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Anne has her take on the situation, but wants to stay out of Musgrove drama, so she keeps her opinions to herself. Still, she thinks Louisa is ahead, but in her heart of hearts doesn’t believe Captain Wentworth really loves either of the Musgrove girls.
She also notices that Charles H. has withdrawn from the field, and thinks this is a wise move on his part.
The Musgrove sisters come to visit Anne and Mary and say that they’re going on a long and boring walk which Mary certainly doesn’t want to join them on because it’s going to be so long and boring, and did they mention long?
Anne suspects that the sisters have some scheme for which they don’t really want company, but Mary insists on joining them anyway.
Charles M. and Captain W. at this moment return from their morning round of shooting things, and join the walking party as well.
On the walk, Anne tries to stay out of everyone’s way so she can dwell on her mental collection of emo poetry in peace.
Captain Wentworth chats with the Musgrove sisters, and Anne notices that Louisa is getting more attention from him than her sister.
Mention of the Crofts’ habit of crashing their buggy leads Louisa to say that she would rather be wrecked with her boyfriend than driven safely by anyone else; Captain Wentworth’s obvious pleasure at this display of reckless loyalty troubles Anne.
The walking group arrives at Winthrop, the Hayter home, which is the apparent intended destination of the Musgrove girls. Henrietta seems uneasy, but Louisa talks her into going into the house; Charles M. accompanies her.
The party splits further: Louisa and Wentworth go off walking together, leaving Anne with the cranky Mary.
Mary goes off after Louisa, whom she is convinced is somewhere having fun that Mary wants to horn in on.
While Mary’s off whining elsewhere in the underbrush, Anne, unseen, overhears a conversation between Wentworth and Louisa.
Louisa says that Henrietta would have turned back from Winthrop earlier, but for her firmer sister’s influence; Wentworth compliments Louisa on her decisiveness.
The conversation turns to Mary, whom Louisa says has too much of the Elliot pride, and that the Musgroves wish Charles M. had married Anne instead.
Wentworth is surprised to hear that a) Anne had a marriage proposal and b) she turned it down.
Louisa says that her parents blame Lady Russell for persuading Anne that Charles M. wasn’t smart enough for her.
The walking party regroups, and Henrietta brings Charles H. back with her; the status of the pair has apparently changed from "it’s complicated" back to "in a relationship."
They set off walking in pairs: Henrietta and Charles H., Louisa and Wentworth, and Mary and Charles M….and Anne.
Mary keeps whining about how it’s so difficult being her, so Charles splits as soon as he can, leaving tired Anne without a arm to support her.
The group runs into the Crofts in their chaise (French for chair – basically a horse-drawn bench on wheels, the Mini Cooper of carriages).
The Crofts, having room for only one more, offer to give a ride to whichever lady is most tired, but no one takes them up on the offer. They’re just about to leave when Wentworth whispers something to them, and they insist that Anne join them.
Before Anne has time to argue, Wentworth has helped her into the carriage.
For Anne, the gesture is full of meaning: she thinks that while he hasn’t forgiven her, he at least cares whether she lives or dies – or in this case, walks or rides.
When she finally leaves her own thoughts and tunes back into the Crofts’ conversation, they too are talking of Wentworth, but, having missed out on the morning’s events, are still caught up in yesterday’s argument as to which Musgrove sister he will choose.
The Crofts talk about their own whirlwind wedding, and wonder why Wentworth doesn’t just grab one of them and head for Vegas. (Fun fact: the Las Vegas of Jane Austen’s England was Gretna Green, a village just over the border into Scotland, where different laws enabled young people to get quickie marriages without their parents’ permission. They probably didn’t have Elvis impersonators to perform the ceremony, though.)
The Admiral is about to crash the carriage into a post, but Mrs. Croft takes hold of the reins and guides them to safety; Anne thinks that this is how their marriage works, with Mrs. Croft steering her husband through his mess-ups.