Henrietta or Louisa?
The Musgroves were cousins of the Hayters of Winthrop. Winthrop was a large farm two miles from Uppercross, and the Hayter family were, for the most part, plain ignorant people. For this reason, Mary was very unhappy that they were connected to the Musgrove family. She spoke to them as little as possible and never went to Winthrop.
Charles Hayter, the eldest son, was better educated and more gentlemanly than his father and his brothers. He was a curate and, over the past year or so, he and Henrietta had seemed to be in love with each other.
He was away on business at the time Captain Wentworth came to Kellynch. When he returned, after two weeks, he found that everything had changed. Henrietta did not look at him with loving eyes anymore or listen attentively when he spoke. Both she and Louisa gave all their attention to Captain Wentworth.
Everyone at Uppercross seemed to be charmed by the captain, but Charles Hayter did not find him charming at all.
One evening, when they were alone in their room, Mary said to her husband Charles, ‘Captain Wentworth seems to like your sisters very much. He spends a lot of time with them. Do you think he’ll marry one of them?’
‘Maybe,’ said Charles. ‘I think perhaps he’ll marry Louisa.’
‘Well, Louisa is the livelier of the two, but Henrietta is prettier,’ said Mary.
‘True,’ her husband replied, ‘but I think Henrietta is already in love — with her cousin Charles Hayter.’
‘Oh dear, I hope not!’ cried Mary. ‘That Hayter family is so common! We really don’t want to be any more closely connected to them than we already are.’
‘But Charles is in a good position,’ said her husband. ‘He’s the eldest son, so he will inherit Winthrop. And he’s a curate. He’ll probably become curate of the church of Uppercross when the old vicar retires.’
‘Well, I hope that Henrietta will marry Captain Wentworth instead,’ said Mary. ‘He’s a fine young man, and I hear that he made twenty-five thousand pounds during the war. That’s a splendid fortune.’
The next day, Louisa, Henrietta, Captain Wentworth, Mary, Charles and Anne went for a long walk together. Mary got tired very early in the walk and began to complain. They climbed a hill to see the view. There, below them, was Winthrop, without beauty and without dignity. ‘I had no idea that we were walking towards Winthrop!’ cried Mary. ‘Let’s go back now. I’m tired.’
Henrietta had known the direction of their walk; in fact, she and Louisa had chosen to walk towards Winthrop in the hope of seeing their cousin Charles Hayter. He had not been to visit them at Uppercross for days, and Henrietta had begun to feel sorry about paying so much attention to Captain Wentworth and so little attention to her cousin. She looked down at Winthrop sadly, and, not seeing her cousin, she replied to Mary, ‘All right,’ and turned to walk back to Uppercross.
‘No!’ cried Charles and Louisa. Louisa whispered something in her sister’s ear, then Charles said, ‘Henrietta and I shall go down and say hello to the Hayters. You can wait for us here. We won’t be long.’
Captain Wentworth and Louisa went for a walk. Anne found a place for Mary to sit down and rest, but Mary refused and went off to find herself a more comfortable seat. Anne was very tired too, so she sat down and waited quietly for the others to return. After a while, she heard Louisa’s voice on the other side of the hedge.
‘And so, I made Henrietta go. I knew that she wanted to go to Winthrop to see her cousin, but she’s so weak — she always lets herself be persuaded by other people. When Mary said we should go home, she agreed! Even though she wanted to see her cousin! I never let myself be persuaded by other people. Once I have decided what I want to do, no one can persuade me to do something else!’
Then Frederick spoke: ‘She’s very fortunate to have you to help her!’ he said. ‘If your sister and Mr Hayter are in love, they must be strong; they can’t let other people influence them. Your sister’s very nice, but I see now that you have the stronger character!’
Anne sat very still, afraid of being seen by the two people on the other side of the hedge.
‘Well, I never let Mary tell me what to do!’ Louisa replied. ‘She’s so proud and snobbish. I wish Anne was Charles’s wife instead. Do you know that Charles wanted to marry Anne?’
After a moment’s pause, Frederick said, ‘Did she refuse him?’
‘Yes. Mother and Father think that her friend Lady Russell persuaded her to refuse. She thought that Charles wasn’t good enough for Anne because he doesn’t read poetry…’
Their voices became quieter as they walked further away. Anne sat still, hardly breathing. Now she knew what Captain Wentworth thought of her: everything he had said about strength of character and weakness, about allowing yourself to be persuaded by others, made that perfectly clear. He had also shown a curiosity about her which made her heart beat fast.
Charles and Henrietta returned from Winthrop, bringing Charles Hayter with them. Henrietta and her cousin looked very happy. Clearly their misunderstanding was over. They began the long walk home: Louisa and Captain Wentworth walked in front, Henrietta and her cousin behind them, and Charles Musgrove was at the back with Anne and Mary. Just then, Mr and Mrs Croft drove up in their carriage.
‘Does anyone want a lift to Uppercross?’ asked Mrs Croft. ‘I’m afraid we only have space for one person.’
Everyone refused. Henrietta and Louisa were not tired, and Mary felt offended at not being asked before the others.
‘Nobody? Well, enjoy your walk,’ said Mrs Croft, but then Captain Wentworth went up to the carriage and whispered something to his sister.
‘Miss Elliot!’ cried Mrs Croft. ‘You look tired. Please come with us.’
Anne really was tired. At first she refused, but the Admiral and Mrs Croft insisted, and soon she was in the carriage, knowing that Frederick had worried about her. He had seen that she was tired. She understood him: he could not forgive her for the past, and he was now thinking of marrying another woman, but even so, he could not see her suffer without wanting to help her.