“Poor Frederick!” said he (ADM Croft) at last. “Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?”
Heck yeah, thought Anne.
The Crofts arrived in Bath at the beginning of February, bringing with them a letter from Mary, who spilled the beans about Louisa and Benwick marrying. Anne has plen-ty of time to meditate on what this.
She’s kind and gives the lovebirds every benefit of the doubt that they can be happy, that they will influence one another for the better. She also hopes that Wentworth has no ill-feelings towards his friend. Personally, I think all those thoughts are fear-based. Anne is just too hesitant to think he might turn in her direction now. I can’t help loving the lines earlier in the chapter: “No, it was not regret which made Anne’s heart beat in spite of herself, and brought colour to her cheeks when she thought of Captain Wentworth unshackled and free. She had some feelings which she was ashamed to investigate. They were too much like joy, senseless joy!”
It’s about time Anne just lets loose and feels hopeful.
Jane Austen makes it clear that the Croft’s marriage is one of the few good ones she writes about. There is talk in this chapter about them going everywhere together, and that he isn’t hesitant to include her in conversations with fellow officers they meet when they’re out walking.
I hope Anne let idle thoughts of her and Frederick being exactly the same take over while she was sewing or ignoring Sir Walter’s monologues on Bath’s lack of beauty.
About a week or ten days after their arrival, Anne finally meets Admiral Croft himself and he tells her what’s new with Frederick.
Admiral Croft is delightfully blind to what has been going on all these past weeks. The dear thinks that Frederick was courting Miss Louisa, and, now that she’s bespoke, it would be fruitless for him to return to Uppercross since the other Musgrove girl is taken. The man is terribly lucky. He thinks that men and women are a tab A, slot B proposition, and all they have to do to be happy is make an agreement. Oh, would that it were, Sir. I have to think that Sophy Croft has known a lot more that she kept to herself, and is probably very happy that Captain Benwick has stepped into the picture.
Anne surely walks away from this conversation more hopeful than she’s ever been. She was naive in the ’06 that her father would approve the marriage. Now, she’s older and wiser, and I think she’s ready to make a move. This is the third chance for these two and I doubt Anne Elliot is going to let it slip through her fingers.
All of us fail, occasionally, to take a leap of faith. Sometimes it’s in love, most of the time it’s just in pursuing a dream. Stand on the edge. Feel the rim of the canyon under your toes. Maybe the time to jump is now.