Throwback Thursday is defined by Know Your Meme© as: “… an Internet theme day observed on every Thursday during which people share an old photograph of themselves via social networking sites and image-sharing communities, most notably through photo-sharing mobile app Instagram.”
In my case I’ve only used it a couple of times and that was to put up embarrassingly old photos of other people. Anyway, I thought it would be good to play around with a new theme I’m — as you see above — calling, Wentworth Wednesday.
This will be a limited run meme of quoted text either about or by Frederick Wentworth from each of the 24 chapters of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. There is no limit on length of quotes, and I make no guarantees about the how harsh or kind I may be with my own comments. I really make no promises about the comments of others. The Best Boyfriend realm of the Austenverse is a tough place and that “Henry Tilney Forever” crowd can be brutal on the older guys. On top of that, each Austen hero comes preloaded with greatness and glitches aplenty on which to feast. And we fans do plenty of it.
I will also post a screen cap from the 1995 version of Persuasion starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. I hear there are other versions with other men portraying Wentworth. Here in SUSAN KAYE’S CORNER OF THE VERSE that is only a rumor and until I get confirmation, I’m sticking with the classic.
One of the pleasure of declaring your own meme is that you get to put things together the way you like best, and Jane said we all like that. Unfortunately, Jane didn’t cooperate with my meme as she didn’t even give Frederick a mention until Chapter 3. And even Chapter 3’s mention comes in the last sentence and is ambiguous at best. Ah, the life of a pioneer.
So, here we go with the first Wentworth Wednesday:
Chapter 3, Persuasion
“Mr Shepherd was completely empowered to act; and no sooner had such an end been reached, than Anne, who had been a most attentive listener to the whole, left the room, to seek the comfort of cool air for her flushed cheeks; and as she walked along a favourite grove, said, with a gentle sigh, ‘A few months more, and he, perhaps, may be walking here.'”
Time gets away from you when you’re busy and depressed. I haven’t posted her since early April and it shows.
A Plan of His Own Making is majorly stalled and so I’ve hauled out A Word, A Look again. The 2.0 version. This will be the third in the Frederick Wentworth, Captain trilogy. This poor “trilogy” has been hanging for years. When people don’t need or know they want something, creating it is less the vital. Now, if it could cure cancer …
Anyway, the story starts with Anne and Frederick returning to Bath from Gretna Green to find Camden Place (Anne’s family’s home), stuffed with guests for a party. So much for worrying about Sir Walter’s opinion about the elopement. The guy is partying heartily.
Here’s a bit of it:
McGillvary drew Frederick off to a corner. “You look like you just took cannon fire, brother. Might this warm welcome be a surprise?”
“You know it is. Anne has been stewing for hundreds of miles about the reception we’d have from the Baronet, and how the gossips would surely have rendered my name utterly worthless. This does not seem to be the case.”
Patrick smiled again and lifted his glass. “While you have been enjoying the fruits of marriage, your sister-in-law and I have been busy as bees.”
“You and Miss Elliot?”
“Oh yes. Let’s take a seat.”
“I have to see to a few things before I can be off.”
“An explanation won’t take much time.” He directed Wentworth to a recently abandoned alcove. “When you left it to me to tell everyone at the engagement party about your elopement, you left me in a touchy situation.”
“You volunteered as I recall.”
“We can argue the details later, brother. Anywise, when the announcement was made, pandemonium broke out. Of course the old man was in a towering rage.” He nodded towards the Baronet. “I have never seen a human being so close to exploding without the aid of a keg or two of powder. Anywise, the only people acting rationally were yours truly, Mrs Croft, and the Admiral.” He lifted his glass just slightly to someone in the crowd.
Frederick looked and saw Miss Elliot raise a brow and then her chin before giving Paddy the cut. Patrick had shown an interest in Miss Elliot early on and he supposed, despite a severe warning, his friend was pursuing her with gusto. He pitied McGillvary in that Miss Elliot seemed to have turned back his energy with a precise and thorough snubbing.
McGillvary touched Wentworth’s arm. “So, the three of us discussed how the landsmen were responding so poorly to the sudden change of plans when the Admiral said something of true genius.”
Admiral George Croft was a fine sailor, a good and loving husband to Frederick’s sister, Sophia, and a lively guest in any social situation. However, genius was not a trait Frederick normally attributed to him. “And what was this astonishing bit of wisdom?”
McGillvary smiled widely. “He observed the glaring hypocrisy that elopements in real life are scandalous in the eyes of particularly the more refined in our society. Yet, in the sorts of novels of which they seem so fond, an elopement is seen as quite romantic and courageous. And if there is danger added, so much the better.”
Frederick remarked it to be an interesting observation, and that he was not surprised at the admiral’s acuity in thought. “However, it seems to have little to do with what seems to be the good result I see here today.”
“Interesting indeed, I still wonder if dear old George gave it thought during the long watches at sea or might it be a new line of thinking sweeping India? Anyhow, it struck me as an excellent thought to whisper in all the right ears.”
Wentworth saw the connexion immediately. “How does Miss Elliot come into this?”
McGillvary straightened and drained his glass. “I knew this had the ability to darken just as deep the reputation of the Elliots if not managed properly. The following day I made a condolence call of sorts and during, took Miss Elliot aside and pointed out that while it was impossible to stop the flow of gossip, it might be possible to redirect it in a more wholesome direction.”
“All the while taking care to polish that crooked halo of yours. And, making father and daughter more and more indebted to you. Precisely what did you whisper all over the town concerning the elopement” In a case such as this, it was important to remember that Patrick McGillvary did nothing out of purely disinterested motives and barely for fraternal reasons. However, in this instance, his self-interest seemed to be just the thing needed to save Frederick and Anne.
“Oh that, it was simple. You were being snatched away by orders from the Crown and that the two of you were far too in love to leave things at loose ends. People gobbled it up. If only I could invent a recipe for a pudding so popular. I was a bit shocked how simple it was actually. The biggest problem was, at the start, the Baronet refused to be consoled. Being the clever boy I am, I gave it a few days for this new strain of yeast to affect the dough to my liking. Putting on my best frock, I saddled up my nicest pony and returned for another visit.” He took a glass of wine from a passing tray and drank.
Wentworth resisted the temptation to look at his watch. The story, while interesting and useful, was beginning to cut into the few minutes he had left. “And?” The present mood of the room and his father-in-law proved that McGillvary’s scheme had worked. But, Frederick wanted details. “How did you find things?”
There’s even a bedroom scene int he first 20 pages. Not bad for depressed and busy.
By far the favorite book in the Austen canon is Pride and Prejudice. Less than half as many readers cite one of the other main novels as their favorite when polled. I am one of those less than half. I do like P&P, I just don’t LOVELOVELOVE it as so many do.
The boy-meets-girl-he-doesn’t-really-like-but-comes-to-love-eventually story is pretty standard fare. And while the repartee between Darcy and Elizabeth is great, I’m a big fan of getting a second chance. That’s what Austen’s last novel, Persuasion is all about.
The original title of P&P was First Impressions. Were Austen to write Persuasion in this day, it would be called A Do Over.
Frederick and Anne met in the summer of 1806, gradually became acquainted and quickly fell in love. He proposed, she accepted. He went to her father, her father turned up his nose at a sailor wanting to marry into the august Elliot family. The family got to her and she broke the engagement. He told her off and shook the dust of Kellynch Hall from his boots. Persuasion has with great stuff Jerry Springer is all about, except with less chair throwing.
If you agree about Persuasion, or just loving one of the other Austen works leave a comment. If you are die-hard P&P fan, own it and be proud! And leave a comment.