Captain Wentworth caused Louisa’s accident…?

Controversial opinion but stay with me.

..yours is the character of decision and firmness… It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on… Let those who would be happy be firm… My first wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm. If Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life, she will cherish all her present powers of mind.”

Jane Austen, Persuasion C10

Captain Wentworth is still angry with Anne, so much so that he teaches Louisa to be “obstinate,” with disastrous results. He thinks Anne was too persuadable in ending their engagement but when he describes his ideal woman (“a strong mind, with sweetness of manner”) she is “not out of his thoughts” yet he is unaware that he is describing her.

The reader can trace a direct line from the conversation between Captain Wentworth and Louise in the Hedgerow, his jumping her down stiles to his jumping her down the stairs at Lyme. The visit itself comes about because Louisa “armed with the idea of merit in maintaining her own way” wears down her parents. She’s a young woman, excited at the dashing Captain’s attention, his unthinking words and actions encouraged her to her accident.

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