Wentworth Wednesday

Chapter 6
She (Mrs Musgrove, Sr) had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and the re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son gone forever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had affected her spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for him than she had known on first hearing of his death. Mr Musgrove was, in a lesser degree, affected likewise; and when they reached the cottage, they were evidently in want, first, of being listened to anew on this subject, and afterwards, of all the relief which cheerful companions could give them.

To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his name so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their coming back from Clifton–a very fine young man–but they could not say whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a new sort of trial to Anne’s nerves. She found, however, that it was one to which she must inure herself. Since he actually was expected in the country, she must teach herself to be insensible on such points. And not only did it appear that he was expected, and speedily, but the Musgroves, in their warm gratitude for the kindness he had shewn poor Dick, and very high respect for his character, stamped as it was by poor Dick’s having been six months under his care, and mentioning him in strong, though not perfectly well-spelt praise, as “a fine dashing felow, only two perticular about the schoolmaster,” were bent on introducing themselves, and seeking his acquaintance, as soon as they could hear of his arrival.

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Captain Wentworth obviously cared for his crew. It was only prudent to see to the education of the “young gentlemen” who would take the steps from midshipman to lieutenant, and upward. It’s too bad that, also obviously, Richard (Dick) Musgrove was not one to take advantage of such care.

9 thoughts on “Wentworth Wednesday

  1. Susan Kaye Post author

    Throughout the Dick story line Austen vaguely ridicules the Musgroves. She lays the ground that Dick was sent off because he was a handful at home. And that he was never much thought about until Wentworth came on the scene.

    This scene shows that he never wrote them but for money, except the two letters they received while he was on Wentworth’s ship. Later when Wentworth and Anne dine for the first time, Mrs. Musgrove’s grieving is called “fat sighings.” I take this to be like our time’s “ugly cry face.” At least she (Austen) allows that we have a right to our feeling no matter how aesthetically unpleasing they may be.

    My point is Dick being a problem, and mostly ignored once he was out of the picture, is it realistic that Mrs. Musgrove kept his letters? Maybe more out of habit. IN those days letters were unusual and therefore worth keeping. Or is this another of Austen’s coincidences that moves the story along?

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  2. Laura Hile

    Those letters might have been the only ones her scapegrace son bothered to send! How right you are. It both serves the plot and also accentuates Mrs. Musgrove’s exaggerated sentimentality.

    I love the picture you chose, the letter (of Frederick’s?) now yellowed with age, folded into a boat shape. And, huh, here’s something new: I can read a little of it, not that ‘pathetic’ needs to be helped along. The bottommost line appears to say I offer myself to you

    Ouch.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      “…I offer myself to you …” Great, the line from “THE LETTER” was just some literary regifiting. Kind of like Mr. Collins and his prepenned pearls of flattery for the ladies.

      I’ll just chalk it up to a lazy production assistant who could only manage one hand-written note for the entire production.

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        1. Susan Kaye Post author

          I meant, since this is supposed to be a letter from Frederick in the summer of “06, and he used the same phrase –I offer myself to you–the letter in Bath, he’s essentially “regifting” his words. Lousily worded observation on my part if no one understands it.

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            1. Susan Kaye Post author

              Unless that was his last one, full of his opinions, and his being totally unconvinced and unbending. “I offer myself to you … and what do you do? Rip my heart out and stomp on it! You deserve that den of vipers you call a family.” We’ll just leave it as an adaptation anomaly.

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    1. Susan Kaye Post author

      The adaptations are primarily Anne’s story and so the sad tale of Dick Musgrove too much backstory to include. It is an important detail, IMO, because it shows how FW comes to be so quickly intimate with the family. He is greatly trusted because of the their prior association. But again, too much would have to be explained about a character who is never seen and has nothing to do with Anne. Thanks for the observation, Robin.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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