by Miss Elliot
“…Anne, with an elegance of mind and a sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with people of any real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way – she was only Anne.” ~Persuasion
When I was thinking about blogging and pseudonyms and that sort of thing (before I started blogging), I decided upon Miss Elliot as my pen name. Partly because we’d just watched the 2007 Persuasion. But partly because of Anne’s sweet, gentle nature – she is always ready to give up her own comfort for the comfort of others:
~She gives up her hopes of a small country house nearby when Kellynch must be sold, and quietly accepts her father and sister’s wish to live in Bath.
~She speaks to Elizabeth about Mrs. Clay, even though she expects to be rebuffed indignantly (and she is: Elizabeth will not listen to her). Anne knows that she must speak to her sister -“…she could not excuse herself from trying to make it perceptible to her sister”.
~She does most of the packing for Bath herself, and Elizabeth dumps the task of visiting every peasant family in the village to “take our leave” on Anne.
~She goes to Uppercross to tend to her sister; “nobody will want her [Anne] in Bath”.
~She listens to the grievances of the Musgrove family, and tries to smooth the little disagreements.
~She tries to abandon her love for Captain Wentworth after she sees that he and Louisa Musgrove have formed an attachment.
~She tends to little Charles after his fall.
~She goes back to Uppercross so that Mary can stay, even though she would like to stay and tend to Louisa in Lyme after Louisa’s fall.
~In Bath, she visits Mrs. Smith, her school friend from twelve years before, and spends time with her.
~Even when her father is rude to her and insults her friend, she will not say the obvious and disrespect him. (Yes, I know that she does in the movie, but that is beside the point.)
But Anne does not sacrifice her comfort quietly in public and then explode later on to Lady Russell or herself, and she doesn’t resent her father, Elizabeth, and everyone else who forces their way. This is (to be very frank) what I struggle with a great deal, and it is not Anne Elliot. She quietly accepts others’ steamroller-like decisions, but she also continues to love them and care for them (like speaking to Elizabeth about Mrs. Clay).
She doesn’t bottle up anger and resentment. She doesn’t make fun of the ridiculous people around her. She is truly sweet and gentle, and that is what Captain Wentworth sees in her and comes to love.
I am not saying (and neither is Jane Austen) that we ought to be always open to the persuasion of others, indecisive, and irresolute – that was what Anne regretted so deeply (as far as her relationship with Captain Wentworth goes). But we ought not to insist upon our way and dismiss the feelings and comfort of others, either.
So, Miss Elliot is my pseudonym not because I am like her or she is like me. It’s because I am (in some small way) striving to possess her gentleness, her quiet spirit. She, more than any of Jane Austen’s heroines (in my opinion), is a role model of the best kind. She is not perfect, of course, but her good qualities are well worth striving for.