In honor of the 23rd birthday of a close friend and most-faithful fellow reader, I decided to read Jane Austen's Persuasion. My friend often raves about it, and I decided to check it out of the library on a whim last week after visiting her several days earlier. And thank God I did. As of late, I've been a little depressed and cranky. Persuasion cheered me right up. The book is absolutely wonderful, and I would recommend it to Austen faithful and newcomers alike. The romance between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth is full of surprising and welcome little moments, and anyone who can read the letter towards the end of the novel and not be moved might just be a tad bit heartless.
Not to give the entire book away, but that part with the letter is such a great scene. I kicked my feet in excitement when I figured out that Captain Wentworth had been writing it to Anne while in the same room as her. For some reason, the writing of the letter in such close proximity to Anne made it twice as poignant.
This is a pretty short entry. I loved Persuasion, and I want to thank my birthday friend for talking about it so fervently in the last year. It never ceases to make me happy that such terrific friends and lovely books exist in this world.
And, because it is so lovely, I've included the infamous letter here:
I can no longer listen 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 that I am not too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. 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 is 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
I must go, uncertain of my fate, but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
Happy Reading, everyone!
Book Mentioned: Persuasion, by Jane Austen