Pride and Precedence: I ought to be in Brighton!

An ongoing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove

It’s August, and everyone is on holiday. And yet here am I, stuck in Uppercross, with the load of the household on my fair shoulders.

It’s a stay-cation, Charles says (as if that is a word) and he laughs. What better way to enjoy a landed estate than by staying home?

Except we don’t have a landed estate, his parents do. I have a poky little cottage. A charming situation for the young squire and his bride. But now we have two active boys, and let me tell you, living cheek-and-jowl has lost its charm. I could do with a holiday.

And without someone becoming injured, which is how I was able to spend a month in Lyme-Regis. I looked after Louisa, between amusements like paging through the same dreary fashion periodicals and watching Captain Benwick sigh at the carpet. In an attempt to alleviate the stress of that, I tried a little sea-bathing. But please, in November?

I need balance, restoration, a sense of perspective! These can be easily had at a seaside resort. I’m not asking for the Greek Isles, for pity’s sake. Just Brighton. Wonderful, fashionable Brighton.

Need I elaborate? The Royal Pavillion. The cream-colored terraces on the seafront. The shops. The theaters. Everywhere, happy ladies and gentlemen promenading about. Who can be depressed in such a setting? Not I.

And of course, there is the glorious ocean, which is so much nicer than at Lyme-Regis. But I do not intend to bathe in the sea. I’ll just admire it from the hotel terrace as I sip tea and nibble cakes.

Let someone else chase after the boys on the sand! Let someone else listen to them prattle on! I tell you, a month’s holiday in Brighton will be just the thing.

After all, managing my household staff and having all the answers is so very wearing.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross


4 thoughts on “Pride and Precedence: I ought to be in Brighton!

  1. Susan Kaye

    Dear Mary, I understand now your need to get away. I was so alarmed to read that you live in a “porky little cottage.” I thought that Charles was more or less independent, his father begin the squire and all. But, if you are reduced to keeping pigs in the parlor, how outrageous! Unless of course you mean that your cottage is merely made of sticks, and if that is the case, it is still an outrage that the daughter of a baronet must be reduced to such conditions.

    Rereading your account is heart-renderingly …

    Oh, I find I have made a mistake. You said “POKY” little cottage, not “poRky.”

    My mistake, dear. In that case, enjoy your stay-cation.

    A dyslexic friend.


  2. Gayle Mills

    “I need balance, restoration, a sense of perspective!” At least Mary is aware that she is unbalanced, in bad shape, and has distorted vision. But what is her answer to these seemingly insurmountable problems? A little sea bathing at Brighton. She and Lydia — they just don’t get it.


  3. Robin Helm

    My dear, I was positively overcome with fatigue merely from reading all of your tiresome duties. No one understands you, do they, Mary?



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