IN this chapter, Anne continues to watch her family. Mrs Clay is toeing the ground, making noises as if she should leave, “now that Miss Anne was come she could not suppose herself at all wanted;” and Elizabeth gives that answer that epitomizes sisterly love: “…I assure you I feel it none. She is nothing to me compared to you;”
Warms your cockles doesn’t it? Makes you wonder why Anne didn’t jump off the Cobb and beat Louisa to the punch.
This is the chapter that calls Sir Walter’s eyesight into question when he tells Anne that the constant use of Gowland’s lotion carried away Mrs Clay’s freckles. Obviously, the constant use of Gowland’s induces hallucinations. But it’s a great scene in the 1995 movie.
Mr Elliot is also the subject of this chapter. His unhappy marriage is confirmed by Col Wallis and Lady Russell begins hinting that he may be interested in Anne.
Not Elizabeth? Shocking!
Talk of Lyme comes up between them. He wants to see it again, see more of it, just like Anne. If this were a heist movie, Anne would be the mark and Elliot the conman. Though, things in Bath must be pretty dull as, “They went through the particulars of their first meeting a great many times.” I have a short attention span and reliving that one meeting sounds pretty tedious to me.
Endless, boring conversation about Lyme aside, we then come to this line: “He gave her to understand that he had looked at her with some earnestness. She knew it well; and she remembered another person’s look also.”
That look was Frederick’s even-I-see-something-of-Anne-Elliot-again comment from Chapter 12, Adventuring in Lyme Regis, A Guide to Falling in Love, or Just Plain Falling.
Anne is on the horns of a dilemma here. She still loves him, but Frederick is lost to her. He’s gone back to Lyme with no intentions of leaving. Anne fills in the blank with “until Louisa is well and we can marry.” She knows that keeping him in her heart had stopped her from moving on in the past, and she’s closer to those dangerous years now than ever before. There are choices she never had before. Here stands a man who is acceptable, tolerable, and practically spelling out his intentions.
Tempting, but, something’s not right.
Frederick may be out of Anne’s grasp. He may be relegated to one line in this new chapter of her life, but he is still serving a purpose.
Eenie meenie miney moe. Tick tock.