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Persuasion | Chapter 10 (Volume 1, Chapter 10) | Summary

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Summary

Because of her observations Anne thinks Captain Wentworth favors Louisa Musgrove but really is not seriously interested in either sister. Displeased with the attention paid to Wentworth, Charles Hayter stops pursuing Henrietta Musgrove.

When the Musgrove sisters go for a walk, Mary and Anne and then Charles and Wentworth join them. Even though Anne tries to avoid Wentworth, she finds it hard to ignore his and Louisa's conversation.

When the party reaches Winthrop, the Hayters' home, Henrietta, consenting to Louisa's wishes—and powers of persuasion—visits Charles Hayter with her brother. While waiting for them to return, Louisa and Wentworth talk intimately. Anne overhears Louisa tell him that she wishes Anne had accepted her brother's proposal, a revelation that interests the Captain.

Charles and Henrietta return with Charles Hayter, who looks happy. The party heads back. Wentworth, observing Anne's fatigue, asks his sister, whom they have met along the way, to bring her home in the carriage.

Analysis

On the walk readers see Austen once again using private conversations to further the plot. Silent, solitary Anne listens rather than interacting with the others. Throughout the walk the author uses imagery to reflect how much Anne is, initially, trying to distract herself from Wentworth: "Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves, and withered hedges." The poetic conception of fall as a time of dwindling and ending suits Anne's melancholy mood.

Eventually the private conversations interest Anne, and she begins eavesdropping. The subject matter (first Louisa and Wentworth's mutual flattery, then Wentworth's interest in her refusal of Charles Musgrove's proposal) causes her internal conflict.

With the reunion orchestrated by Louisa, Henrietta and Charles Hayter are happy and "devoted to each other"; their union furthers the plot, for with Henrietta happy Louisa has Wentworth to herself—to the dismay of Anne.

Much as he did at the end of the previous chapter, Wentworth rescues Anne, deepening her confusion.

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