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Anne enters Camden Place feeling like she’s going to prison, but her family are highly pleased with themselves and their situation in Bath, which makes them more pleasant to her than usual.
Mrs. Clay also puts out the welcome mat, but Anne knows that the woman couldn’t care less about her.
Sir Walter and Elizabeth hold forth on their popularity and superiority in Bath society, though Anne thinks they feel like big fish only because the pond is so small.
They also report on Mr. Elliot and how he switched from He Who Must Not Be Named to That Guy We Talk About Constantly; he’s explained away his previous bad behavior as due to misunderstanding, and has been entirely forgiven.
Anne tries to pick out the truth from her family’s reporting, which she knows is biased, but remains uncertain as to the reasons behind Mr. Elliot’s change in behavior.
Sir Walter discusses the levels of attractiveness displayed by Mr. Elliot and his acquaintances the Wallises, and allows that they’re pretty enough to hang out with him, but holds that most of the Bath population is not up to Sir Walter’s standards of prettiness.
Sir Walter asks Anne about Mary and how her prettiness is doing, and says that he would send her a new hat and pelisse (a kind of coat) if he didn’t think she would go outside in it and ruin her skin.
Mr. Elliot comes for a visit, and Sir Walter introduces him to "his youngest daughter" (15.18) Anne (Mary, apparently, doesn’t count).
Anne recognizes him as the stranger she met in Lyme, and sees that he had no idea who she was.
Mr. Elliot is pleased to discover her identity, and behaves so politely that she thinks there is "only one person" (15.18) she could compare him to – hmm, wonder who that "one person" could be…
Mr. Elliot impresses Anne with how sensible he is, though of course the other people in the room set a low standard.
They talk of Lyme, and Anne tells him (and her family, who are a much worse audience) of Louisa’s accident; Mr. Elliot reminds Anne of Lady Russell in his genuine concern.
The clock strikes eleven, and the party breaks up, with Anne feeling that the evening was much less of a drag than she was expecting.