Landaulettes, Marriage Advice, and More – Persuasion Chapter 24
Why was Mary jealous that Anne was mistress of a landaulette? What even is a landaulette? Was Captain Wentworth likely to fight in a future war? Find out the answers to these questions and more, in this episode of My Cousin Jane.
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Landau vs Landaulette vs Lexus Landaulet
Lexus image courtesy of “Lexus LS 600h ‘Landaulet’ To Chauffeur Prince Albert Of Monaco At His Wedding”, 24 June 2011, Motor Authority, Landaulette image courtesy of Wikipedia, Landau image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Note: Transcripts on this site are the scripts I used when preparing to record the show. They may or may not be a 100% faithful representation of the final recording. Audio clips of Pride & Prejudice come from Karen Savage’s narration of Pride & Prejudice, courtesy of LibriVox.org.
Welcome back to My Cousin Jane. Today we’re going to be talking about Persuasion, Volume 2, Chapter 12, also known as Chapter 24.
Today in the final chapter of Persuasion we have a conditional “happily ever after” of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth.
Lady Russel’s Interference
I want to start today by listening to two clips, one from the start of this chapter, and one from near the end of the previous, both about Lady Russell’s interference in the initial marriage proposal between Captain Wentworth and Anne, because this question really forms the entire crux of the novel. Was Lady Russell right in interfering in the first place, and was Anne right in being persuaded to listen to her friend?
As always, our clips come courtesy of the talented Karen Savage and LibriVox.org:
The only one among them, whose opposition of feeling could excite any serious anxiety was Lady Russell. Anne knew that Lady Russell must be suffering some pain in understanding and relinquishing Mr Elliot, and be making some struggles to become truly acquainted with, and do justice to Captain Wentworth. This however was what Lady Russell had now to do. She must learn to feel that she had been mistaken with regard to both; that she had been unfairly influenced by appearances in each; that because Captain Wentworth’s manners had not suited her own ideas, she had been too quick in suspecting them to indicate a character of dangerous impetuosity; and that because Mr Elliot’s manners had precisely pleased her in their propriety and correctness, their general politeness and suavity, she had been too quick in receiving them as the certain result of the most correct opinions and well-regulated mind. There was nothing less for Lady Russell to do, than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to take up a new set of opinions and of hopes.Persuasion, Chapter 24
And now, Anne’s thoughts on the matter from the end of Chapter 23:
“I have been thinking over the past, and trying impartially to judge of the right and wrong, I mean with regard to myself; and I must believe that I was right, much as I suffered from it, that I was perfectly right in being guided by the friend whom you will love better than you do now. To me, she was in the place of a parent. Do not mistake me, however. I am not saying that she did not err in her advice. It was, perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the event decides; and for myself, I certainly never should, in any circumstance of tolerable similarity, give such advice. But I mean, that I was right in submitting to her, and that if I had done otherwise, I should have suffered more in continuing the engagement than I did even in giving it up, because I should have suffered in my conscience. I have now, as far as such a sentiment is allowable in human nature, nothing to reproach myself with; and if I mistake not, a strong sense of duty is no bad part of a woman’s portion.”Persuasion, Chapter 23
So, Lady Russel, in hindsight admits she was wrong about Captain Wentworth’s manners, but Anne excuses her interference saying that while her advice happened to turn out wrong, it wasn’t necessarily wrong it itself, nor does she believe it was wrong for her to submit to it.
So, what do you think? Was Lady Russell justified in the advice she gave to Anne to avoid marrying a man in a risky profession with no financial means to support them? Was Anne right in listening to that advice? Or should they both have had more faith in true love?
Make your opinions heard and support the podcast by heading over to https://www.patreon.com/mycousinjane and weighing in on this central question.
Speaking of opinions on the marriage, Mary’s is interesting:
She had something to suffer, perhaps, when they came into contact again, in seeing Anne restored to the rights of seniority, and the mistress of a very pretty landaulette; but she had a future to look forward to, of powerful consolation. Anne had no Uppercross Hall before her, no landed estate, no headship of a family; and if they could but keep Captain Wentworth from being made a baronet, she would not change situations with Anne.Persuasion, Chapter 24
Let’s talk a minute about the “very pretty” landaulette that Anne finds herself mistress of. At first, this sounds like it might mean “a small bit of land” or a “small estate”, but the context of the next sentence tells us that this isn’t the case. Anne has no Uppercross Hall or landed estate to look forward to.
In fact the landaulette is a fancy type of carriage. Back in episode 12, we discussed the most common types of vehicles used in Regency times. The landau was a four-wheeled carriage with a convertible top that could be folded down in two sections, one towards the front and one towards the back. It was considered a luxury vehicle that could be pulled by either two or four horses.
These carriages got their name from the fact that at the time, most of them were imported from the German city of Landau. They weren’t manufactured widely in England until the 1830s.
The landaulette was a smaller, sleeker version of the landau that fit only two passengers. In later years, the name landualette came to mean any vehicle where the driver was separated from the passengers, and the passenger’s section had a removal top. There are several car manufacturers that have built cars with that model.
A famous and modern landaulette, is the Lexus LS 600h landaulet, which was used as the main vehicle in the 2011 wedding of the Prince of Monaco.
I have some photos of all of the above posted over at https://www.patreon.com/mycousinjane, so check those out if you get a chance.
I also like this quote about Sir Walter and Elizabeth’s relationship with their famous relatives:
They had their great cousins, to be sure, to resort to for comfort; but they must long feel that to flatter and follow others, without being flattered and followed in turn, is but a state of half enjoyment.Persuasion, Chapter 24
If you think of Sir Walter’s relationship with the Dalryple’s in terms of social media, you can see that not much has changed about that particular aspect of human nature since Regency times.
Dread of Future War
At the end of our final chapter, Austen adds a little caveat about their happiness, noting that it was marred a bit by the dread of future wars that might take Captain Wentworth from her.
Fortunately for Anne and Captain Wentworth, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which takes place at the very start of the novel, the British Navy saw relatively little action until around World War I, as no other power in Europe had a naval force that had any hope of standing against them.
And that wraps up our discussion of Persuasion. My personal favorite of the Austen books. I think one thing that sets Persuasion apart from many of Austen’s other books, and the romance genre in general, is that Anne and Captain Wentworth are both older, with Anne even being described as being “past her bloom”, a concept we discussed back in Episode 16.
One of the appealing things about this novel is that it is a story of second chances, not only of Captain Wentworth and Anne, but also in the story of Captain Benwick and Louisa Musgrove. It’s a story that gives hope to anyone who has loved and lost, and wonders if they will ever have the chance to love again.
Well, next season, we’ll be delving into what is arguably Austen’s most popular books, Pride and Prejudice.
So be sure to stay tuned for that, and in the meantime, if you’d like to help support the podcast, please head over to https://www.patreon.com/mycousinjane.
Thanks for listening.
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“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.”