Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Anne's Birthday Party & Guests

Note: The "story" below is purely fan fiction and probably such a gathering is not likely to happen, but in honor of Anne this is the type of party she would have liked.


It is a bright August afternoon in Somersetshire, England. From the great house at Uppercross a commotion could be heard as the servants and their employers bustled about, preparing for the guests who soon would be arriving. The gathering was to be a surprise party and the guest of honor had been kept well out of the way so she wouldn't be able to view the goings on. Later her husband would drive her to Uppercross for what she thought was just a quiet celebration with her brother-in-law's family.  


When Captain Wentworth first mentioned the idea of a surprise birthday party for his wife to Mrs. Musgrove, the lady of Uppercross was very generous and excitedly joined in the planning process. The questions of "what dishes was Miss Anne - I mean Mrs. Wentworth - most fond of?" were quick to be answered by the observant husband. The elder Mr. Musgrove was no less generous when his wife told him of the party scheme and took great pride in setting aside the best game of the day, from his morning's shooting, for the gathering. Both of the Musgroves had always liked Anne, she was a dear girl and certainly played the piano forte better, and was more obliging then her sister Mary.


When Mary Musgrove first discovered that her mother-in-law was to be the hostess of the party she was quite perturbed. She felt the honor should be hers for "is Anne not my sister? and Mrs. Musgrove is not related at all!" But she was, after a week's time, partially consoled by the idea that "she could not host so many guests in their tiny cottage"; a point which her husband Charles was quick to mention. Charles Musgrove looked forward to the gathering for he liked Captain Wentworth very much and Anne had always been good to them. He only hoped that some of the gentlemen would stay long enough to have a good day of shooting or a "set-to of rat-hunting" in the barn.


Later on that lovely August day the guests started arriving for the surprise birthday party. Charles and Mary were the first to arrive with their hardy little boys. Although not always on their best behavior Little Charles and Walter Musgrove were very attached to their Aunt Anne and she in return loved them and always enjoyed spending time with them. The boys were both also excited at the prospect of other children being at the party.


Mr. Charles & Mrs. Henrietta Hayter were the next to arrive. They lived a fair distance from Uppercross where Mr. Hayter had a good situation in Dorsetshire and Henrietta found herself enjoying life as the wife of a country curate. She always admired Anne's good sense and felt obliged to her for encouraging the match. And Mr. Hayter was never sorry to see his Aunt Musgrove and his cousin Charles, and now that he and Henrietta were married he had learned to like Captain Wentworth.


Captain James & Mrs. Louisa Benwick traveled up from Lyme where they had been visiting with the Harvilles. Louisa had always loved Anne warmly and had "often wished that her brother Charles had married Anne instead of Mary". But Louisa having her own naval Captain husband she truly admired Anne's choice. To Captain Benwick, Frederick Wentworth was a very dear friend and fellow officer and having seen Anne's worth (and taste for excellent poetry) she joined Louisa's sentiments that the couple were well matched.


Captain & Mrs. Harville traveled from Lyme with their increasing family in tow. Since the time of Louisa accident they had kept in frequent communication with the Musgroves and had stayed pretty often with them. They had also become very fond of Anne since her marriage to their dear friend Captain Wentworth and they looked forward to seeing them and wishing Anne joy on her birthday. The young Harville children were excited to see the young Musgrove boys as well.


Toward evening Admiral & Mrs. Croft drove over from Kellynch to join the party at Uppercross. They were very often making up dinner parties with the Musgroves when they were in that part of the country. Mrs. Sophy Croft loved Anne for she had found a true friend in her new sister-in-law. And as united as Admiral & Mrs. Croft were in most things, so they were both united in love and admiration and wishes of joy for Anne and Frederick.


Captain Wentworth and Mrs. Croft's brother and his dear wife had also been staying at Kellynch and joined the Crofts on their journey to Uppercross. The Rev. Edward & Mrs. Wentworth lived in Shropshire but were visiting on their way to Bath. Anne had had few opportunities to visit with this brother and sister-in-law and her husband hoped she would have more time to get to know them well. He was proud of his brother and increasingly felt that Mrs. Edward Wentworth was a most worthy woman.


Anne's school friend Mrs. Smith has been among her earliest visitors when she had first married Captain Wentworth and their friendship has only increased. Mrs. Smith was blessed by her friends being of service to her and since her invalid status had begun to improve she was really looking forward to surprising Anne on her birthday by making an appearance at Uppercross.


Lady Russell, completely reconciled with Anne's choice of husband, was now as great a supporter of Captain Wentworth as she has once been a condemner. It had taken a bit for his to forgive the woman who had taken such pains to at first separate them, but now he saw her worth and had made sure to invite her as Anne's oldest friend. Lady Russell had also been serviceable in conveying Mrs. Smith from Bath to Somerset which went a long way toward showing her love for Anne.


Finally it was the hour mentioned to Mrs. Musgrove and with only a few protestations from his wife Captain Frederick Wentworth conveyed his wife, the guest of honor, to Uppercross in a closed carriage. He led Mrs. Anne Elliot Wentworth up the steps and into the house blindfolded. There was much whispering and hushing as they entered the great hall and crossed to the parlor. When Frederick finally removed the blindfold Anne stared in complete amazement at the room full of merry face and lent gently on her husband's arm startled perhaps from the cries of "Surprise!" and "Happy Birthday!" that echoed in chorus. Tears of joy filled her eyes as she looked round the room at these folks who were so dear to her.


Anne's face beamed as she embraced and greeted each one and heard them merrily tell how everything had been orchestrated for this party. Then there was a lovely dinner of all her favorite dishes and an evening of music, poetry reading and gaiety, Henrietta even played a selection on the harp. During the impromptu dance which followed Anne, partnered with his handsome husband, ended the evening with her heart so full of happiness and the feeling that she was truly blessed. If wasn't until the next morning that Frederick remembered to give his wife the reply he'd received to the invitation sent to her father Sir Walter Elliot and sister Elizabeth. Anne's heart was still so full of delightful things to feel but a twinge of sorrow at their excuses on "not being able to leave Bath at this season".


Thank you all for joining us for Anne's Birthday Tale!

Which of Anne's party guests would you most like to talk to?
Mr and Mrs Musgrove
Charles and Mary Musgrove
Little Charles and Walter
Charles and Henrietta Hayter
James and Louisa Benwick
Captain and Mrs Harville
Admiral and Mrs Croft
Rev Edward and Mrs Wentworth
Mrs Smith
Lady Russell

pollcode.com free polls



Charity U said...

Love it!

Felicia said...

Lovely story. As for the poll, without a doubt Admiral and Mrs. Croft!

OldFashionedCharm said...

Charity & Felicia thank you for the feedback! I had SO much fun writing about Anne's birthday party!

Felicia, I voted for Admiral and Mrs. Croft as well, they are two of my favorite characters in Persuasion. They have such a wonderful friendship and marriage!

AuntLou said...

Such a lovely and interesting post! :)

Jemimah C. said...

An interesting and totally lovely story! I enjoyed reading the whole thing!

Mel said...

What a wonderful story! It felt as if I were actually there, I did not want it to end because I wanted to stay at the party with all those interesting people.

I voted for Little Charles and Walter (because I love children)


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