Category Archives: Mrs. Musgrove

Large fat sighings

Today’s quote is completely un-PC.  It’s written of Mrs. Musgrove in Persuasion, when she is sad about the son they shipped off to sea because he was completely unmanageable.  He died at sea, and Captain Wentworth’s appearance has her thinking of him.

“Mrs. Musgrove was of a comfortable substantial size, infinitely more fitted by nature to express good cheer and good humour than tenderness and sentiment . . . Captain Wentworth should be allowed some credit for the self-command with which he attended to her large fat sighings over the destiny of a son, whom alive nobody had cared for.

Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions.  A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction as the most graceful set of limbs in the world.  But, fair or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason will patronize in vain–which taste cannot tolerate–which ridicule will seize.”

Persuasion, volume 1, chapter 8

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Filed under Grief, Mrs. Musgrove, Persuasion, Ridicule