The Jane Austen Wiki
The Jane Austen Wiki

Henrietta Hayter (née Musgrove} is a minor character in Persuasion. She is the youngest child of Charles Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross estate and his wife. She is 19 years old at the beginning of the novel. She has two other siblings, Charles, the heir to the estate; and Louisa. She had another brother, Richard "Dick" Musgrove but he died while abroad[1]. She has a sister-in-law, Mary, whose father is a baronet.


Henrietta attended school in Exeter, where she learned to be very accomplished. She developed an understanding with her maternal first cousin, Charles Hayter, who was a scholar and a gentleman[2]. Her father, while still knowing that Henrietta could do far better than Charles Hayter, blessed the match anyway as long as it would bring his daughter happiness. Upon the arrival of Captain Wentworth, however, Charles Hayter was forgotten. She and Louisa fell a bit in love with the former naval captain, who was handsome and rich. Mary Musgrove saw this as a benefit for as well, as she thought a marriage between her sister-in-law and a poorer cousin would bring down people's opinions of herself and her husband as well[2]. Charles Musgrove disagreed with Mary, mostly because he was fond of his cousin. Although there wasn't a lot of money or property for Henrietta in the match, there was an estate and a fertile farm. He thought that a match between Henrietta and Charles Hayter would be good, although slightly lowering. Therefore, he thought Louisa should marry Captain Wentworth, and Henrietta should marry Charles Hayter[2].

Anne Elliot noticed that although the Musgrove sisters were in thrall of Captain Wentworth, he did not seem to share their regard[3]. Henrietta fancied herself divided between Wentworth and Hayter and relished it. After a while, Charles Hayter gave up, quitting Uppercross and going back to his studies[3].

Henrietta realized, however, that she was still in love with Charles Hayter and relinquished Frederick Wentworth to her sister. During a walk, her brother and she maneuvered the bunch so they would run onto Winthrop, the estate owned by her uncle and aunt. Henrietta renewed the romance with her cousin and came back to the group quite happy[3].

Traits and characteristics[]

Henrietta and her sister are happy, accomplished, and well-mannered young ladies. They attended finishing school in Exeter, and now they are free to live life to the fullest[4]. Henrietta is the prettier Musgrove sister, but Louisa is the livelier one[2].

Notes and references[]

  1. Persuasion, Chapter 6
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chapter 9
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chapter 10
  4. Persuasion, Chapter 5