Jane Austen, Persuasion: Ch. 6

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Chapter 6

Anne had not wanted this visit to Uppercross, to learn that a removal from one set of people to another, though at a distance of only three miles, will often include a total change of conversation, opinion, and idea. She had never been staying there before, without being struck by it, or without wishing that other Elliots could have her advantage in seeing how unknown, or unconsidered there, were the affairs which at Kellynch Hall were treated as of such general publicity and pervading interest; yet, with all this experience, she believed she must now submit to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own nothingness beyond our own circle, was become necessary for her; for certainly, coming as she did, with a heart full of the subject which had been completely occupying both houses in Kellynch for many weeks, she had expected rather more curiosity and sympathy than she found in the separate but very similar remark of Mr and Mrs Musgrove: "So, Miss Anne, Sir Walter and your sister are gone; and what part of Bath do you think they will settle in?" and this, without much waiting for an answer; or in the young ladies' addition of, "I hope we shall be in Bath in the winter; but remember, papa, if we do go, we must be in a good situation: none of your Queen Squaresh for us!" or in the anxious supplement from Mary, of--"Upon my word, I shall be pretty well off, when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!"

She could only resolve to avoid such self-delusion in future, and think with heightened gratitude of the extraordinary blessing of having one such truly sympathising friend as Lady Russell.

The Mr Musgrovesd had their own game to guard, and to destroy, their own horses, dogs, and newspapers to engage them, and the females were fully occupied in all the other common subjects of housekeeping, neighbours, dress, dancing, and music. She acknowledged it to be very fitting, that every little social commonwealth should dictate its own matters of discourse;d and hoped, ere long, to become a not unworthy member of the one she was now transplanted into. With the prospect of spending at least two months at Uppercross, it was highly incumbent on her to clothe her imagination, her memory, and all her ideasd in as much of Uppercross as possible.

She had no dread of these two months. Mary was not so repulsivew and unsisterly as Elizabeth, nor so inaccessible to all influence of hers; neither was there anything among the other component parts of the cottage inimical to comfort. She was always on friendly terms with her brother-in-law; and in the children, who loved her nearly as well, and respected her a great deal more than their mother, she had an object of interest, amusement, and wholesome exertion.

Charles Musgrove was civil and agreeable; in sense and temper he was undoubtedly superior to his wife, but not of powers, or conversation, or grace, to make the past, as they were connected together, at all a dangerous contemplation; though, at the same time, Anne could believe, with Lady Russell, that a more equal match might have greatly improved himd; and that a woman of real understanding might have given more consequence to his character, and more usefulness, rationality, and elegance to his habits and pursuits. As it was, he did nothing with much zeal, but sport;w and his time was otherwise trifled away, without benefit from books or anything else. He had very good spirits, which never seemed much affected by his wife's occasional lowness, bore with her unreasonableness sometimes to Anne's admiration, and upon the whole, though there was very often a little disagreement (in which she had sometimes more share than she wished, being appealed to by both parties), they might pass for a happy couple. They were always perfectly agreed in the want of more money, and a strong inclination for a handsome present from his father; but here, as on most topics, he had the superiority, for while Mary thought it a great shame that such a present was not made, he always contended for his father's having many other uses for his money, and a right to spend it as he liked.

X [h] Queen Squares

Places

A square of elegant Georgian homes in Bath.

X [d] The Mr Musgroves

Daily Life

The "Mr" denotes the parents.

The Musgroves are pleasant, unpretentious people and represent a type Austen likes (repeated in the Crofts). They have money but also good values and easy manners.

The Allens in Northanger Abbey, the Gardiners in Pride and Prejudice, …

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X [d] every little social commonwealth should dicta…

Class

Though slipped in off-handedly, the image of the family as a little commonwealth with its own heritage and individually determined cultural identity, is a sort of hologram throughout Austen's fiction: the state is the family writ large, the family the state writ small. The views coincide closely with Shaftesbury's (Search).…

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X [d] to clothe her imagination, her memory, and al…

Mind

To "clothe" is for Anne to immerse herself in an imaginative sympathy. 

X [w] repulsive

Unfriendly, inhospitable.

X [d] that a more equal match might have greatly im…

Love & Marriage

Austen does not believe any of us is wholly good or wholly bad. We differ from one another by degree, not kind. That being so, the best marriage she conceives of is that in which the two people complement one another, balancing one's weaknesses and limitations with the other's strengths.…

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X [w] sport;

Shooting.