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Posts Tagged ‘Captain Wentworth’


This is in response to a post I blogged about earlier – I was doing some research on names and discovered the village of Wentworth in South Yorkshire where the aristocratic families of Wentworth, Watson, Woodhouse and Fitzwilliam ruled over the area. As these names are all connected with characters in Jane Austen’s novels, I thought there must be some significant connection. I wanted to know why she had chosen so many of these names for characters in her novels. A bit more searching on the website Wentworth village.net reveals the fact that a certain Eleanor Wentworth married Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey – and if you know anything about Jane Austen, you are aware that Jane’s mother was related to this family.

On Stoneleigh Abbey’s website there’s a fascinating page on Jane Austen’s connection with her Leigh ancestors and a portrait of the woman, Elizabeth Lord, who may have inspired the character of Anne Elliot. I am absolutely intrigued by this story – I feel a trip to Stoneleigh coming on!

I don’t think it’s necessary for me to repeat everything on these websites, but do take a look – I’m sure others must have discovered this before me, but I’ve found it all so interesting.
One further point – and this is all a little fanciful, but I can’t help wondering if it’s mere coincidence that the first Earl of Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, not only shared the same christian name as someone who had been important to Jane Austen, but he also was a lawyer, studied at the Inns of Court, and became Lord Deputy of Ireland. Can you guess who sprang into my mind when I was reading about him? Why did Jane choose Wentworth as the name of the hero in her last and most romantic tale? It’s probably nothing, I’d love to know what you think about all of this and the above!

Illustration: The cover of the dvd Persuasion starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root – absolutely gorgeous, and one of my favourite adaptations.

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I make no apology for reproducing this letter in full – it is a masterclass in Jane Austen wit and hilarity. It’s February 1st today and here is the letter that Mary Musgrove sends to her sister Anne Elliot whilst she is in Bath on that day in 1815 in Jane Austen’s wonderful novel Persuasion. It is the letter that gives Anne hope that perhaps not all is lost for a reconciliation between her and Captain Wentworth.
Jane Austen has captured Mary’s character to perfection – she’s never happy unless she is grumbling about something or someone and it is a missive full of contradictions. I think the comment about Mrs Harville being an odd mother to part with her children for so long a very funny one because we already know that Mary has no scruples about leaving her children to someone else’s care at the drop of a hat, as she did when she first goes to meet Captain Wentworth with her husband leaving Anne to take care of her son who has a broken collar bone. Further on in her letter she says she is quite easy about leaving her children with her in-laws for six weeks or more! Amusing to read but I would think she’d be a trial to live with!

The photos were taken when I visited the gardens of the house Sheldon Manor(Uppercross) where they filmed Persuasion.

February 1st – .

“MY DEAR ANNE, – I make no apology for my silence, because I know how little people think of letters in such a place as Bath. You must be a great deal too happy to care for Uppercross, which, as you well know, affords little to write about. We have had a very dull Christmas; Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove have not had one dinner-party all the holidays. I do not reckon the Hayters as anybody. The holidays, however, are over at last: I believe no children ever had such long ones. I am sure I had not. The house was cleared yesterday, except of the little Harvilles; but you will be surprised to hear that they have never gone home. Mrs. Harville must be an odd mother to part with them so long. I do not understand it. They are not at all nice children, in my opinion; but Mrs. Musgrove seems to like them quite as well, if not better, than her grandchildren. What dreadful weather we have had! It may not be felt in Bath, with your nice pavements; but in the country it is of some consequence. I have not had a creature call on me since the second week in January, except Charles Hayter, who has been calling much oftener than was welcome. Between ourselves, I think it a great pity Henrietta did not remain at Lyme as long as Louisa; it would have kept her a little out of his way. The carriage is gone to-day, to bring Louisa and the Harvilles to-morrow. We are not asked to dine with them, however, till the day after, Mrs. Musgrove is so afraid of her being fatigued by the journey, which is not very likely, considering the care that will be taken of her; and it would be much more convenient to me to dine there to-morrow. I am glad you find Mr. Elliot so agreeable, and wish I could be acquainted with him too; but I have my usual luck: I am always out of the way when any thing desirable is going on; always the last of my family to be noticed. What an immense time Mrs. Clay has been staying with Elizabeth! Does she never mean to go away? But, perhaps, if she were to leave the room vacant, we might not be invited. Let me know what you think of this. I do not expect my children to be asked, you know. I can leave them at the Great House very well, for a month or six weeks. I have this moment heard that the Crofts are going to Bath almost immediately: they think the Admiral gouty. Charles heard it quite by chance: they have not had the civility to give me any notice, or offer to take anything. I do not think they improve at all as neighbours. We see nothing of them, and this is really an instance of gross inattention. Charles joins me in love, and every thing proper. — Yours, affectionately,
“MARY M –
“I am sorry to say that I am very far from well; and Jemima has just told me that the butcher says there is a bad sore throat very much about. I dare say I shall catch it; and my sore throats, you know, are always worse than anybody’s.”

So ended the first part, which had been afterwards put into an envelop, containing nearly as much more.

“I kept my letter open, that I might send you word how Louisa bore her journey, and now I am extremely glad I did, having a great deal to add. In the first place, I had a note from Mrs. Croft yesterday, offering to convey anything to you; a very kind, friendly note indeed, addressed to me, just as it ought; I shall therefore be able to make my letter as long as I like. The Admiral does not seem very ill, and I sincerely hope Bath will do him all the good he wants. I shall be truly glad to have them back again. Our neighbourhood cannot spare such a pleasant family. But now for Louisa. I have something to communicate that will astonish you not a little. She and the Harvilles came on Tuesday very safely, and in the evening we went to ask her how she did, when we were rather surprised not to find Captain Benwick of the party, for he had been invited as well as the Harvilles; and what do you think was the reason? Neither more nor less than his being in love with Louisa, and not choosing to venture to Uppercross till he had had an answer from Mr. Musgrove; for it was all settled between him and her before she came away, and he had written to her father by Captain Harville. True, upon my honour! Are not you astonished? I shall be surprised at least if you ever received a hint of it, for I never did. Mrs. Musgrove protests solemnly that she knew nothing of the matter. We are all very well pleased, however; for though it is not equal to her marrying Captain Wentworth, it is infinitely better than Charles Hayter; and Mr. Musgrove has written his consent, and Captain Benwick is expected to-day. Mrs. Harville says her husband feels a good deal on his poor sister’s account; but, however, Louisa is a great favourite with both. Indeed, Mrs. Harville and I quite agree that we love her the better for having nursed her. Charles wonders what Captain Wentworth will say; but if you remember, I never thought him attached to Louisa; I never could see any thing of it. And this is the end, you see, of Captain Benwick’s being supposed to be an admirer of yours. How Charles could take such a thing into his head was always incomprehensible to me. I hope he will be more agreeable now. Certainly not a great match for Louisa Musgrove, but a million times better than marrying among the Hayters.”

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I thought I’d share a few photos of Bath at Christmas starting off with Laura Place and Pulteney Bridge. As you can see it was a very rainy day, which immediately brings to mind one of my favourite couples, Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot, from Jane Austen’s Persuasion –

It was beginning to rain again, and altogether there was a delay, and a bustle, and a talking, which must make all the little crowd in the shop understand that Lady Dalrymple was calling to convey Miss Elliot. At last Miss Elliot and her friend, unattended but by the servant, (for there was no cousin returned), were walking off; and Captain Wentworth, watching them, turned again to Anne, and by manner, rather than words, was offering his services to her.

“I am much obliged to you,” was her answer, “but I am not going with them. The carriage would not accommodate so many. I walk: I prefer walking.”

“But it rains.”

“Oh! very little. Nothing that I regard.”

After a moment’s pause, he said: “Though I came only yesterday, I have equipped myself properly for Bath already, you see” (pointing to a new umbrella); “I wish you would make use of it, if you are determined to walk; though I think it would be more prudent to let me get you a chair.”

She was very much obliged to him, but declined it all, repeating her conviction, that the rain would come to nothing at present, and adding, “I am only waiting for Mr. Elliot. He will be here in a moment, I am sure.”

She had hardly spoken the words when Mr. Elliot walked in. Captain Wentworth recollected him perfectly. There was no difference between him and the man who had stood on the steps at Lyme, admiring Anne as she passed, except in the air and look and manner of the privileged relation and friend. He came in with eagerness, appeared to see and think only of her, apologised for his stay, was grieved to have kept her waiting, and anxious to get her away without further loss of time, and before the rain increased; and in another moment they walked off together, her arm under his, a gentle and embarrassed glance, and a “Good morning to you!” being all that she had time for, as she passed away.

I bought my umbrella in Bath, and very pleased with it, I am too! It was a very cold, wet evening, but fortunately that meant we were able to take lots of photos without there being too many people about. I’ll post more over the next few days – I hope you enjoy them.

Laura Place (bottom left photo) was where Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, Miss Carteret, took a house for three months in Persuasion. Sir Walter Elliot was keen to renew the connection to these illustrious relatives. He and his daughter Elizabeth were very taken with their cousins on re-acquaintance, but Anne could see that her father’s interest was purely to satisfy his own vanity, boasting of the family connections to anyone who would listen.

They visited in Laura Place, they had the cards of Dowager-Viscountess Dalrymple, and the Honourable Miss Carteret, to be arranged wherever they might be most visible; and “Our cousins in Laura Place” – “Our cousins, Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret,” were talked of to every body.


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Here I am at Uppercross – at least, the location where they filmed the 1995 and 2008 adaptations of Persuasion. If you remember, the Musgrove family live here and in the book there are some hilarious moments as Anne finds herself party to all the complaints from everyone who wishes to take her into their confidence!
I must admit the 1995 version is my favourite of all the adaptations, I think because it is so true to the book. All the actors did a wonderful job – Amanda Root is perfect as Anne Elliot and Ciaran Hinds her perfect complement as Captain Frederick Wentworth (swoon!) But there are memorable performances from a delightful cast who give me huge pleasure every time I watch this BBC classic.

From Jane Austen’s wonderful book, I have selected two extracts for your delight:-

Chapter 6

Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross, to learn that a removal from one set of people to another, though at a distance of only three miles, will often include a total change of conversation, opinion, and idea. She had never been staying there before, without being struck by it, or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in seeing how unknown, or unconsidered there, were the affairs which at Kellynch Hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading interest; yet, with all this experience, she believed she must now submit to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own nothingness beyond our own circle, was become necessary for her; for certainly, coming as she did, with a heart full of the subject which had been completely occupying both houses in Kellynch for many weeks, she had expected rather more curiosity and sympathy than she found in the separate, but very similar remark of Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove: “So, Miss Anne, Sir Walter and your sister are gone; and what part of Bath do you think they will settle in?” and this, without much waiting for an answer; or in the young ladies’ addition of, “I hope we shall be in Bath in the winter; but remember, papa, if we do go, we must be in a good situation: none of your Queen-squares for us!” or in the anxious supplement from Mary, of “Upon my word, I shall be pretty well off, when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!”

I love this next extract which shows Jane Austen’s mastery in creating the characters we feel we know!

One of the least agreeable circumstances of her residence there was her being treated with too much confidence by all parties, and being too much in the secret of the complaints of each house. Known to have some influence with her sister, she was continually requested, or at least receiving hints to exert it, beyond what was practicable. “I wish you could persuade Mary not to be always fancying herself ill,” was Charles’s language; and, in an unhappy mood, thus spoke Mary: “I do believe if Charles were to see me dying, he would not think there was any thing the matter with me. I am sure, Anne, if you would, you might persuade him that I really am very ill – a great deal worse than I ever own.”

Mary’s declaration was, “I hate sending the children to the Great House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross for the rest of the day.” And Mrs. Musgrove took the first opportunity of being alone with Anne, to say, “Oh! Miss Anne, I cannot help wishing Mrs. Charles had a little of your method with those children. They are quite different creatures with you! But to be sure, in general they are so spoilt! It is a pity you cannot put your sister in the way of managing them. They are as fine healthy children as ever were seen, poor little dears, without partiality; but Mrs. Charles knows no more how they should be treated – ! Bless me! how troublesome they are sometimes. I assure you, Miss Anne, it prevents my wishing to see them at our house so often as I otherwise should. I believe Mrs. Charles is not quite pleased with my not inviting them oftener; but you know it is very bad to have children with one, that one is obliged to be checking every moment, “don’t do this, and don’t do that;”; or that one can only keep in tolerable order by more cake than is good for them.”

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I’m off on my travels today for the purposes of recreation, research and inspiration! If I don’t get blown off the Cobb in the wild weather, I’ll bring back some photos for your delight! If you haven’t guessed where I’m going, here’s a further hint.

The conclusion of her visit, however, was diversified in a way which she had not at all imagined. Captain Wentworth, after being unseen and unheard of at Uppercross for two whole days, appeared again among them to justify himself by a relation of what had kept him away.

A letter from his friend, Captain Harville, having found him out at last, had brought intelligence of Captain Harville’s being settled with his family at Lyme for the winter; of their being, therefore, quite unknowingly, within twenty miles of each other. Captain Harville had never been in good health since a severe wound which he received two years before, and Captain Wentworth’s anxiety to see him had determined him to go immediately to Lyme. He had been there for four-and-twenty hours. His acquittal was complete, his friendship warmly honoured, a lively interest excited for his friend, and his description of the fine country about Lyme so feelingly attended to by the party, that an earnest desire to see Lyme themselves, and a project for going thither was the consequence.

The young people were all wild to see Lyme. Captain Wentworth talked of going there again himself; it was only seventeen miles from Uppercross; though November, the weather was by no means bad; and, in short, Louisa, who was the most eager of the eager, having formed the resolution to go, and besides the pleasure of doing as she liked, being now armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way, bore down all the wishes of her father and mother for putting it off till summer; and to Lyme they were to go – Charles, Mary, Anne, Henrietta, Louisa, and Captain Wentworth.

The first heedless scheme had been to go in the morning and return at night, but to this Mr. Musgrove, for the sake of his horses, would not consent; and when it came to be rationally considered, a day in the middle of November would not leave much time for seeing a new place, after deducting seven hours, as the nature of the country required, for going and returning. They were, consequently, to stay the night there, and not to be expected back till the next day’s dinner. This was felt to be a considerable amendment; and though they all met at the Great House at rather an early breakfast hour, and set off very punctually, it was so much past noon before the two carriages — Mr. Musgrove’s coach containing the four ladies, and Charles’s curricle, in which he drove Captain Wentworth — were descending the long hill into Lyme, and entering upon the still steeper street of the town itself, that it was very evident they would not have more than time for looking about them, before the light and warmth of the day were gone.

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I love any excuse for a research trip and a chance to escape a frantic and busy life, so when my husband suggested a trip to Bath at the weekend I was very excited. I thought I’d share some of the photos I took of the Assembly Rooms in Bennett Street, which are stunningly beautiful. It is so easy to imagine social gatherings taking place here in Jane Austen’s time; you can hear the chatter and rustle of silk gowns just by looking into one of the rooms. The top photo shows the entrance, which some of you may recognise from the television adaptations of Persuasion.
The second shows one of the fireplaces in the Octagon room which is where card tables might be set up for those not interested in dancing and wishing to try their luck with a little gambling.
Lastly, is the Tea Room which was used primarily for refreshments and concerts. Meals were served throughout the day from public breakfasts to supper during dress balls. Food was laid out on side-tables and included such delights as sweetmeats, jellies, wine, biscuits, cold ham and turkey. Tea was the favourite drink, generally without milk, but occasionally with lemon or arrack (fermented cocoa).

In this extract from Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne Elliot has met up with her old love, Captain Wentworth, at the Assembly Rooms. She has recently discovered that he is not in love with Louisa Musgrove and from the very recent conversation with him dares to hope that he may still have some feelings for Anne.

As she ceased, the entrance door opened again, and the very party appeared for whom they were waiting. “Lady Dalrymple, Lady Dalrymple!” was the rejoicing sound; and with all the eagerness compatible with anxious elegance, Sir Walter and his two ladies stepped forward to meet her. Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret, escorted by Mr. Elliot and Colonel Wallis, who had happened to arrive nearly at the same instant, advanced into the room. The others joined them, and it was a group in which Anne found herself also necessarily included. She was divided from Captain Wentworth. Their interesting, almost too interesting conversation, must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on! She had learnt, in the last ten minutes, more of his feelings towards Louisa, more of all his feelings, than she dared to think of; and she gave herself up to the demands of the party, to the needful civilities of the moment, with exquisite, though agitated sensations. She was in good humour with all. She had received ideas which disposed her to be courteous and kind to all, and to pity every one, as being less happy than herself.

The delightful emotions were a little subdued, when on stepping back from the group, to be joined again by Captain Wentworth, she saw that he was gone. She was just in time to see him turn into the Concert Room. He was gone — he had disappeared, she felt a moment’s regret. But “they should meet again. He would look for her, he would find her out long before the evening were over, and at present, perhaps, it was as well to be asunder. She was in need of a little interval for recollection.”

Upon Lady Russell’s appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power, draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people as they could.

Very, very happy were both Elizabeth and Anne Elliot as they walked in. Elizabeth, arm-in-arm with Miss Carteret, and looking on the broad back of the Dowager-Viscountess Dalrymple before her, had nothing to wish for which did not seem within her reach; and Anne – but it would be an insult to the nature of Anne’s felicity to draw any comparison between it and her sister’s: the origin of one all selfish vanity, of the other all generous attachment.

Anne saw nothing, thought nothing of the brilliancy of the room. Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright, and her cheeks glowed; but she knew nothing about it. She was thinking only of the last half-hour…

Jane Odiwe

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I had a lovely weekend in Bath and I took some photos to show you if you are not familiar with the lovely town. The first shows the view down Milsom Street looking down towards the famous pump rooms. The second shows the remnants of a sign above what was the circulating library, which I’m sure Jane Austen must have frequented.
Molland’s confectionary shop in Milsom Street is where Anne Elliot (Persuasion) realises that Captain Wentworth has come to Bath. Anne has very recently learned from her sister and Admiral Croft that Louisa Musgrove is to marry Captain Benwick so Captain Frederick Wentworth is still a single, unattached man. Here is a short extract – if you can read this and not want to pick up the book straight away you have a stronger will than me!

They were in Milsom Street. It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple’s carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she, Anne, and Mrs. Clay, therefore, turned into Molland’s, while Mr. Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance. He soon joined them again, successful, of course: Lady Dalrymple would be most happy to take them home, and would call for them in a few minutes.

Her ladyship’s carriage was a barouche, and did not hold more than four with any comfort. Miss Carteret was with her mother; consequently it was not reasonable to expect accommodation for all the three Camden Place ladies. There could be no doubt as to Miss Elliot. Whoever suffered inconvenience, she must suffer none, but it occupied a little time to settle the point of civility between the other two. The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr. Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs. Clay; she would hardly allow it even to drop at all, and her boots were so thick! much thicker than Miss Anne’s; and, in short, her civility rendered her quite as anxious to be left to walk with Mr. Elliot as Anne could be, and it was discussed between them with a generosity so polite and so determined, that the others were obliged to settle it for them; Miss Elliot maintaining that Mrs. Clay had a little cold already, and Mr. Elliot deciding, on appeal, that his cousin Anne’s boots were rather the thickest.

It was fixed, accordingly, that Mrs. Clay should be of the party in the carriage; and they had just reached this point, when Anne, as she sat near the window, descried, most decidedly and distinctly, Captain Wentworth walking down the street.

Her start was perceptible only to herself; but she instantly felt that she was the greatest simpleton in the world, the most unaccountable and absurd! For a few minutes she saw nothing before her.: it was all confusion. She was lost, and when she had scolded back her senses, she found the others still waiting for the carriage, and Mr. Elliot (always obliging) just setting off for Union Street on a commission of Mrs. Clay’s.

Photo of the lovely Amanda Root in the 1995 version of Persuasion

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