Volume 2, Chapter 8 / 20

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 8 / 20

Wentwort and Anne with Sir Walter and Elizabeth in the backgroundSir Walter, Elizabeth, Anne and Mrs. Clay are waiting for Lady Dalrymple in the octagon room when Captain Wentworth arrives. Anne is encouraged that her father and sister acknowledge him, and she and the Captain talk about their time in Lyme. As they discuss the suitability of Louisa for Captain Benwick, Anne realises that the Captain's words about Louisa, Benwick and constancy are, in part, an expression of his feelings for her.

Lady Dalrymple arrives and they are separated. Anne goes into the concert but her inner turmoil means that she pays no attention to her surroundings. Mr. Elliot sits next to her and compliments Anne for being able to explain the meaning of the Italian songs to him. He reveals that he had heard glowing reports of her long before meeting her. He caps off his compliments with a roundabout marriage proposal. However, Anne's attention is diverted away from him as she overhears Sir Walter and Lady Dalrymple talking about Captain Wentworth.

Hoping to make contact with the Captain again, Anne sits where he will pass by, and is puzzled by his coolness when he does. Once Mr. Elliot interrupts them, Captain Wentworth abruptly departs. Anne realises that he is jealous of Mr. Elliot and wonders how she might repair the damage.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 8 / 20

Lady Dalrymple must be waited for Precedence demands that they wait for their host and allow her to enter first since her social status is higher.

making yet a little advance The first of several more active movements from Anne that indicate her growing confidence.

a little glow Captain Wentworth's inner emotions are coming to the surface.

They have no difficulties … no opposition, no caprice, no delays Captain Wentworth's description of how the Musgroves responded to their daughter's engagement, is in direct contrast to how Anne's family responded to hers.

A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman – He ought not – he does not This statement of constancy contributes to Anne's emerging hope that Captain Wentworth still cares for her.

She would not have been obstinate if I had not been weak In other words, if he had not let her persuade him to let her jump.

when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure Perhaps the same could be said of her previous relationship with Captain Wentworth.

it was a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included. She was divided from Captain Wentworth This physical separation mimics their belonging to groups of differing social status.

She was in need of a little interval for recollection She needs time to process the thoughts and feeling that are bombarding her.

one all selfish vanity, of the other all generous attachment A statement from the narrator that starkly contrasts the motivations and characters of the two sisters.

He must love her Finally Anne takes the risk of admitting to herself that her highest hopes may come to fruition.

I would breathe my wishes that the name might never change An indirect proposal of marriage: if Anne marries him, her surname would remain the same.

she did not mean … to shrink from conversation with Captain Wentworth So great is Anne's awareness of Lady Russell's disapproval that she has to gear herself up mentally to make good on her intentions.

the gapes Slang for yawns.

a little scheming of her own Anne has to manoeuvre a bit to get the seat she wants. Again, a more active move than we are used to seeing from her.

comparing herself with Miss Larolles Anne's movement to the end of the bench reminds her of a similar movement by Miss Larolles in Fanny Burney's novel Cecilia (1782).

early abdication Leaving before the concert is over.

never had she sacrificed to politeness with a more suffering spirit Indicates the lengths Anne will go to, to treat people well, even when the stakes are high, and the person she is spending time with is undeserving.

peculiar Particular.

Their evil was incalculable She believes that Mr. Elliot's attentions may have cost her Captain Wentworth, as he is acting as if he believes that Mr. Elliot's relationship with her precludes his own. Their differing social circles mean that she will have little, if any, chance to correct his misapprehensions.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 8 / 20
  • Make a list of the signs that Anne is gaining confidence and taking a more active role in her relationship with Captain Wentworth.
  • Compare and contrast the conversations of Mr. Elliot and Captain Wentworth
    • What is the significance of these differing styles?
  • How does Austen heighten the tension between Anne and Captain Wentworth?
    • Take note of the multiple references to eyes and looks. 
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