Persuasion Chapter 8 Volume 1

With Captain Wentworth a steady presence now, he and Anne can't avoid awkward meetings. Describe at least one of those meetings?

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From their first meeting (or re-meeting) forth, Anne and Captain Wentworth are constantly found within the same circle. Despite their past, they say little to each other beyond what “the commonest civility required” (42). Since the party at Uppercross has little knowledge of naval matters, the captain is often found explaining the details of life at sea. The young Miss Musgroves, in particular, listen to him very intently, reminding Anne of her younger self. One day, as captain recounts his adventures on his first ship, the Asp — and how he almost died at sea — Mrs. Musgrove is reminded of her deceased son Richard. She announces her regrets that Richard ever left Captain Wentworth. Although the captain “had probably been at some pains to get rid of him,” he suppresses his self-amusement and “showed the kindest consideration for all that was real and unabsurd in the parent’s feelings” (45).

The ensuing part of the evening is spent in discussion. Captain Wentworth is of the opinion that women should not be allowed on board ships — or at least his own ship — “from feeling how impossible it is, with all one’s efforts, and all one’s sacrifices, to make accommodations on board, such as women ought to have” (46). His sister disagrees, stating that she has found the best accommodations on men-of-war. While the captain maintains his position, Admiral Croft suggests that his ideas will change once he is married — an idea that the captain denies vehemently. Aside, Mrs. Croft assures Mrs. Musgrove that men-of-war are perfectly suitable to ladies, so long as husband and wife are together.

The evening ends in dancing, with the attentions of the young Miss Musgroves and Miss Hayters focused intently on Captain Wentworth. At one point, Anne senses that the captain may be observing her, or speaking of her. And once, he does speak to her: “I beg your pardon, madam, this is your set.” Anne finds his “cold politeness, his ceremonial grace. . . worse than anything” (49).