Lady Russell is due to return, and Anne wonders if she will see more or less of Wentworth once she leaves Uppercross for Kellynch Lodge.
Captain Wentworth disappears for a few days; when he comes back, he explains that he was visiting his friend Captain Harville, who is currently nursing an old wound at the nearby seaside resort Lyme Regis.
His description of the town and his friend gets everyone so excited, there’s only one solution: road trip!
They arrive in the November evening at the picturesque village, and our narrator waxes poetic about its loveliness.
Captain Wentworth introduces everyone not only to Captain Harville, but also to Captain Benwick, who had sailed on the Laconia with Harville and Wentworth.
Benwick was engaged to Harville’s sister Fanny, but she died before they could get married, and Benwick has been depressed ever since.
Anne thinks that Benwick is a bit of a poser, since her heart’s just as broken as his and she’s not nearly so mopey; also, as a man, Benwick has far more opportunities to go find someone else or do something else than stuck-at-home Anne has had.
We get a careful class ranking of the characters: Captain Harville is "a perfect gentleman," though "not equaling Captain Wentworth in manners" (does this mean Wentworth is more than perfect?), and Mrs. Harville is a step down the ladder in "polish" (11.15)
While the Harvilles may not have polish, or, as it soon becomes apparent, much wealth, they do have genuine kindness and hospitality in spades, and Anne gets a little depressed thinking that, through not marrying Wentworth, she also missed out on his network of friends.
Though the Harville lodgings are small, the Captain has tricked them out to make the most of the space, and Anne is impressed by his creativity and constant activity.
The Musgroves & Co. head back to their hotel for dinner.
After dinner, Captains Harville and Benwick come for another visit, and Anne ends up talking to the still Eeyore-ish Benwick.
Their chatting focuses mostly on his favorite, mostly depressing poetry (modern conversational equivalent: do you think Bright Eyes or Death Cab for Cutie is better?), and Anne suggests that Benwick might be cheerier if he read some inspirational, character-building prose once in a while (or listened to some stadium rock?), though privately she thinks that she hasn’t been all that good at taking her own advice.