Persuasion 200: The Tale of Dick Musgrove, Scrub, as told by Jack Caldwell — 33 Comments

  1. I’m very behind with my AV comments but just had to leave one here, once I pick myself up off the floor where I’ve been roling around laughing.

    Jack, I shall never read those passages in Persuasion that involve our unfortunate scrub in the same light again!

    • I got the idea right from Persuasion, Chapter 6:

      “The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son, and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea, because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.

      “He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him ‘poor Richard,’ been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done any thing to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.

      “He had been several years at sea, and had, in the course of those removals to which all midshipmen are liable, and especially such midshipmen as every captain wishes to get rid of, been six months on board Captain Frederick Wentworth’s frigate, the Laconia; and from the Laconia he had, under the influence of his captain, written the only two letters which his father and mother had ever received from him during the whole of his absence; that is to say, the only two disinterested letters: all the rest had been mere applications for money.

      “In each letter he had spoken well of his captain; but yet, so little were they in the habit of attending to such matters, so unobservant and incurious were they as to the names of men or ships, that it had made scarcely any impression at the time; and that Mrs. Musgrove should have been suddenly struck, this very day, with a recollection, of the name of Wentworth, as connected with her son, seemed one of those extraordinary bursts of mind which do sometimes occur.”

  2. What a delightful rendering of Little Dickie Musgrove and his time serving under Captain Wentworth. Enjoyed your description of a scrub. Me thinks you absolutely enjoyed writing this excerpt Jack. You were right, a few weeks ago, when you stated I would enjoy this. I most certainly did. I felt sorry for Wentworth, trying to reform a nonreformable character. And I agree with Anji in that I too will never read about that unfortunate scrub in “Persuasion” in the same light again. Thank you for such an entertaining chapter this today. Enjoyed it immensely.

  3. Yes, Anji, ROFL – about to make a trip to our State’s Wine & Spirits store as my day now calls for such. Must toast Jack’s sense of humor. And creativity here – well done. This will stay with me for quite some time. Born not made – any parent can relate to that!

  4. Enjoyed the history lesson greatly..a fun chapter with an entertaining look at
    Wentworths early time on the Laconia..and an introduction to the unfortunate other Musgrove..Little Fickle…

  5. I’m smiling and chuckling as I write this. You were right that I would enjoy this. I hope the dog took a bite out of him the next time he wasn’t looking! By the way, how would I upload a picture for you to see my husband’s model ship(s)? The HMS Victory is far from done…he’ll start the rigging in the winter as he has outdoor projects on the go now. However, he has some others nicely displayed…

  6. I enjoy reading the unfortunate tale of Dick Musgrove since very little is known of him. Thanks for skillfully creating entertaining scenes on board the Laconia, Jack.

  7. Thank you for this great tale of the scourge of scrubbery. I will endeavor to avoid contact with scrubs and the bloody flux. I couldn’t help but feel there’s also a workplace lesson in here, unfortunately! (I’ll have to look for the opportunity to abandon scrubs at some remote port…)

  8. I so enjoy your writing style, inserting historical-type detail, with wonderful humor, and more! I don’t think I have ever learned so much, while laughing so hard. Thank you!

    I also have so enjoyed your “Mr Darcy Comes to Dinner” and lost track of how many times I have reread it! And I just got “Pemberley Ranch”, so very much look forward to reading it. Thank you!

  9. Heh-heh! This is absolutely perfect, Jack – I think Jane Austen herself would have enjoyed this. It fits perfectly with her story.

    So amazing how the same set of parents can raise two sons, yet have one son become the reliable Charles and other turns out to be a scrub. The poor parents then get the daughter-in-law from… well, you know. Almost a female scrub. Thankfully, little Dickie no longer lives to plague his family.

    Thank you for this tale, Jack!

  10. There are far too many scrubs in this world; Miss Austen had the most astounding knack for describing people we all of us can recognize today.

    Jack, your more in-depth depiction of the life of this particular scrub was wonderful; thank you! I also now feel better about the lack of success in my own attempts, over the years, at scrub-reforming.

  11. I am just getting caught up. I am so glad I left this to a time when it was quite and I could enjoy this tale of woe. Oh how funny and what insight into Fredrick…I didn’t realize that he was a saint. Very well done and a great way to start the day!

  12. Sorry to be late to the table, Jack! Trying to play catch up after our jaunt to jolly old England!

    This was vastly entertaining, I loved it!

    Scruberous behaviour – what a delightful phrase, though my quote favourite has to be “Richard Musgrove, called Dick for many reasons,” LOLOLOL

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