I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F.W.
So yes. I am a hopeless romantic. I admit it.
I am all for romantic gestures, big and small.
And this, my dear friends, both old and new, is why Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel.
Can you imagine a young couple so in love but facing so much negativity from family members? It’s not like Romeo and Juliet where they go all suicidal, but here, Anne Elliot is persuaded that Frederick Wentworth, the man wooing her, is not worthy of her. She is, after all, the daughter of a minor royal (I’ll never understand the hierarchy), and he… well. he’s a seaman.
And her being the obedient girl that she was, broke his heart and hers when she ended their relationship. For more than eight years she carried a broken heart, and when their paths cross again, her heart broke some more as he started to pay flirty attention to the sister of her brother-in-law.
But if you pay close attention throughout their interactions, you would see small gestures here and there that betrayed the true object of his thoughts: Anne. Oh yes, there was hurt; his heart was still broken like hers, and he resented her for listening to others instead of fighting for their love, but, as the letter above indicates, he was never inconstant.
How beautiful that line was! He was hurt and angry, yes, but his love remained hers through all that time. This was evident in the honest emotion that you can feel in his words. The letter was just… perfect.
As for Anne, she had grown up. She recognized that her family was a bunch of fools (and yes, if you’ve read the novel, I’m sure you’ll agree with her) and that it was time to start living for herself. It’s not a spoiler to say that Anne and Wentworth end up together because that’s expected, but the beauty in the story is their struggle to come to terms with what happened in the past and how they still feel towards each other.
If you can’t be bothered with the novel, there are some TV movies that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. The one with Ciaran Hinds back in 1995 (I think) is my favorite because there was that classic restraint but their faces revealed how much they struggled. With the more recent one, the one with Rupert Penry-Jones, a lot of liberties were taken with the story that just made it… weird. Sally Hawkins and Rupert make a cute TV couple, though. 😀