Wentworth Wednesday

Yeah, I’m a nervy old bat, changing Austen to suit myself. Here goes:

Susan Kaye, Writer

BeFunky_Stenciler_1This is the last entry to Wentworth Wednesday. It’s taken me a while to figure out what to write, because, frankly, the last chapter of Persuasion is meh. Boring even.

The last chapter does the perfunctory job of tying up loose ends. We are told Sir Walter comes to think more highly of Frederick and so does Lady Russell. We find out that William Elliot takes off for London and that Penelope Clay eventually joins him. Mary takes credit for having Anne stay with her over the autumn, and thus making the reunion possible. Mrs Smith is also credited and is rewarded when Frederick helps resolve her husband’s estate. Ho-hum.

The most exciting thing we learn is the somewhere along the way Anne acquires a landaulette. It was a sassy little conveyance for its time, but we don’t even know what color it is. And what Frederick is doing is…

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3 thoughts on “Wentworth Wednesday

    1. Laura Hile

      Agreed. To be fair, I need to remember that Jane never had a chance to polish up that manuscript–there were two endings, as I recall.

      That’s the trouble with post-humous publication…

      My “first endings” are never very good.

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  1. Susan Kaye Post author

    The other version is how they reconcile, not the ending of the novel. The drip, drip, drip away Chapter 24 is the ending for both versions. And, as you said, Laura, to be fair to Jane, this was the style of the time. Jane Eyre ends much the same way, with a sort of rambling and unnecessary epilogue.

    In the original, “cancelled chapter,” Anne is just leaving Mrs. Smith’s and fretting about how she will get rid of Mr. Elliot. She meets Admiral Croft and he insists she come to Gay Street to see Sophy. This chapter includes the misinformation of her being engaged to Mr. Elliot and that the Crofts will quit the lease of Kellynch if they want to live there. She tells him the rumor isn’t true and they reunite. Anne stays for dinner and through the evening until 10 o’clock. She then goes home and, “lie(s) awake the remainer, to comprehend with composure her present state, and pay for the overplus of bliss by headache and fatigue.” After that romantic end to the evening comes what is now Chapter 24, or the Petering Out of Persuasion.

    Thanks to the writing gods that Austen did go back and rewrite what are now Chapters 22 and 23. If she hadn’t, we would not have THE LETTER.

    All great writing is rewriting, but it’s also knowing when to jettison the info dump in favor of a sigh-worthy, satisfying ending.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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