charles musgrove

30 Day Jane Austen Challenge - Day 29 - Favorite character back story

I love the little throwaway backstory in Persuasion that Charles Musgrove had proposed to Anne Elliot and was refused by her before he settled instead for her (highly inferior) sister Mary.  He wishes he had been able to win Anne as does his entire family who are all weary of Mary.  It shows that Charles must have a very understanding heart, but it also shows that Anne was once VERY desireable.  She had more than one man wanting to marry her!  It must also be a craw in Mary’s side and explains why she treats Anne so badly.  It’s one of those little pieces of backstory that informs the entire novel!

persuadedproject  asked:

Do you see Captain Wentworth's attitude once he comes back as more resentful or slightly vengeful? I've read interesting opinions both ways and I lean towards resentment, but would love to hear your take on it. :)

I mean, it’s a fine line, but I’d tend to go with resentful. He’s not going out of his way to cause Anne pain, but there’s a part of his behaviour where it definitely seems like he’s aware that it’s going to be awkward, and his pride has him determined to act like It’s Nothing and You Never Hurt Me. It’s less of a need to rub it in her face and be like “look what you lost” and more “I HAVE MOVED ON SO HARD LOOK I’M GOING TO GRAB A MUSGROVE GIRL AND SMILE AT HER.” It’s performative, but as far as Wentworth is aware, Anne could still feel that breaking the engagement was a proper thing. Until he sees her and begins to realize that she might actually have regrets, he’s out there doing his best to make it look like he is completely Over It, because if his path must cross with Anne Elliot’s again, he’s damned if he’s going to make a fool out of himself over what they once had.

It’s Wentworth’s careful little acts of caring for Anne which signal to me that he’s not doing any of it to purposefully hurt her–but he initially DOES want to throw up walls and distance between them by turning his attention to the Musgroves–to the girls, to Charles and his shooting, and even to Mary…his notice of them only makes his bare minimum of civil notice of Anne rather glaring, to the two of them. No-one else really notices because nobody notices Anne, or who is paying attention (or not) to Anne. Bit by bit, Wentworth comes to realize that Anne has remained unappreciated and confined at her home, and though she had an opportunity to gain independence by marrying Charles Musgrove, (who is by no means a bad man,) she refused him. He must wonder why…and then his glances and signals that he is thinking more and more recklessly about Anne begin to break through–seeing that she is seated with the Crofts after the walk to Winthrop has wearied her, silently removing her bothersome nephew, and so on…

He is still curious to know what Anne’s life has been like, and, gradually, through bits of secondhand knowledge gleaned indirectly from conversation with the Musgroves, he begins to understand and appreciate her more, and his protective walls begin to crumble, along with his cool and indifferent behaviour.

I don’t think it was meant to make Anne suffer–though we know it does–but it was meant to protect Wentworth’s heart against being so brutally broken, again, in case nothing had changed over the years. He does resent the broken engagement–it would be difficult not to–but revenge is beneath his honour.

Jane Austen Asks


  • Emma Woodhouse: What are some of your worst bad habits/faults?
  • Mrs. Bates: Are you the awkward one in your social group?
  • Jane Fairfax: What’s your biggest secret?
  • Mrs. Elton: Do you ever seek attention?
  • Harriet Smith: Which is worse: physical pain or emotional pain?
  • Frank Churchill: Do you get cranky in the heat?
  • Mr. Knightley: Do you dress for comfort or fashion?
  • Mrs. Weston: Do you take care of your friends?
  • Mr. Elton: How quickly do you recover from romantic rejection?
  • Mr. Woodhouse: Are you concerned about the health of those around you?

Pride and Prejudice

  • Colonel Fitzwilliam: Are you a good wingman?
  • Mary Bennett: What type of books do you like to read?
  • Mr. Bennett: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  • Miss de Bourgh: Do people try to plan your life for you?
  • Charles Bingley: Do you fall in love easily?
  • Mr Gardiner: Are you interested in fishing?
  • Catherine Bennett: How much does your personality depend on those you’re with?
  • George Wickham: Are you okay with burning bridges?
  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh: What are your top talents?
  • Mrs. Bennett: How good are you at ignoring bad things?
  • Jane Bennett: Do you give others the benefit of the doubt?
  • Mrs. Phillips: Does it bother you when you’re compared to others?
  • Lydia Bennett: How do you attract people you’re interested in?
  • Mrs. Gardiner: Would you say you are nosy?
  • Louisa Hurst: Are you able to pretend you like people who you don’t?
  • Mr. Collins: Do you compliment others?
  • Georgiana Darcy: What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
  • Charlotte Lucas: How far do you plan ahead?
  • Caroline Bingley: Do you get jealous?
  • Mr. Hurst: Are you able to sleep in front of strangers?

Sense and Sensibility

  • Edward Ferrars: Do you regret any of your past romances?
  • Fanny Dashwood: How involved are you in your family members’ lives?
  • Elinor Dashwood: Do you forgive easily?
  • Sir John Middleton: How much do you like dogs?
  • Mrs. Dashwood: Do you make decisions rationally or based on emotions?
  • John Willoughby: Have you ever been in a fight?
  • Marianne Dashwood: Are you open with your feelings?
  • Charlotte Palmer: How close are you with your mother?
  • Anne Steele: Can you keep a secret?
  • Mr. Palmer: Do you often say things without thinking?
  • Colonel Brandon: How much do you hold onto the past?
  • Robert Ferrars: Have you ever dated the ex of someone close to you?
  • Mrs. Jennings: Do you like to tease others?
  • John Dashwood: Are you easily persuaded?
  • Lucy Steele: Have you ever been attracted to two siblings?

Mansfield Park

  • Edmund Bertram: Do you care what your family thinks of you?
  • Fanny Price: Are you good at standing up for yourself?
  • Mrs. Norris: Do you pick favorites?
  • Lady Bertram: How productive are you?
  • Sir Thomas Bertram: Are you ever oblivious to things and people around you?
  • Tom Bertram: What’s the biggest change that’s happened in your life?
  • Maria Bertram: How easily do you change your mind?
  • Henry Crawford: What do you do to get over someone?
  • Mr. Rushworth: What’s your biggest regret?
  • Julia Bertram: Would you ever elope?
  • Mary Crawford: Have you ever shot yourself in the foot around your significant other’s family?

Northanger Abbey

  • Isabella Thorpe: Is loyalty an important quality to you?
  • Henry Tilney: What’s your favorite way to meet new people?
  • Frederick Tilney: Are you a good flirt?
  • James Morland: Have you ever had someone break up with you for no reason?
  • Eleanor Tilney: How do your parents embarrass you?
  • Mrs. Allen: Is fashion important to you?
  • General Tilney: Will you be a helicopter parent?
  • Catherine Morland: Do you daydream a lot?
  • John Thorpe: Have you ever thought you were in a relationship when you weren’t?


  • Louisa Musgrove: What’s the most embarrassing way you’ve gotten hurt?
  • Anne Elliot: How well do you respond to stressful situations?
  • Admiral Croft: Are you a good driver?
  • Mrs. Smith: Are you good at maintaining friendships?
  • Captain Wentworth: Do you hold grudges?
  • Captain Harville: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?
  • Elizabeth Elliot: How good is your self-control?
  • Mrs. Croft: Would you ever live on a boat?
  • Sir Walter Elliot: How often do you look in the mirror?
  • Charles Musgrove: Are you into sports?
  • Lady Russell: Do your friends come to you for advice?
  • Mrs. Clay: Do you keep secrets from your friends?
  • Mr. William Elliot: How frugal are you?
  • Mary Musgrove: Are you a hypochondriac?
  • Captain Benwick: How do you feel about poetry?
  • Henrietta Musgrove: Have you ever been in an on-again-off-again relationship?
  • Charles Hayter: Do you ever feel kind of superfluous?

anonymous asked:

Hi, I've just finished reading Persuasion for the first time, and wondered on your opinion of Lady Russell? I feel she has way to much influence over Anne, thoughts?

I think this is the most hotly contested question about Persuasion in modern perspectives, as well as people wanting to shake Anne in the end where she declares that she doesn’t think she did wrong by listening to Lady R. And (unpopular opinion, perhaps,) I think Anne is right. I trust her and where she’s coming from.

It’s easy enough to say from a modern reader’s perspective that Anne should have stuck by Wentworth and thumbed her nose at all the world for his sake, but that’s just not who she is, or was, at nineteen.

Compared to other Austen heroines in age, then, she would have been only older than Catherine Morland, Marianne Dashwood, and Fanny Price–and of those girls, she is the only one who lacks a mother. (Fanny’s isn’t exactly deeply involved in her life, but then Fanny is always forced to rely more on herself than the advice of those around her because those around her are terrible.)

Lady Russell is not a bad woman, and is not so much a snob that she would see Anne unhappy and alone forever. She is definitely set in place as a mother-figure to Anne, and does her best to give the best possible advice she can for the circumstances.

Consider that Anne and Wentworth’s initial romance was rather rapid, and that she was a very sheltered girl who likely hadn’t entirely processed her grief over her mother’s death and being sent away to a school where she was extremely unhappy. Like, Anne’s adolescence was extremely dark and isolating. She would have only returned home to her family in the last year or two, and Lady Russell’s fear is that Anne will too easily grow attached to anybody who shows her the least bit of kindness and regard. And given that Wentworth at the time has little money, a high risk of being killed in the course of his career, (and from what Lady R can tell, a rather impulsive character, which lends itself well to bravery but less so to staying alive and supporting a wife and family,) and knowing Sir Walter has a poor opinion of the match, what can Lady Russell imagine might be worse than that Anne (and Anne’s children, if she should have any,) might be made dependent upon Sir Walter if she should be widowed, or her husband injured and unable to provide a stable life (as we see has happened to the Harvilles.) Sir Walter’s whining remonstrances would be never-ending about the degradation Anne had brought upon herself and her family by such a connection, and home life at Kellynch would no doubt be worse than ever, and poor Anne sunk even more deeply into a level of grief from which she might never recover.

This, naturally, terrifies Lady Russell. Money and rank may mean little to Anne and Wentworth, but they mean a great deal to the people Anne would have to deal with if Wentworth is unable to provide properly for her.

For a vulnerable girl of nineteen, and a match so swift and reckless, Lady Russell would not be doing her duty as a mature woman with an eye on potential consequences if she didn’t say something to Anne. Anne loved Wentworth, yes–but Marianne loved Willoughby, too. Older women–women who have loved and lost–might understand better that it often does not do to place all one’s faith in a first romance…particularly when it’s a whirlwind.

Is Lady Russell ultimately correct? No, because we know Wentworth will do well in his career and that the love between him and Anne is steadfast. But hindsight and all that jazz. (“It was, perhaps, one of those cases in which advice is good or bad only as the event decides.”) Which is why Anne insists she didn’t do wrongly to listen to Lady Russell. She knew where Lady Russell was coming from. She knew Lady Russell wasn’t being malicious, and that Lady Russell was her nearest and dearest friend–likely dearer to her than any of her living family. She trusted Lady Russell, and she wasn’t wrong to trust her. The moral of the story isn’t “ignore anything you hear from concerned friends who have your best interests in mind”. People are flawed, and so is their advice. Lady Russell is wise about many things, but it just so happened that she wasn’t wise about Anne and Wentworth in this specific case–and none of them could have known that. Lady Russell expected that Anne would mix more in society, meet more people, and perhaps find happiness with another worthy person. (We must acknowledge that the world is not filled with men incapable of rising to the standard of Captain Wentworth.) This would have been the natural way of things, but, for one reason or another–all of them beyond Lady Russell’s control–this never happened. If Anne could have been happy with Charles Musgrove, Lady Russell would have been pleased to at least have Anne settled nearby, and with a ‘safe’ match to a good man, but it is noted that her influence can’t create enough affection where it does not exist. Anne is open to being cautioned, but not encouraged.

And though there’s a rush to condemn Anne and Lady Russell, consider how their conduct is tempered in Wentworth’s own declaration: “But I too have been thinking over the past, and a question has suggested itself, whether there may not have been one person more my enemy even than that lady? My own self.” Two years after the broken engagement, when he had enough money to offer a more stable living, and Anne had had time to consider that perhaps she’d been unwise to yield to Lady Russell’s advice in entirely giving up the engagement, he could have written to her and she would have renewed their engagement. Lady Russell’s advice and Anne’s acting on it caused them both a great deal of pain for two years, but Wentworth’s stubborn fit of pique prolongs it for six more years and possibly forever, until their paths cross again. The power of renewal is all his–Anne cannot reach out to him, even when she wishes she could.

In Persuasion, I think Anne does her best with what she has–which is so very little. Lady Russell’s advice fails her, but not Lady Russell herself, and it’s very much up to fate and chance unspooling over the course of years which prove Lady Russell’s cautions to have been in the wrong. While in Anne and Wentworth’s case we ultimately know that they’re meant to be together…perhaps the timing was just not right for them, before. They both had some growing up to do. There could be no guarantees. Wentworth resents that Anne is persuaded by Lady Russell’s advice, rather than his own–and while we can understand his feelings, consider if a teen girl’s mother today was like “…look, I know you’re in love for the first time, but honestly you can’t tell if these things are going to last, and I’m just not convinced he’s the best person for you, you’re so young and there’s so much more of life to see…” and then on the other side of it you’ve got the Boyfriend saying “what does your mother know? We’re in love, we should just be together and damn the consequences!”

Perhaps I’m getting unromantic in my dotage, but I feel that teen girls might do better to listen to their concerned mothers rather than their boyfriends.

Of course these folks exist in a book and all this stuff is water under the bridge before we even begin to know them, so we have the luxury of judging their past behaviour at our leisure rather than having to live through it, and live with it.

afoolsfollower  asked:

Hi! Whenever I read Jane Austen I'm always struck by the fact that husbands and wives often refer to each other as 'Mr/Mrs Surname'. Do you know if this form of address was universal at that time/place and if couples used it in private as well as public? Thank you!

John Mullan touches on this in his wonderful book ‘What Matters in Jane Austen?’ and I believe the general etiquette of the time was to refer to one’s spouse by the Mr./Mrs. Surname thing as a general form of respect. Where we see this alter is in more affectionate marriages, where the husband will sometimes refer to his wife by her Christian name–however this is rarely reversed. Admiral Croft refers to his wife as Sophy, but in return she only ever calls him Admiral–but there can be little doubt of their mutual affection! Mary Musgrove calls her husband Charles, but then as a couple their levels of respect for one another are quite weak, and there is another Mr. Musgrove in her father-in-law up at the Great House, so just about everybody refers to Mr. Musgrove the younger as Charles Musgrove, to save confusion. In Mary’s case, calling her husband Charles is probably meant as a sign that she doesn’t much respect her husband.

As there aren’t any extremely private/intimate scenes between married couples in her books, we cannot know, of course, exactly what terms of address are used. It would really be determined by their own comfort levels and regard, of course. In public, however, is a different matter entirely. To even ‘nick-name’ a man by dropping the ‘Mr.’ is extremely cheeky and, as we see with Mrs. Elton and ‘Knightley’, informality bordering on the disrespectful which people in Highbury probably only put up with because Mrs. Elton is new and the vicar’s wife and they’re all going to have to get along for many years to come so best to let the little lapses slide…but it is a lapse, particuarly as Mrs. Elton has only just made everyone’s acquaintance. She’s moving too fast and being far too famliar.

Darcy and Bingley are Darcy and Bingley after a certain length of acquaintance when they are the subjects of discussion among the Bennets (particularly Jane and Elizabeth, and Mr. Bennet,) but to their faces, of course, they are always Mr. and Mr. (Of course the given name of Fitzwilliam is kind of a mouthful so fanfic tends to prefer to have Elizabeth refer to her husband as Darcy at all times. But in company she’d certainly call him Mr. Darcy.)

anonymous asked:

In Persuasion there's that bit where Wentworth is trying to play a tune for the Miss Musgroves. Was it common for men to know their way around a piano? Might Anne have shown him how to play that tune?

It’s possible a man might learn a bit of the piano from a lady he likes, if he’s musically-inclined, but for genteel sorts music is generally more a female accomplishment–a man might sing to accompany her playing, but not much else is often seen; but in Wentworth’s case I would say it’s far more likely he learned as a young sailor. Many ships might have instruments on-board as a matter of course, or brought in for special occasions, in order to amuse the officers. Balls were held on ships, and sailors became adept at finding ways to entertain themselves on long voyages. So for a sailor and an officer, a man would have to have a near-aversion to music or else appallingly low levels of talent and taste to avoid even learning to pick out a simple tune.

Of course, in Wentworth’s case, it’s open for interpretation and the idea that Anne might have taught him the song he was playing is extra-bittersweet. Whether he might’ve busted out such a song either on purpose to needle at her or unconsciously is another item up for debate, but I don’t see him being purposefully mean. (He’s trying to act as though he’s entirely forgotten her, in his flirting with the Musgrove girls, not actively wanting to bring up memories of what they had together.) But we know he’s also hyper-aware of the past and so I think he would be too guarded to let himself slip into playing a song which must have overt connections to the memory of his attachment to Anne, so although it’s not an impossible headcanon, personally I’d be inclined to think he’s just picked up a few songs, at least, in the course of his time at sea with an instrument on-board. Certainly he and Anne could have bonded over that, in the beginning. None of the men in her circle, certainly, seem musical at all. Sir Walter has his vanity as his hobby, Charles Musgrove his guns, and old Mr. Musgrove…whatever a country squire type does. William Elliot listens to music with apparent appreciation, but is only ever in the audience.

She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to herself; but this was no new sensation. Excepting one short period of her life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the loss of her dear mother, known the happiness of being listened to, or encouraged by any just appreciation or real taste.


anonymous asked:

so I was thinking, when a peer dies his wife would be known as "the dowager *title*" or "*first name*, *title*", but what about untitled women? I mean if mr. musgrove died mary would be the new mrs. musgrove right? but what would the old mrs musgrove be called?

For a plain Mrs., she would simply remain Mrs. Musgrove. Mary is known as Mrs. Charles Musgrove to differentiate her from her mother-in-law, and this may continue after her father-in-law’s death. Or perhaps people might refer to Mrs. Musgrove the Elder or the Younger, but in a neighbourhood like Uppercross I’d think that the standard “Mrs. Charles Musgrove” would stick until old Mrs. Musgrove died, herself. As there is no title for Charles Musgrove to rise to, he’d be Mr. Musgrove as always, only now with no need for HIM to be distinctly referred to as Mr. Charles Musgrove.

I don’t even know what would happen if a son was named after his father but probably the elder/younger thing or Old Mr. John Doe and Young Mr. John Doe.

Consider that Fanny Dashwood is Mrs. John Dashwood even when Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret’s father has died, and Mrs. Dashwood remains simply Mrs. Dashwood. Same goes for Mrs. Ferrars, another widowed Mrs.


Anne, coming quietly down from Louisa’s room, could not but hear what followed, for the parlour door was open.

“Then it is settled, Musgrove,” cried Captain Wentworth, “that you stay, and that I take care of your sister home. But as to the rest, as to the others, If one stays to assist Mrs. Harville, I think it need be only one. Mrs. Charles Musgrove will, of course, wish to get back to her children; but if Anne will stay, no one so proper, so capable as Anne.”

She paused a moment to recover from the emotion of hearing herself so spoken of. The other two warmly agreed to what he said, and she then appeared.

“You will stay, I am sure; you will stay and nurse her,” cried he, turning to her and speaking with a glow, and yet a gentleness, which seemed almost restoring the past. She coloured deeply, and he recollected himself and moved away.

- Persuasion, Chapter 12

anonymous asked:

Has anyone asked you about how you think the Austen characters would be sorted at Hogwarts? Maybe if you have done the major ones then you could do some of the minor characters?

Sorry for the delay on this one. No one ever has asked me before, so I had to put on my thinking cap and do some sorting. (Or was that a Sorting Hat and do some thinking?)

[Full disclosure, I’m a Slytherin, I’ve always wanted to be a Hufflepuff, but I have come to accept my placement and acknowledge that it makes some sense. I’ve bolded the main characters to make them easier to pick out.]


Marianne Dashwood, Mrs. Dashwood, Eliza Williams (elder & younger,) Lydia Bennet, Tom Bertram, Maria Bertram, John Thorpe, Mrs. Allan, Sir Walter Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot, Mary Musgrove, Frederick Wentworth, Louisa Musgrove, and Mrs. Smith.


Elinor Dashwood, Colonel Brandon, Margaret Dashwood, Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Jennings, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Charles Bingley, Georgiana Darcy, Lady Bertram, Mr. Rushworth, William Price, Harriet Smith, Robert Martin, Mrs. Weston, Mr. Weston, Miss Bates, Mr. Woodhouse, Isabella Knightley, Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, Mr. Allan, Anne Elliot, Charles Musgrove, Admiral Croft, Henrietta Musgrove, Mr. Musgrove, and Mrs. Musgrove.


Edward Ferrars, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Bennet, Mary Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Fanny Price, Edmund Bertram, Mary Crawford, Sir Thomas Bertram, George Knightley, John Knightley, Jane Fairfax, Henry Tilney, General Tilney, Lady Russell, Sophia Croft, and James Benwick.


John Willoughby, Lucy Steele, Robert Ferrars, John & Fanny Dashwood, George Wickham, Mrs. Bennet, William Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, Louisa Hurst, Mrs. Norris, Julia Bertram, Henry Crawford, Emma Woodhouse, Frank Churchill, Philip Elton, Augusta Elton, Isabella Thorpe, Frederick Tilney, Mrs. Clay, and William Elliot.

I find it interesting to note that the patterns I see out of this in particular with married couples is that Hufflepuffs can generally marry one another quite happily, but that [potential] matches within houses in the other three tend to be ill-advised pairings that bring out the worser qualities within their characters. Also, I will fully admit that I struggled on some of these, and could happily settle for having some in other houses. Naturally many of the antagonists have fallen into Slytherin house simply due to the overall stamp upon their characters being of a mercenary bent in novels built around a society and class which forced many to marry for money or powerful connections; but then I find that several Ravenclaw characters have a kind of supercilious elitism due to the lofty and cerebral virtues prized by stricter intellectuals–so you see a couple of ‘noble’ characters in there, as I found their strongest traits tended to be that kind of cool, dispassionate, black & white way of looking at the world. Gryffindors’ brash impulses can bring them into perilous places, and Hufflepuffs may seem like the dumping ground for characters that perhaps don’t fit in anywhere else explicitly; (but I think we can all agree that Hufflepuffs generally have good qualities that everyone can appreciate, though they may not always think to do so.)

I think all four houses show that there can be good and bad traits encompassed within the general concepts for the four Hogwarts houses, and so it mustn’t be presumed that all heroes and heroines must be Gryffindors, and all villains must be Slytherins. Plenty of Gryffindors have brushes with disaster thanks to their rash impulses and short tempers, and plenty of Slytherins may not be wholly bad people simply because they may pursue ambitions which are unlike those of their friends. The most prominent examples in the Slytherin house of my point are William Collins and Charlotte Lucas–both ambitious, both self-preserving, and both going about achieving their aims with what cunning they have. Mr. Collins is rather famously stupid by Bennet standards (and, as we are in sympathy with Elizabeth, by most reader’s standards, I would imagine,) but he is playing Lady Catherine’s game rather well, all things considered. Charlotte’s good sense perhaps helps him refine some strategies or make him less likely to expose himself to the censure of outside judgement, but if all you want is a comfortable living as a clergyman with a wealthy and powerful patroness? The reverend is on it, and so is his wife, in the end. Their characters and skillsets are by no means equal, but they are still both total Slytherins.

It’s not general personality traits like Good or Bad which necessarily pick your house for you–it’s what drives you, and how it drives you. What are your larger goals/intentions, and how do you get there?

I’m definitely willing to go into greater detail on specific characters, if anyone has any queries as to why I put them where I did.