Study Guide

Persuasion Chapter 7

By Jane Austen

Chapter 7

  • Captain Wentworth arrives at Kellynch Hall, and sets the family circle astir with excitement.
  • Mary and Charles are looking forward to meeting the Captain, but their son falls and injures himself badly, so they decide to stay home with him.
  • Except neither of them really wants to do that: Charles tries to foist nursing duties on Mary, but Mary is having none of that.
  • Anne solves the dilemma by volunteering to stay home with the boy while both his parents go party with the Captain and rest of the Musgrove family. One would almost think she’s trying to avoid meeting a certain someone.
  • Anne wonders about how Captain Wentworth feels about meeting her, and thinks that, if she were in his position, she would have come back for her years ago.
  • The partying parents return, and report that Captain Wentworth is the coolest guy ever and their new best friend.
  • The next morning Charles comes in as Mary and Anne are finishing breakfast to say that Captain Wentworth is dropping by before they go out for a fun morning of shooting things.
  • Anne barely has time to realize what’s happening before the dreaded moment arrives, and she is face to face with her lost love in a room full of oblivious people.
  • And then, just as soon, he is gone, and Anne is left to try to figure out her complicated feelings and to guess at his.
  • She gets a hint of what her former paramour is thinking about her when Mary reports that he said to Henrietta that Anne looked so different he almost wouldn’t have recognized her. Burn. At least Anne finds that knowledge strangely comforting (or at least thinks that it should be comforting, which is not quite the same thing).
  • While Captain Wentworth hadn’t meant his remark to seem quite so harsh, on his side things are definitely not cool between him and Anne: he still hasn’t forgiven her for caving to other people and blowing him off all those years ago – even though he’s never since met a woman he liked quite so much.
  • Still, he’s definitely looking to pick up a wife, and he tells his sister the requirements for the job are "a strong mind, with sweetness of manner" (7.40) – basically Anne, with a stronger backbone.