Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 14

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 14

Charles and Mary return from Lyme, leaving Louisa there. While much improved, Louisa is still too frail to come home. Mary weighs the pros and cons of their time there and concludes the visit was enjoyable overall. Mary and Charles visit Anne and Lady Russell at Kellynch lodge. They have an extensive discussion about the merits of Captain Benwick and the effect that meeting Anne has had on him. Anne learns that Captain Wentworth is keeping his distance from Louisa as a precaution against interfering with her recovery. He hopes to visit Plymouth with Captain Benwick, who seems inclined to visit Kellynch instead. Although Anne and Lady Russell watch and hope for a visit from Captain Benwick, he doesn't come.

The Musgroves return to Uppercross to be with their younger children for the Christmas holidays. They bring the Harvilles' children with them. Filled with children, the older and younger Musgroves, Anne and Mrs. Russell, Uppercross is a hive of activity. Mrs. Musgrove finds the bustle of family activity restores her strength. Lady Russell finds it exhausting, and realises, as she and Anne go to see Sir Walter in Bath, that she is much better suited to its atmosphere. Anne, on the other hand, is regretful to have left Uppercross and Kellynch behind for Bath.

Elizabeth, Sir Walter and Lady Russell are excited to hear that Mr. Elliot is in Bath. Anne is more restrained in her anticipation of seeing him.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 14

Christmas holidays Britain was gradually recovering from Cromwell's ban on Christmas festivities (1647-1660). Family celebrations of the feast of Christmas were more common in the country than in the city during the Regency era, and did not really catch on in the city until after the release of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1843.

a struggle ... as to which should be most disinterested and hospitable Both the Harvilles and the Musgroves are selfless, interested only in being hospitable.

Charmouth The next town along the coast to the east of Lyme Regis.

more people to look at in the church at Lyme than at Uppercross: Clearly, Mary is not spending her time in church doing any soul-searching!

cutting up silk and gold paper … brawn and cold pies … a roaring Christmas fire These are the trappings typical of a country Christmas as Jane Austen would have experienced it. Sir Walter Scott's epic poem Marmion (1808) includes some similar elements.

Dray, photo by johnlp, available through Creative Commonsdrays Low, horse-drawn carts, used for transporting heavy loads.

pattens Raised wooden soles that were attached to the soles of shoes to lift them clear of the mud.

Rivers-street A well-to-do street in Bath, close to the centre of town and the Assembly Rooms.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 2 / 14
  • How is the Musgroves' generosity of spirit demonstrated by the way in which they treat the Harvilles?
  • What does Mary enjoy and dislike about her stay in Lyme?
    • How is Mary's focus on herself revealed by this?
  • How would you explain the altered attitude of Lady Russell, Sir Walter and Elizabeth to Mr. Elliot?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.