A by-word for repressive bourgeois respectability. Herbert Spencer may have inspired the present reference. Cf. his complaint against the artificiality of the human mating process: "Could we add up the trouble, the cost, the jealousies, vexations, misunderstandings, the loss of time and the loss of pleasure, which these conventions entail--could we clearly realize the extent to which we are all daily hampered by them, daily enslaved by them; we should perhaps come to the conclusion that the tyranny of Mrs. Grundy is worse than any other tyranny we suffer under" (Illustrations of Universal Progress 99).