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In Jane Austen's Persuasion, Anne Elliot happens to overhear a conversation between Captain Wentworth and Louisa Musgrove, where they are discussing "firmness of mind". Captain Wentworth uses the example of a nearby nut to illustrate his point:

[']Here is a nut,' said he, catching one down from an upper bough, 'to exemplify: a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot anywhere. This nut,' he continued, with playful solemnity, 'while so many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed capable of.' Then returning to his former earnest tone— 'My first wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm. If Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life, she will cherish all her present powers of mind.'
Persuasion, chapter 10

What does Captain Wentworth mean by "...in her November of life" in this statement? This scene is set in November; is Captain Wentworh just saying something to the effect of "in order to be happy now you should be firm"?

What is meant by this statement about "in her November of life"?

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The passage quoted in the question follows Louisa’s explanation of how she had to bolster her sister Henrietta’s resolve to call on the parish curate, Mr. Hayter:

“And so, I made her go. I could not bear that she should be frightened from the visit by such nonsense. What! would I be turned back from doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right, by the airs and interference of such a person, or of any person I may say? No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. When I have made up my mind, I have made it; and Henrietta seemed entirely to have made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day; and yet, she was as near giving it up, out of nonsensical complaisance!”

Jane Austen (1817). Persuasion, chapter 10. Project Gutenberg.

Who attempted to dissuade Henrietta from calling on Hayter? From remarks made earlier in the novel, we strongly suspect that this was Mary:

“You know,” said she [Mary], “I cannot think him [Hayter] at all a fit match for Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have made,† she has no right to throw herself away. I do not think any young woman has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and inconvenient to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad connections to those who have not been used to them. And, pray, who is Charles Hayter? Nothing but a country curate. A most improper match for Miss Musgrove of Uppercross.”

Chapter 9.

† Mary means herself here.

On overhearing Louisa’s account, it must have struck Anne with some force that Henrietta’s situation with respect to Hayter is a parallel for her own situation with respect to Wentworth some seven years before the opening of the novel. Anne was in love with Wentworth, just as Henrietta is in love with Hayter; out of social snobbery, Anne’s friend Lady Russell persuaded her to give up the connection, just as Henrietta’s sister-in-law Mary did; but the difference is that Henrietta had the support of her firm-minded sister Louisa, whereas Anne’s own sister Elizabeth gave her no support:

Such opposition, as these feelings produced, was more than Anne could combat. Young and gentle as she was, it might yet have been possible to withstand her father’s ill-will, though unsoftened by one kind word or look on the part of her sister; but Lady Russell, whom she had always loved and relied on, could not, with such steadiness of opinion, and such tenderness of manner, be continually advising her in vain.

Chapter 4.

(But we should note that Louisa has not supported Henrietta only out of sisterly affection, but also because Henrietta is a potential rival for Wentworth, who can be got out of the way by securely attaching her to Hayter.)

Therefore, when Wentworth praises the quality of firmness, Anne suspects that the reason he feels so strongly about it is that he remembers her own lack of firmness, her susceptibility to persuasion, that caused her to jilt him. (Readers will recall that the title of the novel is Persuasion, indicating that this passage is touching on the theme of the novel.)

The phrase “November of life” is a variation on the common phrase “autumn of life”, meaning maturity or old age, based on a metaphor likening the calendar year to the human span of life. So what Wentworth means is that in order to be remain happy throughout one’s life, even into old age, one must be strong, like the shell of the hazelnut.

This metaphor of autumn standing for age was mentioned only a few paragraphs ago, with respect to the poetry that Anne has been reciting to herself:

The sweet scenes of autumn were for a while put by, unless some tender sonnet, fraught with the apt analogy of the declining year, with declining happiness, and the images of youth and hope, and spring, all gone together, blessed her memory.

Chapter 10.

So the effect on Anne of hearing Wentworth’s speech on the hazelnut is for her to contrast in her imagination the future happiness of Louisa, married to Wentworth due to her firmness of purpose, with her own future solitary unhappiness, the consequence of allowing herself to succumb to persuasion.

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This scene is set in November, and this phrase appears immediately after the nut analogy. This phrase is a continuation of the analogy - comparing Louisa to the nut, saying that just like the nut is "happy" in November right now due to being "firm", then Louisa should be "firm" to be happy in her life.

This is strengthened by the fact that Wentworth uses the exact same adjectives to describe both the nut and Louisa, "beautiful" and "happy":

[']Here is a nut,' said he, catching one down from an upper bough, 'to exemplify: a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot anywhere. This nut,' he continued, with playful solemnity, 'while so many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed capable of.' Then returning to his former earnest tone— 'My first wish for all whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm. If Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life, she will cherish all her present powers of mind.'
Persuasion, chapter 10 (emphasis added)

The text explicitly notes that Captain Wentworth's tone changed to be playful when he was discussing the nut, and then before this statement his tone returns to seriousness. Captain Wentworth is using this analogy to demonstrate his point, and then continuing to use the imagery conjured to drive home his point.

This conversation takes place in the context of Louisa complaining to Wentworth about her sister Henrietta's lack of decisiveness and "complaisance":

'And so, I made her go. I could not bear that she should be frightened from the visit by such nonsense. What! would I be turned back from doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right, by the airs and interference of such a person, or of any person I may say? No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. When I have made up my mind, I have made it; and Henrietta seemed entirely to have made up hers to call at Winthrop to-day; and yet, she was as near giving it up, out of nonsensical complaisance!'
'She would have turned back then, but for you?'
'She would indeed. I am almost ashamed to say it.'
'Happy for her, to have such a mind as yours at hand!'
ibid.

At this point in the story, both Henrietta and Louisa have been chasing after Wentworth, with the assumption that he would end up marrying one of them. Henrietta, though, is wavering between her cousin Charles Hayter and Captain Wentworth. She had decided to walk over to Winthrop, to meet with Charles Hayter and give up on Wentworth, but almost gave up at the last moment. Louisa takes the reins and makes sure the Henrietta does what she had planned to do. This inspires Wentworth's speech about firmness of mind, which Louisa possesses and Henrietta does not to the same extent—and Wentworth is currently much more interested in Louisa, because of that element of stubbornness or "firmness of mind".

This nut, which has achieved being "beautiful" and "in possession of happiness" through remaining firm, represents Wentworth's high value at this point in the story of "firmness" or stubbornness, which Louisa possesses, as opposed to her sister Henrietta. It is November, and the nut is beautiful and happy. If Louisa wants to be beautiful and happy in her life, like this nut is in November, then she should be as stubborn and "firm" as the nut.

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