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"If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!" pressing his own with emotion.
"Oh!" cried Anne eagerly, "I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow-creatures. I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman. No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as--if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."
Author: Jane Austen
Synopsis: At nineteen, Anne Elliot fell in love and became engaged. Her baronet father thought the match beneath her, and her best friend thought she risked too much in marrying so young to a man with "nothing but himself to recommend him." Her best friend being almost in the role of a mother, Anne gave up the engagement, and still regrets it eight years later when her ex-fiancé reappears suddenly in her life. Captain Wentworth, determined not to forgive her for the past, is ready to marry any suitable woman, her excepted.
A serious accident, a highly eligible relative interested in Anne, and reverses in fortune play a part in the revival of their romance.
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As the love story here is between a couple in their late twenties--Anne is much older than any of Austen's other heroines--the sympathies are natural for someone who likewise married "late". I have read this book over and over, and the ending is just as perfect every time I read it.
I also have a lot of admiration for Anne, who, despite so many years of things not working out well for her, went about her days faithfully doing her duty. She pulled that off without grousing or bitterness, and that made her likeable. Props to Jane Austen for writing a complex character who makes her readers want to be better people.