Captain Wentworth decides to stick around Kellynch, since looking for his own potential wife is more interesting than meeting his brother’s new bride.
He frequently visits Uppercross – not surprisingly, since the Musgroves treat him like a rock star, while the Crofts have their own couple-y things to do.
Wentworth’s universal popularity takes a hit, though, when Charles Hayter returns to town.
Hayter is cousin to Henrietta and Louisa, and in fact had a thing going with Henrietta before Wentworth came on the scene. He isn’t too pleased that Henrietta is giving him the cold shoulder while falling over Wentworth. (Isn’t the whole dating-your-cousin thing a bit incestuous, you might ask? Perhaps it is today, but marriages between first cousins were considered perfectly fine in Austen’s England.)
Still, Henrietta may be counting her chickens early, as she and Louisa are running neck and neck for the Wentworth prize.
Charles (Musgrove; this is going to get confusing, isn’t it? Let’s revert to elementary school and just call them Charles M. and Charles H.) thinks Louisa is ahead, but Mary backs Henrietta; she has ulterior motives, though, as she doesn’t want the low-class Hayters as her in-laws.
Anne’s (unspoken, as usual) opinion is that it doesn’t make much difference whether Louisa or Henrietta is the chosen one, so long as Wentworth makes up his mind soon enough that the other one isn’t too heartbroken to be passed over for her sister.
One morning Anne is alone in a room with the still-invalid injured boy, when Captain Wentworth walks in on her. It’s a mistake, of course, as he’s really looking for the Musgrove girls. Awkward silence ensues.
Someone approaches…perhaps this will help ease the situation? Nope, it’s Charles Hayter. The awkwardness increases.
Another new arrival, but still no help: this one’s two years old and not the world’s most brilliant conversationalist.
In fact, the kid is downright annoying, literally hanging around Anne’s neck as she’s trying to tend to his older brother.
Charles H. limits himself to ineffectual scolding from across the room, but suddenly Anne finds herself free of the nuisance.
It is Captain Wentworth who has come to her rescue, and Anne finds herself once more all a-flutter and ashamed that her emotions still manage to run away with themselves whenever the Captain is around.