Perhaps one of the greatest bits of all of Austen is Capt. Wentworth's letter to Anne. After all of the cold-shoulders and the near-misses and the excruciatingly perfect build-up, we get this eloquent sweet and succinct plea to Anne to love him still, as he's loved her.
Allow me to refresh your memory:
"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.
"I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."
A few months ago, when I found out my buddy JG had not read Persuasion (!!!) I quite vehemently insisted she do; she did, to great effect. She may be even more enamored of Wentworth than I am.
Here is a snippet of JG's letter back...
Dearest Captain Wentworth,
I can passively read no more. I must write of how you are stealing my heart, even as you are reclaiming Anne’s. You are so true, faithful, and honorable...
As soon as you realized that Anne was unattached, you wrote her a letter expressing your true and lasting love that has been immortalized and that can never be matched. Women the world over and throughout time will love you because of that letter. You belong with Anne, but you have stolen a small piece of my heart as well....
For the rest of Jen's letter, I would suggest you go here and take part in her Character Connection while you're at it. You may even win a Persuasion Prize Pack!
Read the rest of Persuasion here!