persuasion chapter 16

it was a reference to the future, which anne, after a little observation, felt she must submit to.

sir walter seems surprised by anne’s look,

‘less thin in her person, her cheeks; her skin, her complexion, greatly improved—clearer, fresher. had she been using anything in particular! ‘no, nothing at all.’  ‘ha! he was surprised by that . . . you cannot be better than well.’

interesting how what seems as a question ends in exclamation.  and the quotations here, which are not separated by paragraph breaks according to the speaker, inhabit a kind of middle zone between what was said and who is speaking.  further, the position of the narrator becomes unclear.

but, can you be better than well?  remember that the early discussions of the looks of mrs clay focused on her plainness . . .  a plainness compounded by freckles.  in sir walter’s view, her looks have greatly improved due to a manufactured influence:

I should recommend Gowland, the constant use of Gowland, during the spring months.   Mrs Clay has been using it at my recommendation, and see what it has done for her.  You see how it has carried away her freckles?

according to the ninth footnote in persuasion,

Gowland’s lotion was evidently an established treatment by then, since Chapman quotes an advertisement in the Bath Chronicle of the period for ‘Mrs Vincent’s Gowland lotion’.

of course, “it did not appear to Anne that the freckles were all that lessened”.

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