Anne was breathing very quickly and feeling a hundred things at the same time. But they were in a public place, surrounded by other people. She tried to bring their conversation back to everyday things. ‘I would like to go to Lyme again,’ she said.
‘But you had such a terrible experience there; I’m surprised you want to go back.’
‘My memories of Lyme are not all bad,’ said Anne.
Just then, Lady Dalrymple and the others came in and Anne had to leave the Captain. When they took their seats in the concert hall, Anne looked around, hoping to see him. Mr Elliot sat beside her and began talking to her in a low voice.
‘I’m so glad I can sit beside you this evening,’ he said. ‘On Thursday I’m going to visit some friends in Thornberry and I won’t be back until Friday evening. I’ll miss the pleasure of your company.’
The concert opened with some Italian love songs and the texts were included in the concert programme. Mr Elliot asked Anne to translate them for him, and she did so. ‘You are so clever!’ he said.
‘Oh,’ replied Anne, ‘not really. My Italian isn’t very good.’
‘And modest — too modest,’ said Mr Elliot.
‘You’ve only known me a few weeks,’ said Anne. ‘You don’t know my character well yet.’
‘Perhaps I know more about you than you think,’ he replied. ‘I heard about your character long before I came to Bath.’
‘Really?’ said Anne, in great surprise. ‘Who spoke about me to you?’
‘I’ll tell you some other time, not now,’ said Mr Elliot. ‘For now, all I’ll say is that the name Anne Elliot has, for many years, been an interesting one for me. I hope that name will never change.’
Anne looked away from him in embarrassment. She did not want to talk to him anymore. She wished he wasn’t sitting next to her.
Just then, she heard Lady Dalrymple say to her father, ‘A very fine young man! Who is he?’
‘Captain Wentworth,’ Sir Walter replied. ‘I know him only slightly…’
Anne looked in the direction in which they were looking and saw him. He was looking at her. Just as her eyes met his, he looked away.
‘Mr Elliot!’ said Lady Dalrymple during the interval. ‘Come and sit beside me. I want to ask you something.’
To Anne’s relief, Mr Elliot moved away. The seat beside her was now empty, and, after a few minutes, Captain Wentworth came over to talk to her. He looked unhappy. Something must have happened since they had spoken in the entrance room. Anne thought that perhaps Lady Russell or her father had glanced at him in an unpleasant way.
‘Do you like the concert?’ she asked.
‘No. The music isn’t very good,’ he replied. I think I’ll leave now.’
‘The next song is beautiful. It’s worth waiting for,’ said Anne.
‘No,’ he said, in a voice full of emotion. ‘There’s no reason for me to stay!’
And he left.
He’s jealous of Mr Elliot! thought Anne. For a moment this thought gave her great pleasure.
But then she felt hopeless and depressed. How could she tell him the truth? How could she let him know that she did not care for Mr Elliot at all?