Regarding Mrs. Clay, Sir Walter marrying again and having a son would keep the estate in the immediate family (providing for his other daughters), which is a material consideration. Though Anne definitely does not like Mrs. Clay, it seems her primary concern here is for Elizabeth’s future peace and comfort.
And with Anne’s removal to Uppercross, we are introduced to the delights of Mary’s flights of thought! I end up smiling every time during the dialogue in their first sister-scene at Uppercross Cottage: with Mary ill on the sofa and then, by Anne’s perseverant patience and cheerfulness, soon up and ready for a walk.
Also, with the description of the Musgroves we see something new. In Persuasion—with the long-landed gentry in monetary straits and the rise of the navy—there is a feel of general, stirring transformation, but—as is brought out in the description of the Musgroves—there seem to be additional influences at work as well. England is changing.
“I cannot possibly do without Anne,” was Mary’s reasoning; and Elizabeth’s reply was, “Then I am sure Anne had better stay, for nobody will want her in Bath.” To be claimed as a good, though in an improper style, is at least better than being rejected as no good at all; and Anne, glad to be thought of some use, glad to have any thing marked out as a duty, and certainly not sorry to have the scene of it in the country, and her own dear country, readily agreed to stay.” pg. 34
“The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration; perhaps of improvement.” pg. 41
(On Henrietta and Louisa): “Anne always contemplated them as some of the happiest creatures of her acquaintance; but still, saved as we all are by some comfortable feeling of superiority from wishing for the possibility of exchange, she would not have given up her own more elegant and cultivated mind for all their enjoyments; and envied them nothing but that seemingly perfect good understanding and agreement together, that good-humoured mutual affection, of which she had known so little herself with either of her sisters.” pg. 42
Possible discussion question/s:
~ What do you think of Mary so far? And of Anne’s quiet management?