Heroine of Persuasion
, and one of Jane Austen
's most mature
creations. She was born on August 9, 1797, second daughter
of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch-hall, and in her youth loved Frederick Wentworth
, but Lady Russell persuaded her that her match
would not prosper
. The novel
explores the sad consequences of that decision, and its happy resolution many years later.
Anne took after her late mother. The family friend Lady Russell appreciates her properly, but her own family do not:
but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister: her word had no weight; her convenience was always to give way; - she was only Anne.
And here is what she looks like, and what the extinguishing of her romance
with young Wentworth had done for her, blighting her early life and removing hope from her future:
A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had found little to admire in her, (so totally different were her delicate features and mild dark eyes from his own), there could be nothing in them, now that she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had never indulged much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in any other page of his favourite work.
Anne's good sense
is ignored by her family at a crucial point, but sought by Captain Wentworth at another. They live in far too grand a manner and cannot support it any longer, and have to retrench
. Anne is the one who proposes heavy retrenchments, and paying their bills
, that is giving the outstanding tradesmen's
bills the priority that honour
requires. Her father and sister contemptuously reject this. In fact the only things they can think of doing to ease their expenses are cutting down on charity
to the needy
, and refraining from taking her a present.
Later, when it looks like Captain Wentworth is getting more deeply involved with playful young Louisa Musgrove, but she falls and seriously injures herself, it is Anne to whom he looks, forgetting his resentment at how (he believed) she had previously abandoned him. He sees that only she has the level-headedness to go for help and support the others. Their journey together back to the family home to tell them does much to bring them back together again.
When it looks possible, but by no means certain, towards the end that Captain Wentworth may harbour feelings about her that she knows to have re-awoken in herself, Anne goes about with a buzz, and Jane Austen gently and affectionately satirises this heroine of hers whom she once described in a letter as "almost too good":
Prettier musings of high-wrought love and eternal constancy, could never have passed along the streets of Bath, than Anne was sporting with from Camden Place to Westgate Buildings. It was almost enough to spread purification and perfume all the way.
See my review under Persuasion
for more of the plot. No, better idea, read the book.