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Anniversary Celebration: Revisiting Charles and Mary Musgrove — 26 Comments

  1. Oh, poor Anne. I agree with her. We have spent our anniversaries together and have been married almost 23 years.

    To have to be the go between for Charles and Mary’s first anniversary is unbelievable. They really do depend on her a great deal. Thanks for the story.

    • Thanks, Patty! I also wondered, as I wrote this, if Charles wondered how different things would be if Anne had accepted him.

    • I’m glad you think it was likely to have been something like this, Sophia. I would imagine Mary’s complaints began when she was young and rose out of a wish to be noticed, as Elizabeth was pretty and pampered,and Anne was intelligent and a favorite of Lady Russell.

  2. I know Mary is her own worst enemy and she imposes on Anne, but at least Anne knows she made a difference today – and that’s not something she’d have ever heard at home. Spending time with Mary and Charles also reminded her of Frederick, and while that brought tears and regrets, it also brought the sweetness of any bittersweet experience. Surely she would have agreed with Alfred Lord Tennyson that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
    Thank you for posting this.

  3. What an accurate portrayal of what Charles’ and Mary’s first anniversary must’ve been like. The poor nanny. A healthy baby does cry at times. And expecting Anne to drop eveeything …..and of course she does. It doesn’t surprise me that their time would be spent apart enjoying their own interests….Charles hunting and Mary complaining and being nursed. I wonder if part of her problem with baby Charles is that he’s the center of attention, not her. Poor Anne, planning a rare quiet day for herself and having to care for Mary.

    My DH and I have been married 27 years and have spent each one together and have included our son quite often as usually we go to a museum and dinner.

  4. Thanks, Deborah! Yes, the baby added something new for Mary to deal with, and being a son, I can see Charles spending more time with him than with her. Was it merely his cries that bothered her or, as you said, she was not longer the center of attention?

  5. I have often wondered how Anne ended up so sweet and kind being born in that family. Her sisters and father were self centered idiots. But then again, how did Bingley come out so good with his pompous and arrogant sisters.

    • Good question, Melanie! If we think about it, there are several striking differences (and similarities, too) in Jane Austen’s characters’ families.

    • I think the fact that Anne was not valued by her Father and Elizabeth meant that they left her to her own devices, and she developed a more normal character. Lady Russell, though she was the means of Anne’s heartbreak, still was a loving mother-substitute for Anne, and probably helped a lot in making Anne sweet and wanting to be helpful.

  6. I guess some couples like to take separate vacations, but separate anniversaries? Haha! Well, maybe their day apart will put them in the mood for a little romance in the evening. I hope so. Thanks, Kara.

  7. I don’t know who most to feel sorry for-Anne or Charles! I really enjoyed this glimpse at Mary on her anniversary, Kara-the future for them both does not bode well!

    • It probably did not start well, either, knowing Mary was a second choice when there weren’t too many choices to begin with. Thanks, Jane!

  8. Love this – to see that Mary and Charles’ dynamic was there very early on. I would imagine that Charles would find it difficult to be always put in Anne’s way, to see first hand her selflessness and kindness, and to be able to do nothing but try to express his gratitude. Even Mary does appreciate Anne in her way, though she orders Anne to her side, rather than inviting her to spend some time… Still – I think this is the way this family works, and we see quite some time later that they are still in the exact same spot. I don’t think I could do what Anne does for her family, so it is just as well that this does not happen to be my lot. 😀

  9. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Julie. And yes, some people address their faults and change (like Darcy), and others never change.

  10. I’m late to this one, been a busy week for me.

    We’ll be celebrating 38 years in August and we’ve probably spent only one or two anniversaries apart, at the most, due to DH being away from home working. Apart from that, now he’s retired, if I’m not working, we’ll have a special outing somewhere followed by a special meal out at one of our favourite restaurants.

    Like everyone else, I’m loving these Anniversary Specials. This one turned out exactly as I expected! Mary needing Anne and Charles going off hunting, so that they spend very little time together. How much is Charles still regretting Anne turning him down? Quite a lot, I imagine. Mary must have grown up getting used to demanding attention and possibly Anne was expected to deal with her by her father and elder sister. Out of love for a younger sister who lost her mother at a very young age, perhaps Anne then gave Mary the love that she couldn’t have from her mother and would never get from the self-centred Sir Walter and Elizabeth.

    I’m not sure I could be as charitable and willing to help as Anne is, both here and in the original, but then she’s a better person than me, I expect.

    • Glad you caught up, Anji! And I’m glad you thought it was exactly how it likely would have been. I actually began writing this from Charles’ POV and had him considering how different things would have been if Anne had accepted him. Then I changed the whole thing, thinking it would be better from Anne’s POV.

  11. Kara, I do believe you captured that perfectly. (Sorry to jump in late…I am guilty of reading books while ignoring e-mails.) Knowing how the story ends for Anne is comforting for us. But the Musgroves seem to be headed to the same place M/M Bennet were when we met them. Not a happy place. Thanks for this short story. My husband and I will be married 49 years in August.

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