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Jane Austen

Chapters 5–6

Chapters 3–4

Chapters 5–6, page 2

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Chapter 5

Admiral and Mrs. Croft come to see Kellynch. They approve of the house, grounds, and furniture, and hit it off very well with Sir Walter and Elizabeth. Sir Walter is flattered and gratified by their polished behavior and good manners. He thinks the Admiral one of the "best-looking sailors he has ever met." It is formally approved that the Crofts will rent Kellynch. Sir Walter and Elizabeth plan to take Mrs. Clay with them to Bath as an assistant and companion. Both Anne and Lady Russell feel the imprudence of this arrangement. Though Mrs. Clay has freckles and a projecting tooth, she is not altogether bad-looking and Anne suspects that her mild manners may allow her to form an intimacy with Sir Walter which would be neither appropriate nor desirable for the Elliot family. In an effort to warn Elizabeth of this danger, Anne suggests the impropriety of bringing Mrs. Clay to Bath. But Elizabeth rejects Anne's suggestion, confident that Mrs. Clay is not pretty enough for their father to ever consider her a potential wife.

Claiming that she is unwell, Mary requests that Anne come to stay with her for a few weeks at Uppercross Cottage, rather than immediately joining Sir Walter and Elizabeth at Bath. Anne, happy to be of some use and grateful to stay in Somersetshire a while longer, gladly agrees to go to Mary. She finds her sister in a very bad mood, lying on a couch and complaining that she has been alone all morning; Charles is out shooting and her two small sons are unmanageable. Mary, we are told, was never as pretty as either of her two sisters; she has a trying nature and easily falls into self-pity when others fail to pay her attention. Anne finally manages to cheer her up enough that she could get off the sofa and go with Anne to visit the Musgroves as the Great House.

At the Great House, Austen introduces us to the Musgroves, a happy family, "friendly and hospitable, not much educated and not at all elegant." The family consists of the mother and father, the three adult children: Charles (Mary's husband), Henrietta, and Louisa, who have just returned from school at Exeter, and younger children who are unnamed. Anne enjoys the Musgrove household for its merriness and comfort. She encourages the Miss Musgrove to join her and Mary for a walk.

Chapter 6

At Uppercross, Anne notices the very different topics that occupy the Musgroves' attention. Little concerned with discussing appearances and social standing, the Musgrove family occupies itself with hunting, newspapers, house-keeping, dress, dancing, and music. She finds their presence a welcome change from the company of her father and Elizabeth.

Austen describes the marriage of Charles and Mary Musgrove as reasonably happy. Charles is good-natured enough to put up with Mary's moods, though he wastes his time on sport. Charles is much better with the children, but Mary's interference makes them unmanageable. Anne gets along tolerably with the whole family, and the young boys respect her much more than their mother.

The Musgrove family is quite pleased to have Anne visiting. While Anne is there, Mary is much happier to have a constant companion. Periodically, both Charles Musgrove and his parents entreat Anne to use her influence upon her sister to make changes. They would like Mary to better manage her children and her home, and Anne is constantly made a middle party to small complaints.

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