Wentworth Wednesday

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 anyone’s guess.

There is no romantic close.

I suppose it’s no one’s fault. I am the child of the movies and so I expect to go out on a high. There are no intimate, sensual words whispered by a roaring fire. No exciting moment of joy where Frederick takes her in his arms and they kiss under a tree. There is no sigh of satisfaction as the screen fades to black.

I am also a child of the 70s where the myth of Happily Ever After was exploded in favor of the Ambiguous Ending, or Happily For Now. Unfortunately, Jane Austen didn’t even give me that.

Here is the last line of Persuasion: “She gloried in being a sailor’s wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.”

Okay, I do sigh, but not in a good way.

This is why I have decided that when I read Persuasion next, I am ending with Chapter 23.

The last scene of Chapter 23 is the evening party at Camden Place. Anne and Frederick are admiring some of Elizabeth’s house plants. All the loose ends are waving in the breeze, but we don’t care because they are secretly re-engaged and sneaking in a tete-a-tete right under everyone’s noses. Anne is still glowing from the walk on the gravel path, while Frederick is still contrite about his mistakes over the past several months. It is perfecto!

Here is now—for me anyway—the new last lines of Persuasion: “Like other great men under reverses,” he added with a smile, “I must endeavor to subdue my mind to my fortunes. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”

kiss

Anne smiles and leans into him. The voices of the party come up. The music rises. Camera fades to black.

Finis.

Now that’s a Happily Ever After I can sigh over.

Thank you for sticking with me through Wentworth Wednesdays. Let me know what you think about my having the temerity to change Austen.

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Wentworth Wednesday

Chapter 10, part 2

“Yes; he had done it.  She was in the carriage, and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it, that she owed it to his perception of her fatigue, and his resolution to give her rest.  She was very much affected by the view of his disposition towards her, which all these things made apparent.  This little circumstance seemed the completion of all that had gone before.  She understood him.  He could not forgive her, but he could not be unfeeling.  Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with high and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer, without the desire of giving her relief.  It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.”

FW_and_Anne_Winthrop

“…pure, though unacknowledged friendship…” This is the second instance where Wentworth has stepped in and given Anne relief from an uncomfortable situation. (The first being in Chapter 9, when he rescues her from Little Walter, Oppressor of the Cottage and All Lands Beyond.)

 Anne makes a mistake here, I think. She believes that even as he is becoming “attached to another” Frederick can’t see her suffer and wants to give her relief. At their first dinner together at Uppercross, she lamented how distant they have become, and how in the past, they were so like-minded and into each other, even in company. I think she’s torn between seeing that he is not in love and presuming that it will eventually happen.

 If Frederick Wentworth is truly falling for Louisa, how can he even notice Anne at this point? The walk to Winthrop clears the romantic decks of the tiresome Charles Hayter, and assures smooth sailing for the couple.

 The party meets the Crofts out-and-about, the Crofts offer any of the ladies a ride, and all refuse. The group crosses the road and has to use a stile so they might cross the next field. In my mind I see Wentworth crossing over first to help the ladies. The text says: “…and the admiral was putting his horse into motion again, when Captain Wentworth cleared the hedge in a moment to say something to his sister.” I envision him handing over one of the girls and he can’t help noticing Anne is tired to the bone. Being the manly hero, he jumps the hedge back to the lane and sees she’s looked after.

 I know thinking of him doing an Errol Flynn is overly romantic, but Frederick does care about Anne. These small acts show he observes her and her needs. Frederick breaking away, leaving the object of his supposed growing affection, to make sure a tired Anne has a ride home is not the behavior of a dewy-eyed lover. These are the actions of a man fighting to understand himself.

Welcome to Wentworth Wednesday

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.'”

Persuasion_609
It’s not a grove at Kellynch but we have a long way to go and this may keep us in hope.