After all, she is beautiful, intelligent, and much admired.
And she has high expectations for marriage. Only the best for her!
What’s more, she is the favorite child of her gentleman father. He relies on her for companionship and advice.
And she willingly reads whatever her father recommends. In truth, however, he admires only one book, and it is not the Bible!
Sadly, he has not made adequate provision for her future. The ancestral estate, along with its income, is entailed on a male cousin. The family has not, until recently, been on good terms with him.
And yet this same cousin displayed interest in her—and also in her sister! She now wants nothing to do with him.
She is not quite the paragon of female perfection, however. For example, although she has musical talent, she cannot be bothered to cultivate it.
One of her sisters is lovely, modest, and does not call attention to herself. She is fond of quiet reflection.
As for the youngest, why, it is a stretch to call her “pretty.” And her tongue simply runs on wheels! This sister was the first to be married and my, does she rub it in.
She has a sarcastic sense of humor and, when the situation warrants, she is not afraid to say what she thinks. Such forthrightness—for she is fond of her own opinions—has been the source of trouble for her.
And yet, outside of her sisters (whose personalities are at variance with hers), Elizabeth has few female friends. Indeed, she has neither the skills nor the discernment to form and maintain a friendship.
Hang on. How’s that? She hasn’t the skills to form friendships? Elizabeth?
A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
In springtime, one’s thoughts turn toward planning a lovely family holiday.
And why not? Spring is the perfect season for a visit to The Metropolis. So charming! So fashionable!
And I would be packing my trunks right this very mintue if I were married to someone other than Charles Musgrove. How I yearn for a fortnight at an elegant hotel in Mayfair, such as my father enjoys each year! And yet my dear husband is instead making summer plans to go … camping.
Camping! I ask you, what good is that? It sounds completely horrible to me. Rustic living. Communing with nature. Gazing through glasses, not at the opera stage but at birds and flowers! Please. The only flowers I care about are of the silk variety. That is to say, those that adorn the crowns of the newest spring hats!
But does Charles care? He says that I will enjoy a rustic retreat. I think not.
The Uppercross estate is not extensive enough for camping. It’s wretched to live as gypsies for a fortnight, traveling about like vagabonds, but must we trespass on other people’s land as well? Shall we call at the mansion houses to ask permission? Risk seeing someone we know? Continue reading →
A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
“Why can’t you think like a man?”
My husband said this to me at breakfast today. Gentle reader, is there a worse piece of advice? For, bless me, men do not think, do they?
My father is a civilized creature: refined, well-mannered, and fond of the drawing-room. Too late I learned that most gentlemen are not this way!
Are you in the market for a husband? Perhaps what I have learned about men will be of use.
When outdoors, men are surprisingly destructive. They mess about with guns, or in boats, or on horseback. Is there a pond? The men will throw rocks in it. Do you wish to stroll along a quiet country lane? The men will whack at this or that with sticks. Or attempt bird calls. Or low at cattle in the pasture, or be on the lookout for partridges—which they will later attempt to shoot! Honestly, can they never leave anything be?
They are also untidy. The dirt a man brings in, my word! And they are oblivious to the damage they cause their clothes. It is most unfair. For they are not the ones to slave over repairs to rips or missing buttons! Fortunately, my sister Anne visits often and is handy with a needle.
Men care too much about conquering this or that. It’s all about becoming the fastest rider, or the best shot, or the most intrepid driver. They are competitive about everything, even courtship! I was the prettiest, most accomplished, most gently-bred girl in our district and let me tell you, I was much admired. Quite naturally, Charles Musgrove was wild to marry me. But it was all about the conquest. Now that I am his wife, he’d rather shoot birds. Continue reading →
The first in a series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
My sister, Anne, is fond of saying this: “Into each life, a little rain must fall.”
As if Lady Russell weren’t enough, I must have Anne prosing at me. Was there ever a more annoying sister?
I’ll have you know that in my life, rain simply pelts down! But does anyone care? Gentle reader, this is a hard and cruel world. No one knows what I suffer.
At this time of year I am often laid low by a cold. And yet I have learned the gentlewoman’s art of making the best of sicknesses. Allow me to explain.
No illness is trifling. Anne nobly soldiers on, determined to do her duty no matter how poorly she feels. And what, I ask you, is the result? The infection of an entire household! Get this straight: Gentlewomen are delicate creatures. When you are ill, for goodness’ sake, lie down and be ill. You owe it to yourself and your family.
Discomfort is to be made much of. When you cough, do it thoroughly. When you sneeze, say, “Bless me!” Use your suffering to elicit pity. Is this a crime? Certainly not! Look, if you do not call attention to your sorry state, no one will notice. Continue reading →