“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.”
It’s funny to read this because Anne is not an open person. In my opinion, one of Anne’s best lines in all of Persuasion is here in Chapter 17: “She left it to himself to recollect, that Mrs Smith was not the only widow in Bath between thirty and forty, with little to live on, and no surname of dignity.” In the adaptation, she says it at the breakfast table. In the novel, she keeps the thought to herself. No doubt, Mr Elliot would enjoy it. So would Frederick. The point is, Anne admires what she doesn’t have. She admires Frederick and I’m sure all those dinners around the Musgrove’s table were difficult when she was supposed to be the maiden sister, straight and proper, while Frederick is telling rollicking stories of eclectic people and places.
“This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable.”
Mr Elliot’s being controlled and polished was a deal-breaker. Her impressions of the perfect man were too deep. Frederick is in her mind. He is the epitome of manhood. And while that sounds almost pornographic, I’m sure you understand what I mean. Most of us have someone in our past who is that perfect someone. In most novels, when the parted lovers meet again, one or the other of them has changed beyond recognition … wait, Frederick said she had. Anyway, the stereotype is that the one has changed so completely that the other flicks sweat from their brow and sighs in relief that they didn’t get stuck with the lummox. In Anne’s case, she met the same man. He was still handsome, intelligent, witty, and charismatic. No thinning hair, no paunch, no bad marriage to make him bad-tempered.
“She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. 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.”
I have to agree with Anne. I trust people who put their foot in it now and again far more than I trust the smooth types who guide the conversation and are always under control. When you know someone like that, you can comfort yourself with the notion that they won’t do that to you. Well, they haven’t done it to you yet.
This also tells me why Anne understood, and quickly forgave, Frederick’s carelessness concerning Louisa Musgrove. She can trust his human frailty. The shrewd manner of Mr Elliot is another matter altogether.
What do you trust in love? For me, it’s acceptance. My husband accepts me more fully than anyone I know. He knows me, all the emotional tangles of my life, and still he stays. He’s never tried to change me and that is a mystery as I thought of him as one big DIY project for the first 15 years of our marriage.
I hope all of you have someone who gives you what you need in love.
♥Happy Valentine’s Day.♥