Volume 2, Chapter 3 / 15

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 3 / 15

Anne arrives at Sir Walter and Elizabeth's house in Camden Place and is surprised at their warm welcome until she realises it is due to excitement about their new surroundings and popularity. Anne perceives her father and sister's lack of regret at what brought them to Bath, and how poorly Camden Place compares to Kellynch.

Mr. Elliot has arrived in Bath. He has apologised and made excuses to Sir Walter and Elizabeth for his past neglect, as well as explaining the circumstances of his previous marriage. Anne is unsure about his excuses and apologies, yet notes his excellent manners and sensible demeanour. She hopes that his interest in Elizabeth is at the root of his efforts to be on good terms with her family and that he does not focus on her sister's shortcomings.

Sir Walter is impressed with Mr. Elliot's appearance and that of his friend, Colonel Wallis, which serves to affirm his own handsome appearance. Mr. Elliot arrives and is surprised to discover who Anne is. He is clearly interested in her and she enjoys his good manners, comparing them with Captain Wentworth's. Mr. Elliot's conversation focuses on Louisa's fate at Lyme and the visit passes quickly and pleasantly.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 3 / 15

her courtesies and smiles were more a matter of course As usual, Mrs. Clay's manners have more form than substance.

laying out for some compliments Sir Walter and Elizabeth are fishing for compliments about being missed in their old neighbourhood. The implication is that they weren't missed, and therefore Anne cannot oblige them with the compliment.

cards Visitors would leave a calling card if the person they were visiting was out or unavailable.

should find so much to be vain of Should find so many reasons to think well of himself.

an article not to be entered on by himself An issue not to be pried in to by himself (although Sir Walter is quite happy to get the information from another source).

a state of variance A distancing in the relationship.

too nice, or too observant Too particular, or too insightful. Anne is hoping that Mr. Elliot will either overlook or not perceive Elizabeth's deficiencies of character which may make her a less attractive marriage prospect.

under-hung A protruding lower jaw.

Pelisseconfinement Labour, childbirth, and the subsequent rest then deemed necessary, confined a woman to her bed for a month or so.

Anne was considering whether she should venture to suggest that a gown or a cap … misuse The gift of indoor clothing such as a cap and gown would be more likely to stop Mary going out than Sir Walter's proposed gifts of outdoor clothing (the pelisse was a shawl-like forerunner of the coat), and Anne is contemplating a remark to that effect.

she could compare them in excellence to only one person's manners That person is Captain Wentworth. Austen demonstrates how impressed Anne is with Mr. Elliot. She seems to be ignoring her own intuition (shown earlier in the chapter) that something is amiss regarding his sudden interest in being on intimate terms with her family.

The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the folly of what they have in view Mr. Elliot's critiquing his own practice of conscientious focus on manners as a young man belies his current attempts at earning status through his good manners.

watchman A man whose job it was to watch the streets at night as well as shouting out the time every half-hour.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 3 / 15
  • Imagining you are either Sir Walter or Elizabeth, write a diary account or letter detailing your meeting with Mr Elliot and how you feel about his excuses for the distance between him and your family thus far.
    • Now write a contrasting piece by Anne (who is likely to offer a more reasoned and insightful suspicion that there's more to the reconciliation than meets the eye).
  • Why are Sir Walter and Elizabeth more pleased to see Anne than usual?
    • Does this make a difference to how inclined they are to really listen to her?
  • By what means does Austen emphasise Sir Walter and Elizabeth's superficiality? Consider their focus on their:
    • social standing
    • new surroundings
    • Colonel Wallis' appearance.
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