anne. He finds her exertions and aid to the Musgroves very admirable. Anne is flattered by this praise. The Crofts mention that they will be leaving Kellynch to go to the country and then to Bath for a few weeks. Anne is relieved, but a little disappointed, since this means she has little chance of seeing Captain Wentworth in the coming weeks.

Chapter 14

Charles and Mary finally return from Lyme. They pay a visit to Anne and Lady Russell to report that Louisa is now able to sit up, although her head is still very weak. Mary says she really enjoyed her two-week stay in Lyme; she had gone to church, bathed, dined nightly, and taken numerous books from the library. Her time was not limited by any nursing to Louisa.

Anne asks how Captain Benwick is doing, and Charles merely laughs. He thinks Captain Benwick is romantically interested in his sister-in-law. He tells Anne how highly the Captain speaks of her. Mary disagrees; she does not think Captain Benwick worthy of, or interested in, her sister. Lady Russell is amused and declares that she must see Captain Benwick for herself before she can form an opinion of him. There is a rumor that Benwick will soon ride over to Kellynch to see Anne, but he does not come, and Lady Russell dismisses him as not worth her interest.

The Musgroves return to Uppercross to care for their own younger children as well as those of the Harvilles. Lady Russell and Anne go to visit them at Uppercross. The narrator describes the strong contrast between the Musgrove house that they now see and the one of a few weeks ago. This household is filled with children, food, light, and activity, whereas only a few weeks ago the home was depressed by the thought of the family's sick daughter. Louisa is now recovering quickly and they expect her to be home soon.

Anne does not look forward to joining her father and sister in Bath; she dislikes the large, disagreeable buildings and the feel of the city. Anne receives a letter from Elizabeth reporting that their cousin, Mr. Elliot, is in Bath. He has come to visit Sir Walter, been forgiven, and is once again accepted into the company of his uncle and cousins. Anne and Lady Russell both desire to see Mr. Elliot. They make the journey to Bath.

Analysis

These chapters reflect on past occurrences describe the characters of Mary, Lady Russell, and the Musgroves. Austen contrasts the traits of various characters in these chapters. In the conversation with the Crofts, the differences between Admiral Croft and Sir Walter Elliot become evident. Admiral Croft thinks it silly to have so many mirrors constantly around him in the dressing room. He is a man of relatively simple tastes, and his comments allow the reader to see the silliness and vanity of Sir Walter. Similarly, Anne contrasts the animated and friendly Musgrove home with its formerly depressed state. Visiting such a bustling place, in which she is so warmly welcomed, heightens the contrast she fears awaits her in the coldness of Bath.

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