An ongoing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
A maudlin sentiment? Not at all.
See here, once a woman’s looks have been spoiled by childbirth, what else is there? One cannot pine for past conquests forever! I laugh to think of my elder sisters, whose beauty is so admired and fêted, suffering the same fate. How mortified they will be! How they will turn away from the looking glass and sigh!
No, after that disaster has taken place, one must look to the future. Mine is quite wondrous, actually.
Children are raised. Oh, to be done with having to listen to Mama Musgrove’s criticism of my parenting skills! My sons will be married and gone—and if they eat too much or run about shouting or ruin the furniture, what is that to me? They will bear the consequences of their own folly. I will look on and smile.
Social prominence is unchallenged. By that time, I will be mistress of Uppercross and calling the shots. As wife of the squire, I will run the Public Days and preside over every social event of note in the district. I would like to do those things now, but a certain person refuses to expire! A lovely bit of influenza would do the trick. But does he ever fall ill? I remind myself that patience is a virtue.
Complaints are expected, and with good reason. I will be able to say whatever I wish to—and about!—my daughters-in-law. And no one will be able to do a thing about it, save to listen! I smile to think of one of them having to live in Uppercross Cottage, with its small, cramped drawing room and inadequate closets. While I indulge the grandchildren and win their affection. And come to call, but only to suit my convenience and at the most awkward times. I will feign disinterest, while toys are kicked beneath the sofa and crumbs are brushed aside. Yes, delightful!
Dear Mama is always right. A husband is a disappointment, but a son? He will defend his mother against every accusation, and always take her side. Mr Charles is a prime example of the unjust and unwarranted defense of Dear Mama.
Ah, but I am a Dear Mama myself. And I have not one son, but two! Which means I will have two daughters-in-law—and therefore will be twice as right.
Courage, gentle reader! Patience will carry the day. Your turn will come.
Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross