Page 176. " Towards the close of it, in the interval succeeding an Italian song, she explained the words of the song to Mr. Elliot. "

The fashionable and intellectual sets were wont to show themselves at concerts during the Regency Period. Concerts of music, recitations and various cantata seem to be the preferred form of entertainment for Miss Anne Elliot, as opposed to card parties.

Page 179. " the inimitable Miss Larolles "

Fanny Burney
Public DomainFanny Burney - Credit: Edward Francesco Burney
Anne Elliot compares her attempt to manipulate herself into a seat more convenient for catching Captain Wentworth's attention to the behaviour of a character in Frances Burney's novel Cecilia, which was published in the late 18th century.

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Page 188. " He was then the inferior in circumstances, he was then the poor one; he had chambers in the Temple, and it was as much as he could do to support the appearance of a gentleman. "

The Middle Temple and the Inner Temple, part of the Inns of Court in London, contain offices and associations of legal professionals, a profession for which Mr. Elliot has been trained. 


Middle Temple
Creative Commons AttributionMiddle Temple - Credit: Sberla_

Having chambers, or offices, in the Temple meant that at that time Mr. Elliot was making at least a pretence of practising law. The two other Inns of Court are Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn.

Page 197. " some property of her husband in the West Indies "

Led by Edward Said in his 1978 book Orientalism, some critics have argued that Jane Austen covertly condones the transatlantic slave trade in her novels. Their argument rests on such mentions as this, by Mrs Smith, of incomes generated from properties in the West Indies, where slaves worked on English-owned sugar plantations.

In Austen's novel Mansfield Park, the slave trade features more heavily: Sir Thomas Bertram, the main patriarchal figure, has properties in Antigua, and the politics of the 1807 Abolition of the slave trade are discussed. However, as this article argues, Said's criticism is based on a shallow understanding of Austen's novels; closer readings have revealed Austen's clear Abolitionist sympathies. Further, as Persuasion is set after 1807, claims of subtextual links to slavery are unfounded.

See Gabrielle White's book Jane Austen in the Context of Abolition: 'A Fling at the Slave Trade' .