Mary Musgrove (née Elliot) is a character in Persuasion. She is the youngest daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, a baronet; and the late Lady Elliot. She was born on November 20th, 1791. She has two older sisters, Elizabeth and Anne Elliot. She married Charles Musgrove on December 16th, 1810[1]. She is daughter-in-law of Charles Musgrove, Esq., the owner of Uppercross; and his wife Mrs. Musgrove. Both of her husband's parents are still alive. She is sister-in-law to Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove, her husband's unmarried sisters.


Engagement and childrenEdit

Charles proposed to Mary after Anne, the woman whom he'd rather marry, rejected him[2]. Charles is heir to a large fortune and grand estate, but is untitled with no aristocratic or titled lineage. This disappoints Sir Walter, who decides that it falls on his eldest daughter Elizabeth to marry someone of like lineage to an Elliot. Mary has at least two sons with her husband: Charles and Walter Musgrove. They have a rather rocky marriage, because Mary can be hard to live with due to her pride and airs, but they make it work. Charles and his entire immediate family always preferred Anne to Mary, but made do.

Anne's stayEdit

After her father's debts forced Sir Walter and her remaining Elliot sisters from Kellynch Hall, Mary invited Anne to stay with them at Uppercross in order to help with the children. Anne accepted the invitation and was seen to be quite good with her nephews, even if they were sometimes wild[3].

Mary was quite excited about the arrival of Frederick Wentworth, who was staying with his sister and brother-in-law at Kellynch while Sir Walter and Elizabeth were in Bath with Mrs. Clay. Mary immediately began fancying a marriage between Henrietta Musgrove and Wentworth, in order to freeze out Charles Hayter, a cousin of her husband's whom she thought was beneath the Musgroves. She hoped that Wentworth would be bequeathed with a baronetcy for his heroics as a naval captain, and thus he would be "Sir Frederick" and Henrietta would be "Lady Wentworth". This fanciful notion would only increase Mary's position in society, which was forever her main goal in life. Her husband did not agree with her sentiments on Charles Hayter, as he thought well of his cousin and thought he would be a good husband for his sister[4].

Traits and characteristicsEdit

Mary possesses what her husband's family refers to as the "Elliot pride"[2]. This Elliot pride has caused a rift between her and her husband's family, who would have preferred Anne. Because of this pride, Mary scorns Charles Hayter, her husband's first cousin, and thinks a marriage between him and her sister-in-law would bring shame to her.

Charles and Mary have children but disagree on how they should be raised. Anne Elliot places more confidence in Charles's method than her sister's, but both of them criticize the other in public. Mary believes that her husband and his family spoils the children, especially Mrs. Musgrove, who is rumoured, according to Mary, to give them sweet things and possessions that they do not need[5]. Mrs. Musgrove, however, believes Mary to be the sole culprit in spoiling them, and does not hesitate to tell this to Anne.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Persuasion, Chapter 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chapter 10
  3. Chapter 2
  4. Chapter 9
  5. Chapter 4

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