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Persuasion 200: Mary Has Something to Say — 20 Comments

  1. This was hilarious, and you did an amazing job of bringing out the pettiness, snobbishness, silliness, and arrogance of Mary. She is her father’s daughter and she and Elizabeth are much the same person, I am guessing that Mary is less attractive than Elizabeth, and as we know she is much less useful than Anne, which would explain why Sir Walter and Elizabeth have no use for her. Every time Mary said something ridiculous, she was countered by Charles or Anne. The Musgraves are truly good natured people to put up with her absurd behavior, although as we know they do complain about her among themselves. This was a delight to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. Thank you very much, Mari, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! The one I feel sorry for is Charles. Imagine having to put up with a wife like that, forever…you’d think he’d go mad, but he handles her pretty calmly and sensibly. Nothing can change her, but I actually think she’s not as bad as Elizabeth, who is completely cold.

  3. Needed a laugh this morning and you provided it with a great chapter. How Anne kept from breaking up I don’t know. Charles’s comment about being equalitarian really went past her. She didn’t get that it didn’t mean being equal with your peers. Poor Mary, she is Sir Walter’s daughter. I would rather have the Musgroves at my table than the Elliotts and probably Mrs. Harville would have also. Great read!

    • Thank you, Maggie, I love it that you got a laugh! You raise an interesting question – why doesn’t Anne LAUGH at her family? We do. But she seems to take everything so seriously. Well, that’s probably because she’s unhappy. And after all, we don’t have to LIVE with the likes of Sir Walter and Elizabeth and Mary…no laughing matter, truly!

  4. Mary certainky is an Elliot! Thsi was a very amusing chapter especially as it expandson so many of Mary’s comments in the original work. I do feel sorry for Charles but he isnt the sharpest tool in the shed either so to speak. H e did choose to marry Mary which according to the rules of society was “a brilliant match” since she ranked above him. It makes me think she must have been charmed or maybe lustful to marry beneath her….

    so Austen Variation Authors…story idea…Mary and Charles courtship?????

    • Glad you were amused, Theresa, and now you have amused me, big time! Wouldn’t it be fascinating to write the Mary and Charles courtship. That would include Charles’s initial pursuit of Anne! I think that would be really interesting to explore. Might call it “A Willing Mind” (“the young man who not long afterwards found a more willing mind in her younger sister”). Wonder if it could work as a sort of adjunct to P200…

  5. Marvelously funny, Mary’s pettiness shines through, she seemed to be as narcisstic as they come. Her father’s child, the Acorn did’t fall too far from the Oak tree with this gal either!

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this foray into the Land of Mary in which she is the center of the universe and all of the planets orbit around her…. 😉

    Thank you!! I definitely needed a laugh this morning after grading essays until after 5:30 this morning…

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    • Love you calling it the Land of Mary, Susanne – very apt! I hear you about the essays. My work is reading manuscripts for Warner Bros., and it very much resembles getting through a dispiriting batch of student essays. If I couldn’t divert myself with Jane Austen it would be much worse! But we’ll both have Christmas vacation very soon now!

  7. What a pea-brain! She talks to make herself sound important and intelligent but is so far off the mark! Great posting Diana!

    • Love pea-brain! I’m not sure she actually lacked intelligence, but her judgment was so flawed by her upbringing that it definitely affected her. The REAL pea-brain is that peacock, Sir Walter Elliot!

  8. I enjoyed reading this! Mary is so much an Elliott! Then to day Anne should’ve stayed! Uugghh. Who told Anne yo leave? Mary is such a mutton head. Thank you for such a fun read! Sorry, thought I posted earlier. Read it at 4am. Guess who was the muttonhead at that time. 🙂

  9. Really enjoyable to read. I agree that Anne’s patient listening to her sister’s tirade is probably because it’s her family, and it stopped being funny long ago! Charles is quite something, he just puts up with his wife’s hysteria and slogs through her absurd comments without a lot of fanfare. With such a tiresome wife, he could be excused if he raised his voice and really let her know how incorrect she is about things, but that’s probably not worth his energy! I thought it was interesting that they commented on Wentworth’s supposed attachment to Louisa, and the possible love between them. No one could guess that there’s love between Mary and Charles, could they?

  10. Love between Mary and Charles does seem to be a bit worn out, but a couple of things do separate them from modern couples: no birth control, so Mary was probably querulous and irritable from the ill health of childbearing without modern medicine, and there was no divorce, so Charles just put up with things as they were. Nowadays that couple might not have stayed together. One of the few things that seems to keep them together and of similar mind, is a mutual love of gossip! Thanks for your comment, Kathy.

  11. Yes, I picked up on that “Anne, you should have stayed” knowing that Mary was hysterical when Wentworth and Charles suggested Anne was the best one to stay and nurse Louisa. Mary, like Lydia Bennet, only hears what she wants to hear (if anything) and then interprets it as she likes. I keep thinking that Mary used Louisa’s accident as another excuse to not be in the company of her own children….as when she didn’t want to miss the dinner with Capt. Wentworth at her in-law’s house. Selfish, selfish girl!

    I am sure Anne has become numb to much of what her family says and does, as she can in no way stop nor change their embarrassing comments and behaviors. And the whole Musgrove family does complain to her about Mary behind Mary’s back. Poor Charles – he like the young women were very limited in acquaintances and, thus, in actually having a lot of choice for brides. Out in the country, limited number of families, much less young women of the right age or social standing…so look around: to marry poorly or stay single?

    • Sheila, that does seem to be about the size of it – Mary is always trying to get out of caring for her children. My favorite moment is when she says that it will be better for Anne to stay with the injured boy because she “has not the feelings of a mother.” Delicious, that!

  12. As usual Mary is back to her own self again even in the midst of a bad accident. Why she keep on whining away and complaining is beyond me as she did enjoyed herself in Lyme. She really is mean spirited and remind me of Mrs Bennet in some ways. ‘She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper.’

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