How we cite our quotes:
Even the smooth surface of family-union seems worth preserving, though there may be nothing durable beneath. (21.52)
Many of the characters feel this way – why is keeping up family appearances so important?
"Such excellent parents as Mr and Mrs Musgrove," exclaimed Anne, "should be happy in their children's marriages. They do everything to confer happiness, I am sure. What a blessing to young people to be in such hands! Your father and mother seem so totally free from all those ambitious feelings which have led to so much misconduct and misery, both in young and old." (22.24)
Anne points out the usually negative tendency for parents to try to live through their children, only to hold up the Musgroves as an example of how this approach can make everyone involved happy since they have their children's best interests at heart.
They found Mrs Musgrove and her daughter within, and by themselves, and Anne had the kindest welcome from each. [...] It was a heartiness, and a warmth, and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad want of such blessings at home. She was entreated to give them as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or rather claimed as part of the family; and, in return, she naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on Charles's leaving them together, was listening to Mrs Musgrove's history of Louisa, and to Henrietta's of herself, giving opinions on business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts; from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to convince her that she was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well amused as she generally was, in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the Pump Room, could not but have her moments of imagining. (22.32)
While Mrs. Musgrove and Henrietta do seem to have more genuine affection for Anne than her own family, Anne still gets stuck listening to everyone talk about themselves and helping others out.