Volume 1, Chapter 5

Synopsis of Volume 1, Chapter 5

Sir Walter and Elizabeth meet with the Crofts. They find one another very agreeable, and come to an easy accord with the terms of the lease.

Mary is ill in bedAlthough Lady Russell would prefer it otherwise, Anne decides to travel with her father and Elizabeth to Bath at Michaelmas. However, her hypochondriac sister Mary then demands that Anne stay behind with her at Uppercross Cottage as she feels unwell.

Lady Russell discovers to her horror that, in Anne's absence, Elizabeth will rely on Mrs Clay to accompany her to Bath. Anne worries that Mrs. Clay has plans to ensnare her father, and tries unsuccessfully to warn Elizabeth.

Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Mrs. Clay duly leave for Bath. Anne goes to Uppercross to look after Mary, who makes a rapid recovery. We hear more about the likeable and down-to-earth Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove, and their daughters Henrietta and Louisa who are similarly pleasant and light-hearted.

Commentary on Volume 1, Chapter 5

This indenture sheweth Wording of the written contract between the two parties.

set the Thames on fire An idiom used to describe someone of great distinction. Using it in the negative, Admiral Croft is saying that he finds Sir Walter unremarkable.

Michaelmas The full title of this Christian feast day is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels. It was celebrated on September 29th, in honour of the Archangel Michael. It was one of the four quarter-days in the year when rent payments were due. Michaelmas marked the end of the harvest and the end of the agricultural year, and was a time when farms and land formally changed hands. In Persuasion it marks the change that is about to befall the Elliot family.

Anne, glad to be thought of some use, glad to have any thing marked out as a duty Anne's keen sense of duty and desire to be useful is an important part of her character which functions prominently in her decision-making.

Reverse Misfortune, disaster. 

Reprobates Condemns. This is a strong word for Elizabeth to use to describe Mrs. Clay's position on social inequality.

The last office of the four carriage-horses Keeping the four horses to draw the chaise was a big expense that Sir Walter can no longer afford, so their journey to Bath will be the last time they are used.

viranda An archaic spelling of the word veranda, meaning a large, decorative porch or gallery on the front of a house. The porch is a showy addition to the house, meant to draw attention to the owners and to indicate their fashionability.

going to almost every house in the parish, as a sort of take-leave Anne is willing to undertake the responsibilities that were expected of a land-owning family, where her father and Elizabeth were not.

‘Oh! But they ought to call upon you as soon as possible. They ought to feel what is due to you as my sister As the daughter of a baronet, Mary is socially superior to her husband's relatives, the Musgroves, and as a married woman she takes precedence over Anne, therefore the Musgroves should be the first to pay a visit. The pettiness of letting this convention affect visits between good friends (even when they are not social equals) is expressed through Anne's response to ‘standing on ceremony'.

Investigating Volume 1, Chapter 5

  • Jane Austen does not typically provide much description of the settings for her stories, but in this chapter there are several important descriptions. How and why are the city of Bath and the countryside contrasted?
  • Re-read the description of Uppercross Cottage.
    • What is the significance of Anne's change of location from Kellynch Hall to Uppercross Cottage?
    • What does the state of Mary's drawing room say about her?
    • What does the state of the Musgroves' parlour say about them?
  • The sub-plot, of Mrs. Clay's possible design to attract Sir Walter, advances with Mrs. Clay accompanying Sir Walter and Elizabeth to Bath. Lady Russell and Anne's opinion of Mrs. Clay's intentions is quite different from Elizabeth's. Why is this?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.