Mr. Palmer is a rather serious man married to a rather silly young woman, and he's never quite recovered from this fact. We don't know much about Mr. Palmer, but what we do know paints a somewhat comical, contradictory picture. First of all, our first impressions of him are of a rude, sardonic, disinterested man, who seems to despise everyone else under the sun. However, as we get to know him a little better, we start to warm up to him.
His muttered comments are often quite funny, and on the inside, it turns out that he's not such a boor. As Elinor notes late in the book, Mr. Palmer is actually just a man – he puts on his show of gruffness towards everyone else simply as a declaration of his gender. In reality, he shows a softer side once everyone's visiting his home at Cleveland; he's genuinely concerned about Marianne's illness, and he also reveals that he sincerely cares for his family.