An ongoing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
There is an epidemic, both in your time and mine, of something called “relational aggression.”
It seems so innocuous, so innocent—who gets to sit next to whom at dinner, not inviting so-and-so to tea, gossiping or repeating falsehoods. But don’t fool yourself. It’s deliberate, premeditated meanness, that’s what. And it hurts.
My sisters are prime examples. They dish it up with a smile. They have no empathy, no compassion! You have no idea how I suffer at their hands.
• I am often ill. I am! But do my sisters care?
• Dull company depresses me. So does having to wear the same few dresses.
• I cannot help it if people leave me out of things! They do!
• I am always the last to know, and so I ask. Why is asking a crime?
• What harm is there in adjusting the truth? Baldfaced honesty can be so brutal!
• Elizabeth takes my mother-in-law’s side every time. Who made her the expert?
• Continually, Anne dishes out parenting advice. What does she know?
• Who says Elizabeth has the last word on good taste and haute couture?
• So I enjoy frilly decorated hats. And wearing more than one brooch. So what?
• Just because Anne makes visits to the poor doesn’t mean I should.
• What about that river in Egypt? “De Nile,” Elizabeth says. Like she knows.
The Musgrove sisters—all of them, even the youngest—are just as bad. They get on with one another well enough, but they join ranks to exclude and inconvenience me. Sisters are most unfair!
Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross