Jane Austen


About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand
pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park,
in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a
baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and
large income. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her
uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds
short of any equitable claim to it. She had two sisters to be benefited by her
elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances
quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with
almost equal advantage. But there certainly are not so many men of large
fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. Miss Ward, at
the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev.
Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune,
and Miss Frances fared yet worse. Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to
the point, was not contemptible:  Sir Thomas being happily able to give his
friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began
their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year.
But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by
fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions,
did it very thoroughly.  She could hardly have made a more untoward choice. 
Sir Thomas Bertram had interest, which, from principle as well as pride — from a
general wish of doing right, and a desire of seeing all that were connected
with him in situations of respectability, he would have been glad to exert for
the advantage of Lady Bertram's sister; but her husband's profession was such
as no interest could reach; and before he had time to devise any other method
of assisting them, an absolute breach between the sisters had taken place. It
was the natural result of the conduct of each party, and such as a very
imprudent marriage almost always produces. To save herself from useless
remonstrance, Mrs. Price never wrote to her family on the subject till actually
married. Lady Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil feelings, and a temper
remarkably easy and indolent, would have contented herself with merely giving
up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter; but Mrs. Norris had a spirit
of activity, which could not be satisfied till she had written a long and angry
letter to Fanny, to point out the folly of her conduct, and threaten her with
all its possible ill consequences.  Mrs. Price, in her turn, was injured and
angry; and an answer, which comprehended each sister in its bitterness, and
bestowed such very disrespectful reflections on the pride of Sir Thomas as Mrs.
Norris could not possibly keep to herself, put an end to all intercourse
between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct,
as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each other's existence
during the eleven following years, or, at least, to make it very wonderful to
Sir Thomas that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as
she now and then did, in an angry voice, that Fanny had got another child. By
the end of eleven years, however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish
pride or resentment, or to lose one connexion that might possibly assist her. 
A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service,
but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to
supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly
sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in a letter which spoke so much
contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of
almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation.
She was preparing for her ninth lying-in; and after bewailing the circumstance,
and imploring their countenance as sponsors to the expected child, she could
not conceal how important she felt they might be to the future maintenance of
the eight already in being.  Her eldest was a boy of ten years old, a fine
spirited fellow, who longed to be out in the world; but what could she do? Was
there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of
his West Indian property? No situation would be beneath him; or what did Sir
Thomas think of Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

The letter was not unproductive.  It re-established peace and kindness.  Sir
Thomas sent friendly advice and professions, Lady Bertram dispatched money and
baby-linen, and Mrs. Norris wrote the letters.

Such were its immediate effects, and within a twelvemonth a more important
advantage to Mrs. Price resulted from it. Mrs. Norris was often observing to
the others that she could not get her poor sister and her family out of her
head, and that, much as they had all done for her, she seemed to be wanting to
do more; and at length she could not but own it to be her wish that poor Mrs.
Price should be relieved from the charge and expense of one child entirely out
of her great number.  "What if they were among them to undertake the care of
her eldest daughter, a girl now nine years old, of an age to require more
attention than her poor mother could possibly give? The trouble and expense of
it to them would be nothing, compared with the benevolence of the action." 
Lady Bertram agreed with her instantly.  "I think we cannot do better," said
she; "let us send for the child."

Sir Thomas could not give so instantaneous and unqualified a consent.  He
debated and hesitated; — it was a serious charge;— a girl so brought up must be
adequately provided for, or there would be cruelty instead of kindness in
taking her from her family.  He thought of his own four children, of his two
sons, of cousins in love, etc.; — but no sooner had he deliberately begun to
state his objections, than Mrs. Norris interrupted him with a reply to them
all, whether stated or not.

"My dear Sir Thomas, I perfectly comprehend you, and do justice to the
generosity and delicacy of your notions, which indeed are quite of a piece with
your general conduct; and I entirely agree with you in the main as to the
propriety of doing everything one could by way of providing for a child one had
in a manner taken into one's own hands; and I am sure I should be the last
person in the world to withhold my mite upon such an occasion.  Having no
children of my own, who should I look to in any little matter I may ever have
to bestow, but the children of my sisters?— and I am sure Mr. Norris is too
just — but you know I am a woman of few words and professions.  Do not let us be
frightened from a good deed by a trifle.  Give a girl an education, and
introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of
settling well, without farther expense to anybody.  A niece of ours, Sir
Thomas, I may say, or at least of yours, would not grow up in this
neighbourhood without many advantages. I don't say she would be so handsome as
her cousins. I dare say she would not; but she would be introduced into the
society of this country under such very favourable circumstances as, in all
human probability, would get her a creditable establishment.  You are thinking
of your sons— but do not you know that, of all things upon earth, that is
the least likely to happen, brought up as they would be, always together like
brothers and sisters? It is morally impossible.  I never knew an instance of
it. It is, in fact, the only sure way of providing against the connexion. 
Suppose her a pretty girl, and seen by Tom or Edmund for the first time seven
years hence, and I dare say there would be mischief.  The very idea of her
having been suffered to grow up at a distance from us all in poverty and
neglect, would be enough to make either of the dear, sweet-tempered boys in
love with her.  But breed her up with them from this time, and suppose her even
to have the beauty of an angel, and she will never be more to either than a

"There is a great deal of truth in what you say," replied Sir Thomas, "and far
be it from me to throw any fanciful impediment in the way of a plan which would
be so consistent with the relative situations of each.  I only meant to observe
that it ought not to be lightly engaged in, and that to make it really
serviceable to Mrs. Price, and creditable to ourselves, we must secure to the
child, or consider ourselves engaged to secure to her hereafter, as
circumstances may arise, the provision of a gentlewoman, if no such
establishment should offer as you are so sanguine in expecting."

"I thoroughly understand you," cried Mrs. Norris, "you are everything that is
generous and considerate, and I am sure we shall never disagree on this point.
Whatever I can do, as you well know, I am always ready enough to do for the
good of those I love; and, though I could never feel for this little girl the
hundredth part of the regard I bear your own dear children, nor consider her,
in any respect, so much my own, I should hate myself if I were capable of
neglecting her. Is not she a sister's child? and could I bear to see her want
while I had a bit of bread to give her? My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults
I have a warm heart; and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the
necessaries of life than do an ungenerous thing.  So, if you are not against
it, I will write to my poor sister tomorrow, and make the proposal; and, as
soon as matters are settled, I will engage to get the child to Mansfield;
you shall have no trouble about it.  My own trouble, you know, I never
regard.  I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed at her
cousin the saddler's, and the child be appointed to meet her there.  They may
easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any
creditable person that may chance to be going. I dare say there is always some
reputable tradesman's wife or other going up."

Except to the attack on Nanny's cousin, Sir Thomas no longer made any
objection, and a more respectable, though less economical rendezvous being
accordingly substituted, everything was considered as settled, and the
pleasures of so benevolent a scheme were already enjoyed. The division of
gratifying sensations ought not, in strict justice, to have been equal; for Sir
Thomas was fully resolved to be the real and consistent patron of the selected
child, and Mrs. Norris had not the least intention of being at any expense
whatever in her maintenance. As far as walking, talking, and contriving
reached, she was thoroughly benevolent, and nobody knew better how to dictate
liberality to others; but her love of money was equal to her love of directing,
and she knew quite as well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends.
Having married on a narrower income than she had been used to look forward to,
she had, from the first, fancied a very strict line of economy necessary; and
what was begun as a matter of prudence, soon grew into a matter of choice, as
an object of that needful solicitude which there were no children to supply.
Had there been a family to provide for, Mrs. Norris might never have saved her
money; but having no care of that kind, there was nothing to impede her
frugality, or lessen the comfort of making a yearly addition to an income which
they had never lived up to.  Under this infatuating principle, counteracted by
no real affection for her sister, it was impossible for her to aim at more than
the credit of projecting and arranging so expensive a charity; though perhaps
she might so little know herself as to walk home to the Parsonage, after this
conversation, in the happy belief of being the most liberal-minded sister and
aunt in the world.

When the subject was brought forward again, her views were more fully
explained; and, in reply to Lady Bertram's calm inquiry of "Where shall the
child come to first, sister, to you or to us?"  Sir Thomas heard with some
surprise that it would be totally out of Mrs. Norris's power to take any share
in the personal charge of her. He had been considering her as a particularly
welcome addition at the Parsonage, as a desirable companion to an aunt who had
no children of her own; but he found himself wholly mistaken.  Mrs. Norris was
sorry to say that the little girl's staying with them, at least as things then
were, was quite out of the question. Poor Mr. Norris's indifferent state of
health made it an impossibility:  he could no more bear the noise of a child
than he could fly; if, indeed, he should ever get well of his gouty complaints,
it would be a different matter: she should then be glad to take her turn, and
think nothing of the inconvenience; but just now, poor Mr. Norris took up every
moment of her time, and the very mention of such a thing she was sure would
distract him.

"Then she had better come to us," said Lady Bertram, with the utmost composure.
 After a short pause Sir Thomas added with dignity, "Yes, let her home be in
this house. We will endeavour to do our duty by her, and she will, at least,
have the advantage of companions of her own age, and of a regular

"Very true," cried Mrs. Norris, "which are both very important considerations;
and it will be just the same to Miss Lee whether she has three girls to teach,
or only two — there can be no difference.  I only wish I could be more useful;
but you see I do all in my power. I am not one of those that spare their own
trouble; and Nanny shall fetch her, however it may put me to inconvenience to
have my chief counsellor away for three days.  I suppose, sister, you will put
the child in the little white attic, near the old nurseries. It will be much
the best place for her, so near Miss Lee, and not far from the girls, and close
by the housemaids, who could either of them help to dress her, you know, and
take care of her clothes, for I suppose you would not think it fair to expect
Ellis to wait on her as well as the others.  Indeed, I do not see that you
could possibly place her anywhere else."

Lady Bertram made no opposition.

"I hope she will prove a well-disposed girl," continued Mrs. Norris, "and be
sensible of her uncommon good fortune in having such friends."

"Should her disposition be really bad," said Sir Thomas, "we must not, for our
own children's sake, continue her in the family; but there is no reason to
expect so great an evil.  We shall probably see much to wish altered in her,
and must prepare ourselves for gross ignorance, some meanness of opinions, and
very distressing vulgarity of manner; but these are not incurable faults; nor,
I trust, can they be dangerous for her associates.  Had my daughters been
younger than herself, I should have considered the introduction of such a
companion as a matter of very serious moment; but, as it is, I hope there can
be nothing to fear for them, and everything to hope for her, from the

"That is exactly what I think," cried Mrs. Norris, "and what I was saying to my
husband this morning. It will be an education for the child, said I, only being
with her cousins; if Miss Lee taught her nothing, she would learn to be good
and clever from them."

"I hope she will not tease my poor pug," said Lady Bertram; "I have but just
got Julia to leave it alone."

"There will be some difficulty in our way, Mrs. Norris," observed Sir Thomas,
"as to the distinction proper to be made between the girls as they grow up: 
how to preserve in the minds of my daughters the consciousness of what they
are, without making them think too lowly of their cousin; and how, without
depressing her spirits too far, to make her remember that she is not a _Miss
Bertram_. I should wish to see them very good friends, and would, on no
account, authorise in my girls the smallest degree of arrogance towards their
relation; but still they cannot be equals.  Their rank, fortune, rights, and
expectations will always be different.  It is a point of great delicacy, and
you must assist us in our endeavours to choose exactly the right line of

Mrs. Norris was quite at his service; and though she perfectly agreed with him
as to its being a most difficult thing, encouraged him to hope that between
them it would be easily managed.

It will be readily believed that Mrs. Norris did not write to her sister in
vain.  Mrs. Price seemed rather surprised that a girl should be fixed on, when
she had so many fine boys, but accepted the offer most thankfully, assuring
them of her daughter's being a very well-disposed, good-humoured girl, and
trusting they would never have cause to throw her off. She spoke of her farther
as somewhat delicate and puny, but was sanguine in the hope of her being
materially better for change of air.  Poor woman! she probably thought change
of air might agree with many of her children.


The little girl performed her long journey in safety; and at Northampton was
met by Mrs. Norris, who thus regaled in the credit of being foremost to welcome
her, and in the importance of leading her in to the others, and recommending
her to their kindness.

Fanny Price was at this time just ten years old, and though there might not be
much in her first appearance to captivate, there was, at least, nothing to
disgust her relations.  She was small of her age, with no glow of complexion,
nor any other striking beauty; exceedingly timid and shy, and shrinking from
notice; but her air, though awkward, was not vulgar, her voice was sweet, and
when she spoke her countenance was pretty. Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram received
her very kindly; and Sir Thomas, seeing how much she needed encouragement,
tried to be all that was conciliating:  but he had to work against a most
untoward gravity of deportment; and Lady Bertram, without taking half so much
trouble, or speaking one word where he spoke ten, by the mere aid of a
good-humoured smile, became immediately the less awful character of the two.

The young people were all at home, and sustained their share in the
introduction very well, with much good humour, and no embarrassment, at least
on the part of the sons, who, at seventeen and sixteen, and tall of their age,
had all the grandeur of men in the eyes of their little cousin. The two girls
were more at a loss from being younger and in greater awe of their father, who
addressed them on the occasion with rather an injudicious particularity. But
they were too much used to company and praise to have anything like natural
shyness; and their confidence increasing from their cousin's total want of it,
they were soon able to take a full survey of her face and her frock in easy

They were a remarkably fine family, the sons very well-looking, the daughters
decidedly handsome, and all of them well-grown and forward of their age, which
produced as striking a difference between the cousins in person, as education
had given to their address; and no one would have supposed the girls so nearly
of an age as they really were.  There were in fact but two years between the
youngest and Fanny. Julia Bertram was only twelve, and Maria but a year older.
The little visitor meanwhile was as unhappy as possible. Afraid of everybody,
ashamed of herself, and longing for the home she had left, she knew not how to
look up, and could scarcely speak to be heard, or without crying. Mrs. Norris
had been talking to her the whole way from Northampton of her wonderful good
fortune, and the extraordinary degree of gratitude and good behaviour which it
ought to produce, and her consciousness of misery was therefore increased by
the idea of its being a wicked thing for her not to be happy.  The fatigue,
too, of so long a journey, became soon no trifling evil. In vain were the
well-meant condescensions of Sir Thomas, and all the officious prognostications
of Mrs. Norris that she would be a good girl; in vain did Lady Bertram smile
and make her sit on the sofa with herself and pug, and vain was even the sight
of a gooseberry tart towards giving her comfort; she could scarcely swallow two
mouthfuls before tears interrupted her, and sleep seeming to be her likeliest
friend, she was taken to finish her sorrows in bed.

"This is not a very promising beginning," said Mrs. Norris, when Fanny had left
the room.  "After all that I said to her as we came along, I thought she would
have behaved better; I told her how much might depend upon her acquitting
herself well at first.  I wish there may not be a little sulkiness of
temper — her poor mother had a good deal; but we must make allowances for such a
child — and I do not know that her being sorry to leave her home is really
against her, for, with all its faults, it was her home, and she cannot as yet
understand how much she has changed for the better; but then there is
moderation in all things."

It required a longer time, however, than Mrs. Norris was inclined to allow, to
reconcile Fanny to the novelty of Mansfield Park, and the separation from
everybody she had been used to.  Her feelings were very acute, and too little
understood to be properly attended to. Nobody meant to be unkind, but nobody
put themselves out of their way to secure her comfort.

The holiday allowed to the Miss Bertrams the next day, on purpose to afford
leisure for getting acquainted with, and entertaining their young cousin,
produced little union. They could not but hold her cheap on finding that she
had but two sashes, and had never learned French; and when they perceived her
to be little struck with the duet they were so good as to play, they could do
no more than make her a generous present of some of their least valued toys,
and leave her to herself, while they adjourned to whatever might be the
favourite holiday sport of the moment, making artificial flowers or wasting
gold paper.

Fanny, whether near or from her cousins, whether in the schoolroom, the
drawing-room, or the shrubbery, was equally forlorn, finding something to fear
in every person and place.  She was disheartened by Lady Bertram's silence,
awed by Sir Thomas's grave looks, and quite overcome by Mrs. Norris's
admonitions. Her elder cousins mortified her by reflections on her size, and
abashed her by noticing her shyness:  Miss Lee wondered at her ignorance, and
the maid-servants sneered at her clothes; and when to these sorrows was added
the idea of the brothers and sisters among whom she had always been important
as playfellow, instructress, and nurse, the despondence that sunk her little
heart was severe.

The grandeur of the house astonished, but could not console her. The rooms were
too large for her to move in with ease: whatever she touched she expected to
injure, and she crept about in constant terror of something or other; often
retreating towards her own chamber to cry; and the little girl who was spoken
of in the drawing-room when she left it at night as seeming so desirably
sensible of her peculiar good fortune, ended every day's sorrows by sobbing
herself to sleep.  A week had passed in this way, and no suspicion of it
conveyed by her quiet passive manner, when she was found one morning by her
cousin Edmund, the youngest of the sons, sitting crying on the attic stairs.

"My dear little cousin," said he, with all the gentleness of an excellent
nature, "what can be the matter?"  And sitting down by her, he was at great
pains to overcome her shame in being so surprised, and persuade her to speak
openly. "Was she ill? or was anybody angry with her? or had she quarrelled with
Maria and Julia? or was she puzzled about anything in her lesson that he could
explain? Did she, in short, want anything he could possibly get her, or do for
her?  For a long while no answer could be obtained beyond a "no, no — not at
all — no, thank you"; but he still persevered; and no sooner had he begun to
revert to her own home, than her increased sobs explained to him where the
grievance lay.  He tried to console her.

"You are sorry to leave Mama, my dear little Fanny," said he, "which shows you
to be a very good girl; but you must remember that you are with relations and
friends, who all love you, and wish to make you happy.  Let us walk out in the
park, and you shall tell me all about your brothers and sisters."

On pursuing the subject, he found that, dear as all these brothers and sisters
generally were, there was one among them who ran more in her thoughts than the
rest. It was William whom she talked of most, and wanted most to see.  William,
the eldest, a year older than herself, her constant companion and friend; her
advocate with her mother (of whom he was the darling) in every distress.
"William did not like she should come away; he had told her he should miss her
very much indeed."  "But William will write to you, I dare say."  "Yes, he had
promised he would, but he had told her to write first."  "And when shall you
do it?"  She hung her head and answered hesitatingly, "she did not know; she
had not any paper."

"If that be all your difficulty, I will furnish you with paper and every other
material, and you may write your letter whenever you choose.  Would it make you
happy to write to William?"

"Yes, very."

"Then let it be done now.  Come with me into the breakfast-room, we shall find
everything there, and be sure of having the room to ourselves."

"But, cousin, will it go to the post?"

"Yes, depend upon me it shall:  it shall go with the other letters; and, as
your uncle will frank it, it will cost William nothing."

"My uncle!" repeated Fanny, with a frightened look.

"Yes, when you have written the letter, I will take it to my father to frank."

Fanny thought it a bold measure, but offered no further resistance; and they
went together into the breakfast-room, where Edmund prepared her paper, and
ruled her lines with all the goodwill that her brother could himself have felt,
and probably with somewhat more exactness. He continued with her the whole time
of her writing, to assist her with his penknife or his orthography, as either
were wanted; and added to these attentions, which she felt very much, a
kindness to her brother which delighted her beyond all the rest.  He wrote with
his own hand his love to his cousin William, and sent him half a guinea under
the seal.  Fanny's feelings on the occasion were such as she believed herself
incapable of expressing; but her countenance and a few artless words fully
conveyed all their gratitude and delight, and her cousin began to find her an
interesting object.  He talked to her more, and, from all that she said, was
convinced of her having an affectionate heart, and a strong desire of doing
right; and he could perceive her to be farther entitled to attention by great
sensibility of her situation, and great timidity.  He had never knowingly given
her pain, but he now felt that she required more positive kindness; and with
that view endeavoured, in the first place, to lessen her fears of them all, and
gave her especially a great deal of good advice as to playing with Maria and
Julia, and being as merry as possible.

From this day Fanny grew more comfortable.  She felt that she had a friend, and
the kindness of her cousin Edmund gave her better spirits with everybody else.
The place became less strange, and the people less formidable; and if there
were some amongst them whom she could not cease to fear, she began at least to
know their ways, and to catch the best manner of conforming to them. The little
rusticities and awkwardnesses which had at first made grievous inroads on the
tranquillity of all, and not least of herself, necessarily wore away, and she
was no longer materially afraid to appear before her uncle, nor did her aunt
Norris's voice make her start very much. To her cousins she became occasionally
an acceptable companion. Though unworthy, from inferiority of age and strength,
to be their constant associate, their pleasures and schemes were sometimes of a
nature to make a third very useful, especially when that third was of an
obliging, yielding temper; and they could not but own, when their aunt inquired
into her faults, or their brother Edmund urged her claims to their kindness,
that "Fanny was good-natured enough."

Edmund was uniformly kind himself; and she had nothing worse to endure on the
part of Tom than that sort of merriment which a young man of seventeen will
always think fair with a child of ten.  He was just entering into life, full of
spirits, and with all the liberal dispositions of an eldest son, who feels born
only for expense and enjoyment.  His kindness to his little cousin was
consistent with his situation and rights: he made her some very pretty
presents, and laughed at her.

As her appearance and spirits improved, Sir Thomas and Mrs. Norris thought with
greater satisfaction of their benevolent plan; and it was pretty soon decided
between them that, though far from clever, she showed a tractable disposition,
and seemed likely to give them little trouble.  A mean opinion of her abilities
was not confined to them. Fanny could read, work, and write, but she had been
taught nothing more; and as her cousins found her ignorant of many things with
which they had been long familiar, they thought her prodigiously stupid, and
for the first two or three weeks were continually bringing some fresh report of
it into the drawing-room. "Dear mama, only think, my cousin cannot put the map
of Europe together— or my cousin cannot tell the principal rivers in Russia—
or, she never heard of Asia Minor — or she does not know the difference between
water-colours and crayons!— How strange! — Did you ever hear anything so

"My dear," their considerate aunt would reply, "it is very bad, but you must
not expect everybody to be as forward and quick at learning as yourself."

"But, aunt, she is really so very ignorant! — Do you know, we asked her last
night which way she would go to get to Ireland; and she said, she should cross
to the Isle of Wight.  She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight, and she
calls it the Island, as if there were no other island in the world.  I am
sure I should have been ashamed of myself, if I had not known better long
before I was so old as she is.  I cannot remember the time when I did not know
a great deal that she has not the least notion of yet.  How long ago it is,
aunt, since we used to repeat the chronological order of the kings of England,
with the dates of their accession, and most of the principal events of their

"Yes," added the other; "and of the Roman emperors as low as Severus; besides a
great deal of the heathen mythology, and all the metals, semi-metals, planets,
and distinguished philosophers."

"Very true indeed, my dears, but you are blessed with wonderful memories, and
your poor cousin has probably none at all.  There is a vast deal of difference
in memories, as well as in everything else, and therefore you must make
allowance for your cousin, and pity her deficiency. And remember that, if you
are ever so forward and clever yourselves, you should always be modest; for,
much as you know already, there is a great deal more for you to learn."

"Yes, I know there is, till I am seventeen.  But I must tell you another thing
of Fanny, so odd and so stupid. Do you know, she says she does not want to
learn either music or drawing."

"To be sure, my dear, that is very stupid indeed, and shows a great want of
genius and emulation. But, all things considered, I do not know whether it is
not as well that it should be so, for, though you know (owing to me) your papa
and mama are so good as to bring her up with you, it is not at all necessary
that she should be as accomplished as you are; — on the contrary, it is much
more desirable that there should be a difference."

Such were the counsels by which Mrs. Norris assisted to form her nieces' minds;
and it is not very wonderful that, with all their promising talents and early
information, they should be entirely deficient in the less common acquirements
of self-knowledge, generosity and humility. In everything but disposition they
were admirably taught. Sir Thomas did not know what was wanting, because,
though a truly anxious father, he was not outwardly affectionate, and the
reserve of his manner repressed all the flow of their spirits before him.

To the education of her daughters Lady Bertram paid not the smallest attention.
 She had not time for such cares. She was a woman who spent her days in
sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of
little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very
indulgent to the latter when it did not put herself to inconvenience, guided in
everything important by Sir Thomas, and in smaller concerns by her sister. Had
she possessed greater leisure for the service of her girls, she would probably
have supposed it unnecessary, for they were under the care of a governess, with
proper masters, and could want nothing more.  As for Fanny's being stupid at
learning, "she could only say it was very unlucky, but some people were
stupid, and Fanny must take more pains: she did not know what else was to be
done; and, except her being so dull, she must add she saw no harm in the poor
little thing, and always found her very handy and quick in carrying messages,
and fetching, what she wanted."

Fanny, with all her faults of ignorance and timidity, was fixed at Mansfield
Park, and learning to transfer in its favour much of her attachment to her
former home, grew up there not unhappily among her cousins.  There was no
positive ill-nature in Maria or Julia; and though Fanny was often mortified by
their treatment of her, she thought too lowly of her own claims to feel injured
by it.

From about the time of her entering the family, Lady Bertram, in consequence of
a little ill-health, and a great deal of indolence, gave up the house in town,
which she had been used to occupy every spring, and remained wholly in the
country, leaving Sir Thomas to attend his duty in Parliament, with whatever
increase or diminution of comfort might arise from her absence. In the country,
therefore, the Miss Bertrams continued to exercise their memories, practise
their duets, and grow tall and womanly:  and their father saw them becoming in
person, manner, and accomplishments, everything that could satisfy his anxiety.
 His eldest son was careless and extravagant, and had already given him much
uneasiness; but his other children promised him nothing but good. His
daughters, he felt, while they retained the name of Bertram, must be giving it
new grace, and in quitting it, he trusted, would extend its respectable
alliances; and the character of Edmund, his strong good sense and uprightness
of mind, bid most fairly for utility, honour, and happiness to himself and all
his connexions. He was to be a clergyman.

Amid the cares and the complacency which his own children suggested, Sir Thomas
did not forget to do what he could for the children of Mrs. Price:  he assisted
her liberally in the education and disposal of her sons as they became old
enough for a determinate pursuit; and Fanny, though almost totally separated
from her family, was sensible of the truest satisfaction in hearing of any
kindness towards them, or of anything at all promising in their situation or
conduct.  Once, and once only, in the course of many years, had she the
happiness of being with William.  Of the rest she saw nothing: nobody seemed to
think of her ever going amongst them again, even for a visit, nobody at home
seemed to want her; but William determining, soon after her removal, to be a
sailor, was invited to spend a week with his sister in Northamptonshire before
he went to sea. Their eager affection in meeting, their exquisite delight in
being together, their hours of happy mirth, and moments of serious conference,
may be imagined; as well as the sanguine views and spirits of the boy even to
the last, and the misery of the girl when he left her. Luckily the visit
happened in the Christmas holidays, when she could directly look for comfort to
her cousin Edmund; and he told her such charming things of what William was to
do, and be hereafter, in consequence of his profession, as made her gradually
admit that the separation might have some use.  Edmund's friendship never
failed her: his leaving Eton for Oxford made no change in his kind
dispositions, and only afforded more frequent opportunities of proving them. 
Without any display of doing more than the rest, or any fear of doing too much,
he was always true to her interests, and considerate of her feelings, trying to
make her good qualities understood, and to conquer the diffidence which
prevented their being more apparent; giving her advice, consolation, and

Kept back as she was by everybody else, his single support could not bring her
forward; but his attentions were otherwise of the highest importance in
assisting the improvement of her mind, and extending its pleasures.  He knew
her to be clever, to have a quick apprehension as well as good sense, and a
fondness for reading, which, properly directed, must be an education in itself.
 Miss Lee taught her French, and heard her read the daily portion of history;
but he recommended the books which charmed her leisure hours, he encouraged her
taste, and corrected her judgment: he made reading useful by talking to her of
what she read, and heightened its attraction by judicious praise. In return for
such services she loved him better than anybody in the world except William: 
her heart was divided between the two.


The first event of any importance in the family was the death of Mr. Norris,
which happened when Fanny was about fifteen, and necessarily introduced
alterations and novelties.  Mrs. Norris, on quitting the Parsonage, removed
first to the Park, and afterwards to a small house of Sir Thomas's in the
village, and consoled herself for the loss of her husband by considering that
she could do very well without him; and for her reduction of income by the
evident necessity of stricter economy.

The living was hereafter for Edmund; and, had his uncle died a few years
sooner, it would have been duly given to some friend to hold till he were old
enough for orders. But Tom's extravagance had, previous to that event, been so
great as to render a different disposal of the next presentation necessary, and
the younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder. There was
another family living actually held for Edmund; but though this circumstance
had made the arrangement somewhat easier to Sir Thomas's conscience, he could
not but feel it to be an act of injustice, and he earnestly tried to impress
his eldest son with the same conviction, in the hope of its producing a better
effect than anything he had yet been able to say or do.

"I blush for you, Tom," said he, in his most dignified manner; "I blush for the
expedient which I am driven on, and I trust I may pity your feelings as a
brother on the occasion. You have robbed Edmund for ten, twenty, thirty years,
perhaps for life, of more than half the income which ought to be his.  It may
hereafter be in my power, or in yours (I hope it will), to procure him better
preferment; but it must not be forgotten that no benefit of that sort would
have been beyond his natural claims on us, and that nothing can, in fact, be an
equivalent for the certain advantage which he is now obliged to forego through
the urgency of your debts."

Tom listened with some shame and some sorrow; but escaping as quickly as
possible, could soon with cheerful selfishness reflect, firstly, that he had
not been half so much in debt as some of his friends; secondly, that his father
had made a most tiresome piece of work of it; and, thirdly, that the future
incumbent, whoever he might be, would, in all probability, die very soon.

On Mr. Norris's death the presentation became the right of a Dr. Grant, who
came consequently to reside at Mansfield; and on proving to be a hearty man of
forty-five, seemed likely to disappoint Mr. Bertram's calculations. But "no, he
was a short-necked, apoplectic sort of fellow, and, plied well with good
things, would soon pop off."

He had a wife about fifteen years his junior, but no children; and they entered
the neighbourhood with the usual fair report of being very respectable,
agreeable people.

The time was now come when Sir Thomas expected his sister-in-law to claim her
share in their niece, the change in Mrs. Norris's situation, and the
improvement in Fanny's age, seeming not merely to do away any former objection
to their living together, but even to give it the most decided eligibility; and
as his own circumstances were rendered less fair than heretofore, by some
recent losses on his West India estate, in addition to his eldest son's
extravagance, it became not undesirable to himself to be relieved from the
expense of her support, and the obligation of her future provision.  In the
fullness of his belief that such a thing must be, he mentioned its probability
to his wife; and the first time of the subject's occurring to her again
happening to be when Fanny was present, she calmly observed to her, "So, Fanny,
you are going to leave us, and live with my sister.  How shall you like it?"

Fanny was too much surprised to do more than repeat her aunt's words, "Going to
leave you?"

"Yes, my dear; why should you be astonished? You have been five years with us,
and my sister always meant to take you when Mr. Norris died. But you must come
up and tack on my patterns all the same."

The news was as disagreeable to Fanny as it had been unexpected. She had never
received kindness from her aunt Norris, and could not love her.

"I shall be very sorry to go away," said she, with a faltering voice.

"Yes, I dare say you will; that's natural enough. I suppose you have had as
little to vex you since you came into this house as any creature in the world."

"I hope I am not ungrateful, aunt," said Fanny modestly.

"No, my dear; I hope not.  I have always found you a very good girl."

"And am I never to live here again?"

"Never, my dear; but you are sure of a comfortable home. It can make very
little difference to you, whether you are in one house or the other."

Fanny left the room with a very sorrowful heart; she could not feel the
difference to be so small, she could not think of living with her aunt with
anything like satisfaction. As soon as she met with Edmund she told him her

"Cousin," said she, "something is going to happen which I do not like at all;
and though you have often persuaded me into being reconciled to things that I
disliked at first, you will not be able to do it now.  I am going to live
entirely with my aunt Norris."


"Yes; my aunt Bertram has just told me so.  It is quite settled. I am to leave
Mansfield Park, and go to the White House, I suppose, as soon as she is removed

"Well, Fanny, and if the plan were not unpleasant to you, I should call it an
excellent one."

"Oh, cousin!"

"It has everything else in its favour.  My aunt is acting like a sensible woman
in wishing for you.  She is choosing a friend and companion exactly where she
ought, and I am glad her love of money does not interfere. You will be what you
ought to be to her.  I hope it does not distress you very much, Fanny?"

"Indeed it does:  I cannot like it.  I love this house and everything in it:  I
shall love nothing there. You know how uncomfortable I feel with her."

"I can say nothing for her manner to you as a child; but it was the same with
us all, or nearly so.  She never knew how to be pleasant to children.  But you
are now of an age to be treated better; I think she is behaving better already;
and when you are her only companion, you must be important to her."

"I can never be important to any one."

"What is to prevent you?"

"Everything.  My situation, my foolishness and awkwardness."

"As to your foolishness and awkwardness, my dear Fanny, believe me, you never
have a shadow of either, but in using the words so improperly.  There is no
reason in the world why you should not be important where you are known. You
have good sense, and a sweet temper, and I am sure you have a grateful heart,
that could never receive kindness without wishing to return it.  I do not know
any better qualifications for a friend and companion."

"You are too kind," said Fanny, colouring at such praise; "how shall I ever
thank you as I ought, for thinking so well of me.  Oh! cousin, if I am to go
away, I shall remember your goodness to the last moment of my life."

"Why, indeed, Fanny, I should hope to be remembered at such a distance as the
White House.  You speak as if you were going two hundred miles off instead of
only across the park; but you will belong to us almost as much as ever. The two
families will be meeting every day in the year. The only difference will be
that, living with your aunt, you will necessarily be brought forward as you
ought to be. Here there are too many whom you can hide behind; but with her
you will be forced to speak for yourself."

"Oh!  I do not say so."

"I must say it, and say it with pleasure.  Mrs. Norris is much better fitted
than my mother for having the charge of you now.  She is of a temper to do a
great deal for anybody she really interests herself about, and she will force
you to do justice to your natural powers."

Fanny sighed, and said, "I cannot see things as you do; but I ought to believe
you to be right rather than myself, and I am very much obliged to you for
trying to reconcile me to what must be.  If I could suppose my aunt really to
care for me, it would be delightful to feel myself of consequence to anybody. 
 Here, I know, I am of none, and yet I love the place so well."

"The place, Fanny, is what you will not quit, though you quit the house.  You
will have as free a command of the park and gardens as ever.  Even your
constant little heart need not take fright at such a nominal change. You will
have the same walks to frequent, the same library to choose from, the same
people to look at, the same horse to ride."

"Very true.  Yes, dear old grey pony!  Ah! cousin, when I remember how much I
used to dread riding, what terrors it gave me to hear it talked of as likely to
do me good (oh! how I have trembled at my uncle's opening his lips if horses
were talked of), and then think of the kind pains you took to reason and
persuade me out of my fears, and convince me that I should like it after a
little while, and feel how right you proved to be, I am inclined to hope you
may always prophesy as well."

"And I am quite convinced that your being with Mrs. Norris will be as good for
your mind as riding has been for your health, and as much for your ultimate
happiness too."

So ended their discourse, which, for any very appropriate service it could
render Fanny, might as well have been spared, for Mrs. Norris had not the
smallest intention of taking her. It had never occurred to her, on the present
occasion, but as a thing to be carefully avoided.  To prevent its being
expected, she had fixed on the smallest habitation which could rank as genteel
among the buildings of Mansfield parish, the White House being only just large
enough to receive herself and her servants, and allow a spare room for a
friend, of which she made a very particular point. The spare rooms at the
Parsonage had never been wanted, but the absolute necessity of a spare room for
a friend was now never forgotten.  Not all her precautions, however, could save
her from being suspected of something better; or, perhaps, her very display of
the importance of a spare room might have misled Sir Thomas to suppose it
really intended for Fanny.  Lady Bertram soon brought the matter to a certainty
by carelessly observing to Mrs. Norris—

"I think, sister, we need not keep Miss Lee any longer, when Fanny goes to live
with you."

Mrs. Norris almost started.  "Live with me, dear Lady Bertram! what do you

"Is she not to live with you?  I thought you had settled it with Sir Thomas."

"Me! never.  I never spoke a syllable about it to Sir Thomas, nor he to me. 
Fanny live with me! the last thing in the world for me to think of, or for
anybody to wish that really knows us both.  Good heaven! what could I do with
Fanny? Me! a poor, helpless, forlorn widow, unfit for anything, my spirits
quite broke down; what could I do with a girl at her time of life?  A girl of
fifteen! the very age of all others to need most attention and care, and put
the cheerfullest spirits to the test!  Sure Sir Thomas could not seriously
expect such a thing!  Sir Thomas is too much my friend.  Nobody that wishes me
well, I am sure, would propose it.  How came Sir Thomas to speak to you about

"Indeed, I do not know.  I suppose he thought it best."

"But what did he say?  He could not say he wished me to take Fanny.  I am
sure in his heart he could not wish me to do it."

"No; he only said he thought it very likely; and I thought so too.  We both
thought it would be a comfort to you. But if you do not like it, there is no
more to be said. She is no encumbrance here."

"Dear sister, if you consider my unhappy state, how can she be any comfort to
me?  Here am I, a poor desolate widow, deprived of the best of husbands, my
health gone in attending and nursing him, my spirits still worse, all my peace
in this world destroyed, with hardly enough to support me in the rank of a
gentlewoman, and enable me to live so as not to disgrace the memory of the dear
departed— what possible comfort could I have in taking such a charge upon me
as Fanny?  If I could wish it for my own sake, I would not do so unjust a thing
by the poor girl. She is in good hands, and sure of doing well.  I must
struggle through my sorrows and difficulties as I can."

"Then you will not mind living by yourself quite alone?"

"Lady Bertram, I do not complain.  I know I cannot live as I have done, but I
must retrench where I can, and learn to be a better manager.  I have been a
liberal housekeeper enough, but I shall not be ashamed to practise economy now.
 My situation is as much altered as my income.  A great many things were due
from poor Mr. Norris, as clergyman of the parish, that cannot be expected from
me.  It is unknown how much was consumed in our kitchen by odd comers and
goers. At the White House, matters must be better looked after. I must live
within my income, or I shall be miserable; and I own it would give me great
satisfaction to be able to do rather more, to lay by a little at the end of the

"I dare say you will.  You always do, don't you?"

"My object, Lady Bertram, is to be of use to those that come after me.  It is
for your children's good that I wish to be richer.  I have nobody else to care
for, but I should be very glad to think I could leave a little trifle among
them worth their having."

"You are very good, but do not trouble yourself about them. They are sure of
being well provided for.  Sir Thomas will take care of that."

"Why, you know, Sir Thomas's means will be rather straitened if the Antigua
estate is to make such poor returns."

"Oh! that will soon be settled.  Sir Thomas has been writing about it, I

"Well, Lady Bertram," said Mrs. Norris, moving to go, "I can only say that my
sole desire is to be of use to your family:  and so, if Sir Thomas should ever
speak again about my taking Fanny, you will be able to say that my health and
spirits put it quite out of the question; besides that, I really should not
have a bed to give her, for I must keep a spare room for a friend."

Lady Bertram repeated enough of this conversation to her husband to convince
him how much he had mistaken his sister-in-law's views; and she was from that
moment perfectly safe from all expectation, or the slightest allusion to it
from him.  He could not but wonder at her refusing to do anything for a niece
whom she had been so forward to adopt; but, as she took early care to make him,
as well as Lady Bertram, understand that whatever she possessed was designed
for their family, he soon grew reconciled to a distinction which, at the same
time that it was advantageous and complimentary to them, would enable him
better to provide for Fanny himself.

Fanny soon learnt how unnecessary had been her fears of a removal; and her
spontaneous, untaught felicity on the discovery, conveyed some consolation to
Edmund for his disappointment in what he had expected to be so essentially
serviceable to her.  Mrs. Norris took possession of the White House, the Grants
arrived at the Parsonage, and these events over, everything at Mansfield went
on for some time as usual.

The Grants showing a disposition to be friendly and sociable, gave great
satisfaction in the main among their new acquaintance. They had their faults,
and Mrs. Norris soon found them out. The Doctor was very fond of eating, and
would have a good dinner every day; and Mrs. Grant, instead of contriving to
gratify him at little expense, gave her cook as high wages as they did at
Mansfield Park, and was scarcely ever seen in her offices.  Mrs. Norris could
not speak with any temper of such grievances, nor of the quantity of butter and
eggs that were regularly consumed in the house. "Nobody loved plenty and
hospitality more than herself; nobody more hated pitiful doings; the Parsonage,
she believed, had never been wanting in comforts of any sort, had never borne a
bad character in her time, but this was a way of going on that she could
not understand. A fine lady in a country parsonage was quite out of place.
Her store-room, she thought, might have been good enough for Mrs. Grant to go
into.  Inquire where she would, she could not find out that Mrs. Grant had ever
had more than five thousand pounds."

Lady Bertram listened without much interest to this sort of invective.  She
could not enter into the wrongs of an economist, but she felt all the injuries
of beauty in Mrs. Grant's being so well settled in life without being handsome,
and expressed her astonishment on that point almost as often, though not so
diffusely, as Mrs. Norris discussed the other.

These opinions had been hardly canvassed a year before another event arose of
such importance in the family, as might fairly claim some place in the thoughts
and conversation of the ladies.  Sir Thomas found it expedient to go to Antigua
himself, for the better arrangement of his affairs, and he took his eldest son
with him, in the hope of detaching him from some bad connexions at home.  They
left England with the probability of being nearly a twelvemonth absent.

The necessity of the measure in a pecuniary light, and the hope of its utility
to his son, reconciled Sir Thomas to the effort of quitting the rest of his
family, and of leaving his daughters to the direction of others at their
present most interesting time of life. He could not think Lady Bertram quite
equal to supply his place with them, or rather, to perform what should have
been her own; but, in Mrs. Norris's watchful attention, and in Edmund's
judgment, he had sufficient confidence to make him go without fears for their

Lady Bertram did not at all like to have her husband leave her; but she was not
disturbed by any alarm for his safety, or solicitude for his comfort, being one
of those persons who think nothing can be dangerous, or difficult, or fatiguing
to anybody but themselves.

The Miss Bertrams were much to be pitied on the occasion: not for their sorrow,
but for their want of it. Their father was no object of love to them; he had
never seemed the friend of their pleasures, and his absence was unhappily most
welcome.  They were relieved by it from all restraint; and without aiming at
one gratification that would probably have been forbidden by Sir Thomas, they
felt themselves immediately at their own disposal, and to have every indulgence
within their reach. Fanny's relief, and her consciousness of it, were quite
equal to her cousins'; but a more tender nature suggested that her feelings
were ungrateful, and she really grieved because she could not grieve.  "Sir
Thomas, who had done so much for her and her brothers, and who was gone perhaps
never to return! that she should see him go without a tear! it was a shameful
insensibility." He had said to her, moreover, on the very last morning, that he
hoped she might see William again in the course of the ensuing winter, and had
charged her to write and invite him to Mansfield as soon as the squadron to
which he belonged should be known to be in England. "This was so thoughtful and
kind!" and would he only have smiled upon her, and called her "my dear Fanny,"
while he said it, every former frown or cold address might have been forgotten.
 But he had ended his speech in a way to sink her in sad mortification, by
adding, "If William does come to Mansfield, I hope you may be able to convince
him that the many years which have passed since you parted have not been spent
on your side entirely without improvement; though, I fear, he must find his
sister at sixteen in some respects too much like his sister at ten." She cried
bitterly over this reflection when her uncle was gone; and her cousins, on
seeing her with red eyes, set her down as a hypocrite.


Tom Bertram had of late spent so little of his time at home that he could be
only nominally missed; and Lady Bertram was soon astonished to find how very
well they did even without his father, how well Edmund could supply his place
in carving, talking to the steward, writing to the attorney, settling with the
servants, and equally saving her from all possible fatigue or exertion in every
particular but that of directing her letters.

The earliest intelligence of the travellers' safe arrival at Antigua, after a
favourable voyage, was received; though not before Mrs. Norris had been
indulging in very dreadful fears, and trying to make Edmund participate them
whenever she could get him alone; and as she depended on being the first person
made acquainted with any fatal catastrophe, she had already arranged the manner
of breaking it to all the others, when Sir Thomas's assurances of their both
being alive and well made it necessary to lay by her agitation and affectionate
preparatory speeches for a while.

The winter came and passed without their being called for; the accounts
continued perfectly good; and Mrs. Norris, in promoting gaieties for her
nieces, assisting their toilets, displaying their accomplishments, and looking
about for their future husbands, had so much to do as, in addition to all her
own household cares, some interference in those of her sister, and Mrs. Grant's
wasteful doings to overlook, left her very little occasion to be occupied in
fears for the absent.

The Miss Bertrams were now fully established among the belles of the
neighbourhood; and as they joined to beauty and brilliant acquirements a manner
naturally easy, and carefully formed to general civility and obligingness, they
possessed its favour as well as its admiration. Their vanity was in such good
order that they seemed to be quite free from it, and gave themselves no airs;
while the praises attending such behaviour, secured and brought round by their
aunt, served to strengthen them in believing they had no faults.

Lady Bertram did not go into public with her daughters. She was too indolent
even to accept a mother's gratification in witnessing their success and
enjoyment at the expense of any personal trouble, and the charge was made over
to her sister, who desired nothing better than a post of such honourable
representation, and very thoroughly relished the means it afforded her of
mixing in society without having horses to hire.

Fanny had no share in the festivities of the season; but she enjoyed being
avowedly useful as her aunt's companion when they called away the rest of the
family; and, as Miss Lee had left Mansfield, she naturally became everything to
Lady Bertram during the night of a ball or a party. She talked to her, listened
to her, read to her; and the tranquillity of such evenings, her perfect
security in such a tete-a-tete from any sound of unkindness, was unspeakably
welcome to a mind which had seldom known a pause in its alarms or
embarrassments.  As to her cousins' gaieties, she loved to hear an account of
them, especially of the balls, and whom Edmund had danced with; but thought too
lowly of her own situation to imagine she should ever be admitted to the same,
and listened, therefore, without an idea of any nearer concern in them. Upon
the whole, it was a comfortable winter to her; for though it brought no William
to England, the never-failing hope of his arrival was worth much.

The ensuing spring deprived her of her valued friend, the old grey pony; and
for some time she was in danger of feeling the loss in her health as well as in
her affections; for in spite of the acknowledged importance of her riding on
horse-back, no measures were taken for mounting her again, "because," as it was
observed by her aunts, "she might ride one of her cousin's horses at any time
when they did not want them," and as the Miss Bertrams regularly wanted their
horses every fine day, and had no idea of carrying their obliging manners to
the sacrifice of any real pleasure, that time, of course, never came. They took
their cheerful rides in the fine mornings of April and May; and Fanny either
sat at home the whole day with one aunt, or walked beyond her strength at the
instigation of the other:  Lady Bertram holding exercise to be as unnecessary
for everybody as it was unpleasant to herself; and Mrs. Norris, who was walking
all day, thinking everybody ought to walk as much.  Edmund was absent at this
time, or the evil would have been earlier remedied. When he returned, to
understand how Fanny was situated, and perceived its ill effects, there seemed
with him but one thing to be done; and that "Fanny must have a horse" was the
resolute declaration with which he opposed whatever could be urged by the
supineness of his mother, or the economy of his aunt, to make it appear
unimportant. Mrs. Norris could not help thinking that some steady old thing
might be found among the numbers belonging to the Park that would do vastly
well; or that one might be borrowed of the steward; or that perhaps Dr. Grant
might now and then lend them the pony he sent to the post. She could not but
consider it as absolutely unnecessary, and even improper, that Fanny should
have a regular lady's horse of her own, in the style of her cousins. She was
sure Sir Thomas had never intended it:  and she must say that, to be making
such a purchase in his absence, and adding to the great expenses of his stable,
at a time when a large part of his income was unsettled, seemed to her very
unjustifiable.  "Fanny must have a horse," was Edmund's only reply.  Mrs.
Norris could not see it in the same light.  Lady Bertram did: she entirely
agreed with her son as to the necessity of it, and as to its being considered
necessary by his father; she only pleaded against there being any hurry; she
only wanted him to wait till Sir Thomas's return, and then Sir Thomas might
settle it all himself.  He would be at home in September, and where would be
the harm of only waiting till September?

Though Edmund was much more displeased with his aunt than with his mother, as
evincing least regard for her niece, he could not help paying more attention to
what she said; and at length determined on a method of proceeding which would
obviate the risk of his father's thinking he had done too much, and at the same
time procure for Fanny the immediate means of exercise, which he could not bear
she should be without.  He had three horses of his own, but not one that would
carry a woman.  Two of them were hunters; the third, a useful road-horse: this
third he resolved to exchange for one that his cousin might ride; he knew where
such a one was to be met with; and having once made up his mind, the whole
business was soon completed. The new mare proved a treasure; with a very little
trouble she became exactly calculated for the purpose, and Fanny was then put
in almost full possession of her. She had not supposed before that anything
could ever suit her like the old grey pony; but her delight in Edmund's mare
was far beyond any former pleasure of the sort; and the addition it was ever
receiving in the consideration of that kindness from which her pleasure sprung,
was beyond all her words to express.  She regarded her cousin as an example of
everything good and great, as possessing worth which no one but herself could
ever appreciate, and as entitled to such gratitude from her as no feelings
could be strong enough to pay. Her sentiments towards him were compounded of
all that was respectful, grateful, confiding, and tender.

As the horse continued in name, as well as fact, the property of Edmund, Mrs.
Norris could tolerate its being for Fanny's use; and had Lady Bertram ever
thought about her own objection again, he might have been excused in her eyes
for not waiting till Sir Thomas's return in September, for when September came
Sir Thomas was still abroad, and without any near prospect of finishing his
business. Unfavourable circumstances had suddenly arisen at a moment when he
was beginning to turn all his thoughts towards England; and the very great
uncertainty in which everything was then involved determined him on sending
home his son, and waiting the final arrangement by himself Tom arrived safely,
bringing an excellent account of his father's health; but to very little
purpose, as far as Mrs. Norris was concerned.  Sir Thomas's sending away his
son seemed to her so like a parent's care, under the influence of a foreboding
of evil to himself, that she could not help feeling dreadful presentiments; and
as the long evenings of autumn came on, was so terribly haunted by these ideas,
in the sad solitariness of her cottage, as to be obliged to take daily refuge
in the dining-room of the Park. The return of winter engagements, however, was
not without its effect; and in the course of their progress, her mind became so
pleasantly occupied in superintending the fortunes of her eldest niece, as
tolerably to quiet her nerves.  "If poor Sir Thomas were fated never to return,
it would be peculiarly consoling to see their dear Maria well married," she
very often thought; always when they were in the company of men of fortune, and
particularly on the introduction of a young man who had recently succeeded to
one of the largest estates and finest places in the country.

Mr. Rushworth was from the first struck with the beauty of Miss Bertram, and,
being inclined to marry, soon fancied himself in love.  He was a heavy young
man, with not more than common sense; but as there was nothing disagreeable in
his figure or address, the young lady was well pleased with her conquest. 
Being now in her twenty-first year, Maria Bertram was beginning to think
matrimony a duty; and as a marriage with Mr. Rushworth would give her the
enjoyment of a larger income than her father's, as well as ensure her the house
in town, which was now a prime object, it became, by the same rule of moral
obligation, her evident duty to marry Mr. Rushworth if she could. Mrs. Norris
was most zealous in promoting the match, by every suggestion and contrivance
likely to enhance its desirableness to either party; and, among other means, by
seeking an intimacy with the gentleman's mother, who at present lived with him,
and to whom she even forced Lady Bertram to go through ten miles of indifferent
road to pay a morning visit.  It was not long before a good understanding took
place between this lady and herself. Mrs. Rushworth acknowledged herself very
desirous that her son should marry, and declared that of all the young ladies
she had ever seen, Miss Bertram seemed, by her amiable qualities and
accomplishments, the best adapted to make him happy.  Mrs. Norris accepted the
compliment, and admired the nice discernment of character which could so well
distinguish merit.  Maria was indeed the pride and delight of them
all — perfectly faultless— an angel; and, of course, so surrounded by admirers,
must be difficult in her choice:  but yet, as far as Mrs. Norris could allow
herself to decide on so short an acquaintance, Mr. Rushworth appeared precisely
the young man to deserve and attach her.

After dancing with each other at a proper number of balls, the young people
justified these opinions, and an engagement, with a due reference to the absent
Sir Thomas, was entered into, much to the satisfaction of their respective
families, and of the general lookers-on of the neighbourhood, who had, for many
weeks past, felt the expediency of Mr. Rushworth's marrying Miss Bertram.

It was some months before Sir Thomas's consent could be received; but, in the
meanwhile, as no one felt a doubt of his most cordial pleasure in the
connexion, the intercourse of the two families was carried on without
restraint, and no other attempt made at secrecy than Mrs. Norris's talking of
it everywhere as a matter not to be talked of at present.

Edmund was the only one of the family who could see a fault in the business;
but no representation of his aunt's could induce him to find Mr. Rushworth a
desirable companion. He could allow his sister to be the best judge of her own
happiness, but he was not pleased that her happiness should centre in a large
income; nor could he refrain from often saying to himself, in Mr. Rushworth's
company— "If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very
stupid fellow."

Sir Thomas, however, was truly happy in the prospect of an alliance so
unquestionably advantageous, and of which he heard nothing but the perfectly
good and agreeable. It was a connexion exactly of the right sort— in the same
county, and the same interest — and his most hearty concurrence was conveyed as
soon as possible. He only conditioned that the marriage should not take place
before his return, which he was again looking eagerly forward to.  He wrote in
April, and had strong hopes of settling everything to his entire satisfaction,
and leaving Antigua before the end of the summer.

Such was the state of affairs in the month of July; and Fanny had just reached
her eighteenth year, when the society of the village received an addition in
the brother and sister of Mrs. Grant, a Mr. and Miss Crawford, the children of
her mother by a second marriage. They were young people of fortune.  The son
had a good estate in Norfolk, the daughter twenty thousand pounds. As children,
their sister had been always very fond of them; but, as her own marriage had
been soon followed by the death of their common parent, which left them to the
care of a brother of their father, of whom Mrs. Grant knew nothing, she had
scarcely seen them since. In their uncle's house they had found a kind home.
Admiral and Mrs. Crawford, though agreeing in nothing else, were united in
affection for these children, or, at least, were no farther adverse in their
feelings than that each had their favourite, to whom they showed the greatest
fondness of the two.  The Admiral delighted in the boy, Mrs. Crawford doted on
the girl; and it was the lady's death which now obliged her protegee, after
some months' further trial at her uncle's house, to find another home. Admiral
Crawford was a man of vicious conduct, who chose, instead of retaining his
niece, to bring his mistress under his own roof; and to this Mrs. Grant was
indebted for her sister's proposal of coming to her, a measure quite as welcome
on one side as it could be expedient on the other; for Mrs. Grant, having by
this time run through the usual resources of ladies residing in the country
without a family of children — having more than filled her favourite
sitting-room with pretty furniture, and made a choice collection of plants and
poultry — was very much in want of some variety at home.  The arrival,
therefore, of a sister whom she had always loved, and now hoped to retain with
her as long as she remained single, was highly agreeable; and her chief anxiety
was lest Mansfield should not satisfy the habits of a young woman who had been
mostly used to London.

Miss Crawford was not entirely free from similar apprehensions, though they
arose principally from doubts of her sister's style of living and tone of
society; and it was not till after she had tried in vain to persuade her
brother to settle with her at his own country house, that she could resolve to
hazard herself among her other relations.  To anything like a permanence of
abode, or limitation of society, Henry Crawford had, unluckily, a great
dislike:  he could not accommodate his sister in an article of such importance;
but he escorted her, with the utmost kindness, into Northamptonshire, and as
readily engaged to fetch her away again, at half an hour's notice, whenever she
were weary of the place.

The meeting was very satisfactory on each side. Miss Crawford found a sister
without preciseness or rusticity, a sister's husband who looked the gentleman,
and a house commodious and well fitted up; and Mrs. Grant received in those
whom she hoped to love better than ever a young man and woman of very
prepossessing appearance. Mary Crawford was remarkably pretty; Henry, though
not handsome, had air and countenance; the manners of both were lively and
pleasant, and Mrs. Grant immediately gave them credit for everything else.  She
was delighted with each, but Mary was her dearest object; and having never been
able to glory in beauty of her own, she thoroughly enjoyed the power of being
proud of her sister's. She had not waited her arrival to look out for a
suitable match for her: she had fixed on Tom Bertram; the eldest son of a
baronet was not too good for a girl of twenty thousand pounds, with all the
elegance and accomplishments which Mrs. Grant foresaw in her; and being a
warm-hearted, unreserved woman, Mary had not been three hours in the house
before she told her what she had planned.

Miss Crawford was glad to find a family of such consequence so very near them,
and not at all displeased either at her sister's early care, or the choice it
had fallen on. Matrimony was her object, provided she could marry well: and
having seen Mr. Bertram in town, she knew that objection could no more be made
to his person than to his situation in life.  While she treated it as a joke,
therefore, she did not forget to think of it seriously. The scheme was soon
repeated to Henry.

"And now," added Mrs. Grant, "I have thought of something to make it complete. 
I should dearly love to settle you both in this country; and therefore, Henry,
you shall marry the youngest Miss Bertram, a nice, handsome, good-humoured,
accomplished girl, who will make you very happy."

Henry bowed and thanked her.

"My dear sister," said Mary, "if you can persuade him into anything of the
sort, it will be a fresh matter of delight to me to find myself allied to
anybody so clever, and I shall only regret that you have not half a dozen
daughters to dispose of.  If you can persuade Henry to marry, you must have the
address of a Frenchwoman. All that English abilities can do has been tried
already. I have three very particular friends who have been all dying for him
in their turn; and the pains which they, their mothers (very clever women), as
well as my dear aunt and myself, have taken to reason, coax, or trick him into
marrying, is inconceivable!  He is the most horrible flirt that can be
imagined.  If your Miss Bertrams do not like to have their hearts broke, let
them avoid Henry."

"My dear brother, I will not believe this of you."

"No, I am sure you are too good.  You will be kinder than Mary. You will allow
for the doubts of youth and inexperience. I am of a cautious temper, and
unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry.  Nobody can think more highly of the
matrimonial state than myself I consider the blessing of a wife as most justly
described in those discreet lines of the poet — 'Heaven's last best gift.'"

"There, Mrs. Grant, you see how he dwells on one word, and only look at his
smile.  I assure you he is very detestable; the Admiral's lessons have quite
spoiled him."

"I pay very little regard," said Mrs. Grant, "to what any young person says on
the subject of marriage. If they profess a disinclination for it, I only set it
down that they have not yet seen the right person."

Dr. Grant laughingly congratulated Miss Crawford on feeling no disinclination
to the state herself.

"Oh yes!  I am not at all ashamed of it.  I would have everybody marry if they
can do it properly: I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but
everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage."


The young people were pleased with each other from the first.  On each side
there was much to attract, and their acquaintance soon promised as early an
intimacy as good manners would warrant.  Miss Crawford's beauty did her no
disservice with the Miss Bertrams. They were too handsome themselves to dislike
any woman for being so too, and were almost as much charmed as their brothers
with her lively dark eye, clear brown complexion, and general prettiness.  Had
she been tall, full formed, and fair, it might have been more of a trial:  but
as it was, there could be no comparison; and she was most allowably a sweet,
pretty girl, while they were the finest young women in the country.

Her brother was not handsome:  no, when they first saw him he was absolutely
plain, black and plain; but still he was the gentleman, with a pleasing
address.  The second meeting proved him not so very plain:  he was plain, to be
sure, but then he had so much countenance, and his teeth were so good, and he
was so well made, that one soon forgot he was plain; and after a third
interview, after dining in company with him at the Parsonage, he was no longer
allowed to be called so by anybody. He was, in fact, the most agreeable young
man the sisters had ever known, and they were equally delighted with him. Miss
Bertram's engagement made him in equity the property of Julia, of which Julia
was fully aware; and before he had been at Mansfield a week, she was quite
ready to be fallen in love with.

Maria's notions on the subject were more confused and indistinct.  She did not
want to see or understand. "There could be no harm in her liking an agreeable
man— everybody knew her situation — Mr. Crawford must take care of himself." 
Mr. Crawford did not mean to be in any danger! the Miss Bertrams were worth
pleasing, and were ready to be pleased; and he began with no object but of
making them like him.  He did not want them to die of love; but with sense and
temper which ought to have made him judge and feel better, he allowed himself
great latitude on such points.

"I like your Miss Bertrams exceedingly, sister," said he, as he returned from
attending them to their carriage after the said dinner visit; "they are very
elegant, agreeable girls."

"So they are indeed, and I am delighted to hear you say it. But you like Julia

"Oh yes!  I like Julia best."

"But do you really? for Miss Bertram is in general thought the handsomest."

"So I should suppose.  She has the advantage in every feature, and I prefer her
countenance; but I like Julia best; Miss Bertram is certainly the handsomest,
and I have found her the most agreeable, but I shall always like Julia best,
because you order me."

"I shall not talk to you, Henry, but I know you will like her best at last."

"Do not I tell you that I like her best at first?"

"And besides, Miss Bertram is engaged.  Remember that, my dear brother.  Her
choice is made."

"Yes, and I like her the better for it.  An engaged woman is always more
agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself.  Her cares are
over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without
suspicion.  All is safe with a lady engaged: no harm can be done."

"Why, as to that, Mr. Rushworth is a very good sort of young man, and it is a
great match for her."

"But Miss Bertram does not care three straws for him; that is your opinion of
your intimate friend.  I do not subscribe to it.  I am sure Miss Bertram is
very much attached to Mr. Rushworth.  I could see it in her eyes, when he was
mentioned.  I think too well of Miss Bertram to suppose she would ever give her
hand without her heart."

"Mary, how shall we manage him?"

"We must leave him to himself, I believe.  Talking does no good.  He will be
taken in at last."

"But I would not have him taken in; I would not have him duped; I
would have it all fair and honourable."

"Oh dear! let him stand his chance and be taken in. It will do just as well. 
Everybody is taken in at some period or other."

"Not always in marriage, dear Mary."

"In marriage especially.  With all due respect to such of the present company
as chance to be married, my dear Mrs. Grant, there is not one in a hundred of
either sex who is not taken in when they marry.  Look where I will, I see that
it is so; and I feel that it must be so, when I consider that it is, of all
transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least
honest themselves."

"Ah!  You have been in a bad school for matrimony, in Hill Street."

"My poor aunt had certainly little cause to love the state; but, however,
speaking from my own observation, it is a manoeuvring business.  I know so many
who have married in the full expectation and confidence of some one particular
advantage in the connexion, or accomplishment, or good quality in the person,
who have found themselves entirely deceived, and been obliged to put up with
exactly the reverse.  What is this but a take in?"

"My dear child, there must be a little imagination here. I beg your pardon, but
I cannot quite believe you. Depend upon it, you see but half.  You see the
evil, but you do not see the consolation.  There will be little rubs and
disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if
one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first
calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere — and
those evil-minded observers, dearest Mary, who make much of a little, are more
taken in and deceived than the parties themselves."

"Well done, sister!  I honour your esprit du corps. When I am a wife,
I mean to be just as staunch myself; and I wish my friends in general would
be so too.  It would save me many a heartache."

"You are as bad as your brother, Mary; but we will cure you both.  Mansfield
shall cure you both, and without any taking in.  Stay with us, and we will cure

The Crawfords, without wanting to be cured, were very willing to stay.  Mary
was satisfied with the Parsonage as a present home, and Henry equally ready to
lengthen his visit.  He had come, intending to spend only a few days with them;
but Mansfield promised well, and there was nothing to call him elsewhere.  It
delighted Mrs. Grant to keep them both with her, and Dr. Grant was exceedingly
well contented to have it so:  a talking pretty young woman like Miss Crawford
is always pleasant society to an indolent, stay-at-home man; and Mr. Crawford's
being his guest was an excuse for drinking claret every day.

The Miss Bertrams' admiration of Mr. Crawford was more rapturous than anything
which Miss Crawford's habits made her likely to feel.  She acknowledged,
however, that the Mr. Bertrams were very fine young men, that two such young
men were not often seen together even in London, and that their manners,
particularly those of the eldest, were very good.  He had been much in
London, and had more liveliness and gallantry than Edmund, and must, therefore,
be preferred; and, indeed, his being the eldest was another strong claim.  She
had felt an early presentiment that she should like the eldest best. She knew
it was her way.

Tom Bertram must have been thought pleasant, indeed, at any rate; he was the
sort of young man to be generally liked, his agreeableness was of the kind to
be oftener found agreeable than some endowments of a higher stamp, for he had
easy manners, excellent spirits, a large acquaintance, and a great deal to say;
and the reversion of Mansfield Park, and a baronetcy, did no harm to all this. 
Miss Crawford soon felt that he and his situation might do.  She looked about
her with due consideration, and found almost everything in his favour:  a park,
a real park, five miles round, a spacious modern-built house, so well placed
and well screened as to deserve to be in any collection of engravings of
gentlemen's seats in the kingdom, and wanting only to be completely new
furnished — pleasant sisters, a quiet mother, and an agreeable man himself — with
the advantage of being tied up from much gaming at present by a promise to his
father, and of being Sir Thomas hereafter. It might do very well; she believed
she should accept him; and she began accordingly to interest herself a little
about the horse which he had to run at the B ——— - races.

These races were to call him away not long after their acquaintance began; and
as it appeared that the family did not, from his usual goings on, expect him
back again for many weeks, it would bring his passion to an early proof.  Much
was said on his side to induce her to attend the races, and schemes were made
for a large party to them, with all the eagerness of inclination, but it would
only do to be talked of.

And Fanny, what was she doing and thinking all this while? and what was her
opinion of the newcomers? Few young ladies of eighteen could be less called on
to speak their opinion than Fanny.  In a quiet way, very little attended to,
she paid her tribute of admiration to Miss Crawford's beauty; but as she still
continued to think Mr. Crawford very plain, in spite of her two cousins having
repeatedly proved the contrary, she never mentioned him.  The notice, which
she excited herself, was to this effect.  "I begin now to understand you all,
except Miss Price," said Miss Crawford, as she was walking with the Mr.
Bertrams.  "Pray, is she out, or is she not?  I am puzzled.  She dined at the
Parsonage, with the rest of you, which seemed like being out; and yet she
says so little, that I can hardly suppose she is."

Edmund, to whom this was chiefly addressed, replied, "I believe I know what you
mean, but I will not undertake to answer the question.  My cousin is grown up. 
She has the age and sense of a woman, but the outs and not outs are beyond me."

"And yet, in general, nothing can be more easily ascertained. The distinction
is so broad.  Manners as well as appearance are, generally speaking, so totally
different. Till now, I could not have supposed it possible to be mistaken as to
a girl's being out or not.  A girl not out has always the same sort of dress: 
a close bonnet, for instance; looks very demure, and never says a word. You may
smile, but it is so, I assure you; and except that it is sometimes carried a
little too far, it is all very proper.  Girls should be quiet and modest. The
most objectionable part is, that the alteration of manners on being introduced
into company is frequently too sudden.  They sometimes pass in such very little
time from reserve to quite the opposite — to confidence! That is the faulty
part of the present system. One does not like to see a girl of eighteen or
nineteen so immediately up to every thing — and perhaps when one has seen her
hardly able to speak the year before. Mr. Bertram, I dare say you have
sometimes met with such changes."

"I believe I have, but this is hardly fair; I see what you are at.  You are
quizzing me and Miss Anderson."

"No, indeed.  Miss Anderson!  I do not know who or what you mean.  I am quite
in the dark.  But I will quiz you with a great deal of pleasure, if you will
tell me what about."

"Ah! you carry it off very well, but I cannot be quite so far imposed on.  You
must have had Miss Anderson in your eye, in describing an altered young lady.
You paint too accurately for mistake.  It was exactly so. The Andersons of
Baker Street.  We were speaking of them the other day, you know.  Edmund, you
have heard me mention Charles Anderson.  The circumstance was precisely as this
lady has represented it.  When Anderson first introduced me to his family,
about two years ago, his sister was not out, and I could not get her to speak
to me. I sat there an hour one morning waiting for Anderson, with only her and
a little girl or two in the room, the governess being sick or run away, and the
mother in and out every moment with letters of business, and I could hardly get
a word or a look from the young lady— nothing like a civil answer — she screwed
up her mouth, and turned from me with such an air!  I did not see her again for
a twelvemonth.  She was then out. I met her at Mrs. Holford's, and did not
recollect her. She came up to me, claimed me as an acquaintance, stared me out
of countenance; and talked and laughed till I did not know which way to look. 
I felt that I must be the jest of the room at the time, and Miss Crawford, it
is plain, has heard the story."

"And a very pretty story it is, and with more truth in it, I dare say, than
does credit to Miss Anderson. It is too common a fault.  Mothers certainly have
not yet got quite the right way of managing their daughters. I do not know
where the error lies.  I do not pretend to set people right, but I do see that
they are often wrong."

"Those who are showing the world what female manners should be," said Mr.
Bertram gallantly, "are doing a great deal to set them right."

"The error is plain enough," said the less courteous Edmund; "such girls are
ill brought up.  They are given wrong notions from the beginning.  They are
always acting upon motives of vanity, and there is no more real modesty in
their behaviour before they appear in public than afterwards."

"I do not know," replied Miss Crawford hesitatingly. "Yes, I cannot agree with
you there.  It is certainly the modestest part of the business.  It is much
worse to have girls not out give themselves the same airs and take the same
liberties as if they were, which I have seen done. That is worse than
anything — quite disgusting!"

"Yes, that is very inconvenient indeed," said Mr. Bertram. "It leads one
astray; one does not know what to do. The close bonnet and demure air you
describe so well (and nothing was ever juster), tell one what is expected; but
I got into a dreadful scrape last year from the want of them.  I went down to
Ramsgate for a week with a friend last September, just after my return from the
West Indies. My friend Sneyd — you have heard me speak of Sneyd, Edmund— his
father, and mother, and sisters, were there, all new to me.  When we reached
Albion Place they were out; we went after them, and found them on the pier: 
Mrs. and the two Miss Sneyds, with others of their acquaintance. I made my bow
in form; and as Mrs. Sneyd was surrounded by men, attached myself to one of her
daughters, walked by her side all the way home, and made myself as agreeable as
I could; the young lady perfectly easy in her manners, and as ready to talk as
to listen. I had not a suspicion that I could be doing anything wrong. They
looked just the same:  both well-dressed, with veils and parasols like other
girls; but I afterwards found that I had been giving all my attention to the
youngest, who was not out, and had most excessively offended the eldest. 
Miss Augusta ought not to have been noticed for the next six months; and Miss
Sneyd, I believe, has never forgiven me."

"That was bad indeed.  Poor Miss Sneyd.  "Though I have no younger sister, I
feel for her.  To be neglected before one's time must be very vexatious; but it
was entirely the mother's fault.  Miss Augusta should have been with her
governess.  Such half-and-half doings never prosper. But now I must be
satisfied about Miss Price. Does she go to balls?  Does she dine out every
where, as well as at my sister's?"

"No," replied Edmund; "I do not think she has ever been to a ball.  My mother
seldom goes into company herself, and dines nowhere but with Mrs. Grant, and
Fanny stays at home with her."

"Oh! then the point is clear.  Miss Price is not out."


Mr. Bertram set off for ———— , and Miss Crawford was prepared to find a great
chasm in their society, and to miss him decidedly in the meetings which were
now becoming almost daily between the families; and on their all dining
together at the Park soon after his going, she retook her chosen place near the
bottom of the table, fully expecting to feel a most melancholy difference in
the change of masters.  It would be a very flat business, she was sure.  In
comparison with his brother, Edmund would have nothing to say.  The soup would
be sent round in a most spiritless manner, wine drank without any smiles or
agreeable trifling, and the venison cut up without supplying one pleasant
anecdote of any former haunch, or a single entertaining story, about "my friend
such a one." She must try to find amusement in what was passing at the upper
end of the table, and in observing Mr. Rushworth, who was now making his
appearance at Mansfield for the first time since the Crawfords' arrival.  He
had been visiting a friend in the neighbouring county, and that friend having
recently had his grounds laid out by an improver, Mr. Rushworth was returned
with his head full of the subject, and very eager to be improving his own place
in the same way; and though not saying much to the purpose, could talk of
nothing else.  The subject had been already handled in the drawing-room; it was
revived in the dining-parlour. Miss Bertram's attention and opinion was
evidently his chief aim; and though her deportment showed rather conscious
superiority than any solicitude to oblige him, the mention of Sotherton Court,
and the ideas attached to it, gave her a feeling of complacency, which
prevented her from being very ungracious.

"I wish you could see Compton," said he; "it is the most complete thing!  I
never saw a place so altered in my life. I told Smith I did not know where I
was.  The approach now, is one of the finest things in the country:  you see
the house in the most surprising manner.  I declare, when I got back to
Sotherton yesterday, it looked like a prison— quite a dismal old prison."

"Oh, for shame!" cried Mrs. Norris.  "A prison indeed? Sotherton Court is the
noblest old place in the world."

"It wants improvement, ma'am, beyond anything.  I never saw a place that wanted
so much improvement in my life; and it is so forlorn that I do not know what
can be done with it."

"No wonder that Mr. Rushworth should think so at present," said Mrs. Grant to
Mrs. Norris, with a smile; "but depend upon it, Sotherton will have every
improvement in time which his heart can desire."

"I must try to do something with it," said Mr. Rushworth, "but I do not know
what.  I hope I shall have some good friend to help me."

"Your best friend upon such an occasion," said Miss Bertram calmly, "would be
Mr. Repton, I imagine."

"That is what I was thinking of.  As he has done so well by Smith, I think I
had better have him at once. His terms are five guineas a day."

"Well, and if they were ten," cried Mrs. Norris, "I am sure you need not
regard it.  The expense need not be any impediment.  If I were you, I should
not think of the expense.  I would have everything done in the best style, and
made as nice as possible. Such a place as Sotherton Court deserves everything
that taste and money can do.  You have space to work upon there, and grounds
that will well reward you.  For my own part, if I had anything within the
fiftieth part of the size of Sotherton, I should be always planting and
improving, for naturally I am excessively fond of it.  It would be too
ridiculous for me to attempt anything where I am now, with my little half acre.
 It would be quite a burlesque. But if I had more room, I should take a
prodigious delight in improving and planting.  We did a vast deal in that way
at the Parsonage:  we made it quite a different place from what it was when we
first had it.  You young ones do not remember much about it, perhaps; but if
dear Sir Thomas were here, he could tell you what improvements we made:  and a
great deal more would have been done, but for poor Mr. Norris's sad state of
health.  He could hardly ever get out, poor man, to enjoy anything, and that
disheartened me from doing several things that Sir Thomas and I used to talk
of.  If it had not been for that, we should have carried on the garden wall,
and made the plantation to shut out the churchyard, just as Dr. Grant has done.
 We were always doing something as it was. It was only the spring twelvemonth
before Mr. Norris's death that we put in the apricot against the stable wall,
which is now grown such a noble tree, and getting to such perfection, sir,"
addressing herself then to Dr. Grant.

"The tree thrives well, beyond a doubt, madam," replied Dr. Grant. "The soil is
good; and I never pass it without regretting that the fruit should be so little
worth the trouble of gathering."

"Sir, it is a Moor Park, we bought it as a Moor Park, and it cost us — that is,
it was a present from Sir Thomas, but I saw the bill — and I know it cost seven
shillings, and was charged as a Moor Park."

"You were imposed on, ma'am," replied Dr. Grant: "these potatoes have as much
the flavour of a Moor Park apricot as the fruit from that tree.  It is an
insipid fruit at the best; but a good apricot is eatable, which none from my
garden are."

"The truth is, ma'am," said Mrs. Grant, pretending to whisper across the table
to Mrs. Norris, "that Dr. Grant hardly knows what the natural taste of our
apricot is: he is scarcely ever indulged with one, for it is so valuable a
fruit; with a little assistance, and ours is such a remarkably large, fair
sort, that what with early tarts and preserves, my cook contrives to get them

Mrs. Norris, who had begun to redden, was appeased; and, for a little while,
other subjects took place of the improvements of Sotherton.  Dr. Grant and Mrs.
Norris were seldom good friends; their acquaintance had begun in dilapidations,
and their habits were totally dissimilar.

After a short interruption Mr. Rushworth began again. "Smith's place is the
admiration of all the country; and it was a mere nothing before Repton took it
in hand. I think I shall have Repton."

"Mr. Rushworth," said Lady Bertram, "if I were you, I would have a very pretty
shrubbery.  One likes to get out into a shrubbery in fine weather."

Mr. Rushworth was eager to assure her ladyship of his acquiescence, and tried
to make out something complimentary; but, between his submission to her
taste, and his having always intended the same himself, with the superadded
objects of professing attention to the comfort of ladies in general, and of
insinuating that there was one only whom he was anxious to please, he grew
puzzled, and Edmund was glad to put an end to his speech by a proposal of wine.
Mr. Rushworth, however, though not usually a great talker, had still more to
say on the subject next his heart. "Smith has not much above a hundred acres
altogether in his grounds, which is little enough, and makes it more surprising
that the place can have been so improved. Now, at Sotherton we have a good
seven hundred, without reckoning the water meadows; so that I think, if so much
could be done at Compton, we need not despair. There have been two or three
fine old trees cut down, that grew too near the house, and it opens the
prospect amazingly, which makes me think that Repton, or anybody of that sort,
would certainly have the avenue at Sotherton down:  the avenue that leads from
the west front to the top of the hill, you know," turning to Miss Bertram
particularly as he spoke. But Miss Bertram thought it most becoming to reply—

"The avenue!  Oh!  I do not recollect it.  I really know very little of

Fanny, who was sitting on the other side of Edmund, exactly opposite Miss
Crawford, and who had been attentively listening, now looked at him, and said
in a low voice—

"Cut down an avenue!  What a pity!  Does it not make you think of Cowper?  'Ye
fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.'  "

He smiled as he answered, "I am afraid the avenue stands a bad chance, Fanny."

"I should like to see Sotherton before it is cut down, to see the place as it
is now, in its old state; but I do not suppose I shall."

"Have you never been there?  No, you never can; and, unluckily, it is out of
distance for a ride. I wish we could contrive it."

"Oh! it does not signify.  Whenever I do see it, you will tell me how it has
been altered."

"I collect," said Miss Crawford, "that Sotherton is an old place, and a place
of some grandeur. In any particular style of building?"

"The house was built in Elizabeth's time, and is a large, regular, brick
building; heavy, but respectable looking, and has many good rooms.  It is ill
placed.  It stands in one of the lowest spots of the park; in that respect,
unfavourable for improvement.  But the woods are fine, and there is a stream,
which, I dare say, might be made a good deal of.  Mr. Rushworth is quite right,
I think, in meaning to give it a modern dress, and I have no doubt that it will
be all done extremely well."

Miss Crawford listened with submission, and said to herself, "He is a well-bred
man; he makes the best of it."

"I do not wish to influence Mr. Rushworth," he continued; "but, had I a place
to new fashion, I should not put myself into the hands of an improver.  I would
rather have an inferior degree of beauty, of my own choice, and acquired
progressively.  I would rather abide by my own blunders than by his."

"You would know what you were about, of course; but that would not suit me.
 I have no eye or ingenuity for such matters, but as they are before me; and
had I a place of my own in the country, I should be most thankful to any Mr.
Repton who would undertake it, and give me as much beauty as he could for my
money; and I should never look at it till it was complete."

"It would be delightful to me to see the progress of it all," said Fanny.

"Ay, you have been brought up to it.  It was no part of my education; and the
only dose I ever had, being administered by not the first favourite in the
world, has made me consider improvements in hand as the greatest of
nuisances. Three years ago the Admiral, my honoured uncle, bought a cottage at
Twickenham for us all to spend our summers in; and my aunt and I went down to
it quite in raptures; but it being excessively pretty, it was soon found
necessary to be improved, and for three months we were all dirt and confusion,
without a gravel walk to step on, or a bench fit for use.  I would have
everything as complete as possible in the country, shrubberies and
flower-gardens, and rustic seats innumerable:  but it must all be done without
my care.  Henry is different; he loves to be doing."

Edmund was sorry to hear Miss Crawford, whom he was much disposed to admire,
speak so freely of her uncle. It did not suit his sense of propriety, and he
was silenced, till induced by further smiles and liveliness to put the matter
by for the present.

"Mr. Bertram," said she, "I have tidings of my harp at last. I am assured that
it is safe at Northampton; and there it has probably been these ten days, in
spite of the solemn assurances we have so often received to the contrary."
Edmund expressed his pleasure and surprise.  "The truth is, that our inquiries
were too direct; we sent a servant, we went ourselves:  this will not do
seventy miles from London; but this morning we heard of it in the right way. It
was seen by some farmer, and he told the miller, and the miller told the
butcher, and the butcher's son-in-law left word at the shop."

"I am very glad that you have heard of it, by whatever means, and hope there
will be no further delay."

"I am to have it to-morrow; but how do you think it is to be conveyed?  Not by
a wagon or cart:  oh no! nothing of that kind could be hired in the village. I
might as well have asked for porters and a handbarrow."

"You would find it difficult, I dare say, just now, in the middle of a very
late hay harvest, to hire a horse and cart?"

"I was astonished to find what a piece of work was made of it! To want a horse
and cart in the country seemed impossible, so I told my maid to speak for one
directly; and as I cannot look out of my dressing-closet without seeing one
farmyard, nor walk in the shrubbery without passing another, I thought it would
be only ask and have, and was rather grieved that I could not give the
advantage to all. Guess my surprise, when I found that I had been asking the
most unreasonable, most impossible thing in the world; had offended all the
farmers, all the labourers, all the hay in the parish!  As for Dr. Grant's
bailiff, I believe I had better keep out of his way; and my brother-in-law
himself, who is all kindness in general, looked rather black upon me when he
found what I had been at."

"You could not be expected to have thought on the subject before; but when you
do think of it, you must see the importance of getting in the grass.  The
hire of a cart at any time might not be so easy as you suppose:  our farmers
are not in the habit of letting them out; but, in harvest, it must be quite out
of their power to spare a horse."

"I shall understand all your ways in time; but, coming down with the true
London maxim, that everything is to be got with money, I was a little
embarrassed at first by the sturdy independence of your country customs.
However, I am to have my harp fetched to-morrow. Henry, who is good-nature
itself, has offered to fetch it in his barouche.  Will it not be honourably

Edmund spoke of the harp as his favourite instrument, and hoped to be soon
allowed to hear her.  Fanny had never heard the harp at all, and wished for it
very much.

"I shall be most happy to play to you both," said Miss Crawford; "at least as
long as you can like to listen: probably much longer, for I dearly love music
myself, and where the natural taste is equal the player must always be best
off, for she is gratified in more ways than one.  Now, Mr. Bertram, if you
write to your brother, I entreat you to tell him that my harp is come: he heard
so much of my misery about it.  And you may say, if you please, that I shall
prepare my most plaintive airs against his return, in compassion to his
feelings, as I know his horse will lose."

"If I write, I will say whatever you wish me; but I do not, at present, foresee
any occasion for writing."

"No, I dare say, nor if he were to be gone a twelvemonth, would you ever write
to him, nor he to you, if it could be helped.  The occasion would never be
foreseen. What strange creatures brothers are!  You would not write to each
other but upon the most urgent necessity in the world; and when obliged to take
up the pen to say that such a horse is ill, or such a relation dead, it is done
in the fewest possible words.  You have but one style among you. I know it
perfectly.  Henry, who is in every other respect exactly what a brother should
be, who loves me, consults me, confides in me, and will talk to me by the hour
together, has never yet turned the page in a letter; and very often it is
nothing more than — 'Dear Mary, I am just arrived. Bath seems full, and
everything as usual.  Yours sincerely.' That is the true manly style; that is a
complete brother's letter."

"When they are at a distance from all their family," said Fanny, colouring for
William's sake, "they can write long letters."

"Miss Price has a brother at sea," said Edmund, "whose excellence as a
correspondent makes her think you too severe upon us."

"At sea, has she?  In the king's service, of course?"

Fanny would rather have had Edmund tell the story, but his determined silence
obliged her to relate her brother's situation:  her voice was animated in
speaking of his profession, and the foreign stations he had been on; but she
could not mention the number of years that he had been absent without tears in
her eyes.  Miss Crawford civilly wished him an early promotion.

"Do you know anything of my cousin's captain?" said Edmund; "Captain Marshall? 
You have a large acquaintance in the navy, I conclude?"

"Among admirals, large enough; but," with an air of grandeur, "we know very
little of the inferior ranks.  Post-captains may be very good sort of men, but
they do not belong to us. Of various admirals I could tell you a great deal:
of them and their flags, and the gradation of their pay, and their bickerings
and jealousies.  But, in general, I can assure you that they are all passed
over, and all very ill used.  Certainly, my home at my uncle's brought me
acquainted with a circle of admirals.  Of Rears and Vices I saw enough. 
Now do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat."

Edmund again felt grave, and only replied, "It is a noble profession."

"Yes, the profession is well enough under two circumstances: if it make the
fortune, and there be discretion in spending it; but, in short, it is not a
favourite profession of mine. It has never worn an amiable form to me."

Edmund reverted to the harp, and was again very happy in the prospect of
hearing her play.

The subject of improving grounds, meanwhile, was still under consideration
among the others; and Mrs. Grant could not help addressing her brother, though
it was calling his attention from Miss Julia Bertram.

"My dear Henry, have you nothing to say?  You have been an improver yourself,
and from what I hear of Everingham, it may vie with any place in England.  Its
natural beauties, I am sure, are great.  Everingham, as it used to be, was
perfect in my estimation:  such a happy fall of ground, and such timber!  What
would I not give to see it again?"

"Nothing could be so gratifying to me as to hear your opinion of it," was his
answer; "but I fear there would be some disappointment:  you would not find it
equal to your present ideas.  In extent, it is a mere nothing; you would be
surprised at its insignificance; and, as for improvement, there was very little
for me to do— too little:  I should like to have been busy much longer."

"You are fond of the sort of thing?" said Julia.

"Excessively; but what with the natural advantages of the ground, which pointed
out, even to a very young eye, what little remained to be done, and my own
consequent resolutions, I had not been of age three months before Everingham
was all that it is now.  My plan was laid at Westminster, a little altered,
perhaps, at Cambridge, and at one-and-twenty executed.  I am inclined to envy
Mr. Rushworth for having so much happiness yet before him. I have been a
devourer of my own."

"Those who see quickly, will resolve quickly, and act quickly," said Julia. 
"You can never want employment. Instead of envying Mr. Rushworth, you should
assist him with your opinion."

Mrs. Grant, hearing the latter part of this speech, enforced it warmly,
persuaded that no judgment could be equal to her brother's; and as Miss Bertram
caught at the idea likewise, and gave it her full support, declaring that, in
her opinion, it was infinitely better to consult with friends and disinterested
advisers, than immediately to throw the business into the hands of a
professional man, Mr. Rushworth was very ready to request the favour of Mr.
Crawford's assistance; and Mr. Crawford, after properly depreciating his own
abilities, was quite at his service in any way that could be useful.  Mr.
Rushworth then began to propose Mr. Crawford's doing him the honour of coming
over to Sotherton, and taking a bed there; when Mrs. Norris, as if reading in
her two nieces' minds their little approbation of a plan which was to take Mr.
Crawford away, interposed with an amendment.

"There can be no doubt of Mr. Crawford's willingness; but why should not more
of us go?  Why should not we make a little party?  Here are many that would be
interested in your improvements, my dear Mr. Rushworth, and that would like to
hear Mr. Crawford's opinion on the spot, and that might be of some small use to
you with their opinions; and, for my own part, I have been long wishing to
wait upon your good mother again; nothing but having no horses of my own could
have made me so remiss; but now I could go and sit a few hours with Mrs.
Rushworth, while the rest of you walked about and settled things, and then we
could all return to a late dinner here, or dine at Sotherton, just as might be
most agreeable to your mother, and have a pleasant drive home by moonlight. I
dare say Mr. Crawford would take my two nieces and me in his barouche, and
Edmund can go on horseback, you know, sister, and Fanny will stay at home with

Lady Bertram made no objection; and every one concerned in the going was
forward in expressing their ready concurrence, excepting Edmund, who heard it
all and said nothing.


"Well, Fanny, and how do you like Miss Crawford now?" said Edmund the next
day, after thinking some time on the subject himself.  "How did you like her

"Very well — very much.  I like to hear her talk. She entertains me; and she is
so extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her."

"It is her countenance that is so attractive.  She has a wonderful play of
feature!  But was there nothing in her conversation that struck you, Fanny, as
not quite right?"

"Oh yes! she ought not to have spoken of her uncle as she did. I was quite
astonished.  An uncle with whom she has been living so many years, and who,
whatever his faults may be, is so very fond of her brother, treating him, they
say, quite like a son.  I could not have believed it!"

"I thought you would be struck.  It was very wrong; very indecorous."

"And very ungrateful, I think."

"Ungrateful is a strong word.  I do not know that her uncle has any claim to
her gratitude; his wife certainly had; and it is the warmth of her respect
for her aunt's memory which misleads her here.  She is awkwardly circumstanced.
With such warm feelings and lively spirits it must be difficult to do justice
to her affection for Mrs. Crawford, without throwing a shade on the Admiral.  I
do not pretend to know which was most to blame in their disagreements, though
the Admiral's present conduct might incline one to the side of his wife; but it
is natural and amiable that Miss Crawford should acquit her aunt entirely. I do
not censure her opinions; but there certainly is impropriety in making them

"Do not you think," said Fanny, after a little consideration, "that this
impropriety is a reflection itself upon Mrs. Crawford, as her niece has been
entirely brought up by her?  She cannot have given her right notions of what
was due to the Admiral."

"That is a fair remark.  Yes, we must suppose the faults of the niece to have
been those of the aunt; and it makes one more sensible of the disadvantages she
has been under. But I think her present home must do her good. Mrs. Grant's
manners are just what they ought to be. She speaks of her brother with a very
pleasing affection."

"Yes, except as to his writing her such short letters. She made me almost
laugh; but I cannot rate so very highly the love or good-nature of a brother
who will not give himself the trouble of writing anything worth reading to his
sisters, when they are separated.  I am sure William would never have used me
so, under any circumstances. And what right had she to suppose that you would
not write long letters when you were absent?"

"The right of a lively mind, Fanny, seizing whatever may contribute to its own
amusement or that of others; perfectly allowable, when untinctured by
ill-humour or roughness; and there is not a shadow of either in the countenance
or manner of Miss Crawford:  nothing sharp, or loud, or coarse.  She is
perfectly feminine, except m the instances we have been speaking of.  There she
cannot be justified.  I am glad you saw it all as I did."

Having formed her mind and gained her affections, he had a good chance of her
thinking like him; though at this period, and on this subject, there began now
to be some danger of dissimilarity, for he was in a line of admiration of Miss
Crawford, which might lead him where Fanny could not follow.  Miss Crawford's
attractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty,
wit, and good-humour; for she played with the greatest obligingness, with an
expression and taste which were peculiarly becoming, and there was something
clever to be said at the close of every air.  Edmund was at the Parsonage every
day, to be indulged with his favourite instrument: one morning secured an
invitation for the next; for the lady could not be unwilling to have a
listener, and every thing was soon in a fair train.

A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and both
placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn,
surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any
man's heart.  The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tenderness
and sentiment. Mrs. Grant and her tambour frame were not without their use: it
was all in harmony; and as everything will turn to account when love is once
set going, even the sandwich tray, and Dr. Grant doing the honours of it, were
worth looking at. Without studying the business, however, or knowing what he
was about, Edmund was beginning, at the end of a week of such intercourse, to
be a good deal in love; and to the credit of the lady it may be added that,
without his being a man of the world or an elder brother, without any of the
arts of flattery or the gaieties of small talk, he began to be agreeable to
her.  She felt it to be so, though she had not foreseen, and could hardly
understand it; for he was not pleasant by any common rule: he talked no
nonsense; he paid no compliments; his opinions were unbending, his attentions
tranquil and simple. There was a charm, perhaps, in his sincerity, his
steadiness, his integrity, which Miss Crawford might be equal to feel, though
not equal to discuss with herself. She did not think very much about it,
however:  he pleased her for the present; she liked to have him near her; it
was enough.

Fanny could not wonder that Edmund was at the Parsonage every morning; she
would gladly have been there too, might she have gone in uninvited and
unnoticed, to hear the harp; neither could she wonder that, when the evening
stroll was over, and the two families parted again, he should think it right to
attend Mrs. Grant and her sister to their home, while Mr. Crawford was devoted
to the ladies of the Park; but she thought it a very bad exchange; and if
Edmund were not there to mix the wine and water for her, would rather go
without it than not. She was a little surprised that he could spend so many
hours with Miss Crawford, and not see more of the sort of fault which he had
already observed, and of which she was almost always reminded by a something
of the same nature whenever she was in her company; but so it was. Edmund was
fond of speaking to her of Miss Crawford, but he seemed to think it enough that
the Admiral had since been spared; and she scrupled to point out her own
remarks to him, lest it should appear like ill-nature. The first actual pain
which Miss Crawford occasioned her was the consequence of an inclination to
learn to ride, which the former caught, soon after her being settled at
Mansfield, from the example of the young ladies at the Park, and which, when
Edmund's acquaintance with her increased, led to his encouraging the wish, and
the offer of his own quiet mare for the purpose of her first attempts, as the
best fitted for a beginner that either stable could furnish. No pain, no
injury, however, was designed by him to his cousin in this offer:  she was
not to lose a day's exercise by it.  The mare was only to be taken down to the
Parsonage half an hour before her ride were to begin; and Fanny, on its being
first proposed, so far from feeling slighted, was almost over-powered with
gratitude that he should be asking her leave for it.

Miss Crawford made her first essay with great credit to herself, and no
inconvenience to Fanny.  Edmund, who had taken down the mare and presided at
the whole, returned with it in excellent time, before either Fanny or the
steady old coachman, who always attended her when she rode without her cousins,
were ready to set forward. The second day's trial was not so guiltless.  Miss
Crawford's enjoyment of riding was such that she did not know how to leave off.
 Active and fearless, and though rather small, strongly made, she seemed formed
for a horsewoman; and to the pure genuine pleasure of the exercise, something
was probably added in Edmund's attendance and instructions, and something more
in the conviction of very much surpassing her sex in general by her early
progress, to make her unwilling to dismount.  Fanny was ready and waiting, and
Mrs. Norris was beginning to scold her for not being gone, and still no horse
was announced, no Edmund appeared. To avoid her aunt, and look for him, she
went out.

The houses, though scarcely half a mile apart, were not within sight of each
other; but, by walking fifty yards from the hall door, she could look down the
park, and command a view of the Parsonage and all its demesnes, gently rising
beyond the village road; and in Dr. Grant's meadow she immediately saw the
group — Edmund and Miss Crawford both on horse-back, riding side by side, Dr.
and Mrs. Grant, and Mr. Crawford, with two or three grooms, standing about and
looking on.  A happy party it appeared to her, all interested in one object: 
cheerful beyond a doubt, for the sound of merriment ascended even to her. It
was a sound which did not make her cheerful; she wondered that Edmund should
forget her, and felt a pang.  She could not turn her eyes from the meadow; she
could not help watching all that passed.  At first Miss Crawford and her
companion made the circuit of the field, which was not small, at a foot's pace;
then, at her apparent suggestion, they rose into a canter; and to Fanny's
timid nature it was most astonishing to see how well she sat.  After a few
minutes they stopped entirely. Edmund was close to her; he was speaking to her;
he was evidently directing her management of the bridle; he had hold of her
hand; she saw it, or the imagination supplied what the eye could not reach. 

must not wonder at all this; what could be more natural than that Edmund should
be making himself useful, and proving his good-nature by any one?  She could
not but think, indeed, that Mr. Crawford might as well have saved him the
trouble; that it would have been particularly proper and becoming in a brother
to have done it himself; but Mr. Crawford, with all his boasted good-nature,
and all his coachmanship, probably knew nothing of the matter, and had no
active kindness in comparison of Edmund. She began to think it rather hard upon
the mare to have such double duty; if she were forgotten, the poor mare should
be remembered.

Her feelings for one and the other were soon a little tranquillised by seeing
the party in the meadow disperse, and Miss Crawford still on horseback, but
attended by Edmund on foot, pass through a gate into the lane, and so into the
park, and make towards the spot where she stood. She began then to be afraid of
appearing rude and impatient; and walked to meet them with a great anxiety to
avoid the suspicion.

"My dear Miss Price," said Miss Crawford, as soon as she was at all within
hearing, "I am come to make my own apologies for keeping you waiting; but I
have nothing in the world to say for myself — I knew it was very late, and that
I was behaving extremely ill; and therefore, if you please, you must forgive
me.  Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of
a cure."

Fanny's answer was extremely civil, and Edmund added his conviction that she
could be in no hurry.  "For there is more than time enough for my cousin to
ride twice as far as she ever goes," said he, "and you have been promoting her
comfort by preventing her from setting off half an hour sooner:  clouds are now
coming up, and she will not suffer from the heat as she would have done then. I
wish you may not be fatigued by so much exercise. I wish you had saved
yourself this walk home."

"No part of it fatigues me but getting off this horse, I assure you," said she,
as she sprang down with his help; "I am very strong.  Nothing ever fatigues me
but doing what I do not like.  Miss Price, I give way to you with a very bad
grace; but I sincerely hope you will have a pleasant ride, and that I may have
nothing but good to hear of this dear, delightful, beautiful animal."

The old coachman, who had been waiting about with his own horse, now joining
them, Fanny was lifted on hers, and they set off across another part of the
park; her feelings of discomfort not lightened by seeing, as she looked back,
that the others were walking down the hill together to the village; nor did her
attendant do her much good by his comments on Miss Crawford's great cleverness
as a horse-woman, which he had been watching with an interest almost equal to
her own.

"It is a pleasure to see a lady with such a good heart for riding!" said he. 
"I never see one sit a horse better. She did not seem to have a thought of
fear.  Very different from you, miss, when you first began, six years ago come
next Easter.  Lord bless you! how you did tremble when Sir Thomas first had you
put on!"

In the drawing-room Miss Crawford was also celebrated. Her merit in being
gifted by Nature with strength and courage was fully appreciated by the Miss
Bertrams; her delight in riding was like their own; her early excellence in it
was like their own, and they had great pleasure in praising it.

"I was sure she would ride well," said Julia; "she has the make for it.  Her
figure is as neat as her brother's."

"Yes," added Maria, "and her spirits are as good, and she has the same energy
of character.  I cannot but think that good horsemanship has a great deal to do
with the mind."

When they parted at night Edmund asked Fanny whether she meant to ride the next

"No, I do not know — not if you want the mare," was her answer.

"I do not want her at all for myself," said he; "'but whenever you are next
inclined to stay at home, I think Miss Crawford would be glad to have her a
longer time— for a whole morning, in short.  She has a great desire to get as
far as Mansfield Common:  Mrs. Grant has been telling her of its fine views,
and I have no doubt of her being perfectly equal to it.  But any morning will
do for this. She would be extremely sorry to interfere with you. It would be
very wrong if she did.  She rides only for pleasure; you for health."

"I shall not ride to-morrow, certainly," said Fanny; "I have been out very
often lately, and would rather stay at home.  You know I am strong enough now
to walk very well."

Edmund looked pleased, which must be Fanny's comfort, and the ride to Mansfield
Common took place the next morning: the party included all the young people but
herself, and was much enjoyed at the time, and doubly enjoyed again in the
evening discussion.  A successful scheme of this sort generally brings on
another; and the having been to Mansfield Common disposed them all for going
somewhere else the day after.  There were many other views to be shewn; and
though the weather was hot, there were shady lanes wherever they wanted to go.
A young party is always provided with a shady lane. Four fine mornings
successively were spent in this manner, in shewing the Crawfords the country,
and doing the honours of its finest spots.  Everything answered; it was all
gaiety and good-humour, the heat only supplying inconvenience enough to be
talked of with pleasure— till the fourth day, when the happiness of one of the
party was exceedingly clouded.  Miss Bertram was the one. Edmund and Julia were
invited to dine at the Parsonage, and she was excluded.  It was meant and
done by Mrs. Grant, with perfect good-humour, on Mr. Rushworth's account, who
was partly expected at the Park that day; but it was felt as a very grievous
injury, and her good manners were severely taxed to conceal her vexation and
anger till she reached home. As Mr. Rushworth did not come, the injury was
increased, and she had not even the relief of shewing her power over him; she
could only be sullen to her mother, aunt, and cousin, and throw as great a
gloom as possible over their dinner and dessert.

Between ten and eleven Edmund and Julia walked into the drawing-room, fresh
with the evening air, glowing and cheerful, the very reverse of what they found
in the three ladies sitting there, for Maria would scarcely raise her eyes from
her book, and Lady Bertram was half-asleep; and even Mrs. Norris, discomposed
by her niece's ill-humour, and having asked one or two questions about the
dinner, which were not immediately attended to, seemed almost determined to say
no more.  For a few minutes the brother and sister were too eager in their
praise of the night and their remarks on the stars, to think beyond themselves;
but when the first pause came, Edmund, looking around, said, "But where is
Fanny?  Is she gone to bed?"

"No, not that I know of," replied Mrs. Norris; "she was here a moment ago."

Her own gentle voice speaking from the other end of the room, which was a very
long one, told them that she was on the sofa.  Mrs. Norris began scolding.

"That is a very foolish trick, Fanny, to be idling away all the evening upon a
sofa.  Why cannot you come and sit here, and employ yourself as we do?  If
you have no work of your own, I can supply you from the poor basket. There is
all the new calico, that was bought last week, not touched yet.  I am sure I
almost broke my back by cutting it out.  You should learn to think of other
people; and, take my word for it, it is a shocking trick for a young person to
be always lolling upon a sofa."

Before half this was said, Fanny was returned to her seat at the table, and had
taken up her work again; and Julia, who was in high good-humour, from the
pleasures of the day, did her the justice of exclaiming, "I must say, ma'am,
that Fanny is as little upon the sofa as anybody in the house."

"Fanny," said Edmund, after looking at her attentively, "I am sure you have the

She could not deny it, but said it was not very bad.

"I can hardly believe you," he replied; "I know your looks too well.  How long
have you had it?"

"Since a little before dinner.  It is nothing but the heat."

"Did you go out in the heat?"

"Go out! to be sure she did," said Mrs. Norris: "would you have her stay within
such a fine day as this? Were not we all out?  Even your mother was out
to-day for above an hour."

"Yes, indeed, Edmund," added her ladyship, who had been thoroughly awakened by
Mrs. Norris's sharp reprimand to Fanny; "I was out above an hour.  I sat
three-quarters of an hour in the flower-garden, while Fanny cut the roses; and
very pleasant it was, I assure you, but very hot. It was shady enough in the
alcove, but I declare I quite dreaded the coming home again."

"Fanny has been cutting roses, has she?"

"Yes, and I am afraid they will be the last this year. Poor thing!  She found
it hot enough; but they were so full-blown that one could not wait."

"There was no help for it, certainly," rejoined Mrs. Norris, in a rather
softened voice; "but I question whether her headache might not be caught
then, sister.  There is nothing so likely to give it as standing and stooping
in a hot sun; but I dare say it will be well to-morrow. Suppose you let her
have your aromatic vinegar; I always forget to have mine filled."

"She has got it," said Lady Bertram; "she has had it ever since she came back
from your house the second time."

"What!" cried Edmund; "has she been walking as well as cutting roses; walking
across the hot park to your house, and doing it twice, ma'am?  No wonder her
head aches."

Mrs. Norris was talking to Julia, and did not hear.

"I was afraid it would be too much for her," said Lady Bertram; "but when the
roses were gathered, your aunt wished to have them, and then you know they must
be taken home."

"But were there roses enough to oblige her to go twice?"

"No; but they were to be put into the spare room to dry; and, unluckily, Fanny
forgot to lock the door of the room and bring away the key, so she was obliged
to go again."

Edmund got up and walked about the room, saying, "And could nobody be employed
on such an errand but Fanny?  Upon my word, ma'am, it has been a very
ill-managed business."

"I am sure I do not know how it was to have been done better," cried Mrs.
Norris, unable to be longer deaf; "unless I had gone myself, indeed; but I
cannot be in two places at once; and I was talking to Mr. Green at that very
time about your mother's dairymaid, by her desire, and had promised John
Groom to write to Mrs. Jefferies about his son, and the poor fellow was waiting
for me half an hour. I think nobody can justly accuse me of sparing myself upon
any occasion, but really I cannot do everything at once. And as for Fanny's
just stepping down to my house for me— it is not much above a quarter of a
mile — I cannot think I was unreasonable to ask it.  How often do I pace it
three times a day, early and late, ay, and in all weathers too, and say nothing
about it?"

"I wish Fanny had half your strength, ma'am."

"If Fanny would be more regular in her exercise, she would not be knocked up so
soon.  She has not been out on horseback now this long while, and I am
persuaded that, when she does not ride, she ought to walk.  If she had been
riding before, I should not have asked it of her. But I thought it would rather
do her good after being stooping among the roses; for there is nothing so
refreshing as a walk after a fatigue of that kind; and though the sun was
strong, it was not so very hot. Between ourselves, Edmund," nodding
significantly at his mother, "it was cutting the roses, and dawdling about in
the flower-garden, that did the mischief."

"I am afraid it was, indeed," said the more candid Lady Bertram, who had
overheard her; "I am very much afraid she caught the headache there, for the
heat was enough to kill anybody.  It was as much as I could bear myself.
Sitting and calling to Pug, and trying to keep him from the flower-beds, was
almost too much for me."

Edmund said no more to either lady; but going quietly to another table, on
which the supper-tray yet remained, brought a glass of Madeira to Fanny, and
obliged her to drink the greater part.  She wished to be able to decline it;
but the tears, which a variety of feelings created, made it easier to swallow
than to speak.

Vexed as Edmund was with his mother and aunt, he was still more angry with
himself.  His own forgetfulness of her was worse than anything which they had
done.  Nothing of this would have happened had she been properly considered;
but she had been left four days together without any choice of companions or
exercise, and without any excuse for avoiding whatever her unreasonable aunts
might require. He was ashamed to think that for four days together she had not
had the power of riding, and very seriously resolved, however unwilling he must
be to check a pleasure of Miss Crawford's, that it should never happen again.

Fanny went to bed with her heart as full as on the first evening of her arrival
at the Park.  The state of her spirits had probably had its share in her
indisposition; for she had been feeling neglected, and been struggling against
discontent and envy for some days past. As she leant on the sofa, to which she
had retreated that she might not be seen, the pain of her mind had been much
beyond that in her head; and the sudden change which Edmund's kindness had then
occasioned, made her hardly know how to support herself.


Fanny's rides recommenced the very next day; and as it was a pleasant
fresh-feeling morning, less hot than the weather had lately been, Edmund
trusted that her losses, both of health and pleasure, would be soon made good.
While she was gone Mr. Rushworth arrived, escorting his mother, who came to be
civil and to shew her civility especially, in urging the execution of the plan
for visiting Sotherton, which had been started a fortnight before, and which,
in consequence of her subsequent absence from home, had since lain dormant. 
Mrs. Norris and her nieces were all well pleased with its revival, and an early
day was named and agreed to, provided Mr. Crawford should be disengaged: the
young ladies did not forget that stipulation, and though Mrs. Norris would
willingly have answered for his being so, they would neither authorise the
liberty nor run the risk; and at last, on a hint from Miss Bertram, Mr.
Rushworth discovered that the properest thing to be done was for him to walk
down to the Parsonage directly, and call on Mr. Crawford, and inquire whether
Wednesday would suit him or not.

Before his return Mrs. Grant and Miss Crawford came in. Having been out some
time, and taken a different route to the house, they had not met him. 
Comfortable hopes, however, were given that he would find Mr. Crawford at home.
 The Sotherton scheme was mentioned of course. It was hardly possible, indeed,
that anything else should be talked of, for Mrs. Norris was in high spirits
about it; and Mrs. Rushworth, a well-meaning, civil, prosing, pompous woman,
who thought nothing of consequence, but as it related to her own and her son's
concerns, had not yet given over pressing Lady Bertram to be of the party. Lady
Bertram constantly declined it; but her placid manner of refusal made Mrs.
Rushworth still think she wished to come, till Mrs. Norris's more numerous
words and louder tone convinced her of the truth.

"The fatigue would be too much for my sister, a great deal too much, I assure
you, my dear Mrs. Rushworth. Ten miles there, and ten back, you know.  You must
excuse my sister on this occasion, and accept of our two dear girls and myself
without her.  Sotherton is the only place that could give her a wish to go so
far, but it cannot be, indeed.  She will have a companion in Fanny Price, you
know, so it will all do very well; and as for Edmund, as he is not here to
speak for himself, I will answer for his being most happy to join the party. He
can go on horseback, you know."

Mrs. Rushworth being obliged to yield to Lady Bertram's staying at home, could
only be sorry.  "The loss of her ladyship's company would be a great drawback,
and she should have been extremely happy to have seen the young lady too, Miss
Price, who had never been at Sotherton yet, and it was a pity she should not
see the place."

"You are very kind, you are all kindness, my dear madam," cried Mrs. Norris;
"but as to Fanny, she will have opportunities in plenty of seeing Sotherton. 
She has time enough before her; and her going now is quite out of the question.
 Lady Bertram could not possibly spare her."

"Oh no!  I cannot do without Fanny."

Mrs. Rushworth proceeded next, under the conviction that everybody must be
wanting to see Sotherton, to include Miss Crawford in the invitation; and
though Mrs. Grant, who had not been at the trouble of visiting Mrs. Rushworth,
on her coming into the neighbourhood, civilly declined it on her own account,
she was glad to secure any pleasure for her sister; and Mary, properly pressed
and persuaded, was not long in accepting her share of the civility. Mr.
Rushworth came back from the Parsonage successful; and Edmund made his
appearance just in time to learn what had been settled for Wednesday, to attend
Mrs. Rushworth to her carriage, and walk half-way down the park with the two
other ladies.

On his return to the breakfast-room, he found Mrs. Norris trying to make up her
mind as to whether Miss Crawford's being of the party were desirable or not, or
whether her brother's barouche would not be full without her. The Miss Bertrams
laughed at the idea, assuring her that the barouche would hold four perfectly
well, independent of the box, on which one might go with him.

"But why is it necessary," said Edmund, "that Crawford's carriage, or his
only, should be employed?  Why is no use to be made of my mother's chaise?  I
could not, when the scheme was first mentioned the other day, understand why a
visit from the family were not to be made in the carriage of the family."

"What!" cried Julia:  "go boxed up three in a postchaise in this weather, when
we may have seats in a barouche! No, my dear Edmund, that will not quite do."

"Besides," said Maria, "I know that Mr. Crawford depends upon taking us.  After
what passed at first, he would claim it as a promise."

"And, my dear Edmund," added Mrs. Norris, "taking out two carriages when
one will do, would be trouble for nothing; and, between ourselves, coachman
is not very fond of the roads between this and Sotherton:  he always complains
bitterly of the narrow lanes scratching his carriage, and you know one should
not like to have dear Sir Thomas, when he comes home, find all the varnish
scratched off."

"That would not be a very handsome reason for using Mr. Crawford's," said
Maria; "but the truth is, that Wilcox is a stupid old fellow, and does not know
how to drive. I will answer for it that we shall find no inconvenience from
narrow roads on Wednesday."

"There is no hardship, I suppose, nothing unpleasant," said Edmund, "in going
on the barouche box."

"Unpleasant!" cried Maria:  "oh dear!  I believe it would be generally thought
the favourite seat.  There can be no comparison as to one's view of the
country. Probably Miss Crawford will choose the barouche-box herself."

"There can be no objection, then, to Fanny's going with you; there can be no
doubt of your having room for her."

"Fanny!" repeated Mrs. Norris; "my dear Edmund, there is no idea of her going
with us.  She stays with her aunt. I told Mrs. Rushworth so.  She is not

"You can have no reason, I imagine, madam," said he, addressing his mother,
"for wishing Fanny not to be of the party, but as it relates to yourself, to
your own comfort.  If you could do without her, you would not wish to keep her
at home?"

"To be sure not, but I cannot do without her."

"You can, if I stay at home with you, as I mean to do."

There was a general cry out at this.  "Yes," he continued, "there is no
necessity for my going, and I mean to stay at home.  Fanny has a great desire
to see Sotherton. I know she wishes it very much.  She has not often a
gratification of the kind, and I am sure, ma'am, you would be glad to give her
the pleasure now?"

"Oh yes! very glad, if your aunt sees no objection."

Mrs. Norris was very ready with the only objection which could remain — their
having positively assured Mrs. Rushworth that Fanny could not go, and the very
strange appearance there would consequently be in taking her, which seemed to
her a difficulty quite impossible to be got over. It must have the strangest
appearance!  It would be something so very unceremonious, so bordering on
disrespect for Mrs. Rushworth, whose own manners were such a pattern of
good-breeding and attention, that she really did not feel equal to it.  Mrs.
Norris had no affection for Fanny, and no wish of procuring her pleasure at any
time; but her opposition to Edmund now, arose more from partiality for her
own scheme, because it was her own, than from anything else.  She felt that
she had arranged everything extremely well, and that any alteration must be for
the worse.  When Edmund, therefore, told her in reply, as he did when she would
give him the hearing, that she need not distress herself on Mrs. Rushworth's
account, because he had taken the opportunity, as he walked with her through
the hall, of mentioning Miss Price as one who would probably be of the party,
and had directly received a very sufficient invitation for his cousin, Mrs.
Norris was too much vexed to submit with a very good grace, and would only say,
"Very well, very well, just as you chuse, settle it your own way, I am sure I
do not care about it."

"It seems very odd," said Maria, "that you should be staying at home instead of

"I am sure she ought to be very much obliged to you," added Julia, hastily
leaving the room as she spoke, from a consciousness that she ought to offer to
stay at home herself.

"Fanny will feel quite as grateful as the occasion requires," was Edmund's only
reply, and the subject dropt.

Fanny's gratitude, when she heard the plan, was, in fact, much greater than her
pleasure.  She felt Edmund's kindness with all, and more than all, the
sensibility which he, unsuspicious of her fond attachment, could be aware of;
but that he should forego any enjoyment on her account gave her pain, and her
own satisfaction in seeing Sotherton would be nothing without him.

The next meeting of the two Mansfield families produced another alteration in
the plan, and one that was admitted with general approbation.  Mrs. Grant
offered herself as companion for the day to Lady Bertram in lieu of her son,
and Dr. Grant was to join them at dinner.  Lady Bertram was very well pleased
to have it so, and the young ladies were in spirits again.  Even Edmund was
very thankful for an arrangement which restored him to his share of the party;
and Mrs. Norris thought it an excellent plan, and had it at her tongue's end,
and was on the point of proposing it, when Mrs. Grant spoke.

Wednesday was fine, and soon after breakfast the barouche arrived, Mr. Crawford
driving his sisters; and as everybody was ready, there was nothing to be done
but for Mrs. Grant to alight and the others to take their places.  The place of
all places, the envied seat, the post of honour, was unappropriated.  To whose
happy lot was it to fall? While each of the Miss Bertrams were meditating how
best, and with the most appearance of obliging the others, to secure it, the
matter was settled by Mrs. Grant's saying, as she stepped from the carriage,
"As there are five of you, it will be better that one should sit with Henry;
and as you were saying lately that you wished you could drive, Julia, I think
this will be a good opportunity for you to take a lesson."

Happy Julia!  Unhappy Maria!  The former was on the barouche-box in a moment,
the latter took her seat within, in gloom and mortification; and the carriage
drove off amid the good wishes of the two remaining ladies, and the barking of
Pug in his mistress's arms.

Their road was through a pleasant country; and Fanny, whose rides had never
been extensive, was soon beyond her knowledge, and was very happy in observing
all that was new, and admiring all that was pretty.  She was not often invited
to join in the conversation of the others, nor did she desire it.  Her own
thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions; and, in observing
the appearance of the country, the bearings of the roads, the difference of
soil, the state of the harvest, the cottages, the cattle, the children, she
found entertainment that could only have been heightened by having Edmund to
speak to of what she felt.  That was the only point of resemblance between her
and the lady who sat by her: in everything but a value for Edmund, Miss
Crawford was very unlike her.  She had none of Fanny's delicacy of taste, of
mind, of feeling; she saw Nature, inanimate Nature, with little observation;
her attention was all for men and women, her talents for the light and lively.
In looking back after Edmund, however, when there was any stretch of road
behind them, or when he gained on them in ascending a considerable hill, they
were united, and a "there he is" broke at the same moment from them both, more
than once.

For the first seven miles Miss Bertram had very little real comfort:  her
prospect always ended in Mr. Crawford and her sister sitting side by side, full
of conversation and merriment; and to see only his expressive profile as he
turned with a smile to Julia, or to catch the laugh of the other, was a
perpetual source of irritation, which her own sense of propriety could but just
smooth over. When Julia looked back, it was with a countenance of delight, and
whenever she spoke to them, it was in the highest spirits: "her view of the
country was charming, she wished they could all see it," etc.; but her only
offer of exchange was addressed to Miss Crawford, as they gained the summit of
a long hill, and was not more inviting than this: "Here is a fine burst of
country.  I wish you had my seat, but I dare say you will not take it, let me
press you ever so much;" and Miss Crawford could hardly answer before they were
moving again at a good pace.

When they came within the influence of Sotherton associations, it was better
for Miss Bertram, who might be said to have two strings to her bow.  She had
Rushworth feelings, and Crawford feelings, and in the vicinity of Sotherton the
former had considerable effect.  Mr. Rushworth's consequence was hers.  She
could not tell Miss Crawford that "those woods belonged to Sotherton," she
could not carelessly observe that "she believed that it was now all Mr.
Rushworth's property on each side of the road," without elation of heart; and
it was a pleasure to increase with their approach to the capital freehold
mansion, and ancient manorial residence of the family, with all its rights of
court-leet and court-baron.

"Now we shall have no more rough road, Miss Crawford; our difficulties are
over.  The rest of the way is such as it ought to be.  Mr. Rushworth has made
it since he succeeded to the estate.  Here begins the village. Those cottages
are really a disgrace.  The church spire is reckoned remarkably handsome.  I am
glad the church is not so close to the great house as often happens in old
places.  The annoyance of the bells must be terrible. There is the parsonage: 
a tidy-looking house, and I understand the clergyman and his wife are very
decent people. Those are almshouses, built by some of the family. To the right
is the steward's house; he is a very respectable man.  Now we are coming to the
lodge-gates; but we have nearly a mile through the park still. It is not ugly,
you see, at this end; there is some fine timber, but the situation of the house
is dreadful. We go down hill to it for half a mile, and it is a pity, for it
would not be an ill-looking place if it had a better approach."

Miss Crawford was not slow to admire; she pretty well guessed Miss Bertram's
feelings, and made it a point of honour to promote her enjoyment to the utmost.
 Mrs. Norris was all delight and volubility; and even Fanny had something to
say in admiration, and might be heard with complacency. Her eye was eagerly
taking in everything within her reach; and after being at some pains to get a
view of the house, and observing that "it was a sort of building which she
could not look at but with respect," she added, "Now, where is the avenue?  The
house fronts the east, I perceive. The avenue, therefore, must be at the back
of it. Mr. Rushworth talked of the west front."

"Yes, it is exactly behind the house; begins at a little distance, and ascends
for half a mile to the extremity of the grounds.  You may see something of it
here— something of the more distant trees.  It is oak entirely."

Miss Bertram could now speak with decided information of what she had known
nothing about when Mr. Rushworth had asked her opinion; and her spirits were in
as happy a flutter as vanity and pride could furnish, when they drove up to the
spacious stone steps before the principal entrance.


Mr. Rushworth was at the door to receive his fair lady; and the whole party
were welcomed by him with due attention. In the drawing-room they were met with
equal cordiality by the mother, and Miss Bertram had all the distinction with
each that she could wish.  After the business of arriving was over, it was
first necessary to eat, and the doors were thrown open to admit them through
one or two intermediate rooms into the appointed dining-parlour, where a
collation was prepared with abundance and elegance. Much was said, and much was
ate, and all went well. The particular object of the day was then considered.
How would Mr. Crawford like, in what manner would he chuse, to take a survey of
the grounds?  Mr. Rushworth mentioned his curricle.  Mr. Crawford suggested the
greater desirableness of some carriage which might convey more than two. "To be
depriving themselves of the advantage of other eyes and other judgments, might
be an evil even beyond the loss of present pleasure."

Mrs. Rushworth proposed that the chaise should be taken also; but this was
scarcely received as an amendment:  the young ladies neither smiled nor spoke. 
Her next proposition, of shewing the house to such of them as had not been
there before, was more acceptable, for Miss Bertram was pleased to have its
size displayed, and all were glad to be doing something.

The whole party rose accordingly, and under Mrs. Rushworth's guidance were
shewn through a number of rooms, all lofty, and many large, and amply furnished
in the taste of fifty years back, with shining floors, solid mahogany, rich
damask, marble, gilding, and carving, each handsome in its way. Of pictures
there were abundance, and some few good, but the larger part were family
portraits, no longer anything to anybody but Mrs. Rushworth, who had been at
great pains to learn all that the housekeeper could teach, and was now almost
equally well qualified to shew the house. On the present occasion she addressed
herself chiefly to Miss Crawford and Fanny, but there was no comparison in the
willingness of their attention; for Miss Crawford, who had seen scores of great
houses, and cared for none of them, had only the appearance of civilly
listening, while Fanny, to whom everything was almost as interesting as it was
new, attended with unaffected earnestness to all that Mrs. Rushworth could
relate of the family in former times, its rise and grandeur, regal visits and
loyal efforts, delighted to connect anything with history already known, or
warm her imagination with scenes of the past.

The situation of the house excluded the possibility of much prospect from any
of the rooms; and while Fanny and some of the others were attending Mrs.
Rushworth, Henry Crawford was looking grave and shaking his head at the
windows.  Every room on the west front looked across a lawn to the beginning of
the avenue immediately beyond tall iron palisades and gates.

Having visited many more rooms than could be supposed to be of any other use
than to contribute to the window-tax, and find employment for housemaids,
"Now," said Mrs. Rushworth, "we are coming to the chapel, which properly we
ought to enter from above, and look down upon; but as we are quite among
friends, I will take you in this way, if you will excuse me."

They entered.  Fanny's imagination had prepared her for something grander than
a mere spacious, oblong room, fitted up for the purpose of devotion:  with
nothing more striking or more solemn than the profusion of mahogany, and the
crimson velvet cushions appearing over the ledge of the family gallery above. 
"I am disappointed," said she, in a low voice, to Edmund.  "This is not my idea
of a chapel.  There is nothing awful here, nothing melancholy, nothing grand. 
Here are no aisles, no arches, no inscriptions, no banners.  No banners,
cousin, to be 'blown by the night wind of heaven.' No signs that a 'Scottish
monarch sleeps below.'"

"You forget, Fanny, how lately all this has been built, and for how confined a
purpose, compared with the old chapels of castles and monasteries.  It was only
for the private use of the family.  They have been buried, I suppose, in the
parish church.  There you must look for the banners and the achievements."

"It was foolish of me not to think of all that; but I am disappointed."

Mrs. Rushworth began her relation.  "This chapel was fitted up as you see it,
in James the Second's time.  Before that period, as I understand, the pews were
only wainscot; and there is some reason to think that the linings and cushions
of the pulpit and family seat were only purple cloth; but this is not quite
certain.  It is a handsome chapel, and was formerly in constant use both
morning and evening. Prayers were always read in it by the domestic chaplain,
within the memory of many; but the late Mr. Rushworth left it off."

"Every generation has its improvements," said Miss Crawford, with a smile, to

Mrs. Rushworth was gone to repeat her lesson to Mr. Crawford; and Edmund,
Fanny, and Miss Crawford remained in a cluster together.

"It is a pity," cried Fanny, "that the custom should have been discontinued. 
It was a valuable part of former times. There is something in a chapel and
chaplain so much in character with a great house, with one's ideas of what such
a household should be!  A whole family assembling regularly for the purpose of
prayer is fine!"

"Very fine indeed," said Miss Crawford, laughing.  "It must do the heads of the
family a great deal of good to force all the poor housemaids and footmen to
leave business and pleasure, and say their prayers here twice a day, while they
are inventing excuses themselves for staying away."

"That is hardly Fanny's idea of a family assembling," said Edmund.  "If the
master and mistress do not attend themselves, there must be more harm than
good in the custom."

"At any rate, it is safer to leave people to their own devices on such
subjects.  Everybody likes to go their own way — to chuse their own time and
manner of devotion. The obligation of attendance, the formality, the restraint,
the length of time — altogether it is a formidable thing, and what nobody likes;
and if the good people who used to kneel and gape in that gallery could have
foreseen that the time would ever come when men and women might lie another ten
minutes in bed, when they woke with a headache, without danger of reprobation,
because chapel was missed, they would have jumped with joy and envy.  Cannot
you imagine with what unwilling feelings the former belles of the house of
Rushworth did many a time repair to this chapel?  The young Mrs. Eleanors and
Mrs. Bridgets— starched up into seeming piety, but with heads full of
something very different — especially if the poor chaplain were not worth
looking at — and, in those days, I fancy parsons were very inferior even to what
they are now."

For a few moments she was unanswered.  Fanny coloured and looked at Edmund, but
felt too angry for speech; and he needed a little recollection before he could
say, "Your lively mind can hardly be serious even on serious subjects. You have
given us an amusing sketch, and human nature cannot say it was not so.  We must
all feel at times the difficulty of fixing our thoughts as we could wish;
but if you are supposing it a frequent thing, that is to say, a weakness grown
into a habit from neglect, what could be expected from the private devotions
of such persons? Do you think the minds which are suffered, which are indulged
in wanderings in a chapel, would be more collected in a closet?"

"Yes, very likely.  They would have two chances at least in their favour. 
There would be less to distract the attention from without, and it would not be
tried so long."

"The mind which does not struggle against itself under one circumstance,
would find objects to distract it in the other, I believe; and the influence
of the place and of example may often rouse better feelings than are begun
with.  The greater length of the service, however, I admit to be sometimes too
hard a stretch upon the mind. One wishes it were not so; but I have not yet
left Oxford long enough to forget what chapel prayers are."

While this was passing, the rest of the party being scattered about the chapel,
Julia called Mr. Crawford's attention to her sister, by saying, "Do look at Mr.
Rushworth and Maria, standing side by side, exactly as if the ceremony were
going to be performed.  Have not they completely the air of it?"

Mr. Crawford smiled his acquiescence, and stepping forward to Maria, said, in a
voice which she only could hear, "I do not like to see Miss Bertram so near the

Starting, the lady instinctively moved a step or two, but recovering herself in
a moment, affected to laugh, and asked him, in a tone not much louder, "If he
would give her away?"

"I am afraid I should do it very awkwardly," was his reply, with a look of

Julia, joining them at the moment, carried on the joke.

"Upon my word, it is really a pity that it should not take place directly, if
we had but a proper licence, for here we are altogether, and nothing in the
world could be more snug and pleasant."  And she talked and laughed about it
with so little caution as to catch the comprehension of Mr. Rushworth and his
mother, and expose her sister to the whispered gallantries of her lover, while
Mrs. Rushworth spoke with proper smiles and dignity of its being a most happy
event to her whenever it took place.

"If Edmund were but in orders!" cried Julia, and running to where he stood with
Miss Crawford and Fanny: "My dear Edmund, if you were but in orders now, you
might perform the ceremony directly.  How unlucky that you are not ordained;
Mr. Rushworth and Maria are quite ready."

Miss Crawford's countenance, as Julia spoke, might have amused a disinterested
observer.  She looked almost aghast under the new idea she was receiving. 
Fanny pitied her. "How distressed she will be at what she said just now,"
passed across her mind.

"Ordained!" said Miss Crawford; "what, are you to be a clergyman?"

"Yes; I shall take orders soon after my father's return— probably at

Miss Crawford, rallying her spirits, and recovering her complexion, replied
only, "If I had known this before, I would have spoken of the cloth with more
respect," and turned the subject.

The chapel was soon afterwards left to the silence and stillness which reigned
in it, with few interruptions, throughout the year. Miss Bertram, displeased
with her sister, led the way, and all seemed to feel that they had been there
long enough.

The lower part of the house had been now entirely shewn, and Mrs. Rushworth,
never weary in the cause, would have proceeded towards the principal staircase,
and taken them through all the rooms above, if her son had not interposed with
a doubt of there being time enough. "For if," said he, with the sort of
self-evident proposition which many a clearer head does not always avoid, "we
are too long going over the house, we shall not have time for what is to be
done out of doors.  It is past two, and we are to dine at five."

Mrs. Rushworth submitted; and the question of surveying the grounds, with the
who and the how, was likely to be more fully agitated, and Mrs. Norris was
beginning to arrange by what junction of carriages and horses most could be
done, when the young people, meeting with an outward door, temptingly open on a
flight of steps which led immediately to turf and shrubs, and all the sweets of
pleasure-grounds, as by one impulse, one wish for air and liberty, all walked

"Suppose we turn down here for the present," said Mrs. Rushworth, civilly
taking the hint and following them.  "Here are the greatest number of our
plants, and here are the curious pheasants."

"Query," said Mr. Crawford, looking round him, "whether we may not find
something to employ us here before we go farther?  I see walls of great
promise. Mr. Rushworth, shall we summon a council on this lawn?"

"James," said Mrs. Rushworth to her son, "I believe the wilderness will be new
to all the party.  The Miss Bertrams have never seen the wilderness yet."

No objection was made, but for some time there seemed no inclination to move in
any plan, or to any distance. All were attracted at first by the plants or the
pheasants, and all dispersed about in happy independence. Mr. Crawford was the
first to move forward to examine the capabilities of that end of the house. 
The lawn, bounded on each side by a high wall, contained beyond the first
planted area a bowling-green, and beyond the bowling-green a long terrace walk,
backed by iron palisades, and commanding a view over them into the tops of the
trees of the wilderness immediately adjoining. It was a good spot for
fault-finding. Mr. Crawford was soon followed by Miss Bertram and Mr.
Rushworth; and when, after a little time, the others began to form into
parties, these three were found in busy consultation on the terrace by Edmund,
Miss Crawford, and Fanny, who seemed as naturally to unite, and who, after a
short participation of their regrets and difficulties, left them and walked on.
The remaining three, Mrs. Rushworth, Mrs. Norris, and Julia, were still far
behind; for Julia, whose happy star no longer prevailed, was obliged to keep by
the side of Mrs. Rushworth, and restrain her impatient feet to that lady's slow
pace, while her aunt, having fallen in with the housekeeper, who was come out
to feed the pheasants, was lingering behind in gossip with her.  Poor Julia,
the only one out of the nine not tolerably satisfied with their lot, was now in
a state of complete penance, and as different from the Julia of the
barouche-box as could well be imagined.  The politeness which she had been
brought up to practise as a duty made it impossible for her to escape; while
the want of that higher species of self-command, that just consideration of
others, that knowledge of her own heart, that principle of right, which had not
formed any essential part of her education, made her miserable under it.

"This is insufferably hot," said Miss Crawford, when they had taken one turn on
the terrace, and were drawing a second time to the door in the middle which
opened to the wilderness.  "Shall any of us object to being comfortable? Here
is a nice little wood, if one can but get into it. What happiness if the door
should not be locked! but of course it is; for in these great places the
gardeners are the only people who can go where they like."

The door, however, proved not to be locked, and they were all agreed in turning
joyfully through it, and leaving the unmitigated glare of day behind.  A
considerable flight of steps landed them in the wilderness, which was a planted
wood of about two acres, and though chiefly of larch and laurel, and beech cut
down, and though laid out with too much regularity, was darkness and shade, and
natural beauty, compared with the bowling-green and the terrace.  They all felt
the refreshment of it, and for some time could only walk and admire.  At
length, after a short pause, Miss Crawford began with, "So you are to be a
clergyman, Mr. Bertram.  This is rather a surprise to me."

"Why should it surprise you?  You must suppose me designed for some profession,
and might perceive that I am neither a lawyer, nor a soldier, nor a sailor."

"Very true; but, in short, it had not occurred to me. And you know there is
generally an uncle or a grandfather to leave a fortune to the second son."

"A very praiseworthy practice," said Edmund, "but not quite universal.  I am
one of the exceptions, and being one, must do something for myself."

"'But why are you to be a clergyman?  I thought that was always the lot of
the youngest, where there were many to chuse before him."

"Do you think the church itself never chosen, then?"

"Never is a black word.  But yes, in the never of conversation, which means
not very often, I do think it.  For what is to be done in the church? Men
love to distinguish themselves, and in either of the other lines distinction
may be gained, but not in the church. A clergyman is nothing."

"The nothing of conversation has its gradations, I hope, as well as the
never.  A clergyman cannot be high in state or fashion.  He must not head
mobs, or set the ton in dress.  But I cannot call that situation nothing which
has the charge of all that is of the first importance to mankind, individually
or collectively considered, temporally and eternally, which has the
guardianship of religion and morals, and consequently of the manners which
result from their influence.  No one here can call the office nothing.  If
the man who holds it is so, it is by the neglect of his duty, by foregoing its
just importance, and stepping out of his place to appear what he ought not to

"You assign greater consequence to the clergyman than one has been used to
hear given, or than I can quite comprehend. One does not see much of this
influence and importance in society, and how can it be acquired where they are
so seldom seen themselves?  How can two sermons a week, even supposing them
worth hearing, supposing the preacher to have the sense to prefer Blair's to
his own, do all that you speak of? govern the conduct and fashion the manners
of a large congregation for the rest of the week? One scarcely sees a clergyman
out of his pulpit."

"You are speaking of London, I am speaking of the nation at large."

"The metropolis, I imagine, is a pretty fair sample of the rest."

"Not, I should hope, of the proportion of virtue to vice throughout the
kingdom.  We do not look in great cities for our best morality.  It is not
there that respectable people of any denomination can do most good; and it
certainly is not there that the influence of the clergy can be most felt.  A
fine preacher is followed and admired; but it is not in fine preaching only
that a good clergyman will be useful in his parish and his neighbourhood, where
the parish and neighbourhood are of a size capable of knowing his private
character, and observing his general conduct, which in London can rarely be the
case. The clergy are lost there in the crowds of their parishioners. They are
known to the largest part only as preachers. And with regard to their
influencing public manners, Miss Crawford must not misunderstand me, or suppose
I mean to call them the arbiters of good-breeding, the regulators of refinement
and courtesy, the masters of the ceremonies of life.  The manners I speak of
might rather be called conduct, perhaps, the result of good principles; the
effect, in short, of those doctrines which it is their duty to teach and
recommend; and it will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are,
or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation."

"Certainly," said Fanny, with gentle earnestness.

"There," cried Miss Crawford, "you have quite convinced Miss Price already."

"I wish I could convince Miss Crawford too."

"I do not think you ever will," said she, with an arch smile; "I am just as
much surprised now as I was at first that you should intend to take orders. 
You really are fit for something better.  Come, do change your mind. It is not
too late.  Go into the law."

"Go into the law!  With as much ease as I was told to go into this wilderness."

"Now you are going to say something about law being the worst wilderness of the
two, but I forestall you; remember, I have forestalled you."

"You need not hurry when the object is only to prevent my saying a bon mot,
for there is not the least wit in my nature.  I am a very matter-of-fact,
plain-spoken being, and may blunder on the borders of a repartee for half an
hour together without striking it out."

A general silence succeeded.  Each was thoughtful. Fanny made the first
interruption by saying, "I wonder that I should be tired with only walking in
this sweet wood; but the next time we come to a seat, if it is not disagreeable
to you, I should be glad to sit down for a little while."

"My dear Fanny," cried Edmund, immediately drawing her arm within his, "how
thoughtless I have been!  I hope you are not very tired.  Perhaps," turning to
Miss Crawford, "my other companion may do me the honour of taking an arm."

"Thank you, but I am not at all tired."  She took it, however, as she spoke,
and the gratification of having her do so, of feeling such a connexion for the
first time, made him a little forgetful of Fanny.  "You scarcely touch me,"
said he.  "You do not make me of any use. What a difference in the weight of a
woman's arm from that of a man!  At Oxford I have been a good deal used to have
a man lean on me for the length of a street, and you are only a fly in the

"I am really not tired, which I almost wonder at; for we must have walked at
least a mile in this wood. Do not you think we have?"

"Not half a mile," was his sturdy answer; for he was not yet so much in love as
to measure distance, or reckon time, with feminine lawlessness.

"Oh! you do not consider how much we have wound about. We have taken such a
very serpentine course, and the wood itself must be half a mile long in a
straight line, for we have never seen the end of it yet since we left the first
great path."

"But if you remember, before we left that first great path, we saw directly to
the end of it.  We looked down the whole vista, and saw it closed by iron
gates, and it could not have been more than a furlong in length."

"Oh!  I know nothing of your furlongs, but I am sure it is a very long wood,
and that we have been winding in and out ever since we came into it; and
therefore, when I say that we have walked a mile in it, I must speak within

"We have been exactly a quarter of an hour here," said Edmund, taking out his
watch.  "Do you think we are walking four miles an hour?"

"Oh! do not attack me with your watch.  A watch is always too fast or too slow.
 I cannot be dictated to by a watch."

A few steps farther brought them out at the bottom of the very walk they had
been talking of; and standing back, well shaded and sheltered, and looking over
a ha-ha into the park, was a comfortable-sized bench, on which they all sat

"I am afraid you are very tired, Fanny," said Edmund, observing her; "why would
not you speak sooner?  This will be a bad day's amusement for you if you are to
be knocked up. Every sort of exercise fatigues her so soon, Miss Crawford,
except riding."

"How abominable in you, then, to let me engross her horse as I did all last
week!  I am ashamed of you and of myself, but it shall never happen again."

"Your attentiveness and consideration makes me more sensible of my own
neglect.  Fanny's interest seems in safer hands with you than with me."

"That she should be tired now, however, gives me no surprise; for there is
nothing in the course of one's duties so fatiguing as what we have been doing
this morning: seeing a great house, dawdling from one room to another,
straining one's eyes and one's attention, hearing what one does not understand,
admiring what one does not care for. It is generally allowed to be the greatest
bore in the world, and Miss Price has found it so, though she did not know it."

"I shall soon be rested," said Fanny; "to sit in the shade on a fine day, and
look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment."

After sitting a little while Miss Crawford was up again. "I must move," said
she; "resting fatigues me. I have looked across the ha-ha till I am weary.  I
must go and look through that iron gate at the same view, without being able to
see it so well."

Edmund left the seat likewise.  "Now, Miss Crawford, if you will look up the
walk, you will convince yourself that it cannot be half a mile long, or half
half a mile."

"It is an immense distance," said she; "I see that with a glance."

He still reasoned with her, but in vain.  She would not calculate, she would
not compare.  She would only smile and assert.  The greatest degree of rational
consistency could not have been more engaging, and they talked with mutual
satisfaction.  At last it was agreed that they should endeavour to determine
the dimensions of the wood by walking a little more about it.  They would go to
one end of it, in the line they were then in— for there was a straight green
walk along the bottom by the side of the ha-ha — and perhaps turn a little way
in some other direction, if it seemed likely to assist them, and be back in a
few minutes.  Fanny said she was rested, and would have moved too, but this was
not suffered. Edmund urged her remaining where she was with an earnestness
which she could not resist, and she was left on the bench to think with
pleasure of her cousin's care, but with great regret that she was not stronger.
She watched them till they had turned the corner, and listened till all sound
of them had ceased.


A quarter of an hour, twenty minutes, passed away, and Fanny was still thinking
of Edmund, Miss Crawford, and herself, without interruption from any one.  She
began to be surprised at being left so long, and to listen with an anxious
desire of hearing their steps and their voices again.  She listened, and at
length she heard; she heard voices and feet approaching; but she had just
satisfied herself that it was not those she wanted, when Miss Bertram, Mr.
Rushworth, and Mr. Crawford issued from the same path which she had trod
herself, and were before her.

"Miss Price all alone" and "My dear Fanny, how comes this?" were the first
salutations.  She told her story. "Poor dear Fanny," cried her cousin, "how ill
you have been used by them!  You had better have staid with us."

Then seating herself with a gentleman on each side, she resumed the
conversation which had engaged them before, and discussed the possibility of
improvements with much animation.  Nothing was fixed on; but Henry Crawford was
full of ideas and projects, and, generally speaking, whatever he proposed was
immediately approved, first by her, and then by Mr. Rushworth, whose principal
business seemed to be to hear the others, and who scarcely risked an original
thought of his own beyond a wish that they had seen his friend Smith's place.

After some minutes spent in this way, Miss Bertram, observing the iron gate,
expressed a wish of passing through it into the park, that their views and
their plans might be more comprehensive.  It was the very thing of all others
to be wished, it was the best, it was the only way of proceeding with any
advantage, in Henry Crawford's opinion; and he directly saw a knoll not half a
mile off, which would give them exactly the requisite command of the house.  Go
therefore they must to that knoll, and through that gate; but the gate was
locked. Mr. Rushworth wished he had brought the key; he had been very near
thinking whether he should not bring the key; he was determined he would never
come without the key again; but still this did not remove the present evil. 
They could not get through; and as Miss Bertram's inclination for so doing did
by no means lessen, it ended in Mr. Rushworth's declaring outright that he
would go and fetch the key. He set off accordingly.

"It is undoubtedly the best thing we can do now, as we are so far from the
house already," said Mr. Crawford, when he was gone.

"Yes, there is nothing else to be done.  But now, sincerely, do not you find
the place altogether worse than you expected?"

"No, indeed, far otherwise.  I find it better, grander, more complete in its
style, though that style may not be the best. And to tell you the truth,"
speaking rather lower, "I do not think that I shall ever see Sotherton again
with so much pleasure as I do now.  Another summer will hardly improve it to

After a moment's embarrassment the lady replied, "You are too much a man of the
world not to see with the eyes of the world.  If other people think Sotherton
improved, I have no doubt that you will."

"I am afraid I am not quite so much the man of the world as might be good for
me in some points.  My feelings are not quite so evanescent, nor my memory of
the past under such easy dominion as one finds to be the case with men of the

This was followed by a short silence.  Miss Bertram began again.  "You seemed
to enjoy your drive here very much this morning.  I was glad to see you so well
entertained. You and Julia were laughing the whole way."

"Were we?  Yes, I believe we were; but I have not the least recollection at
what.  Oh!  I believe I was relating to her some ridiculous stories of an old
Irish groom of my uncle's. Your sister loves to laugh."

"You think her more light-hearted than I am?"

"More easily amused," he replied; "consequently, you know," smiling, "better
company.  I could not have hoped to entertain you with Irish anecdotes during a
ten miles' drive."

"Naturally, I believe, I am as lively as Julia, but I have more to think of

"You have, undoubtedly; and there are situations in which very high spirits
would denote insensibility. Your prospects, however, are too fair to justify
want of spirits.  You have a very smiling scene before you."

"Do you mean literally or figuratively?  Literally, I conclude.  Yes,
certainly, the sun shines, and the park looks very cheerful.  But unluckily
that iron gate, that ha-ha, give me a feeling of restraint and hardship. "I
cannot get out, as the starling said."  As she spoke, and it was with
expression, she walked to the gate: he followed her.  "Mr. Rushworth is so long
fetching this key!"

"And for the world you would not get out without the key and without Mr.
Rushworth's authority and protection, or I think you might with little
difficulty pass round the edge of the gate, here, with my assistance; I think
it might be done, if you really wished to be more at large, and could allow
yourself to think it not prohibited."

"Prohibited! nonsense!  I certainly can get out that way, and I will.  Mr.
Rushworth will be here in a moment, you know; we shall not be out of sight."

"Or if we are, Miss Price will be so good as to tell him that he will find us
near that knoll:  the grove of oak on the knoll."

Fanny, feeling all this to be wrong, could not help making an effort to prevent
it.  "You will hurt yourself, Miss Bertram," she cried; "you will certainly
hurt yourself against those spikes; you will tear your gown; you will be in
danger of slipping into the ha-ha. You had better not go."

Her cousin was safe on the other side while these words were spoken, and,
smiling with all the good-humour of success, she said, "Thank you, my dear
Fanny, but I and my gown are alive and well, and so good-bye."

Fanny was again left to her solitude, and with no increase of pleasant
feelings, for she was sorry for almost all that she had seen and heard,
astonished at Miss Bertram, and angry with Mr. Crawford.  By taking a
circuitous route, and, as it appeared to her, very unreasonable direction to
the knoll, they were soon beyond her eye; and for some minutes longer she
remained without sight or sound of any companion.  She seemed to have the
little wood all to herself.  She could almost have thought that Edmund and Miss
Crawford had left it, but that it was impossible for Edmund to forget her so

She was again roused from disagreeable musings by sudden footsteps:

somebody was coming at a quick pace down the principal walk. She expected Mr.
Rushworth, but it was Julia, who, hot and out of breath, and with a look of
disappointment, cried out on seeing her, "Heyday!  Where are the others? I
thought Maria and Mr. Crawford were with you."

Fanny explained.

"A pretty trick, upon my word!  I cannot see them anywhere," looking eagerly
into the park.  "But they cannot be very far off, and I think I am equal to as
much as Maria, even without help."

"But, Julia, Mr. Rushworth will be here in a moment with the key.  Do wait for
Mr. Rushworth."

"Not I, indeed.  I have had enough of the family for one morning.  Why, child,
I have but this moment escaped from his horrible mother.  Such a penance as I
have been enduring, while you were sitting here so composed and so happy! It
might have been as well, perhaps, if you had been in my place, but you always
contrive to keep out of these scrapes."

This was a most unjust reflection, but Fanny could allow for it, and let it
pass:  Julia was vexed, and her temper was hasty; but she felt that it would
not last, and therefore, taking no notice, only asked her if she had not seen
Mr. Rushworth.

"Yes, yes, we saw him.  He was posting away as if upon life and death, and
could but just spare time to tell us his errand, and where you all were."

"It is a pity he should have so much trouble for nothing."

"That is Miss Maria's concern.  I am not obliged to punish myself for her
sins.  The mother I could not avoid, as long as my tiresome aunt was dancing
about with the housekeeper, but the son I can get away from."

And she immediately scrambled across the fence, and walked away, not attending
to Fanny's last question of whether she had seen anything of Miss Crawford and
Edmund. The sort of dread in which Fanny now sat of seeing Mr. Rushworth
prevented her thinking so much of their continued absence, however, as she
might have done. She felt that he had been very ill-used, and was quite unhappy
in having to communicate what had passed. He joined her within five minutes
after Julia's exit; and though she made the best of the story, he was evidently
mortified and displeased in no common degree.  At first he scarcely said
anything; his looks only expressed his extreme surprise and vexation, and he
walked to the gate and stood there, without seeming to know what to do.

"They desired me to stay — my cousin Maria charged me to say that you would find
them at that knoll, or thereabouts."

"I do not believe I shall go any farther," said he sullenly; "I see nothing of
them.  By the time I get to the knoll they may be gone somewhere else.  I have
had walking enough."

And he sat down with a most gloomy countenance by Fanny.

"I am very sorry," said she; "it is very unlucky."  And she longed to be able
to say something more to the purpose.

After an interval of silence, "I think they might as well have staid for me,"
said he.

"Miss Bertram thought you would follow her."

"I should not have had to follow her if she had staid."

This could not be denied, and Fanny was silenced. After another pause, he went
on — "Pray, Miss Price, are you such a great admirer of this Mr. Crawford as
some people are?  For my part, I can see nothing in him."

"I do not think him at all handsome."

"Handsome!  Nobody can call such an undersized man handsome. He is not five
foot nine.  I should not wonder if he is not more than five foot eight.  I
think he is an ill-looking fellow. In my opinion, these Crawfords are no
addition at all. We did very well without them."

A small sigh escaped Fanny here, and she did not know how to contradict him.

"If I had made any difficulty about fetching the key, there might have been
some excuse, but I went the very moment she said she wanted it."

"Nothing could be more obliging than your manner, I am sure, and I dare say you
walked as fast as you could; but still it is some distance, you know, from this
spot to the house, quite into the house; and when people are waiting, they are
bad judges of time, and every half minute seems like five."

He got up and walked to the gate again, and "wished he had had the key about
him at the time."  Fanny thought she discerned in his standing there an
indication of relenting, which encouraged her to another attempt, and she said,
therefore, "It is a pity you should not join them. They expected to have a
better view of the house from that part of the park, and will be thinking how
it may be improved; and nothing of that sort, you know, can be settled without

She found herself more successful in sending away than in retaining a
companion.  Mr. Rushworth was worked on. "Well," said he, "if you really think
I had better go: it would be foolish to bring the key for nothing." And letting
himself out, he walked off without farther ceremony.

Fanny's thoughts were now all engrossed by the two who had left her so long
ago, and getting quite impatient, she resolved to go in search of them.  She
followed their steps along the bottom walk, and had just turned up into
another, when the voice and the laugh of Miss Crawford once more caught her
ear; the sound approached, and a few more windings brought them before her.
They were just returned into the wilderness from the park, to which a sidegate,
not fastened, had tempted them very soon after their leaving her, and they had
been across a portion of the park into the very avenue which Fanny had been
hoping the whole morning to reach at last, and had been sitting down under one
of the trees. This was their history.  It was evident that they had been
spending their time pleasantly, and were not aware of the length of their
absence.  Fanny's best consolation was in being assured that Edmund had wished
for her very much, and that he should certainly have come back for her, had she
not been tired already; but this was not quite sufficient to do away with the
pain of having been left a whole hour, when he had talked of only a few
minutes, nor to banish the sort of curiosity she felt to know what they had
been conversing about all that time; and the result of the whole was to her
disappointment and depression, as they prepared by general agreement to return
to the house.

On reaching the bottom of the steps to the terrace, Mrs. Rushworth and Mrs.
Norris presented themselves at the top, just ready for the wilderness, at the
end of an hour and a half from their leaving the house. Mrs. Norris had been
too well employed to move faster. Whatever cross-accidents had occurred to
intercept the pleasures of her nieces, she had found a morning of complete
enjoyment; for the housekeeper, after a great many courtesies on the subject of
pheasants, had taken her to the dairy, told her all about their cows, and given
her the receipt for a famous cream cheese; and since Julia's leaving them they
had been met by the gardener, with whom she had made a most satisfactory
acquaintance, for she had set him right as to his grandson's illness, convinced
him that it was an ague, and promised him a charm for it; and he, in return,
had shewn her all his choicest nursery of plants, and actually presented her
with a very curious specimen of heath.

On this  rencontre they all returned to the house together, there to lounge
away the time as they could with sofas, and chit-chat, and Quarterly Reviews,
till the return of the others, and the arrival of dinner.  It was late before
the Miss Bertrams and the two gentlemen came in, and their ramble did not
appear to have been more than partially agreeable, or at all productive of
anything useful with regard to the object of the day.  By their own accounts
they had been all walking after each other, and the junction which had taken
place at last seemed, to Fanny's observation, to have been as much too late for
re-establishing harmony, as it confessedly had been for determining on any
alteration.  She felt, as she looked at Julia and Mr. Rushworth, that hers was
not the only dissatisfied bosom amongst them: there was gloom on the face of
each.  Mr. Crawford and Miss Bertram were much more gay, and she thought that
he was taking particular pains, during dinner, to do away any little resentment
of the other two, and restore general good-humour.

Dinner was soon followed by tea and coffee, a ten miles' drive home allowed no
waste of hours; and from the time of their sitting down to table, it was a
quick succession of busy nothings till the carriage came to the door, and Mrs.
Norris, having fidgeted about, and obtained a few pheasants' eggs and a cream
cheese from the housekeeper, and made abundance of civil speeches to Mrs.
Rushworth, was ready to lead the way.  At the same moment Mr. Crawford,
approaching Julia, said, "I hope I am not to lose my companion, unless she is
afraid of the evening air in so exposed a seat."  The request had not been
foreseen, but was very graciously received, and Julia's day was likely to end
almost as well as it began.  Miss Bertram had made up her mind to something
different, and was a little disappointed; but her conviction of being really
the one preferred comforted her under it, and enabled her to receive Mr.
Rushworth's parting attentions as she ought. He was certainly better pleased to
hand her into the barouche than to assist her in ascending the box, and his
complacency seemed confirmed by the arrangement.

"Well, Fanny, this has been a fine day for you, upon my word," said Mrs.
Norris, as they drove through the park. "Nothing but pleasure from beginning to
end!  I am sure you ought to be very much obliged to your aunt Bertram and me
for contriving to let you go.  A pretty good day's amusement you have had!"

Maria was just discontented enough to say directly, "I think you have done
pretty well yourself, ma'am. Your lap seems full of good things, and here is a
basket of something between us which has been knocking my elbow unmercifully."

"My dear, it is only a beautiful little heath, which that nice old gardener
would make me take; but if it is in your way, I will have it in my lap
directly. There, Fanny, you shall carry that parcel for me; take great care of
it:  do not let it fall; it is a cream cheese, just like the excellent one we
had at dinner. Nothing would satisfy that good old Mrs. Whitaker, but my taking
one of the cheeses.  I stood out as long as I could, till the tears almost came
into her eyes, and I knew it was just the sort that my sister would be
delighted with.  That Mrs. Whitaker is a treasure! She was quite shocked when I
asked her whether wine was allowed at the second table, and she has turned away
two housemaids for wearing white gowns.  Take care of the cheese, Fanny. Now I
can manage the other parcel and the basket very well."

"What else have you been spunging?" said Maria, half-pleased that Sotherton
should be so complimented.

"Spunging, my dear!  It is nothing but four of those beautiful pheasants' eggs,
which Mrs. Whitaker would quite force upon me:  she would not take a denial.
She said it must be such an amusement to me, as she understood I lived quite
alone, to have a few living creatures of that sort; and so to be sure it will.
I shall get the dairymaid to set them under the first spare hen, and if they
come to good I can have them moved to my own house and borrow a coop; and it
will be a great delight to me in my lonely hours to attend to them. And if I
have good luck, your mother shall have some."

It was a beautiful evening, mild and still, and the drive was as pleasant as
the serenity of Nature could make it; but when Mrs. Norris ceased speaking, it
was altogether a silent drive to those within. Their spirits were in general
exhausted; and to determine whether the day had afforded most pleasure or pain,
might occupy the meditations of almost all.


The day at Sotherton, with all its imperfections, afforded the Miss Bertrams
much more agreeable feelings than were derived from the letters from Antigua,
which soon afterwards reached Mansfield.  It was much pleasanter to think of
Henry Crawford than of their father; and to think of their father in England
again within a certain period, which these letters obliged them to do, was a
most unwelcome exercise.

November was the black month fixed for his return. Sir Thomas wrote of it with
as much decision as experience and anxiety could authorise.  His business was
so nearly concluded as to justify him in proposing to take his passage in the
September packet, and he consequently looked forward with the hope of being
with his beloved family again early in November.

Maria was more to be pitied than Julia; for to her the father brought a
husband, and the return of the friend most solicitous for her happiness would
unite her to the lover, on whom she had chosen that happiness should depend. It
was a gloomy prospect, and all she could do was to throw a mist over it, and
hope when the mist cleared away she should see something else.  It would hardly
be early in November, there were generally delays, a bad passage or
something; that favouring something which everybody who shuts their eyes
while they look, or their understandings while they reason, feels the comfort
of.  It would probably be the middle of November at least; the middle of
November was three months off. Three months comprised thirteen weeks.  Much
might happen in thirteen weeks.

Sir Thomas would have been deeply mortified by a suspicion of half that his
daughters felt on the subject of his return, and would hardly have found
consolation in a knowledge of the interest it excited in the breast of another
young lady. Miss Crawford, on walking up with her brother to spend the evening
at Mansfield Park, heard the good news; and though seeming to have no concern
in the affair beyond politeness, and to have vented all her feelings in a quiet
congratulation, heard it with an attention not so easily satisfied.  Mrs.
Norris gave the particulars of the letters, and the subject was dropt; but
after tea, as Miss Crawford was standing at an open window with Edmund and
Fanny looking out on a twilight scene, while the Miss Bertrams, Mr. Rushworth,
and Henry Crawford were all busy with candles at the pianoforte, she suddenly
revived it by turning round towards the group, and saying, "How happy Mr.
Rushworth looks!  He is thinking of November."

Edmund looked round at Mr. Rushworth too, but had nothing to say.

"Your father's return will be a very interesting event."

"It will, indeed, after such an absence; an absence not only long, but
including so many dangers."

"It will be the forerunner also of other interesting events: your sister's
marriage, and your taking orders."


"Don't be affronted," said she, laughing, "but it does put me in mind of some
of the old heathen heroes, who, after performing great exploits in a foreign
land, offered sacrifices to the gods on their safe return."

"There is no sacrifice in the case," replied Edmund, with a serious smile, and
glancing at the pianoforte again; "it is entirely her own doing."

"Oh yes I know it is.  I was merely joking.  She has done no more than what
every young woman would do; and I have no doubt of her being extremely happy.
My other sacrifice, of course, you do not understand."

"My taking orders, I assure you, is quite as voluntary as Maria's marrying."

"It is fortunate that your inclination and your father's convenience should
accord so well.  There is a very good living kept for you, I understand,

"Which you suppose has biassed me?"

"But that I am sure it has not," cried Fanny.

"Thank you for your good word, Fanny, but it is more than I would affirm
myself.  On the contrary, the knowing that there was such a provision for me
probably did bias me.  Nor can I think it wrong that it should. There was no
natural disinclination to be overcome, and I see no reason why a man should
make a worse clergyman for knowing that he will have a competence early in
life. I was in safe hands.  I hope I should not have been influenced myself in
a wrong way, and I am sure my father was too conscientious to have allowed it. 
I have no doubt that I was biased, but I think it was blamelessly."

"It is the same sort of thing," said Fanny, after a short pause, "as for the
son of an admiral to go into the navy, or the son of a general to be in the
army, and nobody sees anything wrong in that.  Nobody wonders that they should
prefer the line where their friends can serve them best, or suspects them to be
less in earnest in it than they appear."

"No, my dear Miss Price, and for reasons good.  The profession, either navy or
army, is its own justification.  It has everything in its favour:  heroism,
danger, bustle, fashion. Soldiers and sailors are always acceptable in society.
Nobody can wonder that men are soldiers and sailors."

"But the motives of a man who takes orders with the certainty of preferment may
be fairly suspected, you think?" said Edmund.  "To be justified in your eyes,
he must do it in the most complete uncertainty of any provision."

"What! take orders without a living!  No; that is madness indeed; absolute

"Shall I ask you how the church is to be filled, if a man is neither to take
orders with a living nor without? No; for you certainly would not know what to
say. But I must beg some advantage to the clergyman from your own argument.  As
he cannot be influenced by those feelings which you rank highly as temptation
and reward to the soldier and sailor in their choice of a profession, as
heroism, and noise, and fashion, are all against him, he ought to be less
liable to the suspicion of wanting sincerity or good intentions in the choice
of his."

"Oh! no doubt he is very sincere in preferring an income ready made, to the
trouble of working for one; and has the best intentions of doing nothing all
the rest of his days but eat, drink, and grow fat.  It is indolence, Mr.
Bertram, indeed.  Indolence and love of ease; a want of all laudable ambition,
of taste for good company, or of inclination to take the trouble of being
agreeable, which make men clergymen.  A clergyman has nothing to do but be
slovenly and selfish — read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with
his wife.  His curate does all the work, and the business of his own life is to

"There are such clergymen, no doubt, but I think they are not so common as to
justify Miss Crawford in esteeming it their general character.  I suspect that
in this comprehensive and (may I say) commonplace censure, you are not judging
from yourself, but from prejudiced persons, whose opinions you have been in the
habit of hearing. It is impossible that your own observation can have given you
much knowledge of the clergy.  You can have been personally acquainted with
very few of a set of men you condemn so conclusively.  You are speaking what
you have been told at your uncle's table."

"I speak what appears to me the general opinion; and where an opinion is
general, it is usually correct. Though I have not seen much of the domestic
lives of clergymen, it is seen by too many to leave any deficiency of

"Where any one body of educated men, of whatever denomination, are condemned
indiscriminately, there must be a deficiency of information, or (smiling) of
something else. Your uncle, and his brother admirals, perhaps knew little of
clergymen beyond the chaplains whom, good or bad, they were always wishing

"Poor William!  He has met with great kindness from the chaplain of the
Antwerp," was a tender apostrophe of Fanny's, very much to the purpose of her
own feelings if not of the conversation.

"I have been so little addicted to take my opinions from my uncle," said Miss
Crawford, "that I can hardly suppose— and since you push me so hard, I must
observe, that I am not entirely without the means of seeing what clergymen are,
being at this present time the guest of my own brother, Dr. Grant.  And though
Dr. Grant is most kind and obliging to me, and though he is really a gentleman,
and, I dare say, a good scholar and clever, and often preaches good sermons,
and is very respectable, I see him to be an indolent, selfish bon vivant,
who must have his palate consulted in everything; who will not stir a finger
for the convenience of any one; and who, moreover, if the cook makes a blunder,
is out of humour with his excellent wife.  To own the truth, Henry and I were
partly driven out this very evening by a disappointment about a green goose,
which he could not get the better of.  My poor sister was forced to stay and
bear it."

"I do not wonder at your disapprobation, upon my word. It is a great defect of
temper, made worse by a very faulty habit of self-indulgence; and to see your
sister suffering from it must be exceedingly painful to such feelings as yours.
 Fanny, it goes against us.  We cannot attempt to defend Dr. Grant."

"No," replied Fanny, "but we need not give up his profession for all that;
because, whatever profession Dr. Grant had chosen, he would have taken a — not a
good temper into it; and as he must, either in the navy or army, have had a
great many more people under his command than he has now, I think more would
have been made unhappy by him as a sailor or soldier than as a clergyman. 
Besides, I cannot but suppose that whatever there may be to wish otherwise in
Dr. Grant would have been in a greater danger of becoming worse in a more
active and worldly profession, where he would have had less time and
obligation— where he might have escaped that knowledge of himself, the
frequency, at least, of that knowledge which it is impossible he should
escape as he is now.  A man— a sensible man like Dr. Grant, cannot be in the
habit of teaching others their duty every week, cannot go to church twice every
Sunday, and preach such very good sermons in so good a manner as he does,
without being the better for it himself.  It must make him think; and I have no
doubt that he oftener endeavours to restrain himself than he would if he had
been anything but a clergyman."

"We cannot prove to the contrary, to be sure; but I wish you a better fate,
Miss Price, than to be the wife of a man whose amiableness depends upon his own
sermons; for though he may preach himself into a good-humour every Sunday, it
will be bad enough to have him quarrelling about green geese from Monday
morning till Saturday night."

"I think the man who could often quarrel with Fanny," said Edmund
affectionately, "must be beyond the reach of any sermons."

Fanny turned farther into the window; and Miss Crawford had only time to say,
in a pleasant manner, "I fancy Miss Price has been more used to deserve praise
than to hear it"; when, being earnestly invited by the Miss Bertrams to join in
a glee, she tripped off to the instrument, leaving Edmund looking after her in
an ecstasy of admiration of all her many virtues, from her obliging manners
down to her light and graceful tread.

"There goes good-humour, I am sure," said he presently. "There goes a temper
which would never give pain! How well she walks! and how readily she falls in
with the inclination of others! joining them the moment she is asked. What a
pity," he added, after an instant's reflection, "that she should have been in
such hands!"

Fanny agreed to it, and had the pleasure of seeing him continue at the window
with her, in spite of the expected glee; and of having his eyes soon turned,
like hers, towards the scene without, where all that was solemn, and soothing,
and lovely, appeared in the brilliancy of an unclouded night, and the contrast
of the deep shade of the woods.  Fanny spoke her feelings.  "Here's harmony!"
said she; "here's repose! Here's what may leave all painting and all music
behind, and what poetry only can attempt to describe!  Here's what may
tranquillise every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such
a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in
the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature
were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by
contemplating such a scene."

"I like to hear your enthusiasm, Fanny.  It is a lovely night, and they are
much to be pitied who have not been taught to feel, in some degree, as you do;
who have not, at least, been given a taste for Nature in early life. They lose
a great deal."

"You taught me to think and feel on the subject, cousin."

"I had a very apt scholar.  There's Arcturus looking very bright."

"Yes, and the Bear.  I wish I could see Cassiopeia."

"We must go out on the lawn for that.  Should you be afraid?"

"Not in the least.  It is a great while since we have had any star-gazing.

"Yes; I do not know how it has happened."  The glee began. "We will stay till
this is finished, Fanny," said he, turning his back on the window; and as it
advanced, she had the mortification of seeing him advance too, moving forward
by gentle degrees towards the instrument, and when it ceased, he was close by
the singers, among the most urgent in requesting to hear the glee again.

Fanny sighed alone at the window till scolded away by Mrs. Norris's threats of
catching cold.


Sir Thomas was to return in November, and his eldest son had duties to call him
earlier home.  The approach of September brought tidings of Mr. Bertram, first
in a letter to the gamekeeper and then in a letter to Edmund; and by the end of
August he arrived himself, to be gay, agreeable, and gallant again as occasion
served, or Miss Crawford demanded; to tell of races and Weymouth, and parties
and friends, to which she might have listened six weeks before with some
interest, and altogether to give her the fullest conviction, by the power of
actual comparison, of her preferring his younger brother.

It was very vexatious, and she was heartily sorry for it; but so it was; and so
far from now meaning to marry the elder, she did not even want to attract him
beyond what the simplest claims of conscious beauty required: his lengthened
absence from Mansfield, without anything but pleasure in view, and his own will
to consult, made it perfectly clear that he did not care about her; and his
indifference was so much more than equalled by her own, that were he now to
step forth the owner of Mansfield Park, the Sir Thomas complete, which he was
to be in time, she did not believe she could accept him.

The season and duties which brought Mr. Bertram back to Mansfield took Mr.
Crawford into Norfolk.  Everingham could not do without him in the beginning of
September.  He went for a fortnight — a fortnight of such dullness to the Miss
Bertrams as ought to have put them both on their guard, and made even Julia
admit, in her jealousy of her sister, the absolute necessity of distrusting his
attentions, and wishing him not to return; and a fortnight of sufficient
leisure, in the intervals of shooting and sleeping, to have convinced the
gentleman that he ought to keep longer away, had he been more in the habit of
examining his own motives, and of reflecting to what the indulgence of his idle
vanity was tending; but, thoughtless and selfish from prosperity and bad
example, he would not look beyond the present moment. The sisters, handsome,
clever, and encouraging, were an amusement to his sated mind; and finding
nothing in Norfolk to equal the social pleasures of Mansfield, he gladly
returned to it at the time appointed, and was welcomed thither quite as gladly
by those whom he came to trifle with further.

Maria, with only Mr. Rushworth to attend to her, and doomed to the repeated
details of his day's sport, good or bad, his boast of his dogs, his jealousy of
his neighbours, his doubts of their qualifications, and his zeal after
poachers, subjects which will not find their way to female feelings without
some talent on one side or some attachment on the other, had missed Mr.
Crawford grievously; and Julia, unengaged and unemployed, felt all the right of
missing him much more.  Each sister believed herself the favourite. Julia might
be justified in so doing by the hints of Mrs. Grant, inclined to credit what
she wished, and Maria by the hints of Mr. Crawford himself. Everything returned
into the same channel as before his absence; his manners being to each so
animated and agreeable as to lose no ground with either, and just stopping
short of the consistence, the steadiness, the solicitude, and the warmth which
might excite general notice.

Fanny was the only one of the party who found anything to dislike; but since
the day at Sotherton, she could never see Mr. Crawford with either sister
without observation, and seldom without wonder or censure; and had her
confidence in her own judgment been equal to her exercise of it in every other
respect, had she been sure that she was seeing clearly, and judging candidly,
she would probably have made some important communications to her usual
confidant.  As it was, however, she only hazarded a hint, and the hint was
lost.  "I am rather surprised," said she, "that Mr. Crawford should come back
again so soon, after being here so long before, full seven weeks; for I had
understood he was so very fond of change and moving about, that I thought
something would certainly occur, when he was once gone, to take him elsewhere.
He is used to much gayer places than Mansfield."

"It is to his credit," was Edmund's answer; "and I dare say it gives his sister
pleasure.  She does not like his unsettled habits."

"What a favourite he is with my cousins!"

"Yes, his manners to women are such as must please. Mrs. Grant, I believe,
suspects him of a preference for Julia; I have never seen much symptom of it,
but I wish it may be so.  He has no faults but what a serious attachment would

"If Miss Bertram were not engaged," said Fanny cautiously, "I could sometimes
almost think that he admired her more than Julia."

"Which is, perhaps, more in favour of his liking Julia best, than you, Fanny,
may be aware; for I believe it often happens that a man, before he has quite
made up his own mind, will distinguish the sister or intimate friend of the
woman he is really thinking of more than the woman herself Crawford has too
much sense to stay here if he found himself in any danger from Maria; and I am
not at all afraid for her, after such a proof as she has given that her
feelings are not strong."

Fanny supposed she must have been mistaken, and meant to think differently in
future; but with all that submission to Edmund could do, and all the help of
the coinciding looks and hints which she occasionally noticed in some of the
others, and which seemed to say that Julia was Mr. Crawford's choice, she knew
not always what to think. She was privy, one evening, to the hopes of her aunt
Norris on the subject, as well as to her feelings, and the feelings of Mrs.
Rushworth, on a point of some similarity, and could not help wondering as she
listened; and glad would she have been not to be obliged to listen, for it was
while all the other young people were dancing, and she sitting, most
unwillingly, among the chaperons at the fire, longing for the re-entrance of
her elder cousin, on whom all her own hopes of a partner then depended. It was
Fanny's first ball, though without the preparation or splendour of many a young
lady's first ball, being the thought only of the afternoon, built on the late
acquisition of a violin player in the servants' hall, and the possibility of
raising five couple with the help of Mrs. Grant and a new intimate friend of
Mr. Bertram's just arrived on a visit. It had, however, been a very happy one
to Fanny through four dances, and she was quite grieved to be losing even a
quarter of an hour.  While waiting and wishing, looking now at the dancers and
now at the door, this dialogue between the two above-mentioned ladies was
forced on her—

"I think, ma'am," said Mrs. Norris, her eyes directed towards Mr. Rushworth and
Maria, who were partners for the second time, "we shall see some happy faces
again now."

"Yes, ma'am, indeed," replied the other, with a stately simper, "there will be
some satisfaction in looking on now, and I think it was rather a pity they
should have been obliged to part.  Young folks in their situation should be
excused complying with the common forms. I wonder my son did not propose it."

"I dare say he did, ma'am. Mr. Rushworth is never remiss. But dear Maria has
such a strict sense of propriety, so much of that true delicacy which one
seldom meets with nowadays, Mrs. Rushworth — that wish of avoiding
particularity! Dear ma'am, only look at her face at this moment; how different
from what it was the two last dances!"

Miss Bertram did indeed look happy, her eyes were sparkling with pleasure, and
she was speaking with great animation, for Julia and her partner, Mr. Crawford,
were close to her; they were all in a cluster together. How she had looked
before, Fanny could not recollect, for she had been dancing with Edmund
herself, and had not thought about her.

Mrs. Norris continued, "It is quite delightful, ma'am, to see young people so
properly happy, so well suited, and so much the thing!  I cannot but think of
dear Sir Thomas's delight.  And what do you say, ma'am, to the chance of
another match?  Mr. Rushworth has set a good example, and such things are very

Mrs. Rushworth, who saw nothing but her son, was quite at a loss.

"The couple above, ma'am. Do you see no symptoms there?"

"Oh dear!  Miss Julia and Mr. Crawford.  Yes, indeed, a very pretty match. 
What is his property?"

"Four thousand a year."

"Very well.  Those who have not more must be satisfied with what they have. 
Four thousand a year is a pretty estate, and he seems a very genteel, steady
young man, so I hope Miss Julia will be very happy."

"It is not a settled thing, ma'am, yet.  We only speak of it among friends. 
But I have very little doubt it will be. He is growing extremely particular
in his attentions."

Fanny could listen no farther.  Listening and wondering were all suspended for
a time, for Mr. Bertram was in the room again; and though feeling it would be a
great honour to be asked by him, she thought it must happen.  He came towards
their little circle; but instead of asking her to dance, drew a chair near her,
and gave her an account of the present state of a sick horse, and the opinion
of the groom, from whom he had just parted.  Fanny found that it was not to be,
and in the modesty of her nature immediately felt that she had been
unreasonable in expecting it. When he had told of his horse, he took a
newspaper from the table, and looking over it, said in a languid way, "If you
want to dance, Fanny, I will stand up with you." With more than equal civility
the offer was declined; she did not wish to dance.  "I am glad of it," said he,
in a much brisker tone, and throwing down the newspaper again, "for I am tired
to death.  I only wonder how the good people can keep it up so long.  They had
need be all in love, to find any amusement in such folly; and so they are, I
fancy.  If you look at them you may see they are so many couple of lovers — all
but Yates and Mrs. Grant — and, between ourselves, she, poor woman, must want a
lover as much as any one of them.  A desperate dull life hers must be with the
doctor," making a sly face as he spoke towards the chair of the latter, who
proving, however, to be close at his elbow, made so instantaneous a change of
expression and subject necessary, as Fanny, in spite of everything, could
hardly help laughing at. "A strange business this in America, Dr. Grant!  What
is your opinion?  I always come to you to know what I am to think of public

"My dear Tom," cried his aunt soon afterwards, "as you are not dancing, I dare
say you will have no objection to join us in a rubber; shall you?"  Then
leaving her seat, and coming to him to enforce the proposal, added in a
whisper, "We want to make a table for Mrs. Rushworth, you know.  Your mother is
quite anxious about it, but cannot very well spare time to sit down herself,
because of her fringe.  Now, you and I and Dr. Grant will just do; and though
we play but half-crowns, you know, you may bet half-guineas with him."

"I should be most happy," replied he aloud, and jumping up with alacrity, "it
would give me the greatest pleasure; but that I am this moment going to dance."
 Come, Fanny, taking her hand, "do not be dawdling any longer, or the dance
will be over."

Fanny was led off very willingly, though it was impossible for her to feel much
gratitude towards her cousin, or distinguish, as he certainly did, between the
selfishness of another person and his own.

"A pretty modest request upon my word," he indignantly exclaimed as they walked
away.  "To want to nail me to a card-table for the next two hours with herself
and Dr. Grant, who are always quarrelling, and that poking old woman, who knows
no more of whist than of algebra. I wish my good aunt would be a little less
busy!  And to ask me in such a way too! without ceremony, before them all, so
as to leave me no possibility of refusing.  That is what I dislike most
particularly.  It raises my spleen more than anything, to have the pretence of
being asked, of being given a choice, and at the same time addressed in such a
way as to oblige one to do the very thing, whatever it be!  If I had not
luckily thought of standing up with you I could not have got out of it.  It is
a great deal too bad.  But when my aunt has got a fancy in her head, nothing
can stop her."


The Honourable John Yates, this new friend, had not much to recommend him
beyond habits of fashion and expense, and being the younger son of a lord with
a tolerable independence; and Sir Thomas would probably have thought his
introduction at Mansfield by no means desirable. Mr. Bertram's acquaintance
with him had begun at Weymouth, where they had spent ten days together in the
same society, and the friendship, if friendship it might be called, had been
proved and perfected by Mr. Yates's being invited to take Mansfield in his way,
whenever he could, and by his promising to come; and he did come rather earlier
than had been expected, in consequence of the sudden breaking-up of a large
party assembled for gaiety at the house of another friend, which he had left
Weymouth to join. He came on the wings of disappointment, and with his head
full of acting, for it had been a theatrical party; and the play in which he
had borne a part was within two days of representation, when the sudden death
of one of the nearest connexions of the family had destroyed the scheme and
dispersed the performers. To be so near happiness, so near fame, so near the
long paragraph in praise of the private theatricals at Ecclesford, the seat of
the Right Hon. Lord Ravenshaw, in Cornwall, which would of course have
immortalised the whole party for at least a twelvemonth! and being so near, to
lose it all, was an injury to be keenly felt, and Mr. Yates could talk of
nothing else.  Ecclesford and its theatre, with its arrangements and dresses,
rehearsals and jokes, was his never-failing subject, and to boast of the past
his only consolation.

Happily for him, a love of the theatre is so general, an itch for acting so
strong among young people, that he could hardly out-talk the interest of his
hearers. From the first casting of the parts to the epilogue it was all
bewitching, and there were few who did not wish to have been a party concerned,
or would have hesitated to try their skill.  The play had been Lovers' Vows,
and Mr. Yates was to have been Count Cassel. "A trifling part," said he, "and
not at all to my taste, and such a one as I certainly would not accept again;
but I was determined to make no difficulties. Lord Ravenshaw and the duke had
appropriated the only two characters worth playing before I reached Ecclesford;
and though Lord Ravenshaw offered to resign his to me, it was impossible to
take it, you know.  I was sorry for him that he should have so mistaken his
powers, for he was no more equal to the Baron — a little man with a weak voice,
always hoarse after the first ten minutes.  It must have injured the piece
materially; but I was resolved to make no difficulties. Sir Henry thought the
duke not equal to Frederick, but that was because Sir Henry wanted the part
himself; whereas it was certainly in the best hands of the two. I was surprised
to see Sir Henry such a stick. Luckily the strength of the piece did not depend
upon him. Our Agatha was inimitable, and the duke was thought very great by
many.  And upon the whole, it would certainly have gone off wonderfully."

"It was a hard case, upon my word"; and, "I do think you were very much to be
pitied," were the kind responses of listening sympathy.

"It is not worth complaining about; but to be sure the poor old dowager could
not have died at a worse time; and it is impossible to help wishing that the
news could have been suppressed for just the three days we wanted. It was but
three days; and being only a grandmother, and all happening two hundred miles
off, I think there would have been no great harm, and it was suggested, I know;
but Lord Ravenshaw, who I suppose is one of the most correct men in England,
would not hear of it."

"An afterpiece instead of a comedy," said Mr. Bertram. "Lovers' Vows were at an
end, and Lord and Lady Ravenshaw left to act My Grandmother by themselves. 
Well, the jointure may comfort him; and perhaps, between friends, he began to
tremble for his credit and his lungs in the Baron, and was not sorry to
withdraw; and to make you amends, Yates, I think we must raise a little
theatre at Mansfield, and ask you to be our manager."

This, though the thought of the moment, did not end with the moment; for the
inclination to act was awakened, and in no one more strongly than in him who
was now master of the house; and who, having so much leisure as to make almost
any novelty a certain good, had likewise such a degree of lively talents and
comic taste, as were exactly adapted to the novelty of acting. The thought
returned again and again.  "Oh for the Ecclesford theatre and scenery to try
something with." Each sister could echo the wish; and Henry Crawford, to whom,
in all the riot of his gratifications it was yet an untasted pleasure, was
quite alive at the idea. "I really believe," said he, "I could be fool enough
at this moment to undertake any character that ever was written, from Shylock
or Richard III down to the singing hero of a farce in his scarlet coat and
cocked hat. I feel as if I could be anything or everything; as if I could rant
and storm, or sigh or cut capers, in any tragedy or comedy in the English
language.  Let us be doing something.  Be it only half a play, an act, a scene;
what should prevent us?  Not these countenances, I am sure," looking towards
the Miss Bertrams; "and for a theatre, what signifies a theatre?  We shall be
only amusing ourselves. Any room in this house might suffice."

"We must have a curtain," said Tom Bertram; "a few yards of green baize for a
curtain, and perhaps that may be enough."

"Oh, quite enough," cried Mr. Yates, "with only just a side wing or two run up,
doors in flat, and three or four scenes to be let down; nothing more would be
necessary on such a plan as this. For mere amusement among ourselves we should
want nothing more."

"I believe we must be satisfied with less," said Maria. "There would not be
time, and other difficulties would arise.  We must rather adopt Mr. Crawford's
views, and make the performance, not thetheatre, our object. Many parts of
our best plays are independent of scenery."

"Nay," said Edmund, who began to listen with alarm. "Let us do nothing by
halves.  If we are to act, let it be in a theatre completely fitted up with
pit, boxes, and gallery, and let us have a play entire from beginning to end;
so as it be a German play, no matter what, with a good tricking, shifting
afterpiece, and a figure-dance, and a hornpipe, and a song between the acts. 
If we do not outdo Ecclesford, we do nothing."

"Now, Edmund, do not be disagreeable," said Julia. "Nobody loves a play better
than you do, or can have gone much farther to see one."

"True, to see real acting, good hardened real acting; but I would hardly walk
from this room to the next to look at the raw efforts of those who have not
been bred to the trade:  a set of gentlemen and ladies, who have all the
disadvantages of education and decorum to struggle through."

After a short pause, however, the subject still continued, and was discussed
with unabated eagerness, every one's inclination increasing by the discussion,
and a knowledge of the inclination of the rest; and though nothing was settled
but that Tom Bertram would prefer a comedy, and his sisters and Henry Crawford
a tragedy, and that nothing in the world could be easier than to find a piece
which would please them all, the resolution to act something or other seemed so
decided as to make Edmund quite uncomfortable.  He was determined to prevent
it, if possible, though his mother, who equally heard the conversation which
passed at table, did not evince the least disapprobation.

The same evening afforded him an opportunity of trying his strength.  Maria,
Julia, Henry Crawford, and Mr. Yates were in the billiard-room. Tom, returning
from them into the drawing-room, where Edmund was standing thoughtfully by the
fire, while Lady Bertram was on the sofa at a little distance, and Fanny close
beside her arranging her work, thus began as he entered — "Such a horribly vile
billiard-table as ours is not to be met with, I believe, above ground.  I can
stand it no longer, and I think, I may say, that nothing shall ever tempt me to
it again; but one good thing I have just ascertained:  it is the very room for
a theatre, precisely the shape and length for it; and the doors at the farther
end, communicating with each other, as they may be made to do in five minutes,
by merely moving the bookcase in my father's room, is the very thing we could
have desired, if we had sat down to wish for it; and my father's room will be
an excellent greenroom. It seems to join the billiard-room on purpose."

"You are not serious, Tom, in meaning to act?" said Edmund, in a low voice, as
his brother approached the fire.

"Not serious! never more so, I assure you.  What is there to surprise you in

"I think it would be very wrong.  In a general light, private theatricals are
open to some objections, but as we are circumstanced, I must think it would
be highly injudicious, and more than injudicious to attempt anything of the
kind. It would shew great want of feeling on my father's account, absent as he
is, and in some degree of constant danger; and it would be imprudent, I think,
with regard to Maria, whose situation is a very delicate one, considering
everything, extremely delicate."

"You take up a thing so seriously! as if we were going to act three times a
week till my father's return, and invite all the country.  But it is not to be
a display of that sort.  We mean nothing but a little amusement among
ourselves, just to vary the scene, and exercise our powers in something new. 
We want no audience, no publicity.  We may be trusted, I think, in chusing some
play most perfectly unexceptionable; and I can conceive no greater harm or
danger to any of us in conversing in the elegant written language of some
respectable author than in chattering in words of our own. I have no fears and
no scruples.  And as to my father's being absent, it is so far from an
objection, that I consider it rather as a motive; for the expectation of his
return must be a very anxious period to my mother; and if we can be the means
of amusing that anxiety, and keeping up her spirits for the next few weeks, I
shall think our time very well spent, and so, I am sure, will he. It is a
very anxious period for her."

As he said this, each looked towards their mother. Lady Bertram, sunk back in
one corner of the sofa, the picture of health, wealth, ease, and tranquillity,
was just falling into a gentle doze, while Fanny was getting through the few
difficulties of her work for her.

Edmund smiled and shook his head.

"By Jove! this won't do," cried Tom, throwing himself into a chair with a
hearty laugh.  "To be sure, my dear mother, your anxiety — I was unlucky there."

"What is the matter?" asked her ladyship, in the heavy tone of one half-roused;
"I was not asleep."

"Oh dear, no, ma'am, nobody suspected you!  Well, Edmund," he continued,
returning to the former subject, posture, and voice, as soon as Lady Bertram
began to nod again, "but this I will maintain, that we shall be doing no

"I cannot agree with you; I am convinced that my father would totally
disapprove it."

	"And I am convinced to the contrary.  Nobody is fonder of the exercise
of talent in young people, or promotes it more, than my father, and for
anything of the acting, spouting, reciting kind, I think he has always a
decided taste. I am sure he encouraged it in us as boys.  How many a time
have we mourned over the dead body of Julius Caesar, and to be'd and not
to be'd, in this very room, for his amusement?  And I am sure, _my name
was Norval_, every evening of my life through one Christmas holidays."

"It was a very different thing.  You must see the difference yourself.  My
father wished us, as schoolboys, to speak well, but he would never wish his
grown-up daughters to be acting plays.  His sense of decorum is strict."

"I know all that," said Tom, displeased.  "I know my father as well as you do;
and I'll take care that his daughters do nothing to distress him.  Manage your
own concerns, Edmund, and I'll take care of the rest of the family."

"If you are resolved on acting," replied the persevering Edmund, "I must hope
it will be in a very small and quiet way; and I think a theatre ought not to be
attempted. It would be taking liberties with my father's house in his absence
which could not be justified."

"For everything of that nature I will be answerable," said Tom, in a decided
tone.  "His house shall not be hurt. I have quite as great an interest in being
careful of his house as you can have; and as to such alterations as I was
suggesting just now, such as moving a bookcase, or unlocking a door, or even as
using the billiard-room for the space of a week without playing at billiards in
it, you might just as well suppose he would object to our sitting more in this
room, and less in the breakfast-room, than we did before he went away, or to my
sister's pianoforte being moved from one side of the room to the other.
Absolute nonsense!"

"The innovation, if not wrong as an innovation, will be wrong as an expense."

"Yes, the expense of such an undertaking would be prodigious! Perhaps it might
cost a whole twenty pounds.  Something of a theatre we must have undoubtedly,
but it will be on the simplest plan:  a green curtain and a little carpenter's
work, and that's all; and as the carpenter's work may be all done at home by
Christopher Jackson himself, it will be too absurd to talk of expense; and as
long as Jackson is employed, everything will be right with Sir Thomas. Don't
imagine that nobody in this house can see or judge but yourself.  Don't act
yourself, if you do not like it, but don't expect to govern everybody else."

"No, as to acting myself," said Edmund, "that I absolutely protest against."

Tom walked out of the room as he said it, and Edmund was left to sit down and
stir the fire in thoughtful vexation.

Fanny, who had heard it all, and borne Edmund company in every feeling
throughout the whole, now ventured to say, in her anxiety to suggest some
comfort, "Perhaps they may not be able to find any play to suit them.  Your
brother's taste and your sisters' seem very different."

"I have no hope there, Fanny.  If they persist in the scheme, they will find
something.  I shall speak to my sisters and try to dissuade them, and that is
all I can do."

"I should think my aunt Norris would be on your side."

"I dare say she would, but she has no influence with either Tom or my sisters
that could be of any use; and if I cannot convince them myself, I shall let
things take their course, without attempting it through her. Family squabbling
is the greatest evil of all, and we had better do anything than be altogether
by the ears."

His sisters, to whom he had an opportunity of speaking the next morning, were
quite as impatient of his advice, quite as unyielding to his representation,
quite as determined in the cause of pleasure, as Tom.  Their mother had no
objection to the plan, and they were not in the least afraid of their father's
disapprobation.  There could be no harm in what had been done in so many
respectable families, and by so many women of the first consideration; and it
must be scrupulousness run mad that could see anything to censure in a plan
like theirs, comprehending only brothers and sisters and intimate friends, and
which would never be heard of beyond themselves.  Julia did seem inclined to
admit that Maria's situation might require particular caution and delicacy — but
that could not extend to her— she was at liberty; and Maria evidently
considered her engagement as only raising her so much more above restraint, and
leaving her less occasion than Julia to consult either father or mother. 
Edmund had little to hope, but he was still urging the subject when Henry
Crawford entered the room, fresh from the Parsonage, calling out, "No want of
hands in our theatre, Miss Bertram. No want of understrappers:  my sister
desires her love, and hopes to be admitted into the company, and will be happy
to take the part of any old duenna or tame confidante, that you may not like to
do yourselves."

Maria gave Edmund a glance, which meant, "What say you now? Can we be wrong if
Mary Crawford feels the same?" And Edmund, silenced, was obliged to acknowledge
that the charm of acting might well carry fascination to the mind of genius;
and with the ingenuity of love, to dwell more on the obliging, accommodating
purport of the message than on anything else.

The scheme advanced.  Opposition was vain; and as to Mrs. Norris, he was
mistaken in supposing she would wish to make any.  She started no difficulties
that were not talked down in five minutes by her eldest nephew and niece, who
were all-powerful with her; and as the whole arrangement was to bring very
little expense to anybody, and none at all to herself, as she foresaw in it all
the comforts of hurry, bustle, and importance, and derived the immediate
advantage of fancying herself obliged to leave her own house, where she had
been living a month at her own cost, and take up her abode in theirs, that
every hour might be spent in their service, she was, in fact, exceedingly
delighted with the project.


Fanny seemed nearer being right than Edmund had supposed. The business of
finding a play that would suit everybody proved to be no trifle; and the
carpenter had received his orders and taken his measurements, had suggested and
removed at least two sets of difficulties, and having made the necessity of an
enlargement of plan and expense fully evident, was already at work, while a
play was still to seek.  Other preparations were also in hand. An enormous roll
of green baize had arrived from Northampton, and been cut out by Mrs. Norris
(with a saving by her good management of full three-quarters of a yard), and
was actually forming into a curtain by the housemaids, and still the play was
wanting; and as two or three days passed away in this manner, Edmund began
almost to hope that none might ever be found.

There were, in fact, so many things to be attended to, so many people to be
pleased, so many best characters required, and, above all, such a need that the
play should be at once both tragedy and comedy, that there did seem as little
chance of a decision as anything pursued by youth and zeal could hold out.

On the tragic side were the Miss Bertrams, Henry Crawford, and Mr. Yates; on
the comic, Tom Bertram, not quite alone, because it was evident that Mary
Crawford's wishes, though politely kept back, inclined the same way:  but his
determinateness and his power seemed to make allies unnecessary; and,
independent of this great irreconcilable difference, they wanted a piece
containing very few characters in the whole, but every character first-rate,
and three principal women.  All the best plays were run over in vain. Neither
Hamlet, nor Macbeth, nor Othello, nor Douglas, nor The Gamester, presented
anything that could satisfy even the tragedians; and The Rivals, The School for
Scandal, Wheel of Fortune, Heir at Law, and a long et cetera, were successively
dismissed with yet warmer objections. No piece could be proposed that did not
supply somebody with a difficulty, and on one side or the other it was a
continual repetition of, "Oh no, that will never do! Let us have no ranting
tragedies.  Too many characters. Not a tolerable woman's part in the play. 
Anything but that, my dear Tom.  It would be impossible to fill it up. One
could not expect anybody to take such a part. Nothing but buffoonery from
beginning to end. That might do, perhaps, but for the low parts.  If I must
give my opinion, I have always thought it the most insipid play in the English
language.  I do not wish to make objections; I shall be happy to be of any
use, but I think we could not chuse worse."

Fanny looked on and listened, not unamused to observe the selfishness which,
more or less disguised, seemed to govern them all, and wondering how it would
end.  For her own gratification she could have wished that something might be
acted, for she had never seen even half a play, but everything of higher
consequence was against it.

"This will never do," said Tom Bertram at last.  "We are wasting time most
abominably.  Something must be fixed on. No matter what, so that something is
chosen.  We must not be so nice.  A few characters too many must not frighten
us. We must double them.  We must descend a little. If a part is
insignificant, the greater our credit in making anything of it.  From this
moment I make no difficulties. I take any part you chuse to give me, so as it
be comic. Let it but be comic, I condition for nothing more."

For about the fifth time he then proposed the Heir at Law, doubting only
whether to prefer Lord Duberley or Dr. Pangloss for himself; and very
earnestly, but very unsuccessfully, trying to persuade the others that there
were some fine tragic parts in the rest of the dramatis personae.

The pause which followed this fruitless effort was ended by the same speaker,
who, taking up one of the many volumes of plays that lay on the table, and
turning it over, suddenly exclaimed — "Lovers' Vows! And why should not Lovers'
Vows do for us as well as for the Ravenshaws?  How came it never to be
thought of before?  It strikes me as if it would do exactly. What say you all? 
Here are two capital tragic parts for Yates and Crawford, and here is the
rhyming Butler for me, if nobody else wants it; a trifling part, but the sort
of thing I should not dislike, and, as I said before, I am determined to take
anything and do my best. And as for the rest, they may be filled up by anybody.
It is only Count Cassel and Anhalt."

The suggestion was generally welcome.  Everybody was growing weary of
indecision, and the first idea with everybody was, that nothing had been
proposed before so likely to suit them all.  Mr. Yates was particularly
pleased:  he had been sighing and longing to do the Baron at Ecclesford, had
grudged every rant of Lord Ravenshaw's, and been forced to re-rant it all in
his own room.  The storm through Baron Wildenheim was the height of his
theatrical ambition; and with the advantage of knowing half the scenes by heart
already, he did now, with the greatest alacrity, offer his services for the
part.  To do him justice, however, he did not resolve to appropriate it; for
remembering that there was some very good ranting-ground in Frederick, he
professed an equal willingness for that. Henry Crawford was ready to take
either.  Whichever Mr. Yates did not chuse would perfectly satisfy him, and a
short parley of compliment ensued.  Miss Bertram, feeling all the interest of
an Agatha in the question, took on her to decide it, by observing to Mr. Yates
that this was a point in which height and figure ought to be considered, and
that his being the tallest, seemed to fit him peculiarly for the Baron.  She
was acknowledged to be quite right, and the two parts being accepted
accordingly, she was certain of the proper Frederick.  Three of the characters
were now cast, besides Mr. Rushworth, who was always answered for by Maria as
willing to do anything; when Julia, meaning, like her sister, to be Agatha,
began to be scrupulous on Miss Crawford's account.

"This is not behaving well by the absent," said she. "Here are not women
enough.  Amelia and Agatha may do for Maria and me, but here is nothing for
your sister, Mr. Crawford."

Mr. Crawford desired that might not be thought of: he was very sure his
sister had no wish of acting but as she might be useful, and that she would not
allow herself to be considered in the present case. But this was immediately
opposed by Tom Bertram, who asserted the part of Amelia to be in every respect
the property of Miss Crawford, if she would accept it. "It falls as naturally,
as necessarily to her," said he, "as Agatha does to one or other of my sisters.
 It can be no sacrifice on their side, for it is highly comic."

A short silence followed.  Each sister looked anxious; for each felt the best
claim to Agatha, and was hoping to have it pressed on her by the rest.  Henry
Crawford, who meanwhile had taken up the play, and with seeming carelessness
was turning over the first act, soon settled the business.

"I must entreat Miss Julia Bertram," said he, "not to engage in the part of
Agatha, or it will be the ruin of all my solemnity.  You must not, indeed you
must not" (turning to her). "I could not stand your countenance dressed up in
woe and paleness.  The many laughs we have had together would infallibly come
across me, and Frederick and his knapsack would be obliged to run away."

Pleasantly, courteously, it was spoken; but the manner was lost in the matter
to Julia's feelings. She saw a glance at Maria which confirmed the injury to
herself:  it was a scheme, a trick; she was slighted, Maria was preferred; the
smile of triumph which Maria was trying to suppress shewed how well it was
understood; and before Julia could command herself enough to speak, her brother
gave his weight against her too, by saying, "Oh yes!  Maria must be Agatha. 
Maria will be the best Agatha.  Though Julia fancies she prefers tragedy, I
would not trust her in it.  There is nothing of tragedy about her.  She has not
the look of it.  Her features are not tragic features, and she walks too quick,
and speaks too quick, and would not keep her countenance. She had better do the
old countrywoman:  the Cottager's wife; you had, indeed, Julia.  Cottager's
wife is a very pretty part, I assure you.  The old lady relieves the high-flown
benevolence of her husband with a good deal of spirit. You shall be Cottager's

"Cottager's wife!" cried Mr. Yates.  "What are you talking of?  The most
trivial, paltry, insignificant part; the merest commonplace; not a tolerable
speech in the whole. Your sister do that!  It is an insult to propose it. At
Ecclesford the governess was to have done it. We all agreed that it could not
be offered to anybody else. A little more justice, Mr. Manager, if you please.
You do not deserve the office, if you cannot appreciate the talents of your
company a little better."

"Why, as to that, my good friend, till I and my company have really acted
there must be some guesswork; but I mean no disparagement to Julia.  We cannot
have two Agathas, and we must have one Cottager's wife; and I am sure I set her
the example of moderation myself in being satisfied with the old Butler.  If
the part is trifling she will have more credit in making something of it; and
if she is so desperately bent against everything humorous, let her take
Cottager's speeches instead of Cottager's wife's, and so change the parts all
through; he is solemn and pathetic enough, I am sure.  It could make no
difference in the play, and as for Cottager himself, when he has got his wife's
speeches, I would undertake him with all my heart."

"With all your partiality for Cottager's wife," said Henry Crawford, "it will
be impossible to make anything of it fit for your sister, and we must not
suffer her good-nature to be imposed on.  We must not allow her to accept the
part.  She must not be left to her own complaisance.  Her talents will be
wanted in Amelia. Amelia is a character more difficult to be well represented
than even Agatha.  I consider Amelia is the most difficult character in the
whole piece.  It requires great powers, great nicety, to give her playfulness
and simplicity without extravagance.  I have seen good actresses fail in the
part.  Simplicity, indeed, is beyond the reach of almost every actress by
profession.  It requires a delicacy of feeling which they have not.  It
requires a gentlewoman — a Julia Bertram.  You will undertake it, I hope?"
turning to her with a look of anxious entreaty, which softened her a little;
but while she hesitated what to say, her brother again interposed with Miss
Crawford's better claim.

"No, no, Julia must not be Amelia.  It is not at all the part for her.  She
would not like it. She would not do well.  She is too tall and robust. Amelia
should be a small, light, girlish, skipping figure. It is fit for Miss
Crawford, and Miss Crawford only. She looks the part, and I am persuaded will
do it admirably."

Without attending to this, Henry Crawford continued his supplication.  "You
must oblige us," said he, "indeed you must.  When you have studied the
character, I am sure you will feel it suit you.  Tragedy may be your choice,
but it will certainly appear that comedy chuses you. You will be to visit me
in prison with a basket of provisions; you will not refuse to visit me in
prison?  I think I see you coming in with your basket"

The influence of his voice was felt.  Julia wavered; but was he only trying to
soothe and pacify her, and make her overlook the previous affront?  She
distrusted him. The slight had been most determined.  He was, perhaps, but at
treacherous play with her.  She looked suspiciously at her sister; Maria's
countenance was to decide it: if she were vexed and alarmed — but Maria looked
all serenity and satisfaction, and Julia well knew that on this ground Maria
could not be happy but at her expense. With hasty indignation, therefore, and a
tremulous voice, she said to him, "You do not seem afraid of not keeping your
countenance when I come in with a basket of provisions — though one might have
supposed — but it is only as Agatha that I was to be so overpowering!" She
stopped — Henry Crawford looked rather foolish, and as if he did not know what
to say.  Tom Bertram began again—

"Miss Crawford must be Amelia.  She will be an excellent Amelia."

"Do not be afraid of my wanting the character," cried Julia, with angry
quickness:  "I am not to be Agatha, and I am sure I will do nothing else; and
as to Amelia, it is of all parts in the world the most disgusting to me. I
quite detest her.  An odious, little, pert, unnatural, impudent girl.  I have
always protested against comedy, and this is comedy in its worst form."  And so
saying, she walked hastily out of the room, leaving awkward feelings to more
than one, but exciting small compassion in any except Fanny, who had been a
quiet auditor of the whole, and who could not think of her as under the
agitations of jealousy without great pity.

A short silence succeeded her leaving them; but her brother soon returned to
business and Lovers' Vows, and was eagerly looking over the play, with Mr.
Yates's help, to ascertain what scenery would be necessary — while Maria and
Henry Crawford conversed together in an under-voice, and the declaration with
which she began of, "I am sure I would give up the part to Julia most
willingly, but that though I shall probably do it very ill, I feel persuaded
she would do it worse," was doubtless receiving all the compliments it called

When this had lasted some time, the division of the party was completed by Tom
Bertram and Mr. Yates walking off together to consult farther in the room now
beginning to be called the Theatre, and Miss Bertram's resolving to go down
to the Parsonage herself with the offer of Amelia to Miss Crawford; and Fanny
remained alone.

The first use she made of her solitude was to take up the volume which had been
left on the table, and begin to acquaint herself with the play of which she had
heard so much.  Her curiosity was all awake, and she ran through it with an
eagerness which was suspended only by intervals of astonishment, that it could
be chosen in the present instance, that it could be proposed and accepted in a
private theatre!  Agatha and Amelia appeared to her in their different ways so
totally improper for home representation — the situation of one, and the
language of the other, so unfit to be expressed by any woman of modesty, that
she could hardly suppose her cousins could be aware of what they were engaging
in; and longed to have them roused as soon as possible by the remonstrance
which Edmund would certainly make.


Miss Crawford accepted the part very readily; and soon after Miss Bertram's
return from the Parsonage, Mr. Rushworth arrived, and another character was
consequently cast. He had the offer of Count Cassel and Anhalt, and at first
did not know which to chuse, and wanted Miss Bertram to direct him; but upon
being made to understand the different style of the characters, and which was
which, and recollecting that he had once seen the play in London, and had
thought Anhalt a very stupid fellow, he soon decided for the Count.  Miss
Bertram approved the decision, for the less he had to learn the better; and
though she could not sympathise in his wish that the Count and Agatha might be
to act together, nor wait very patiently while he was slowly turning over the
leaves with the hope of still discovering such a scene, she very kindly took
his part in hand, and curtailed every speech that admitted being shortened;
besides pointing out the necessity of his being very much dressed, and chusing
his colours. Mr. Rushworth liked the idea of his finery very well, though
affecting to despise it; and was too much engaged with what his own appearance
would be to think of the others, or draw any of those conclusions, or feel any
of that displeasure which Maria had been half prepared for.

Thus much was settled before Edmund, who had been out all the morning, knew
anything of the matter; but when he entered the drawing-room before dinner, the
buzz of discussion was high between Tom, Maria, and Mr. Yates; and Mr.
Rushworth stepped forward with great alacrity to tell him the agreeable news.

"We have got a play," said he.  "It is to be Lovers' Vows; and I am to be Count
Cassel, and am to come in first with a blue dress and a pink satin cloak, and
afterwards am to have another fine fancy suit, by way of a shooting-dress. I do
not know how I shall like it."

Fanny's eyes followed Edmund, and her heart beat for him as she heard this
speech, and saw his look, and felt what his sensations must be.

"Lovers' Vows!" in a tone of the greatest amazement, was his only reply to Mr.
Rushworth, and he turned towards his brother and sisters as if hardly doubting
a contradiction.

"Yes," cried Mr. Yates.  "After all our debatings and difficulties, we find
there is nothing that will suit us altogether so well, nothing so
unexceptionable, as Lovers' Vows.  The wonder is that it should not have been
thought of before.  My stupidity was abominable, for here we have all the
advantage of what I saw at Ecclesford; and it is so useful to have anything of
a model! We have cast almost every part."

"But what do you do for women?" said Edmund gravely, and looking at Maria.

Maria blushed in spite of herself as she answered, "I take the part which Lady
Ravenshaw was to have done, and" (with a bolder eye) "Miss Crawford is to be

"I should not have thought it the sort of play to be so easily filled up, with
us," replied Edmund, turning away to the fire, where sat his mother, aunt,
and Fanny, and seating himself with a look of great vexation.

Mr. Rushworth followed him to say, "I come in three times, and have
two-and-forty speeches.  That's something, is not it?  But I do not much like
the idea of being so fine. I shall hardly know myself in a blue dress and a
pink satin cloak."

Edmund could not answer him.  In a few minutes Mr. Bertram was called out of
the room to satisfy some doubts of the carpenter; and being accompanied by Mr.
Yates, and followed soon afterwards by Mr. Rushworth, Edmund almost immediately
took the opportunity of saying, "I cannot, before Mr. Yates, speak what I feel
as to this play, without reflecting on his friends at Ecclesford; but I must
now, my dear Maria, tell you, that I think it exceedingly unfit for private
representation, and that I hope you will give it up.  I cannot but suppose you
will when you have read it carefully over. Read only the first act aloud to
either your mother or aunt, and see how you can approve it.  It will not be
necessary to send you to your father's judgment, I am convinced."

"We see things very differently," cried Maria. "I am perfectly acquainted with
the play, I assure you; and with a very few omissions, and so forth, which will
be made, of course, I can see nothing objectionable in it; and I am not the
only young woman you find who thinks it very fit for private representation."

"I am sorry for it," was his answer; "but in this matter it is you who are to
lead.  You must set the example. If others have blundered, it is your place
to put them right, and shew them what true delicacy is. In all points of
decorum your conduct must be law to the rest of the party."

This picture of her consequence had some effect, for no one loved better to
lead than Maria; and with far more good-humour she answered, "I am much obliged
to you, Edmund; you mean very well, I am sure:  but I still think you see
things too strongly; and I really cannot undertake to harangue all the rest
upon a subject of this kind. There would be the greatest indecorum, I think."

"Do you imagine that I could have such an idea in my head?  No; let your
conduct be the only harangue. Say that, on examining the part, you feel
yourself unequal to it; that you find it requiring more exertion and confidence
than you can be supposed to have. Say this with firmness, and it will be quite
enough. All who can distinguish will understand your motive. The play will be
given up, and your delicacy honoured as it ought."

"Do not act anything improper, my dear," said Lady Bertram. "Sir Thomas would
not like it. — Fanny, ring the bell; I must have my dinner. — To be sure, Julia
is dressed by this time."

"I am convinced, madam," said Edmund, preventing Fanny, "that Sir Thomas would
not like it."

"There, my dear, do you hear what Edmund says?"

"If I were to decline the part," said Maria, with renewed zeal, "Julia would
certainly take it."

"What!" cried Edmund, "if she knew your reasons!"

"Oh! she might think the difference between us— the difference in our
situations — that she need not be so scrupulous as I might feel necessary. I
am sure she would argue so.  No; you must excuse me; I cannot retract my
consent; it is too far settled, everybody would be so disappointed, Tom would
be quite angry; and if we are so very nice, we shall never act anything."

"I was just going to say the very same thing," said Mrs. Norris. "If every play
is to be objected to, you will act nothing, and the preparations will be all so
much money thrown away, and I am sure that would be a discredit to us all. I
do not know the play; but, as Maria says, if there is anything a little too
warm (and it is so with most of them) it can be easily left out.  We must not
be over-precise, Edmund.  As Mr. Rushworth is to act too, there can be no harm.
 I only wish Tom had known his own mind when the carpenters began, for there
was the loss of half a day's work about those side-doors. The curtain will be a
good job, however.  The maids do their work very well, and I think we shall be
able to send back some dozens of the rings.  There is no occasion to put them
so very close together.  I am of some use, I hope, in preventing waste and
making the most of things. There should always be one steady head to
superintend so many young ones.  I forgot to tell Tom of something that
happened to me this very day.  I had been looking about me in the poultry-yard,
and was just coming out, when who should I see but Dick Jackson making up to
the servants' hall-door with two bits of deal board in his hand, bringing them
to father, you may be sure; mother had chanced to send him of a message to
father, and then father had bid him bring up them two bits of board, for he
could not no how do without them.  I knew what all this meant, for the
servants' dinner-bell was ringing at the very moment over our heads; and as I
hate such encroaching people (the Jacksons are very encroaching, I have always
said so:  just the sort of people to get all they can), I said to the boy
directly (a great lubberly fellow of ten years old, you know, who ought to be
ashamed of himself), "I'll take the boards to your father, Dick, so get you
home again as fast as you can." The boy looked very silly, and turned away
without offering a word, for I believe I might speak pretty sharp; and I dare
say it will cure him of coming marauding about the house for one while.  I hate
such greediness— so good as your father is to the family, employing the man
all the year round!"

Nobody was at the trouble of an answer; the others soon returned; and Edmund
found that to have endeavoured to set them right must be his only satisfaction.

Dinner passed heavily.  Mrs. Norris related again her triumph over Dick
Jackson, but neither play nor preparation were otherwise much talked of, for
Edmund's disapprobation was felt even by his brother, though he would not have
owned it.  Maria, wanting Henry Crawford's animating support, thought the
subject better avoided. Mr. Yates, who was trying to make himself agreeable to
Julia, found her gloom less impenetrable on any topic than that of his regret
at her secession from their company; and Mr. Rushworth, having only his own
part and his own dress in his head, had soon talked away all that could be said
of either.

But the concerns of the theatre were suspended only for an hour or two:  there
was still a great deal to be settled; and the spirits of evening giving fresh
courage, Tom, Maria, and Mr. Yates, soon after their being reassembled in the
drawing-room, seated themselves in committee at a separate table, with the play
open before them, and were just getting deep in the subject when a most welcome
interruption was given by the entrance of Mr. and Miss Crawford, who, late and
dark and dirty as it was, could not help coming, and were received with the
most grateful joy.

"Well, how do you go on?" and "What have you settled?" and "Oh! we can do
nothing without you," followed the first salutations; and Henry Crawford was
soon seated with the other three at the table, while his sister made her way to
Lady Bertram, and with pleasant attention was complimenting her.  "I must
really congratulate your ladyship," said she, "on the play being chosen; for
though you have borne it with exemplary patience, I am sure you must be sick of
all our noise and difficulties. The actors may be glad, but the bystanders must
be infinitely more thankful for a decision; and I do sincerely give you joy,
madam, as well as Mrs. Norris, and everybody else who is in the same
predicament," glancing half fearfully, half slyly, beyond Fanny to Edmund.

She was very civilly answered by Lady Bertram, but Edmund said nothing.  His
being only a bystander was not disclaimed.  After continuing in chat with the
party round the fire a few minutes, Miss Crawford returned to the party round
the table; and standing by them, seemed to interest herself in their
arrangements till, as if struck by a sudden recollection, she exclaimed, "My
good friends, you are most composedly at work upon these cottages and
alehouses, inside and out; but pray let me know my fate in the meanwhile.  Who
is to be Anhalt? What gentleman among you am I to have the pleasure of making
love to?"

For a moment no one spoke; and then many spoke together to tell the same
melancholy truth, that they had not yet got any Anhalt.  "Mr. Rushworth was to
be Count Cassel, but no one had yet undertaken Anhalt."

"I had my choice of the parts," said Mr. Rushworth; "but I thought I should
like the Count best, though I do not much relish the finery I am to have."

"You chose very wisely, I am sure," replied Miss Crawford, with a brightened
look; "Anhalt is a heavy part."

"The Count has two-and-forty speeches," returned Mr. Rushworth, "which is
no trifle."

"I am not at all surprised," said Miss Crawford, after a short pause, "at this
want of an Anhalt. Amelia deserves no better.  Such a forward young lady may
well frighten the men."

"I should be but too happy in taking the part, if it were possible," cried Tom;
"but, unluckily, the Butler and Anhalt are in together.  I will not entirely
give it up, however; I will try what can be done — I will look it over again."

"Your brother should take the part," said Mr. Yates, in a low voice.  "Do not
you think he would?"

"I shall not ask him," replied Tom, in a cold, determined manner.

Miss Crawford talked of something else, and soon afterwards rejoined the party
at the fire.

"They do not want me at all," said she, seating herself. "I only puzzle them,
and oblige them to make civil speeches. Mr. Edmund Bertram, as you do not act
yourself, you will be a disinterested adviser; and, therefore, I apply to
you.  What shall we do for an Anhalt? Is it practicable for any of the others
to double it? What is your advice?"

"My advice," said he calmly, "is that you change the play."

"I should have no objection," she replied; "for though I should not
particularly dislike the part of Amelia if well supported, that is, if
everything went well, I shall be sorry to be an inconvenience; but as they do
not chuse to hear your advice at that table" (looking round), "it certainly
will not be taken."

Edmund said no more.

"If any part could tempt you to act, I suppose it would be Anhalt,"
observed the lady archly, after a short pause; "for he is a clergyman, you

"That circumstance would by no means tempt me," he replied, "for I should be
sorry to make the character ridiculous by bad acting.  It must be very
difficult to keep Anhalt from appearing a formal, solemn lecturer; and the man
who chuses the profession itself is, perhaps, one of the last who would wish to
represent it on the stage."

Miss Crawford was silenced, and with some feelings of resentment and
mortification, moved her chair considerably nearer the tea-table, and gave all
her attention to Mrs. Norris, who was presiding there.

"Fanny," cried Tom Bertram, from the other table, where the conference was
eagerly carrying on, and the conversation incessant, "we want your services"

Fanny was up in a moment, expecting some errand; for the habit of employing her
in that way was not yet overcome, in spite of all that Edmund could do.

"Oh! we do not want to disturb you from your seat. We do not want your
present services.  We shall only want you in our play.  You must be
Cottager's wife."

"Me!" cried Fanny, sitting down again with a most frightened look. "Indeed you
must excuse me.  I could not act anything if you were to give me the world. 
No, indeed, I cannot act."

"Indeed, but you must, for we cannot excuse you. It need not frighten you:  it
is a nothing of a part, a mere nothing, not above half a dozen speeches
altogether, and it will not much signify if nobody hears a word you say; so you
may be as creep-mouse as you like, but we must have you to look at."

"If you are afraid of half a dozen speeches," cried Mr. Rushworth, "what would
you do with such a part as mine?  I have forty-two to learn."

"It is not that I am afraid of learning by heart," said Fanny, shocked to find
herself at that moment the only speaker in the room, and to feel that almost
every eye was upon her; "but I really cannot act."

"Yes, yes, you can act well enough for us. Learn your part, and we will teach
you all the rest. You have only two scenes, and as I shall be Cottager, I'll
put you in and push you about, and you will do it very well, I'll answer for

"No, indeed, Mr. Bertram, you must excuse me.  You cannot have an idea.  It
would be absolutely impossible for me. If I were to undertake it, I should only
disappoint you."

"Phoo!  Phoo!  Do not be so shamefaced.  You'll do it very well.  Every
allowance will be made for you. We do not expect perfection.  You must get a
brown gown, and a white apron, and a mob cap, and we must make you a few
wrinkles, and a little of the crowsfoot at the corner of your eyes, and you
will be a very proper, little old woman."

"You must excuse me, indeed you must excuse me," cried Fanny, growing more and
more red from excessive agitation, and looking distressfully at Edmund, who was
kindly observing her; but unwilling to exasperate his brother by interference,
gave her only an encouraging smile. Her entreaty had no effect on Tom:  he only
said again what he had said before; and it was not merely Tom, for the
requisition was now backed by Maria, and Mr. Crawford, and Mr. Yates, with an
urgency which differed from his but in being more gentle or more ceremonious,
and which altogether was quite overpowering to Fanny; and before she could
breathe after it, Mrs. Norris completed the whole by thus addressing her in a
whisper at once angry and audible — "What a piece of work here is about nothing:
I am quite ashamed of you, Fanny, to make such a difficulty of obliging your
cousins in a trifle of this sort — so kind as they are to you!  Take the part
with a good grace, and let us hear no more of the matter, I entreat."

"Do not urge her, madam," said Edmund.  "It is not fair to urge her in this
manner.  You see she does not like to act. Let her chuse for herself, as well
as the rest of us. Her judgment may be quite as safely trusted.  Do not urge
her any more."

"I am not going to urge her," replied Mrs. Norris sharply; "but I shall think
her a very obstinate, ungrateful girl, if she does not do what her aunt and
cousins wish her— very ungrateful, indeed, considering who and what she is."

Edmund was too angry to speak; but Miss Crawford, looking for a moment with
astonished eyes at Mrs. Norris, and then at Fanny, whose tears were beginning
to shew themselves, immediately said, with some keenness, "I do not like my
situation:  this place is too hot for me," and moved away her chair to the
opposite side of the table, close to Fanny, saying to her, in a kind, low
whisper, as she placed herself, "Never mind, my dear Miss Price, this is a
cross evening:  everybody is cross and teasing, but do not let us mind them";
and with pointed attention continued to talk to her and endeavour to raise her
spirits, in spite of being out of spirits herself.  By a look at her brother
she prevented any farther entreaty from the theatrical board, and the really
good feelings by which she was almost purely governed were rapidly restoring
her to all the little she had lost in Edmund's favour.

Fanny did not love Miss Crawford; but she felt very much obliged to her for her
present kindness; and when, from taking notice of her work, and wishing she
could work as well, and begging for the pattern, and supposing Fanny was now
preparing for her appearance, as of course she would come out when her cousin
was married, Miss Crawford proceeded to inquire if she had heard lately from
her brother at sea, and said that she had quite a curiosity to see him, and
imagined him a very fine young man, and advised Fanny to get his picture drawn
before he went to sea again — she could not help admitting it to be very
agreeable flattery, or help listening, and answering with more animation than
she had intended.

The consultation upon the play still went on, and Miss Crawford's attention was
first called from Fanny by Tom Bertram's telling her, with infinite regret,
that he found it absolutely impossible for him to undertake the part of Anhalt
in addition to the Butler:  he had been most anxiously trying to make it out to
be feasible, but it would not do; he must give it up.  "But there will not be
the smallest difficulty in filling it," he added. "We have but to speak the
word; we may pick and chuse. I could name, at this moment, at least six young
men within six miles of us, who are wild to be admitted into our company, and
there are one or two that would not disgrace us: I should not be afraid to
trust either of the Olivers or Charles Maddox.  Tom Oliver is a very clever
fellow, and Charles Maddox is as gentlemanlike a man as you will see anywhere,
so I will take my horse early to-morrow morning and ride over to Stoke, and
settle with one of them."

While he spoke, Maria was looking apprehensively round at Edmund in full
expectation that he must oppose such an enlargement of the plan as this:  so
contrary to all their first protestations; but Edmund said nothing. After a
moment's thought, Miss Crawford calmly replied, "As far as I am concerned, I
can have no objection to anything that you all think eligible.  Have I ever
seen either of the gentlemen?  Yes, Mr. Charles Maddox dined at my sister's one
day, did not he, Henry?  A quiet-looking young man.  I remember him.  Let him
be applied to, if you please, for it will be less unpleasant to me than to have
a perfect stranger."

Charles Maddox was to be the man.  Tom repeated his resolution of going to him
early on the morrow; and though Julia, who had scarcely opened her lips before,
observed, in a sarcastic manner, and with a glance first at Maria and then at
Edmund, that "the Mansfield theatricals would enliven the whole neighbourhood
exceedingly," Edmund still held his peace, and shewed his feelings only by a
determined gravity.

"I am not very sanguine as to our play," said Miss Crawford, in an undervoice
to Fanny, after some consideration; "and I can tell Mr. Maddox that I shall
shorten some of his speeches, and a great many of my own, before we
rehearse together.  It will be very disagreeable, and by no means what I


It was not in Miss Crawford's power to talk Fanny into any real forgetfulness
of what had passed.  When the evening was over, she went to bed full of it, her
nerves still agitated by the shock of such an attack from her cousin Tom, so
public and so persevered in, and her spirits sinking under her aunt's unkind
reflection and reproach. To be called into notice in such a manner, to hear
that it was but the prelude to something so infinitely worse, to be told that
she must do what was so impossible as to act; and then to have the charge of
obstinacy and ingratitude follow it, enforced with such a hint at the
dependence of her situation, had been too distressing at the time to make the
remembrance when she was alone much less so, especially with the superadded
dread of what the morrow might produce in continuation of the subject. Miss
Crawford had protected her only for the time; and if she were applied to again
among themselves with all the authoritative urgency that Tom and Maria were
capable of, and Edmund perhaps away, what should she do?  She fell asleep
before she could answer the question, and found it quite as puzzling when she
awoke the next morning. The little white attic, which had continued her
sleeping-room ever since her first entering the family, proving incompetent to
suggest any reply, she had recourse, as soon as she was dressed, to another
apartment more spacious and more meet for walking about in and thinking, and of
which she had now for some time been almost equally mistress. It had been their
school-room; so called till the Miss Bertrams would not allow it to be called
so any longer, and inhabited as such to a later period.  There Miss Lee had
lived, and there they had read and written, and talked and laughed, till within
the last three years, when she had quitted them.  The room had then become
useless, and for some time was quite deserted, except by Fanny, when she
visited her plants, or wanted one of the books, which she was still glad to
keep there, from the deficiency of space and accommodation in her little
chamber above: but gradually, as her value for the comforts of it increased,
she had added to her possessions, and spent more of her time there; and having
nothing to oppose her, had so naturally and so artlessly worked herself into
it, that it was now generally admitted to be hers.  The East room, as it had
been called ever since Maria Bertram was sixteen, was now considered Fanny's,
almost as decidedly as the white attic:  the smallness of the one making the
use of the other so evidently reasonable that the Miss Bertrams, with every
superiority in their own apartments which their own sense of superiority could
demand, were entirely approving it; and Mrs. Norris, having stipulated for
there never being a fire in it on Fanny's account, was tolerably resigned to
her having the use of what nobody else wanted, though the terms in which she
sometimes spoke of the indulgence seemed to imply that it was the best room in
the house.

The aspect was so favourable that even without a fire it was habitable in many
an early spring and late autumn morning to such a willing mind as Fanny's; and
while there was a gleam of sunshine she hoped not to be driven from it
entirely, even when winter came. The comfort of it in her hours of leisure was
extreme. She could go there after anything unpleasant below, and find immediate
consolation in some pursuit, or some train of thought at hand.  Her plants, her
books— of which she had been a collector from the first hour of her commanding
a shilling — her writing-desk, and her works of charity and ingenuity, were all
within her reach; or if indisposed for employment, if nothing but musing would
do, she could scarcely see an object in that room which had not an interesting
remembrance connected with it. Everything was a friend, or bore her thoughts to
a friend; and though there had been sometimes much of suffering to her; though
her motives had often been misunderstood, her feelings disregarded, and her
comprehension undervalued; though she had known the pains of tyranny, of
ridicule, and neglect, yet almost every recurrence of either had led to
something consolatory:  her aunt Bertram had spoken for her, or Miss Lee had
been encouraging, or, what was yet more frequent or more dear, Edmund had been
her champion and her friend:  he had supported her cause or explained her
meaning, he had told her not to cry, or had given her some proof of affection
which made her tears delightful; and the whole was now so blended together, so
harmonised by distance, that every former affliction had its charm. The room
was most dear to her, and she would not have changed its furniture for the
handsomest in the house, though what had been originally plain had suffered all
the ill-usage of children; and its greatest elegancies and ornaments were a
faded footstool of Julia's work, too ill done for the drawing-room, three
transparencies, made in a rage for transparencies, for the three lower panes of
one window, where Tintern Abbey held its station between a cave in Italy and a
moonlight lake in Cumberland, a collection of family profiles, thought unworthy
of being anywhere else, over the mantelpiece, and by their side, and pinned
against the wall, a small sketch of a ship sent four years ago from the
Mediterranean by William, with H.M.S. Antwerp at the bottom, in letters as tall
as the mainmast.

To this nest of comforts Fanny now walked down to try its influence on an
agitated, doubting spirit, to see if by looking at Edmund's profile she could
catch any of his counsel, or by giving air to her geraniums she might inhale a
breeze of mental strength herself.  But she had more than fears of her own
perseverance to remove:  she had begun to feel undecided as to what she _ought
to do_; and as she walked round the room her doubts were increasing. Was she
right in refusing what was so warmly asked, so strongly wished for — what
might be so essential to a scheme on which some of those to whom she owed the
greatest complaisance had set their hearts?  Was it not ill-nature,
selfishness, and a fear of exposing herself? And would Edmund's judgment, would
his persuasion of Sir Thomas's disapprobation of the whole, be enough to
justify her in a determined denial in spite of all the rest? It would be so
horrible to her to act that she was inclined to suspect the truth and purity of
her own scruples; and as she looked around her, the claims of her cousins to
being obliged were strengthened by the sight of present upon present that she
had received from them. The table between the windows was covered with
work-boxes and netting-boxes which had been given her at different times,
principally by Tom; and she grew bewildered as to the amount of the debt which
all these kind remembrances produced. A tap at the door roused her in the midst
of this attempt to find her way to her duty, and her gentle "Come in" was
answered by the appearance of one, before whom all her doubts were wont to be
laid.  Her eyes brightened at the sight of Edmund.

"Can I speak with you, Fanny, for a few minutes?" said he.

"Yes, certainly."

"I want to consult.  I want your opinion."

"My opinion!" she cried, shrinking from such a compliment, highly as it
gratified her.

"Yes, your advice and opinion.  I do not know what to do. This acting scheme
gets worse and worse, you see. They have chosen almost as bad a play as they
could, and now, to complete the business, are going to ask the help of a young
man very slightly known to any of us. This is the end of all the privacy and
propriety which was talked about at first.  I know no harm of Charles Maddox;
but the excessive intimacy which must spring from his being admitted among us
in this manner is highly objectionable, the more than intimacy — the
familiarity.  I cannot think of it with any patience; and it does appear to me
an evil of such magnitude as must, if possible, be prevented. Do not you
see it in the same light?"

"Yes; but what can be done?  Your brother is so determined."

"There is but one thing to be done, Fanny.  I must take Anhalt myself.  I am
well aware that nothing else will quiet Tom."

Fanny could not answer him.

"It is not at all what I like," he continued.  "No man can like being driven
into the appearance of such inconsistency. After being known to oppose the
scheme from the beginning, there is absurdity in the face of my joining them
now, when they are exceeding their first plan in every respect; but I can
think of no other alternative.  Can you, Fanny?"

"No," said Fanny slowly, "not immediately, but—

"But what?  I see your judgment is not with me.  Think it a little over. 
Perhaps you are not so much aware as I am of the mischief that may, of the
unpleasantness that must arise from a young man's being received in this
manner: domesticated among us; authorised to come at all hours, and placed
suddenly on a footing which must do away all restraints.  To think only of the
licence which every rehearsal must tend to create.  It is all very bad! Put
yourself in Miss Crawford's place, Fanny. Consider what it would be to act
Amelia with a stranger. She has a right to be felt for, because she evidently
feels for herself.  I heard enough of what she said to you last night to
understand her unwillingness to be acting with a stranger; and as she probably
engaged in the part with different expectations — perhaps without considering
the subject enough to know what was likely to be— it would be ungenerous, it
would be really wrong to expose her to it.  Her feelings ought to be respected.
Does it not strike you so, Fanny?  You hesitate."

"I am sorry for Miss Crawford; but I am more sorry to see you drawn in to do
what you had resolved against, and what you are known to think will be
disagreeable to my uncle. It will be such a triumph to the others!"

"They will not have much cause of triumph when they see how infamously I act. 
But, however, triumph there certainly will be, and I must brave it.  But if I
can be the means of restraining the publicity of the business, of limiting the
exhibition, of concentrating our folly, I shall be well repaid.  As I am now, I
have no influence, I can do nothing:  I have offended them, and they will not
hear me; but when I have put them in good-humour by this concession, I am not
without hopes of persuading them to confine the representation within a much
smaller circle than they are now in the high road for. This will be a material
gain.  My object is to confine it to Mrs. Rushworth and the Grants.  Will not
this be worth gaining?"

"Yes, it will be a great point."

"But still it has not your approbation.  Can you mention any other measure by
which I have a chance of doing equal good?"

"No, I cannot think of anything else."

"Give me your approbation, then, Fanny.  I am not comfortable without it."

"Oh, cousin!"

"If you are against me, I ought to distrust myself, and yet — But it is
absolutely impossible to let Tom go on in this way, riding about the country in
quest of anybody who can be persuaded to act — no matter whom: the look of a
gentleman is to be enough.  I thought you would have entered more into Miss
Crawford's feelings."

"No doubt she will be very glad.  It must be a great relief to her," said
Fanny, trying for greater warmth of manner.

"She never appeared more amiable than in her behaviour to you last night.  It
gave her a very strong claim on my goodwill."

"She was very kind, indeed, and I am glad to have her spared"...

She could not finish the generous effusion.  Her conscience stopt her in the
middle, but Edmund was satisfied.

"I shall walk down immediately after breakfast," said he, "and am sure of
giving pleasure there.  And now, dear Fanny, I will not interrupt you any
longer.  You want to be reading. But I could not be easy till I had spoken to
you, and come to a decision.  Sleeping or waking, my head has been full of this
matter all night.  It is an evil, but I am certainly making it less than it
might be. If Tom is up, I shall go to him directly and get it over, and when we
meet at breakfast we shall be all in high good-humour at the prospect of acting
the fool together with such unanimity.  You, in the meanwhile, will be taking
a trip into China, I suppose.  How does Lord Macartney go on?" — opening a
volume on the table and then taking up some others.  "And here are Crabbe's
Tales, and the Idler, at hand to relieve you, if you tire of your great book. I
admire your little establishment exceedingly; and as soon as I am gone, you
will empty your head of all this nonsense of acting, and sit comfortably down
to your table. But do not stay here to be cold."

He went; but there was no reading, no China, no composure for Fanny.  He had
told her the most extraordinary, the most inconceivable, the most unwelcome
news; and she could think of nothing else.  To be acting! After all his
objections — objections so just and so public! After all that she had heard him
say, and seen him look, and known him to be feeling.  Could it be possible?
Edmund so inconsistent!  Was he not deceiving himself? Was he not wrong?  Alas!
it was all Miss Crawford's doing. She had seen her influence in every speech,
and was miserable. The doubts and alarms as to her own conduct, which had
previously distressed her, and which had all slept while she listened to him,
were become of little consequence now.  This deeper anxiety swallowed them up. 
Things should take their course; she cared not how it ended.  Her cousins might
attack, but could hardly tease her.  She was beyond their reach; and if at last
obliged to yield — no matter — it was all misery now.


It was, indeed, a triumphant day to Mr. Bertram and Maria. Such a victory over
Edmund's discretion had been beyond their hopes, and was most delightful. 
There was no longer anything to disturb them in their darling project, and they
congratulated each other in private on the jealous weakness to which they
attributed the change, with all the glee of feelings gratified in every way.
Edmund might still look grave, and say he did not like the scheme in general,
and must disapprove the play in particular; their point was gained:  he was to
act, and he was driven to it by the force of selfish inclinations only. Edmund
had descended from that moral elevation which he had maintained before, and
they were both as much the better as the happier for the descent.

They behaved very well, however, to him on the occasion, betraying no
exultation beyond the lines about the corners of the mouth, and seemed to think
it as great an escape to be quit of the intrusion of Charles Maddox, as if they
had been forced into admitting him against their inclination. "To have it quite
in their own family circle was what they had particularly wished.  A stranger
among them would have been the destruction of all their comfort"; and when
Edmund, pursuing that idea, gave a hint of his hope as to the limitation of the
audience, they were ready, in the complaisance of the moment, to promise
anything. It was all good-humour and encouragement.  Mrs. Norris offered to
contrive his dress, Mr. Yates assured him that Anhalt's last scene with the
Baron admitted a good deal of action and emphasis, and Mr. Rushworth undertook
to count his speeches.

"Perhaps," said Tom, "Fanny may be more disposed to oblige us now.  Perhaps you
may persuade her."

"No, she is quite determined.  She certainly will not act."

"Oh! very well."  And not another word was said; but Fanny felt herself again
in danger, and her indifference to the danger was beginning to fail her

There were not fewer smiles at the Parsonage than at the Park on this change in
Edmund; Miss Crawford looked very lovely in hers, and entered with such an
instantaneous renewal of cheerfulness into the whole affair as could have but
one effect on him.  "He was certainly right in respecting such feelings; he was
glad he had determined on it." And the morning wore away in satisfactions very
sweet, if not very sound.  One advantage resulted from it to Fanny:  at the
earnest request of Miss Crawford, Mrs. Grant had, with her usual good-humour,
agreed to undertake the part for which Fanny had been wanted; and this was all
that occurred to gladden her heart during the day; and even this, when
imparted by Edmund, brought a pang with it, for it was Miss Crawford to whom
she was obliged — it was Miss Crawford whose kind exertions were to excite her
gratitude, and whose merit in making them was spoken of with a glow of
admiration. She was safe; but peace and safety were unconnected here. Her mind
had been never farther from peace.  She could not feel that she had done wrong
herself, but she was disquieted in every other way.  Her heart and her judgment
were equally against Edmund's decision:  she could not acquit his unsteadiness,
and his happiness under it made her wretched.  She was full of jealousy and
agitation. Miss Crawford came with looks of gaiety which seemed an insult, with
friendly expressions towards herself which she could hardly answer calmly. 
Everybody around her was gay and busy, prosperous and important; each had their
object of interest, their part, their dress, their favourite scene, their
friends and confederates: all were finding employment in consultations and
comparisons, or diversion in the playful conceits they suggested. She alone was
sad and insignificant:  she had no share in anything; she might go or stay; she
might be in the midst of their noise, or retreat from it to the solitude of the
East room, without being seen or missed.  She could almost think anything would
have been preferable to this. Mrs. Grant was of consequence:  her good-nature
had honourable mention; her taste and her time were considered; her presence
was wanted; she was sought for, and attended, and praised; and Fanny was at
first in some danger of envying her the character she had accepted. But
reflection brought better feelings, and shewed her that Mrs. Grant was entitled
to respect, which could never have belonged to her; and that, had she
received even the greatest, she could never have been easy in joining a scheme
which, considering only her uncle, she must condemn altogether.

Fanny's heart was not absolutely the only saddened one amongst them, as she
soon began to acknowledge to herself. Julia was a sufferer too, though not
quite so blamelessly.

Henry Crawford had trifled with her feelings; but she had very long allowed and
even sought his attentions, with a jealousy of her sister so reasonable as
ought to have been their cure; and now that the conviction of his preference
for Maria had been forced on her, she submitted to it without any alarm for
Maria's situation, or any endeavour at rational tranquillity for herself. She
either sat in gloomy silence, wrapt in such gravity as nothing could subdue, no
curiosity touch, no wit amuse; or allowing the attentions of Mr. Yates, was
talking with forced gaiety to him alone, and ridiculing the acting of the

For a day or two after the affront was given, Henry Crawford had endeavoured to
do it away by the usual attack of gallantry and compliment, but he had not
cared enough about it to persevere against a few repulses; and becoming soon
too busy with his play to have time for more than one flirtation, he grew
indifferent to the quarrel, or rather thought it a lucky occurrence, as quietly
putting an end to what might ere long have raised expectations in more than
Mrs. Grant. She was not pleased to see Julia excluded from the play, and
sitting by disregarded; but as it was not a matter which really involved her
happiness, as Henry must be the best judge of his own, and as he did assure
her, with a most persuasive smile, that neither he nor Julia had ever had a
serious thought of each other, she could only renew her former caution as to
the elder sister, entreat him not to risk his tranquillity by too much
admiration there, and then gladly take her share in anything that brought
cheerfulness to the young people in general, and that did so particularly
promote the pleasure of the two so dear to her.

"I rather wonder Julia is not in love with Henry," was her observation to Mary.

"I dare say she is," replied Mary coldly.  "I imagine both sisters are."

"Both! no, no, that must not be.  Do not give him a hint of it.  Think of Mr.

"You had better tell Miss Bertram to think of Mr. Rushworth. It may do her
some good.  I often think of Mr. Rushworth's property and independence, and
wish them in other hands; but I never think of him.  A man might represent the
county with such an estate; a man might escape a profession and represent the

"I dare say he will be in parliament soon.  When Sir Thomas comes, I dare say
he will be in for some borough, but there has been nobody to put him in the way
of doing anything yet."

"Sir Thomas is to achieve many mighty things when he comes home," said Mary,
after a pause.  "Do you remember Hawkins Browne's 'Address to Tobacco,' in
imitation of Pope?—

Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense To Templars modesty, to Parsons

I will parody them—

Blest Knight! whose dictatorial looks dispense To Children affluence, to
Rushworth sense.

Will not that do, Mrs. Grant?  Everything seems to depend upon Sir Thomas's

"You will find his consequence very just and reasonable when you see him in his
family, I assure you.  I do not think we do so well without him.  He has a fine
dignified manner, which suits the head of such a house, and keeps everybody in
their place.  Lady Bertram seems more of a cipher now than when he is at home;
and nobody else can keep Mrs. Norris in order.  But, Mary, do not fancy that
Maria Bertram cares for Henry.  I am sure Julia does not, or she would not
have flirted as she did last night with Mr. Yates; and though he and Maria are
very good friends, I think she likes Sotherton too well to be inconstant."

"I would not give much for Mr. Rushworth's chance if Henry stept in before the
articles were signed."

"If you have such a suspicion, something must be done; and as soon as the play
is all over, we will talk to him seriously and make him know his own mind; and
if he means nothing, we will send him off, though he is Henry, for a time."

Julia did suffer, however, though Mrs. Grant discerned it not, and though it
escaped the notice of many of her own family likewise.  She had loved, she did
love still, and she had all the suffering which a warm temper and a high spirit
were likely to endure under the disappointment of a dear, though irrational
hope, with a strong sense of ill-usage. Her heart was sore and angry, and she
was capable only of angry consolations.  The sister with whom she was used to
be on easy terms was now become her greatest enemy:  they were alienated from
each other; and Julia was not superior to the hope of some distressing end to
the attentions which were still carrying on there, some punishment to Maria for
conduct so shameful towards herself as well as towards Mr. Rushworth.  With no
material fault of temper, or difference of opinion, to prevent their being very
good friends while their interests were the same, the sisters, under such a
trial as this, had not affection or principle enough to make them merciful or
just, to give them honour or compassion.  Maria felt her triumph, and pursued
her purpose, careless of Julia; and Julia could never see Maria distinguished
by Henry Crawford without trusting that it would create jealousy, and bring a
public disturbance at last.

Fanny saw and pitied much of this in Julia; but there was no outward fellowship
between them.  Julia made no communication, and Fanny took no liberties.  They
were two solitary sufferers, or connected only by Fanny's consciousness.

The inattention of the two brothers and the aunt to Julia's discomposure, and
their blindness to its true cause, must be imputed to the fullness of their own
minds. They were totally preoccupied.  Tom was engrossed by the concerns of his
theatre, and saw nothing that did not immediately relate to it.  Edmund,
between his theatrical and his real part, between Miss Crawford's claims and
his own conduct, between love and consistency, was equally unobservant; and
Mrs. Norris was too busy in contriving and directing the general little matters
of the company, superintending their various dresses with economical expedient,
for which nobody thanked her, and saving, with delighted integrity, half a
crown here and there to the absent Sir Thomas, to have leisure for watching the
behaviour, or guarding the happiness of his daughters.


Everything was now in a regular train:  theatre, actors, actresses, and
dresses, were all getting forward; but though no other great impediments arose,
Fanny found, before many days were past, that it was not all uninterrupted
enjoyment to the party themselves, and that she had not to witness the
continuance of such unanimity and delight as had been almost too much for her
at first. Everybody began to have their vexation.  Edmund had many. Entirely
against his judgment, a scene-painter arrived from town, and was at work,
much to the increase of the expenses, and, what was worse, of the eclat of
their proceedings; and his brother, instead of being really guided by him as to
the privacy of the representation, was giving an invitation to every family who
came in his way. Tom himself began to fret over the scene-painter's slow
progress, and to feel the miseries of waiting. He had learned his part — all his
parts, for he took every trifling one that could be united with the Butler, and
began to be impatient to be acting; and every day thus unemployed was tending
to increase his sense of the insignificance of all his parts together, and make
him more ready to regret that some other play had not been chosen.

Fanny, being always a very courteous listener, and often the only listener at
hand, came in for the complaints and the distresses of most of them.  She
knew that Mr. Yates was in general thought to rant dreadfully; that Mr. Yates
was disappointed in Henry Crawford; that Tom Bertram spoke so quick he would be
unintelligible; that Mrs. Grant spoiled everything by laughing; that Edmund was
behindhand with his part, and that it was misery to have anything to do with
Mr. Rushworth, who was wanting a prompter through every speech.  She knew,
also, that poor Mr. Rushworth could seldom get anybody to rehearse with him:
his complaint came before her as well as the rest; and so decided to her eye
was her cousin Maria's avoidance of him, and so needlessly often the rehearsal
of the first scene between her and Mr. Crawford, that she had soon all the
terror of other complaints from him. So far from being all satisfied and all
enjoying, she found everybody requiring something they had not, and giving
occasion of discontent to the others. Everybody had a part either too long or
too short; nobody would attend as they ought; nobody would remember on which
side they were to come in; nobody but the complainer would observe any

Fanny believed herself to derive as much innocent enjoyment from the play as
any of them; Henry Crawford acted well, and it was a pleasure to her to creep
into the theatre, and attend the rehearsal of the first act, in spite of the
feelings it excited in some speeches for Maria.  Maria, she also thought, acted
well, too well; and after the first rehearsal or two, Fanny began to be their
only audience; and sometimes as prompter, sometimes as spectator, was often
very useful.  As far as she could judge, Mr. Crawford was considerably the best
actor of all: he had more confidence than Edmund, more judgment than Tom, more
talent and taste than Mr. Yates.  She did not like him as a man, but she must
admit him to be the best actor, and on this point there were not many who
differed from her. Mr. Yates, indeed, exclaimed against his tameness and
insipidity; and the day came at last, when Mr. Rushworth turned to her with a
black look, and said, "Do you think there is anything so very fine in all this?
 For the life and soul of me, I cannot admire him; and, between ourselves, to
see such an undersized, little, mean-looking man, set up for a fine actor, is
very ridiculous in my opinion."

From this moment there was a return of his former jealousy, which Maria, from
increasing hopes of Crawford, was at little pains to remove; and the chances of
Mr. Rushworth's ever attaining to the knowledge of his two-and-forty speeches
became much less.  As to his ever making anything tolerable of them, nobody
had the smallest idea of that except his mother; she, indeed, regretted that
his part was not more considerable, and deferred coming over to Mansfield till
they were forward enough in their rehearsal to comprehend all his scenes; but
the others aspired at nothing beyond his remembering the catchword, and the
first line of his speech, and being able to follow the prompter through the
rest.  Fanny, in her pity and kindheartedness, was at great pains to teach him
how to learn, giving him all the helps and directions in her power, trying to
make an artificial memory for him, and learning every word of his part herself,
but without his being much the forwarder.

Many uncomfortable, anxious, apprehensive feelings she certainly had; but with
all these, and other claims on her time and attention, she was as far from
finding herself without employment or utility amongst them, as without a
companion in uneasiness; quite as far from having no demand on her leisure as
on her compassion. The gloom of her first anticipations was proved to have been
unfounded.  She was occasionally useful to all; she was perhaps as much at
peace as any.

There was a great deal of needlework to be done, moreover, in which her help
was wanted; and that Mrs. Norris thought her quite as well off as the rest, was
evident by the manner in which she claimed it — "Come, Fanny," she cried, "these
are fine times for you, but you must not be always walking from one room to the
other, and doing the lookings-on at your ease, in this way; I want you here.  I
have been slaving myself till I can hardly stand, to contrive Mr. Rushworth's
cloak without sending for any more satin; and now I think you may give me your
help in putting it together. There are but three seams; you may do them in a
trice. It would be lucky for me if I had nothing but the executive part to do. 
You are best off, I can tell you: but if nobody did more than you, we
should not get on very fast"

Fanny took the work very quietly, without attempting any defence; but her
kinder aunt Bertram observed on her behalf—

"One cannot wonder, sister, that Fanny should be delighted: it is all new to
her, you know; you and I used to be very fond of a play ourselves, and so am I
still; and as soon as I am a little more at leisure, I mean to look in at
their rehearsals too.  What is the play about, Fanny? you have never told me."

"Oh! sister, pray do not ask her now; for Fanny is not one of those who can
talk and work at the same time. It is about Lovers' Vows."

"I believe," said Fanny to her aunt Bertram, "there will be three acts
rehearsed to-morrow evening, and that will give you an opportunity of seeing
all the actors at once."

"You had better stay till the curtain is hung," interposed Mrs. Norris; "the
curtain will be hung in a day or two— there is very little sense in a play
without a curtain— and I am much mistaken if you do not find it draw up into
very handsome festoons."

Lady Bertram seemed quite resigned to waiting.  Fanny did not share her aunt's
composure:  she thought of the morrow a great deal, for if the three acts were
rehearsed, Edmund and Miss Crawford would then be acting together for the first
time; the third act would bring a scene between them which interested her most
particularly, and which she was longing and dreading to see how they would
perform.  The whole subject of it was love— a marriage of love was to be
described by the gentleman, and very little short of a declaration of love be
made by the lady.

She had read and read the scene again with many painful, many wondering
emotions, and looked forward to their representation of it as a circumstance
almost too interesting. She did not believe they had yet rehearsed it, even
in private.

The morrow came, the plan for the evening continued, and Fanny's consideration
of it did not become less agitated. She worked very diligently under her aunt's
directions, but her diligence and her silence concealed a very absent, anxious
mind; and about noon she made her escape with her work to the East room, that
she might have no concern in another, and, as she deemed it, most unnecessary
rehearsal of the first act, which Henry Crawford was just proposing, desirous
at once of having her time to herself, and of avoiding the sight of Mr.
Rushworth. A glimpse, as she passed through the hall, of the two ladies walking
up from the Parsonage made no change in her wish of retreat, and she worked and
meditated in the East room, undisturbed, for a quarter of an hour, when a
gentle tap at the door was followed by the entrance of Miss Crawford.

"Am I right?  Yes; this is the East room.  My dear Miss Price, I beg your
pardon, but I have made my way to you on purpose to entreat your help."

Fanny, quite surprised, endeavoured to shew herself mistress of the room by her
civilities, and looked at the bright bars of her empty grate with concern.

"Thank you; I am quite warm, very warm.  Allow me to stay here a little while,
and do have the goodness to hear me my third act.  I have brought my book, and
if you would but rehearse it with me, I should be so obliged! I came here
to-day intending to rehearse it with Edmund— by ourselves — against the
evening, but he is not in the way; and if he were, I do not think I could go
through it with him, till I have hardened myself a little; for really there
is a speech or two.  You will be so good, won't you?"

Fanny was most civil in her assurances, though she could not give them in a
very steady voice.

"Have you ever happened to look at the part I mean?" continued Miss Crawford,
opening her book.  "Here it is. I did not think much of it at first — but, upon
my word. There, look at that speech, and that, and that. How am I ever to
look him in the face and say such things? Could you do it?  But then he is your
cousin, which makes all the difference.  You must rehearse it with me, that I
may fancy you him, and get on by degrees.  You have a look of his

"Have I?  I will do my best with the greatest readiness; but I must read the
part, for I can say very little of it."

"None of it, I suppose.  You are to have the book, of course.  Now for it. 
We must have two chairs at hand for you to bring forward to the front of the
stage. There — very good school-room chairs, not made for a theatre, I dare say;
much more fitted for little girls to sit and kick their feet against when they
are learning a lesson. What would your governess and your uncle say to see them
used for such a purpose?  Could Sir Thomas look in upon us just now, he would
bless himself, for we are rehearsing all over the house.  Yates is storming
away in the dining-room. I heard him as I came upstairs, and the theatre is
engaged of course by those indefatigable rehearsers, Agatha and Frederick.  If
they are not perfect, I shall be surprised.  By the bye, I looked in upon
them five minutes ago, and it happened to be exactly at one of the times when
they were trying not to embrace, and Mr. Rushworth was with me.  I thought he
began to look a little queer, so I turned it off as well as I could, by
whispering to him, 'We shall have an excellent Agatha; there is something so
maternal in her manner, so completely maternal in her voice and
countenance.' Was not that well done of me?  He brightened up directly. Now for
my soliloquy."

She began, and Fanny joined in with all the modest feeling which the idea of
representing Edmund was so strongly calculated to inspire; but with looks and
voice so truly feminine as to be no very good picture of a man.  With such an
Anhalt, however, Miss Crawford had courage enough; and they had got through
half the scene, when a tap at the door brought a pause, and the entrance of
Edmund, the next moment, suspended it all.

Surprise, consciousness, and pleasure appeared in each of the three on this
unexpected meeting; and as Edmund was come on the very same business that had
brought Miss Crawford, consciousness and pleasure were likely to be more than
momentary in them.  He too had his book, and was seeking Fanny, to ask her to
rehearse with him, and help him to prepare for the evening, without knowing
Miss Crawford to be in the house; and great was the joy and animation of being
thus thrown together, of comparing schemes, and sympathising in praise of
Fanny's kind offices.

She could not equal them in their warmth.  Her spirits sank under the glow
of theirs, and she felt herself becoming too nearly nothing to both to have any
comfort in having been sought by either.  They must now rehearse together.
Edmund proposed, urged, entreated it, till the lady, not very unwilling at
first, could refuse no longer, and Fanny was wanted only to prompt and observe
them. She was invested, indeed, with the office of judge and critic, and
earnestly desired to exercise it and tell them all their faults; but from doing
so every feeling within her shrank — she could not, would not, dared not attempt
it: had she been otherwise qualified for criticism, her conscience must have
restrained her from venturing at disapprobation. She believed herself to feel
too much of it in the aggregate for honesty or safety in particulars.  To
prompt them must be enough for her; and it was sometimes more than enough;
for she could not always pay attention to the book. In watching them she forgot
herself; and, agitated by the increasing spirit of Edmund's manner, had once
closed the page and turned away exactly as he wanted help. It was imputed to
very reasonable weariness, and she was thanked and pitied; but she deserved
their pity more than she hoped they would ever surmise.  At last the scene was
over, and Fanny forced herself to add her praise to the compliments each was
giving the other; and when again alone and able to recall the whole, she was
inclined to believe their performance would, indeed, have such nature and
feeling in it as must ensure their credit, and make it a very suffering
exhibition to herself. Whatever might be its effect, however, she must stand
the brunt of it again that very day.

The first regular rehearsal of the three first acts was certainly to take place
in the evening:  Mrs. Grant and the Crawfords were engaged to return for that
purpose as soon as they could after dinner; and every one concerned was looking
forward with eagerness.  There seemed a general diffusion of cheerfulness on
the occasion. Tom was enjoying such an advance towards the end; Edmund was in
spirits from the morning's rehearsal, and little vexations seemed everywhere
smoothed away. All were alert and impatient; the ladies moved soon, the
gentlemen soon followed them, and with the exception of Lady Bertram, Mrs.
Norris, and Julia, everybody was in the theatre at an early hour; and having
lighted it up as well as its unfinished state admitted, were waiting only the
arrival of Mrs. Grant and the Crawfords to begin.

They did not wait long for the Crawfords, but there was no Mrs. Grant.  She
could not come.  Dr. Grant, professing an indisposition, for which he had
little credit with his fair sister-in-law, could not spare his wife.

"Dr. Grant is ill," said she, with mock solemnity. "He has been ill ever since
he did not eat any of the pheasant today.  He fancied it tough, sent away his
plate, and has been suffering ever since".

Here was disappointment!  Mrs. Grant's non-attendance was sad indeed.  Her
pleasant manners and cheerful conformity made her always valuable amongst them;
but now she was absolutely necessary.  They could not act, they could not
rehearse with any satisfaction without her. The comfort of the whole evening
was destroyed. What was to be done?  Tom, as Cottager, was in despair. After a
pause of perplexity, some eyes began to be turned towards Fanny, and a voice or
two to say, "If Miss Price would be so good as to read the part." She was
immediately surrounded by supplications; everybody asked it; even Edmund said,
"Do, Fanny, if it is not very disagreeable to you."

But Fanny still hung back.  She could not endure the idea of it.  Why was not
Miss Crawford to be applied to as well? Or why had not she rather gone to her
own room, as she had felt to be safest, instead of attending the rehearsal at
all?  She had known it would irritate and distress her; she had known it her
duty to keep away. She was properly punished.

"You have only to read the part," said Henry Crawford, with renewed entreaty.

"And I do believe she can say every word of it," added Maria, "for she could
put Mrs. Grant right the other day in twenty places.  Fanny, I am sure you know
the part."

Fanny could not say she did not; and as they all persevered, as Edmund
repeated his wish, and with a look of even fond dependence on her good-nature,
she must yield. She would do her best.  Everybody was satisfied; and she was
left to the tremors of a most palpitating heart, while the others prepared to

They did begin; and being too much engaged in their own noise to be struck by
an unusual noise in the other part of the house, had proceeded some way when
the door of the room was thrown open, and Julia, appearing at it, with a face
all aghast, exclaimed, "My father is come! He is in the hall at this moment."


How is the consternation of the party to be described? To the greater number it
was a moment of absolute horror. Sir Thomas in the house!  All felt the
instantaneous conviction. Not a hope of imposition or mistake was harboured
anywhere. Julia's looks were an evidence of the fact that made it indisputable;
and after the first starts and exclamations, not a word was spoken for half a
minute:  each with an altered countenance was looking at some other, and almost
each was feeling it a stroke the most unwelcome, most ill-timed, most
appalling!  Mr. Yates might consider it only as a vexatious interruption for
the evening, and Mr. Rushworth might imagine it a blessing; but every other
heart was sinking under some degree of self-condemnation or undefined alarm,
every other heart was suggesting, "What will become of us? what is to be done
now?" It was a terrible pause; and terrible to every ear were the corroborating
sounds of opening doors and passing footsteps.

Julia was the first to move and speak again.  Jealousy and bitterness had been
suspended:  selfishness was lost in the common cause; but at the moment of her
appearance, Frederick was listening with looks of devotion to Agatha's
narrative, and pressing her hand to his heart; and as soon as she could notice
this, and see that, in spite of the shock of her words, he still kept his
station and retained her sister's hand, her wounded heart swelled again with
injury, and looking as red as she had been white before, she turned out of the
room, saying, "I need not be afraid of appearing before him."

Her going roused the rest; and at the same moment the two brothers stepped
forward, feeling the necessity of doing something.  A very few words between
them were sufficient.  The case admitted no difference of opinion:  they must
go to the drawing-room directly. Maria joined them with the same intent, just
then the stoutest of the three; for the very circumstance which had driven
Julia away was to her the sweetest support. Henry Crawford's retaining her hand
at such a moment, a moment of such peculiar proof and importance, was worth
ages of doubt and anxiety.  She hailed it as an earnest of the most serious
determination, and was equal even to encounter her father.  They walked off,
utterly heedless of Mr. Rushworth's repeated question of, "Shall I go too?  Had
not I better go too?  Will not it be right for me to go too?" but they were no
sooner through the door than Henry Crawford undertook to answer the anxious
inquiry, and, encouraging him by all means to pay his respects to Sir Thomas
without delay, sent him after the others with delighted haste.

Fanny was left with only the Crawfords and Mr. Yates. She had been quite
overlooked by her cousins; and as her own opinion of her claims on Sir Thomas's
affection was much too humble to give her any idea of classing herself with his
children, she was glad to remain behind and gain a little breathing-time. Her
agitation and alarm exceeded all that was endured by the rest, by the right of
a disposition which not even innocence could keep from suffering.  She was
nearly fainting: all her former habitual dread of her uncle was returning, and
with it compassion for him and for almost every one of the party on the
development before him, with solicitude on Edmund's account indescribable.  She
had found a seat, where in excessive trembling she was enduring all these
fearful thoughts, while the other three, no longer under any restraint, were
giving vent to their feelings of vexation, lamenting over such an unlooked-for
premature arrival as a most untoward event, and without mercy wishing poor Sir
Thomas had been twice as long on his passage, or were still in Antigua.

The Crawfords were more warm on the subject than Mr. Yates, from better
understanding the family, and judging more clearly of the mischief that must
ensue.  The ruin of the play was to them a certainty:  they felt the total
destruction of the scheme to be inevitably at hand; while Mr. Yates considered
it only as a temporary interruption, a disaster for the evening, and could even
suggest the possibility of the rehearsal being renewed after tea, when the
bustle of receiving Sir Thomas were over, and he might be at leisure to be
amused by it. The Crawfords laughed at the idea; and having soon agreed on the
propriety of their walking quietly home and leaving the family to themselves,
proposed Mr. Yates's accompanying them and spending the evening at the
Parsonage. But Mr. Yates, having never been with those who thought much of
parental claims, or family confidence, could not perceive that anything of the
kind was necessary; and therefore, thanking them, said, "he preferred remaining
where he was, that he might pay his respects to the old gentleman handsomely
since he was come; and besides, he did not think it would be fair by the
others to have everybody run away."

Fanny was just beginning to collect herself, and to feel that if she staid
longer behind it might seem disrespectful, when this point was settled, and
being commissioned with the brother and sister's apology, saw them preparing to
go as she quitted the room herself to perform the dreadful duty of appearing
before her uncle.

Too soon did she find herself at the drawing-room door; and after pausing a
moment for what she knew would not come, for a courage which the outside of no
door had ever supplied to her, she turned the lock in desperation, and the
lights of the drawing-room, and all the collected family, were before her.  As
she entered, her own name caught her ear.  Sir Thomas was at that moment
looking round him, and saying, "But where is Fanny?  Why do not I see my little
Fanny?" — and on perceiving her, came forward with a kindness which astonished
and penetrated her, calling her his dear Fanny, kissing her affectionately, and
observing with decided pleasure how much she was grown! Fanny knew not how to
feel, nor where to look.  She was quite oppressed.  He had never been so kind,
so very kind to her in his life.  His manner seemed changed, his voice was
quick from the agitation of joy; and all that had been awful in his dignity
seemed lost in tenderness. He led her nearer the light and looked at her
again— inquired particularly after her health, and then, correcting himself,
observed that he need not inquire, for her appearance spoke sufficiently on
that point.  A fine blush having succeeded the previous paleness of her face,
he was justified in his belief of her equal improvement in health and beauty. 
He inquired next after her family, especially William:  and his kindness
altogether was such as made her reproach herself for loving him so little, and
thinking his return a misfortune; and when, on having courage to lift her eyes
to his face, she saw that he was grown thinner, and had the burnt, fagged, worn
look of fatigue and a hot climate, every tender feeling was increased, and she
was miserable in considering how much unsuspected vexation was probably ready
to burst on him.

Sir Thomas was indeed the life of the party, who at his suggestion now seated
themselves round the fire. He had the best right to be the talker; and the
delight of his sensations in being again in his own house, in the centre of his
family, after such a separation, made him communicative and chatty in a very
unusual degree; and he was ready to give every information as to his voyage,
and answer every question of his two sons almost before it was put.  His
business in Antigua had latterly been prosperously rapid, and he came directly
from Liverpool, having had an opportunity of making his passage thither in a
private vessel, instead of waiting for the packet; and all the little
particulars of his proceedings and events, his arrivals and departures, were
most promptly delivered, as he sat by Lady Bertram and looked with heartfelt
satisfaction on the faces around him — interrupting himself more than once,
however, to remark on his good fortune in finding them all at home — coming
unexpectedly as he did— all collected together exactly as he could have
wished, but dared not depend on.  Mr. Rushworth was not forgotten: a most
friendly reception and warmth of hand-shaking had already met him, and with
pointed attention he was now included in the objects most intimately connected
with Mansfield.  There was nothing disagreeable in Mr. Rushworth's appearance,
and Sir Thomas was liking him already.

By not one of the circle was he listened to with such unbroken, unalloyed
enjoyment as by his wife, who was really extremely happy to see him, and whose
feelings were so warmed by his sudden arrival as to place her nearer agitation
than she had been for the last twenty years. She had been almost fluttered
for a few minutes, and still remained so sensibly animated as to put away her
work, move Pug from her side, and give all her attention and all the rest of
her sofa to her husband. She had no anxieties for anybody to cloud her
pleasure: her own time had been irreproachably spent during his absence: she
had done a great deal of carpet-work, and made many yards of fringe; and she
would have answered as freely for the good conduct and useful pursuits of all
the young people as for her own.  It was so agreeable to her to see him again,
and hear him talk, to have her ear amused and her whole comprehension filled by
his narratives, that she began particularly to feel how dreadfully she must
have missed him, and how impossible it would have been for her to bear a
lengthened absence.

Mrs. Norris was by no means to be compared in happiness to her sister.  Not
that she was incommoded by many fears of Sir Thomas's disapprobation when the
present state of his house should be known, for her judgment had been so
blinded that, except by the instinctive caution with which she had whisked away
Mr. Rushworth's pink satin cloak as her brother-in-law entered, she could
hardly be said to shew any sign of alarm; but she was vexed by the manner of
his return. It had left her nothing to do.  Instead of being sent for out of
the room, and seeing him first, and having to spread the happy news through the
house, Sir Thomas, with a very reasonable dependence, perhaps, on the nerves of
his wife and children, had sought no confidant but the butler, and had been
following him almost instantaneously into the drawing-room. Mrs. Norris felt
herself defrauded of an office on which she had always depended, whether his
arrival or his death were to be the thing unfolded; and was now trying to be in
a bustle without having anything to bustle about, and labouring to be important
where nothing was wanted but tranquillity and silence. Would Sir Thomas have
consented to eat, she might have gone to the housekeeper with troublesome
directions, and insulted the footmen with injunctions of despatch; but Sir
Thomas resolutely declined all dinner:  he would take nothing, nothing till tea
came — he would rather wait for tea. Still Mrs. Norris was at intervals urging
something different; and in the most interesting moment of his passage to
England, when the alarm of a French privateer was at the height, she burst
through his recital with the proposal of soup. "Sure, my dear Sir Thomas, a
basin of soup would be a much better thing for you than tea.  Do have a basin
of soup."

Sir Thomas could not be provoked.  "Still the same anxiety for everybody's
comfort, my dear Mrs. Norris," was his answer.  "But indeed I would rather have
nothing but tea."

"Well, then, Lady Bertram, suppose you speak for tea directly; suppose you
hurry Baddeley a little; he seems behindhand to-night." She carried this point,
and Sir Thomas's narrative proceeded.

At length there was a pause.  His immediate communications were exhausted, and
it seemed enough to be looking joyfully around him, now at one, now at another
of the beloved circle; but the pause was not long:  in the elation of her
spirits Lady Bertram became talkative, and what were the sensations of her
children upon hearing her say, "How do you think the young people have been
amusing themselves lately, Sir Thomas?  They have been acting. We have been all
alive with acting."

"Indeed! and what have you been acting?"

"Oh! they'll tell you all about it."

"The all will soon be told," cried Tom hastily, and with affected unconcern;
"but it is not worth while to bore my father with it now.  You will hear enough
of it to-morrow, sir.  We have just been trying, by way of doing something, and
amusing my mother, just within the last week, to get up a few scenes, a mere
trifle.  We have had such incessant rains almost since October began, that we
have been nearly confined to the house for days together.  I have hardly taken
out a gun since the 3rd.  Tolerable sport the first three days, but there has
been no attempting anything since. The first day I went over Mansfield Wood,
and Edmund took the copses beyond Easton, and we brought home six brace between
us, and might each have killed six times as many, but we respect your
pheasants, sir, I assure you, as much as you could desire.  I do not think you
will find your woods by any means worse stocked than they were. I never saw
Mansfield Wood so full of pheasants in my life as this year.  I hope you will
take a day's sport there yourself, sir, soon."

For the present the danger was over, and Fanny's sick feelings subsided; but
when tea was soon afterwards brought in, and Sir Thomas, getting up, said that
he found that he could not be any longer in the house without just looking into
his own dear room, every agitation was returning.  He was gone before anything
had been said to prepare him for the change he must find there; and a pause of
alarm followed his disappearance. Edmund was the first to speak—

"Something must be done," said he.

"It is time to think of our visitors," said Maria, still feeling her hand
pressed to Henry Crawford's heart, and caring little for anything else.  "Where
did you leave Miss Crawford, Fanny?"

Fanny told of their departure, and delivered their message.

"Then poor Yates is all alone," cried Tom.  "I will go and fetch him.  He will
be no bad assistant when it all comes out."

To the theatre he went, and reached it just in time to witness the first
meeting of his father and his friend. Sir Thomas had been a good deal surprised
to find candles burning in his room; and on casting his eye round it, to see
other symptoms of recent habitation and a general air of confusion in the
furniture.  The removal of the bookcase from before the billiard-room door
struck him especially, but he had scarcely more than time to feel astonished at
all this, before there were sounds from the billiard-room to astonish him still
farther. Some one was talking there in a very loud accent; he did not know the
voice — more than talking — almost hallooing. He stepped to the door, rejoicing
at that moment in having the means of immediate communication, and, opening it,
found himself on the stage of a theatre, and opposed to a ranting young man,
who appeared likely to knock him down backwards.  At the very moment of Yates
perceiving Sir Thomas, and giving perhaps the very best start he had ever given
in the whole course of his rehearsals, Tom Bertram entered at the other end of
the room; and never had he found greater difficulty in keeping his countenance.
 His father's looks of solemnity and amazement on this his first appearance on
any stage, and the gradual metamorphosis of the impassioned Baron Wildenheim
into the well-bred and easy Mr. Yates, making his bow and apology to Sir Thomas
Bertram, was such an exhibition, such a piece of true acting, as he would not
have lost upon any account.  It would be the last— in all probability — the
last scene on that stage; but he was sure there could not be a finer.  The
house would close with the greatest eclat.

There was little time, however, for the indulgence of any images of merriment. 
It was necessary for him to step forward, too, and assist the introduction, and
with many awkward sensations he did his best. Sir Thomas received Mr. Yates
with all the appearance of cordiality which was due to his own character, but
was really as far from pleased with the necessity of the acquaintance as with
the manner of its commencement. Mr. Yates's family and connexions were
sufficiently known to him to render his introduction as the "particular
friend," another of the hundred particular friends of his son, exceedingly
unwelcome; and it needed all the felicity of being again at home, and all the
forbearance it could supply, to save Sir Thomas from anger on finding himself
thus bewildered in his own house, making part of a ridiculous exhibition in the
midst of theatrical nonsense, and forced in so untoward a moment to admit the
acquaintance of a young man whom he felt sure of disapproving, and whose easy
indifference and volubility in the course of the first five minutes seemed to
mark him the most at home of the two.

Tom understood his father's thoughts, and heartily wishing he might be always
as well disposed to give them but partial expression, began to see, more
clearly than he had ever done before, that there might be some ground of
offence, that there might be some reason for the glance his father gave towards
the ceiling and stucco of the room; and that when he inquired with mild gravity
after the fate of the billiard-table, he was not proceeding beyond a very
allowable curiosity.  A few minutes were enough for such unsatisfactory
sensations on each side; and Sir Thomas having exerted himself so far as to
speak a few words of calm approbation in reply to an eager appeal of Mr. Yates,
as to the happiness of the arrangement, the three gentlemen returned to the
drawing-room together, Sir Thomas with an increase of gravity which was not
lost on all.

"I come from your theatre," said he composedly, as he sat down; "I found myself
in it rather unexpectedly. Its vicinity to my own room — but in every respect,
indeed, it took me by surprise, as I had not the smallest suspicion of your
acting having assumed so serious a character. It appears a neat job, however,
as far as I could judge by candlelight, and does my friend Christopher Jackson
credit." And then he would have changed the subject, and sipped his coffee in
peace over domestic matters of a calmer hue; but Mr. Yates, without discernment
to catch Sir Thomas's meaning, or diffidence, or delicacy, or discretion enough
to allow him to lead the discourse while he mingled among the others with the
least obtrusiveness himself, would keep him on the topic of the theatre, would
torment him with questions and remarks relative to it, and finally would make
him hear the whole history of his disappointment at Ecclesford. Sir Thomas
listened most politely, but found much to offend his ideas of decorum, and
confirm his ill-opinion of Mr. Yates's habits of thinking, from the beginning
to the end of the story; and when it was over, could give him no other
assurance of sympathy than what a slight bow conveyed.

"This was, in fact, the origin of our acting," said Tom, after a moment's
thought.  "My friend Yates brought the infection from Ecclesford, and it
spread — as those things always spread, you know, sir — the faster, probably,
from your having so often encouraged the sort of thing in us formerly.  It
was like treading old ground again."

Mr. Yates took the subject from his friend as soon as possible, and immediately
gave Sir Thomas an account of what they had done and were doing:  told him of
the gradual increase of their views, the happy conclusion of their first
difficulties, and present promising state of affairs; relating everything with
so blind an interest as made him not only totally unconscious of the uneasy
movements of many of his friends as they sat, the change of countenance, the
fidget, the hem! of unquietness, but prevented him even from seeing the
expression of the face on which his own eyes were fixed — from seeing Sir
Thomas's dark brow contract as he looked with inquiring earnestness at his
daughters and Edmund, dwelling particularly on the latter, and speaking a
language, a remonstrance, a reproof, which he felt at his heart.  Not less
acutely was it felt by Fanny, who had edged back her chair behind her aunt's
end of the sofa, and, screened from notice herself, saw all that was passing
before her.  Such a look of reproach at Edmund from his father she could never
have expected to witness; and to feel that it was in any degree deserved was an
aggravation indeed.  Sir Thomas's look implied, "On your judgment, Edmund, I
depended; what have you been about?"  She knelt in spirit to her uncle, and her
bosom swelled to utter, "Oh, not to him! Look so to all the others, but not
to him!"

Mr. Yates was still talking.  "To own the truth, Sir Thomas, we were in the
middle of a rehearsal when you arrived this evening.  We were going through the
three first acts, and not unsuccessfully upon the whole.  Our company is now so
dispersed, from the Crawfords being gone home, that nothing more can be done
to-night; but if you will give us the honour of your company to-morrow evening,
I should not be afraid of the result.  We bespeak your indulgence, you
understand, as young performers; we bespeak your indulgence."

"My indulgence shall be given, sir," replied Sir Thomas gravely, "but without
any other rehearsal." And with a relenting smile, he added, "I come home to be
happy and indulgent."  Then turning away towards any or all of the rest, he
tranquilly said, "Mr. and Miss Crawford were mentioned in my last letters from
Mansfield. Do you find them agreeable acquaintance?"

Tom was the only one at all ready with an answer, but he being entirely without
particular regard for either, without jealousy either in love or acting, could
speak very handsomely of both.  "Mr. Crawford was a most pleasant,
gentleman-like man; his sister a sweet, pretty, elegant, lively girl."

Mr. Rushworth could be silent no longer.  "I do not say he is not
gentleman-like, considering; but you should tell your father he is not above
five feet eight, or he will be expecting a well-looking man."

Sir Thomas did not quite understand this, and looked with some surprise at the

"If I must say what I think," continued Mr. Rushworth, "in my opinion it is
very disagreeable to be always rehearsing. It is having too much of a good
thing.  I am not so fond of acting as I was at first.  I think we are a great
deal better employed, sitting comfortably here among ourselves, and doing

Sir Thomas looked again, and then replied with an approving smile, "I am happy
to find our sentiments on this subject so much the same.  It gives me sincere
satisfaction. That I should be cautious and quick-sighted, and feel many
scruples which my children do not feel, is perfectly natural; and equally so
that my value for domestic tranquillity, for a home which shuts out noisy
pleasures, should much exceed theirs.  But at your time of life to feel all
this, is a most favourable circumstance for yourself, and for everybody
connected with you; and I am sensible of the importance of having an ally of
such weight."

Sir Thomas meant to be giving Mr. Rushworth's opinion in better words than he
could find himself.  He was aware that he must not expect a genius in Mr.
Rushworth; but as a well-judging, steady young man, with better notions than
his elocution would do justice to, he intended to value him very highly.  It
was impossible for many of the others not to smile.  Mr. Rushworth hardly knew
what to do with so much meaning; but by looking, as he really felt, most
exceedingly pleased with Sir Thomas's good opinion, and saying scarcely
anything, he did his best towards preserving that good opinion a little longer.


Edmund's first object the next morning was to see his father alone, and give
him a fair statement of the whole acting scheme, defending his own share in it
as far only as he could then, in a soberer moment, feel his motives to deserve,
and acknowledging, with perfect ingenuousness, that his concession had been
attended with such partial good as to make his judgment in it very doubtful. He
was anxious, while vindicating himself, to say nothing unkind of the others: 
but there was only one amongst them whose conduct he could mention without some
necessity of defence or palliation.  "We have all been more or less to blame,"
said he, "every one of us, excepting Fanny. Fanny is the only one who has
judged rightly throughout; who has been consistent.  Her feelings have been
steadily against it from first to last.  She never ceased to think of what was
due to you.  You will find Fanny everything you could wish."

Sir Thomas saw all the impropriety of such a scheme among such a party, and at
such a time, as strongly as his son had ever supposed he must; he felt it too
much, indeed, for many words; and having shaken hands with Edmund, meant to try
to lose the disagreeable impression, and forget how much he had been forgotten
himself as soon as he could, after the house had been cleared of every object
enforcing the remembrance, and restored to its proper state.  He did not enter
into any remonstrance with his other children:  he was more willing to believe
they felt their error than to run the risk of investigation. The reproof of an
immediate conclusion of everything, the sweep of every preparation, would be

There was one person, however, in the house, whom he could not leave to learn
his sentiments merely through his conduct. He could not help giving Mrs. Norris
a hint of his having hoped that her advice might have been interposed to
prevent what her judgment must certainly have disapproved.  The young people
had been very inconsiderate in forming the plan; they ought to have been
capable of a better decision themselves; but they were young; and, excepting
Edmund, he believed, of unsteady characters; and with greater surprise,
therefore, he must regard her acquiescence in their wrong measures, her
countenance of their unsafe amusements, than that such measures and such
amusements should have been suggested. Mrs. Norris was a little confounded and
as nearly being silenced as ever she had been in her life; for she was ashamed
to confess having never seen any of the impropriety which was so glaring to Sir
Thomas, and would not have admitted that her influence was insufficient— that
she might have talked in vain.  Her only resource was to get out of the subject
as fast as possible, and turn the current of Sir Thomas's ideas into a happier
channel. She had a great deal to insinuate in her own praise as to general
attention to the interest and comfort of his family, much exertion and many
sacrifices to glance at in the form of hurried walks and sudden removals from
her own fireside, and many excellent hints of distrust and economy to Lady
Bertram and Edmund to detail, whereby a most considerable saving had always
arisen, and more than one bad servant been detected.  But her chief strength
lay in Sotherton.  Her greatest support and glory was in having formed the
connexion with the Rushworths. There she was impregnable.  She took to
herself all the credit of bringing Mr. Rushworth's admiration of Maria to any
effect.  "If I had not been active," said she, "and made a point of being
introduced to his mother, and then prevailed on my sister to pay the first
visit, I am as certain as I sit here that nothing would have come of it; for
Mr. Rushworth is the sort of amiable modest young man who wants a great deal of
encouragement, and there were girls enough on the catch for him if we had been
idle.  But I left no stone unturned.  I was ready to move heaven and earth to
persuade my sister, and at last I did persuade her.  You know the distance to
Sotherton; it was in the middle of winter, and the roads almost impassable, but
I did persuade her."

"I know how great, how justly great, your influence is with Lady Bertram and
her children, and am the more concerned that it should not have been."

"My dear Sir Thomas, if you had seen the state of the roads that day!  I
thought we should never have got through them, though we had the four horses of
course; and poor old coachman would attend us, out of his great love and
kindness, though he was hardly able to sit the box on account of the rheumatism
which I had been doctoring him for ever since Michaelmas.  I cured him at last;
but he was very bad all the winter — and this was such a day, I could not help
going to him up in his room before we set off to advise him not to venture:  he
was putting on his wig; so I said, 'Coachman, you had much better not go; your
Lady and I shall be very safe; you know how steady Stephen is, and Charles has
been upon the leaders so often now, that I am sure there is no fear.'  But,
however, I soon found it would not do; he was bent upon going, and as I hate to
be worrying and officious, I said no more; but my heart quite ached for him at
every jolt, and when we got into the rough lanes about Stoke, where, what with
frost and snow upon beds of stones, it was worse than anything you can imagine,
I was quite in an agony about him. And then the poor horses too!  To see them
straining away! You know how I always feel for the horses.  And when we got to
the bottom of Sandcroft Hill, what do you think I did? You will laugh at me;
but I got out and walked up. I did indeed.  It might not be saving them much,
but it was something, and I could not bear to sit at my ease and be dragged up
at the expense of those noble animals. I caught a dreadful cold, but that I
did not regard. My object was accomplished in the visit."

"I hope we shall always think the acquaintance worth any trouble that might be
taken to establish it. There is nothing very striking in Mr. Rushworth's
manners, but I was pleased last night with what appeared to be his opinion on
one subject:  his decided preference of a quiet family party to the bustle and
confusion of acting. He seemed to feel exactly as one could wish."

"Yes, indeed, and the more you know of him the better you will like him.  He is
not a shining character, but he has a thousand good qualities; and is so
disposed to look up to you, that I am quite laughed at about it, for everybody
considers it as my doing.  'Upon my word, Mrs. Norris,' said Mrs. Grant the
other day, 'if Mr. Rushworth were a son of your own, he could not hold Sir
Thomas in greater respect.'"

Sir Thomas gave up the point, foiled by her evasions, disarmed by her flattery;
and was obliged to rest satisfied with the conviction that where the present
pleasure of those she loved was at stake, her kindness did sometimes overpower
her judgment.

It was a busy morning with him.  Conversation with any of them occupied but a
small part of it.  He had to reinstate himself in all the wonted concerns of
his Mansfield life:  to see his steward and his bailiff; to examine and
compute, and, in the intervals of business, to walk into his stables and his
gardens, and nearest plantations; but active and methodical, he had not only
done all this before he resumed his seat as master of the house at dinner, he
had also set the carpenter to work in pulling down what had been so lately put
up in the billiard-room, and given the scene-painter his dismissal long enough
to justify the pleasing belief of his being then at least as far off as
Northampton. The scene-painter was gone, having spoilt only the floor of one
room, ruined all the coachman's sponges, and made five of the under-servants
idle and dissatisfied; and Sir Thomas was in hopes that another day or two
would suffice to wipe away every outward memento of what had been, even to the
destruction of every unbound copy of Lovers' Vows in the house, for he was
burning all that met his eye

Mr. Yates was beginning now to understand Sir Thomas's intentions, though as
far as ever from understanding their source. He and his friend had been out
with their guns the chief of the morning, and Tom had taken the opportunity of
explaining, with proper apologies for his father's particularity, what was to
be expected.  Mr. Yates felt it as acutely as might be supposed.  To be a
second time disappointed in the same way was an instance of very severe
ill-luck; and his indignation was such, that had it not been for delicacy
towards his friend, and his friend's youngest sister, he believed he should
certainly attack the baronet on the absurdity of his proceedings, and argue him
into a little more rationality.  He believed this very stoutly while he was in
Mansfield Wood, and all the way home; but there was a something in Sir Thomas,
when they sat round the same table, which made Mr. Yates think it wiser to let
him pursue his own way, and feel the folly of it without opposition.  He had
known many disagreeable fathers before, and often been struck with the
inconveniences they occasioned, but never, in the whole course of his life, had
he seen one of that class so unintelligibly moral, so infamously tyrannical as
Sir Thomas.  He was not a man to be endured but for his children's sake, and he
might be thankful to his fair daughter Julia that Mr. Yates did yet mean to
stay a few days longer under his roof.

The evening passed with external smoothness, though almost every mind was
ruffled; and the music which Sir Thomas called for from his daughters helped to
conceal the want of real harmony.  Maria was in a good deal of agitation. It
was of the utmost consequence to her that Crawford should now lose no time in
declaring himself, and she was disturbed that even a day should be gone by
without seeming to advance that point.  She had been expecting to see him the
whole morning, and all the evening, too, was still expecting him.  Mr.
Rushworth had set off early with the great news for Sotherton; and she had
fondly hoped for such an immediate eclaircissement as might save him the
trouble of ever coming back again.  But they had seen no one from the
Parsonage, not a creature, and had heard no tidings beyond a friendly note of
congratulation and inquiry from Mrs. Grant to Lady Bertram.  It was the first
day for many, many weeks, in which the families had been wholly divided. 
Four-and-twenty hours had never passed before, since August began, without
bringing them together in some way or other.  It was a sad, anxious day; and
the morrow, though differing in the sort of evil, did by no means bring less. 
A few moments of feverish enjoyment were followed by hours of acute suffering.
Henry Crawford was again in the house:  he walked up with Dr. Grant, who was
anxious to pay his respects to Sir Thomas, and at rather an early hour they
were ushered into the breakfast-room, where were most of the family. Sir Thomas
soon appeared, and Maria saw with delight and agitation the introduction of the
man she loved to her father.  Her sensations were indefinable, and so were they
a few minutes afterwards upon hearing Henry Crawford, who had a chair between
herself and Tom, ask the latter in an undervoice whether there were any plans
for resuming the play after the present happy interruption (with a courteous
glance at Sir Thomas), because, in that case, he should make a point of
returning to Mansfield at any time required by the party:  he was going away
immediately, being to meet his uncle at Bath without delay; but if there were
any prospect of a renewal of Lovers' Vows, he should hold himself positively
engaged, he should break through every other claim, he should absolutely
condition with his uncle for attending them whenever he might be wanted. The
play should not be lost by his absence.

"From Bath, Norfolk, London, York, wherever I may be," said he; "I will attend
you from any place in England, at an hour's notice."

It was well at that moment that Tom had to speak, and not his sister.  He could
immediately say with easy fluency, "I am sorry you are going; but as to our
play, that is all over — entirely at an end" (looking significantly at his
father). "The painter was sent off yesterday, and very little will remain of
the theatre to-morrow. I knew how that would be from the first.  It is early
for Bath. You will find nobody there."

"It is about my uncle's usual time."

"When do you think of going?"

"I may, perhaps, get as far as Banbury to-day."

"Whose stables do you use at Bath?" was the next question; and while this
branch of the subject was under discussion, Maria, who wanted neither pride nor
resolution, was preparing to encounter her share of it with tolerable calmness.

To her he soon turned, repeating much of what he had already said, with only a
softened air and stronger expressions of regret.  But what availed his
expressions or his air?  He was going, and, if not voluntarily going,
voluntarily intending to stay away; for, excepting what might be due to his
uncle, his engagements were all self-imposed. He might talk of necessity, but
she knew his independence. The hand which had so pressed hers to his heart! the
hand and the heart were alike motionless and passive now! Her spirit supported
her, but the agony of her mind was severe. She had not long to endure what
arose from listening to language which his actions contradicted, or to bury the
tumult of her feelings under the restraint of society; for general civilities
soon called his notice from her, and the farewell visit, as it then became
openly acknowledged, was a very short one.  He was gone — he had touched her
hand for the last time, he had made his parting bow, and she might seek
directly all that solitude could do for her.  Henry Crawford was gone, gone
from the house, and within two hours afterwards from the parish; and so ended
all the hopes his selfish vanity had raised in Maria and Julia Bertram.

Julia could rejoice that he was gone.  His presence was beginning to be odious
to her; and if Maria gained him not, she was now cool enough to dispense with
any other revenge. She did not want exposure to be added to desertion. Henry
Crawford gone, she could even pity her sister.

With a purer spirit did Fanny rejoice in the intelligence. She heard it at
dinner, and felt it a blessing. By all the others it was mentioned with regret;
and his merits honoured with due gradation of feeling— from the sincerity of
Edmund's too partial regard, to the unconcern of his mother speaking entirely
by rote. Mrs. Norris began to look about her, and wonder that his falling in
love with Julia had come to nothing; and could almost fear that she had been
remiss herself in forwarding it; but with so many to care for, how was it
possible for even her activity to keep pace with her wishes?

Another day or two, and Mr. Yates was gone likewise. In his departure Sir
Thomas felt the chief interest: wanting to be alone with his family, the
presence of a stranger superior to Mr. Yates must have been irksome; but of
him, trifling and confident, idle and expensive, it was every way vexatious. 
In himself he was wearisome, but as the friend of Tom and the admirer of Julia
he became offensive.  Sir Thomas had been quite indifferent to Mr. Crawford's
going or staying:  but his good wishes for Mr. Yates's having a pleasant
journey, as he walked with him to the hall-door, were given with genuine
satisfaction.  Mr. Yates had staid to see the destruction of every theatrical
preparation at Mansfield, the removal of everything appertaining to the play:
he left the house in all the soberness of its general character; and Sir Thomas
hoped, in seeing him out of it, to be rid of the worst object connected with
the scheme, and the last that must be inevitably reminding him of its

Mrs. Norris contrived to remove one article from his sight that might have
distressed him.  The curtain, over which she had presided with such talent and
such success, went off with her to her cottage, where she happened to be
particularly in want of green baize.


Sir Thomas's return made a striking change in the ways of the family,
independent of Lovers' Vows.  Under his government, Mansfield was an altered
place.  Some members of their society sent away, and the spirits of many others
saddened— it was all sameness and gloom compared with the past— a sombre
family party rarely enlivened.  There was little intercourse with the
Parsonage.  Sir Thomas, drawing back from intimacies in general, was
particularly disinclined, at this time, for any engagements but in one quarter.
The Rushworths were the only addition to his own domestic circle which he could

Edmund did not wonder that such should be his father's feelings, nor could he
regret anything but the exclusion of the Grants. "But they," he observed to
Fanny, "have a claim.  They seem to belong to us; they seem to be part of
ourselves. I could wish my father were more sensible of their very great
attention to my mother and sisters while he was away. I am afraid they may feel
themselves neglected. But the truth is, that my father hardly knows them. They
had not been here a twelvemonth when he left England. If he knew them better,
he would value their society as it deserves; for they are in fact exactly the
sort of people he would like.  We are sometimes a little in want of animation
among ourselves:  my sisters seem out of spirits, and Tom is certainly not at
his ease. Dr. and Mrs. Grant would enliven us, and make our evenings pass away
with more enjoyment even to my father."

"Do you think so?" said Fanny:  "in my opinion, my uncle would not like any
addition.  I think he values the very quietness you speak of, and that the
repose of his own family circle is all he wants. And it does not appear to me
that we are more serious than we used to be — I mean before my uncle went
abroad. As well as I can recollect, it was always much the same. There was
never much laughing in his presence; or, if there is any difference, it is not
more, I think, than such an absence has a tendency to produce at first. There
must be a sort of shyness; but I cannot recollect that our evenings formerly
were ever merry, except when my uncle was in town.  No young people's are, I
suppose, when those they look up to are at home".

"I believe you are right, Fanny," was his reply, after a short consideration. 
"I believe our evenings are rather returned to what they were, than assuming a
new character. The novelty was in their being lively.  Yet, how strong the
impression that only a few weeks will give! I have been feeling as if we had
never lived so before."

"I suppose I am graver than other people," said Fanny. "The evenings do not
appear long to me.  I love to hear my uncle talk of the West Indies.  I could
listen to him for an hour together.  It entertains me more than many other
things have done; but then I am unlike other people, I dare say."

"Why should you dare say that?" (smiling). "Do you want to be told that you
are only unlike other people in being more wise and discreet?  But when did
you, or anybody, ever get a compliment from me, Fanny? Go to my father if you
want to be complimented. He will satisfy you.  Ask your uncle what he thinks,
and you will hear compliments enough:  and though they may be chiefly on your
person, you must put up with it, and trust to his seeing as much beauty of mind
in time."

Such language was so new to Fanny that it quite embarrassed her.

"Your uncle thinks you very pretty, dear Fanny— and that is the long and the
short of the matter. Anybody but myself would have made something more of it,
and anybody but you would resent that you had not been thought very pretty
before; but the truth is, that your uncle never did admire you till now — and
now he does. Your complexion is so improved! — and you have gained so much
countenance! — and your figure — nay, Fanny, do not turn away about it — it is but
an uncle.  If you cannot bear an uncle's admiration, what is to become of you?
You must really begin to harden yourself to the idea of being worth looking at.
 You must try not to mind growing up into a pretty woman."

"Oh! don't talk so, don't talk so," cried Fanny, distressed by more feelings
than he was aware of; but seeing that she was distressed, he had done with the
subject, and only added more seriously—

"Your uncle is disposed to be pleased with you in every respect; and I only
wish you would talk to him more. You are one of those who are too silent in the
evening circle."

"But I do talk to him more than I used.  I am sure I do. Did not you hear me
ask him about the slave-trade last night?"

"I did — and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others.  It would
have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther."

"And I longed to do it — but there was such a dead silence! And while my cousins
were sitting by without speaking a word, or seeming at all interested in the
subject, I did not like— I thought it would appear as if I wanted to set
myself off at their expense, by shewing a curiosity and pleasure in his
information which he must wish his own daughters to feel."

"Miss Crawford was very right in what she said of you the other day:  that you
seemed almost as fearful of notice and praise as other women were of neglect. 
We were talking of you at the Parsonage, and those were her words. She has
great discernment.  I know nobody who distinguishes characters better.  For so
young a woman it is remarkable! She certainly understands you better than you
are understood by the greater part of those who have known you so long; and
with regard to some others, I can perceive, from occasional lively hints, the
unguarded expressions of the moment, that she could define many as
accurately, did not delicacy forbid it.  I wonder what she thinks of my father!
 She must admire him as a fine-looking man, with most gentlemanlike, dignified,
consistent manners; but perhaps, having seen him so seldom, his reserve may be
a little repulsive.  Could they be much together, I feel sure of their liking
each other.  He would enjoy her liveliness and she has talents to value his
powers. I wish they met more frequently!  I hope she does not suppose there is
any dislike on his side."

"She must know herself too secure of the regard of all the rest of you," said
Fanny, with half a sigh, "to have any such apprehension.  And Sir Thomas's
wishing just at first to be only with his family, is so very natural, that she
can argue nothing from that.  After a little while, I dare say, we shall be
meeting again in the same sort of way, allowing for the difference of the time
of year."

"This is the first October that she has passed in the country since her
infancy.  I do not call Tunbridge or Cheltenham the country; and November is a
still more serious month, and I can see that Mrs. Grant is very anxious for her
not finding Mansfield dull as winter comes on."

Fanny could have said a great deal, but it was safer to say nothing, and leave
untouched all Miss Crawford's resources— her accomplishments, her spirits, her
importance, her friends, lest it should betray her into any observations
seemingly unhandsome.  Miss Crawford's kind opinion of herself deserved at
least a grateful forbearance, and she began to talk of something else.

"To-morrow, I think, my uncle dines at Sotherton, and you and Mr. Bertram too. 
We shall be quite a small party at home. I hope my uncle may continue to like
Mr. Rushworth."

"That is impossible, Fanny.  He must like him less after to-morrow's visit, for
we shall be five hours in his company.  I should dread the stupidity of the
day, if there were not a much greater evil to follow— the impression it must
leave on Sir Thomas.  He cannot much longer deceive himself.  I am sorry for
them all, and would give something that Rushworth and Maria had never met."

In this quarter, indeed, disappointment was impending over Sir Thomas.  Not all
his good-will for Mr. Rushworth, not all Mr. Rushworth's deference for him,
could prevent him from soon discerning some part of the truth— that Mr.
Rushworth was an inferior young man, as ignorant in business as in books, with
opinions in general unfixed, and without seeming much aware of it himself.

He had expected a very different son-in-law; and beginning to feel grave on
Maria's account, tried to understand her feelings.  Little observation there
was necessary to tell him that indifference was the most favourable state they
could be in.  Her behaviour to Mr. Rushworth was careless and cold.  She could
not, did not like him. Sir Thomas resolved to speak seriously to her.
Advantageous as would be the alliance, and long standing and public as was the
engagement, her happiness must not be sacrificed to it.  Mr. Rushworth had,
perhaps, been accepted on too short an acquaintance, and, on knowing him
better, she was repenting.

With solemn kindness Sir Thomas addressed her:  told her his fears, inquired
into her wishes, entreated her to be open and sincere, and assured her that
every inconvenience should be braved, and the connexion entirely given up, if
she felt herself unhappy in the prospect of it. He would act for her and
release her.  Maria had a moment's struggle as she listened, and only a
moment's: when her father ceased, she was able to give her answer immediately,
decidedly, and with no apparent agitation.  She thanked him for his great
attention, his paternal kindness, but he was quite mistaken in supposing she
had the smallest desire of breaking through her engagement, or was sensible of
any change of opinion or inclination since her forming it. She had the highest
esteem for Mr. Rushworth's character and disposition, and could not have a
doubt of her happiness with him.

Sir Thomas was satisfied; too glad to be satisfied, perhaps, to urge the matter
quite so far as his judgment might have dictated to others.  It was an alliance
which he could not have relinquished without pain; and thus he reasoned.  Mr.
Rushworth was young enough to improve. Mr. Rushworth must and would improve in
good society; and if Maria could now speak so securely of her happiness with
him, speaking certainly without the prejudice, the blindness of love, she ought
to be believed. Her feelings, probably, were not acute; he had never supposed
them to be so; but her comforts might not be less on that account; and if she
could dispense with seeing her husband a leading, shining character, there
would certainly be everything else in her favour. A well-disposed young woman,
who did not marry for love, was in general but the more attached to her own
family; and the nearness of Sotherton to Mansfield must naturally hold out the
greatest temptation, and would, in all probability, be a continual supply of
the most amiable and innocent enjoyments. Such and such-like were the
reasonings of Sir Thomas, happy to escape the embarrassing evils of a rupture,
the wonder, the reflections, the reproach that must attend it; happy to secure
a marriage which would bring him such an addition of respectability and
influence, and very happy to think anything of his daughter's disposition that
was most favourable for the purpose.

To her the conference closed as satisfactorily as to him. She was in a state of
mind to be glad that she had secured her fate beyond recall:  that she had
pledged herself anew to Sotherton; that she was safe from the possibility of
giving Crawford the triumph of governing her actions, and destroying her
prospects; and retired in proud resolve, determined only to behave more
cautiously to Mr. Rushworth in future, that her father might not be again
suspecting her.

Had Sir Thomas applied to his daughter within the first three or four days
after Henry Crawford's leaving Mansfield, before her feelings were at all
tranquillised, before she had given up every hope of him, or absolutely
resolved on enduring his rival, her answer might have been different; but after
another three or four days, when there was no return, no letter, no message, no
symptom of a softened heart, no hope of advantage from separation, her mind
became cool enough to seek all the comfort that pride and self revenge could

Henry Crawford had destroyed her happiness, but he should not know that he had
done it; he should not destroy her credit, her appearance, her prosperity, too.
He should not have to think of her as pining in the retirement of Mansfield for
him, rejecting Sotherton and London, independence and splendour, for his
sake. Independence was more needful than ever; the want of it at Mansfield more
sensibly felt.  She was less and less able to endure the restraint which her
father imposed. The liberty which his absence had given was now become
absolutely necessary.  She must escape from him and Mansfield as soon as
possible, and find consolation in fortune and consequence, bustle and the
world, for a wounded spirit. Her mind was quite determined, and varied not.

To such feelings delay, even the delay of much preparation, would have been an
evil, and Mr. Rushworth could hardly be more impatient for the marriage than
herself. In all the important preparations of the mind she was complete:  being
prepared for matrimony by an hatred of home, restraint, and tranquillity; by
the misery of disappointed affection, and contempt of the man she was to marry.
 The rest might wait.  The preparations of new carriages and furniture might
wait for London and spring, when her own taste could have fairer play.

The principals being all agreed in this respect, it soon appeared that a very
few weeks would be sufficient for such arrangements as must precede the

Mrs. Rushworth was quite ready to retire, and make way for the fortunate young
woman whom her dear son had selected; and very early in November removed
herself, her maid, her footman, and her chariot, with true dowager propriety,
to Bath, there to parade over the wonders of Sotherton in her evening parties;
enjoying them as thoroughly, perhaps, in the animation of a card-table, as she
had ever done on the spot; and before the middle of the same month the ceremony
had taken place which gave Sotherton another mistress.

It was a very proper wedding.  The bride was elegantly dressed; the two
bridesmaids were duly inferior; her father gave her away; her mother stood with
salts in her hand, expecting to be agitated; her aunt tried to cry; and the
service was impressively read by Dr. Grant. Nothing could be objected to when
it came under the discussion of the neighbourhood, except that the carriage
which conveyed the bride and bridegroom and Julia from the church-door to
Sotherton was the same chaise which Mr. Rushworth had used for a twelvemonth
before. In everything else the etiquette of the day might stand the strictest

It was done, and they were gone.  Sir Thomas felt as an anxious father must
feel, and was indeed experiencing much of the agitation which his wife had been
apprehensive of for herself, but had fortunately escaped.  Mrs. Norris, most
happy to assist in the duties of the day, by spending it at the Park to support
her sister's spirits, and drinking the health of Mr. and Mrs. Rushworth in a
supernumerary glass or two, was all joyous delight; for she had made the match;
she had done everything; and no one would have supposed, from her confident
triumph, that she had ever heard of conjugal infelicity in her life, or could
have the smallest insight into the disposition of the niece who had been
brought up under her eye.

The plan of the young couple was to proceed, after a few days, to Brighton, and
take a house there for some weeks.  Every public place was new to Maria, and
Brighton is almost as gay in winter as in summer. When the novelty of amusement
there was over, it would be time for the wider range of London.

Julia was to go with them to Brighton.  Since rivalry between the sisters had
ceased, they had been gradually recovering much of their former good
understanding; and were at least sufficiently friends to make each of them
exceedingly glad to be with the other at such a time. Some other companion than
Mr. Rushworth was of the first consequence to his lady; and Julia was quite as
eager for novelty and pleasure as Maria, though she might not have struggled
through so much to obtain them, and could better bear a subordinate situation.

Their departure made another material change at Mansfield, a chasm which
required some time to fill up.  The family circle became greatly contracted;
and though the Miss Bertrams had latterly added little to its gaiety, they
could not but be missed.  Even their mother missed them; and how much more
their tenderhearted cousin, who wandered about the house, and thought of them,
and felt for them, with a degree of affectionate regret which they had never
done much to deserve!


Fanny's consequence increased on the departure of her cousins.  Becoming, as
she then did, the only young woman in the drawing-room, the only occupier of
that interesting division of a family in which she had hitherto held so humble
a third, it was impossible for her not to be more looked at, more thought of
and attended to, than she had ever been before; and "Where is Fanny?" became no
uncommon question, even without her being wanted for any one's convenience.

Not only at home did her value increase, but at the Parsonage too.  In that
house, which she had hardly entered twice a year since Mr. Norris's death, she
became a welcome, an invited guest, and in the gloom and dirt of a November
day, most acceptable to Mary Crawford. Her visits there, beginning by chance,
were continued by solicitation.  Mrs. Grant, really eager to get any change for
her sister, could, by the easiest self-deceit, persuade herself that she was
doing the kindest thing by Fanny, and giving her the most important
opportunities of improvement in pressing her frequent calls.

Fanny, having been sent into the village on some errand by her aunt Norris, was
overtaken by a heavy shower close to the Parsonage; and being descried from one
of the windows endeavouring to find shelter under the branches and lingering
leaves of an oak just beyond their premises, was forced, though not without
some modest reluctance on her part, to come in.  A civil servant she had
withstood; but when Dr. Grant himself went out with an umbrella, there was
nothing to be done but to be very much ashamed, and to get into the house as
fast as possible; and to poor Miss Crawford, who had just been contemplating
the dismal rain in a very desponding state of mind, sighing over the ruin of
all her plan of exercise for that morning, and of every chance of seeing a
single creature beyond themselves for the next twenty-four hours, the sound of
a little bustle at the front door, and the sight of Miss Price dripping with
wet in the vestibule, was delightful. The value of an event on a wet day in the
country was most forcibly brought before her.  She was all alive again
directly, and among the most active in being useful to Fanny, in detecting her
to be wetter than she would at first allow, and providing her with dry clothes;
and Fanny, after being obliged to submit to all this attention, and to being
assisted and waited on by mistresses and maids, being also obliged, on
returning downstairs, to be fixed in their drawing-room for an hour while the
rain continued, the blessing of something fresh to see and think of was thus
extended to Miss Crawford, and might carry on her spirits to the period of
dressing and dinner.

The two sisters were so kind to her, and so pleasant, that Fanny might have
enjoyed her visit could she have believed herself not in the way, and could she
have foreseen that the weather would certainly clear at the end of the hour,
and save her from the shame of having Dr. Grant's carriage and horses out to
take her home, with which she was threatened.  As to anxiety for any alarm that
her absence in such weather might occasion at home, she had nothing to suffer
on that score; for as her being out was known only to her two aunts, she was
perfectly aware that none would be felt, and that in whatever cottage aunt
Norris might chuse to establish her during the rain, her being in such cottage
would be indubitable to aunt Bertram.

It was beginning to look brighter, when Fanny, observing a harp in the room,
asked some questions about it, which soon led to an acknowledgment of her
wishing very much to hear it, and a confession, which could hardly be believed,
of her having never yet heard it since its being in Mansfield.  To Fanny
herself it appeared a very simple and natural circumstance.  She had scarcely
ever been at the Parsonage since the instrument's arrival, there had been no
reason that she should; but Miss Crawford, calling to mind an early expressed
wish on the subject, was concerned at her own neglect; and "Shall I play to you
now?" and "What will you have?" were questions immediately following with the
readiest good-humour.

She played accordingly; happy to have a new listener, and a listener who seemed
so much obliged, so full of wonder at the performance, and who shewed herself
not wanting in taste.  She played till Fanny's eyes, straying to the window on
the weather's being evidently fair, spoke what she felt must be done.

"Another quarter of an hour," said Miss Crawford, "and we shall see how it will
be.  Do not run away the first moment of its holding up.  Those clouds look

"But they are passed over," said Fanny.  "I have been watching them.  This
weather is all from the south."

"South or north, I know a black cloud when I see it; and you must not set
forward while it is so threatening. And besides, I want to play something more
to you — a very pretty piece — and your cousin Edmund's prime favourite. You must
stay and hear your cousin's favourite."

Fanny felt that she must; and though she had not waited for that sentence to be
thinking of Edmund, such a memento made her particularly awake to his idea, and
she fancied him sitting in that room again and again, perhaps in the very spot
where she sat now, listening with constant delight to the favourite air,
played, as it appeared to her, with superior tone and expression; and though
pleased with it herself, and glad to like whatever was liked by him, she was
more sincerely impatient to go away at the conclusion of it than she had been
before; and on this being evident, she was so kindly asked to call again, to
take them in her walk whenever she could, to come and hear more of the harp,
that she felt it necessary to be done, if no objection arose at home.

Such was the origin of the sort of intimacy which took place between them
within the first fortnight after the Miss Bertrams' going away — an intimacy
resulting principally from Miss Crawford's desire of something new, and which
had little reality in Fanny's feelings. Fanny went to her every two or three
days:  it seemed a kind of fascination:  she could not be easy without going,
and yet it was without loving her, without ever thinking like her, without any
sense of obligation for being sought after now when nobody else was to be had;
and deriving no higher pleasure from her conversation than occasional
amusement, and that often at the expense of her judgment, when it was raised
by pleasantry on people or subjects which she wished to be respected. She went,
however, and they sauntered about together many an half-hour in Mrs. Grant's
shrubbery, the weather being unusually mild for the time of year, and venturing
sometimes even to sit down on one of the benches now comparatively unsheltered,
remaining there perhaps till, in the midst of some tender ejaculation of
Fanny's on the sweets of so protracted an autumn, they were forced, by the
sudden swell of a cold gust shaking down the last few yellow leaves about them,
to jump up and walk for warmth.

"This is pretty, very pretty," said Fanny, looking around her as they were thus
sitting together one day; "every time I come into this shrubbery I am more
struck with its growth and beauty.  Three years ago, this was nothing but a
rough hedgerow along the upper side of the field, never thought of as anything,
or capable of becoming anything; and now it is converted into a walk, and it
would be difficult to say whether most valuable as a convenience or an
ornament; and perhaps, in another three years, we may be forgetting — almost
forgetting what it was before. How wonderful, how very wonderful the operations
of time, and the changes of the human mind!"  And following the latter train of
thought, she soon afterwards added: "If any one faculty of our nature may be
called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems
something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the
inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is
sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered
and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be
sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do
seem peculiarly past finding out."

Miss Crawford, untouched and inattentive, had nothing to say; and Fanny,
perceiving it, brought back her own mind to what she thought must interest.

"It may seem impertinent in me to praise, but I must admire the taste Mrs.
Grant has shewn in all this. There is such a quiet simplicity in the plan of
the walk! Not too much attempted!"

"Yes," replied Miss Crawford carelessly, "it does very well for a place of this
sort.  One does not think of extent here; and between ourselves, till I came
to Mansfield, I had not imagined a country parson ever aspired to a shrubbery,
or anything of the kind."

"I am so glad to see the evergreens thrive!" said Fanny, in reply.  "My uncle's
gardener always says the soil here is better than his own, and so it appears
from the growth of the laurels and evergreens in general.  The evergreen! How
beautiful, how welcome, how wonderful the evergreen! When one thinks of it, how
astonishing a variety of nature! In some countries we know the tree that sheds
its leaf is the variety, but that does not make it less amazing that the same
soil and the same sun should nurture plants differing in the first rule and law
of their existence. You will think me rhapsodising; but when I am out of doors,
especially when I am sitting out of doors, I am very apt to get into this sort
of wondering strain.  One cannot fix one's eyes on the commonest natural
production without finding food for a rambling fancy."

"To say the truth," replied Miss Crawford, "I am something like the famous Doge
at the court of Lewis XIV.; and may declare that I see no wonder in this
shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it.  If anybody had told me a year ago that
this place would be my home, that I should be spending month after month here,
as I have done, I certainly should not have believed them. I have now been here
nearly five months; and, moreover, the quietest five months I ever passed."

"Too quiet for you, I believe."

"I should have thought so theoretically myself, but," and her eyes brightened
as she spoke, "take it all and all, I never spent so happy a summer.  But
then," with a more thoughtful air and lowered voice, "there is no saying what
it may lead to."

Fanny's heart beat quick, and she felt quite unequal to surmising or soliciting
anything more.  Miss Crawford, however, with renewed animation, soon went on—

"I am conscious of being far better reconciled to a country residence than I
had ever expected to be.  I can even suppose it pleasant to spend half the
year in the country, under certain circumstances, very pleasant.  An elegant,
moderate-sized house in the centre of family connexions; continual engagements
among them; commanding the first society in the neighbourhood; looked up to,
perhaps, as leading it even more than those of larger fortune, and turning from
the cheerful round of such amusements to nothing worse than a tete-a-tete
with the person one feels most agreeable in the world.  There is nothing
frightful in such a picture, is there, Miss Price?  One need not envy the new
Mrs. Rushworth with such a home as that." "Envy Mrs. Rushworth!" was all that
Fanny attempted to say. "Come, come, it would be very un-handsome in us to be
severe on Mrs. Rushworth, for I look forward to our owing her a great many gay,
brilliant, happy hours.  I expect we shall be all very much at Sotherton
another year. Such a match as Miss Bertram has made is a public blessing; for
the first pleasures of Mr. Rushworth's wife must be to fill her house, and give
the best balls in the country."

Fanny was silent, and Miss Crawford relapsed into thoughtfulness, till suddenly
looking up at the end of a few minutes, she exclaimed, "Ah! here he is." It was
not Mr. Rushworth, however, but Edmund, who then appeared walking towards them
with Mrs. Grant. "My sister and Mr. Bertram.  I am so glad your eldest cousin
is gone, that he may be Mr. Bertram again.  There is something in the sound of
Mr. Edmund Bertram so formal, so pitiful, so younger-brother-like, that I
detest it."

"How differently we feel!" cried Fanny.  "To me, the sound of Mr. Bertram is
so cold and nothing-meaning, so entirely without warmth or character!  It just
stands for a gentleman, and that's all.  But there is nobleness in the name of
Edmund.  It is a name of heroism and renown; of kings, princes, and knights;
and seems to breathe the spirit of chivalry and warm affections."

"I grant you the name is good in itself, and Lord Edmund or Sir Edmund
sound delightfully; but sink it under the chill, the annihilation of a Mr., and
Mr. Edmund is no more than Mr. John or Mr. Thomas.  Well, shall we join and
disappoint them of half their lecture upon sitting down out of doors at this
time of year, by being up before they can begin?"

Edmund met them with particular pleasure.  It was the first time of his seeing
them together since the beginning of that better acquaintance which he had been
hearing of with great satisfaction.  A friendship between two so very dear to
him was exactly what he could have wished: and to the credit of the lover's
understanding, be it stated, that he did not by any means consider Fanny as the
only, or even as the greater gainer by such a friendship.

"Well," said Miss Crawford, "and do you not scold us for our imprudence?  What
do you think we have been sitting down for but to be talked to about it, and
entreated and supplicated never to do so again?"

"Perhaps I might have scolded," said Edmund, "if either of you had been sitting
down alone; but while you do wrong together, I can overlook a great deal."

"They cannot have been sitting long," cried Mrs. Grant, "for when I went up for
my shawl I saw them from the staircase window, and then they were walking."

"And really," added Edmund, "the day is so mild, that your sitting down for a
few minutes can be hardly thought imprudent.  Our weather must not always be
judged by the calendar.  We may sometimes take greater liberties in November
than in May."

"Upon my word," cried Miss Crawford, "you are two of the most disappointing and
unfeeling kind friends I ever met with! There is no giving you a moment's
uneasiness.  You do not know how much we have been suffering, nor what chills
we have felt!  But I have long thought Mr. Bertram one of the worst subjects to
work on, in any little manoeuvre against common sense, that a woman could be
plagued with. I had very little hope of him from the first; but you, Mrs.
Grant, my sister, my own sister, I think I had a right to alarm you a little."

"Do not flatter yourself, my dearest Mary.  You have not the smallest chance of
moving me.  I have my alarms, but they are quite in a different quarter; and if
I could have altered the weather, you would have had a good sharp east wind
blowing on you the whole time — for here are some of my plants which Robert
will leave out because the nights are so mild, and I know the end of it will
be, that we shall have a sudden change of weather, a hard frost setting in all
at once, taking everybody (at least Robert) by surprise, and I shall lose every
one; and what is worse, cook has just been telling me that the turkey, which I
particularly wished not to be dressed till Sunday, because I know how much more
Dr. Grant would enjoy it on Sunday after the fatigues of the day, will not keep
beyond to-morrow. These are something like grievances, and make me think the
weather most unseasonably close."

"The sweets of housekeeping in a country village!" said Miss Crawford archly. 
"Commend me to the nurseryman and the poulterer."

"My dear child, commend Dr. Grant to the deanery of Westminster or St. Paul's,
and I should be as glad of your nurseryman and poulterer as you could be.  But
we have no such people in Mansfield.  What would you have me do?"

"Oh! you can do nothing but what you do already: be plagued very often, and
never lose your temper."

"Thank you; but there is no escaping these little vexations, Mary, live where
we may; and when you are settled in town and I come to see you, I dare say I
shall find you with yours, in spite of the nurseryman and the poulterer,
perhaps on their very account.  Their remoteness and unpunctuality, or their
exorbitant charges and frauds, will be drawing forth bitter lamentations."

"I mean to be too rich to lament or to feel anything of the sort.  A large
income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.  It certainly may
secure all the myrtle and turkey part of it."

"You intend to be very rich?" said Edmund, with a look which, to Fanny's eye,
had a great deal of serious meaning.

"To be sure.  Do not you?  Do not we all?"

"I cannot intend anything which it must be so completely beyond my power to
command.  Miss Crawford may chuse her degree of wealth.  She has only to fix on
her number of thousands a year, and there can be no doubt of their coming. My
intentions are only not to be poor."

"By moderation and economy, and bringing down your wants to your income, and
all that.  I understand you — and a very proper plan it is for a person at your
time of life, with such limited means and indifferent connexions. What can
you want but a decent maintenance?  You have not much time before you; and
your relations are in no situation to do anything for you, or to mortify you by
the contrast of their own wealth and consequence. Be honest and poor, by all
means — but I shall not envy you; I do not much think I shall even respect you.
I have a much greater respect for those that are honest and rich."

"Your degree of respect for honesty, rich or poor, is precisely what I have no
manner of concern with. I do not mean to be poor.  Poverty is exactly what I
have determined against.  Honesty, in the something between, in the middle
state of worldly circumstances, is all that I am anxious for your not looking
down on."

"But I do look down upon it, if it might have been higher. I must look down
upon anything contented with obscurity when it might rise to distinction."

"But how may it rise?  How may my honesty at least rise to any distinction?"

This was not so very easy a question to answer, and occasioned an "Oh!" of some
length from the fair lady before she could add, "You ought to be in parliament,
or you should have gone into the army ten years ago."

"That is not much to the purpose now; and as to my being in parliament, I
believe I must wait till there is an especial assembly for the representation
of younger sons who have little to live on.  No, Miss Crawford," he added, in a
more serious tone, "there are distinctions which I should be miserable if I
thought myself without any chance— absolutely without chance or possibility of
obtaining— but they are of a different character."

A look of consciousness as he spoke, and what seemed a consciousness of manner
on Miss Crawford's side as she made some laughing answer, was sorrowfull food
for Fanny's observation; and finding herself quite unable to attend as she
ought to Mrs. Grant, by whose side she was now following the others, she had
nearly resolved on going home immediately, and only waited for courage to say
so, when the sound of the great clock at Mansfield Park, striking three, made
her feel that she had really been much longer absent than usual, and brought
the previous self-inquiry of whether she should take leave or not just then,
and how, to a very speedy issue. With undoubting decision she directly began
her adieus; and Edmund began at the same time to recollect that his mother had
been inquiring for her, and that he had walked down to the Parsonage on purpose
to bring her back.

Fanny's hurry increased; and without in the least expecting Edmund's
attendance, she would have hastened away alone; but the general pace was
quickened, and they all accompanied her into the house, through which it was
necessary to pass. Dr. Grant was in the vestibule, and as they stopt to speak
to him she found, from Edmund's manner, that he did mean to go with her.  He
too was taking leave. She could not but be thankful.  In the moment of parting,
Edmund was invited by Dr. Grant to eat his mutton with him the next day; and
Fanny had barely time for an unpleasant feeling on the occasion, when Mrs.
Grant, with sudden recollection, turned to her and asked for the pleasure of
her company too.  This was so new an attention, so perfectly new a circumstance
in the events of Fanny's life, that she was all surprise and embarrassment; and
while stammering out her great obligation, and her "but she did not suppose it
would be in her power," was looking at Edmund for his opinion and help.  But
Edmund, delighted with her having such an happiness offered, and ascertaining
with half a look, and half a sentence, that she had no objection but on her
aunt's account, could not imagine that his mother would make any difficulty of
sparing her, and therefore gave his decided open advice that the invitation
should be accepted; and though Fanny would not venture, even on his
encouragement, to such a flight of audacious independence, it was soon settled,
that if nothing were heard to the contrary, Mrs. Grant might expect her.

"And you know what your dinner will be," said Mrs. Grant, smiling — "the turkey,
and I assure you a very fine one; for, my dear," turning to her husband, "cook
insists upon the turkey's being dressed to-morrow."

"Very well, very well," cried Dr. Grant, "all the better; I am glad to hear you
have anything so good in the house. But Miss Price and Mr. Edmund Bertram, I
dare say, would take their chance.  We none of us want to hear the bill of
fare. A friendly meeting, and not a fine dinner, is all we have in view.  A
turkey, or a goose, or a leg of mutton, or whatever you and your cook chuse to
give us."

The two cousins walked home together; and, except in the immediate discussion
of this engagement, which Edmund spoke of with the warmest satisfaction, as so
particularly desirable for her in the intimacy which he saw with so much
pleasure established, it was a silent walk; for having finished that subject,
he grew thoughtful and indisposed for any other.


"But why should Mrs. Grant ask Fanny?" said Lady Bertram. "How came she to
think of asking Fanny?  Fanny never dines there, you know, in this sort of way.
 I cannot spare her, and I am sure she does not want to go. Fanny, you do not
want to go, do you?"

"If you put such a question to her," cried Edmund, preventing his cousin's
speaking, "Fanny will immediately say No; but I am sure, my dear mother, she
would like to go; and I can see no reason why she should not."

"I cannot imagine why Mrs. Grant should think of asking her? She never did
before.  She used to ask your sisters now and then, but she never asked Fanny."

"If you cannot do without me, ma'am — " said Fanny, in a self-denying tone.

"But my mother will have my father with her all the evening."

"To be sure, so I shall."

"Suppose you take my father's opinion, ma'am."

"That's well thought of.  So I will, Edmund.  I will ask Sir Thomas, as soon as
he comes in, whether I can do without her."

"As you please, ma'am, on that head; but I meant my father's opinion as to the
propriety of the invitation's being accepted or not; and I think he will
consider it a right thing by Mrs. Grant, as well as by Fanny, that being the
first invitation it should be accepted."

"I do not know.  We will ask him.  But he will be very much surprised that Mrs.
Grant should ask Fanny at all."

There was nothing more to be said, or that could be said to any purpose, till
Sir Thomas were present; but the subject involving, as it did, her own
evening's comfort for the morrow, was so much uppermost in Lady Bertram's mind,
that half an hour afterwards, on his looking in for a minute in his way from
his plantation to his dressing-room, she called him back again, when he had
almost closed the door, with "Sir Thomas, stop a moment — I have something to
say to you."

Her tone of calm languor, for she never took the trouble of raising her voice,
was always heard and attended to; and Sir Thomas came back.  Her story began;
and Fanny immediately slipped out of the room; for to hear herself the subject
of any discussion with her uncle was more than her nerves could bear.  She was
anxious, she knew— more anxious perhaps than she ought to be — for what was it
after all whether she went or staid? but if her uncle were to be a great while
considering and deciding, and with very grave looks, and those grave looks
directed to her, and at last decide against her, she might not be able to
appear properly submissive and indifferent. Her cause, meanwhile, went on well.
 It began, on Lady Bertram's part, with — "I have something to tell you that
will surprise you.  Mrs. Grant has asked Fanny to dinner."

"Well," said Sir Thomas, as if waiting more to accomplish the surprise.

"Edmund wants her to go.  But how can I spare her?"

"She will be late," said Sir Thomas, taking out his watch; "but what is your

Edmund found himself obliged to speak and fill up the blanks in his mother's
story.  He told the whole; and she had only to add, "So strange! for Mrs. Grant
never used to ask her."

"But is it not very natural," observed Edmund, "that Mrs. Grant should wish to
procure so agreeable a visitor for her sister?"

"Nothing can be more natural," said Sir Thomas, after a short deliberation;
"nor, were there no sister in the case, could anything, in my opinion, be more
natural. Mrs. Grant's shewing civility to Miss Price, to Lady Bertram's niece,
could never want explanation.  The only surprise I can feel is, that this
should be the first time of its being paid.  Fanny was perfectly right in
giving only a conditional answer.  She appears to feel as she ought.  But as I
conclude that she must wish to go, since all young people like to be together,
I can see no reason why she should be denied the indulgence."

"But can I do without her, Sir Thomas?"

"Indeed I think you may."

"She always makes tea, you know, when my sister is not here."

"Your sister, perhaps, may be prevailed on to spend the day with us, and I
shall certainly be at home."

"Very well, then, Fanny may go, Edmund."

The good news soon followed her.  Edmund knocked at her door in his way to his

"Well, Fanny, it is all happily settled, and without the smallest hesitation on
your uncle's side. He had but one opinion.  You are to go."

"Thank you, I am so glad," was Fanny's instinctive reply; though when she had
turned from him and shut the door, she could not help feeling, "And yet why
should I be glad? for am I not certain of seeing or hearing something there to
pain me?"

In spite of this conviction, however, she was glad. Simple as such an
engagement might appear in other eyes, it had novelty and importance in hers,
for excepting the day at Sotherton, she had scarcely ever dined out before; and
though now going only half a mile, and only to three people, still it was
dining out, and all the little interests of preparation were enjoyments in
themselves. She had neither sympathy nor assistance from those who ought to
have entered into her feelings and directed her taste; for Lady Bertram never
thought of being useful to anybody, and Mrs. Norris, when she came on the
morrow, in consequence of an early call and invitation from Sir Thomas, was in
a very ill humour, and seemed intent only on lessening her niece's pleasure,
both present and future, as much as possible.

"Upon my word, Fanny, you are in high luck to meet with such attention and
indulgence!  You ought to be very much obliged to Mrs. Grant for thinking of
you, and to your aunt for letting you go, and you ought to look upon it as
something extraordinary; for I hope you are aware that there is no real
occasion for your going into company in this sort of way, or ever dining out at
all; and it is what you must not depend upon ever being repeated. Nor must you
be fancying that the invitation is meant as any particular compliment to you;
the compliment is intended to your uncle and aunt and me.  Mrs. Grant thinks it
a civility due to us to take a little notice of you, or else it would never
have come into her head, and you may be very certain that, if your cousin Julia
had been at home, you would not have been asked at all."

Mrs. Norris had now so ingeniously done away all Mrs. Grant's part of the
favour, that Fanny, who found herself expected to speak, could only say that
she was very much obliged to her aunt Bertram for sparing her, and that she was
endeavouring to put her aunt's evening work in such a state as to prevent her
being missed.

"Oh! depend upon it, your aunt can do very well without you, or you would not
be allowed to go.  I shall be here, so you may be quite easy about your aunt.
 And I hope you will have a very agreeable day, and find it all mighty
delightful. But I must observe that five is the very awkwardest of all
possible numbers to sit down to table; and I cannot but be surprised that such
an elegant lady as Mrs. Grant should not contrive better!  And round their
enormous great wide table, too, which fills up the room so dreadfully! Had the
doctor been contented to take my dining-table when I came away, as anybody in
their senses would have done, instead of having that absurd new one of his own,
which is wider, literally wider than the dinner-table here, how infinitely
better it would have been! and how much more he would have been respected! for
people are never respected when they step out of their proper sphere. Remember
that, Fanny.  Five — only five to be sitting round that table.  However, you
will have dinner enough on it for ten, I dare say."

Mrs. Norris fetched breath, and went on again.

"The nonsense and folly of people's stepping out of their rank and trying to
appear above themselves, makes me think it right to give you a hint, Fanny,
now that you are going into company without any of us; and I do beseech and
entreat you not to be putting yourself forward, and talking and giving your
opinion as if you were one of your cousins — as if you were dear Mrs. Rushworth
or Julia. That will never do, believe me.  Remember, wherever you are, you
must be the lowest and last; and though Miss Crawford is in a manner at home at
the Parsonage, you are not to be taking place of her.  And as to coming away at
night, you are to stay just as long as Edmund chuses. Leave him to settle

"Yes, ma'am, I should not think of anything else."

"And if it should rain, which I think exceedingly likely, for I never saw it
more threatening for a wet evening in my life, you must manage as well as you
can, and not be expecting the carriage to be sent for you.  I certainly do not
go home to-night, and, therefore, the carriage will not be out on my account;
so you must make up your mind to what may happen, and take your things

Her niece thought it perfectly reasonable.  She rated her own claims to comfort
as low even as Mrs. Norris could; and when Sir Thomas soon afterwards, just
opening the door, said, "Fanny, at what time would you have the carriage come
round?" she felt a degree of astonishment which made it impossible for her to

"My dear Sir Thomas!" cried Mrs. Norris, red with anger, "Fanny can walk."

"Walk!" repeated Sir Thomas, in a tone of most unanswerable dignity, and coming
farther into the room.  "My niece walk to a dinner engagement at this time of
the year! Will twenty minutes after four suit you?"

"Yes, sir," was Fanny's humble answer, given with the feelings almost of a
criminal towards Mrs. Norris; and not bearing to remain with her in what might
seem a state of triumph, she followed her uncle out of the room, having staid
behind him only long enough to hear these words spoken in angry agitation—

"Quite unnecessary! a great deal too kind! But Edmund goes; true, it is upon
Edmund's account. I observed he was hoarse on Thursday night."

But this could not impose on Fanny.  She felt that the carriage was for
herself, and herself alone: and her uncle's consideration of her, coming
immediately after such representations from her aunt, cost her some tears of
gratitude when she was alone.

The coachman drove round to a minute; another minute brought down the
gentleman; and as the lady had, with a most scrupulous fear of being late, been
many minutes seated in the drawing-room, Sir Thomas saw them off in as good
time as his own correctly punctual habits required.

"Now I must look at you, Fanny," said Edmund, with the kind smile of an
affectionate brother, "and tell you how I like you; and as well as I can judge
by this light, you look very nicely indeed.  What have you got on?"

"The new dress that my uncle was so good as to give me on my cousin's marriage.
 I hope it is not too fine; but I thought I ought to wear it as soon as I
could, and that I might not have such another opportunity all the winter. I
hope you do not think me too fine."

"A woman can never be too fine while she is all in white.  No, I see no finery
about you; nothing but what is perfectly proper. Your gown seems very pretty. 
I like these glossy spots. Has not Miss Crawford a gown something the same?"

In approaching the Parsonage they passed close by the stable-yard and

"Heyday!" said Edmund, "here's company, here's a carriage! who have they got to
meet us?"  And letting down the side-glass to distinguish, "'Tis Crawford's,
Crawford's barouche, I protest!  There are his own two men pushing it back into
its old quarters.  He is here, of course.  This is quite a surprise, Fanny.  I
shall be very glad to see him."

There was no occasion, there was no time for Fanny to say how very differently
she felt; but the idea of having such another to observe her was a great
increase of the trepidation with which she performed the very awful ceremony of
walking into the drawing-room.

In the drawing-room Mr. Crawford certainly was, having been just long enough
arrived to be ready for dinner; and the smiles and pleased looks of the three
others standing round him, shewed how welcome was his sudden resolution of
coming to them for a few days on leaving Bath. A very cordial meeting passed
between him and Edmund; and with the exception of Fanny, the pleasure was
general; and even to her there might be some advantage in his presence, since
every addition to the party must rather forward her favourite indulgence of
being suffered to sit silent and unattended to.  She was soon aware of this
herself; for though she must submit, as her own propriety of mind directed, in
spite of her aunt Norris's opinion, to being the principal lady in company, and
to all the little distinctions consequent thereon, she found, while they were
at table, such a happy flow of conversation prevailing, in which she was not
required to take any part — there was so much to be said between the brother and
sister about Bath, so much between the two young men about hunting, so much of
politics between Mr. Crawford and Dr. Grant, and of everything and all together
between Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Grant, as to leave her the fairest prospect of
having only to listen in quiet, and of passing a very agreeable day. She could
not compliment the newly arrived gentleman, however, with any appearance of
interest, in a scheme for extending his stay at Mansfield, and sending for his
hunters from Norfolk, which, suggested by Dr. Grant, advised by Edmund, and
warmly urged by the two sisters, was soon in possession of his mind, and which
he seemed to want to be encouraged even by her to resolve on. Her opinion was
sought as to the probable continuance of the open weather, but her answers were
as short and indifferent as civility allowed.  She could not wish him to stay,
and would much rather not have him speak to her.

Her two absent cousins, especially Maria, were much in her thoughts on seeing
him; but no embarrassing remembrance affected his spirits.  Here he was again
on the same ground where all had passed before, and apparently as willing to
stay and be happy without the Miss Bertrams, as if he had never known Mansfield
in any other state. She heard them spoken of by him only in a general way, till
they were all re-assembled in the drawing-room, when Edmund, being engaged
apart in some matter of business with Dr. Grant, which seemed entirely to
engross them, and Mrs. Grant occupied at the tea-table, he began talking of
them with more particularity to his other sister. With a significant smile,
which made Fanny quite hate him, he said, "So!  Rushworth and his fair bride
are at Brighton, I understand; happy man!"

"Yes, they have been there about a fortnight, Miss Price, have they not?  And
Julia is with them."

"And Mr. Yates, I presume, is not far off."

"Mr. Yates!  Oh! we hear nothing of Mr. Yates.  I do not imagine he figures
much in the letters to Mansfield Park; do you, Miss Price?  I think my friend
Julia knows better than to entertain her father with Mr. Yates."

"Poor Rushworth and his two-and-forty speeches!" continued Crawford.  "Nobody
can ever forget them. Poor fellow!  I see him now — his toil and his despair.
Well, I am much mistaken if his lovely Maria will ever want him to make
two-and-forty speeches to her"; adding, with a momentary seriousness, "She is
too good for him— much too good."  And then changing his tone again to one of
gentle gallantry, and addressing Fanny, he said, "You were Mr. Rushworth's best
friend.  Your kindness and patience can never be forgotten, your indefatigable
patience in trying to make it possible for him to learn his part— in trying to
give him a brain which nature had denied— to mix up an understanding for him
out of the superfluity of your own!  He might not have sense enough himself
to estimate your kindness, but I may venture to say that it had honour from all
the rest of the party."

Fanny coloured, and said nothing.

"It is as a dream, a pleasant dream!" he exclaimed, breaking forth again, after
a few minutes' musing.  "I shall always look back on our theatricals with
exquisite pleasure. There was such an interest, such an animation, such a
spirit diffused.  Everybody felt it.  We were all alive. There was employment,
hope, solicitude, bustle, for every hour of the day.  Always some little
objection, some little doubt, some little anxiety to be got over. I never was

With silent indignation Fanny repeated to herself, "Never happier! — never
happier than when doing what you must know was not justifiable! — never happier
than when behaving so dishonourably and unfeelingly! Oh! what a corrupted

"We were unlucky, Miss Price," he continued, in a lower tone, to avoid the
possibility of being heard by Edmund, and not at all aware of her feelings, "we
certainly were very unlucky.  Another week, only one other week, would have
been enough for us.  I think if we had had the disposal of events — if Mansfield
Park had had the government of the winds just for a week or two, about the
equinox, there would have been a difference.  Not that we would have endangered
his safety by any tremendous weather— but only by a steady contrary wind, or a
calm.  I think, Miss Price, we would have indulged ourselves with a week's calm
in the Atlantic at that season."

He seemed determined to be answered; and Fanny, averting her face, said, with a
firmer tone than usual, "As far as I am concerned, sir, I would not have
delayed his return for a day.  My uncle disapproved it all so entirely when he
did arrive, that in my opinion everything had gone quite far enough."

She had never spoken so much at once to him in her life before, and never so
angrily to any one; and when her speech was over, she trembled and blushed at
her own daring.  He was surprised; but after a few moments' silent
consideration of her, replied in a calmer, graver tone, and as if the candid
result of conviction, "I believe you are right.  It was more pleasant than
prudent.  We were getting too noisy." And then turning the conversation, he
would have engaged her on some other subject, but her answers were so shy and
reluctant that he could not advance in any.

Miss Crawford, who had been repeatedly eyeing Dr. Grant and Edmund, now
observed, "Those gentlemen must have some very interesting point to discuss."

"The most interesting in the world," replied her brother— "how to make money;
how to turn a good income into a better. Dr. Grant is giving Bertram
instructions about the living he is to step into so soon.  I find he takes
orders in a few weeks.  They were at it in the dining-parlour. I am glad to
hear Bertram will be so well off.  He will have a very pretty income to make
ducks and drakes with, and earned without much trouble.  I apprehend he will
not have less than seven hundred a year.  Seven hundred a year is a fine thing
for a younger brother; and as of course he will still live at home, it will be
all for his menus plaisirs; and a sermon at Christmas and Easter, I
suppose, will be the sum total of sacrifice."

His sister tried to laugh off her feelings by saying, "Nothing amuses me more
than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who
have a great deal less than themselves.  You would look rather blank, Henry, if
your menus plaisirs were to be limited to seven hundred a year."

"Perhaps I might; but all that you know is entirely comparative.  Birthright
and habit must settle the business.  Bertram is certainly well off for a cadet
of even a baronet's family.  By the time he is four or five and twenty he will
have seven hundred a year, and nothing to do for it."

Miss Crawford could have said that there would be a something to do and to
suffer for it, which she could not think lightly of; but she checked herself
and let it pass; and tried to look calm and unconcerned when the two gentlemen
shortly afterwards joined them.

"Bertram," said Henry Crawford, "I shall make a point of coming to Mansfield to
hear you preach your first sermon. I shall come on purpose to encourage a young
beginner. When is it to be?  Miss Price, will not you join me in encouraging
your cousin?  Will not you engage to attend with your eyes steadily fixed on
him the whole time— as I shall do — not to lose a word; or only looking off
just to note down any sentence preeminently beautiful? We will provide
ourselves with tablets and a pencil. When will it be?  You must preach at
Mansfield, you know, that Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram may hear you."

"I shall keep clear of you, Crawford, as long as I can," said Edmund; "for you
would be more likely to disconcert me, and I should be more sorry to see you
trying at it than almost any other man."

"Will he not feel this?" thought Fanny.  "No, he can feel nothing as he ought."

The party being now all united, and the chief talkers attracting each other,
she remained in tranquillity; and as a whist-table was formed after tea — formed
really for the amusement of Dr. Grant, by his attentive wife, though it was not
to be supposed so — and Miss Crawford took her harp, she had nothing to do but
to listen; and her tranquillity remained undisturbed the rest of the evening,
except when Mr. Crawford now and then addressed to her a question or
observation, which she could not avoid answering.  Miss Crawford was too much
vexed by what had passed to be in a humour for anything but music.  With that
she soothed herself and amused her friend.

The assurance of Edmund's being so soon to take orders, coming upon her like a
blow that had been suspended, and still hoped uncertain and at a distance, was
felt with resentment and mortification.  She was very angry with him.  She had
thought her influence more. She had begun to think of him; she felt that she
had, with great regard, with almost decided intentions; but she would now meet
him with his own cool feelings. It was plain that he could have no serious
views, no true attachment, by fixing himself in a situation which he must know
she would never stoop to.  She would learn to match him in his indifference. 
She would henceforth admit his attentions without any idea beyond immediate
amusement. If he could so command his affections, hers should do her no


Henry Crawford had quite made up his mind by the next morning to give another
fortnight to Mansfield, and having sent for his hunters, and written a few
lines of explanation to the Admiral, he looked round at his sister as he sealed
and threw the letter from him, and seeing the coast clear of the rest of the
family, said, with a smile, "And how do you think I mean to amuse myself, Mary,
on the days that I do not hunt? I am grown too old to go out more than three
times a week; but I have a plan for the intermediate days, and what do you
think it is?"

"To walk and ride with me, to be sure."

"Not exactly, though I shall be happy to do both, but that would be exercise
only to my body, and I must take care of my mind.  Besides, that would be all
recreation and indulgence, without the wholesome alloy of labour, and I do not
like to eat the bread of idleness.  No, my plan is to make Fanny Price in love
with me."

"Fanny Price!  Nonsense!  No, no.  You ought to be satisfied with her two

"But I cannot be satisfied without Fanny Price, without making a small hole in
Fanny Price's heart. You do not seem properly aware of her claims to notice.
When we talked of her last night, you none of you seemed sensible of the
wonderful improvement that has taken place in her looks within the last six
weeks. You see her every day, and therefore do not notice it; but I assure you
she is quite a different creature from what she was in the autumn.  She was
then merely a quiet, modest, not plain-looking girl, but she is now absolutely
pretty.  I used to think she had neither complexion nor countenance; but in
that soft skin of hers, so frequently tinged with a blush as it was yesterday,
there is decided beauty; and from what I observed of her eyes and mouth, I do
not despair of their being capable of expression enough when she has anything
to express. And then, her air, her manner, her tout ensemble, is so
indescribably improved!  She must be grown two inches, at least, since

"Phoo! phoo!  This is only because there were no tall women to compare her
with, and because she has got a new gown, and you never saw her so well dressed
before.  She is just what she was in October, believe me.  The truth is, that
she was the only girl in company for you to notice, and you must have a
somebody.  I have always thought her pretty — not strikingly pretty — but 'pretty
enough,' as people say; a sort of beauty that grows on one. Her eyes should be
darker, but she has a sweet smile; but as for this wonderful degree of
improvement, I am sure it may all be resolved into a better style of dress, and
your having nobody else to look at; and therefore, if you do set about a
flirtation with her, you never will persuade me that it is in compliment to her
beauty, or that it proceeds from anything but your own idleness and folly."

Her brother gave only a smile to this accusation, and soon afterwards said, "I
do not quite know what to make of Miss Fanny.  I do not understand her.  I
could not tell what she would be at yesterday.  What is her character? Is she
solemn?  Is she queer?  Is she prudish?  Why did she draw back and look so
grave at me?  I could hardly get her to speak.  I never was so long in company
with a girl in my life, trying to entertain her, and succeed so ill! Never met
with a girl who looked so grave on me! I must try to get the better of this. 
Her looks say, 'I will not like you, I am determined not to like you'; and I
say she shall."

"Foolish fellow!  And so this is her attraction after all! This it is, her not
caring about you, which gives her such a soft skin, and makes her so much
taller, and produces all these charms and graces!  I do desire that you will
not be making her really unhappy; a little love, perhaps, may animate and do
her good, but I will not have you plunge her deep, for she is as good a little
creature as ever lived, and has a great deal of feeling."

"It can be but for a fortnight," said Henry; "and if a fortnight can kill her,
she must have a constitution which nothing could save.  No, I will not do her
any harm, dear little soul! only want her to look kindly on me, to give me
smiles as well as blushes, to keep a chair for me by herself wherever we are,
and be all animation when I take it and talk to her; to think as I think, be
interested in all my possessions and pleasures, try to keep me longer at
Mansfield, and feel when I go away that she shall be never happy again.  I want
nothing more."

"Moderation itself!" said Mary.  "I can have no scruples now. Well, you will
have opportunities enough of endeavouring to recommend yourself, for we are a
great deal together."

And without attempting any farther remonstrance, she left Fanny to her fate, a
fate which, had not Fanny's heart been guarded in a way unsuspected by Miss
Crawford, might have been a little harder than she deserved; for although there
doubtless are such unconquerable young ladies of eighteen (or one should not
read about them) as are never to be persuaded into love against their judgment
by all that talent, manner, attention, and flattery can do, I have no
inclination to believe Fanny one of them, or to think that with so much
tenderness of disposition, and so much taste as belonged to her, she could have
escaped heart-whole from the courtship (though the courtship only of a
fortnight) of such a man as Crawford, in spite of there being some previous ill
opinion of him to be overcome, had not her affection been engaged elsewhere.
With all the security which love of another and disesteem of him could give to
the peace of mind he was attacking, his continued attentions — continued, but
not obtrusive, and adapting themselves more and more to the gentleness and
delicacy of her character — obliged her very soon to dislike him less than
formerly.  She had by no means forgotten the past, and she thought as ill of
him as ever; but she felt his powers:  he was entertaining; and his manners
were so improved, so polite, so seriously and blamelessly polite, that it was
impossible not to be civil to him in return.

A very few days were enough to effect this; and at the end of those few days,
circumstances arose which had a tendency rather to forward his views of
pleasing her, inasmuch as they gave her a degree of happiness which must
dispose her to be pleased with everybody.  William, her brother, the so long
absent and dearly loved brother, was in England again.  She had a letter from
him herself, a few hurried happy lines, written as the ship came up Channel,
and sent into Portsmouth with the first boat that left the Antwerp at anchor in
Spithead; and when Crawford walked up with the newspaper in his hand, which he
had hoped would bring the first tidings, he found her trembling with joy over
this letter, and listening with a glowing, grateful countenance to the kind
invitation which her uncle was most collectedly dictating in reply.

It was but the day before that Crawford had made himself thoroughly master of
the subject, or had in fact become at all aware of her having such a brother,
or his being in such a ship, but the interest then excited had been very
properly lively, determining him on his return to town to apply for information
as to the probable period of the Antwerp's return from the Mediterranean, etc.;
and the good luck which attended his early examination of ship news the next
morning seemed the reward of his ingenuity in finding out such a method of
pleasing her, as well as of his dutiful attention to the Admiral, in having for
many years taken in the paper esteemed to have the earliest naval intelligence.
 He proved, however, to be too late.  All those fine first feelings, of which
he had hoped to be the exciter, were already given. But his intention, the
kindness of his intention, was thankfully acknowledged:  quite thankfully and
warmly, for she was elevated beyond the common timidity of her mind by the flow
of her love for William.

This dear William would soon be amongst them.  There could be no doubt of his
obtaining leave of absence immediately, for he was still only a midshipman; and
as his parents, from living on the spot, must already have seen him, and be
seeing him perhaps daily, his direct holidays might with justice be instantly
given to the sister, who had been his best correspondent through a period of
seven years, and the uncle who had done most for his support and advancement;
and accordingly the reply to her reply, fixing a very early day for his
arrival, came as soon as possible; and scarcely ten days had passed since Fanny
had been in the agitation of her first dinner-visit, when she found herself in
an agitation of a higher nature, watching in the hall, in the lobby, on the
stairs, for the first sound of the carriage which was to bring her a brother.

It came happily while she was thus waiting; and there being neither ceremony
nor fearfulness to delay the moment of meeting, she was with him as he entered
the house, and the first minutes of exquisite feeling had no interruption and
no witnesses, unless the servants chiefly intent upon opening the proper doors
could be called such. This was exactly what Sir Thomas and Edmund had been
separately conniving at, as each proved to the other by the sympathetic
alacrity with which they both advised Mrs. Norris's continuing where she was,
instead of rushing out into the hall as soon as the noises of the arrival
reached them.

William and Fanny soon shewed themselves; and Sir Thomas had the pleasure of
receiving, in his protege, certainly a very different person from the one he
had equipped seven years ago, but a young man of an open, pleasant countenance,
and frank, unstudied, but feeling and respectful manners, and such as confirmed
him his friend.

It was long before Fanny could recover from the agitating happiness of such an
hour as was formed by the last thirty minutes of expectation, and the first of
fruition; it was some time even before her happiness could be said to make her
happy, before the disappointment inseparable from the alteration of person had
vanished, and she could see in him the same William as before, and talk to him,
as her heart had been yearning to do through many a past year.  That time,
however, did gradually come, forwarded by an affection on his side as warm as
her own, and much less encumbered by refinement or self-distrust. She was the
first object of his love, but it was a love which his stronger spirits, and
bolder temper, made it as natural for him to express as to feel.  On the morrow
they were walking about together with true enjoyment, and every succeeding
morrow renewed a tete-a-tete which Sir Thomas could not but observe with
complacency, even before Edmund had pointed it out to him.

Excepting the moments of peculiar delight, which any marked or unlooked-for
instance of Edmund's consideration of her in the last few months had excited,
Fanny had never known so much felicity in her life, as in this unchecked,
equal, fearless intercourse with the brother and friend who was opening all his
heart to her, telling her all his hopes and fears, plans, and solicitudes
respecting that long thought of, dearly earned, and justly valued blessing of
promotion; who could give her direct and minute information of the father and
mother, brothers and sisters, of whom she very seldom heard; who was interested
in all the comforts and all the little hardships of her home at Mansfield;
ready to think of every member of that home as she directed, or differing only
by a less scrupulous opinion, and more noisy abuse of their aunt Norris, and
with whom (perhaps the dearest indulgence of the whole) all the evil and good
of their earliest years could be gone over again, and every former united pain
and pleasure retraced with the fondest recollection.  An advantage this, a
strengthener of love, in which even the conjugal tie is beneath the fraternal. 
Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations
and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent
connexions can supply; and it must be by a long and unnatural estrangement, by
a divorce which no subsequent connexion can justify, if such precious remains
of the earliest attachments are ever entirely outlived. Too often, alas! it is
so.  Fraternal love, sometimes almost everything, is at others worse than
nothing. But with William and Fanny Price it was still a sentiment in all its
prime and freshness, wounded by no opposition of interest, cooled by no
separate attachment, and feeling the influence of time and absence only in its

An affection so amiable was advancing each in the opinion of all who had hearts
to value anything good.  Henry Crawford was as much struck with it as any.  He
honoured the warm-hearted, blunt fondness of the young sailor, which led him to
say, with his hands stretched towards Fanny's head, "Do you know, I begin to
like that queer fashion already, though when I first heard of such things being
done in England, I could not believe it; and when Mrs. Brown, and the other
women at the Commissioner's at Gibraltar, appeared in the same trim, I thought
they were mad; but Fanny can reconcile me to anything"; and saw, with lively
admiration, the glow of Fanny's cheek, the brightness of her eye, the deep
interest, the absorbed attention, while her brother was describing any of the
imminent hazards, or terrific scenes, which such a period at sea must supply.

It was a picture which Henry Crawford had moral taste enough to value.  Fanny's
attractions increased — increased twofold; for the sensibility which beautified
her complexion and illumined her countenance was an attraction in itself. He
was no longer in doubt of the capabilities of her heart. She had feeling,
genuine feeling.  It would be something to be loved by such a girl, to excite
the first ardours of her young unsophisticated mind!  She interested him more
than he had foreseen.  A fortnight was not enough. His stay became indefinite.

William was often called on by his uncle to be the talker. His recitals were
amusing in themselves to Sir Thomas, but the chief object in seeking them was
to understand the reciter, to know the young man by his histories; and he
listened to his clear, simple, spirited details with full satisfaction, seeing
in them the proof of good principles, professional knowledge, energy, courage,
and cheerfulness, everything that could deserve or promise well. Young as he
was, William had already seen a great deal. He had been in the Mediterranean;
in the West Indies; in the Mediterranean again; had been often taken on shore
by the favour of his captain, and in the course of seven years had known every
variety of danger which sea and war together could offer.  With such means in
his power he had a right to be listened to; and though Mrs. Norris could fidget
about the room, and disturb everybody in quest of two needlefuls of thread or a
second-hand shirt button, in the midst of her nephew's account of a shipwreck
or an engagement, everybody else was attentive; and even Lady Bertram could not
hear of such horrors unmoved, or without sometimes lifting her eyes from her
work to say, "Dear me! how disagreeable!  I wonder anybody can ever go to sea."

To Henry Crawford they gave a different feeling.  He longed to have been at
sea, and seen and done and suffered as much. His heart was warmed, his fancy
fired, and he felt the highest respect for a lad who, before he was twenty, had
gone through such bodily hardships and given such proofs of mind.  The glory of
heroism, of usefulness, of exertion, of endurance, made his own habits of
selfish indulgence appear in shameful contrast; and he wished he had been a
William Price, distinguishing himself and working his way to fortune and
consequence with so much self-respect and happy ardour, instead of what he was!

The wish was rather eager than lasting.  He was roused from the reverie of
retrospection and regret produced by it, by some inquiry from Edmund as to his
plans for the next day's hunting; and he found it was as well to be a man of
fortune at once with horses and grooms at his command. In one respect it was
better, as it gave him the means of conferring a kindness where he wished to
oblige. With spirits, courage, and curiosity up to anything, William expressed
an inclination to hunt; and Crawford could mount him without the slightest
inconvenience to himself, and with only some scruples to obviate in Sir Thomas,
who knew better than his nephew the value of such a loan, and some alarms to
reason away in Fanny.  She feared for William; by no means convinced by all
that he could relate of his own horsemanship in various countries, of the
scrambling parties in which he had been engaged, the rough horses and mules he
had ridden, or his many narrow escapes from dreadful falls, that he was at all
equal to the management of a high-fed hunter in an English fox-chase; nor till
he returned safe and well, without accident or discredit, could she be
reconciled to the risk, or feel any of that obligation to Mr. Crawford for
lending the horse which he had fully intended it should produce. When it was
proved, however, to have done William no harm, she could allow it to be a
kindness, and even reward the owner with a smile when the animal was one minute
tendered to his use again; and the next, with the greatest cordiality, and in a
manner not to be resisted, made over to his use entirely so long as he remained
in Northamptonshire.

[End volume one of this edition. Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to
Her Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press]


The intercourse of the two families was at this period more nearly restored to
what it had been in the autumn, than any member of the old intimacy had thought
ever likely to be again.  The return of Henry Crawford, and the arrival of
William Price, had much to do with it, but much was still owing to Sir Thomas's
more than toleration of the neighbourly attempts at the Parsonage.  His mind,
now disengaged from the cares which had pressed on him at first, was at leisure
to find the Grants and their young inmates really worth visiting; and though
infinitely above scheming or contriving for any the most advantageous
matrimonial establishment that could be among the apparent possibilities of any
one most dear to him, and disdaining even as a littleness the being
quick-sighted on such points, he could not avoid perceiving, in a grand and
careless way, that Mr. Crawford was somewhat distinguishing his niece— nor
perhaps refrain (though unconsciously) from giving a more willing assent to
invitations on that account.

His readiness, however, in agreeing to dine at the Parsonage, when the general
invitation was at last hazarded, after many debates and many doubts as to
whether it were worth while, "because Sir Thomas seemed so ill inclined, and
Lady Bertram was so indolent!" proceeded from good-breeding and goodwill alone,
and had nothing to do with Mr. Crawford, but as being one in an agreeable
group: for it was in the course of that very visit that he first began to think
that any one in the habit of such idle observations would have thought
that Mr. Crawford was the admirer of Fanny Price.

The meeting was generally felt to be a pleasant one, being composed in a good
proportion of those who would talk and those who would listen; and the dinner
itself was elegant and plentiful, according to the usual style of the Grants,
and too much according to the usual habits of all to raise any emotion except
in Mrs. Norris, who could never behold either the wide table or the number of
dishes on it with patience, and who did always contrive to experience some evil
from the passing of the servants behind her chair, and to bring away some fresh
conviction of its being impossible among so many dishes but that some must be

In the evening it was found, according to the predetermination of Mrs. Grant
and her sister, that after making up the whist-table there would remain
sufficient for a round game, and everybody being as perfectly complying and
without a choice as on such occasions they always are, speculation was decided
on almost as soon as whist; and Lady Bertram soon found herself in the critical
situation of being applied to for her own choice between the games, and being
required either to draw a card for whist or not. She hesitated.  Luckily Sir
Thomas was at hand.

"What shall I do, Sir Thomas?  Whist and speculation; which will amuse me

Sir Thomas, after a moment's thought, recommended speculation. He was a whist
player himself, and perhaps might feel that it would not much amuse him to have
her for a partner.

"Very well," was her ladyship's contented answer; "then speculation, if you
please, Mrs. Grant.  I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me."

Here Fanny interposed, however, with anxious protestations of her own equal
ignorance; she had never played the game nor seen it played in her life; and
Lady Bertram felt a moment's indecision again; but upon everybody's assuring
her that nothing could be so easy, that it was the easiest game on the cards,
and Henry Crawford's stepping forward with a most earnest request to be allowed
to sit between her ladyship and Miss Price, and teach them both, it was so
settled; and Sir Thomas, Mrs. Norris, and Dr. and Mrs. Grant being seated at
the table of prime intellectual state and dignity, the remaining six, under
Miss Crawford's direction, were arranged round the other.  It was a fine
arrangement for Henry Crawford, who was close to Fanny, and with his hands full
of business, having two persons' cards to manage as well as his own; for though
it was impossible for Fanny not to feel herself mistress of the rules of the
game in three minutes, he had yet to inspirit her play, sharpen her avarice,
and harden her heart, which, especially in any competition with William, was a
work of some difficulty; and as for Lady Bertram, he must continue in charge of
all her fame and fortune through the whole evening; and if quick enough to keep
her from looking at her cards when the deal began, must direct her in whatever
was to be done with them to the end of it.

He was in high spirits, doing everything with happy ease, and preeminent in all
the lively turns, quick resources, and playful impudence that could do honour
to the game; and the round table was altogether a very comfortable contrast to
the steady sobriety and orderly silence of the other.

Twice had Sir Thomas inquired into the enjoyment and success of his lady, but
in vain; no pause was long enough for the time his measured manner needed; and
very little of her state could be known till Mrs. Grant was able, at the end of
the first rubber, to go to her and pay her compliments.

"I hope your ladyship is pleased with the game."

"Oh dear, yes! very entertaining indeed.  A very odd game. I do not know what
it is all about.  I am never to see my cards; and Mr. Crawford does all the

"Bertram," said Crawford, some time afterwards, taking the opportunity of a
little languor in the game, "I have never told you what happened to me
yesterday in my ride home." They had been hunting together, and were in the
midst of a good run, and at some distance from Mansfield, when his horse being
found to have flung a shoe, Henry Crawford had been obliged to give up, and
make the best of his way back. "I told you I lost my way after passing that old
farmhouse with the yew-trees, because I can never bear to ask; but I have not
told you that, with my usual luck — for I never do wrong without gaining by
it — I found myself in due time in the very place which I had a curiosity to
see. I was suddenly, upon turning the corner of a steepish downy field, in the
midst of a retired little village between gently rising hills; a small stream
before me to be forded, a church standing on a sort of knoll to my right—
which church was strikingly large and handsome for the place, and not a
gentleman or half a gentleman's house to be seen excepting one — to be presumed
the Parsonage— within a stone's throw of the said knoll and church. I found
myself, in short, in Thornton Lacey."

"It sounds like it," said Edmund; "but which way did you turn after passing
Sewell's farm?"

"I answer no such irrelevant and insidious questions; though were I to answer
all that you could put in the course of an hour, you would never be able to
prove that it was not Thornton Lacey — for such it certainly was."

"You inquired, then?"

"No, I never inquire.  But I told a man mending a hedge that it was Thornton
Lacey, and he agreed to it."

"You have a good memory.  I had forgotten having ever told you half so much of
the place."

Thornton Lacey was the name of his impending living, as Miss Crawford well
knew; and her interest in a negotiation for William Price's knave increased.

"Well," continued Edmund, "and how did you like what you saw?"

"Very much indeed.  You are a lucky fellow.  There will be work for five
summers at least before the place is liveable."

"No, no, not so bad as that.  The farmyard must be moved, I grant you; but I am
not aware of anything else. The house is by no means bad, and when the yard is
removed, there may be a very tolerable approach to it."

"The farmyard must be cleared away entirely, and planted up to shut out the
blacksmith's shop.  The house must be turned to front the east instead of the
north— the entrance and principal rooms, I mean, must be on that side, where
the view is really very pretty; I am sure it may be done.  And there must be
your approach, through what is at present the garden.  You must make a new
garden at what is now the back of the house; which will be giving it the best
aspect in the world, sloping to the south-east. The ground seems precisely
formed for it.  I rode fifty yards up the lane, between the church and the
house, in order to look about me; and saw how it might all be.  Nothing can be
easier. The meadows beyond what will be the garden, as well as what now
is, sweeping round from the lane I stood in to the north-east, that is, to
the principal road through the village, must be all laid together, of course;
very pretty meadows they are, finely sprinkled with timber. They belong to the
living, I suppose; if not, you must purchase them.  Then the stream — something
must be done with the stream; but I could not quite determine what. I had two
or three ideas."

"And I have two or three ideas also," said Edmund, "and one of them is, that
very little of your plan for Thornton Lacey will ever be put in practice. I
must be satisfied with rather less ornament and beauty. I think the house and
premises may be made comfortable, and given the air of a gentleman's residence,
without any very heavy expense, and that must suffice me; and, I hope, may
suffice all who care about me."

Miss Crawford, a little suspicious and resentful of a certain tone of voice,
and a certain half-look attending the last expression of his hope, made a hasty
finish of her dealings with William Price; and securing his knave at an
exorbitant rate, exclaimed, "There, I will stake my last like a woman of
spirit.  No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. 
If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it."

The game was hers, and only did not pay her for what she had given to secure
it.  Another deal proceeded, and Crawford began again about Thornton Lacey.

"My plan may not be the best possible:  I had not many minutes to form it in;
but you must do a good deal. The place deserves it, and you will find yourself
not satisfied with much less than it is capable of.  (Excuse me, your ladyship
must not see your cards.  There, let them lie just before you.) The place
deserves it, Bertram. You talk of giving it the air of a gentleman's residence.
That will be done by the removal of the farmyard; for, independent of that
terrible nuisance, I never saw a house of the kind which had in itself so much
the air of a gentleman's residence, so much the look of a something above a
mere parsonage-house — above the expenditure of a few hundreds a year.  It is
not a scrambling collection of low single rooms, with as many roofs as windows;
it is not cramped into the vulgar compactness of a square farmhouse: it is a
solid, roomy, mansion-like looking house, such as one might suppose a
respectable old country family had lived in from generation to generation,
through two centuries at least, and were now spending from two to three
thousand a year in."  Miss Crawford listened, and Edmund agreed to this.  "The
air of a gentleman's residence, therefore, you cannot but give it, if you do
anything.  But it is capable of much more.  (Let me see, Mary; Lady Bertram
bids a dozen for that queen; no, no, a dozen is more than it is worth.  Lady
Bertram does not bid a dozen. She will have nothing to say to it.  Go on, go
on.) By some such improvements as I have suggested (I do not really require you
to proceed upon my plan, though, by the bye, I doubt anybody's striking out a
better) you may give it a higher character.  You may raise it into a place.
From being the mere gentleman's residence, it becomes, by judicious
improvement, the residence of a man of education, taste, modern manners, good
connexions. All this may be stamped on it; and that house receive such an air
as to make its owner be set down as the great landholder of the parish by every
creature travelling the road; especially as there is no real squire's house to
dispute the point — a circumstance, between ourselves, to enhance the value of
such a situation in point of privilege and independence beyond all calculation.
You think with me, I hope" (turning with a softened voice to Fanny). "Have
you ever seen the place?"

Fanny gave a quick negative, and tried to hide her interest in the subject by
an eager attention to her brother, who was driving as hard a bargain, and
imposing on her as much as he could; but Crawford pursued with "No, no, you
must not part with the queen.  You have bought her too dearly, and your brother
does not offer half her value.  No, no, sir, hands off, hands off.  Your sister
does not part with the queen.  She is quite determined. The game will be
yours," turning to her again; "it will certainly be yours."

"And Fanny had much rather it were William's," said Edmund, smiling at her. 
"Poor Fanny! not allowed to cheat herself as she wishes!"

"Mr. Bertram," said Miss Crawford, a few minutes afterwards, "you know Henry to
be such a capital improver, that you cannot possibly engage in anything of the
sort at Thornton Lacey without accepting his help.  Only think how useful he
was at Sotherton!  Only think what grand things were produced there by our all
going with him one hot day in August to drive about the grounds, and see his
genius take fire.  There we went, and there we came home again; and what was
done there is not to be told!"

Fanny's eyes were turned on Crawford for a moment with an expression more than
grave — even reproachful; but on catching his, were instantly withdrawn. With
something of consciousness he shook his head at his sister, and laughingly
replied, "I cannot say there was much done at Sotherton; but it was a hot day,
and we were all walking after each other, and bewildered." As soon as a general
buzz gave him shelter, he added, in a low voice, directed solely at Fanny, "I
should be sorry to have my powers of planning judged of by the day at
Sotherton.  I see things very differently now. Do not think of me as I appeared

Sotherton was a word to catch Mrs. Norris, and being just then in the happy
leisure which followed securing the odd trick by Sir Thomas's capital play and
her own against Dr. and Mrs. Grant's great hands, she called out, in high
good-humour, "Sotherton!  Yes, that is a place, indeed, and we had a charming
day there.  William, you are quite out of luck; but the next time you come, I
hope dear Mr. and Mrs. Rushworth will be at home, and I am sure I can answer
for your being kindly received by both. Your cousins are not of a sort to
forget their relations, and Mr. Rushworth is a most amiable man.  They are at
Brighton now, you know; in one of the best houses there, as Mr. Rushworth's
fine fortune gives them a right to be. I do not exactly know the distance, but
when you get back to Portsmouth, if it is not very far off, you ought to go
over and pay your respects to them; and I could send a little parcel by you
that I want to get conveyed to your cousins."

"I should be very happy, aunt; but Brighton is almost by Beachey Head; and if I
could get so far, I could not expect to be welcome in such a smart place as
that— poor scrubby midshipman as I am."

Mrs. Norris was beginning an eager assurance of the affability he might depend
on, when she was stopped by Sir Thomas's saying with authority, "I do not
advise your going to Brighton, William, as I trust you may soon have more
convenient opportunities of meeting; but my daughters would be happy to see
their cousins anywhere; and you will find Mr. Rushworth most sincerely disposed
to regard all the connexions of our family as his own."

"I would rather find him private secretary to the First Lord than anything
else," was William's only answer, in an undervoice, not meant to reach far, and
the subject dropped.

As yet Sir Thomas had seen nothing to remark in Mr. Crawford's behaviour; but
when the whist-table broke up at the end of the second rubber, and leaving Dr.
Grant and Mrs. Norris to dispute over their last play, he became a looker-on at
the other, he found his niece the object of attentions, or rather of
professions, of a somewhat pointed character.

Henry Crawford was in the first glow of another scheme about Thornton Lacey;
and not being able to catch Edmund's ear, was detailing it to his fair
neighbour with a look of considerable earnestness.  His scheme was to rent the
house himself the following winter, that he might have a home of his own in
that neighbourhood; and it was not merely for the use of it in the
hunting-season (as he was then telling her), though that consideration had
certainly some weight, feeling as he did that, in spite of all Dr. Grant's very
great kindness, it was impossible for him and his horses to be accommodated
where they now were without material inconvenience; but his attachment to that
neighbourhood did not depend upon one amusement or one season of the year:  he
had set his heart upon having a something there that he could come to at any
time, a little homestall at his command, where all the holidays of his year
might be spent, and he might find himself continuing, improving, and
perfecting that friendship and intimacy with the Mansfield Park family which
was increasing in value to him every day. Sir Thomas heard and was not
offended.  There was no want of respect in the young man's address; and Fanny's
reception of it was so proper and modest, so calm and uninviting, that he had
nothing to censure in her.  She said little, assented only here and there, and
betrayed no inclination either of appropriating any part of the compliment to
herself, or of strengthening his views in favour of Northamptonshire. Finding
by whom he was observed, Henry Crawford addressed himself on the same subject
to Sir Thomas, in a more everyday tone, but still with feeling.

"I want to be your neighbour, Sir Thomas, as you have, perhaps, heard me
telling Miss Price.  May I hope for your acquiescence, and for your not
influencing your son against such a tenant?"

Sir Thomas, politely bowing, replied, "It is the only way, sir, in which I
could not wish you established as a permanent neighbour; but I hope, and
believe, that Edmund will occupy his own house at Thornton Lacey.  Edmund, am I
saying too much?"

Edmund, on this appeal, had first to hear what was going on; but, on
understanding the question, was at no loss for an answer.

"Certainly, sir, I have no idea but of residence. But, Crawford, though I
refuse you as a tenant, come to me as a friend.  Consider the house as half
your own every winter, and we will add to the stables on your own improved
plan, and with all the improvements of your improved plan that may occur to you
this spring."

"We shall be the losers," continued Sir Thomas. "His going, though only eight
miles, will be an unwelcome contraction of our family circle; but I should have
been deeply mortified if any son of mine could reconcile himself to doing less.
 It is perfectly natural that you should not have thought much on the subject,
Mr. Crawford. But a parish has wants and claims which can be known only by a
clergyman constantly resident, and which no proxy can be capable of satisfying
to the same extent. Edmund might, in the common phrase, do the duty of
Thornton, that is, he might read prayers and preach, without giving up
Mansfield Park:  he might ride over every Sunday, to a house nominally
inhabited, and go through divine service; he might be the clergyman of Thornton
Lacey every seventh day, for three or four hours, if that would content him.
But it will not.  He knows that human nature needs more lessons than a weekly
sermon can convey; and that if he does not live among his parishioners, and
prove himself, by constant attention, their well-wisher and friend, he does
very little either for their good or his own."

Mr. Crawford bowed his acquiescence.

"I repeat again," added Sir Thomas, "that Thornton Lacey is the only house in
the neighbourhood in which I should not be happy to wait on Mr. Crawford as

Mr. Crawford bowed his thanks.

"Sir Thomas," said Edmund, "undoubtedly understands the duty of a parish
priest.  We must hope his son may prove that he knows it too."

Whatever effect Sir Thomas's little harangue might really produce on Mr.
Crawford, it raised some awkward sensations in two of the others, two of his
most attentive listeners— Miss Crawford and Fanny.  One of whom, having never
before understood that Thornton was so soon and so completely to be his home,
was pondering with downcast eyes on what it would be not to see Edmund every
day; and the other, startled from the agreeable fancies she had been previously
indulging on the strength of her brother's description, no longer able, in the
picture she had been forming of a future Thornton, to shut out the church, sink
the clergyman, and see only the respectable, elegant, modernised, and
occasional residence of a man of independent fortune, was considering Sir
Thomas, with decided ill-will, as the destroyer of all this, and suffering the
more from that involuntary forbearance which his character and manner
commanded, and from not daring to relieve herself by a single attempt at
throwing ridicule on his cause.

All the agreeable of her speculation was over for that hour. It was time to
have done with cards, if sermons prevailed; and she was glad to find it
necessary to come to a conclusion, and be able to refresh her spirits by a
change of place and neighbour.

The chief of the party were now collected irregularly round the fire, and
waiting the final break-up. William and Fanny were the most detached.  They
remained together at the otherwise deserted card-table, talking very
comfortably, and not thinking of the rest, till some of the rest began to think
of them.  Henry Crawford's chair was the first to be given a direction towards
them, and he sat silently observing them for a few minutes; himself, in the
meanwhile, observed by Sir Thomas, who was standing in chat with Dr. Grant.

"This is the assembly night," said William.  "If I were at Portsmouth I should
be at it, perhaps."

"But you do not wish yourself at Portsmouth, William?"

"No, Fanny, that I do not.  I shall have enough of Portsmouth and of dancing
too, when I cannot have you.  And I do not know that there would be any good in
going to the assembly, for I might not get a partner.  The Portsmouth girls
turn up their noses at anybody who has not a commission. One might as well be
nothing as a midshipman. One is nothing, indeed.  You remember the Gregorys;
they are grown up amazing fine girls, but they will hardly speak to me,
because Lucy is courted by a lieutenant."

"Oh! shame, shame!  But never mind it, William" (her own cheeks in a glow of
indignation as she spoke). "It is not worth minding.  It is no reflection on
you; it is no more than what the greatest admirals have all experienced, more
or less, in their time.  You must think of that, you must try to make up your
mind to it as one of the hardships which fall to every sailor's share, like bad
weather and hard living, only with this advantage, that there will be an end to
it, that there will come a time when you will have nothing of that sort to
endure. When you are a lieutenant! only think, William, when you are a
lieutenant, how little you will care for any nonsense of this kind."

"I begin to think I shall never be a lieutenant, Fanny. Everybody gets made but

"Oh! my dear William, do not talk so; do not be so desponding. My uncle says
nothing, but I am sure he will do everything in his power to get you made.  He
knows, as well as you do, of what consequence it is."

She was checked by the sight of her uncle much nearer to them than she had any
suspicion of, and each found it necessary to talk of something else.

"Are you fond of dancing, Fanny?"

"Yes, very; only I am soon tired."

"I should like to go to a ball with you and see you dance.  Have you never any
balls at Northampton? I should like to see you dance, and I'd dance with you if
you would, for nobody would know who I was here, and I should like to be your
partner once more. We used to jump about together many a time, did not we? when
the hand-organ was in the street?  I am a pretty good dancer in my way, but I
dare say you are a better." And turning to his uncle, who was now close to
them, "Is not Fanny a very good dancer, sir?"

Fanny, in dismay at such an unprecedented question, did not know which way to
look, or how to be prepared for the answer.  Some very grave reproof, or at
least the coldest expression of indifference, must be coming to distress her
brother, and sink her to the ground. But, on the contrary, it was no worse
than, "I am sorry to say that I am unable to answer your question. I have never
seen Fanny dance since she was a little girl; but I trust we shall both think
she acquits herself like a gentlewoman when we do see her, which, perhaps, we
may have an opportunity of doing ere long."

"I have had the pleasure of seeing your sister dance, Mr. Price," said Henry
Crawford, leaning forward, "and will engage to answer every inquiry which you
can make on the subject, to your entire satisfaction. But I believe" (seeing
Fanny looked distressed) "it must be at some other time.  There is one person
in company who does not like to have Miss Price spoken of."

True enough, he had once seen Fanny dance; and it was equally true that he
would now have answered for her gliding about with quiet, light elegance, and
in admirable time; but, in fact, he could not for the life of him recall what
her dancing had been, and rather took it for granted that she had been present
than remembered anything about her.

He passed, however, for an admirer of her dancing; and Sir Thomas, by no means
displeased, prolonged the conversation on dancing in general, and was so well
engaged in describing the balls of Antigua, and listening to what his nephew
could relate of the different modes of dancing which had fallen within his
observation, that he had not heard his carriage announced, and was first called
to the knowledge of it by the bustle of Mrs. Norris.

"Come, Fanny, Fanny, what are you about?  We are going. Do not you see your
aunt is going?  Quick, quick!  I cannot bear to keep good old Wilcox waiting. 
You should always remember the coachman and horses.  My dear Sir Thomas, we
have settled it that the carriage should come back for you, and Edmund and

Sir Thomas could not dissent, as it had been his own arrangement, previously
communicated to his wife and sister; but that seemed forgotten by Mrs.
Norris, who must fancy that she settled it all herself.

Fanny's last feeling in the visit was disappointment: for the shawl which
Edmund was quietly taking from the servant to bring and put round her shoulders
was seized by Mr. Crawford's quicker hand, and she was obliged to be indebted
to his more prominent attention.


William's desire of seeing Fanny dance made more than a momentary impression on
his uncle.  The hope of an opportunity, which Sir Thomas had then given, was
not given to be thought of no more.  He remained steadily inclined to gratify
so amiable a feeling; to gratify anybody else who might wish to see Fanny
dance, and to give pleasure to the young people in general; and having thought
the matter over, and taken his resolution in quiet independence, the result of
it appeared the next morning at breakfast, when, after recalling and commending
what his nephew had said, he added, "I do not like, William, that you should
leave Northamptonshire without this indulgence. It would give me pleasure to
see you both dance. You spoke of the balls at Northampton.  Your cousins have
occasionally attended them; but they would not altogether suit us now.  The
fatigue would be too much for your aunt. I believe we must not think of a
Northampton ball. A dance at home would be more eligible; and if — "

"Ah, my dear Sir Thomas!" interrupted Mrs. Norris, "I knew what was coming.  I
knew what you were going to say.  If dear Julia were at home, or dearest Mrs.
Rushworth at Sotherton, to afford a reason, an occasion for such a thing, you
would be tempted to give the young people a dance at Mansfield. I know you
would.  If they were at home to grace the ball, a ball you would have this
very Christmas. Thank your uncle, William, thank your uncle!"

"My daughters," replied Sir Thomas, gravely interposing, "have their pleasures
at Brighton, and I hope are very happy; but the dance which I think of giving
at Mansfield will be for their cousins.  Could we be all assembled, our
satisfaction would undoubtedly be more complete, but the absence of some is not
to debar the others of amusement."

Mrs. Norris had not another word to say.  She saw decision in his looks, and
her surprise and vexation required some minutes' silence to be settled into
composure. A ball at such a time!  His daughters absent and herself not
consulted!  There was comfort, however, soon at hand. She must be the doer of
everything:  Lady Bertram would of course be spared all thought and exertion,
and it would all fall upon her.  She should have to do the honours of the
evening; and this reflection quickly restored so much of her good-humour as
enabled her to join in with the others, before their happiness and thanks were
all expressed.

Edmund, William, and Fanny did, in their different ways, look and speak as much
grateful pleasure in the promised ball as Sir Thomas could desire.  Edmund's
feelings were for the other two.  His father had never conferred a favour or
shewn a kindness more to his satisfaction.

Lady Bertram was perfectly quiescent and contented, and had no objections to
make.  Sir Thomas engaged for its giving her very little trouble; and she
assured him "that she was not at all afraid of the trouble; indeed, she could
not imagine there would be any."

Mrs. Norris was ready with her suggestions as to the rooms he would think
fittest to be used, but found it all prearranged; and when she would have
conjectured and hinted about the day, it appeared that the day was settled too.
Sir Thomas had been amusing himself with shaping a very complete outline of the
business; and as soon as she would listen quietly, could read his list of the
families to be invited, from whom he calculated, with all necessary allowance
for the shortness of the notice, to collect young people enough to form twelve
or fourteen couple: and could detail the considerations which had induced him
to fix on the 22nd as the most eligible day. William was required to be at
Portsmouth on the 24th; the 22nd would therefore be the last day of his visit;
but where the days were so few it would be unwise to fix on any earlier.  Mrs.
Norris was obliged to be satisfied with thinking just the same, and with having
been on the point of proposing the 22nd herself, as by far the best day for the

The ball was now a settled thing, and before the evening a proclaimed thing to
all whom it concerned.  Invitations were sent with despatch, and many a young
lady went to bed that night with her head full of happy cares as well as Fanny.
To her the cares were sometimes almost beyond the happiness; for young and
inexperienced, with small means of choice and no confidence in her own taste,
the "how she should be dressed" was a point of painful solicitude; and the
almost solitary ornament in her possession, a very pretty amber cross which
William had brought her from Sicily, was the greatest distress of all, for she
had nothing but a bit of ribbon to fasten it to; and though she had worn it in
that manner once, would it be allowable at such a time in the midst of all the
rich ornaments which she supposed all the other young ladies would appear in? 
And yet not to wear it!  William had wanted to buy her a gold chain too, but
the purchase had been beyond his means, and therefore not to wear the cross
might be mortifying him.  These were anxious considerations; enough to sober
her spirits even under the prospect of a ball given principally for her

The preparations meanwhile went on, and Lady Bertram continued to sit on her
sofa without any inconvenience from them. She had some extra visits from the
housekeeper, and her maid was rather hurried in making up a new dress for her:
Sir Thomas gave orders, and Mrs. Norris ran about; but all this gave her no
trouble, and as she had foreseen, "there was, in fact, no trouble in the

Edmund was at this time particularly full of cares: his mind being deeply
occupied in the consideration of two important events now at hand, which were
to fix his fate in life — ordination and matrimony — events of such a serious
character as to make the ball, which would be very quickly followed by one of
them, appear of less moment in his eyes than in those of any other person in
the house. On the 23rd he was going to a friend near Peterborough, in the same
situation as himself, and they were to receive ordination in the course of the
Christmas week. Half his destiny would then be determined, but the other half
might not be so very smoothly wooed.  His duties would be established, but the
wife who was to share, and animate, and reward those duties, might yet be
unattainable. He knew his own mind, but he was not always perfectly assured of
knowing Miss Crawford's. There were points on which they did not quite agree;
there were moments in which she did not seem propitious; and though trusting
altogether to her affection, so far as to be resolved — almost resolved— on
bringing it to a decision within a very short time, as soon as the variety of
business before him were arranged, and he knew what he had to offer her, he had
many anxious feelings, many doubting hours as to the result. His conviction of
her regard for him was sometimes very strong; he could look back on a long
course of encouragement, and she was as perfect in disinterested attachment as
in everything else.  But at other times doubt and alarm intermingled with his
hopes; and when he thought of her acknowledged disinclination for privacy and
retirement, her decided preference of a London life, what could he expect but a
determined rejection? unless it were an acceptance even more to be deprecated,
demanding such sacrifices of situation and employment on his side as conscience
must forbid.

The issue of all depended on one question.  Did she love him well enough to
forego what had used to be essential points?  Did she love him well enough to
make them no longer essential?  And this question, which he was continually
repeating to himself, though oftenest answered with a "Yes," had sometimes its

Miss Crawford was soon to leave Mansfield, and on this circumstance the "no"
and the "yes" had been very recently in alternation.  He had seen her eyes
sparkle as she spoke of the dear friend's letter, which claimed a long visit
from her in London, and of the kindness of Henry, in engaging to remain where
he was till January, that he might convey her thither; he had heard her speak
of the pleasure of such a journey with an animation which had "no" in every
tone. But this had occurred on the first day of its being settled, within the
first hour of the burst of such enjoyment, when nothing but the friends she was
to visit was before her. He had since heard her express herself differently,
with other feelings, more chequered feelings:  he had heard her tell Mrs. Grant
that she should leave her with regret; that she began to believe neither the
friends nor the pleasures she was going to were worth those she left behind;
and that though she felt she must go, and knew she should enjoy herself when
once away, she was already looking forward to being at Mansfield again. Was
there not a "yes" in all this?

With such matters to ponder over, and arrange, and re-arrange, Edmund could
not, on his own account, think very much of the evening which the rest of the
family were looking forward to with a more equal degree of strong interest.
Independent of his two cousins' enjoyment in it, the evening was to him of no
higher value than any other appointed meeting of the two families might be. In
every meeting there was a hope of receiving farther confirmation of Miss
Crawford's attachment; but the whirl of a ballroom, perhaps, was not
particularly favourable to the excitement or expression of serious feelings. To
engage her early for the two first dances was all the command of individual
happiness which he felt in his power, and the only preparation for the ball
which he could enter into, in spite of all that was passing around him on the
subject, from morning till night.

Thursday was the day of the ball; and on Wednesday morning Fanny, still unable
to satisfy herself as to what she ought to wear, determined to seek the counsel
of the more enlightened, and apply to Mrs. Grant and her sister, whose
acknowledged taste would certainly bear her blameless; and as Edmund and
William were gone to Northampton, and she had reason to think Mr. Crawford
likewise out, she walked down to the Parsonage without much fear of wanting an
opportunity for private discussion; and the privacy of such a discussion was a
most important part of it to Fanny, being more than half-ashamed of her own

She met Miss Crawford within a few yards of the Parsonage, just setting out to
call on her, and as it seemed to her that her friend, though obliged to insist
on turning back, was unwilling to lose her walk, she explained her business at
once, and observed, that if she would be so kind as to give her opinion, it
might be all talked over as well without doors as within.  Miss Crawford
appeared gratified by the application, and after a moment's thought, urged
Fanny's returning with her in a much more cordial manner than before, and
proposed their going up into her room, where they might have a comfortable
coze, without disturbing Dr. and Mrs. Grant, who were together in the
drawing-room. It was just the plan to suit Fanny; and with a great deal of
gratitude on her side for such ready and kind attention, they proceeded
indoors, and upstairs, and were soon deep in the interesting subject.  Miss
Crawford, pleased with the appeal, gave her all her best judgment and taste,
made everything easy by her suggestions, and tried to make everything agreeable
by her encouragement. The dress being settled in all its grander parts— "But
what shall you have by way of necklace?" said Miss Crawford.  "Shall not you
wear your brother's cross?" And as she spoke she was undoing a small parcel,
which Fanny had observed in her hand when they met. Fanny acknowledged her
wishes and doubts on this point: she did not know how either to wear the cross,
or to refrain from wearing it.  She was answered by having a small trinket-box
placed before her, and being requested to chuse from among several gold chains
and necklaces. Such had been the parcel with which Miss Crawford was provided,
and such the object of her intended visit: and in the kindest manner she now
urged Fanny's taking one for the cross and to keep for her sake, saying
everything she could think of to obviate the scruples which were making Fanny
start back at first with a look of horror at the proposal.

"You see what a collection I have," said she; "more by half than I ever use or
think of.  I do not offer them as new. I offer nothing but an old necklace. 
You must forgive the liberty, and oblige me."

Fanny still resisted, and from her heart.  The gift was too valuable.  But Miss
Crawford persevered, and argued the case with so much affectionate earnestness
through all the heads of William and the cross, and the ball, and herself, as
to be finally successful.  Fanny found herself obliged to yield, that she might
not be accused of pride or indifference, or some other littleness; and having
with modest reluctance given her consent, proceeded to make the selection.  She
looked and looked, longing to know which might be least valuable; and was
determined in her choice at last, by fancying there was one necklace more
frequently placed before her eyes than the rest.  It was of gold, prettily
worked; and though Fanny would have preferred a longer and a plainer chain as
more adapted for her purpose, she hoped, in fixing on this, to be chusing what
Miss Crawford least wished to keep. Miss Crawford smiled her perfect
approbation; and hastened to complete the gift by putting the necklace round
her, and making her see how well it looked.  Fanny had not a word to say
against its becomingness, and, excepting what remained of her scruples, was
exceedingly pleased with an acquisition so very apropos.  She would rather,
perhaps, have been obliged to some other person.  But this was an unworthy
feeling.  Miss Crawford had anticipated her wants with a kindness which proved
her a real friend. "When I wear this necklace I shall always think of you,"
said she, "and feel how very kind you were."

"You must think of somebody else too, when you wear that necklace," replied
Miss Crawford.  "You must think of Henry, for it was his choice in the first
place. He gave it to me, and with the necklace I make over to you all the duty
of remembering the original giver. It is to be a family remembrancer.  The
sister is not to be in your mind without bringing the brother too."

Fanny, in great astonishment and confusion, would have returned the present
instantly.  To take what had been the gift of another person, of a brother too,
impossible! it must not be! and with an eagerness and embarrassment quite
diverting to her companion, she laid down the necklace again on its cotton, and
seemed resolved either to take another or none at all.  Miss Crawford thought
she had never seen a prettier consciousness. "My dear child," said she,
laughing, "what are you afraid of? Do you think Henry will claim the necklace
as mine, and fancy you did not come honestly by it? or are you imagining he
would be too much flattered by seeing round your lovely throat an ornament
which his money purchased three years ago, before he knew there was such a
throat in the world? or perhaps" — looking archly— "you suspect a confederacy
between us, and that what I am now doing is with his knowledge and at his

With the deepest blushes Fanny protested against such a thought.

"Well, then," replied Miss Crawford more seriously, but without at all
believing her, "to convince me that you suspect no trick, and are as
unsuspicious of compliment as I have always found you, take the necklace and
say no more about it.  Its being a gift of my brother's need not make the
smallest difference in your accepting it, as I assure you it makes none in my
willingness to part with it.  He is always giving me something or other. I have
such innumerable presents from him that it is quite impossible for me to value
or for him to remember half. And as for this necklace, I do not suppose I have
worn it six times:  it is very pretty, but I never think of it; and though you
would be most heartily welcome to any other in my trinket-box, you have
happened to fix on the very one which, if I have a choice, I would rather part
with and see in your possession than any other. Say no more against it, I
entreat you.  Such a trifle is not worth half so many words."

Fanny dared not make any farther opposition; and with renewed but less happy
thanks accepted the necklace again, for there was an expression in Miss
Crawford's eyes which she could not be satisfied with.

It was impossible for her to be insensible of Mr. Crawford's change of manners.
 She had long seen it.  He evidently tried to please her:  he was gallant, he
was attentive, he was something like what he had been to her cousins: he
wanted, she supposed, to cheat her of her tranquillity as he had cheated them;
and whether he might not have some concern in this necklace — she could not be
convinced that he had not, for Miss Crawford, complaisant as a sister, was
careless as a woman and a friend.

Reflecting and doubting, and feeling that the possession of what she had so
much wished for did not bring much satisfaction, she now walked home again,
with a change rather than a diminution of cares since her treading that path


On reaching home Fanny went immediately upstairs to deposit this unexpected
acquisition, this doubtful good of a necklace, in some favourite box in the
East room, which held all her smaller treasures; but on opening the door, what
was her surprise to find her cousin Edmund there writing at the table!  Such a
sight having never occurred before, was almost as wonderful as it was welcome.

"Fanny," said he directly, leaving his seat and his pen, and meeting her with
something in his hand, "I beg your pardon for being here.  I came to look for
you, and after waiting a little while in hope of your coming in, was making use
of your inkstand to explain my errand. You will find the beginning of a note to
yourself; but I can now speak my business, which is merely to beg your
acceptance of this little trifle — a chain for William's cross.  You ought to
have had it a week ago, but there has been a delay from my brother's not being
in town by several days so soon as I expected; and I have only just now
received it at Northampton. I hope you will like the chain itself, Fanny.  I
endeavoured to consult the simplicity of your taste; but, at any rate, I know
you will be kind to my intentions, and consider it, as it really is, a token of
the love of one of your oldest friends."

And so saying, he was hurrying away, before Fanny, overpowered by a thousand
feelings of pain and pleasure, could attempt to speak; but quickened by one
sovereign wish, she then called out, "Oh! cousin, stop a moment, pray stop!"

He turned back.

"I cannot attempt to thank you," she continued, in a very agitated manner;
"thanks are out of the question. I feel much more than I can possibly express.
Your goodness in thinking of me in such a way is beyond— "

"If that is all you have to say, Fanny" smiling and turning away again.

"No, no, it is not.  I want to consult you."

Almost unconsciously she had now undone the parcel he had just put into her
hand, and seeing before her, in all the niceness of jewellers' packing, a plain
gold chain, perfectly simple and neat, she could not help bursting forth again,
"Oh, this is beautiful indeed! This is the very thing, precisely what I wished
for! This is the only ornament I have ever had a desire to possess. It will
exactly suit my cross.  They must and shall be worn together.  It comes, too,
in such an acceptable moment. Oh, cousin, you do not know how acceptable it

"My dear Fanny, you feel these things a great deal too much. I am most happy
that you like the chain, and that it should be here in time for to-morrow; but
your thanks are far beyond the occasion.  Believe me, I have no pleasure in the
world superior to that of contributing to yours. No, I can safely say, I have
no pleasure so complete, so unalloyed.  It is without a drawback."

Upon such expressions of affection Fanny could have lived an hour without
saying another word; but Edmund, after waiting a moment, obliged her to bring
down her mind from its heavenly flight by saying, "But what is it that you want
to consult me about?"

It was about the necklace, which she was now most earnestly longing to return,
and hoped to obtain his approbation of her doing.  She gave the history of her
recent visit, and now her raptures might well be over; for Edmund was so struck
with the circumstance, so delighted with what Miss Crawford had done, so
gratified by such a coincidence of conduct between them, that Fanny could not
but admit the superior power of one pleasure over his own mind, though it might
have its drawback.  It was some time before she could get his attention to her
plan, or any answer to her demand of his opinion:  he was in a reverie of fond
reflection, uttering only now and then a few half-sentences of praise; but when
he did awake and understand, he was very decided in opposing what she wished.

"Return the necklace!  No, my dear Fanny, upon no account. It would be
mortifying her severely.  There can hardly be a more unpleasant sensation than
the having anything returned on our hands which we have given with a reasonable
hope of its contributing to the comfort of a friend. Why should she lose a
pleasure which she has shewn herself so deserving of?"

"If it had been given to me in the first instance," said Fanny, "I should not
have thought of returning it; but being her brother's present, is not it fair
to suppose that she would rather not part with it, when it is not wanted?"

"She must not suppose it not wanted, not acceptable, at least:  and its having
been originally her brother's gift makes no difference; for as she was not
prevented from offering, nor you from taking it on that account, it ought not
to prevent you from keeping it.  No doubt it is handsomer than mine, and fitter
for a ballroom."

"No, it is not handsomer, not at all handsomer in its way, and, for my purpose,
not half so fit. The chain will agree with William's cross beyond all
comparison better than the necklace."

"For one night, Fanny, for only one night, if it be a sacrifice; I am sure
you will, upon consideration, make that sacrifice rather than give pain to one
who has been so studious of your comfort.  Miss Crawford's attentions to you
have been — not more than you were justly entitled to— I am the last person to
think that could be, but they have been invariable; and to be returning
them with what must have something the air of ingratitude, though I know it
could never have the meaning, is not in your nature, I am sure.  Wear the
necklace, as you are engaged to do, to-morrow evening, and let the chain, which
was not ordered with any reference to the ball, be kept for commoner occasions.
 This is my advice. I would not have the shadow of a coolness between the two
whose intimacy I have been observing with the greatest pleasure, and in whose
characters there is so much general resemblance in true generosity and natural
delicacy as to make the few slight differences, resulting principally from
situation, no reasonable hindrance to a perfect friendship.  I would not have
the shadow of a coolness arise," he repeated, his voice sinking a little,
"between the two dearest objects I have on earth."

He was gone as he spoke; and Fanny remained to tranquillise herself as she
could.  She was one of his two dearest— that must support her.  But the other:
 the first! She had never heard him speak so openly before, and though it told
her no more than what she had long perceived, it was a stab, for it told of his
own convictions and views. They were decided.  He would marry Miss Crawford. It
was a stab, in spite of every long-standing expectation; and she was obliged to
repeat again and again, that she was one of his two dearest, before the words
gave her any sensation.  Could she believe Miss Crawford to deserve him, it
would be — oh, how different would it be— how far more tolerable!  But he was
deceived in her: he gave her merits which she had not; her faults were what
they had ever been, but he saw them no longer. Till she had shed many tears
over this deception, Fanny could not subdue her agitation; and the dejection
which followed could only be relieved by the influence of fervent prayers for
his happiness.

It was her intention, as she felt it to be her duty, to try to overcome all
that was excessive, all that bordered on selfishness, in her affection for
Edmund. To call or to fancy it a loss, a disappointment, would be a presumption
for which she had not words strong enough to satisfy her own humility.  To
think of him as Miss Crawford might be justified in thinking, would in her be
insanity. To her he could be nothing under any circumstances; nothing dearer
than a friend.  Why did such an idea occur to her even enough to be reprobated
and forbidden?  It ought not to have touched on the confines of her
imagination. She would endeavour to be rational, and to deserve the right of
judging of Miss Crawford's character, and the privilege of true solicitude for
him by a sound intellect and an honest heart.

She had all the heroism of principle, and was determined to do her duty; but
having also many of the feelings of youth and nature, let her not be much
wondered at, if, after making all these good resolutions on the side of
self-government, she seized the scrap of paper on which Edmund had begun
writing to her, as a treasure beyond all her hopes, and reading with the
tenderest emotion these words, "My very dear Fanny, you must do me the favour
to accept" locked it up with the chain, as the dearest part of the gift. It was
the only thing approaching to a letter which she had ever received from him;
she might never receive another; it was impossible that she ever should receive
another so perfectly gratifying in the occasion and the style. Two lines more
prized had never fallen from the pen of the most distinguished author — never
more completely blessed the researches of the fondest biographer. The
enthusiasm of a woman's love is even beyond the biographer's. To her, the
handwriting itself, independent of anything it may convey, is a blessedness.
Never were such characters cut by any other human being as Edmund's commonest
handwriting gave!  This specimen, written in haste as it was, had not a fault;
and there was a felicity in the flow of the first four words, in the
arrangement of "My very dear Fanny," which she could have looked at for ever.

Having regulated her thoughts and comforted her feelings by this happy mixture
of reason and weakness, she was able in due time to go down and resume her
usual employments near her aunt Bertram, and pay her the usual observances
without any apparent want of spirits.

Thursday, predestined to hope and enjoyment, came; and opened with more
kindness to Fanny than such self-willed, unmanageable days often volunteer, for
soon after breakfast a very friendly note was brought from Mr. Crawford to
William, stating that as he found himself obliged to go to London on the morrow
for a few days, he could not help trying to procure a companion; and therefore
hoped that if William could make up his mind to leave Mansfield half a day
earlier than had been proposed, he would accept a place in his carriage.  Mr.
Crawford meant to be in town by his uncle's accustomary late dinner-hour, and
William was invited to dine with him at the Admiral's. The proposal was a very
pleasant one to William himself, who enjoyed the idea of travelling post with
four horses, and such a good-humoured, agreeable friend; and, in likening it to
going up with despatches, was saying at once everything in favour of its
happiness and dignity which his imagination could suggest; and Fanny, from a
different motive, was exceedingly pleased; for the original plan was that
William should go up by the mail from Northampton the following night, which
would not have allowed him an hour's rest before he must have got into a
Portsmouth coach; and though this offer of Mr. Crawford's would rob her of many
hours of his company, she was too happy in having William spared from the
fatigue of such a journey, to think of anything else.  Sir Thomas approved of
it for another reason.  His nephew's introduction to Admiral Crawford might be
of service.  The Admiral, he believed, had interest.  Upon the whole, it was a
very joyous note. Fanny's spirits lived on it half the morning, deriving some
accession of pleasure from its writer being himself to go away.

As for the ball, so near at hand, she had too many agitations and fears to have
half the enjoyment in anticipation which she ought to have had, or must have
been supposed to have by the many young ladies looking forward to the same
event in situations more at ease, but under circumstances of less novelty, less
interest, less peculiar gratification, than would be attributed to her.  Miss
Price, known only by name to half the people invited, was now to make her first
appearance, and must be regarded as the queen of the evening. Who could be
happier than Miss Price?  But Miss Price had not been brought up to the trade
of coming out; and had she known in what light this ball was, in general,
considered respecting her, it would very much have lessened her comfort by
increasing the fears she already had of doing wrong and being looked at.  To
dance without much observation or any extraordinary fatigue, to have strength
and partners for about half the evening, to dance a little with Edmund, and not
a great deal with Mr. Crawford, to see William enjoy himself, and be able to
keep away from her aunt Norris, was the height of her ambition, and seemed to
comprehend her greatest possibility of happiness.  As these were the best of
her hopes, they could not always prevail; and in the course of a long morning,
spent principally with her two aunts, she was often under the influence of much
less sanguine views.  William, determined to make this last day a day of
thorough enjoyment, was out snipe-shooting; Edmund, she had too much reason to
suppose, was at the Parsonage; and left alone to bear the worrying of Mrs.
Norris, who was cross because the housekeeper would have her own way with the
supper, and whom she could not avoid though the housekeeper might, Fanny was
worn down at last to think everything an evil belonging to the ball, and when
sent off with a parting worry to dress, moved as languidly towards her own
room, and felt as incapable of happiness as if she had been allowed no share in

As she walked slowly upstairs she thought of yesterday; it had been about the
same hour that she had returned from the Parsonage, and found Edmund in the
East room. "Suppose I were to find him there again to-day!" said she to
herself, in a fond indulgence of fancy.

"Fanny," said a voice at that moment near her. Starting and looking up, she
saw, across the lobby she had just reached, Edmund himself, standing at the
head of a different staircase.  He came towards her.  "You look tired and
fagged, Fanny.  You have been walking too far."

"No, I have not been out at all."

"Then you have had fatigues within doors, which are worse. You had better have
gone out."

Fanny, not liking to complain, found it easiest to make no answer; and though
he looked at her with his usual kindness, she believed he had soon ceased to
think of her countenance. He did not appear in spirits:  something unconnected
with her was probably amiss.  They proceeded upstairs together, their rooms
being on the same floor above.

"I come from Dr. Grant's," said Edmund presently. "You may guess my errand
there, Fanny."  And he looked so conscious, that Fanny could think but of one
errand, which turned her too sick for speech.  "I wished to engage Miss
Crawford for the two first dances," was the explanation that followed, and
brought Fanny to life again, enabling her, as she found she was expected to
speak, to utter something like an inquiry as to the result.

"Yes," he answered, "she is engaged to me; but" (with a smile that did not sit
easy) "she says it is to be the last time that she ever will dance with me. 
She is not serious. I think, I hope, I am sure she is not serious; but I would
rather not hear it.  She never has danced with a clergyman, she says, and she
never will.  For my own sake, I could wish there had been no ball just at — I
mean not this very week, this very day; to-morrow I leave home."

Fanny struggled for speech, and said, "I am very sorry that anything has
occurred to distress you.  This ought to be a day of pleasure.  My uncle meant
it so."

"Oh yes, yes! and it will be a day of pleasure. It will all end right.  I am
only vexed for a moment. In fact, it is not that I consider the ball as
ill-timed; what does it signify?  But, Fanny," stopping her, by taking her
hand, and speaking low and seriously, "you know what all this means.  You see
how it is; and could tell me, perhaps better than I could tell you, how and why
I am vexed.  Let me talk to you a little. You are a kind, kind listener.  I
have been pained by her manner this morning, and cannot get the better of it. 
I know her disposition to be as sweet and faultless as your own, but the
influence of her former companions makes her seem — gives to her conversation,
to her professed opinions, sometimes a tinge of wrong. She does not think
evil, but she speaks it, speaks it in playfulness; and though I know it to be
playfulness, it grieves me to the soul."

"The effect of education," said Fanny gently.

Edmund could not but agree to it.  "Yes, that uncle and aunt! They have injured
the finest mind; for sometimes, Fanny, I own to you, it does appear more than
manner: it appears as if the mind itself was tainted."

Fanny imagined this to be an appeal to her judgment, and therefore, after a
moment's consideration, said, "If you only want me as a listener, cousin, I
will be as useful as I can; but I am not qualified for an adviser. Do not ask
advice of me.  I am not competent."

"You are right, Fanny, to protest against such an office, but you need not be
afraid.  It is a subject on which I should never ask advice; it is the sort of
subject on which it had better never be asked; and few, I imagine, do ask it,
but when they want to be influenced against their conscience.  I only want to
talk to you."

"One thing more.  Excuse the liberty; but take care how you talk to me.  Do
not tell me anything now, which hereafter you may be sorry for.  The time may
come — "

The colour rushed into her cheeks as she spoke.

"Dearest Fanny!" cried Edmund, pressing her hand to his lips with almost as
much warmth as if it had been Miss Crawford's, "you are all considerate
thought! But it is unnecessary here.  The time will never come. No such time as
you allude to will ever come.  I begin to think it most improbable:  the
chances grow less and less; and even if it should, there will be nothing to be
remembered by either you or me that we need be afraid of, for I can never be
ashamed of my own scruples; and if they are removed, it must be by changes that
will only raise her character the more by the recollection of the faults she
once had.  You are the only being upon earth to whom I should say what I have
said; but you have always known my opinion of her; you can bear me witness,
Fanny, that I have never been blinded.  How many a time have we talked over her
little errors!  You need not fear me; I have almost given up every serious idea
of her; but I must be a blockhead indeed, if, whatever befell me, I could think
of your kindness and sympathy without the sincerest gratitude."

He had said enough to shake the experience of eighteen. He had said enough to
give Fanny some happier feelings than she had lately known, and with a brighter
look, she answered, "Yes, cousin, I am convinced that you would be incapable
of anything else, though perhaps some might not.  I cannot be afraid of hearing
anything you wish to say.  Do not check yourself.  Tell me whatever you like."

They were now on the second floor, and the appearance of a housemaid prevented
any farther conversation. For Fanny's present comfort it was concluded,
perhaps, at the happiest moment:  had he been able to talk another five
minutes, there is no saying that he might not have talked away all Miss
Crawford's faults and his own despondence. But as it was, they parted with
looks on his side of grateful affection, and with some very precious sensations
on hers.  She had felt nothing like it for hours. Since the first joy from Mr.
Crawford's note to William had worn away, she had been in a state absolutely
the reverse; there had been no comfort around, no hope within her. Now
everything was smiling.  William's good fortune returned again upon her mind,
and seemed of greater value than at first.  The ball, too — such an evening of
pleasure before her!  It was now a real animation; and she began to dress for
it with much of the happy flutter which belongs to a ball.  All went well: she
did not dislike her own looks; and when she came to the necklaces again, her
good fortune seemed complete, for upon trial the one given her by Miss Crawford
would by no means go through the ring of the cross.  She had, to oblige Edmund,
resolved to wear it; but it was too large for the purpose.  His, therefore,
must be worn; and having, with delightful feelings, joined the chain and the
cross — those memorials of the two most beloved of her heart, those dearest
tokens so formed for each other by everything real and imaginary — and put them
round her neck, and seen and felt how full of William and Edmund they were, she
was able, without an effort, to resolve on wearing Miss Crawford's necklace
too. She acknowledged it to be right.  Miss Crawford had a claim; and when it
was no longer to encroach on, to interfere with the stronger claims, the truer
kindness of another, she could do her justice even with pleasure to herself.
The necklace really looked very well; and Fanny left her room at last,
comfortably satisfied with herself and all about her.

Her aunt Bertram had recollected her on this occasion with an unusual degree of
wakefulness.  It had really occurred to her, unprompted, that Fanny, preparing
for a ball, might be glad of better help than the upper housemaid's, and when
dressed herself, she actually sent her own maid to assist her; too late, of
course, to be of any use. Mrs. Chapman had just reached the attic floor, when
Miss Price came out of her room completely dressed, and only civilities were
necessary; but Fanny felt her aunt's attention almost as much as Lady Bertram
or Mrs. Chapman could do themselves.


Her uncle and both her aunts were in the drawing-room when Fanny went down.  To
the former she was an interesting object, and he saw with pleasure the general
elegance of her appearance, and her being in remarkably good looks. The
neatness and propriety of her dress was all that he would allow himself to
commend in her presence, but upon her leaving the room again soon afterwards,
he spoke of her beauty with very decided praise.

"Yes," said Lady Bertram, "she looks very well. I sent Chapman to her."

"Look well!  Oh, yes!" cried Mrs. Norris, "she has good reason to look well
with all her advantages: brought up in this family as she has been, with all
the benefit of her cousins' manners before her. Only think, my dear Sir Thomas,
what extraordinary advantages you and I have been the means of giving her. The
very gown you have been taking notice of is your own generous present to her
when dear Mrs. Rushworth married. What would she have been if we had not taken
her by the hand?"

Sir Thomas said no more; but when they sat down to table the eyes of the two
young men assured him that the subject might be gently touched again, when the
ladies withdrew, with more success.  Fanny saw that she was approved; and the
consciousness of looking well made her look still better.  From a variety of
causes she was happy, and she was soon made still happier; for in following her
aunts out of the room, Edmund, who was holding open the door, said, as she
passed him, "You must dance with me, Fanny; you must keep two dances for me;
any two that you like, except the first."  She had nothing more to wish for.
She had hardly ever been in a state so nearly approaching high spirits in her
life.  Her cousins' former gaiety on the day of a ball was no longer surprising
to her; she felt it to be indeed very charming, and was actually practising her
steps about the drawing-room as long as she could be safe from the notice of
her aunt Norris, who was entirely taken up at first in fresh arranging and
injuring the noble fire which the butler had prepared.

Half an hour followed that would have been at least languid under any other
circumstances, but Fanny's happiness still prevailed.  It was but to think of
her conversation with Edmund, and what was the restlessness of Mrs. Norris?
What were the yawns of Lady Bertram?

The gentlemen joined them; and soon after began the sweet expectation of a
carriage, when a general spirit of ease and enjoyment seemed diffused, and they
all stood about and talked and laughed, and every moment had its pleasure and
its hope.  Fanny felt that there must be a struggle in Edmund's cheerfulness,
but it was delightful to see the effort so successfully made.

When the carriages were really heard, when the guests began really to assemble,
her own gaiety of heart was much subdued: the sight of so many strangers threw
her back into herself; and besides the gravity and formality of the first great
circle, which the manners of neither Sir Thomas nor Lady Bertram were of a kind
to do away, she found herself occasionally called on to endure something worse.
 She was introduced here and there by her uncle, and forced to be spoken to,
and to curtsey, and speak again.  This was a hard duty, and she was never
summoned to it without looking at William, as he walked about at his ease in
the background of the scene, and longing to be with him.

The entrance of the Grants and Crawfords was a favourable epoch. The stiffness
of the meeting soon gave way before their popular manners and more diffused
intimacies:  little groups were formed, and everybody grew comfortable.  Fanny
felt the advantage; and, drawing back from the toils of civility, would have
been again most happy, could she have kept her eyes from wandering between
Edmund and Mary Crawford. She looked all loveliness — and what might not be
the end of it?  Her own musings were brought to an end on perceiving Mr.
Crawford before her, and her thoughts were put into another channel by his
engaging her almost instantly for the first two dances.  Her happiness on this
occasion was very much a la mortal, finely chequered. To be secure of a
partner at first was a most essential good— for the moment of beginning was
now growing seriously near; and she so little understood her own claims as to
think that if Mr. Crawford had not asked her, she must have been the last to be
sought after, and should have received a partner only through a series of
inquiry, and bustle, and interference, which would have been terrible; but at
the same time there was a pointedness in his manner of asking her which she did
not like, and she saw his eye glancing for a moment at her necklace, with a
smile — she thought there was a smile — which made her blush and feel wretched.
And though there was no second glance to disturb her, though his object seemed
then to be only quietly agreeable, she could not get the better of her
embarrassment, heightened as it was by the idea of his perceiving it, and had
no composure till he turned away to some one else. Then she could gradually
rise up to the genuine satisfaction of having a partner, a voluntary partner,
secured against the dancing began.

When the company were moving into the ballroom, she found herself for the first
time near Miss Crawford, whose eyes and smiles were immediately and more
unequivocally directed as her brother's had been, and who was beginning to
speak on the subject, when Fanny, anxious to get the story over, hastened to
give the explanation of the second necklace: the real chain.  Miss Crawford
listened; and all her intended compliments and insinuations to Fanny were
forgotten: she felt only one thing; and her eyes, bright as they had been
before, shewing they could yet be brighter, she exclaimed with eager pleasure,
"Did he?  Did Edmund? That was like himself.  No other man would have thought
of it. I honour him beyond expression."  And she looked around as if longing to
tell him so.  He was not near, he was attending a party of ladies out of the
room; and Mrs. Grant coming up to the two girls, and taking an arm of each,
they followed with the rest.

Fanny's heart sunk, but there was no leisure for thinking long even of Miss
Crawford's feelings. They were in the ballroom, the violins were playing, and
her mind was in a flutter that forbade its fixing on anything serious.  She
must watch the general arrangements, and see how everything was done.

In a few minutes Sir Thomas came to her, and asked if she were engaged; and the
"Yes, sir; to Mr. Crawford," was exactly what he had intended to hear.  Mr.
Crawford was not far off; Sir Thomas brought him to her, saying something which
discovered to Fanny, that she was to lead the way and open the ball; an idea
that had never occurred to her before.  Whenever she had thought of the
minutiae of the evening, it had been as a matter of course that Edmund would
begin with Miss Crawford; and the impression was so strong, that though her
uncle spoke the contrary, she could not help an exclamation of surprise, a
hint of her unfitness, an entreaty even to be excused.  To be urging her
opinion against Sir Thomas's was a proof of the extremity of the case; but such
was her horror at the first suggestion, that she could actually look him in the
face and say that she hoped it might be settled otherwise; in vain, however: 
Sir Thomas smiled, tried to encourage her, and then looked too serious, and
said too decidedly, "It must be so, my dear," for her to hazard another word;
and she found herself the next moment conducted by Mr. Crawford to the top of
the room, and standing there to be joined by the rest of the dancers, couple
after couple, as they were formed.

She could hardly believe it.  To be placed above so many elegant young women! 
The distinction was too great. It was treating her like her cousins!  And her
thoughts flew to those absent cousins with most unfeigned and truly tender
regret, that they were not at home to take their own place in the room, and
have their share of a pleasure which would have been so very delightful to
them. So often as she had heard them wish for a ball at home as the greatest of
all felicities!  And to have them away when it was given — and for her to be
opening the ball— and with Mr. Crawford too!  She hoped they would not envy
her that distinction now; but when she looked back to the state of things in
the autumn, to what they had all been to each other when once dancing in that
house before, the present arrangement was almost more than she could understand

The ball began.  It was rather honour than happiness to Fanny, for the first
dance at least:  her partner was in excellent spirits, and tried to impart them
to her; but she was a great deal too much frightened to have any enjoyment till
she could suppose herself no longer looked at.  Young, pretty, and gentle,
however, she had no awkwardnesses that were not as good as graces, and there
were few persons present that were not disposed to praise her.  She was
attractive, she was modest, she was Sir Thomas's niece, and she was soon said
to be admired by Mr. Crawford.  It was enough to give her general favour.  Sir
Thomas himself was watching her progress down the dance with much complacency;
he was proud of his niece; and without attributing all her personal beauty, as
Mrs. Norris seemed to do, to her transplantation to Mansfield, he was pleased
with himself for having supplied everything else: education and manners she
owed to him.

Miss Crawford saw much of Sir Thomas's thoughts as he stood, and having, in
spite of all his wrongs towards her, a general prevailing desire of
recommending herself to him, took an opportunity of stepping aside to say
something agreeable of Fanny.  Her praise was warm, and he received it as she
could wish, joining in it as far as discretion, and politeness, and slowness of
speech would allow, and certainly appearing to greater advantage on the subject
than his lady did soon afterwards, when Mary, perceiving her on a sofa very
near, turned round before she began to dance, to compliment her on Miss Price's

"Yes, she does look very well," was Lady Bertram's placid reply. "Chapman
helped her to dress.  I sent Chapman to her." Not but that she was really
pleased to have Fanny admired; but she was so much more struck with her own
kindness in sending Chapman to her, that she could not get it out of her head.

Miss Crawford knew Mrs. Norris too well to think of gratifying her by
commendation of Fanny; to her, it was as the occasion offered — "Ah! ma'am, how
much we want dear Mrs. Rushworth and Julia to-night!" and Mrs. Norris paid her
with as many smiles and courteous words as she had time for, amid so much
occupation as she found for herself in making up card-tables, giving hints to
Sir Thomas, and trying to move all the chaperons to a better part of the room.

Miss Crawford blundered most towards Fanny herself in her intentions to please.
 She meant to be giving her little heart a happy flutter, and filling her with
sensations of delightful self-consequence; and, misinterpreting Fanny's
blushes, still thought she must be doing so when she went to her after the two
first dances, and said, with a significant look, "Perhaps you can tell me why
my brother goes to town to-morrow? He says he has business there, but will not
tell me what.  The first time he ever denied me his confidence!  But this is
what we all come to. All are supplanted sooner or later.  Now, I must apply to
you for information.  Pray, what is Henry going for?"

Fanny protested her ignorance as steadily as her embarrassment allowed.

"Well, then," replied Miss Crawford, laughing, "I must suppose it to be purely
for the pleasure of conveying your brother, and of talking of you by the way."

Fanny was confused, but it was the confusion of discontent; while Miss Crawford
wondered she did not smile, and thought her over-anxious, or thought her odd,
or thought her anything rather than insensible of pleasure in Henry's
attentions. Fanny had a good deal of enjoyment in the course of the evening;
but Henry's attentions had very little to do with it. She would much rather
not have been asked by him again so very soon, and she wished she had not
been obliged to suspect that his previous inquiries of Mrs. Norris, about the
supper hour, were all for the sake of securing her at that part of the evening.
 But it was not to be avoided: he made her feel that she was the object of all;
though she could not say that it was unpleasantly done, that there was
indelicacy or ostentation in his manner; and sometimes, when he talked of
William, he was really not unagreeable, and shewed even a warmth of heart which
did him credit. But still his attentions made no part of her satisfaction. She
was happy whenever she looked at William, and saw how perfectly he was enjoying
himself, in every five minutes that she could walk about with him and hear his
account of his partners; she was happy in knowing herself admired; and she was
happy in having the two dances with Edmund still to look forward to, during the
greatest part of the evening, her hand being so eagerly sought after that her
indefinite engagement with him was in continual perspective. She was happy
even when they did take place; but not from any flow of spirits on his side, or
any such expressions of tender gallantry as had blessed the morning. His mind
was fagged, and her happiness sprung from being the friend with whom it could
find repose. "I am worn out with civility," said he.  "I have been talking
incessantly all night, and with nothing to say. But with you, Fanny, there
may be peace.  You will not want to be talked to.  Let us have the luxury of
silence." Fanny would hardly even speak her agreement.  A weariness, arising
probably, in great measure, from the same feelings which he had acknowledged in
the morning, was peculiarly to be respected, and they went down their two
dances together with such sober tranquillity as might satisfy any looker-on
that Sir Thomas had been bringing up no wife for his younger son.

The evening had afforded Edmund little pleasure.  Miss Crawford had been in gay
spirits when they first danced together, but it was not her gaiety that could
do him good: it rather sank than raised his comfort; and afterwards, for he
found himself still impelled to seek her again, she had absolutely pained him
by her manner of speaking of the profession to which he was now on the point of
belonging. They had talked, and they had been silent; he had reasoned, she had
ridiculed; and they had parted at last with mutual vexation.  Fanny, not able
to refrain entirely from observing them, had seen enough to be tolerably
satisfied. It was barbarous to be happy when Edmund was suffering. Yet some
happiness must and would arise from the very conviction that he did suffer.

When her two dances with him were over, her inclination and strength for more
were pretty well at an end; and Sir Thomas, having seen her walk rather than
dance down the shortening set, breathless, and with her hand at her side, gave
his orders for her sitting down entirely. From that time Mr. Crawford sat down

"Poor Fanny!" cried William, coming for a moment to visit her, and working away
his partner's fan as if for life, "how soon she is knocked up!  Why, the sport
is but just begun. I hope we shall keep it up these two hours.  How can you be
tired so soon?"

"So soon! my good friend," said Sir Thomas, producing his watch with all
necessary caution; "it is three o'clock, and your sister is not used to these
sort of hours."

"Well, then, Fanny, you shall not get up to-morrow before I go.  Sleep as long
as you can, and never mind me."

"Oh!  William."

"What!  Did she think of being up before you set off?"

"Oh! yes, sir," cried Fanny, rising eagerly from her seat to be nearer her
uncle; "I must get up and breakfast with him. It will be the last time, you
know; the last morning."

"You had better not.  He is to have breakfasted and be gone by half-past nine. 
Mr. Crawford, I think you call for him at half-past nine?"

Fanny was too urgent, however, and had too many tears in her eyes for denial;
and it ended in a gracious "Well, well!" which was permission.

"Yes, half-past nine," said Crawford to William as the latter was leaving them,
"and I shall be punctual, for there will be no kind sister to get up for me."
And in a lower tone to Fanny, "I shall have only a desolate house to hurry
from.  Your brother will find my ideas of time and his own very different

After a short consideration, Sir Thomas asked Crawford to join the early
breakfast party in that house instead of eating alone:  he should himself be of
it; and the readiness with which his invitation was accepted convinced him that
the suspicions whence, he must confess to himself, this very ball had in great
measure sprung, were well founded.  Mr. Crawford was in love with Fanny. He had
a pleasing anticipation of what would be.  His niece, meanwhile, did not thank
him for what he had just done. She had hoped to have William all to herself the
last morning. It would have been an unspeakable indulgence.  But though her
wishes were overthrown, there was no spirit of murmuring within her.  On the
contrary, she was so totally unused to have her pleasure consulted, or to have
anything take place at all in the way she could desire, that she was more
disposed to wonder and rejoice in having carried her point so far, than to
repine at the counteraction which followed.

Shortly afterward, Sir Thomas was again interfering a little with her
inclination, by advising her to go immediately to bed.  "Advise" was his word,
but it was the advice of absolute power, and she had only to rise, and, with
Mr. Crawford's very cordial adieus, pass quietly away; stopping at the
entrance-door, like the Lady of Branxholm Hall, "one moment and no more," to
view the happy scene, and take a last look at the five or six determined couple
who were still hard at work; and then, creeping slowly up the principal
staircase, pursued by the ceaseless country-dance, feverish with hopes and
fears, soup and negus, sore-footed and fatigued, restless and agitated, yet
feeling, in spite of everything, that a ball was indeed delightful.

In thus sending her away, Sir Thomas perhaps might not be thinking merely of
her health.  It might occur to him that Mr. Crawford had been sitting by her
long enough, or he might mean to recommend her as a wife by shewing her


The ball was over, and the breakfast was soon over too; the last kiss was
given, and William was gone. Mr. Crawford had, as he foretold, been very
punctual, and short and pleasant had been the meal.

After seeing William to the last moment, Fanny walked back to the
breakfast-room with a very saddened heart to grieve over the melancholy change;
and there her uncle kindly left her to cry in peace, conceiving, perhaps, that
the deserted chair of each young man might exercise her tender enthusiasm, and
that the remaining cold pork bones and mustard in William's plate might but
divide her feelings with the broken egg-shells in Mr. Crawford's. She sat and
cried con amore as her uncle intended, but it was con amore fraternal
and no other. William was gone, and she now felt as if she had wasted half his
visit in idle cares and selfish solicitudes unconnected with him.

Fanny's disposition was such that she could never even think of her aunt Norris
in the meagreness and cheerlessness of her own small house, without reproaching
herself for some little want of attention to her when they had been last
together; much less could her feelings acquit her of having done and said and
thought everything by William that was due to him for a whole fortnight.

It was a heavy, melancholy day.  Soon after the second breakfast, Edmund bade
them good-bye for a week, and mounted his horse for Peterborough, and then all
were gone. Nothing remained of last night but remembrances, which she had
nobody to share in.  She talked to her aunt Bertram— she must talk to somebody
of the ball; but her aunt had seen so little of what had passed, and had so
little curiosity, that it was heavy work.  Lady Bertram was not certain of
anybody's dress or anybody's place at supper but her own. "She could not
recollect what it was that she had heard about one of the Miss Maddoxes, or
what it was that Lady Prescott had noticed in Fanny:  she was not sure whether
Colonel Harrison had been talking of Mr. Crawford or of William when he said he
was the finest young man in the room— somebody had whispered something to her;
she had forgot to ask Sir Thomas what it could be."  And these were her longest
speeches and clearest communications:  the rest was only a languid "Yes, yes;
very well; did you? did he? I did not see that; I should not know one from
the other." This was very bad.  It was only better than Mrs. Norris's sharp
answers would have been; but she being gone home with all the supernumerary
jellies to nurse a sick maid, there was peace and good-humour in their little
party, though it could not boast much beside.

The evening was heavy like the day.  "I cannot think what is the matter with
me," said Lady Bertram, when the tea-things were removed.  "I feel quite
stupid. It must be sitting up so late last night.  Fanny, you must do something
to keep me awake.  I cannot work. Fetch the cards; I feel so very stupid."

The cards were brought, and Fanny played at cribbage with her aunt till
bedtime; and as Sir Thomas was reading to himself, no sounds were heard in the
room for the next two hours beyond the reckonings of the game — "And that
makes thirty-one; four in hand and eight in crib. You are to deal, ma'am; shall
I deal for you?"  Fanny thought and thought again of the difference which
twenty-four hours had made in that room, and all that part of the house. Last
night it had been hope and smiles, bustle and motion, noise and brilliancy, in
the drawing-room, and out of the drawing-room, and everywhere.  Now it was
languor, and all but solitude.

A good night's rest improved her spirits.  She could think of William the next
day more cheerfully; and as the morning afforded her an opportunity of talking
over Thursday night with Mrs. Grant and Miss Crawford, in a very handsome
style, with all the heightenings of imagination, and all the laughs of
playfulness which are so essential to the shade of a departed ball, she could
afterwards bring her mind without much effort into its everyday state, and
easily conform to the tranquillity of the present quiet week.

They were indeed a smaller party than she had ever known there for a whole day
together, and he was gone on whom the comfort and cheerfulness of every
family meeting and every meal chiefly depended.  But this must be learned to be
endured.  He would soon be always gone; and she was thankful that she could now
sit in the same room with her uncle, hear his voice, receive his questions, and
even answer them, without such wretched feelings as she had formerly known.

"We miss our two young men," was Sir Thomas's observation on both the first and
second day, as they formed their very reduced circle after dinner; and in
consideration of Fanny's swimming eyes, nothing more was said on the first day
than to drink their good health; but on the second it led to something farther.
William was kindly commended and his promotion hoped for. "And there is no
reason to suppose," added Sir Thomas, "but that his visits to us may now be
tolerably frequent. As to Edmund, we must learn to do without him. This will be
the last winter of his belonging to us, as he has done."

"Yes," said Lady Bertram, "but I wish he was not going away. They are all going
away, I think.  I wish they would stay at home."

This wish was levelled principally at Julia, who had just applied for
permission to go to town with Maria; and as Sir Thomas thought it best for each
daughter that the permission should be granted, Lady Bertram, though in her own
good-nature she would not have prevented it, was lamenting the change it made
in the prospect of Julia's return, which would otherwise have taken place about
this time. A great deal of good sense followed on Sir Thomas's side, tending to
reconcile his wife to the arrangement. Everything that a considerate parent
ought to feel was advanced for her use; and everything that an affectionate
mother must feel in promoting her children's enjoyment was attributed to her
nature.  Lady Bertram agreed to it all with a calm "Yes"; and at the end of a
quarter of an hour's silent consideration spontaneously observed, "Sir Thomas,
I have been thinking — and I am very glad we took Fanny as we did, for now the
others are away we feel the good of it."

Sir Thomas immediately improved this compliment by adding, "Very true.  We shew
Fanny what a good girl we think her by praising her to her face, she is now a
very valuable companion.  If we have been kind to her, she is now quite as
necessary to us."

"Yes," said Lady Bertram presently; "and it is a comfort to think that we shall
always have her."

Sir Thomas paused, half smiled, glanced at his niece, and then gravely replied,
"She will never leave us, I hope, till invited to some other home that may
reasonably promise her greater happiness than she knows here."

"And that is not very likely to be, Sir Thomas. Who should invite her?  Maria
might be very glad to see her at Sotherton now and then, but she would not
think of asking her to live there; and I am sure she is better off here; and
besides, I cannot do without her."

The week which passed so quietly and peaceably at the great house in Mansfield
had a very different character at the Parsonage.  To the young lady, at least,
in each family, it brought very different feelings.  What was tranquillity and
comfort to Fanny was tediousness and vexation to Mary. Something arose from
difference of disposition and habit: one so easily satisfied, the other so
unused to endure; but still more might be imputed to difference of
circumstances.  In some points of interest they were exactly opposed to each
other.  To Fanny's mind, Edmund's absence was really, in its cause and its
tendency, a relief.  To Mary it was every way painful.  She felt the want of
his society every day, almost every hour, and was too much in want of it to
derive anything but irritation from considering the object for which he went.
He could not have devised anything more likely to raise his consequence than
this week's absence, occurring as it did at the very time of her brother's
going away, of William Price's going too, and completing the sort of general
break-up of a party which had been so animated. She felt it keenly.  They were
now a miserable trio, confined within doors by a series of rain and snow, with
nothing to do and no variety to hope for.  Angry as she was with Edmund for
adhering to his own notions, and acting on them in defiance of her (and she had
been so angry that they had hardly parted friends at the ball), she could not
help thinking of him continually when absent, dwelling on his merit and
affection, and longing again for the almost daily meetings they lately had. 
His absence was unnecessarily long.  He should not have planned such an
absence — he should not have left home for a week, when her own departure from
Mansfield was so near. Then she began to blame herself.  She wished she had not
spoken so warmly in their last conversation.  She was afraid she had used some
strong, some contemptuous expressions in speaking of the clergy, and that
should not have been. It was ill-bred; it was wrong.  She wished such words
unsaid with all her heart.

Her vexation did not end with the week.  All this was bad, but she had still
more to feel when Friday came round again and brought no Edmund; when Saturday
came and still no Edmund; and when, through the slight communication with the
other family which Sunday produced, she learned that he had actually written
home to defer his return, having promised to remain some days longer with his

If she had felt impatience and regret before — if she had been sorry for what
she said, and feared its too strong effect on him — she now felt and feared it
all tenfold more. She had, moreover, to contend with one disagreeable emotion
entirely new to her — jealousy.  His friend Mr. Owen had sisters; he might find
them attractive.  But, at any rate, his staying away at a time when, according
to all preceding plans, she was to remove to London, meant something that she
could not bear.  Had Henry returned, as he talked of doing, at the end of three
or four days, she should now have been leaving Mansfield.  It became absolutely
necessary for her to get to Fanny and try to learn something more. She could
not live any longer in such solitary wretchedness; and she made her way to the
Park, through difficulties of walking which she had deemed unconquerable a week
before, for the chance of hearing a little in addition, for the sake of at
least hearing his name.

The first half-hour was lost, for Fanny and Lady Bertram were together, and
unless she had Fanny to herself she could hope for nothing.  But at last Lady
Bertram left the room, and then almost immediately Miss Crawford thus began,
with a voice as well regulated as she could — "And how do you like your cousin
Edmund's staying away so long? Being the only young person at home, I consider
you as the greatest sufferer.  You must miss him.  Does his staying longer
surprise you?"

"I do not know," said Fanny hesitatingly.  "Yes; I had not particularly
expected it."

"Perhaps he will always stay longer than he talks of. It is the general way all
young men do."

"He did not, the only time he went to see Mr. Owen before."

"He finds the house more agreeable now. He is a very— a very pleasing young
man himself, and I cannot help being rather concerned at not seeing him again
before I go to London, as will now undoubtedly be the case. I am looking for
Henry every day, and as soon as he comes there will be nothing to detain me at
Mansfield. I should like to have seen him once more, I confess. But you must
give my compliments to him.  Yes; I think it must be compliments.  Is not there
a something wanted, Miss Price, in our language — a something between
compliments and— and love — to suit the sort of friendly acquaintance we have
had together?  So many months' acquaintance!  But compliments may be sufficient
here.  Was his letter a long one? Does he give you much account of what he is
doing? Is it Christmas gaieties that he is staying for?"

"I only heard a part of the letter; it was to my uncle; but I believe it was
very short; indeed I am sure it was but a few lines.  All that I heard was that
his friend had pressed him to stay longer, and that he had agreed to do so.  A
few days longer, or some days longer; I am not quite sure which."

"Oh! if he wrote to his father; but I thought it might have been to Lady
Bertram or you.  But if he wrote to his father, no wonder he was concise.  Who
could write chat to Sir Thomas?  If he had written to you, there would have
been more particulars.  You would have heard of balls and parties.  He would
have sent you a description of everything and everybody.  How many Miss Owens
are there?"

"Three grown up."

"Are they musical?"

"I do not at all know.  I never heard."

"That is the first question, you know," said Miss Crawford, trying to appear
gay and unconcerned, "which every woman who plays herself is sure to ask about
another. But it is very foolish to ask questions about any young ladies — about
any three sisters just grown up; for one knows, without being told, exactly
what they are: all very accomplished and pleasing, and one very pretty. There
is a beauty in every family; it is a regular thing. Two play on the pianoforte,
and one on the harp; and all sing, or would sing if they were taught, or sing
all the better for not being taught; or something like it."

"I know nothing of the Miss Owens," said Fanny calmly.

"You know nothing and you care less, as people say. Never did tone express
indifference plainer.  Indeed, how can one care for those one has never seen? 
Well, when your cousin comes back, he will find Mansfield very quiet; all the
noisy ones gone, your brother and mine and myself I do not like the idea of
leaving Mrs. Grant now the time draws near.  She does not like my going."

Fanny felt obliged to speak.  "'You cannot doubt your being missed by many,"
said she.  "You will be very much missed."

Miss Crawford turned her eye on her, as if wanting to hear or see more, and
then laughingly said, "Oh yes! missed as every noisy evil is missed when it is
taken away; that is, there is a great difference felt.  But I am not fishing;
don't compliment me.  If I am missed, it will appear.  I may be discovered by
those who want to see me.  I shall not be in any doubtful, or distant, or
unapproachable region."

Now Fanny could not bring herself to speak, and Miss Crawford was disappointed;
for she had hoped to hear some pleasant assurance of her power from one who she
thought must know, and her spirits were clouded again.

"The Miss Owens," said she, soon afterwards; "suppose you were to have one of
the Miss Owens settled at Thornton Lacey; how should you like it?  Stranger
things have happened. I dare say they are trying for it.  And they are quite in
the light, for it would be a very pretty establishment for them.  I do not at
all wonder or blame them.  It is everybody's duty to do as well for themselves
as they can. Sir Thomas Bertram's son is somebody; and now he is in their own
line.  Their father is a clergyman, and their brother is a clergyman, and they
are all clergymen together. He is their lawful property; he fairly belongs to
them. You don't speak, Fanny; Miss Price, you don't speak. But honestly now, do
not you rather expect it than otherwise?"

"No," said Fanny stoutly, "I do not expect it at all."

"Not at all!" cried Miss Crawford with alacrity. "I wonder at that.  But I dare
say you know exactly— I always imagine you are — perhaps you do not think him
likely to marry at all — or not at present."

"No, I do not," said Fanny softly, hoping she did not err either in the belief
or the acknowledgment of it.

Her companion looked at her keenly; and gathering greater spirit from the blush
soon produced from such a look, only said, "He is best off as he is," and
turned the subject.


Miss Crawford's uneasiness was much lightened by this conversation, and she
walked home again in spirits which might have defied almost another week of the
same small party in the same bad weather, had they been put to the proof; but
as that very evening brought her brother down from London again in quite, or
more than quite, his usual cheerfulness, she had nothing farther to try her
own.  His still refusing to tell her what he had gone for was but the promotion
of gaiety; a day before it might have irritated, but now it was a pleasant
joke— suspected only of concealing something planned as a pleasant surprise to
herself.  And the next day did bring a surprise to her.  Henry had said he
should just go and ask the Bertrams how they did, and be back in ten minutes,
but he was gone above an hour; and when his sister, who had been waiting for
him to walk with her in the garden, met him at last most impatiently in the
sweep, and cried out, "My dear Henry, where can you have been all this time?"
he had only to say that he had been sitting with Lady Bertram and Fanny.

"Sitting with them an hour and a half!" exclaimed Mary.

But this was only the beginning of her surprise.

"Yes, Mary," said he, drawing her arm within his, and walking along the sweep
as if not knowing where he was: "I could not get away sooner; Fanny looked so
lovely! I am quite determined, Mary.  My mind is entirely made up. Will it
astonish you?  No: you must be aware that I am quite determined to marry Fanny

The surprise was now complete; for, in spite of whatever his consciousness
might suggest, a suspicion of his having any such views had never entered his
sister's imagination; and she looked so truly the astonishment she felt, that
he was obliged to repeat what he had said, and more fully and more solemnly. 
The conviction of his determination once admitted, it was not unwelcome.  There
was even pleasure with the surprise.  Mary was in a state of mind to rejoice in
a connexion with the Bertram family, and to be not displeased with her
brother's marrying a little beneath him.

"Yes, Mary," was Henry's concluding assurance.  "I am fairly caught.  You know
with what idle designs I began; but this is the end of them.  I have, I flatter
myself, made no inconsiderable progress in her affections; but my own are
entirely fixed."

"Lucky, lucky girl!" cried Mary, as soon as she could speak; "what a match for
her!  My dearest Henry, this must be my first feeling; but my second, which
you shall have as sincerely, is, that I approve your choice from my soul, and
foresee your happiness as heartily as I wish and desire it.  You will have a
sweet little wife; all gratitude and devotion.  Exactly what you deserve. What
an amazing match for her!  Mrs. Norris often talks of her luck; what will she
say now?  The delight of all the family, indeed!  And she has some true
friends in it! How they will rejoice!  But tell me all about it! Talk to me
for ever.  When did you begin to think seriously about her?"

Nothing could be more impossible than to answer such a question, though nothing
could be more agreeable than to have it asked.  "How the pleasing plague had
stolen on him" he could not say; and before he had expressed the same sentiment
with a little variation of words three times over, his sister eagerly
interrupted him with, "Ah, my dear Henry, and this is what took you to London!
This was your business!  You chose to consult the Admiral before you made up
your mind."

But this he stoutly denied.  He knew his uncle too well to consult him on any
matrimonial scheme.  The Admiral hated marriage, and thought it never
pardonable in a young man of independent fortune.

"When Fanny is known to him," continued Henry, "he will doat on her.  She is
exactly the woman to do away every prejudice of such a man as the Admiral, for
she he would describe, if indeed he has now delicacy of language enough to
embody his own ideas.  But till it is absolutely settled— settled beyond all
interference, he shall know nothing of the matter.  No, Mary, you are quite
mistaken. You have not discovered my business yet."

"Well, well, I am satisfied.  I know now to whom it must relate, and am in no
hurry for the rest. Fanny Price! wonderful, quite wonderful!  That Mansfield
should have done so much for — that you should have found your fate in
Mansfield!  But you are quite right; you could not have chosen better.  There
is not a better girl in the world, and you do not want for fortune; and as to
her connexions, they are more than good. The Bertrams are undoubtedly some of
the first people in this country.  She is niece to Sir Thomas Bertram; that
will be enough for the world.  But go on, go on. Tell me more.  What are your
plans?  Does she know her own happiness?"


"What are you waiting for?"

"For — for very little more than opportunity.  Mary, she is not like her
cousins; but I think I shall not ask in vain."

"Oh no! you cannot.  Were you even less pleasing— supposing her not to love
you already (of which, however, I can have little doubt) — you would be safe.
The gentleness and gratitude of her disposition would secure her all your own
immediately.  From my soul I do not think she would marry you without love;
that is, if there is a girl in the world capable of being uninfluenced by
ambition, I can suppose it her; but ask her to love you, and she will never
have the heart to refuse."

As soon as her eagerness could rest in silence, he was as happy to tell as she
could be to listen; and a conversation followed almost as deeply interesting to
her as to himself, though he had in fact nothing to relate but his own
sensations, nothing to dwell on but Fanny's charms.  Fanny's beauty of face and
figure, Fanny's graces of manner and goodness of heart, were the exhaustless
theme.  The gentleness, modesty, and sweetness of her character were warmly
expatiated on; that sweetness which makes so essential a part of every woman's
worth in the judgment of man, that though he sometimes loves where it is not,
he can never believe it absent. Her temper he had good reason to depend on and
to praise. He had often seen it tried.  Was there one of the family, excepting
Edmund, who had not in some way or other continually exercised her patience and
forbearance? Her affections were evidently strong.  To see her with her
brother!  What could more delightfully prove that the warmth of her heart was
equal to its gentleness? What could be more encouraging to a man who had her
love in view?  Then, her understanding was beyond every suspicion, quick and
clear; and her manners were the mirror of her own modest and elegant mind.  Nor
was this all. Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the worth of good
principles in a wife, though he was too little accustomed to serious reflection
to know them by their proper name; but when he talked of her having such a
steadiness and regularity of conduct, such a high notion of honour, and such an
observance of decorum as might warrant any man in the fullest dependence on her
faith and integrity, he expressed what was inspired by the knowledge of her
being well principled and religious.

"I could so wholly and absolutely confide in her," said he; "and that is what
I want."

Well might his sister, believing as she really did that his opinion of Fanny
Price was scarcely beyond her merits, rejoice in her prospects.

"The more I think of it," she cried, "the more am I convinced that you are
doing quite right; and though I should never have selected Fanny Price as the
girl most likely to attach you, I am now persuaded she is the very one to make
you happy. Your wicked project upon her peace turns out a clever thought
indeed.  You will both find your good in it."

"It was bad, very bad in me against such a creature; but I did not know her
then; and she shall have no reason to lament the hour that first put it into my
head. I will make her very happy, Mary; happier than she has ever yet been
herself, or ever seen anybody else.  I will not take her from Northamptonshire.
 I shall let Everingham, and rent a place in this neighbourhood; perhaps
Stanwix Lodge. I shall let a seven years' lease of Everingham. I am sure of an
excellent tenant at half a word. I could name three people now, who would give
me my own terms and thank me."

"Ha!" cried Mary; "settle in Northamptonshire! That is pleasant!  Then we shall
be all together."

When she had spoken it, she recollected herself, and wished it unsaid; but
there was no need of confusion; for her brother saw her only as the supposed
inmate of Mansfield parsonage, and replied but to invite her in the kindest
manner to his own house, and to claim the best right in her.

"You must give us more than half your time," said he. "I cannot admit Mrs.
Grant to have an equal claim with Fanny and myself, for we shall both have a
right in you. Fanny will be so truly your sister!"

Mary had only to be grateful and give general assurances; but she was now very
fully purposed to be the guest of neither brother nor sister many months

"You will divide your year between London and Northamptonshire?"


"That's right; and in London, of course, a house of your own:  no longer with
the Admiral.  My dearest Henry, the advantage to you of getting away from the
Admiral before your manners are hurt by the contagion of his, before you have
contracted any of his foolish opinions, or learned to sit over your dinner as
if it were the best blessing of life!  You are not sensible of the gain, for
your regard for him has blinded you; but, in my estimation, your marrying early
may be the saving of you.  To have seen you grow like the Admiral in word or
deed, look or gesture, would have broken my heart."

"Well, well, we do not think quite alike here. The Admiral has his faults, but
he is a very good man, and has been more than a father to me.  Few fathers
would have let me have my own way half so much.  You must not prejudice Fanny
against him.  I must have them love one another."

Mary refrained from saying what she felt, that there could not be two persons
in existence whose characters and manners were less accordant:  time would
discover it to him; but she could not help this reflection on the Admiral.
"Henry, I think so highly of Fanny Price, that if I could suppose the next Mrs.
Crawford would have half the reason which my poor ill-used aunt had to abhor
the very name, I would prevent the marriage, if possible; but I know you: I
know that a wife you loved would be the happiest of women, and that even when
you ceased to love, she would yet find in you the liberality and good-breeding
of a gentleman."

The impossibility of not doing everything in the world to make Fanny Price
happy, or of ceasing to love Fanny Price, was of course the groundwork of his
eloquent answer.

"Had you seen her this morning, Mary," he continued, "attending with such
ineffable sweetness and patience to all the demands of her aunt's stupidity,
working with her, and for her, her colour beautifully heightened as she leant
over the work, then returning to her seat to finish a note which she was
previously engaged in writing for that stupid woman's service, and all this
with such unpretending gentleness, so much as if it were a matter of course
that she was not to have a moment at her own command, her hair arranged as
neatly as it always is, and one little curl falling forward as she wrote, which
she now and then shook back, and in the midst of all this, still speaking at
intervals to me, or listening, and as if she liked to listen, to what I said.
Had you seen her so, Mary, you would not have implied the possibility of her
power over my heart ever ceasing."

"My dearest Henry," cried Mary, stopping short, and smiling in his face, "how
glad I am to see you so much in love! It quite delights me.  But what will Mrs.
Rushworth and Julia say?"

"I care neither what they say nor what they feel. They will now see what sort
of woman it is that can attach me, that can attach a man of sense.  I wish the
discovery may do them any good.  And they will now see their cousin treated as
she ought to be, and I wish they may be heartily ashamed of their own
abominable neglect and unkindness. They will be angry," he added, after a
moment's silence, and in a cooler tone; "Mrs. Rushworth will be very angry. It
will be a bitter pill to her; that is, like other bitter pills, it will have
two moments' ill flavour, and then be swallowed and forgotten; for I am not
such a coxcomb as to suppose her feelings more lasting than other women's,
though I was the object of them.  Yes, Mary, my Fanny will feel a difference
indeed:  a daily, hourly difference, in the behaviour of every being who
approaches her; and it will be the completion of my happiness to know that I am
the doer of it, that I am the person to give the consequence so justly her due.
 Now she is dependent, helpless, friendless, neglected, forgotten."

"Nay, Henry, not by all; not forgotten by all; not friendless or forgotten. 
Her cousin Edmund never forgets her."

"Edmund!  True, I believe he is, generally speaking, kind to her, and so is Sir
Thomas in his way; but it is the way of a rich, superior, long-worded,
arbitrary uncle. What can Sir Thomas and Edmund together do, what do they do
for her happiness, comfort, honour, and dignity in the world, to what I shall


Henry Crawford was at Mansfield Park again the next morning, and at an earlier
hour than common visiting warrants. The two ladies were together in the
breakfast-room, and, fortunately for him, Lady Bertram was on the very point of
quitting it as he entered.  She was almost at the door, and not chusing by any
means to take so much trouble in vain, she still went on, after a civil
reception, a short sentence about being waited for, and a "Let Sir Thomas know"
to the servant.

Henry, overjoyed to have her go, bowed and watched her off, and without losing
another moment, turned instantly to Fanny, and, taking out some letters, said,
with a most animated look, "I must acknowledge myself infinitely obliged to any
creature who gives me such an opportunity of seeing you alone: I have been
wishing it more than you can have any idea. Knowing as I do what your feelings
as a sister are, I could hardly have borne that any one in the house should
share with you in the first knowledge of the news I now bring. He is made. 
Your brother is a lieutenant.  I have the infinite satisfaction of
congratulating you on your brother's promotion.  Here are the letters which
announce it, this moment come to hand.  You will, perhaps, like to see them."

Fanny could not speak, but he did not want her to speak. To see the expression
of her eyes, the change of her complexion, the progress of her feelings, their
doubt, confusion, and felicity, was enough. She took the letters as he gave
them.  The first was from the Admiral to inform his nephew, in a few words, of
his having succeeded in the object he had undertaken, the promotion of young
Price, and enclosing two more, one from the Secretary of the First Lord to a
friend, whom the Admiral had set to work in the business, the other from that
friend to himself, by which it appeared that his lordship had the very great
happiness of attending to the recommendation of Sir Charles; that Sir Charles
was much delighted in having such an opportunity of proving his regard for
Admiral Crawford, and that the circumstance of Mr. William Price's commission
as Second Lieutenant of H.M. Sloop Thrush being made out was spreading general
joy through a wide circle of great people.

While her hand was trembling under these letters, her eye running from one to
the other, and her heart swelling with emotion, Crawford thus continued, with
unfeigned eagerness, to express his interest in the event—

"I will not talk of my own happiness," said he, "great as it is, for I think
only of yours.  Compared with you, who has a right to be happy?  I have almost
grudged myself my own prior knowledge of what you ought to have known before
all the world.  I have not lost a moment, however. The post was late this
morning, but there has not been since a moment's delay.  How impatient, how
anxious, how wild I have been on the subject, I will not attempt to describe;
how severely mortified, how cruelly disappointed, in not having it finished
while I was in London! I was kept there from day to day in the hope of it, for
nothing less dear to me than such an object would have detained me half the
time from Mansfield. But though my uncle entered into my wishes with all the
warmth I could desire, and exerted himself immediately, there were difficulties
from the absence of one friend, and the engagements of another, which at last I
could no longer bear to stay the end of, and knowing in what good hands I left
the cause, I came away on Monday, trusting that many posts would not pass
before I should be followed by such very letters as these.  My uncle, who is
the very best man in the world, has exerted himself, as I knew he would, after
seeing your brother.  He was delighted with him. I would not allow myself
yesterday to say how delighted, or to repeat half that the Admiral said in his
praise. I deferred it all till his praise should be proved the praise of a
friend, as this day does prove it. Now I may say that even I could not
require William Price to excite a greater interest, or be followed by warmer
wishes and higher commendation, than were most voluntarily bestowed by my uncle
after the evening they had passed together."

"Has this been all your doing, then?" cried Fanny. "Good heaven! how very,
very kind!  Have you really— was it by your desire?  I beg your pardon, but
I am bewildered.  Did Admiral Crawford apply?  How was it? I am stupefied."

Henry was most happy to make it more intelligible, by beginning at an
earlier stage, and explaining very particularly what he had done.  His last
journey to London had been undertaken with no other view than that of
introducing her brother in Hill Street, and prevailing on the Admiral to
exert whatever interest he might have for getting him on.  This had been his
business. He had communicated it to no creature:  he had not breathed a
syllable of it even to Mary; while uncertain of the issue, he could not have
borne any participation of his feelings, but this had been his business; and
he spoke with such a glow of what his solicitude had been, and used such
strong expressions, was so abounding in the deepest interest, in _twofold
motives, in views and wishes more than could be told_, that Fanny could
not have remained insensible of his drift, had she been able to attend; but
her heart was so full and her senses still so astonished, that she could
listen but imperfectly even to what he told her of William, and saying only
when he paused, "How kind! how very kind! Oh, Mr. Crawford, we are
infinitely obliged to you! Dearest, dearest William!"  She jumped up and
moved in haste towards the door, crying out, "I will go to my uncle. My
uncle ought to know it as soon as possible."  But this could not be
suffered.  The opportunity was too fair, and his feelings too impatient.  He
was after her immediately. "She must not go, she must allow him five minutes
longer," and he took her hand and led her back to her seat, and was in the
middle of his farther explanation, before she had suspected for what she was
detained. When she did understand it, however, and found herself expected to
believe that she had created sensations which his heart had never known
before, and that everything he had done for William was to be placed to the
account of his excessive and unequalled attachment to her, she was
exceedingly distressed, and for some moments unable to speak.  She
considered it all as nonsense, as mere trifling and gallantry, which meant
only to deceive for the hour; she could not but feel that it was treating
her improperly and unworthily, and in such a way as she had not deserved;
but it was like himself, and entirely of a piece with what she had seen
before; and she would not allow herself to shew half the displeasure she
felt, because he had been conferring an obligation, which no want of
delicacy on his part could make a trifle to her. While her heart was still
bounding with joy and gratitude on William's behalf, she could not be
severely resentful of anything that injured only herself; and after having
twice drawn back her hand, and twice attempted in vain to turn away from
him, she got up, and said only, with much agitation, "Don't, Mr. Crawford,
pray don't! I beg you would not.  This is a sort of talking which is very
unpleasant to me.  I must go away.  I cannot bear it." But he was still
talking on, describing his affection, soliciting a return, and, finally, in
words so plain as to bear but one meaning even to her, offering himself,
hand, fortune, everything, to her acceptance.  It was so; he had said it. 
Her astonishment and confusion increased; and though still not knowing how
to suppose him serious, she could hardly stand.  He pressed for an answer.

"No, no, no!" she cried, hiding her face.  "This is all nonsense. Do not
distress me.  I can hear no more of this. Your kindness to William makes me
more obliged to you than words can express; but I do not want, I cannot bear, I
must not listen to such — No, no, don't think of me. But you are not thinking
of me.  I know it is all nothing."

She had burst away from him, and at that moment Sir Thomas was heard speaking
to a servant in his way towards the room they were in.  It was no time for
farther assurances or entreaty, though to part with her at a moment when her
modesty alone seemed, to his sanguine and preassured mind, to stand in the way
of the happiness he sought, was a cruel necessity.  She rushed out at an
opposite door from the one her uncle was approaching, and was walking up and
down the East room ill the utmost confusion of contrary feeling, before Sir
Thomas's politeness or apologies were over, or he had reached the beginning of
the joyful intelligence which his visitor came to communicate.

She was feeling, thinking, trembling about everything; agitated, happy,
miserable, infinitely obliged, absolutely angry.  It was all beyond belief! He
was inexcusable, incomprehensible!  But such were his habits that he could do
nothing without a mixture of evil.  He had previously made her the happiest of
human beings, and now he had insulted — she knew not what to say, how to class,
or how to regard it. She would not have him be serious, and yet what could
excuse the use of such words and offers, if they meant but to trifle?

But William was a lieutenant.  That was a fact beyond a doubt, and without an
alloy.  She would think of it for ever and forget all the rest.  Mr. Crawford
would certainly never address her so again:  he must have seen how unwelcome it
was to her; and in that case, how gratefully she could esteem him for his
friendship to William!

She would not stir farther from the East room than the head of the great
staircase, till she had satisfied herself of Mr. Crawford's having left the
house; but when convinced of his being gone, she was eager to go down and be
with her uncle, and have all the happiness of his joy as well as her own, and
all the benefit of his information or his conjectures as to what would now be
William's destination.  Sir Thomas was as joyful as she could desire, and very
kind and communicative; and she had so comfortable a talk with him about
William as to make her feel as if nothing had occurred to vex her, till she
found, towards the close, that Mr. Crawford was engaged to return and dine
there that very day. This was a most unwelcome hearing, for though he might
think nothing of what had passed, it would be quite distressing to her to see
him again so soon.

She tried to get the better of it; tried very hard, as the dinner hour
approached, to feel and appear as usual; but it was quite impossible for her
not to look most shy and uncomfortable when their visitor entered the room. She
could not have supposed it in the power of any concurrence of circumstances to
give her so many painful sensations on the first day of hearing of William's

Mr. Crawford was not only in the room — he was soon close to her.  He had a note
to deliver from his sister. Fanny could not look at him, but there was no
consciousness of past folly in his voice.  She opened her note immediately,
glad to have anything to do, and happy, as she read it, to feel that the
fidgetings of her aunt Norris, who was also to dine there, screened her a
little from view.

"My dear Fanny, — for so I may now always call you, to the infinite relief of a
tongue that has been stumbling at Miss Price for at least the last six
weeks— I cannot let my brother go without sending you a few lines of general
congratulation, and giving my most joyful consent and approval.  Go on, my dear
Fanny, and without fear; there can be no difficulties worth naming.  I chuse to
suppose that the assurance of my consent will be something; so you may smile
upon him with your sweetest smiles this afternoon, and send him back to me even
happier than he goes. — Yours affectionately, M. C."

These were not expressions to do Fanny any good; for though she read in too
much haste and confusion to form the clearest judgment of Miss Crawford's
meaning, it was evident that she meant to compliment her on her brother's
attachment, and even to appear to believe it serious.  She did not know what
to do, or what to think. There was wretchedness in the idea of its being
serious; there was perplexity and agitation every way. She was distressed
whenever Mr. Crawford spoke to her, and he spoke to her much too often; and she
was afraid there was a something in his voice and manner in addressing her very
different from what they were when he talked to the others.  Her comfort in
that day's dinner was quite destroyed:  she could hardly eat anything; and when
Sir Thomas good-humouredly observed that joy had taken away her appetite, she
was ready to sink with shame, from the dread of Mr. Crawford's interpretation;
for though nothing could have tempted her to turn her eyes to the right hand,
where he sat, she felt that his were immediately directed towards her.

She was more silent than ever.  She would hardly join even when William was the
subject, for his commission came all from the right hand too, and there was
pain in the connexion.

She thought Lady Bertram sat longer than ever, and began to be in despair of
ever getting away; but at last they were in the drawing-room, and she was able
to think as she would, while her aunts finished the subject of William's
appointment in their own style.

Mrs. Norris seemed as much delighted with the saving it would be to Sir Thomas
as with any part of it. "Now William would be able to keep himself, which
would make a vast difference to his uncle, for it was unknown how much he had
cost his uncle; and, indeed, it would make some difference in her presents
too.  She was very glad that she had given William what she did at parting,
very glad, indeed, that it had been in her power, without material
inconvenience, just at that time to give him something rather considerable;
that is, forher, with her limited means, for now it would all be useful in
helping to fit up his cabin.  She knew he must be at some expense, that he
would have many things to buy, though to be sure his father and mother would be
able to put him in the way of getting everything very cheap; but she was very
glad she had contributed her mite towards it."

"I am glad you gave him something considerable," said Lady Bertram, with most
unsuspicious calmness, "for I gave him only 10."

"Indeed!" cried Mrs. Norris, reddening.  "Upon my word, he must have gone off
with his pockets 1 well lined, and at no expense for his journey to London

"Sir Thomas told me 10 would be enough."

Mrs. Norris, being not at all inclined to question its sufficiency, began to
take the matter in another point.

"It is amazing," said she, "how much young people cost their friends, what with
bringing them up and putting them out in the world!  They little think how much
it comes to, or what their parents, or their uncles and aunts, pay for them in
the course of the year.  Now, here are my sister Price's children; take them
all together, I dare say nobody would believe what a sum they cost Sir Thomas
every year, to say nothing of what I do for them."

"Very true, sister, as you say.  But, poor things! they cannot help it; and you
know it makes very little difference to Sir Thomas.  Fanny, William must not
forget my shawl if he goes to the East Indies; and I shall give him a
commission for anything else that is worth having. I wish he may go to the East
Indies, that I may have my shawl. I think I will have two shawls, Fanny."

Fanny, meanwhile, speaking only when she could not help it, was very earnestly
trying to understand what Mr. and Miss Crawford were at.  There was everything
in the world against their being serious but his words and manner. Everything
natural, probable, reasonable, was against it; all their habits and ways of
thinking, and all her own demerits.  How could she have excited serious
attachment in a man who had seen so many, and been admired by so many, and
flirted with so many, infinitely her superiors; who seemed so little open to
serious impressions, even where pains had been taken to please him; who thought
so slightly, so carelessly, so unfeelingly on all such points; who was
everything to everybody, and seemed to find no one essential to him? And
farther, how could it be supposed that his sister, with all her high and
worldly notions of matrimony, would be forwarding anything of a serious nature
in such a quarter?  Nothing could be more unnatural in either. Fanny was
ashamed of her own doubts.  Everything might be possible rather than serious
attachment, or serious approbation of it toward her.  She had quite convinced
herself of this before Sir Thomas and Mr. Crawford joined them. The difficulty
was in maintaining the conviction quite so absolutely after Mr. Crawford was in
the room; for once or twice a look seemed forced on her which she did not know
how to class among the common meaning; in any other man, at least, she would
have said that it meant something very earnest, very pointed. But she still
tried to believe it no more than what he might often have expressed towards her
cousins and fifty other women.

She thought he was wishing to speak to her unheard by the rest.  She fancied he
was trying for it the whole evening at intervals, whenever Sir Thomas was out
of the room, or at all engaged with Mrs. Norris, and she carefully refused him
every opportunity.

At last — it seemed an at last to Fanny's nervousness, though not remarkably
late — he began to talk of going away; but the comfort of the sound was impaired
by his turning to her the next moment, and saying, "Have you nothing to send to
Mary?  No answer to her note?  She will be disappointed if she receives nothing
from you.  Pray write to her, if it be only a line."

"Oh yes! certainly," cried Fanny, rising in haste, the haste of embarrassment
and of wanting to get away— "I will write directly."

She went accordingly to the table, where she was in the habit of writing for
her aunt, and prepared her materials without knowing what in the world to say. 
She had read Miss Crawford's note only once, and how to reply to anything so
imperfectly understood was most distressing. Quite unpractised in such sort of
note-writing, had there been time for scruples and fears as to style she would
have felt them in abundance:  but something must be instantly written; and with
only one decided feeling, that of wishing not to appear to think anything
really intended, she wrote thus, in great trembling both of spirits and hand—

"I am very much obliged to you, my dear Miss Crawford, for your kind
congratulations, as far as they relate to my dearest William.  The rest of your
note I know means nothing; but I am so unequal to anything of the sort, that I
hope you will excuse my begging you to take no farther notice. I have seen too
much of Mr. Crawford not to understand his manners; if he understood me as
well, he would, I dare say, behave differently.  I do not know what I write,
but it would be a great favour of you never to mention the subject again.  With
thanks for the honour of your note, I remain, dear Miss Crawford, etc., etc."

The conclusion was scarcely intelligible from increasing fright, for she found
that Mr. Crawford, under pretence of receiving the note, was coming towards

"You cannot think I mean to hurry you," said he, in an undervoice, perceiving
the amazing trepidation with which she made up the note, "you cannot think I
have any such object.  Do not hurry yourself, I entreat."

"Oh!  I thank you; I have quite done, just done; it will be ready in a moment;
I am very much obliged to you; if you will be so good as to give that to Miss

The note was held out, and must be taken; and as she instantly and with averted
eyes walked towards the fireplace, where sat the others, he had nothing to do
but to go in good earnest.

Fanny thought she had never known a day of greater agitation, both of pain and
pleasure; but happily the pleasure was not of a sort to die with the day; for
every day would restore the knowledge of William's advancement, whereas the
pain, she hoped, would return no more. She had no doubt that her note must
appear excessively ill-written, that the language would disgrace a child, for
her distress had allowed no arrangement; but at least it would assure them both
of her being neither imposed on nor gratified by Mr. Crawford's attentions.


Fanny had by no means forgotten Mr. Crawford when she awoke the next morning;
but she remembered the purport of her note, and was not less sanguine as to its
effect than she had been the night before.  If Mr. Crawford would but go away! 
That was what she most earnestly desired: go and take his sister with him, as
he was to do, and as he returned to Mansfield on purpose to do. And why it was
not done already she could not devise, for Miss Crawford certainly wanted no
delay.  Fanny had hoped, in the course of his yesterday's visit, to hear the
day named; but he had only spoken of their journey as what would take place ere

Having so satisfactorily settled the conviction her note would convey, she
could not but be astonished to see Mr. Crawford, as she accidentally did,
coming up to the house again, and at an hour as early as the day before. His
coming might have nothing to do with her, but she must avoid seeing him if
possible; and being then on her way upstairs, she resolved there to remain,
during the whole of his visit, unless actually sent for; and as Mrs. Norris was
still in the house, there seemed little danger of her being wanted.

She sat some time in a good deal of agitation, listening, trembling, and
fearing to be sent for every moment; but as no footsteps approached the East
room, she grew gradually composed, could sit down, and be able to employ
herself, and able to hope that Mr. Crawford had come and would go without her
being obliged to know anything of the matter.

Nearly half an hour had passed, and she was growing very comfortable, when
suddenly the sound of a step in regular approach was heard; a heavy step, an
unusual step in that part of the house:  it was her uncle's; she knew it as
well as his voice; she had trembled at it as often, and began to tremble again,
at the idea of his coming up to speak to her, whatever might be the subject. It
was indeed Sir Thomas who opened the door and asked if she were there, and if
he might come in.  The terror of his former occasional visits to that room
seemed all renewed, and she felt as if he were going to examine her again in
French and English.

She was all attention, however, in placing a chair for him, and trying to
appear honoured; and, in her agitation, had quite overlooked the deficiencies
of her apartment, till he, stopping short as he entered, said, with much
surprise, "Why have you no fire to-day?"

There was snow on the ground, and she was sitting in a shawl. She hesitated.

"I am not cold, sir:  I never sit here long at this time of year."

"But you have a fire in general?"

"No, sir."

"How comes this about?  Here must be some mistake. I understood that you had
the use of this room by way of making you perfectly comfortable.  In your
bedchamber I know you cannot have a fire.  Here is some great misapprehension
which must be rectified.  It is highly unfit for you to sit, be it only half an
hour a day, without a fire.  You are not strong.  You are chilly. Your aunt
cannot be aware of this."

Fanny would rather have been silent; but being obliged to speak, she could not
forbear, in justice to the aunt she loved best, from saying something in which
the words "my aunt Norris" were distinguishable.

"I understand," cried her uncle, recollecting himself, and not wanting to hear
more:  "I understand.  Your aunt Norris has always been an advocate, and very
judiciously, for young people's being brought up without unnecessary
indulgences; but there should be moderation in everything. She is also very
hardy herself, which of course will influence her in her opinion of the wants
of others. And on another account, too, I can perfectly comprehend. I know what
her sentiments have always been. The principle was good in itself, but it may
have been, and I believe has been, carried too far in your case. I am aware
that there has been sometimes, in some points, a misplaced distinction; but I
think too well of you, Fanny, to suppose you will ever harbour resentment on
that account. You have an understanding which will prevent you from receiving
things only in part, and judging partially by the event.  You will take in the
whole of the past, you will consider times, persons, and probabilities, and you
will feel that they were not least your friends who were educating and
preparing you for that mediocrity of condition which seemed to be your lot.
Though their caution may prove eventually unnecessary, it was kindly meant; and
of this you may be assured, that every advantage of affluence will be doubled
by the little privations and restrictions that may have been imposed. I am sure
you will not disappoint my opinion of you, by failing at any time to treat your
aunt Norris with the respect and attention that are due to her. But enough of
this.  Sit down, my dear.  I must speak to you for a few minutes, but I will
not detain you long."

Fanny obeyed, with eyes cast down and colour rising. After a moment's pause,
Sir Thomas, trying to suppress a smile, went on.

"You are not aware, perhaps, that I have had a visitor this morning.  I had not
been long in my own room, after breakfast, when Mr. Crawford was shewn in. His
errand you may probably conjecture."

Fanny's colour grew deeper and deeper; and her uncle, perceiving that she was
embarrassed to a degree that made either speaking or looking up quite
impossible, turned away his own eyes, and without any farther pause proceeded
in his account of Mr. Crawford's visit.

Mr. Crawford's business had been to declare himself the lover of Fanny, make
decided proposals for her, and entreat the sanction of the uncle, who seemed to
stand in the place of her parents; and he had done it all so well, so openly,
so liberally, so properly, that Sir Thomas, feeling, moreover, his own replies,
and his own remarks to have been very much to the purpose, was exceedingly
happy to give the particulars of their conversation; and little aware of what
was passing in his niece's mind, conceived that by such details he must be
gratifying her far more than himself.  He talked, therefore, for several
minutes without Fanny's daring to interrupt him. She had hardly even attained
the wish to do it.  Her mind was in too much confusion.  She had changed her
position; and, with her eyes fixed intently on one of the windows, was
listening to her uncle in the utmost perturbation and dismay.  For a moment he
ceased, but she had barely become conscious of it, when, rising from his chair,
he said, "And now, Fanny, having performed one part of my commission, and shewn
you everything placed on a basis the most assured and satisfactory, I may
execute the remainder by prevailing on you to accompany me downstairs, where,
though I cannot but presume on having been no unacceptable companion myself, I
must submit to your finding one still better worth listening to.  Mr. Crawford,
as you have perhaps foreseen, is yet in the house.  He is in my room, and
hoping to see you there."

There was a look, a start, an exclamation on hearing this, which astonished Sir
Thomas; but what was his increase of astonishment on hearing her exclaim — "Oh!
no, sir, I cannot, indeed I cannot go down to him.  Mr. Crawford ought to
know— he must know that:  I told him enough yesterday to convince him; he
spoke to me on this subject yesterday, and I told him without disguise that it
was very disagreeable to me, and quite out of my power to return his good

"I do not catch your meaning," said Sir Thomas, sitting down again.  "Out of
your power to return his good opinion? What is all this?  I know he spoke to
you yesterday, and (as far as I understand) received as much encouragement to
proceed as a well-judging young woman could permit herself to give.  I was very
much pleased with what I collected to have been your behaviour on the occasion;
it shewed a discretion highly to be commended.  But now, when he has made his
overtures so properly, and honourably— what are your scruples now?"

"You are mistaken, sir," cried Fanny, forced by the anxiety of the moment even
to tell her uncle that he was wrong; "you are quite mistaken.  How could Mr.
Crawford say such a thing?  I gave him no encouragement yesterday. On the
contrary, I told him, I cannot recollect my exact words, but I am sure I told
him that I would not listen to him, that it was very unpleasant to me in every
respect, and that I begged him never to talk to me in that manner again. I am
sure I said as much as that and more; and I should have said still more, if I
had been quite certain of his meaning anything seriously; but I did not like to
be, I could not bear to be, imputing more than might be intended. I thought it
might all pass for nothing with him."

She could say no more; her breath was almost gone.

"Am I to understand," said Sir Thomas, after a few moments' silence, "that you
mean to refuse Mr. Crawford?"

"Yes, sir."

"Refuse him?"

"Yes, sir."

"Refuse Mr. Crawford!  Upon what plea?  For what reason?"

"I — I cannot like him, sir, well enough to marry him."

"This is very strange!" said Sir Thomas, in a voice of calm displeasure. 
"There is something in this which my comprehension does not reach.  Here is a
young man wishing to pay his addresses to you, with everything to recommend
him: not merely situation in life, fortune, and character, but with more than
common agreeableness, with address and conversation pleasing to everybody.  And
he is not an acquaintance of to-day; you have now known him some time. His
sister, moreover, is your intimate friend, and he has been doing that for
your brother, which I should suppose would have been almost sufficient
recommendation to you, had there been no other.  It is very uncertain when my
interest might have got William on.  He has done it already."

"Yes," said Fanny, in a faint voice, and looking down with fresh shame; and she
did feel almost ashamed of herself, after such a picture as her uncle had
drawn, for not liking Mr. Crawford.

"You must have been aware," continued Sir Thomas presently, "you must have been
some time aware of a particularity in Mr. Crawford's manners to you.  This
cannot have taken you by surprise.  You must have observed his attentions; and
though you always received them very properly (I have no accusation to make on
that head), I never perceived them to be unpleasant to you.  I am half inclined
to think, Fanny, that you do not quite know your own feelings."

"Oh yes, sir! indeed I do.  His attentions were always— what I did not like."

Sir Thomas looked at her with deeper surprise. "This is beyond me," said he. 
"This requires explanation. Young as you are, and having seen scarcely any one,
it is hardly possible that your affections — "

He paused and eyed her fixedly.  He saw her lips formed into a no, though the
sound was inarticulate, but her face was like scarlet.  That, however, in so
modest a girl, might be very compatible with innocence; and chusing at least to
appear satisfied, he quickly added, "No, no, I know that is quite out of the
question; quite impossible.  Well, there is nothing more to be said."

And for a few minutes he did say nothing.  He was deep in thought.  His niece
was deep in thought likewise, trying to harden and prepare herself against
farther questioning. She would rather die than own the truth; and she hoped, by
a little reflection, to fortify herself beyond betraying it.

"Independently of the interest which Mr. Crawford's choice seemed to justify"
said Sir Thomas, beginning again, and very composedly, "his wishing to marry at
all so early is recommendatory to me.  I am an advocate for early marriages,
where there are means in proportion, and would have every young man, with a
sufficient income, settle as soon after four-and-twenty as he can.  This is so
much my opinion, that I am sorry to think how little likely my own eldest son,
your cousin, Mr. Bertram, is to marry early; but at present, as far as I can
judge, matrimony makes no part of his plans or thoughts. I wish he were more
likely to fix."  Here was a glance at Fanny.  "Edmund, I consider, from his
dispositions and habits, as much more likely to marry early than his brother. 
He, indeed, I have lately thought, has seen the woman he could love, which, I
am convinced, my eldest son has not.  Am I right?  Do you agree with me, my

"Yes, sir."

It was gently, but it was calmly said, and Sir Thomas was easy on the score of
the cousins.  But the removal of his alarm did his niece no service:  as her
unaccountableness was confirmed his displeasure increased; and getting up and
walking about the room with a frown, which Fanny could picture to herself,
though she dared not lift up her eyes, he shortly afterwards, and in a voice of
authority, said, "Have you any reason, child, to think ill of Mr. Crawford's

"No, sir."

She longed to add, "But of his principles I have"; but her heart sunk under the
appalling prospect of discussion, explanation, and probably non-conviction. Her
ill opinion of him was founded chiefly on observations, which, for her cousins'
sake, she could scarcely dare mention to their father.  Maria and Julia, and
especially Maria, were so closely implicated in Mr. Crawford's misconduct, that
she could not give his character, such as she believed it, without betraying
them.  She had hoped that, to a man like her uncle, so discerning, so
honourable, so good, the simple acknowledgment of settled dislike on her side
would have been sufficient.  To her infinite grief she found it was not.

Sir Thomas came towards the table where she sat in trembling wretchedness, and
with a good deal of cold sternness, said, "It is of no use, I perceive, to talk
to you.  We had better put an end to this most mortifying conference.  Mr.
Crawford must not be kept longer waiting.  I will, therefore, only add, as
thinking it my duty to mark my opinion of your conduct, that you have
disappointed every expectation I had formed, and proved yourself of a character
the very reverse of what I had supposed.  For I had, Fanny, as I think my
behaviour must have shewn, formed a very favourable opinion of you from the
period of my return to England. I had thought you peculiarly free from
wilfulness of temper, self-conceit, and every tendency to that independence of
spirit which prevails so much in modern days, even in young women, and which in
young women is offensive and disgusting beyond all common offence.  But you
have now shewn me that you can be wilful and perverse; that you can and will
decide for yourself, without any consideration or deference for those who have
surely some right to guide you, without even asking their advice. You have
shewn yourself very, very different from anything that I had imagined.  The
advantage or disadvantage of your family, of your parents, your brothers and
sisters, never seems to have had a moment's share in your thoughts on this
occasion.  How they might be benefited, how they must rejoice in such an
establishment for you, is nothing to you.  You think only of yourself, and
because you do not feel for Mr. Crawford exactly what a young heated fancy
imagines to be necessary for happiness, you resolve to refuse him at once,
without wishing even for a little time to consider of it, a little more time
for cool consideration, and for really examining your own inclinations; and
are, in a wild fit of folly, throwing away from you such an opportunity of
being settled in life, eligibly, honourably, nobly settled, as will, probably,
never occur to you again.  Here is a young man of sense, of character, of
temper, of manners, and of fortune, exceedingly attached to you, and seeking
your hand in the most handsome and disinterested way; and let me tell you,
Fanny, that you may live eighteen years longer in the world without being
addressed by a man of half Mr. Crawford's estate, or a tenth part of his
merits. Gladly would I have bestowed either of my own daughters on him.  Maria
is nobly married; but had Mr. Crawford sought Julia's hand, I should have given
it to him with superior and more heartfelt satisfaction than I gave Maria's to
Mr. Rushworth."  After half a moment's pause: "And I should have been very much
surprised had either of my daughters, on receiving a proposal of marriage at
any time which might carry with it only half the eligibility of this,
immediately and peremptorily, and without paying my opinion or my regard the
compliment of any consultation, put a decided negative on it.  I should have
been much surprised and much hurt by such a proceeding.  I should have thought
it a gross violation of duty and respect. You are not to be judged by the
same rule.  You do not owe me the duty of a child.  But, Fanny, if your heart
can acquit you of ingratitude — "

He ceased.  Fanny was by this time crying so bitterly that, angry as he was, he
would not press that article farther. Her heart was almost broke by such a
picture of what she appeared to him; by such accusations, so heavy, so
multiplied, so rising in dreadful gradation! Self-willed, obstinate, selfish,
and ungrateful. He thought her all this.  She had deceived his expectations;
she had lost his good opinion.  What was to become of her?

"I am very sorry," said she inarticulately, through her tears, "I am very sorry

"Sorry! yes, I hope you are sorry; and you will probably have reason to be long
sorry for this day's transactions."

"If it were possible for me to do otherwise" said she, with another strong
effort; "but I am so perfectly convinced that I could never make him happy, and
that I should be miserable myself."

Another burst of tears; but in spite of that burst, and in spite of that great
black word miserable, which served to introduce it, Sir Thomas began to think
a little relenting, a little change of inclination, might have something to do
with it; and to augur favourably from the personal entreaty of the young man
himself. He knew her to be very timid, and exceedingly nervous; and thought it
not improbable that her mind might be in such a state as a little time, a
little pressing, a little patience, and a little impatience, a judicious
mixture of all on the lover's side, might work their usual effect on.  If the
gentleman would but persevere, if he had but love enough to persevere, Sir
Thomas began to have hopes; and these reflections having passed across his mind
and cheered it, "Well," said he, in a tone of becoming gravity, but of less
anger, "well, child, dry up your tears.  There is no use in these tears; they
can do no good.  You must now come downstairs with me. Mr. Crawford has been
kept waiting too long already. You must give him your own answer:  we cannot
expect him to be satisfied with less; and you only can explain to him the
grounds of that misconception of your sentiments, which, unfortunately for
himself, he certainly has imbibed.  I am totally unequal to it."

But Fanny shewed such reluctance, such misery, at the idea of going down to
him, that Sir Thomas, after a little consideration, judged it better to indulge
her. His hopes from both gentleman and lady suffered a small depression in
consequence; but when he looked at his niece, and saw the state of feature and
complexion which her crying had brought her into, he thought there might be as
much lost as gained by an immediate interview. With a few words, therefore, of
no particular meaning, he walked off by himself, leaving his poor niece to sit
and cry over what had passed, with very wretched feelings

Her mind was all disorder.  The past, present, future, everything was terrible.
 But her uncle's anger gave her the severest pain of all.  Selfish and
ungrateful! to have appeared so to him!  She was miserable for ever. She had no
one to take her part, to counsel, or speak for her.  Her only friend was
absent.  He might have softened his father; but all, perhaps all, would think
her selfish and ungrateful.  She might have to endure the reproach again and
again; she might hear it, or see it, or know it to exist for ever in every
connexion about her. She could not but feel some resentment against Mr.
Crawford; yet, if he really loved her, and were unhappy too! It was all
wretchedness together.

In about a quarter of an hour her uncle returned; she was almost ready to faint
at the sight of him. He spoke calmly, however, without austerity, without
reproach, and she revived a little.  There was comfort, too, in his words, as
well as his manner, for he began with, "Mr. Crawford is gone:  he has just left
me.  I need not repeat what has passed.  I do not want to add to anything you
may now be feeling, by an account of what he has felt. Suffice it, that he has
behaved in the most gentlemanlike and generous manner, and has confirmed me in
a most favourable opinion of his understanding, heart, and temper. Upon my
representation of what you were suffering, he immediately, and with the
greatest delicacy, ceased to urge to see you for the present."

Here Fanny, who had looked up, looked down again.  "Of course," continued her
uncle, "it cannot be supposed but that he should request to speak with you
alone, be it only for five minutes; a request too natural, a claim too just to
be denied. But there is no time fixed; perhaps to-morrow, or whenever your
spirits are composed enough.  For the present you have only to tranquillise
yourself.  Check these tears; they do but exhaust you.  If, as I am willing to
suppose, you wish to shew me any observance, you will not give way to these
emotions, but endeavour to reason yourself into a stronger frame of mind.  I
advise you to go out: the air will do you good; go out for an hour on the
gravel; you will have the shrubbery to yourself, and will be the better for air
and exercise.  And, Fanny" (turning back again for a moment), "I shall make no
mention below of what has passed; I shall not even tell your aunt Bertram.
There is no occasion for spreading the disappointment; say nothing about it

This was an order to be most joyfully obeyed; this was an act of kindness which
Fanny felt at her heart. To be spared from her aunt Norris's interminable
reproaches! he left her in a glow of gratitude. Anything might be bearable
rather than such reproaches. Even to see Mr. Crawford would be less

She walked out directly, as her uncle recommended, and followed his advice
throughout, as far as she could; did check her tears; did earnestly try to
compose her spirits and strengthen her mind.  She wished to prove to him that
she did desire his comfort, and sought to regain his favour; and he had given
her another strong motive for exertion, in keeping the whole affair from the
knowledge of her aunts. Not to excite suspicion by her look or manner was now
an object worth attaining; and she felt equal to almost anything that might
save her from her aunt Norris.

She was struck, quite struck, when, on returning from her walk and going into
the East room again, the first thing which caught her eye was a fire lighted
and burning. A fire! it seemed too much; just at that time to be giving her
such an indulgence was exciting even painful gratitude. She wondered that Sir
Thomas could have leisure to think of such a trifle again; but she soon found,
from the voluntary information of the housemaid, who came in to attend it, that
so it was to be every day.  Sir Thomas had given orders for it.

"I must be a brute, indeed, if I can be really ungrateful!" said she, in
soliloquy.  "Heaven defend me from being ungrateful!"

She saw nothing more of her uncle, nor of her aunt Norris, till they met at
dinner.  Her uncle's behaviour to her was then as nearly as possible what it
had been before; she was sure he did not mean there should be any change, and
that it was only her own conscience that could fancy any; but her aunt was soon
quarrelling with her; and when she found how much and how unpleasantly her
having only walked out without her aunt's knowledge could be dwelt on, she felt
all the reason she had to bless the kindness which saved her from the same
spirit of reproach, exerted on a more momentous subject.

"If I had known you were going out, I should have got you just to go as far as
my house with some orders for Nanny," said she, "which I have since, to my very
great inconvenience, been obliged to go and carry myself.  I could very ill
spare the time, and you might have saved me the trouble, if you would only have
been so good as to let us know you were going out.  It would have made no
difference to you, I suppose, whether you had walked in the shrubbery or gone
to my house."

"I recommended the shrubbery to Fanny as the driest place," said Sir Thomas.

"Oh!" said Mrs. Norris, with a moment's check, "that was very kind of you, Sir
Thomas; but you do not know how dry the path is to my house.  Fanny would have
had quite as good a walk there, I assure you, with the advantage of being of
some use, and obliging her aunt: it is all her fault.  If she would but have
let us know she was going out but there is a something about Fanny, I have
often observed it before — she likes to go her own way to work; she does not
like to be dictated to; she takes her own independent walk whenever she can;
she certainly has a little spirit of secrecy, and independence, and nonsense,
about her, which I would advise her to get the better of."

As a general reflection on Fanny, Sir Thomas thought nothing could be more
unjust, though he had been so lately expressing the same sentiments himself,
and he tried to turn the conversation:  tried repeatedly before he could
succeed; for Mrs. Norris had not discernment enough to perceive, either now, or
at any other time, to what degree he thought well of his niece, or how very far
he was from wishing to have his own children's merits set off by the
depreciation of hers.  She was talking at Fanny, and resenting this private
walk half through the dinner.

It was over, however, at last; and the evening set in with more composure to
Fanny, and more cheerfulness of spirits than she could have hoped for after so
stormy a morning; but she trusted, in the first place, that she had done right:
that her judgment had not misled her.  For the purity of her intentions she
could answer; and she was willing to hope, secondly, that her uncle's
displeasure was abating, and would abate farther as he considered the matter
with more impartiality, and felt, as a good man must feel, how wretched, and
how unpardonable, how hopeless, and how wicked it was to marry without

When the meeting with which she was threatened for the morrow was past, she
could not but flatter herself that the subject would be finally concluded, and
Mr. Crawford once gone from Mansfield, that everything would soon be as if no
such subject had existed.  She would not, could not believe, that Mr.
Crawford's affection for her could distress him long; his mind was not of that
sort. London would soon bring its cure.  In London he would soon learn to
wonder at his infatuation, and be thankful for the right reason in her which
had saved him from its evil consequences.

While Fanny's mind was engaged in these sort of hopes, her uncle was, soon
after tea, called out of the room; an occurrence too common to strike her, and
she thought nothing of it till the butler reappeared ten minutes afterwards,
and advancing decidedly towards herself, said, "Sir Thomas wishes to speak with
you, ma'am, in his own room." Then it occurred to her what might be going on; a
suspicion rushed over her mind which drove the colour from her cheeks; but
instantly rising, she was preparing to obey, when Mrs. Norris called out,
"Stay, stay, Fanny! what are you about? where are you going? don't be in such a
hurry.  Depend upon it, it is not you who are wanted; depend upon it, it is me"
(looking at the butler); "but you are so very eager to put yourself forward. 
What should Sir Thomas want you for? It is me, Baddeley, you mean; I am coming
this moment. You mean me, Baddeley, I am sure; Sir Thomas wants me, not Miss

But Baddeley was stout.  "No, ma'am, it is Miss Price; I am certain of its
being Miss Price."  And there was a half-smile with the words, which meant, "I
do not think you would answer the purpose at all."

Mrs. Norris, much discontented, was obliged to compose herself to work again;
and Fanny, walking off in agitating consciousness, found herself, as she
anticipated, in another minute alone with Mr. Crawford.


The conference was neither so short nor so conclusive as the lady had designed.
 The gentleman was not so easily satisfied.  He had all the disposition to
persevere that Sir Thomas could wish him.  He had vanity, which strongly
inclined him in the first place to think she did love him, though she might not
know it herself; and which, secondly, when constrained at last to admit that
she did know her own present feelings, convinced him that he should be able in
time to make those feelings what he wished.

He was in love, very much in love; and it was a love which, operating on an
active, sanguine spirit, of more warmth than delicacy, made her affection
appear of greater consequence because it was withheld, and determined him to
have the glory, as well as the felicity, of forcing her to love him.

He would not despair:  he would not desist.  He had every well-grounded reason
for solid attachment; he knew her to have all the worth that could justify the
warmest hopes of lasting happiness with her; her conduct at this very time, by
speaking the disinterestedness and delicacy of her character (qualities which
he believed most rare indeed), was of a sort to heighten all his wishes, and
confirm all his resolutions.  He knew not that he had a pre-engaged heart to
attack.  Of that he had no suspicion. He considered her rather as one who had
never thought on the subject enough to be in danger; who had been guarded by
youth, a youth of mind as lovely as of person; whose modesty had prevented her
from understanding his attentions, and who was still overpowered by the
suddenness of addresses so wholly unexpected, and the novelty of a situation
which her fancy had never taken into account.

Must it not follow of course, that, when he was understood, he should succeed? 
He believed it fully.  Love such as his, in a man like himself, must with
perseverance secure a return, and at no great distance; and he had so much
delight in the idea of obliging her to love him in a very short time, that her
not loving him now was scarcely regretted. A little difficulty to be overcome
was no evil to Henry Crawford.  He rather derived spirits from it. He had been
apt to gain hearts too easily.  His situation was new and animating.

To Fanny, however, who had known too much opposition all her life to find any
charm in it, all this was unintelligible. She found that he did mean to
persevere; but how he could, after such language from her as she felt herself
obliged to use, was not to be understood.  She told him that she did not love
him, could not love him, was sure she never should love him; that such a change
was quite impossible; that the subject was most painful to her; that she must
entreat him never to mention it again, to allow her to leave him at once, and
let it be considered as concluded for ever. And when farther pressed, had
added, that in her opinion their dispositions were so totally dissimilar as to
make mutual affection incompatible; and that they were unfitted for each other
by nature, education, and habit.  All this she had said, and with the
earnestness of sincerity; yet this was not enough, for he immediately denied
there being anything uncongenial in their characters, or anything unfriendly in
their situations; and positively declared, that he would still love, and still

Fanny knew her own meaning, but was no judge of her own manner. Her manner was
incurably gentle; and she was not aware how much it concealed the sternness of
her purpose. Her diffidence, gratitude, and softness made every expression of
indifference seem almost an effort of self-denial; seem, at least, to be giving
nearly as much pain to herself as to him.  Mr. Crawford was no longer the Mr.
Crawford who, as the clandestine, insidious, treacherous admirer of Maria
Bertram, had been her abhorrence, whom she had hated to see or to speak to, in
whom she could believe no good quality to exist, and whose power, even of being
agreeable, she had barely acknowledged.  He was now the Mr. Crawford who was
addressing herself with ardent, disinterested love; whose feelings were
apparently become all that was honourable and upright, whose views of happiness
were all fixed on a marriage of attachment; who was pouring out his sense of
her merits, describing and describing again his affection, proving as far as
words could prove it, and in the language, tone, and spirit of a man of talent
too, that he sought her for her gentleness and her goodness; and to complete
the whole, he was now the Mr. Crawford who had procured William's promotion!

Here was a change, and here were claims which could not but operate!  She might
have disdained him in all the dignity of angry virtue, in the grounds of
Sotherton, or the theatre at Mansfield Park; but he approached her now with
rights that demanded different treatment. She must be courteous, and she must
be compassionate. She must have a sensation of being honoured, and whether
thinking of herself or her brother, she must have a strong feeling of
gratitude.  The effect of the whole was a manner so pitying and agitated, and
words intermingled with her refusal so expressive of obligation and concern,
that to a temper of vanity and hope like Crawford's, the truth, or at least the
strength of her indifference, might well be questionable; and he was not so
irrational as Fanny considered him, in the professions of persevering,
assiduous, and not desponding attachment which closed the interview.

It was with reluctance that he suffered her to go; but there was no look of
despair in parting to belie his words, or give her hopes of his being less
unreasonable than he professed himself.

Now she was angry.  Some resentment did arise at a perseverance so selfish and
ungenerous.  Here was again a want of delicacy and regard for others which had
formerly so struck and disgusted her.  Here was again a something of the same
Mr. Crawford whom she had so reprobated before. How evidently was there a gross
want of feeling and humanity where his own pleasure was concerned; and alas!
how always known no principle to supply as a duty what the heart was deficient
in!  Had her own affections been as free as perhaps they ought to have been, he
never could have engaged them.

So thought Fanny, in good truth and sober sadness, as she sat musing over that
too great indulgence and luxury of a fire upstairs:  wondering at the past and
present; wondering at what was yet to come, and in a nervous agitation which
made nothing clear to her but the persuasion of her being never under any
circumstances able to love Mr. Crawford, and the felicity of having a fire to
sit over and think of it.

Sir Thomas was obliged, or obliged himself, to wait till the morrow for a
knowledge of what had passed between the young people.  He then saw Mr.
Crawford, and received his account.  The first feeling was disappointment: he
had hoped better things; he had thought that an hour's entreaty from a young
man like Crawford could not have worked so little change on a gentle-tempered
girl like Fanny; but there was speedy comfort in the determined views and
sanguine perseverance of the lover; and when seeing such confidence of success
in the principal, Sir Thomas was soon able to depend on it himself.

Nothing was omitted, on his side, of civility, compliment, or kindness, that
might assist the plan.  Mr. Crawford's steadiness was honoured, and Fanny was
praised, and the connexion was still the most desirable in the world. At
Mansfield Park Mr. Crawford would always be welcome; he had only to consult his
own judgment and feelings as to the frequency of his visits, at present or in
future. In all his niece's family and friends, there could be but one opinion,
one wish on the subject; the influence of all who loved her must incline one

Everything was said that could encourage, every encouragement received with
grateful joy, and the gentlemen parted the best of friends.

Satisfied that the cause was now on a footing the most proper and hopeful, Sir
Thomas resolved to abstain from all farther importunity with his niece, and to
shew no open interference.  Upon her disposition he believed kindness might be
the best way of working. Entreaty should be from one quarter only.  The
forbearance of her family on a point, respecting which she could be in no doubt
of their wishes, might be their surest means of forwarding it.  Accordingly, on
this principle, Sir Thomas took the first opportunity of saying to her, with a
mild gravity, intended to be overcoming, "Well, Fanny, I have seen Mr. Crawford
again, and learn from him exactly how matters stand between you.  He is a most
extraordinary young man, and whatever be the event, you must feel that you have
created an attachment of no common character; though, young as you are, and
little acquainted with the transient, varying, unsteady nature of love, as it
generally exists, you cannot be struck as I am with all that is wonderful in a
perseverance of this sort against discouragement.  With him it is entirely a
matter of feeling:  he claims no merit in it; perhaps is entitled to none. 
Yet, having chosen so well, his constancy has a respectable stamp.  Had his
choice been less unexceptionable, I should have condemned his persevering."

"Indeed, sir," said Fanny, "I am very sorry that Mr. Crawford should continue
to know that it is paying me a very great compliment, and I feel most
undeservedly honoured; but I am so perfectly convinced, and I have told him so,
that it never will be in my power — "

"My dear," interrupted Sir Thomas, "there is no occasion for this.  Your
feelings are as well known to me as my wishes and regrets must be to you. There
is nothing more to be said or done.  From this hour the subject is never to be
revived between us. You will have nothing to fear, or to be agitated about. You
cannot suppose me capable of trying to persuade you to marry against your
inclinations.  Your happiness and advantage are all that I have in view, and
nothing is required of you but to bear with Mr. Crawford's endeavours to
convince you that they may not be incompatible with his. He proceeds at his own
risk.  You are on safe ground. I have engaged for your seeing him whenever he
calls, as you might have done had nothing of this sort occurred. You will see
him with the rest of us, in the same manner, and, as much as you can,
dismissing the recollection of everything unpleasant.  He leaves
Northamptonshire so soon, that even this slight sacrifice cannot be often
demanded. The future must be very uncertain.  And now, my dear Fanny, this
subject is closed between us."

The promised departure was all that Fanny could think of with much
satisfaction.  Her uncle's kind expressions, however, and forbearing manner,
were sensibly felt; and when she considered how much of the truth was unknown
to him, she believed she had no right to wonder at the line of conduct he
pursued.  He, who had married a daughter to Mr. Rushworth:  romantic delicacy
was certainly not to be expected from him.  She must do her duty, and trust
that time might make her duty easier than it now was.

She could not, though only eighteen, suppose Mr. Crawford's attachment would
hold out for ever; she could not but imagine that steady, unceasing
discouragement from herself would put an end to it in time.  How much time she
might, in her own fancy, allot for its dominion, is another concern.  It would
not be fair to inquire into a young lady's exact estimate of her own

In spite of his intended silence, Sir Thomas found himself once more obliged to
mention the subject to his niece, to prepare her briefly for its being imparted
to her aunts; a measure which he would still have avoided, if possible, but
which became necessary from the totally opposite feelings of Mr. Crawford as to
any secrecy of proceeding. He had no idea of concealment.  It was all known at
the Parsonage, where he loved to talk over the future with both his sisters,
and it would be rather gratifying to him to have enlightened witnesses of the
progress of his success.  When Sir Thomas understood this, he felt the
necessity of making his own wife and sister-in-law acquainted with the business
without delay; though, on Fanny's account, he almost dreaded the effect of the
communication to Mrs. Norris as much as Fanny herself. He deprecated her
mistaken but well-meaning zeal. Sir Thomas, indeed, was, by this time, not very
far from classing Mrs. Norris as one of those well-meaning people who are
always doing mistaken and very disagreeable things.

Mrs. Norris, however, relieved him.  He pressed for the strictest forbearance
and silence towards their niece; she not only promised, but did observe it. She
only looked her increased ill-will. Angry she was: bitterly angry; but she was
more angry with Fanny for having received such an offer than for refusing it.
It was an injury and affront to Julia, who ought to have been Mr. Crawford's
choice; and, independently of that, she disliked Fanny, because she had
neglected her; and she would have grudged such an elevation to one whom she had
been always trying to depress.

Sir Thomas gave her more credit for discretion on the occasion than she
deserved; and Fanny could have blessed her for allowing her only to see her
displeasure, and not to hear it.

Lady Bertram took it differently.  She had been a beauty, and a prosperous
beauty, all her life; and beauty and wealth were all that excited her respect. 
To know Fanny to be sought in marriage by a man of fortune, raised her,
therefore, very much in her opinion. By convincing her that Fanny was very
pretty, which she had been doubting about before, and that she would be
advantageously married, it made her feel a sort of credit in calling her niece.

"Well, Fanny," said she, as soon as they were alone together afterwards, and
she really had known something like impatience to be alone with her, and her
countenance, as she spoke, had extraordinary animation; "Well, Fanny, I have
had a very agreeable surprise this morning.  I must just speak of it once, I
told Sir Thomas I must once, and then I shall have done.  I give you joy, my
dear niece." And looking at her complacently, she added, "Humph, we certainly
are a handsome family!"

Fanny coloured, and doubted at first what to say; when, hoping to assail her on
her vulnerable side, she presently answered—

"My dear aunt, you cannot wish me to do differently from what I have done, I
am sure.  You cannot wish me to marry; for you would miss me, should not you?
 Yes, I am sure you would miss me too much for that."

"No, my dear, I should not think of missing you, when such an offer as this
comes in your way. I could do very well without you, if you were married to a
man of such good estate as Mr. Crawford.  And you must be aware, Fanny, that it
is every young woman's duty to accept such a very unexceptionable offer as

This was almost the only rule of conduct, the only piece of advice, which Fanny
had ever received from her aunt in the course of eight years and a half.  It
silenced her. She felt how unprofitable contention would be. If her aunt's
feelings were against her, nothing could be hoped from attacking her
understanding.  Lady Bertram was quite talkative.

"I will tell you what, Fanny," said she, "I am sure he fell in love with you at
the ball; I am sure the mischief was done that evening.  You did look
remarkably well. Everybody said so.  Sir Thomas said so.  And you know you had
Chapman to help you to dress.  I am very glad I sent Chapman to you.  I shall
tell Sir Thomas that I am sure it was done that evening."  And still pursuing
the same cheerful thoughts, she soon afterwards added, "And will tell you what,
Fanny, which is more than I did for Maria:  the next time Pug has a litter you
shall have a puppy."


Edmund had great things to hear on his return.  Many surprises were awaiting
him.  The first that occurred was not least in interest:  the appearance of
Henry Crawford and his sister walking together through the village as he rode
into it. He had concluded — he had meant them to be far distant. His absence had
been extended beyond a fortnight purposely to avoid Miss Crawford.  He was
returning to Mansfield with spirits ready to feed on melancholy remembrances,
and tender associations, when her own fair self was before him, leaning on her
brother's arm, and he found himself receiving a welcome, unquestionably
friendly, from the woman whom, two moments before, he had been thinking of as
seventy miles off, and as farther, much farther, from him in inclination than
any distance could express.

Her reception of him was of a sort which he could not have hoped for, had he
expected to see her.  Coming as he did from such a purport fulfilled as had
taken him away, he would have expected anything rather than a look of
satisfaction, and words of simple, pleasant meaning. It was enough to set his
heart in a glow, and to bring him home in the properest state for feeling the
full value of the other joyful surprises at hand.

William's promotion, with all its particulars, he was soon master of; and with
such a secret provision of comfort within his own breast to help the joy, he
found in it a source of most gratifying sensation and unvarying cheerfulness
all dinner-time.

After dinner, when he and his father were alone, he had Fanny's history; and
then all the great events of the last fortnight, and the present situation of
matters at Mansfield were known to him.

Fanny suspected what was going on.  They sat so much longer than usual in the
dining-parlour, that she was sure they must be talking of her; and when tea at
last brought them away, and she was to be seen by Edmund again, she felt
dreadfully guilty.  He came to her, sat down by her, took her hand, and pressed
it kindly; and at that moment she thought that, but for the occupation and the
scene which the tea-things afforded, she must have betrayed her emotion in some
unpardonable excess.

He was not intending, however, by such action, to be conveying to her that
unqualified approbation and encouragement which her hopes drew from it. It was
designed only to express his participation in all that interested her, and to
tell her that he had been hearing what quickened every feeling of affection. 
He was, in fact, entirely on his father's side of the question. His surprise
was not so great as his father's at her refusing Crawford, because, so far from
supposing her to consider him with anything like a preference, he had always
believed it to be rather the reverse, and could imagine her to be taken
perfectly unprepared, but Sir Thomas could not regard the connexion as more
desirable than he did.  It had every recommendation to him; and while honouring
her for what she had done under the influence of her present indifference,
honouring her in rather stronger terms than Sir Thomas could quite echo, he was
most earnest in hoping, and sanguine in believing, that it would be a match at
last, and that, united by mutual affection, it would appear that their
dispositions were as exactly fitted to make them blessed in each other, as he
was now beginning seriously to consider them. Crawford had been too
precipitate.  He had not given her time to attach herself.  He had begun at the
wrong end. With such powers as his, however, and such a disposition as hers,
Edmund trusted that everything would work out a happy conclusion.  Meanwhile,
he saw enough of Fanny's embarrassment to make him scrupulously guard against
exciting it a second time, by any word, or look, or movement.

Crawford called the next day, and on the score of Edmund's return, Sir Thomas
felt himself more than licensed to ask him to stay dinner; it was really a
necessary compliment. He staid of course, and Edmund had then ample opportunity
for observing how he sped with Fanny, and what degree of immediate
encouragement for him might be extracted from her manners; and it was so
little, so very, very little— every chance, every possibility of it, resting
upon her embarrassment only; if there was not hope in her confusion, there was
hope in nothing else — that he was almost ready to wonder at his friend's
perseverance.  Fanny was worth it all; he held her to be worth every effort of
patience, every exertion of mind, but he did not think he could have gone on
himself with any woman breathing, without something more to warm his courage
than his eyes could discern in hers. He was very willing to hope that Crawford
saw clearer, and this was the most comfortable conclusion for his friend that
he could come to from all that he observed to pass before, and at, and after

In the evening a few circumstances occurred which he thought more promising. 
When he and Crawford walked into the drawing-room, his mother and Fanny were
sitting as intently and silently at work as if there were nothing else to care
for. Edmund could not help noticing their apparently deep tranquillity.

"We have not been so silent all the time," replied his mother. "Fanny has been
reading to me, and only put the book down upon hearing you coming."  And sure
enough there was a book on the table which had the air of being very recently
closed:  a volume of Shakespeare. "She often reads to me out of those books;
and she was in the middle of a very fine speech of that man's— what's his
name, Fanny? — when we heard your footsteps."

Crawford took the volume.  "Let me have the pleasure of finishing that speech
to your ladyship," said he. "I shall find it immediately."  And by carefully
giving way to the inclination of the leaves, he did find it, or within a page
or two, quite near enough to satisfy Lady Bertram, who assured him, as soon as
he mentioned the name of Cardinal Wolsey, that he had got the very speech. Not
a look or an offer of help had Fanny given; not a syllable for or against.  All
her attention was for her work. She seemed determined to be interested by
nothing else. But taste was too strong in her.  She could not abstract her mind
five minutes:  she was forced to listen; his reading was capital, and her
pleasure in good reading extreme. To good reading, however, she had been long
used: her uncle read well, her cousins all, Edmund very well, but in Mr.
Crawford's reading there was a variety of excellence beyond what she had ever
met with.  The King, the Queen, Buckingham, Wolsey, Cromwell, all were given in
turn; for with the happiest knack, the happiest power of jumping and guessing,
he could always alight at will on the best scene, or the best speeches of each;
and whether it were dignity, or pride, or tenderness, or remorse, or whatever
were to be expressed, he could do it with equal beauty.  It was truly dramatic.
His acting had first taught Fanny what pleasure a play might give, and his
reading brought all his acting before her again; nay, perhaps with greater
enjoyment, for it came unexpectedly, and with no such drawback as she had been
used to suffer in seeing him on the stage with Miss Bertram.

Edmund watched the progress of her attention, and was amused and gratified by
seeing how she gradually slackened in the needlework, which at the beginning
seemed to occupy her totally:  how it fell from her hand while she sat
motionless over it, and at last, how the eyes which had appeared so studiously
to avoid him throughout the day were turned and fixed on Crawford — fixed on him
for minutes, fixed on him, in short, till the attraction drew Crawford's upon
her, and the book was closed, and the charm was broken.  Then she was shrinking
again into herself, and blushing and working as hard as ever; but it had been
enough to give Edmund encouragement for his friend, and as he cordially thanked
him, he hoped to be expressing Fanny's secret feelings too.

"That play must be a favourite with you," said he; "you read as if you knew it

"It will be a favourite, I believe, from this hour," replied Crawford; "but I
do not think I have had a volume of Shakespeare in my hand before since I was
fifteen. I once saw Henry the Eighth acted, or I have heard of it from somebody
who did, I am not certain which. But Shakespeare one gets acquainted with
without knowing how. It is a part of an Englishman's constitution.  His
thoughts and beauties are so spread abroad that one touches them everywhere;
one is intimate with him by instinct. No man of any brain can open at a good
part of one of his plays without falling into the flow of his meaning

"No doubt one is familiar with Shakespeare in a degree," said Edmund, "from
one's earliest years.  His celebrated passages are quoted by everybody; they
are in half the books we open, and we all talk Shakespeare, use his similes,
and describe with his descriptions; but this is totally distinct from giving
his sense as you gave it.  To know him in bits and scraps is common enough; to
know him pretty thoroughly is, perhaps, not uncommon; but to read him well
aloud is no everyday talent."

"Sir, you do me honour," was Crawford's answer, with a bow of mock gravity.

Both gentlemen had a glance at Fanny, to see if a word of accordant praise
could be extorted from her; yet both feeling that it could not be.  Her praise
had been given in her attention; that must content them.

Lady Bertram's admiration was expressed, and strongly too. "It was really like
being at a play," said she.  "I wish Sir Thomas had been here."

Crawford was excessively pleased.  If Lady Bertram, with all her incompetency
and languor, could feel this, the inference of what her niece, alive and
enlightened as she was, must feel, was elevating.

"You have a great turn for acting, I am sure, Mr. Crawford," said her ladyship
soon afterwards; "and I will tell you what, I think you will have a theatre,
some time or other, at your house in Norfolk.  I mean when you are settled
there. I do indeed.  I think you will fit up a theatre at your house in

"Do you, ma'am?" cried he, with quickness.  "No, no, that will never be.  Your
ladyship is quite mistaken. No theatre at Everingham!  Oh no!"  And he looked
at Fanny with an expressive smile, which evidently meant, "That lady will never
allow a theatre at Everingham."

Edmund saw it all, and saw Fanny so determined not to see it, as to make it
clear that the voice was enough to convey the full meaning of the protestation;
and such a quick consciousness of compliment, such a ready comprehension of a
hint, he thought, was rather favourable than not.

The subject of reading aloud was farther discussed. The two young men were the
only talkers, but they, standing by the fire, talked over the too common
neglect of the qualification, the total inattention to it, in the ordinary
school-system for boys, the consequently natural, yet in some instances almost
unnatural, degree of ignorance and uncouthness of men, of sensible and
well-informed men, when suddenly called to the necessity of reading aloud,
which had fallen within their notice, giving instances of blunders, and
failures with their secondary causes, the want of management of the voice, of
proper modulation and emphasis, of foresight and judgment, all proceeding from
the first cause:  want of early attention and habit; and Fanny was listening
again with great entertainment.

"Even in my profession," said Edmund, with a smile, "how little the art of
reading has been studied! how little a clear manner, and good delivery, have
been attended to! I speak rather of the past, however, than the present. There
is now a spirit of improvement abroad; but among those who were ordained
twenty, thirty, forty years ago, the larger number, to judge by their
performance, must have thought reading was reading, and preaching was
preaching.  It is different now.  The subject is more justly considered.  It is
felt that distinctness and energy may have weight in recommending the most
solid truths; and besides, there is more general observation and taste, a more
critical knowledge diffused than formerly; in every congregation there is a
larger proportion who know a little of the matter, and who can judge and

Edmund had already gone through the service once since his ordination; and upon
this being understood, he had a variety of questions from Crawford as to his
feelings and success; questions, which being made, though with the vivacity of
friendly interest and quick taste, without any touch of that spirit of banter
or air of levity which Edmund knew to be most offensive to Fanny, he had true
pleasure in satisfying; and when Crawford proceeded to ask his opinion and give
his own as to the properest manner in which particular passages in the service
should be delivered, shewing it to be a subject on which he had thought before,
and thought with judgment, Edmund was still more and more pleased.  This would
be the way to Fanny's heart. She was not to be won by all that gallantry and
wit and good-nature together could do; or, at least, she would not be won by
them nearly so soon, without the assistance of sentiment and feeling, and
seriousness on serious subjects

"Our liturgy," observed Crawford, "has beauties, which not even a careless,
slovenly style of reading can destroy; but it has also redundancies and
repetitions which require good reading not to be felt.  For myself, at least, I
must confess being not always so attentive as I ought to be" (here was a glance
at Fanny); "that nineteen times out of twenty I am thinking how such a prayer
ought to be read, and longing to have it to read myself.  Did you speak?"
stepping eagerly to Fanny, and addressing her in a softened voice; and upon her
saying "No," he added, "Are you sure you did not speak?  I saw your lips move.
I fancied you might be going to tell me I ought to be more attentive, and not
allow my thoughts to wander. Are not you going to tell me so?"

"No, indeed, you know your duty too well for me to— even supposing — "

She stopt, felt herself getting into a puzzle, and could not be prevailed on to
add another word, not by dint of several minutes of supplication and waiting. 
He then returned to his former station, and went on as if there had been no
such tender interruption.

"A sermon, well delivered, is more uncommon even than prayers well read.  A
sermon, good in itself, is no rare thing. It is more difficult to speak well
than to compose well; that is, the rules and trick of composition are oftener
an object of study.  A thoroughly good sermon, thoroughly well delivered, is a
capital gratification. I can never hear such a one without the greatest
admiration and respect, and more than half a mind to take orders and preach
myself.  There is something in the eloquence of the pulpit, when it is really
eloquence, which is entitled to the highest praise and honour.  The preacher
who can touch and affect such an heterogeneous mass of hearers, on subjects
limited, and long worn threadbare in all common hands; who can say anything new
or striking, anything that rouses the attention without offending the taste, or
wearing out the feelings of his hearers, is a man whom one could not, in his
public capacity, honour enough. I should like to be such a man."

Edmund laughed.

"I should indeed.  I never listened to a distinguished preacher in my life
without a sort of envy.  But then, I must have a London audience.  I could not
preach but to the educated; to those who were capable of estimating my
composition.  And I do not know that I should be fond of preaching often; now
and then, perhaps once or twice in the spring, after being anxiously expected
for half a dozen Sundays together; but not for a constancy; it would not do for
a constancy."

Here Fanny, who could not but listen, involuntarily shook her head, and
Crawford was instantly by her side again, entreating to know her meaning; and
as Edmund perceived, by his drawing in a chair, and sitting down close by her,
that it was to be a very thorough attack, that looks and undertones were to be
well tried, he sank as quietly as possible into a corner, turned his back, and
took up a newspaper, very sincerely wishing that dear little Fanny might be
persuaded into explaining away that shake of the head to the satisfaction of
her ardent lover; and as earnestly trying to bury every sound of the business
from himself in murmurs of his own, over the various advertisements of "A most
desirable Estate in South Wales"; "To Parents and Guardians"; and a "Capital
season'd Hunter."

Fanny, meanwhile, vexed with herself for not having been as motionless as she
was speechless, and grieved to the heart to see Edmund's arrangements, was
trying by everything in the power of her modest, gentle nature, to repulse Mr.
Crawford, and avoid both his looks and inquiries; and he, unrepulsable, was
persisting in both.

"What did that shake of the head mean?" said he.  "What was it meant to
express?  Disapprobation, I fear.  But of what? What had I been saying to
displease you?  Did you think me speaking improperly, lightly, irreverently on
the subject? Only tell me if I was.  Only tell me if I was wrong. I want to be
set right.  Nay, nay, I entreat you; for one moment put down your work.  What
did that shake of the head mean?"

In vain was her "Pray, sir, don't; pray, Mr. Crawford," repeated twice over;
and in vain did she try to move away. In the same low, eager voice, and the
same close neighbourhood, he went on, reurging the same questions as before.
She grew more agitated and displeased.

"How can you, sir?  You quite astonish me; I wonder how you can — "

"Do I astonish you?" said he.  "Do you wonder?  Is there anything in my present
entreaty that you do not understand? I will explain to you instantly all that
makes me urge you in this manner, all that gives me an interest in what you
look and do, and excites my present curiosity. I will not leave you to wonder

In spite of herself, she could not help half a smile, but she said nothing.

"You shook your head at my acknowledging that I should not like to engage in
the duties of a clergyman always for a constancy.  Yes, that was the word. 
Constancy:  I am not afraid of the word.  I would spell it, read it, write it
with anybody.  I see nothing alarming in the word. Did you think I ought?"

"Perhaps, sir," said Fanny, wearied at last into speaking— "perhaps, sir, I
thought it was a pity you did not always know yourself as well as you seemed to
do at that moment."

Crawford, delighted to get her to speak at any rate, was determined to keep it
up; and poor Fanny, who had hoped to silence him by such an extremity of
reproof, found herself sadly mistaken, and that it was only a change from one
object of curiosity and one set of words to another. He had always something to
entreat the explanation of. The opportunity was too fair.  None such had
occurred since his seeing her in her uncle's room, none such might occur again
before his leaving Mansfield.  Lady Bertram's being just on the other side of
the table was a trifle, for she might always be considered as only half-awake,
and Edmund's advertisements were still of the first utility.

"Well," said Crawford, after a course of rapid questions and reluctant answers;
"I am happier than I was, because I now understand more clearly your opinion of
me.  You think me unsteady:  easily swayed by the whim of the moment, easily
tempted, easily put aside.  With such an opinion, no wonder that.  But we shall
see.  It is not by protestations that I shall endeavour to convince you I am
wronged; it is not by telling you that my affections are steady. My conduct
shall speak for me; absence, distance, time shall speak for me.  They shall
prove that, as far as you can be deserved by anybody, I do deserve you.  You
are infinitely my superior in merit; all that I know. You have qualities
which I had not before supposed to exist in such a degree in any human
creature. You have some touches of the angel in you beyond what— not merely
beyond what one sees, because one never sees anything like it — but beyond what
one fancies might be. But still I am not frightened.  It is not by equality of
merit that you can be won.  That is out of the question. It is he who sees and
worships your merit the strongest, who loves you most devotedly, that has the
best right to a return.  There I build my confidence. By that right I do and
will deserve you; and when once convinced that my attachment is what I declare
it, I know you too well not to entertain the warmest hopes. Yes, dearest,
sweetest Fanny.  Nay" (seeing her draw back displeased), "forgive me.  Perhaps
I have as yet no right; but by what other name can I call you?  Do you suppose
you are ever present to my imagination under any other? No, it is 'Fanny' that
I think of all day, and dream of all night.  You have given the name such
reality of sweetness, that nothing else can now be descriptive of you."

Fanny could hardly have kept her seat any longer, or have refrained from at
least trying to get away in spite of all the too public opposition she foresaw
to it, had it not been for the sound of approaching relief, the very sound
which she had been long watching for, and long thinking strangely delayed.

The solemn procession, headed by Baddeley, of tea-board, urn, and cake-bearers,
made its appearance, and delivered her from a grievous imprisonment of body and
mind. Mr. Crawford was obliged to move.  She was at liberty, she was busy, she
was protected.

Edmund was not sorry to be admitted again among the number of those who might
speak and hear.  But though the conference had seemed full long to him, and
though on looking at Fanny he saw rather a flush of vexation, he inclined to
hope that so much could not have been said and listened to without some profit
to the speaker.


Edmund had determined that it belonged entirely to Fanny to chuse whether her
situation with regard to Crawford should be mentioned between them or not; and
that if she did not lead the way, it should never be touched on by him; but
after a day or two of mutual reserve, he was induced by his father to change
his mind, and try what his influence might do for his friend.

A day, and a very early day, was actually fixed for the Crawfords' departure;
and Sir Thomas thought it might be as well to make one more effort for the
young man before he left Mansfield, that all his professions and vows of
unshaken attachment might have as much hope to sustain them as possible.

Sir Thomas was most cordially anxious for the perfection of Mr. Crawford's
character in that point.  He wished him to be a model of constancy; and fancied
the best means of effecting it would be by not trying him too long.

Edmund was not unwilling to be persuaded to engage in the business; he wanted
to know Fanny's feelings. She had been used to consult him in every difficulty,
and he loved her too well to bear to be denied her confidence now; he hoped to
be of service to her, he thought he must be of service to her; whom else had
she to open her heart to?  If she did not need counsel, she must need the
comfort of communication.  Fanny estranged from him, silent and reserved, was
an unnatural state of things; a state which he must break through, and which he
could easily learn to think she was wanting him to break through.

"I will speak to her, sir:  I will take the first opportunity of speaking to
her alone," was the result of such thoughts as these; and upon Sir Thomas's
information of her being at that very time walking alone in the shrubbery, he
instantly joined her.

"I am come to walk with you, Fanny," said he.  "Shall I?" Drawing her arm
within his.  "It is a long while since we have had a comfortable walk

She assented to it all rather by look than word. Her spirits were low.

"But, Fanny," he presently added, "in order to have a comfortable walk,
something more is necessary than merely pacing this gravel together.  You must
talk to me. I know you have something on your mind.  I know what you are
thinking of.  You cannot suppose me uninformed. Am I to hear of it from
everybody but Fanny herself?"

Fanny, at once agitated and dejected, replied, "If you hear of it from
everybody, cousin, there can be nothing for me to tell."

"Not of facts, perhaps; but of feelings, Fanny. No one but you can tell me
them.  I do not mean to press you, however.  If it is not what you wish
yourself, I have done.  I had thought it might be a relief."

"I am afraid we think too differently for me to find any relief in talking of
what I feel."

"Do you suppose that we think differently?  I have no idea of it.  I dare say
that, on a comparison of our opinions, they would be found as much alike as
they have been used to be: to the point — I consider Crawford's proposals as
most advantageous and desirable, if you could return his affection. I consider
it as most natural that all your family should wish you could return it; but
that, as you cannot, you have done exactly as you ought in refusing him. Can
there be any disagreement between us here?"

"Oh no!  But I thought you blamed me.  I thought you were against me.  This is
such a comfort!"

"This comfort you might have had sooner, Fanny, had you sought it.  But how
could you possibly suppose me against you? How could you imagine me an advocate
for marriage without love? Were I even careless in general on such matters, how
could you imagine me so where your happiness was at stake?"

"My uncle thought me wrong, and I knew he had been talking to you."

"As far as you have gone, Fanny, I think you perfectly right. I may be sorry, I
may be surprised — though hardly that, for you had not had time to attach
yourself — but I think you perfectly right.  Can it admit of a question? It is
disgraceful to us if it does.  You did not love him; nothing could have
justified your accepting him."

Fanny had not felt so comfortable for days and days.

"So far your conduct has been faultless, and they were quite mistaken who
wished you to do otherwise.  But the matter does not end here.  Crawford's is
no common attachment; he perseveres, with the hope of creating that regard
which had not been created before.  This, we know, must be a work of time. 
But" (with an affectionate smile) "let him succeed at last, Fanny, let him
succeed at last. You have proved yourself upright and disinterested, prove
yourself grateful and tender-hearted; and then you will be the perfect model of
a woman which I have always believed you born for."

"Oh! never, never, never! he never will succeed with me." And she spoke with a
warmth which quite astonished Edmund, and which she blushed at the recollection
of herself, when she saw his look, and heard him reply, "Never!  Fanny!— so
very determined and positive!  This is not like yourself, your rational self."

"I mean," she cried, sorrowfully correcting herself, "that I think I never
shall, as far as the future can be answered for; I think I never shall return
his regard."

"I must hope better things.  I am aware, more aware than Crawford can be, that
the man who means to make you love him (you having due notice of his
intentions) must have very uphill work, for there are all your early
attachments and habits in battle array; and before he can get your heart for
his own use he has to unfasten it from all the holds upon things animate and
inanimate, which so many years' growth have confirmed, and which are
considerably tightened for the moment by the very idea of separation.  I know
that the apprehension of being forced to quit Mansfield will for a time be
arming you against him.  I wish he had not been obliged to tell you what he was
trying for.  I wish he had known you as well as I do, Fanny.  Between us, I
think we should have won you. My theoretical and his practical knowledge
together could not have failed.  He should have worked upon my plans. I must
hope, however, that time, proving him (as I firmly believe it will) to deserve
you by his steady affection, will give him his reward.  I cannot suppose that
you have not the wish to love him — the natural wish of gratitude. You must
have some feeling of that sort.  You must be sorry for your own indifference."

"We are so totally unlike," said Fanny, avoiding a direct answer, "we are so
very, very different in all our inclinations and ways, that I consider it as
quite impossible we should ever be tolerably happy together, even if I could
like him.  There never were two people more dissimilar.  We have not one taste
in common. We should be miserable.

"You are mistaken, Fanny.  The dissimilarity is not so strong. You are quite
enough alike.  You have tastes in common. You have moral and literary tastes
in common.  You have both warm hearts and benevolent feelings; and, Fanny, who
that heard him read, and saw you listen to Shakespeare the other night, will
think you unfitted as companions? You forget yourself:  there is a decided
difference in your tempers, I allow.  He is lively, you are serious; but so
much the better:  his spirits will support yours. It is your disposition to be
easily dejected and to fancy difficulties greater than they are.  His
cheerfulness will counteract this.  He sees difficulties nowhere: and his
pleasantness and gaiety will be a constant support to you.  Your being so far
unlike, Fanny, does not in the smallest degree make against the probability of
your happiness together:  do not imagine it.  I am myself convinced that it is
rather a favourable circumstance. I am perfectly persuaded that the tempers had
better be unlike: I mean unlike in the flow of the spirits, in the manners, in
the inclination for much or little company, in the propensity to talk or to be
silent, to be grave or to be gay. Some opposition here is, I am thoroughly
convinced, friendly to matrimonial happiness.  I exclude extremes, of course;
and a very close resemblance in all those points would be the likeliest way to
produce an extreme. A counteraction, gentle and continual, is the best
safeguard of manners and conduct."

Full well could Fanny guess where his thoughts were now: Miss Crawford's power
was all returning.  He had been speaking of her cheerfully from the hour of his
coming home. His avoiding her was quite at an end.  He had dined at the
Parsonage only the preceding day.

After leaving him to his happier thoughts for some minutes, Fanny, feeling it
due to herself, returned to Mr. Crawford, and said, "It is not merely in
temper that I consider him as totally unsuited to myself; though, in that
respect, I think the difference between us too great, infinitely too great: 
his spirits often oppress me; but there is something in him which I object to
still more. I must say, cousin, that I cannot approve his character. I have not
thought well of him from the time of the play. I then saw him behaving, as it
appeared to me, so very improperly and unfeelingly — I may speak of it now
because it is all over — so improperly by poor Mr. Rushworth, not seeming to
care how he exposed or hurt him, and paying attentions to my cousin Maria,
which — in short, at the time of the play, I received an impression which will
never be got over."

"My dear Fanny," replied Edmund, scarcely hearing her to the end, "let us not,
any of us, be judged by what we appeared at that period of general folly.  The
time of the play is a time which I hate to recollect.  Maria was wrong,
Crawford was wrong, we were all wrong together; but none so wrong as myself. 
Compared with me, all the rest were blameless.  I was playing the fool with my
eyes open."

"As a bystander," said Fanny, "perhaps I saw more than you did; and I do think
that Mr. Rushworth was sometimes very jealous."

"Very possibly.  No wonder.  Nothing could be more improper than the whole
business.  I am shocked whenever I think that Maria could be capable of it;
but, if she could undertake the part, we must not be surprised at the rest."

"Before the play, I am much mistaken if Julia did not think he was paying her

"Julia!  I have heard before from some one of his being in love with Julia; but
I could never see anything of it. And, Fanny, though I hope I do justice to my
sisters' good qualities, I think it very possible that they might, one or both,
be more desirous of being admired by Crawford, and might shew that desire
rather more unguardedly than was perfectly prudent.  I can remember that they
were evidently fond of his society; and with such encouragement, a man like
Crawford, lively, and it may be, a little unthinking, might be led on to — there
could be nothing very striking, because it is clear that he had no pretensions:
 his heart was reserved for you.  And I must say, that its being for you has
raised him inconceivably in my opinion. It does him the highest honour; it
shews his proper estimation of the blessing of domestic happiness and pure
attachment. It proves him unspoilt by his uncle.  It proves him, in short,
everything that I had been used to wish to believe him, and feared he was not."

"I am persuaded that he does not think, as he ought, on serious subjects."

"Say, rather, that he has not thought at all upon serious subjects, which I
believe to be a good deal the case. How could it be otherwise, with such an
education and adviser? Under the disadvantages, indeed, which both have had, is
it not wonderful that they should be what they are? Crawford's feelings, I am
ready to acknowledge, have hitherto been too much his guides.  Happily, those
feelings have generally been good.  You will supply the rest; and a most
fortunate man he is to attach himself to such a creature— to a woman who, firm
as a rock in her own principles, has a gentleness of character so well adapted
to recommend them. He has chosen his partner, indeed, with rare felicity. He
will make you happy, Fanny; I know he will make you happy; but you will make
him everything."

"I would not engage in such a charge," cried Fanny, in a shrinking accent; "in
such an office of high responsibility!"

"As usual, believing yourself unequal to anything! fancying everything too much
for you!  Well, though I may not be able to persuade you into different
feelings, you will be persuaded into them, I trust. I confess myself sincerely
anxious that you may. I have no common interest in Crawford's well-doing. Next
to your happiness, Fanny, his has the first claim on me. You are aware of my
having no common interest in Crawford."

Fanny was too well aware of it to have anything to say; and they walked on
together some fifty yards in mutual silence and abstraction.  Edmund first
began again—

"I was very much pleased by her manner of speaking of it yesterday,
particularly pleased, because I had not depended upon her seeing everything in
so just a light. I knew she was very fond of you; but yet I was afraid of her
not estimating your worth to her brother quite as it deserved, and of her
regretting that he had not rather fixed on some woman of distinction or
fortune. I was afraid of the bias of those worldly maxims, which she has been
too much used to hear.  But it was very different. She spoke of you, Fanny,
just as she ought.  She desires the connexion as warmly as your uncle or
myself. We had a long talk about it.  I should not have mentioned the subject,
though very anxious to know her sentiments; but I had not been in the room five
minutes before she began introducing it with all that openness of heart, and
sweet peculiarity of manner, that spirit and ingenuousness which are so much a
part of herself.  Mrs. Grant laughed at her for her rapidity."

"Was Mrs. Grant in the room, then?"

"Yes, when I reached the house I found the two sisters together by themselves;
and when once we had begun, we had not done with you, Fanny, till Crawford and
Dr. Grant came in."

"It is above a week since I saw Miss Crawford."

"Yes, she laments it; yet owns it may have been best. You will see her,
however, before she goes.  She is very angry with you, Fanny; you must be
prepared for that. She calls herself very angry, but you can imagine her anger.
It is the regret and disappointment of a sister, who thinks her brother has a
right to everything he may wish for, at the first moment.  She is hurt, as you
would be for William; but she loves and esteems you with all her heart."

"I knew she would be very angry with me."

"My dearest Fanny," cried Edmund, pressing her arm closer to him, "do not let
the idea of her anger distress you. It is anger to be talked of rather than
felt.  Her heart is made for love and kindness, not for resentment. I wish you
could have overheard her tribute of praise; I wish you could have seen her
countenance, when she said that you should be Henry's wife.  And I observed
that she always spoke of you as 'Fanny,' which she was never used to do; and it
had a sound of most sisterly cordiality."

"And Mrs. Grant, did she say — did she speak; was she there all the time?"

"Yes, she was agreeing exactly with her sister.  The surprise of your refusal,
Fanny, seems to have been unbounded. That you could refuse such a man as Henry
Crawford seems more than they can understand.  I said what I could for you; but
in good truth, as they stated the case — you must prove yourself to be in your
senses as soon as you can by a different conduct; nothing else will satisfy
them. But this is teasing you.  I have done.  Do not turn away from me."

"I should have thought," said Fanny, after a pause of recollection and
exertion, "that every woman must have felt the possibility of a man's not being
approved, not being loved by some one of her sex at least, let him be ever so
generally agreeable.  Let him have all the perfections in the world, I think it
ought not to be set down as certain that a man must be acceptable to every
woman he may happen to like himself.  But, even supposing it is so, allowing
Mr. Crawford to have all the claims which his sisters think he has, how was I
to be prepared to meet him with any feeling answerable to his own? He took me
wholly by surprise.  I had not an idea that his behaviour to me before had any
meaning; and surely I was not to be teaching myself to like him only because he
was taking what seemed very idle notice of me. In my situation, it would have
been the extreme of vanity to be forming expectations on Mr. Crawford.  I am
sure his sisters, rating him as they do, must have thought it so, supposing he
had meant nothing.  How, then, was I to be— to be in love with him the moment
he said he was with me? How was I to have an attachment at his service, as soon
as it was asked for?  His sisters should consider me as well as him.  The
higher his deserts, the more improper for me ever to have thought of him.  And,
and — we think very differently of the nature of women, if they can imagine a
woman so very soon capable of returning an affection as this seems to imply."

"My dear, dear Fanny, now I have the truth.  I know this to be the truth; and
most worthy of you are such feelings. I had attributed them to you before.  I
thought I could understand you.  You have now given exactly the explanation
which I ventured to make for you to your friend and Mrs. Grant, and they were
both better satisfied, though your warm-hearted friend was still run away with
a little by the enthusiasm of her fondness for Henry.  I told them that you
were of all human creatures the one over whom habit had most power and novelty
least; and that the very circumstance of the novelty of Crawford's addresses
was against him. Their being so new and so recent was all in their disfavour;
that you could tolerate nothing that you were not used to; and a great deal
more to the same purpose, to give them a knowledge of your character.  Miss
Crawford made us laugh by her plans of encouragement for her brother. She meant
to urge him to persevere in the hope of being loved in time, and of having his
addresses most kindly received at the end of about ten years' happy marriage."

Fanny could with difficulty give the smile that was here asked for.  Her
feelings were all in revolt. She feared she had been doing wrong:  saying too
much, overacting the caution which she had been fancying necessary; in guarding
against one evil, laying herself open to another; and to have Miss Crawford's
liveliness repeated to her at such a moment, and on such a subject, was a
bitter aggravation.

Edmund saw weariness and distress in her face, and immediately resolved to
forbear all farther discussion; and not even to mention the name of Crawford
again, except as it might be connected with what must be agreeable to her. 
On this principle, he soon afterwards observed— "They go on Monday.  You are
sure, therefore, of seeing your friend either to-morrow or Sunday.  They really
go on Monday; and I was within a trifle of being persuaded to stay at Lessingby
till that very day!  I had almost promised it.  What a difference it might have
made! Those five or six days more at Lessingby might have been felt all my

"You were near staying there?"

"Very.  I was most kindly pressed, and had nearly consented. Had I received any
letter from Mansfield, to tell me how you were all going on, I believe I should
certainly have staid; but I knew nothing that had happened here for a
fortnight, and felt that I had been away long enough."

"You spent your time pleasantly there?"

"Yes; that is, it was the fault of my own mind if I did not. They were all very
pleasant.  I doubt their finding me so. I took uneasiness with me, and there
was no getting rid of it till I was in Mansfield again."

"The Miss Owens — you liked them, did not you?"

"Yes, very well.  Pleasant, good-humoured, unaffected girls. But I am spoilt,
Fanny, for common female society. Good-humoured, unaffected girls will not do
for a man who has been used to sensible women.  They are two distinct orders of
being.  You and Miss Crawford have made me too nice."

Still, however, Fanny was oppressed and wearied; he saw it in her looks, it
could not be talked away; and attempting it no more, he led her directly, with
the kind authority of a privileged guardian, into the house.


Edmund now believed himself perfectly acquainted with all that Fanny could
tell, or could leave to be conjectured of her sentiments, and he was satisfied.
 It had been, as he before presumed, too hasty a measure on Crawford's side,
and time must be given to make the idea first familiar, and then agreeable to
her.  She must be used to the consideration of his being in love with her, and
then a return of affection might not be very distant.

He gave this opinion as the result of the conversation to his father; and
recommended there being nothing more said to her:  no farther attempts to
influence or persuade; but that everything should be left to Crawford's
assiduities, and the natural workings of her own mind.

Sir Thomas promised that it should be so.  Edmund's account of Fanny's
disposition he could believe to be just; he supposed she had all those
feelings, but he must consider it as very unfortunate that she had; for, less
willing than his son to trust to the future, he could not help fearing that if
such very long allowances of time and habit were necessary for her, she might
not have persuaded herself into receiving his addresses properly before the
young man's inclination for paying them were over. There was nothing to be
done, however, but to submit quietly and hope the best.

The promised visit from "her friend," as Edmund called Miss Crawford, was a
formidable threat to Fanny, and she lived in continual terror of it.  As a
sister, so partial and so angry, and so little scrupulous of what she said, and
in another light so triumphant and secure, she was in every way an object of
painful alarm. Her displeasure, her penetration, and her happiness were all
fearful to encounter; and the dependence of having others present when they met
was Fanny's only support in looking forward to it.  She absented herself as
little as possible from Lady Bertram, kept away from the East room, and took no
solitary walk in the shrubbery, in her caution to avoid any sudden attack.

She succeeded.  She was safe in the breakfast-room, with her aunt, when Miss
Crawford did come; and the first misery over, and Miss Crawford looking and
speaking with much less particularity of expression than she had anticipated,
Fanny began to hope there would be nothing worse to be endured than a half-hour
of moderate agitation. But here she hoped too much; Miss Crawford was not the
slave of opportunity.  She was determined to see Fanny alone, and therefore
said to her tolerably soon, in a low voice, "I must speak to you for a few
minutes somewhere"; words that Fanny felt all over her, in all her pulses and
all her nerves.  Denial was impossible.  Her habits of ready submission, on the
contrary, made her almost instantly rise and lead the way out of the room. She
did it with wretched feelings, but it was inevitable.

They were no sooner in the hall than all restraint of countenance was over on
Miss Crawford's side. She immediately shook her head at Fanny with arch, yet
affectionate reproach, and taking her hand, seemed hardly able to help
beginning directly. She said nothing, however, but, "Sad, sad girl! I do not
know when I shall have done scolding you," and had discretion enough to reserve
the rest till they might be secure of having four walls to themselves. Fanny
naturally turned upstairs, and took her guest to the apartment which was now
always fit for comfortable use; opening the door, however, with a most aching
heart, and feeling that she had a more distressing scene before her than ever
that spot had yet witnessed.  But the evil ready to burst on her was at least
delayed by the sudden change in Miss Crawford's ideas; by the strong effect on
her mind which the finding herself in the East room again produced.

"Ha!" she cried, with instant animation, "am I here again? The East room!  Once
only was I in this room before"; and after stopping to look about her, and
seemingly to retrace all that had then passed, she added, "Once only before. 
Do you remember it?  I came to rehearse. Your cousin came too; and we had a
rehearsal.  You were our audience and prompter.  A delightful rehearsal. I
shall never forget it.  Here we were, just in this part of the room:  here was
your cousin, here was I, here were the chairs.  Oh! why will such things ever
pass away?"

Happily for her companion, she wanted no answer. Her mind was entirely
self-engrossed. She was in a reverie of sweet remembrances.

"The scene we were rehearsing was so very remarkable! The subject of it so
very — very — what shall I say? He was to be describing and recommending
matrimony to me. I think I see him now, trying to be as demure and composed as
Anhalt ought, through the two long speeches. 'When two sympathetic hearts meet
in the marriage state, matrimony may be called a happy life.'  I suppose no
time can ever wear out the impression I have of his looks and voice as he said
those words.  It was curious, very curious, that we should have such a scene to
play! If I had the power of recalling any one week of my existence, it should
be that week — that acting week.  Say what you would, Fanny, it should be
that; for I never knew such exquisite happiness in any other.  His sturdy
spirit to bend as it did!  Oh! it was sweet beyond expression. But alas, that
very evening destroyed it all.  That very evening brought your most unwelcome
uncle.  Poor Sir Thomas, who was glad to see you?  Yet, Fanny, do not imagine I
would now speak disrespectfully of Sir Thomas, though I certainly did hate him
for many a week.  No, I do him justice now. He is just what the head of such a
family should be. Nay, in sober sadness, I believe I now love you all." And
having said so, with a degree of tenderness and consciousness which Fanny had
never seen in her before, and now thought only too becoming, she turned away
for a moment to recover herself.  "I have had a little fit since I came into
this room, as you may perceive," said she presently, with a playful smile, "but
it is over now; so let us sit down and be comfortable; for as to scolding you,
Fanny, which I came fully intending to do, I have not the heart for it when it
comes to the point." And embracing her very affectionately, "Good, gentle
Fanny! when I think of this being the last time of seeing you for I do not know
how long, I feel it quite impossible to do anything but love you."

Fanny was affected.  She had not foreseen anything of this, and her feelings
could seldom withstand the melancholy influence of the word "last."  She cried
as if she had loved Miss Crawford more than she possibly could; and Miss
Crawford, yet farther softened by the sight of such emotion, hung about her
with fondness, and said, "I hate to leave you.  I shall see no one half so
amiable where I am going.  Who says we shall not be sisters? I know we shall. 
I feel that we are born to be connected; and those tears convince me that you
feel it too, dear Fanny."

Fanny roused herself, and replying only in part, said, "But you are only going
from one set of friends to another. You are going to a very particular friend."

"Yes, very true.  Mrs. Fraser has been my intimate friend for years.  But I
have not the least inclination to go near her.  I can think only of the friends
I am leaving: my excellent sister, yourself, and the Bertrams in general. You
have all so much more heart among you than one finds in the world at large. 
You all give me a feeling of being able to trust and confide in you, which in
common intercourse one knows nothing of.  I wish I had settled with Mrs. Fraser
not to go to her till after Easter, a much better time for the visit, but now I
cannot put her off. And when I have done with her I must go to her sister, Lady
Stornaway, because she was rather my most particular friend of the two, but I
have not cared much for her these three years."

After this speech the two girls sat many minutes silent, each thoughtful: 
Fanny meditating on the different sorts of friendship in the world, Mary on
something of less philosophic tendency.  She first spoke again.

"How perfectly I remember my resolving to look for you upstairs, and setting
off to find my way to the East room, without having an idea whereabouts it was!
How well I remember what I was thinking of as I came along, and my looking in
and seeing you here sitting at this table at work; and then your cousin's
astonishment, when he opened the door, at seeing me here!  To be sure, your
uncle's returning that very evening!  There never was anything quite like it."

Another short fit of abstraction followed, when, shaking it off, she thus
attacked her companion.

"Why, Fanny, you are absolutely in a reverie. Thinking, I hope, of one who is
always thinking of you. Oh! that I could transport you for a short time into
our circle in town, that you might understand how your power over Henry is
thought of there!  Oh! the envyings and heartburnings of dozens and dozens; the
wonder, the incredulity that will be felt at hearing what you have done!  For
as to secrecy, Henry is quite the hero of an old romance, and glories in his
chains.  You should come to London to know how to estimate your conquest. If
you were to see how he is courted, and how I am courted for his sake!  Now, I
am well aware that I shall not be half so welcome to Mrs. Fraser in consequence
of his situation with you.  When she comes to know the truth she will, very
likely, wish me in Northamptonshire again; for there is a daughter of Mr.
Fraser, by a first wife, whom she is wild to get married, and wants Henry to
take. Oh! she has been trying for him to such a degree. Innocent and quiet as
you sit here, you cannot have an idea of the sensation that you will be
occasioning, of the curiosity there will be to see you, of the endless
questions I shall have to answer!  Poor Margaret Fraser will be at me for ever
about your eyes and your teeth, and how you do your hair, and who makes your
shoes. I wish Margaret were married, for my poor friend's sake, for I look upon
the Frasers to be about as unhappy as most other married people.  And yet it
was a most desirable match for Janet at the time.  We were all delighted. She
could not do otherwise than accept him, for he was rich, and she had nothing;
but he turns out ill-tempered and exigeant, and wants a young woman, a
beautiful young woman of five-and-twenty, to be as steady as himself. And my
friend does not manage him well; she does not seem to know how to make the best
of it.  There is a spirit of irritation which, to say nothing worse, is
certainly very ill-bred. In their house I shall call to mind the conjugal
manners of Mansfield Parsonage with respect. Even Dr. Grant does shew a
thorough confidence in my sister, and a certain consideration for her judgment,
which makes one feel there is attachment; but of that I shall see nothing
with the Frasers.  I shall be at Mansfield for ever, Fanny.  My own sister as a
wife, Sir Thomas Bertram as a husband, are my standards of perfection. Poor
Janet has been sadly taken in, and yet there was nothing improper on her side: 
she did not run into the match inconsiderately; there was no want of foresight.
She took three days to consider of his proposals, and during those three days
asked the advice of everybody connected with her whose opinion was worth
having, and especially applied to my late dear aunt, whose knowledge of the
world made her judgment very generally and deservedly looked up to by all the
young people of her acquaintance, and she was decidedly in favour of Mr.
Fraser.  This seems as if nothing were a security for matrimonial comfort.  I
have not so much to say for my friend Flora, who jilted a very nice young man
in the Blues for the sake of that horrid Lord Stornaway, who has about as much
sense, Fanny, as Mr. Rushworth, but much worse-looking, and with a blackguard
character. I had my doubts at the time about her being right, for he has not
even the air of a gentleman, and now I am sure she was wrong.  By the bye,
Flora Ross was dying for Henry the first winter she came out.  But were I to
attempt to tell you of all the women whom I have known to be in love with him,
I should never have done. It is you, only you, insensible Fanny, who can think
of him with anything like indifference.  But are you so insensible as you
profess yourself?  No, no, I see you are not."

There was, indeed, so deep a blush over Fanny's face at that moment as might
warrant strong suspicion in a predisposed mind.

"Excellent creature!  I will not tease you.  Everything shall take its course. 
But, dear Fanny, you must allow that you were not so absolutely unprepared to
have the question asked as your cousin fancies.  It is not possible but that
you must have had some thoughts on the subject, some surmises as to what might
be.  You must have seen that he was trying to please you by every attention in
his power. Was not he devoted to you at the ball?  And then before the ball,
the necklace!  Oh! you received it just as it was meant.  You were as conscious
as heart could desire. I remember it perfectly."

"Do you mean, then, that your brother knew of the necklace beforehand?  Oh! 
Miss Crawford, that was not fair."

"Knew of it!  It was his own doing entirely, his own thought. I am ashamed to
say that it had never entered my head, but I was delighted to act on his
proposal for both your sakes."

"I will not say," replied Fanny, "that I was not half afraid at the time of its
being so, for there was something in your look that frightened me, but not at
first; I was as unsuspicious of it at first — indeed, indeed I was. It is as
true as that I sit here.  And had I had an idea of it, nothing should have
induced me to accept the necklace. As to your brother's behaviour, certainly I
was sensible of a particularity:  I had been sensible of it some little time,
perhaps two or three weeks; but then I considered it as meaning nothing:  I put
it down as simply being his way, and was as far from supposing as from wishing
him to have any serious thoughts of me.  I had not, Miss Crawford, been an
inattentive observer of what was passing between him and some part of this
family in the summer and autumn. I was quiet, but I was not blind.  I could not
but see that Mr. Crawford allowed himself in gallantries which did mean

"Ah!  I cannot deny it.  He has now and then been a sad flirt, and cared very
little for the havoc he might be making in young ladies' affections.  I have
often scolded him for it, but it is his only fault; and there is this to be
said, that very few young ladies have any affections worth caring for.  And
then, Fanny, the glory of fixing one who has been shot at by so many; of having
it in one's power to pay off the debts of one's sex!  Oh!  I am sure it is not
in woman's nature to refuse such a triumph."

Fanny shook her head.  "I cannot think well of a man who sports with any
woman's feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a
stander-by can judge of."

"I do not defend him.  I leave him entirely to your mercy, and when he has got
you at Everingham, I do not care how much you lecture him.  But this I will
say, that his fault, the liking to make girls a little in love with him, is not
half so dangerous to a wife's happiness as a tendency to fall in love himself,
which he has never been addicted to. And I do seriously and truly believe that
he is attached to you in a way that he never was to any woman before; that he
loves you with all his heart, and will love you as nearly for ever as possible.
 If any man ever loved a woman for ever, I think Henry will do as much for

Fanny could not avoid a faint smile, but had nothing to say.

"I cannot imagine Henry ever to have been happier," continued Mary presently,
"than when he had succeeded in getting your brother's commission."

She had made a sure push at Fanny's feelings here.

"Oh! yes.  How very, very kind of him."

"I know he must have exerted himself very much, for I know the parties he had
to move.  The Admiral hates trouble, and scorns asking favours; and there are
so many young men's claims to be attended to in the same way, that a friendship
and energy, not very determined, is easily put by.  What a happy creature
William must be! I wish we could see him."

Poor Fanny's mind was thrown into the most distressing of all its varieties. 
The recollection of what had been done for William was always the most powerful
disturber of every decision against Mr. Crawford; and she sat thinking deeply
of it till Mary, who had been first watching her complacently, and then musing
on something else, suddenly called her attention by saying: "I should like to
sit talking with you here all day, but we must not forget the ladies below, and
so good-bye, my dear, my amiable, my excellent Fanny, for though we shall
nominally part in the breakfast-parlour, I must take leave of you here.  And I
do take leave, longing for a happy reunion, and trusting that when we meet
again, it will be under circumstances which may open our hearts to each other
without any remnant or shadow of reserve."

A very, very kind embrace, and some agitation of manner, accompanied these

"I shall see your cousin in town soon:  he talks of being there tolerably soon;
and Sir Thomas, I dare say, in the course of the spring; and your eldest
cousin, and the Rushworths, and Julia, I am sure of meeting again and again,
and all but you.  I have two favours to ask, Fanny:  one is your
correspondence.  You must write to me. And the other, that you will often call
on Mrs. Grant, and make her amends for my being gone."

The first, at least, of these favours Fanny would rather not have been asked;
but it was impossible for her to refuse the correspondence; it was impossible
for her even not to accede to it more readily than her own judgment authorised.
There was no resisting so much apparent affection. Her disposition was
peculiarly calculated to value a fond treatment, and from having hitherto known
so little of it, she was the more overcome by Miss Crawford's. Besides, there
was gratitude towards her, for having made their tete-a-tete so much less
painful than her fears had predicted.

It was over, and she had escaped without reproaches and without detection.  Her
secret was still her own; and while that was the case, she thought she could
resign herself to almost everything.

In the evening there was another parting.  Henry Crawford came and sat some
time with them; and her spirits not being previously in the strongest state,
her heart was softened for a while towards him, because he really seemed to
feel. Quite unlike his usual self, he scarcely said anything. He was evidently
oppressed, and Fanny must grieve for him, though hoping she might never see him
again till he were the husband of some other woman.

When it came to the moment of parting, he would take her hand, he would not be
denied it; he said nothing, however, or nothing that she heard, and when he had
left the room, she was better pleased that such a token of friendship had

On the morrow the Crawfords were gone.


Mr. Crawford gone, Sir Thomas's next object was that he should be missed; and
he entertained great hope that his niece would find a blank in the loss of
those attentions which at the time she had felt, or fancied, an evil. She had
tasted of consequence in its most flattering form; and he did hope that the
loss of it, the sinking again into nothing, would awaken very wholesome regrets
in her mind.  He watched her with this idea; but he could hardly tell with what
success.  He hardly knew whether there were any difference in her spirits or
not. She was always so gentle and retiring that her emotions were beyond his
discrimination.  He did not understand her: he felt that he did not; and
therefore applied to Edmund to tell him how she stood affected on the present
occasion, and whether she were more or less happy than she had been.

Edmund did not discern any symptoms of regret, and thought his father a little
unreasonable in supposing the first three or four days could produce any.

What chiefly surprised Edmund was, that Crawford's sister, the friend and
companion who had been so much to her, should not be more visibly regretted. 
He wondered that Fanny spoke so seldom of her, and had so little voluntarily
to say of her concern at this separation.

Alas! it was this sister, this friend and companion, who was now the chief bane
of Fanny's comfort.  If she could have believed Mary's future fate as
unconnected with Mansfield as she was determined the brother's should be, if
she could have hoped her return thither to be as distant as she was much
inclined to think his, she would have been light of heart indeed; but the more
she recollected and observed, the more deeply was she convinced that everything
was now in a fairer train for Miss Crawford's marrying Edmund than it had ever
been before.  On his side the inclination was stronger, on hers less equivocal.
 His objections, the scruples of his integrity, seemed all done away, nobody
could tell how; and the doubts and hesitations of her ambition were equally got
over — and equally without apparent reason. It could only be imputed to
increasing attachment. His good and her bad feelings yielded to love, and such
love must unite them.  He was to go to town as soon as some business relative
to Thornton Lacey were completed— perhaps within a fortnight; he talked of
going, he loved to talk of it; and when once with her again, Fanny could not
doubt the rest.  Her acceptance must be as certain as his offer; and yet there
were bad feelings still remaining which made the prospect of it most sorrowful
to her, independently, she believed, independently of self.

In their very last conversation, Miss Crawford, in spite of some amiable
sensations, and much personal kindness, had still been Miss Crawford; still
shewn a mind led astray and bewildered, and without any suspicion of being so;
darkened, yet fancying itself light.  She might love, but she did not deserve
Edmund by any other sentiment. Fanny believed there was scarcely a second
feeling in common between them; and she may be forgiven by older sages for
looking on the chance of Miss Crawford's future improvement as nearly
desperate, for thinking that if Edmund's influence in this season of love had
already done so little in clearing her judgment, and regulating her notions,
his worth would be finally wasted on her even in years of matrimony.

Experience might have hoped more for any young people so circumstanced, and
impartiality would not have denied to Miss Crawford's nature that participation
of the general nature of women which would lead her to adopt the opinions of
the man she loved and respected as her own.  But as such were Fanny's
persuasions, she suffered very much from them, and could never speak of Miss
Crawford without pain.

Sir Thomas, meanwhile, went on with his own hopes and his own observations,
still feeling a right, by all his knowledge of human nature, to expect to see
the effect of the loss of power and consequence on his niece's spirits, and the
past attentions of the lover producing a craving for their return; and he was
soon afterwards able to account for his not yet completely and indubitably
seeing all this, by the prospect of another visitor, whose approach he could
allow to be quite enough to support the spirits he was watching.  William had
obtained a ten days' leave of absence, to be given to Northamptonshire, and was
coming, the happiest of lieutenants, because the latest made, to shew his
happiness and describe his uniform.

He came; and he would have been delighted to shew his uniform there too, had
not cruel custom prohibited its appearance except on duty.  So the uniform
remained at Portsmouth, and Edmund conjectured that before Fanny had any chance
of seeing it, all its own freshness and all the freshness of its wearer's
feelings must be worn away.  It would be sunk into a badge of disgrace; for
what can be more unbecoming, or more worthless, than the uniform of a
lieutenant, who has been a lieutenant a year or two, and sees others made
commanders before him?  So reasoned Edmund, till his father made him the
confidant of a scheme which placed Fanny's chance of seeing the second
lieutenant of H.M.S. Thrush in all his glory in another light.

This scheme was that she should accompany her brother back to Portsmouth, and
spend a little time with her own family.  It had occurred to Sir Thomas, in one
of his dignified musings, as a right and desirable measure; but before he
absolutely made up his mind, he consulted his son.  Edmund considered it every
way, and saw nothing but what was right.  The thing was good in itself, and
could not be done at a better time; and he had no doubt of it being highly
agreeable to Fanny.  This was enough to determine Sir Thomas; and a decisive
"then so it shall be" closed that stage of the business; Sir Thomas retiring
from it with some feelings of satisfaction, and views of good over and above
what he had communicated to his son; for his prime motive in sending her away
had very little to do with the propriety of her seeing her parents again, and
nothing at all with any idea of making her happy. He certainly wished her to go
willingly, but he as certainly wished her to be heartily sick of home before
her visit ended; and that a little abstinence from the elegancies and luxuries
of Mansfield Park would bring her mind into a sober state, and incline her to a
juster estimate of the value of that home of greater permanence, and equal
comfort, of which she had the offer.

It was a medicinal project upon his niece's understanding, which he must
consider as at present diseased. A residence of eight or nine years in the
abode of wealth and plenty had a little disordered her powers of comparing and
judging.  Her father's house would, in all probability, teach her the value of
a good income; and he trusted that she would be the wiser and happier woman,
all her life, for the experiment he had devised.

Had Fanny been at all addicted to raptures, she must have had a strong attack
of them when she first understood what was intended, when her uncle first made
her the offer of visiting the parents, and brothers, and sisters, from whom she
had been divided almost half her life; of returning for a couple of months to
the scenes of her infancy, with William for the protector and companion of her
journey, and the certainty of continuing to see William to the last hour of his
remaining on land. Had she ever given way to bursts of delight, it must have
been then, for she was delighted, but her happiness was of a quiet, deep,
heart-swelling sort; and though never a great talker, she was always more
inclined to silence when feeling most strongly.  At the moment she could only
thank and accept.  Afterwards, when familiarised with the visions of enjoyment
so suddenly opened, she could speak more largely to William and Edmund of what
she felt; but still there were emotions of tenderness that could not be clothed
in words.  The remembrance of all her earliest pleasures, and of what she had
suffered in being torn from them, came over her with renewed strength, and it
seemed as if to be at home again would heal every pain that had since grown out
of the separation. To be in the centre of such a circle, loved by so many, and
more loved by all than she had ever been before; to feel affection without fear
or restraint; to feel herself the equal of those who surrounded her; to be at
peace from all mention of the Crawfords, safe from every look which could be
fancied a reproach on their account. This was a prospect to be dwelt on with a
fondness that could be but half acknowledged.

Edmund, too — to be two months from him (and perhaps she might be allowed to
make her absence three) must do her good.  At a distance, unassailed by his
looks or his kindness, and safe from the perpetual irritation of knowing his
heart, and striving to avoid his confidence, she should be able to reason
herself into a properer state; she should be able to think of him as in London,
and arranging everything there, without wretchedness. What might have been hard
to bear at Mansfield was to become a slight evil at Portsmouth.

The only drawback was the doubt of her aunt Bertram's being comfortable without
her.  She was of use to no one else; but there she might be missed to a
degree that she did not like to think of; and that part of the arrangement was,
indeed, the hardest for Sir Thomas to accomplish, and what only he could have
accomplished at all.

But he was master at Mansfield Park.  When he had really resolved on any
measure, he could always carry it through; and now by dint of long talking on
the subject, explaining and dwelling on the duty of Fanny's sometimes seeing
her family, he did induce his wife to let her go; obtaining it rather from
submission, however, than conviction, for Lady Bertram was convinced of very
little more than that Sir Thomas thought Fanny ought to go, and therefore that
she must.  In the calmness of her own dressing-room, in the impartial flow of
her own meditations, unbiassed by his bewildering statements, she could not
acknowledge any necessity for Fanny's ever going near a father and mother who
had done without her so long, while she was so useful to herself And as to the
not missing her, which under Mrs. Norris's discussion was the point attempted
to be proved, she set herself very steadily against admitting any such thing.

Sir Thomas had appealed to her reason, conscience, and dignity. He called it a
sacrifice, and demanded it of her goodness and self-command as such.  But Mrs.
Norris wanted to persuade her that Fanny could be very well spared — she being
ready to give up all her own time to her as requested— and, in short, could
not really be wanted or missed.

"That may be, sister," was all Lady Bertram's reply. "I dare say you are very
right; but I am sure I shall miss her very much."

The next step was to communicate with Portsmouth.  Fanny wrote to offer
herself; and her mother's answer, though short, was so kind — a few simple lines
expressed so natural and motherly a joy in the prospect of seeing her child
again, as to confirm all the daughter's views of happiness in being with
her — convincing her that she should now find a warm and affectionate friend in
the "mama" who had certainly shewn no remarkable fondness for her formerly; but
this she could easily suppose to have been her own fault or her own fancy.  She
had probably alienated love by the helplessness and fretfulness of a fearful
temper, or been unreasonable in wanting a larger share than any one among so
many could deserve.  Now, when she knew better how to be useful, and how to
forbear, and when her mother could be no longer occupied by the incessant
demands of a house full of little children, there would be leisure and
inclination for every comfort, and they should soon be what mother and daughter
ought to be to each other.

William was almost as happy in the plan as his sister. It would be the greatest
pleasure to him to have her there to the last moment before he sailed, and
perhaps find her there still when he came in from his first cruise. And
besides, he wanted her so very much to see the Thrush before she went out of
harbour — the Thrush was certainly the finest sloop in the service — and there
were several improvements in the dockyard, too, which he quite longed to shew

He did not scruple to add that her being at home for a while would be a great
advantage to everybody.

"I do not know how it is," said he; "but we seem to want some of your nice ways
and orderliness at my father's. The house is always in confusion.  You will set
things going in a better way, I am sure.  You will tell my mother how it all
ought to be, and you will be so useful to Susan, and you will teach Betsey, and
make the boys love and mind you. How right and comfortable it will all be!"

By the time Mrs. Price's answer arrived, there remained but a very few days
more to be spent at Mansfield; and for part of one of those days the young
travellers were in a good deal of alarm on the subject of their journey, for
when the mode of it came to be talked of, and Mrs. Norris found that all her
anxiety to save her brother-in-law's money was vain, and that in spite of her
wishes and hints for a less expensive conveyance of Fanny, they were to travel
post; when she saw Sir Thomas actually give William notes for the purpose, she
was struck with the idea of there being room for a third in the carriage, and
suddenly seized with a strong inclination to go with them, to go and see her
poor dear sister Price. She proclaimed her thoughts.  She must say that she had
more than half a mind to go with the young people; it would be such an
indulgence to her; she had not seen her poor dear sister Price for more than
twenty years; and it would be a help to the young people in their journey to
have her older head to manage for them; and she could not help thinking her
poor dear sister Price would feel it very unkind of her not to come by such an

William and Fanny were horror-struck at the idea.

All the comfort of their comfortable journey would be destroyed at once.  With
woeful countenances they looked at each other.  Their suspense lasted an hour
or two.  No one interfered to encourage or dissuade. Mrs. Norris was left to
settle the matter by herself; and it ended, to the infinite joy of her nephew
and niece, in the recollection that she could not possibly be spared from
Mansfield Park at present; that she was a great deal too necessary to Sir
Thomas and Lady Bertram for her to be able to answer it to herself to leave
them even for a week, and therefore must certainly sacrifice every other
pleasure to that of being useful to them.

It had, in fact, occurred to her, that though taken to Portsmouth for nothing,
it would be hardly possible for her to avoid paying her own expenses back
again. So her poor dear sister Price was left to all the disappointment of her
missing such an opportunity, and another twenty years' absence, perhaps, begun.

Edmund's plans were affected by this Portsmouth journey, this absence of
Fanny's. He too had a sacrifice to make to Mansfield Park as well as his aunt. 
He had intended, about this time, to be going to London; but he could not leave
his father and mother just when everybody else of most importance to their
comfort was leaving them; and with an effort, felt but not boasted of, he
delayed for a week or two longer a journey which he was looking forward to with
the hope of its fixing his happiness for ever.

He told Fanny of it.  She knew so much already, that she must know everything. 
It made the substance of one other confidential discourse about Miss Crawford;
and Fanny was the more affected from feeling it to be the last time in which
Miss Crawford's name would ever be mentioned between them with any remains of
liberty. Once afterwards she was alluded to by him.  Lady Bertram had been
telling her niece in the evening to write to her soon and often, and promising
to be a good correspondent herself; and Edmund, at a convenient moment, then
added in a whisper, "And I shall write to you, Fanny, when I have anything
worth writing about, anything to say that I think you will like to hear, and
that you will not hear so soon from any other quarter."  Had she doubted his
meaning while she listened, the glow in his face, when she looked up at him,
would have been decisive.

For this letter she must try to arm herself.  That a letter from Edmund should
be a subject of terror! She began to feel that she had not yet gone through all
the changes of opinion and sentiment which the progress of time and variation
of circumstances occasion in this world of changes.  The vicissitudes of the
human mind had not yet been exhausted by her.

Poor Fanny! though going as she did willingly and eagerly, the last evening at
Mansfield Park must still be wretchedness.  Her heart was completely sad at
parting. She had tears for every room in the house, much more for every beloved
inhabitant.  She clung to her aunt, because she would miss her; she kissed the
hand of her uncle with struggling sobs, because she had displeased him; and as
for Edmund, she could neither speak, nor look, nor think, when the last moment
came with him; and it was not till it was over that she knew he was giving
her the affectionate farewell of a brother.

All this passed overnight, for the journey was to begin very early in the
morning; and when the small, diminished party met at breakfast, William and
Fanny were talked of as already advanced one stage.


The novelty of travelling, and the happiness of being with William, soon
produced their natural effect on Fanny's spirits, when Mansfield Park was
fairly left behind; and by the time their first stage was ended, and they were
to quit Sir Thomas's carriage, she was able to take leave of the old coachman,
and send back proper messages, with cheerful looks.

Of pleasant talk between the brother and sister there was no end.  Everything
supplied an amusement to the high glee of William's mind, and he was full of
frolic and joke in the intervals of their higher-toned subjects, all of which
ended, if they did not begin, in praise of the Thrush, conjectures how she
would be employed, schemes for an action with some superior force, which
(supposing the first lieutenant out of the way, and William was not very
merciful to the first lieutenant) was to give himself the next step as soon as
possible, or speculations upon prize-money, which was to be generously
distributed at home, with only the reservation of enough to make the little
cottage comfortable, in which he and Fanny were to pass all their middle and
later life together.

Fanny's immediate concerns, as far as they involved Mr. Crawford, made no part
of their conversation. William knew what had passed, and from his heart
lamented that his sister's feelings should be so cold towards a man whom he
must consider as the first of human characters; but he was of an age to be all
for love, and therefore unable to blame; and knowing her wish on the subject,
he would not distress her by the slightest allusion.

She had reason to suppose herself not yet forgotten by Mr. Crawford.  She had
heard repeatedly from his sister within the three weeks which had passed since
their leaving Mansfield, and in each letter there had been a few lines from
himself, warm and determined like his speeches.  It was a correspondence which
Fanny found quite as unpleasant as she had feared. Miss Crawford's style of
writing, lively and affectionate, was itself an evil, independent of what she
was thus forced into reading from the brother's pen, for Edmund would never
rest till she had read the chief of the letter to him; and then she had to
listen to his admiration of her language, and the warmth of her attachments.
There had, in fact, been so much of message, of allusion, of recollection, so
much of Mansfield in every letter, that Fanny could not but suppose it meant
for him to hear; and to find herself forced into a purpose of that kind,
compelled into a correspondence which was bringing her the addresses of the man
she did not love, and obliging her to administer to the adverse passion of the
man she did, was cruelly mortifying.  Here, too, her present removal promised
advantage.  When no longer under the same roof with Edmund, she trusted that
Miss Crawford would have no motive for writing strong enough to overcome the
trouble, and that at Portsmouth their correspondence would dwindle into

With such thoughts as these, among ten hundred others, Fanny proceeded in her
journey safely and cheerfully, and as expeditiously as could rationally be
hoped in the dirty month of February.  They entered Oxford, but she could take
only a hasty glimpse of Edmund's college as they passed along, and made no stop
anywhere till they reached Newbury, where a comfortable meal, uniting dinner
and supper, wound up the enjoyments and fatigues of the day.

The next morning saw them off again at an early hour; and with no events, and
no delays, they regularly advanced, and were in the environs of Portsmouth
while there was yet daylight for Fanny to look around her, and wonder at the
new buildings.  They passed the drawbridge, and entered the town; and the light
was only beginning to fail as, guided by William's powerful voice, they were
rattled into a narrow street, leading from the High Street, and drawn up before
the door of a small house now inhabited by Mr. Price.

Fanny was all agitation and flutter; all hope and apprehension. The moment they
stopped, a trollopy-looking maidservant, seemingly in waiting for them at the
door, stepped forward, and more intent on telling the news than giving them any
help, immediately began with, "The Thrush is gone out of harbour, please sir,
and one of the officers has been here to— " She was interrupted by a fine tall
boy of eleven years old, who, rushing out of the house, pushed the maid aside,
and while William was opening the chaise-door himself, called out, "You are
just in time.  We have been looking for you this half-hour. The Thrush went out
of harbour this morning.  I saw her.  It was a beautiful sight. And they think
she will have her orders in a day or two. And Mr. Campbell was here at four
o'clock to ask for you: he has got one of the Thrush's boats, and is going off
to her at six, and hoped you would be here in time to go with him."

A stare or two at Fanny, as William helped her out of the carriage, was all the
voluntary notice which this brother bestowed; but he made no objection to her
kissing him, though still entirely engaged in detailing farther particulars of
the Thrush's going out of harbour, in which he had a strong right of interest,
being to commence his career of seamanship in her at this very time.

Another moment and Fanny was in the narrow entrance-passage of the house, and
in her mother's arms, who met her there with looks of true kindness, and with
features which Fanny loved the more, because they brought her aunt Bertram's
before her, and there were her two sisters: Susan, a well-grown fine girl of
fourteen, and Betsey, the youngest of the family, about five — both glad to see
her in their way, though with no advantage of manner in receiving her.  But
manner Fanny did not want. Would they but love her, she should be satisfied.

She was then taken into a parlour, so small that her first conviction was of
its being only a passage-room to something better, and she stood for a moment
expecting to be invited on; but when she saw there was no other door, and that
there were signs of habitation before her, she called back her thoughts,
reproved herself, and grieved lest they should have been suspected.  Her
mother, however, could not stay long enough to suspect anything. She was gone
again to the street-door, to welcome William. "Oh! my dear William, how glad I
am to see you. But have you heard about the Thrush?  She is gone out of harbour
already; three days before we had any thought of it; and I do not know what I
am to do about Sam's things, they will never be ready in time; for she may have
her orders to-morrow, perhaps.  It takes me quite unawares.  And now you must
be off for Spithead too.  Campbell has been here, quite in a worry about you;
and now what shall we do? I thought to have had such a comfortable evening with
you, and here everything comes upon me at once."

Her son answered cheerfully, telling her that everything was always for the
best; and making light of his own inconvenience in being obliged to hurry away
so soon.

"To be sure, I had much rather she had stayed in harbour, that I might have sat
a few hours with you in comfort; but as there is a boat ashore, I had better go
off at once, and there is no help for it.  Whereabouts does the Thrush lay at
Spithead?  Near the Canopus?  But no matter; here's Fanny in the parlour, and
why should we stay in the passage?  Come, mother, you have hardly looked at
your own dear Fanny yet."

In they both came, and Mrs. Price having kindly kissed her daughter again, and
commented a little on her growth, began with very natural solicitude to feel
for their fatigues and wants as travellers.

"Poor dears! how tired you must both be! and now, what will you have?  I began
to think you would never come. Betsey and I have been watching for you this
half-hour. And when did you get anything to eat?  And what would you like to
have now?  I could not tell whether you would be for some meat, or only a dish
of tea, after your journey, or else I would have got something ready.  And now
I am afraid Campbell will be here before there is time to dress a steak, and we
have no butcher at hand. It is very inconvenient to have no butcher in the
street. We were better off in our last house.  Perhaps you would like some tea
as soon as it can be got."

They both declared they should prefer it to anything. "Then, Betsey, my dear,
run into the kitchen and see if Rebecca has put the water on; and tell her to
bring in the tea-things as soon as she can.  I wish we could get the bell
mended; but Betsey is a very handy little messenger."

Betsey went with alacrity, proud to shew her abilities before her fine new

"Dear me!" continued the anxious mother, "what a sad fire we have got, and I
dare say you are both starved with cold.  Draw your chair nearer, my dear.  I
cannot think what Rebecca has been about.  I am sure I told her to bring some
coals half an hour ago.  Susan, you should have taken care of the fire."

"I was upstairs, mama, moving my things," said Susan, in a fearless,
self-defending tone, which startled Fanny. "You know you had but just settled
that my sister Fanny and I should have the other room; and I could not get
Rebecca to give me any help."

Farther discussion was prevented by various bustles: first, the driver came to
be paid; then there was a squabble between Sam and Rebecca about the manner of
carrying up his sister's trunk, which he would manage all his own way; and
lastly, in walked Mr. Price himself, his own loud voice preceding him, as with
something of the oath kind he kicked away his son's port-manteau and his
daughter's bandbox in the passage, and called out for a candle; no candle was
brought, however, and he walked into the room.

Fanny with doubting feelings had risen to meet him, but sank down again on
finding herself undistinguished in the dusk, and unthought of.  With a friendly
shake of his son's hand, and an eager voice, he instantly began— "Ha! welcome
back, my boy.  Glad to see you.  Have you heard the news?  The Thrush went out
of harbour this morning. Sharp is the word, you see!  By G — , you are just in
time! The doctor has been here inquiring for you:  he has got one of the boats,
and is to be off for Spithead by six, so you had better go with him.  I have
been to Turner's about your mess; it is all in a way to be done. I should not
wonder if you had your orders to-morrow: but you cannot sail with this wind, if
you are to cruise to the westward; and Captain Walsh thinks you will certainly
have a cruise to the westward, with the Elephant. By G — , I wish you may!  But
old Scholey was saying, just now, that he thought you would be sent first to
the Texel.  Well, well, we are ready, whatever happens. But by G — , you lost a
fine sight by not being here in the morning to see the Thrush go out of
harbour! I would not have been out of the way for a thousand pounds. Old
Scholey ran in at breakfast-time, to say she had slipped her moorings and was
coming out, I jumped up, and made but two steps to the platform.  If ever there
was a perfect beauty afloat, she is one; and there she lays at Spithead, and
anybody in England would take her for an eight-and-twenty. I was upon the
platform two hours this afternoon looking at her.  She lays close to the
Endymion, between her and the Cleopatra, just to the eastward of the sheer

"Ha!" cried William, "that's just where I should have put her myself.  It's
the best berth at Spithead. But here is my sister, sir; here is Fanny," turning
and leading her forward; "it is so dark you do not see her."

With an acknowledgment that he had quite forgot her, Mr. Price now received his
daughter; and having given her a cordial hug, and observed that she was grown
into a woman, and he supposed would be wanting a husband soon, seemed very much
inclined to forget her again. Fanny shrunk back to her seat, with feelings
sadly pained by his language and his smell of spirits; and he talked on only to
his son, and only of the Thrush, though William, warmly interested as he was in
that subject, more than once tried to make his father think of Fanny, and her
long absence and long journey.

After sitting some time longer, a candle was obtained; but as there was still
no appearance of tea, nor, from Betsey's reports from the kitchen, much hope of
any under a considerable period, William determined to go and change his dress,
and make the necessary preparations for his removal on board directly, that he
might have his tea in comfort afterwards.

As he left the room, two rosy-faced boys, ragged and dirty, about eight and
nine years old, rushed into it just released from school, and coming eagerly to
see their sister, and tell that the Thrush was gone out of harbour; Tom and
Charles.  Charles had been born since Fanny's going away, but Tom she had often
helped to nurse, and now felt a particular pleasure in seeing again. Both were
kissed very tenderly, but Tom she wanted to keep by her, to try to trace the
features of the baby she had loved, and talked to, of his infant preference of
herself.  Tom, however, had no mind for such treatment: he came home not to
stand and be talked to, but to run about and make a noise; and both boys had
soon burst from her, and slammed the parlour-door till her temples ached.

She had now seen all that were at home; there remained only two brothers
between herself and Susan, one of whom was a clerk in a public office in
London, and the other midshipman on board an Indiaman. But though she had
seen all the members of the family, she had not yet heard all the noise
they could make. Another quarter of an hour brought her a great deal more.
William was soon calling out from the landing-place of the second story for his
mother and for Rebecca. He was in distress for something that he had left
there, and did not find again.  A key was mislaid, Betsey accused of having got
at his new hat, and some slight, but essential alteration of his uniform
waistcoat, which he had been promised to have done for him, entirely neglected.

Mrs. Price, Rebecca, and Betsey all went up to defend themselves, all talking
together, but Rebecca loudest, and the job was to be done as well as it could
in a great hurry; William trying in vain to send Betsey down again, or keep her
from being troublesome where she was; the whole of which, as almost every door
in the house was open, could be plainly distinguished in the parlour, except
when drowned at intervals by the superior noise of Sam, Tom, and Charles
chasing each other up and down stairs, and tumbling about and hallooing.

Fanny was almost stunned.  The smallness of the house and thinness of the walls
brought everything so close to her, that, added to the fatigue of her journey,
and all her recent agitation, she hardly knew how to bear it. Within the room
all was tranquil enough, for Susan having disappeared with the others, there
were soon only her father and herself remaining; and he, taking out a
newspaper, the accustomary loan of a neighbour, applied himself to studying it,
without seeming to recollect her existence. The solitary candle was held
between himself and the paper, without any reference to her possible
convenience; but she had nothing to do, and was glad to have the light screened
from her aching head, as she sat in bewildered, broken, sorrowful

She was at home.  But, alas! it was not such a home, she had not such a
welcome, as — she checked herself; she was unreasonable.  What right had she to
be of importance to her family?  She could have none, so long lost sight of!
William's concerns must be dearest, they always had been, and he had every
right.  Yet to have so little said or asked about herself, to have scarcely an
inquiry made after Mansfield!  It did pain her to have Mansfield forgotten; the
friends who had done so much — the dear, dear friends! But here, one subject
swallowed up all the rest. Perhaps it must be so.  The destination of the
Thrush must be now preeminently interesting.  A day or two might shew the
difference.  She only was to blame. Yet she thought it would not have been so
at Mansfield. No, in her uncle's house there would have been a consideration of
times and seasons, a regulation of subject, a propriety, an attention towards
everybody which there was not here.

The only interruption which thoughts like these received for nearly half an
hour was from a sudden burst of her father's, not at all calculated to compose
them.  At a more than ordinary pitch of thumping and hallooing in the passage,
he exclaimed, "Devil take those young dogs!  How they are singing out!  Ay,
Sam's voice louder than all the rest! That boy is fit for a boatswain.  Holla,
you there! Sam, stop your confounded pipe, or I shall be after you."

This threat was so palpably disregarded, that though within five minutes
afterwards the three boys all burst into the room together and sat down, Fanny
could not consider it as a proof of anything more than their being for the time
thoroughly fagged, which their hot faces and panting breaths seemed to prove,
especially as they were still kicking each other's shins, and hallooing out at
sudden starts immediately under their father's eye.

The next opening of the door brought something more welcome: it was for the
tea-things, which she had begun almost to despair of seeing that evening. 
Susan and an attendant girl, whose inferior appearance informed Fanny, to her
great surprise, that she had previously seen the upper servant, brought in
everything necessary for the meal; Susan looking, as she put the kettle on the
fire and glanced at her sister, as if divided between the agreeable triumph of
shewing her activity and usefulness, and the dread of being thought to demean
herself by such an office. "She had been into the kitchen," she said, "to hurry
Sally and help make the toast, and spread the bread and butter, or she did not
know when they should have got tea, and she was sure her sister must want
something after her journey."

Fanny was very thankful.  She could not but own that she should be very glad of
a little tea, and Susan immediately set about making it, as if pleased to have
the employment all to herself; and with only a little unnecessary bustle, and
some few injudicious attempts at keeping her brothers in better order than she
could, acquitted herself very well. Fanny's spirit was as much refreshed as her
body; her head and heart were soon the better for such well-timed kindness.
Susan had an open, sensible countenance; she was like William, and Fanny hoped
to find her like him in disposition and goodwill towards herself.

In this more placid state of things William reentered, followed not far behind
by his mother and Betsey. He, complete in his lieutenant's uniform, looking and
moving all the taller, firmer, and more graceful for it, and with the happiest
smile over his face, walked up directly to Fanny, who, rising from her seat,
looked at him for a moment in speechless admiration, and then threw her arms
round his neck to sob out her various emotions of pain and pleasure.

Anxious not to appear unhappy, she soon recovered herself; and wiping away her
tears, was able to notice and admire all the striking parts of his dress;
listening with reviving spirits to his cheerful hopes of being on shore some
part of every day before they sailed, and even of getting her to Spithead to
see the sloop.

The next bustle brought in Mr. Campbell, the surgeon of the Thrush, a very
well-behaved young man, who came to call for his friend, and for whom there was
with some contrivance found a chair, and with some hasty washing of the young
tea-maker's, a cup and saucer; and after another quarter of an hour of earnest
talk between the gentlemen, noise rising upon noise, and bustle upon bustle,
men and boys at last all in motion together, the moment came for setting off;
everything was ready, William took leave, and all of them were gone; for the
three boys, in spite of their mother's entreaty, determined to see their
brother and Mr. Campbell to the sally-port; and Mr. Price walked off at the
same time to carry back his neighbour's newspaper.

Something like tranquillity might now be hoped for; and accordingly, when
Rebecca had been prevailed on to carry away the tea-things, and Mrs. Price had
walked about the room some time looking for a shirt-sleeve, which Betsey at
last hunted out from a drawer in the kitchen, the small party of females were
pretty well composed, and the mother having lamented again over the
impossibility of getting Sam ready in time, was at leisure to think of her
eldest daughter and the friends she had come from.

A few inquiries began:  but one of the earliest — "How did sister Bertram manage
about her servants?  "Was she as much plagued as herself to get tolerable
servants?"— soon led her mind away from Northamptonshire, and fixed it on her
own domestic grievances, and the shocking character of all the Portsmouth
servants, of whom she believed her own two were the very worst, engrossed her
completely. The Bertrams were all forgotten in detailing the faults of Rebecca,
against whom Susan had also much to depose, and little Betsey a great deal
more, and who did seem so thoroughly without a single recommendation, that
Fanny could not help modestly presuming that her mother meant to part with her
when her year was up.

"Her year!" cried Mrs. Price; "I am sure I hope I shall be rid of her before
she has staid a year, for that will not be up till November.  Servants are come
to such a pass, my dear, in Portsmouth, that it is quite a miracle if one keeps
them more than half a year. I have no hope of ever being settled; and if I was
to part with Rebecca, I should only get something worse. And yet I do not think
I am a very difficult mistress to please; and I am sure the place is easy
enough, for there is always a girl under her, and I often do half the work

Fanny was silent; but not from being convinced that there might not be a remedy
found for some of these evils. As she now sat looking at Betsey, she could not
but think particularly of another sister, a very pretty little girl, whom she
had left there not much younger when she went into Northamptonshire, who had
died a few years afterwards. There had been something remarkably amiable about
her. Fanny in those early days had preferred her to Susan; and when the news of
her death had at last reached Mansfield, had for a short time been quite
afflicted.  The sight of Betsey brought the image of little Mary back again,
but she would not have pained her mother by alluding to her for the world. 
While considering her with these ideas, Betsey, at a small distance, was
holding out something to catch her eyes, meaning to screen it at the same time
from Susan's.

"What have you got there, my love?" said Fanny; "come and shew it to me."

It was a silver knife.  Up jumped Susan, claiming it as her own, and trying to
get it away; but the child ran to her mother's protection, and Susan could only
reproach, which she did very warmly, and evidently hoping to interest Fanny on
her side.  "It was very hard that she was not to have her own knife; it was
her own knife; little sister Mary had left it to her upon her deathbed, and she
ought to have had it to keep herself long ago. But mama kept it from her, and
was always letting Betsey get hold of it; and the end of it would be that
Betsey would spoil it, and get it for her own, though mama had promised her
that Betsey should not have it in her own hands."

Fanny was quite shocked.  Every feeling of duty, honour, and tenderness was
wounded by her sister's speech and her mother's reply.

"Now, Susan," cried Mrs. Price, in a complaining voice, "now, how can you be so
cross?  You are always quarrelling about that knife.  I wish you would not be
so quarrelsome. Poor little Betsey; how cross Susan is to you!  But you should
not have taken it out, my dear, when I sent you to the drawer.  You know I told
you not to touch it, because Susan is so cross about it.  I must hide it
another time, Betsey.  Poor Mary little thought it would be such a bone of
contention when she gave it me to keep, only two hours before she died.  Poor
little soul! she could but just speak to be heard, and she said so prettily,
"Let sister Susan have my knife, mama, when I am dead and buried." Poor little
dear! she was so fond of it, Fanny, that she would have it lay by her in bed,
all through her illness. It was the gift of her good godmother, old Mrs.
Admiral Maxwell, only six weeks before she was taken for death. Poor little
sweet creature!  Well, she was taken away from evil to come.  My own Betsey"
(fondling her), "you have not the luck of such a good godmother. Aunt Norris
lives too far off to think of such little people as you."

Fanny had indeed nothing to convey from aunt Norris, but a message to say she
hoped that her god-daughter was a good girl, and learnt her book.  There had
been at one moment a slight murmur in the drawing-room at Mansfield Park about
sending her a prayer-book; but no second sound had been heard of such a
purpose. Mrs. Norris, however, had gone home and taken down two old
prayer-books of her husband with that idea; but, upon examination, the ardour
of generosity went off. One was found to have too small a print for a child's
eyes, and the other to be too cumbersome for her to carry about.

Fanny, fatigued and fatigued again, was thankful to accept the first invitation
of going to bed; and before Betsey had finished her cry at being allowed to sit
up only one hour extraordinary in honour of sister, she was off, leaving all
below in confusion and noise again; the boys begging for toasted cheese, her
father calling out for his rum and water, and Rebecca never where she ought to

There was nothing to raise her spirits in the confined and scantily furnished
chamber that she was to share with Susan.  The smallness of the rooms above and
below, indeed, and the narrowness of the passage and staircase, struck her
beyond her imagination.  She soon learned to think with respect of her own
little attic at Mansfield Park, in that house reckoned too small for
anybody's comfort.


Could Sir Thomas have seen all his niece's feelings, when she wrote her first
letter to her aunt, he would not have despaired; for though a good night's
rest, a pleasant morning, the hope of soon seeing William again, and the
comparatively quiet state of the house, from Tom and Charles being gone to
school, Sam on some project of his own, and her father on his usual lounges,
enabled her to express herself cheerfully on the subject of home, there were
still, to her own perfect consciousness, many drawbacks suppressed.  Could he
have seen only half that she felt before the end of a week, he would have
thought Mr. Crawford sure of her, and been delighted with his own sagacity.

Before the week ended, it was all disappointment. In the first place, William
was gone.  The Thrush had had her orders, the wind had changed, and he was
sailed within four days from their reaching Portsmouth; and during those days
she had seen him only twice, in a short and hurried way, when he had come
ashore on duty.  There had been no free conversation, no walk on the ramparts,
no visit to the dockyard, no acquaintance with the Thrush, nothing of all that
they had planned and depended on.  Everything in that quarter failed her,
except William's affection.  His last thought on leaving home was for her.  He
stepped back again to the door to say, "Take care of Fanny, mother.  She is
tender, and not used to rough it like the rest of us.  I charge you, take care
of Fanny."

William was gone:  and the home he had left her in was, Fanny could not conceal
it from herself, in almost every respect the very reverse of what she could
have wished. It was the abode of noise, disorder, and impropriety. Nobody was
in their right place, nothing was done as it ought to be.  She could not
respect her parents as she had hoped. On her father, her confidence had not
been sanguine, but he was more negligent of his family, his habits were worse,
and his manners coarser, than she had been prepared for. He did not want
abilities but he had no curiosity, and no information beyond his profession; he
read only the newspaper and the navy-list; he talked only of the dockyard, the
harbour, Spithead, and the Motherbank; he swore and he drank, he was dirty and
gross. She had never been able to recall anything approaching to tenderness in
his former treatment of herself. There had remained only a general impression
of roughness and loudness; and now he scarcely ever noticed her, but to make
her the object of a coarse joke.

Her disappointment in her mother was greater: there she had hoped much, and
found almost nothing. Every flattering scheme of being of consequence to her
soon fell to the ground.  Mrs. Price was not unkind; but, instead of gaining on
her affection and confidence, and becoming more and more dear, her daughter
never met with greater kindness from her than on the first day of her arrival. 
The instinct of nature was soon satisfied, and Mrs. Price's attachment had no
other source. Her heart and her time were already quite full; she had neither
leisure nor affection to bestow on Fanny. Her daughters never had been much to
her.  She was fond of her sons, especially of William, but Betsey was the first
of her girls whom she had ever much regarded.  To her she was most
injudiciously indulgent.  William was her pride; Betsey her darling; and John,
Richard, Sam, Tom, and Charles occupied all the rest of her maternal
solicitude, alternately her worries and her comforts.  These shared her heart:
her time was given chiefly to her house and her servants. Her days were spent
in a kind of slow bustle; all was busy without getting on, always behindhand
and lamenting it, without altering her ways; wishing to be an economist,
without contrivance or regularity; dissatisfied with her servants, without
skill to make them better, and whether helping, or reprimanding, or indulging
them, without any power of engaging their respect.

Of her two sisters, Mrs. Price very much more resembled Lady Bertram than Mrs.
Norris.  She was a manager by necessity, without any of Mrs. Norris's
inclination for it, or any of her activity.  Her disposition was naturally easy
and indolent, like Lady Bertram's; and a situation of similar affluence and
do-nothingness would have been much more suited to her capacity than the
exertions and self-denials of the one which her imprudent marriage had placed
her in. She might have made just as good a woman of consequence as Lady
Bertram, but Mrs. Norris would have been a more respectable mother of nine
children on a small income.

Much of all this Fanny could not but be sensible of. She might scruple to make
use of the words, but she must and did feel that her mother was a partial,
ill-judging parent, a dawdle, a slattern, who neither taught nor restrained her
children, whose house was the scene of mismanagement and discomfort from
beginning to end, and who had no talent, no conversation, no affection towards
herself; no curiosity to know her better, no desire of her friendship, and no
inclination for her company that could lessen her sense of such feelings.

Fanny was very anxious to be useful, and not to appear above her home, or in
any way disqualified or disinclined, by her foreign education, from
contributing her help to its comforts, and therefore set about working for Sam
immediately; and by working early and late, with perseverance and great
despatch, did so much that the boy was shipped off at last, with more than half
his linen ready. She had great pleasure in feeling her usefulness, but could
not conceive how they would have managed without her.

Sam, loud and overbearing as he was, she rather regretted when he went, for he
was clever and intelligent, and glad to be employed in any errand in the town;
and though spurning the remonstrances of Susan, given as they were, though very
reasonable in themselves, with ill-timed and powerless warmth, was beginning to
be influenced by Fanny's services and gentle persuasions; and she found that
the best of the three younger ones was gone in him: Tom and Charles being at
least as many years as they were his juniors distant from that age of feeling
and reason, which might suggest the expediency of making friends, and of
endeavouring to be less disagreeable.  Their sister soon despaired of making
the smallest impression on them; they were quite untameable by any means of
address which she had spirits or time to attempt.  Every afternoon brought a
return of their riotous games all over the house; and she very early learned to
sigh at the approach of Saturday's constant half-holiday.

Betsey, too, a spoiled child, trained up to think the alphabet her greatest
enemy, left to be with the servants at her pleasure, and then encouraged to
report any evil of them, she was almost as ready to despair of being able to
love or assist; and of Susan's temper she had many doubts.  Her continual
disagreements with her mother, her rash squabbles with Tom and Charles, and
petulance with Betsey, were at least so distressing to Fanny that, though
admitting they were by no means without provocation, she feared the disposition
that could push them to such length must be far from amiable, and from
affording any repose to herself.

Such was the home which was to put Mansfield out of her head, and teach her to
think of her cousin Edmund with moderated feelings.  On the contrary, she could
think of nothing but Mansfield, its beloved inmates, its happy ways. Everything
where she now was in full contrast to it. The elegance, propriety, regularity,
harmony, and perhaps, above all, the peace and tranquillity of Mansfield, were
brought to her remembrance every hour of the day, by the prevalence of
everything opposite to them here.

The living in incessant noise was, to a frame and temper delicate and nervous
like Fanny's, an evil which no superadded elegance or harmony could have
entirely atoned for.  It was the greatest misery of all. At Mansfield, no
sounds of contention, no raised voice, no abrupt bursts, no tread of violence,
was ever heard; all proceeded in a regular course of cheerful orderliness;
everybody had their due importance; everybody's feelings were consulted.  If
tenderness could be ever supposed wanting, good sense and good breeding
supplied its place; and as to the little irritations sometimes introduced by
aunt Norris, they were short, they were trifling, they were as a drop of water
to the ocean, compared with the ceaseless tumult of her present abode.  Here
everybody was noisy, every voice was loud (excepting, perhaps, her mother's,
which resembled the soft monotony of Lady Bertram's, only worn into
fretfulness). Whatever was wanted was hallooed for, and the servants hallooed
out their excuses from the kitchen.  The doors were in constant banging, the
stairs were never at rest, nothing was done without a clatter, nobody sat
still, and nobody could command attention when they spoke.

In a review of the two houses, as they appeared to her before the end of a
week, Fanny was tempted to apply to them Dr. Johnson's celebrated judgment as
to matrimony and celibacy, and say, that though Mansfield Park might have some
pains, Portsmouth could have no pleasures.


Fanny was right enough in not expecting to hear from Miss Crawford now at the
rapid rate in which their correspondence had begun; Mary's next letter was
after a decidedly longer interval than the last, but she was not right in
supposing that such an interval would be felt a great relief to herself.  Here
was another strange revolution of mind! She was really glad to receive the
letter when it did come. In her present exile from good society, and distance
from everything that had been wont to interest her, a letter from one belonging
to the set where her heart lived, written with affection, and some degree of
elegance, was thoroughly acceptable.  The usual plea of increasing engagements
was made in excuse for not having written to her earlier; "And now that I have
begun," she continued, "my letter will not be worth your reading, for there
will be no little offering of love at the end, no three or four lines
passionnees from the most devoted H. C. in the world, for Henry is in
Norfolk; business called him to Everingham ten days ago, or perhaps he only
pretended to call, for the sake of being travelling at the same time that you
were.  But there he is, and, by the bye, his absence may sufficiently account
for any remissness of his sister's in writing, for there has been no 'Well,
Mary, when do you write to Fanny? Is not it time for you to write to Fanny?' to
spur me on. At last, after various attempts at meeting, I have seen your
cousins, 'dear Julia and dearest Mrs. Rushworth'; they found me at home
yesterday, and we were glad to see each other again.  We seemed very glad
to see each other, and I do really think we were a little. We had a vast deal
to say.  Shall I tell you how Mrs. Rushworth looked when your name was
mentioned? I did not use to think her wanting in self-possession, but she had
not quite enough for the demands of yesterday. Upon the whole, Julia was in the
best looks of the two, at least after you were spoken of.  There was no
recovering the complexion from the moment that I spoke of 'Fanny,' and spoke of
her as a sister should. But Mrs. Rushworth's day of good looks will come; we
have cards for her first party on the 28th.  Then she will be in beauty, for
she will open one of the best houses in Wimpole Street.  I was in it two years
ago, when it was Lady Lascelle's, and prefer it to almost any I know in London,
and certainly she will then feel, to use a vulgar phrase, that she has got her
pennyworth for her penny.  Henry could not have afforded her such a house.  I
hope she will recollect it, and be satisfied, as well as she may, with moving
the queen of a palace, though the king may appear best in the background; and
as I have no desire to tease her, I shall never force your name upon her
again.  She will grow sober by degrees. From all that I hear and guess, Baron
Wildenheim's attentions to Julia continue, but I do not know that he has any
serious encouragement.  She ought to do better. A poor honourable is no catch,
and I cannot imagine any liking in the case, for take away his rants, and the
poor baron has nothing.  What a difference a vowel makes! If his rents were but
equal to his rants!  Your cousin Edmund moves slowly; detained, perchance, by
parish duties. There may be some old woman at Thornton Lacey to be converted. I
am unwilling to fancy myself neglected for a young one. Adieu! my dear sweet
Fanny, this is a long letter from London: write me a pretty one in reply to
gladden Henry's eyes, when he comes back, and send me an account of all the
dashing young captains whom you disdain for his sake."

There was great food for meditation in this letter, and chiefly for unpleasant
meditation; and yet, with all the uneasiness it supplied, it connected her with
the absent, it told her of people and things about whom she had never felt so
much curiosity as now, and she would have been glad to have been sure of such a
letter every week. Her correspondence with her aunt Bertram was her only
concern of higher interest.

As for any society in Portsmouth, that could at all make amends for
deficiencies at home, there were none within the circle of her father's and
mother's acquaintance to afford her the smallest satisfaction:  she saw nobody
in whose favour she could wish to overcome her own shyness and reserve.  The
men appeared to her all coarse, the women all pert, everybody underbred; and
she gave as little contentment as she received from introductions either to old
or new acquaintance.  The young ladies who approached her at first with some
respect, in consideration of her coming from a baronet's family, were soon
offended by what they termed "airs"; for, as she neither played on the
pianoforte nor wore fine pelisses, they could, on farther observation, admit no
right of superiority.

The first solid consolation which Fanny received for the evils of home, the
first which her judgment could entirely approve, and which gave any promise of
durability, was in a better knowledge of Susan, and a hope of being of service
to her.  Susan had always behaved pleasantly to herself, but the determined
character of her general manners had astonished and alarmed her, and it was at
least a fortnight before she began to understand a disposition so totally
different from her own.  Susan saw that much was wrong at home, and wanted to
set it right.  That a girl of fourteen, acting only on her own unassisted
reason, should err in the method of reform, was not wonderful; and Fanny soon
became more disposed to admire the natural light of the mind which could so
early distinguish justly, than to censure severely the faults of conduct to
which it led. Susan was only acting on the same truths, and pursuing the same
system, which her own judgment acknowledged, but which her more supine and
yielding temper would have shrunk from asserting.  Susan tried to be useful,
where she could only have gone away and cried; and that Susan was useful she
could perceive; that things, bad as they were, would have been worse but for
such interposition, and that both her mother and Betsey were restrained from
some excesses of very offensive indulgence and vulgarity.

In every argument with her mother, Susan had in point of reason the advantage,
and never was there any maternal tenderness to buy her off.  The blind fondness
which was for ever producing evil around her she had never known. There was no
gratitude for affection past or present to make her better bear with its
excesses to the others.

All this became gradually evident, and gradually placed Susan before her sister
as an object of mingled compassion and respect.  That her manner was wrong,
however, at times very wrong, her measures often ill-chosen and ill-timed, and
her looks and language very often indefensible, Fanny could not cease to feel;
but she began to hope they might be rectified.  Susan, she found, looked up to
her and wished for her good opinion; and new as anything like an office of
authority was to Fanny, new as it was to imagine herself capable of guiding or
informing any one, she did resolve to give occasional hints to Susan, and
endeavour to exercise for her advantage the juster notions of what was due to
everybody, and what would be wisest for herself, which her own more favoured
education had fixed in her.

Her influence, or at least the consciousness and use of it, originated in an
act of kindness by Susan, which, after many hesitations of delicacy, she at
last worked herself up to. It had very early occurred to her that a small sum
of money might, perhaps, restore peace for ever on the sore subject of the
silver knife, canvassed as it now was continually, and the riches which she was
in possession of herself, her uncle having given her 10 at parting, made her as
able as she was willing to be generous. But she was so wholly unused to confer
favours, except on the very poor, so unpractised in removing evils, or
bestowing kindnesses among her equals, and so fearful of appearing to elevate
herself as a great lady at home, that it took some time to determine that it
would not be unbecoming in her to make such a present.  It was made, however,
at last:  a silver knife was bought for Betsey, and accepted with great
delight, its newness giving it every advantage over the other that could be
desired; Susan was established in the full possession of her own, Betsey
handsomely declaring that now she had got one so much prettier herself, she
should never want that again; and no reproach seemed conveyed to the equally
satisfied mother, which Fanny had almost feared to be impossible.  The deed
thoroughly answered:  a source of domestic altercation was entirely done away,
and it was the means of opening Susan's heart to her, and giving her something
more to love and be interested in.  Susan shewed that she had delicacy: pleased
as she was to be mistress of property which she had been struggling for at
least two years, she yet feared that her sister's judgment had been against
her, and that a reproof was designed her for having so struggled as to make the
purchase necessary for the tranquillity of the house.

Her temper was open.  She acknowledged her fears, blamed herself for having
contended so warmly; and from that hour Fanny, understanding the worth of her
disposition and perceiving how fully she was inclined to seek her good opinion
and refer to her judgment, began to feel again the blessing of affection, and
to entertain the hope of being useful to a mind so much in need of help, and so
much deserving it.  She gave advice, advice too sound to be resisted by a good
understanding, and given so mildly and considerately as not to irritate an
imperfect temper, and she had the happiness of observing its good effects not
unfrequently.  More was not expected by one who, while seeing all the
obligation and expediency of submission and forbearance, saw also with
sympathetic acuteness of feeling all that must be hourly grating to a girl like
Susan.  Her greatest wonder on the subject soon became — not that Susan should
have been provoked into disrespect and impatience against her better
knowledge— but that so much better knowledge, so many good notions should have
been hers at all; and that, brought up in the midst of negligence and error,
she should have formed such proper opinions of what ought to be; she, who had
had no cousin Edmund to direct her thoughts or fix her principles.

The intimacy thus begun between them was a material advantage to each. 
By sitting together upstairs, they avoided a great deal of the disturbance
of the house; Fanny had peace, and Susan learned to think it no misfortune
to be quietly employed.  They sat without a fire; but that was a privation
familiar even to Fanny, and she suffered the less because reminded by it of
the East room.  It was the only point of resemblance. In space, light,
furniture, and prospect, there was nothing alike in the two apartments; and
she often heaved a sigh at the remembrance of all her books and boxes, and
various comforts there. By degrees the girls came to spend the chief of the
morning upstairs, at first only in working and talking, but after a few
days, the remembrance of the said books grew so potent and stimulative that
Fanny found it impossible not to try for books again.  There were none in
her father's house; but wealth is luxurious and daring, and some of hers
found its way to a circulating library. She became a subscriber; amazed at
being anything in propria persona, amazed at her own doings in every way,
to be a renter, a chuser of books!  And to be having any one's improvement
in view in her choice!  But so it was. Susan had read nothing, and Fanny
longed to give her a share in her own first pleasures, and inspire a taste
for the biography and poetry which she delighted in herself.

In this occupation she hoped, moreover, to bury some of the recollections of
Mansfield, which were too apt to seize her mind if her fingers only were busy;
and, especially at this time, hoped it might be useful in diverting her
thoughts from pursuing Edmund to London, whither, on the authority of her
aunt's last letter, she knew he was gone.  She had no doubt of what would
ensue. The promised notification was hanging over her head. The postman's knock
within the neighbourhood was beginning to bring its daily terrors, and if
reading could banish the idea for even half an hour, it was something gained.


A week was gone since Edmund might be supposed in town, and Fanny had heard
nothing of him. There were three different conclusions to be drawn from his
silence, between which her mind was in fluctuation; each of them at times being
held the most probable. Either his going had been again delayed, or he had yet
procured no opportunity of seeing Miss Crawford alone, or he was too happy for

One morning, about this time, Fanny having now been nearly four weeks from
Mansfield, a point which she never failed to think over and calculate every
day, as she and Susan were preparing to remove, as usual, upstairs, they were
stopped by the knock of a visitor, whom they felt they could not avoid, from
Rebecca's alertness in going to the door, a duty which always interested her
beyond any other.

It was a gentleman's voice; it was a voice that Fanny was just turning pale
about, when Mr. Crawford walked into the room.

Good sense, like hers, will always act when really called upon; and she found
that she had been able to name him to her mother, and recall her remembrance of
the name, as that of "William's friend," though she could not previously have
believed herself capable of uttering a syllable at such a moment.  The
consciousness of his being known there only as William's friend was some
support. Having introduced him, however, and being all reseated, the terrors
that occurred of what this visit might lead to were overpowering, and she
fancied herself on the point of fainting away.

While trying to keep herself alive, their visitor, who had at first approached
her with as animated a countenance as ever, was wisely and kindly keeping his
eyes away, and giving her time to recover, while he devoted himself entirely to
her mother, addressing her, and attending to her with the utmost politeness and
propriety, at the same time with a degree of friendliness, of interest at
least, which was making his manner perfect.

Mrs. Price's manners were also at their best.  Warmed by the sight of such a
friend to her son, and regulated by the wish of appearing to advantage before
him, she was overflowing with gratitude — artless, maternal gratitude— which
could not be unpleasing.  Mr. Price was out, which she regretted very much. 
Fanny was just recovered enough to feel that she could not regret it; for to
her many other sources of uneasiness was added the severe one of shame for the
home in which he found her. She might scold herself for the weakness, but there
was no scolding it away.  She was ashamed, and she would have been yet more
ashamed of her father than of all the rest.

They talked of William, a subject on which Mrs. Price could never tire; and Mr.
Crawford was as warm in his commendation as even her heart could wish.  She
felt that she had never seen so agreeable a man in her life; and was only
astonished to find that, so great and so agreeable as he was, he should be come
down to Portsmouth neither on a visit to the port-admiral, nor the
commissioner, nor yet with the intention of going over to the island, nor of
seeing the dockyard.  Nothing of all that she had been used to think of as the
proof of importance, or the employment of wealth, had brought him to
Portsmouth. He had reached it late the night before, was come for a day or two,
was staying at the Crown, had accidentally met with a navy officer or two of
his acquaintance since his arrival, but had no object of that kind in coming.

By the time he had given all this information, it was not unreasonable to
suppose that Fanny might be looked at and spoken to; and she was tolerably able
to bear his eye, and hear that he had spent half an hour with his sister the
evening before his leaving London; that she had sent her best and kindest love,
but had had no time for writing; that he thought himself lucky in seeing Mary
for even half an hour, having spent scarcely twenty-four hours in London, after
his return from Norfolk, before he set off again; that her cousin Edmund was in
town, had been in town, he understood, a few days; that he had not seen him
himself, but that he was well, had left them all well at Mansfield, and was to
dine, as yesterday, with the Frasers.

Fanny listened collectedly, even to the last-mentioned circumstance; nay, it
seemed a relief to her worn mind to be at any certainty; and the words, "then
by this time it is all settled," passed internally, without more evidence of
emotion than a faint blush

After talking a little more about Mansfield, a subject in which her interest
was most apparent, Crawford began to hint at the expediency of an early walk. 
"It was a lovely morning, and at that season of the year a fine morning so
often turned off, that it was wisest for everybody not to delay their
exercise"; and such hints producing nothing, he soon proceeded to a positive
recommendation to Mrs. Price and her daughters to take their walk without loss
of time. Now they came to an understanding.  Mrs. Price, it appeared, scarcely
ever stirred out of doors, except of a Sunday; she owned she could seldom, with
her large family, find time for a walk.  "Would she not, then, persuade her
daughters to take advantage of such weather, and allow him the pleasure of
attending them?"  Mrs. Price was greatly obliged and very complying.  "Her
daughters were very much confined; Portsmouth was a sad place; they did not
often get out; and she knew they had some errands in the town, which they would
be very glad to do." And the consequence was, that Fanny, strange as it was—
strange, awkward, and distressing — found herself and Susan, within ten minutes,
walking towards the High Street with Mr. Crawford.

It was soon pain upon pain, confusion upon confusion; for they were hardly in
the High Street before they met her father, whose appearance was not the better
from its being Saturday.  He stopt; and, ungentlemanlike as he looked, Fanny
was obliged to introduce him to Mr. Crawford. She could not have a doubt of the
manner in which Mr. Crawford must be struck.  He must be ashamed and disgusted
altogether.  He must soon give her up, and cease to have the smallest
inclination for the match; and yet, though she had been so much wanting his
affection to be cured, this was a sort of cure that would be almost as bad as
the complaint; and I believe there is scarcely a young lady in the United
Kingdoms who would not rather put up with the misfortune of being sought by a
clever, agreeable man, than have him driven away by the vulgarity of her
nearest relations.

Mr. Crawford probably could not regard his future father-in-law with any idea
of taking him for a model in dress; but (as Fanny instantly, and to her great
relief, discerned) her father was a very different man, a very different Mr.
Price in his behaviour to this most highly respected stranger, from what he was
in his own family at home.  His manners now, though not polished, were more
than passable:  they were grateful, animated, manly; his expressions were those
of an attached father, and a sensible man; his loud tones did very well in the
open air, and there was not a single oath to be heard. Such was his instinctive
compliment to the good manners of Mr. Crawford; and, be the consequence what it
might, Fanny's immediate feelings were infinitely soothed.

The conclusion of the two gentlemen's civilities was an offer of Mr. Price's to
take Mr. Crawford into the dockyard, which Mr. Crawford, desirous of accepting
as a favour what was intended as such, though he had seen the dockyard again
and again, and hoping to be so much the longer with Fanny, was very gratefully
disposed to avail himself of, if the Miss Prices were not afraid of the
fatigue; and as it was somehow or other ascertained, or inferred, or at least
acted upon, that they were not at all afraid, to the dockyard they were all to
go; and but for Mr. Crawford, Mr. Price would have turned thither directly,
without the smallest consideration for his daughters' errands in the High
Street.  He took care, however, that they should be allowed to go to the shops
they came out expressly to visit; and it did not delay them long, for Fanny
could so little bear to excite impatience, or be waited for, that before the
gentlemen, as they stood at the door, could do more than begin upon the last
naval regulations, or settle the number of three-deckers now in commission,
their companions were ready to proceed.

They were then to set forward for the dockyard at once, and the walk would have
been conducted — according to Mr. Crawford's opinion — in a singular manner, had
Mr. Price been allowed the entire regulation of it, as the two girls, he found,
would have been left to follow, and keep up with them or not, as they could,
while they walked on together at their own hasty pace. He was able to introduce
some improvement occasionally, though by no means to the extent he wished; he
absolutely would not walk away from them; and at any crossing or any crowd,
when Mr. Price was only calling out, "Come, girls; come, Fan; come, Sue, take
care of yourselves; keep a sharp lookout!" he would give them his particular

Once fairly in the dockyard, he began to reckon upon some happy intercourse
with Fanny, as they were very soon joined by a brother lounger of Mr. Price's,
who was come to take his daily survey of how things went on, and who must prove
a far more worthy companion than himself; and after a time the two officers
seemed very well satisfied going about together, and discussing matters of
equal and never-failing interest, while the young people sat down upon some
timbers in the yard, or found a seat on board a vessel in the stocks which they
all went to look at. Fanny was most conveniently in want of rest.  Crawford
could not have wished her more fatigued or more ready to sit down; but he could
have wished her sister away.  A quick-looking girl of Susan's age was the very
worst third in the world: totally different from Lady Bertram, all eyes and
ears; and there was no introducing the main point before her. He must content
himself with being only generally agreeable, and letting Susan have her share
of entertainment, with the indulgence, now and then, of a look or hint for the
better-informed and conscious Fanny.  Norfolk was what he had mostly to talk
of:  there he had been some time, and everything there was rising in importance
from his present schemes.  Such a man could come from no place, no society,
without importing something to amuse; his journeys and his acquaintance were
all of use, and Susan was entertained in a way quite new to her. For Fanny,
somewhat more was related than the accidental agreeableness of the parties he
had been in. For her approbation, the particular reason of his going into
Norfolk at all, at this unusual time of year, was given. It had been real
business, relative to the renewal of a lease in which the welfare of a large
and — he believed— industrious family was at stake.  He had suspected his agent
of some underhand dealing; of meaning to bias him against the deserving; and he
had determined to go himself, and thoroughly investigate the merits of the
case. He had gone, had done even more good than he had foreseen, had been
useful to more than his first plan had comprehended, and was now able to
congratulate himself upon it, and to feel that in performing a duty, he had
secured agreeable recollections for his own mind.  He had introduced himself to
some tenants whom he had never seen before; he had begun making acquaintance
with cottages whose very existence, though on his own estate, had been hitherto
unknown to him. This was aimed, and well aimed, at Fanny.  It was pleasing to
hear him speak so properly; here he had been acting as he ought to do.  To be
the friend of the poor and the oppressed!  Nothing could be more grateful to
her; and she was on the point of giving him an approving look, when it was all
frightened off by his adding a something too pointed of his hoping soon to have
an assistant, a friend, a guide in every plan of utility or charity for
Everingham:  a somebody that would make Everingham and all about it a dearer
object than it had ever been yet.

She turned away, and wished he would not say such things. She was willing to
allow he might have more good qualities than she had been wont to suppose.  She
began to feel the possibility of his turning out well at last; but he was and
must ever be completely unsuited to her, and ought not to think of her.

He perceived that enough had been said of Everingham, and that it would be as
well to talk of something else, and turned to Mansfield.  He could not have
chosen better; that was a topic to bring back her attention and her looks
almost instantly.  It was a real indulgence to her to hear or to speak of
Mansfield.  Now so long divided from everybody who knew the place, she felt it
quite the voice of a friend when he mentioned it, and led the way to her fond
exclamations in praise of its beauties and comforts, and by his honourable
tribute to its inhabitants allowed her to gratify her own heart in the warmest
eulogium, in speaking of her uncle as all that was clever and good, and her
aunt as having the sweetest of all sweet tempers.

He had a great attachment to Mansfield himself; he said so; he looked forward
with the hope of spending much, very much, of his time there; always there, or
in the neighbourhood. He particularly built upon a very happy summer and autumn
there this year; he felt that it would be so: he depended upon it; a summer and
autumn infinitely superior to the last.  As animated, as diversified, as
social, but with circumstances of superiority undescribable.

"Mansfield, Sotherton, Thornton Lacey," he continued; "what a society will be
comprised in those houses! And at Michaelmas, perhaps, a fourth may be added:
some small hunting-box in the vicinity of everything so dear; for as to any
partnership in Thornton Lacey, as Edmund Bertram once good-humouredly proposed,
I hope I foresee two objections:  two fair, excellent, irresistible objections
to that plan."

Fanny was doubly silenced here; though when the moment was passed, could regret
that she had not forced herself into the acknowledged comprehension of one half
of his meaning, and encouraged him to say something more of his sister and
Edmund.  It was a subject which she must learn to speak of, and the weakness
that shrunk from it would soon be quite unpardonable.

When Mr. Price and his friend had seen all that they wished, or had time for,
the others were ready to return; and in the course of their walk back, Mr.
Crawford contrived a minute's privacy for telling Fanny that his only business
in Portsmouth was to see her; that he was come down for a couple of days on her
account, and hers only, and because he could not endure a longer total
separation. She was sorry, really sorry; and yet in spite of this and the two
or three other things which she wished he had not said, she thought him
altogether improved since she had seen him; he was much more gentle, obliging,
and attentive to other people's feelings than he had ever been at Mansfield;
she had never seen him so agreeable — so near being agreeable; his behaviour
to her father could not offend, and there was something particularly kind and
proper in the notice he took of Susan.  He was decidedly improved.  She wished
the next day over, she wished he had come only for one day; but it was not so
very bad as she would have expected: the pleasure of talking of Mansfield was
so very great!

Before they parted, she had to thank him for another pleasure, and one of no
trivial kind.  Her father asked him to do them the honour of taking his mutton
with them, and Fanny had time for only one thrill of horror, before he declared
himself prevented by a prior engagement.  He was engaged to dinner already both
for that day and the next; he had met with some acquaintance at the Crown who
would not be denied; he should have the honour, however, of waiting on them
again on the morrow, etc., and so they parted — Fanny in a state of actual
felicity from escaping so horrible an evil!

To have had him join their family dinner-party, and see all their deficiencies,
would have been dreadful! Rebecca's cookery and Rebecca's waiting, and Betsey's
eating at table without restraint, and pulling everything about as she chose,
were what Fanny herself was not yet enough inured to for her often to make a
tolerable meal. She was nice only from natural delicacy, but he had been
brought up in a school of luxury and epicurism.


The Prices were just setting off for church the next day when Mr. Crawford
appeared again.  He came, not to stop, but to join them; he was asked to go
with them to the Garrison chapel, which was exactly what he had intended, and
they all walked thither together.

The family were now seen to advantage.  Nature had given them no inconsiderable
share of beauty, and every Sunday dressed them in their cleanest skins and best
attire. Sunday always brought this comfort to Fanny, and on this Sunday she
felt it more than ever.  Her poor mother now did not look so very unworthy of
being Lady Bertram's sister as she was but too apt to look.  It often grieved
her to the heart to think of the contrast between them; to think that where
nature had made so little difference, circumstances should have made so much,
and that her mother, as handsome as Lady Bertram, and some years her junior,
should have an appearance so much more worn and faded, so comfortless, so
slatternly, so shabby.  But Sunday made her a very creditable and tolerably
cheerful-looking Mrs. Price, coming abroad with a fine family of children,
feeling a little respite of her weekly cares, and only discomposed if she saw
her boys run into danger, or Rebecca pass by with a flower in her hat.

In chapel they were obliged to divide, but Mr. Crawford took care not to be
divided from the female branch; and after chapel he still continued with them,
and made one in the family party on the ramparts.

Mrs. Price took her weekly walk on the ramparts every fine Sunday throughout
the year, always going directly after morning service and staying till
dinner-time. It was her public place:  there she met her acquaintance, heard a
little news, talked over the badness of the Portsmouth servants, and wound up
her spirits for the six days ensuing.

Thither they now went; Mr. Crawford most happy to consider the Miss Prices as
his peculiar charge; and before they had been there long, somehow or other,
there was no saying how, Fanny could not have believed it, but he was walking
between them with an arm of each under his, and she did not know how to prevent
or put an end to it. It made her uncomfortable for a time, but yet there were
enjoyments in the day and in the view which would be felt.

The day was uncommonly lovely.  It was really March; but it was April in its
mild air, brisk soft wind, and bright sun, occasionally clouded for a minute;
and everything looked so beautiful under the influence of such a sky, the
effects of the shadows pursuing each other on the ships at Spithead and the
island beyond, with the ever-varying hues of the sea, now at high water,
dancing in its glee and dashing against the ramparts with so fine a sound,
produced altogether such a combination of charms for Fanny, as made her
gradually almost careless of the circumstances under which she felt them.  Nay,
had she been without his arm, she would soon have known that she needed it, for
she wanted strength for a two hours' saunter of this kind, coming, as it
generally did, upon a week's previous inactivity.  Fanny was beginning to feel
the effect of being debarred from her usual regular exercise; she had lost
ground as to health since her being in Portsmouth; and but for Mr. Crawford and
the beauty of the weather would soon have been knocked up now.

The loveliness of the day, and of the view, he felt like herself.  They often
stopt with the same sentiment and taste, leaning against the wall, some
minutes, to look and admire; and considering he was not Edmund, Fanny could not
but allow that he was sufficiently open to the charms of nature, and very well
able to express his admiration.  She had a few tender reveries now and then,
which he could sometimes take advantage of to look in her face without
detection; and the result of these looks was, that though as bewitching as
ever, her face was less blooming than it ought to be.  She said she was very
well, and did not like to be supposed otherwise; but take it all in all, he was
convinced that her present residence could not be comfortable, and therefore
could not be salutary for her, and he was growing anxious for her being again
at Mansfield, where her own happiness, and his in seeing her, must be so much

"You have been here a month, I think?" said he.

"No; not quite a month.  It is only four weeks to-morrow since I left

"You are a most accurate and honest reckoner.  I should call that a month."

"I did not arrive here till Tuesday evening."

"And it is to be a two months' visit, is not?"

"Yes.  My uncle talked of two months.  I suppose it will not be less."

"And how are you to be conveyed back again?  Who comes for you?"

"I do not know.  I have heard nothing about it yet from my aunt.  Perhaps I may
be to stay longer. It may not be convenient for me to be fetched exactly at the
two months' end."

After a moment's reflection, Mr. Crawford replied, "I know Mansfield, I know
its way, I know its faults towards you.  I know the danger of your being so
far forgotten, as to have your comforts give way to the imaginary convenience
of any single being in the family. I am aware that you may be left here week
after week, if Sir Thomas cannot settle everything for coming himself, or
sending your aunt's maid for you, without involving the slightest alteration of
the arrangements which he may have laid down for the next quarter of a year.
This will not do.  Two months is an ample allowance; I should think six weeks
quite enough.  I am considering your sister's health," said he, addressing
himself to Susan, "which I think the confinement of Portsmouth unfavourable to.
She requires constant air and exercise.  When you know her as well as I do, I
am sure you will agree that she does, and that she ought never to be long
banished from the free air and liberty of the country.  If, therefore" (turning
again to Fanny), "you find yourself growing unwell, and any difficulties arise
about your returning to Mansfield, without waiting for the two months to be
ended, that must not be regarded as of any consequence, if you feel yourself
at all less strong or comfortable than usual, and will only let my sister know
it, give her only the slightest hint, she and I will immediately come down, and
take you back to Mansfield.  You know the ease and the pleasure with which this
would be done. You know all that would be felt on the occasion."

Fanny thanked him, but tried to laugh it off.

"I am perfectly serious," he replied, "as you perfectly know. And I hope you
will not be cruelly concealing any tendency to indisposition.  Indeed, you
shall not; it shall not be in your power; for so long only as you positively
say, in every letter to Mary, 'I am well,' and I know you cannot speak or write
a falsehood, so long only shall you be considered as well."

Fanny thanked him again, but was affected and distressed to a degree that made
it impossible for her to say much, or even to be certain of what she ought to
say. This was towards the close of their walk.  He attended them to the last,
and left them only at the door of their own house, when he knew them to be
going to dinner, and therefore pretended to be waited for elsewhere.

"I wish you were not so tired," said he, still detaining Fanny after all the
others were in the house — "I wish I left you in stronger health.  Is there
anything I can do for you in town?  I have half an idea of going into Norfolk
again soon.  I am not satisfied about Maddison. I am sure he still means to
impose on me if possible, and get a cousin of his own into a certain mill,
which I design for somebody else.  I must come to an understanding with him.  I
must make him know that I will not be tricked on the south side of Everingham,
any more than on the north:  that I will be master of my own property. I was
not explicit enough with him before.  The mischief such a man does on an
estate, both as to the credit of his employer and the welfare of the poor, is
inconceivable. I have a great mind to go back into Norfolk directly, and put
everything at once on such a footing as cannot be afterwards swerved from. 
Maddison is a clever fellow; I do not wish to displace him, provided he does
not try to displace me; but it would be simple to be duped by a man who has
no right of creditor to dupe me, and worse than simple to let him give me a
hard-hearted, griping fellow for a tenant, instead of an honest man, to whom I
have given half a promise already.  Would it not be worse than simple?  Shall I
go?  Do you advise it?"

"I advise!  You know very well what is right."

"Yes.  When you give me your opinion, I always know what is right.  Your
judgment is my rule of right."

"Oh, no! do not say so.  We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would
attend to it, than any other person can be.  Good-bye; I wish you a pleasant
journey to-morrow."

"Is there nothing I can do for you in town?"

"Nothing; I am much obliged to you."

"Have you no message for anybody?"

"My love to your sister, if you please; and when you see my cousin, my cousin
Edmund, I wish you would be so good as to say that I suppose I shall soon hear
from him."

"Certainly; and if he is lazy or negligent, I will write his excuses myself."

He could say no more, for Fanny would be no longer detained. He pressed her
hand, looked at her, and was gone. He went to while away the next three hours
as he could, with his other acquaintance, till the best dinner that a capital
inn afforded was ready for their enjoyment, and she turned in to her more
simple one immediately.

Their general fare bore a very different character; and could he have suspected
how many privations, besides that of exercise, she endured in her father's
house, he would have wondered that her looks were not much more affected than
he found them.  She was so little equal to Rebecca's puddings and Rebecca's
hashes, brought to table, as they all were, with such accompaniments of
half-cleaned plates, and not half-cleaned knives and forks, that she was very
often constrained to defer her heartiest meal till she could send her brothers
in the evening for biscuits and buns. After being nursed up at Mansfield, it
was too late in the day to be hardened at Portsmouth; and though Sir Thomas,
had he known all, might have thought his niece in the most promising way of
being starved, both mind and body, into a much juster value for Mr. Crawford's
good company and good fortune, he would probably have feared to push his
experiment farther, lest she might die under the cure.

Fanny was out of spirits all the rest of the day. Though tolerably secure of
not seeing Mr. Crawford again, she could not help being low.  It was parting
with somebody of the nature of a friend; and though, in one light, glad to have
him gone, it seemed as if she was now deserted by everybody; it was a sort of
renewed separation from Mansfield; and she could not think of his returning to
town, and being frequently with Mary and Edmund, without feelings so near akin
to envy as made her hate herself for having them.

Her dejection had no abatement from anything passing around her; a friend or
two of her father's, as always happened if he was not with them, spent the
long, long evening there; and from six o'clock till half-past nine, there was
little intermission of noise or grog.  She was very low.  The wonderful
improvement which she still fancied in Mr. Crawford was the nearest to
administering comfort of anything within the current of her thoughts. Not
considering in how different a circle she had been just seeing him, nor how
much might be owing to contrast, she was quite persuaded of his being
astonishingly more gentle and regardful of others than formerly. And, if in
little things, must it not be so in great? So anxious for her health and
comfort, so very feeling as he now expressed himself, and really seemed, might
not it be fairly supposed that he would not much longer persevere in a suit so
distressing to her?


It was presumed that Mr. Crawford was travelling back, to London, on the
morrow, for nothing more was seen of him at Mr. Price's; and two days
afterwards, it was a fact ascertained to Fanny by the following letter from his
sister, opened and read by her, on another account, with the most anxious

"I have to inform you, my dearest Fanny, that Henry has been down to Portsmouth
to see you; that he had a delightful walk with you to the dockyard last
Saturday, and one still more to be dwelt on the next day, on the ramparts; when
the balmy air, the sparkling sea, and your sweet looks and conversation were
altogether in the most delicious harmony, and afforded sensations which are to
raise ecstasy even in retrospect.  This, as well as I understand, is to be the
substance of my information. He makes me write, but I do not know what else is
to be communicated, except this said visit to Portsmouth, and these two said
walks, and his introduction to your family, especially to a fair sister of
yours, a fine girl of fifteen, who was of the party on the ramparts, taking her
first lesson, I presume, in love.  I have not time for writing much, but it
would be out of place if I had, for this is to be a mere letter of business,
penned for the purpose of conveying necessary information, which could not be
delayed without risk of evil.  My dear, dear Fanny, if I had you here, how I
would talk to you! You should listen to me till you were tired, and advise me
till you were still tired more; but it is impossible to put a hundredth part of
my great mind on paper, so I will abstain altogether, and leave you to guess
what you like.  I have no news for you.  You have politics, of course; and it
would be too bad to plague you with the names of people and parties that fill
up my time. I ought to have sent you an account of your cousin's first party,
but I was lazy, and now it is too long ago; suffice it, that everything was
just as it ought to be, in a style that any of her connexions must have been
gratified to witness, and that her own dress and manners did her the greatest
credit.  My friend, Mrs. Fraser, is mad for such a house, and it would not make
me miserable. I go to Lady Stornaway after Easter; she seems in high spirits,
and very happy.  I fancy Lord S. is very good-humoured and pleasant in his own
family, and I do not think him so very ill-looking as I did — at least, one sees
many worse. He will not do by the side of your cousin Edmund. Of the
last-mentioned hero, what shall I say?  If I avoided his name entirely, it
would look suspicious. I will say, then, that we have seen him two or three
times, and that my friends here are very much struck with his gentlemanlike
appearance.  Mrs. Fraser (no bad judge) declares she knows but three men in
town who have so good a person, height, and air; and I must confess, when he
dined here the other day, there were none to compare with him, and we were a
party of sixteen.  Luckily there is no distinction of dress nowadays to tell
tales, but — but— but Yours affectionately."

I had almost forgot (it was Edmund's fault:  he gets into my head more than
does me good) one very material thing I had to say from Henry and myself — I
mean about our taking you back into Northamptonshire.  My dear little creature,
do not stay at Portsmouth to lose your pretty looks. Those vile sea-breezes are
the ruin of beauty and health. My poor aunt always felt affected if within ten
miles of the sea, which the Admiral of course never believed, but I know it was
so.  I am at your service and Henry's, at an hour's notice.  I should like the
scheme, and we would make a little circuit, and shew you Everingham in our way,
and perhaps you would not mind passing through London, and seeing the inside of
St. George's, Hanover Square. Only keep your cousin Edmund from me at such a
time: I should not like to be tempted.  What a long letter! one word more. 
Henry, I find, has some idea of going into Norfolk again upon some business
that you approve; but this cannot possibly be permitted before the middle of
next week; that is, he cannot anyhow be spared till after the l4th, for we
have a party that evening. The value of a man like Henry, on such an occasion,
is what you can have no conception of; so you must take it upon my word to be
inestimable.  He will see the Rushworths, which own I am not sorry for — having
a little curiosity, and so I think has he — though he will not acknowledge it."

This was a letter to be run through eagerly, to be read deliberately, to supply
matter for much reflection, and to leave everything in greater suspense than
ever. The only certainty to be drawn from it was, that nothing decisive had yet
taken place.  Edmund had not yet spoken. How Miss Crawford really felt, how she
meant to act, or might act without or against her meaning; whether his
importance to her were quite what it had been before the last separation;
whether, if lessened, it were likely to lessen more, or to recover itself, were
subjects for endless conjecture, and to be thought of on that day and many days
to come, without producing any conclusion. The idea that returned the oftenest
was that Miss Crawford, after proving herself cooled and staggered by a return
to London habits, would yet prove herself in the end too much attached to him
to give him up.  She would try to be more ambitious than her heart would allow.
She would hesitate, she would tease, she would condition, she would require a
great deal, but she would finally accept.

This was Fanny's most frequent expectation.  A house in town — that, she
thought, must be impossible. Yet there was no saying what Miss Crawford might
not ask. The prospect for her cousin grew worse and worse. The woman who could
speak of him, and speak only of his appearance!  What an unworthy attachment! 
To be deriving support from the commendations of Mrs. Fraser! She who had
known him intimately half a year! Fanny was ashamed of her.  Those parts of the
letter which related only to Mr. Crawford and herself, touched her, in
comparison, slightly.  Whether Mr. Crawford went into Norfolk before or after
the 14th was certainly no concern of hers, though, everything considered, she
thought he would go without delay.  That Miss Crawford should endeavour to
secure a meeting between him and Mrs. Rushworth, was all in her worst line of
conduct, and grossly unkind and ill-judged; but she hoped he would not be
actuated by any such degrading curiosity. He acknowledged no such inducement,
and his sister ought to have given him credit for better feelings than her own.

She was yet more impatient for another letter from town after receiving this
than she had been before; and for a few days was so unsettled by it altogether,
by what had come, and what might come, that her usual readings and conversation
with Susan were much suspended. She could not command her attention as she
wished. If Mr. Crawford remembered her message to her cousin, she thought it
very likely, most likely, that he would write to her at all events; it would be
most consistent with his usual kindness; and till she got rid of this idea,
till it gradually wore off, by no letters appearing in the course of three or
four days more, she was in a most restless, anxious state

At length, a something like composure succeeded. Suspense must be submitted to,
and must not be allowed to wear her out, and make her useless.  Time did
something, her own exertions something more, and she resumed her attentions to
Susan, and again awakened the same interest in them.

Susan was growing very fond of her, and though without any of the early delight
in books which had been so strong in Fanny, with a disposition much less
inclined to sedentary pursuits, or to information for information's sake, she
had so strong a desire of not appearing ignorant, as, with a good clear
understanding, made her a most attentive, profitable, thankful pupil. Fanny was
her oracle.  Fanny's explanations and remarks were a most important addition to
every essay, or every chapter of history.  What Fanny told her of former times
dwelt more on her mind than the pages of Goldsmith; and she paid her sister the
compliment of preferring her style to that of any printed author.  The early
habit of reading was wanting.

Their conversations, however, were not always on subjects so high as history or
morals.  Others had their hour; and of lesser matters, none returned so often,
or remained so long between them, as Mansfield Park, a description of the
people, the manners, the amusements, the ways of Mansfield Park.  Susan, who
had an innate taste for the genteel and well-appointed, was eager to hear, and
Fanny could not but indulge herself in dwelling on so beloved a theme.  She
hoped it was not wrong; though, after a time, Susan's very great admiration of
everything said or done in her uncle's house, and earnest longing to go into
Northamptonshire, seemed almost to blame her for exciting feelings which could
not be gratified.

Poor Susan was very little better fitted for home than her elder sister; and as
Fanny grew thoroughly to understand this, she began to feel that when her own
release from Portsmouth came, her happiness would have a material drawback in
leaving Susan behind. That a girl so capable of being made everything good
should be left in such hands, distressed her more and more. Were she likely
to have a home to invite her to, what a blessing it would be!  And had it been
possible for her to return Mr. Crawford's regard, the probability of his being
very far from objecting to such a measure would have been the greatest increase
of all her own comforts. She thought he was really good-tempered, and could
fancy his entering into a plan of that sort most pleasantly.


Seven weeks of the two months were very nearly gone, when the one letter, the
letter from Edmund, so long expected, was put into Fanny's hands.  As she
opened, and saw its length, she prepared herself for a minute detail of
happiness and a profusion of love and praise towards the fortunate creature who
was now mistress of his fate. These were the contents—

"My Dear Fanny, — Excuse me that I have not written before. Crawford told me
that you were wishing to hear from me, but I found it impossible to write from
London, and persuaded myself that you would understand my silence. Could I have
sent a few happy lines, they should not have been wanting, but nothing of that
nature was ever in my power.  I am returned to Mansfield in a less assured
state that when I left it.  My hopes are much weaker. You are probably aware of
this already.  So very fond of you as Miss Crawford is, it is most natural that
she should tell you enough of her own feelings to furnish a tolerable guess at
mine.  I will not be prevented, however, from making my own communication.  Our
confidences in you need not clash. I ask no questions.  There is something
soothing in the idea that we have the same friend, and that whatever unhappy
differences of opinion may exist between us, we are united in our love of you. 
It will be a comfort to me to tell you how things now are, and what are my
present plans, if plans I can be said to have.  I have been returned since
Saturday.  I was three weeks in London, and saw her (for London) very often.  I
had every attention from the Frasers that could be reasonably expected. I dare
say I was not reasonable in carrying with me hopes of an intercourse at all
like that of Mansfield. It was her manner, however, rather than any unfrequency
of meeting.  Had she been different when I did see her, I should have made no
complaint, but from the very first she was altered:  my first reception was so
unlike what I had hoped, that I had almost resolved on leaving London again
directly.  I need not particularise. You know the weak side of her character,
and may imagine the sentiments and expressions which were torturing me. She was
in high spirits, and surrounded by those who were giving all the support of
their own bad sense to her too lively mind.  I do not like Mrs. Fraser. She is
a cold-hearted, vain woman, who has married entirely from convenience, and
though evidently unhappy in her marriage, places her disappointment not to
faults of judgment, or temper, or disproportion of age, but to her being, after
all, less affluent than many of her acquaintance, especially than her sister,
Lady Stornaway, and is the determined supporter of everything mercenary and
ambitious, provided it be only mercenary and ambitious enough.  I look upon her
intimacy with those two sisters as the greatest misfortune of her life and
mine.  They have been leading her astray for years.  Could she be detached from
them!— and sometimes I do not despair of it, for the affection appears to me
principally on their side.  They are very fond of her; but I am sure she does
not love them as she loves you.  When I think of her great attachment to you,
indeed, and the whole of her judicious, upright conduct as a sister, she
appears a very different creature, capable of everything noble, and I am ready
to blame myself for a too harsh construction of a playful manner. I cannot give
her up, Fanny.  She is the only woman in the world whom I could ever think of
as a wife. If I did not believe that she had some regard for me, of course I
should not say this, but I do believe it. I am convinced that she is not
without a decided preference. I have no jealousy of any individual.  It is the
influence of the fashionable world altogether that I am jealous of. It is the
habits of wealth that I fear.  Her ideas are not higher than her own fortune
may warrant, but they are beyond what our incomes united could authorise. There
is comfort, however, even here.  I could better bear to lose her because not
rich enough, than because of my profession.  That would only prove her
affection not equal to sacrifices, which, in fact, I am scarcely justified in
asking; and, if I am refused, that, I think, will be the honest motive.  Her
prejudices, I trust, are not so strong as they were.  You have my thoughts
exactly as they arise, my dear Fanny; perhaps they are sometimes contradictory,
but it will not be a less faithful picture of my mind.  Having once begun, it
is a pleasure to me to tell you all I feel.  I cannot give her up. Connected as
we already are, and, I hope, are to be, to give up Mary Crawford would be to
give up the society of some of those most dear to me; to banish myself from the
very houses and friends whom, under any other distress, I should turn to for
consolation.  The loss of Mary I must consider as comprehending the loss of
Crawford and of Fanny. Were it a decided thing, an actual refusal, I hope I
should know how to bear it, and how to endeavour to weaken her hold on my
heart, and in the course of a few years— but I am writing nonsense.  Were I
refused, I must bear it; and till I am, I can never cease to try for her. This
is the truth.  The only question is how?  What may be the likeliest means?  I
have sometimes thought of going to London again after Easter, and sometimes
resolved on doing nothing till she returns to Mansfield.  Even now, she speaks
with pleasure of being in Mansfield in June; but June is at a great distance,
and I believe I shall write to her.  I have nearly determined on explaining
myself by letter.  To be at an early certainty is a material object.  My
present state is miserably irksome. Considering everything, I think a letter
will be decidedly the best method of explanation.  I shall be able to write
much that I could not say, and shall be giving her time for reflection before
she resolves on her answer, and I am less afraid of the result of reflection
than of an immediate hasty impulse; I think I am. My greatest danger would lie
in her consulting Mrs. Fraser, and I at a distance unable to help my own cause.
A letter exposes to all the evil of consultation, and where the mind is
anything short of perfect decision, an adviser may, in an unlucky moment, lead
it to do what it may afterwards regret.  I must think this matter over a
little.  This long letter, full of my own concerns alone, will be enough to
tire even the friendship of a Fanny. The last time I saw Crawford was at Mrs.
Fraser's party. I am more and more satisfied with all that I see and hear of
him.  There is not a shadow of wavering.  He thoroughly knows his own mind, and
acts up to his resolutions: an inestimable quality.  I could not see him and my
eldest sister in the same room without recollecting what you once told me, and
I acknowledge that they did not meet as friends.  There was marked coolness on
her side. They scarcely spoke.  I saw him draw back surprised, and I was sorry
that Mrs. Rushworth should resent any former supposed slight to Miss Bertram. 
You will wish to hear my opinion of Maria's degree of comfort as a wife. There
is no appearance of unhappiness.  I hope they get on pretty well together.  I
dined twice in Wimpole Street, and might have been there oftener, but it is
mortifying to be with Rushworth as a brother.  Julia seems to enjoy London
exceedingly.  I had little enjoyment there, but have less here.  We are not a
lively party.  You are very much wanted.  I miss you more than I can express.
My mother desires her best love, and hopes to hear from you soon.  She talks of
you almost every hour, and I am sorry to find how many weeks more she is likely
to be without you.  My father means to fetch you himself, but it will not be
till after Easter, when he has business in town.  You are happy at Portsmouth,
I hope, but this must not be a yearly visit.  I want you at home, that I may
have your opinion about Thornton Lacey. I have little heart for extensive
improvements till I know that it will ever have a mistress.  I think I shall
certainly write.  It is quite settled that the Grants go to Bath; they leave
Mansfield on Monday. I am glad of it.  I am not comfortable enough to be fit
for anybody; but your aunt seems to feel out of luck that such an article of
Mansfield news should fall to my pen instead of hers. — Yours ever, my dearest

"I never will, no, I certainly never will wish for a letter again," was Fanny's
secret declaration as she finished this.  "What do they bring but
disappointment and sorrow?  Not till after Easter!  How shall I bear it? And my
poor aunt talking of me every hour!"

Fanny checked the tendency of these thoughts as well as she could, but she was
within half a minute of starting the idea that Sir Thomas was quite unkind,
both to her aunt and to herself.  As for the main subject of the letter, there
was nothing in that to soothe irritation.  She was almost vexed into
displeasure and anger against Edmund. "There is no good in this delay," said
she.  "Why is not it settled?  He is blinded, and nothing will open his eyes;
nothing can, after having had truths before him so long in vain.  He will marry
her, and be poor and miserable. God grant that her influence do not make him
cease to be respectable!"  She looked over the letter again. "'So very fond of
me!' 'tis nonsense all.  She loves nobody but herself and her brother.  Her
friends leading her astray for years!  She is quite as likely to have led
them astray.  They have all, perhaps, been corrupting one another; but if
they are so much fonder of her than she is of them, she is the less likely to
have been hurt, except by their flattery.  'The only woman in the world whom he
could ever think of as a wife.'  I firmly believe it.  It is an attachment to
govern his whole life. Accepted or refused, his heart is wedded to her for
ever. 'The loss of Mary I must consider as comprehending the loss of Crawford
and Fanny.'  Edmund, you do not know me. The families would never be connected
if you did not connect them!  Oh! write, write.  Finish it at once. Let there
be an end of this suspense.  Fix, commit, condemn yourself."

Such sensations, however, were too near akin to resentment to be long guiding
Fanny's soliloquies. She was soon more softened and sorrowful.  His warm
regard, his kind expressions, his confidential treatment, touched her strongly.
 He was only too good to everybody. It was a letter, in short, which she would
not but have had for the world, and which could never be valued enough. This
was the end of it.

Everybody at all addicted to letter-writing, without having much to say, which
will include a large proportion of the female world at least, must feel with
Lady Bertram that she was out of luck in having such a capital piece of
Mansfield news as the certainty of the Grants going to Bath, occur at a time
when she could make no advantage of it, and will admit that it must have been
very mortifying to her to see it fall to the share of her thankless son, and
treated as concisely as possible at the end of a long letter, instead of having
it to spread over the largest part of a page of her own.  For though Lady
Bertram rather shone in the epistolary line, having early in her marriage, from
the want of other employment, and the circumstance of Sir Thomas's being in
Parliament, got into the way of making and keeping correspondents, and formed
for herself a very creditable, common-place, amplifying style, so that a very
little matter was enough for her:  she could not do entirely without any; she
must have something to write about, even to her niece; and being so soon to
lose all the benefit of Dr. Grant's gouty symptoms and Mrs. Grant's morning
calls, it was very hard upon her to be deprived of one of the last epistolary
uses she could put them to.

There was a rich amends, however, preparing for her. Lady Bertram's hour of
good luck came.  Within a few days from the receipt of Edmund's letter, Fanny
had one from her aunt, beginning thus—

"My Dear Fanny, — I take up my pen to communicate some very alarming
intelligence, which I make no doubt will give you much concern".

This was a great deal better than to have to take up the pen to acquaint her
with all the particulars of the Grants' intended journey, for the present
intelligence was of a nature to promise occupation for the pen for many days to
come, being no less than the dangerous illness of her eldest son, of which they
had received notice by express a few hours before.

Tom had gone from London with a party of young men to Newmarket, where a
neglected fall and a good deal of drinking had brought on a fever; and when the
party broke up, being unable to move, had been left by himself at the house of
one of these young men to the comforts of sickness and solitude, and the
attendance only of servants. Instead of being soon well enough to follow his
friends, as he had then hoped, his disorder increased considerably, and it was
not long before he thought so ill of himself as to be as ready as his physician
to have a letter despatched to Mansfield.

"This distressing intelligence, as you may suppose," observed her ladyship,
after giving the substance of it, "has agitated us exceedingly, and we cannot
prevent ourselves from being greatly alarmed and apprehensive for the poor
invalid, whose state Sir Thomas fears may be very critical; and Edmund kindly
proposes attending his brother immediately, but I am happy to add that Sir
Thomas will not leave me on this distressing occasion, as it would be too
trying for me.  We shall greatly miss Edmund in our small circle, but I trust
and hope he will find the poor invalid in a less alarming state than might be
apprehended, and that he will be able to bring him to Mansfield shortly, which
Sir Thomas proposes should be done, and thinks best on every account, and I
flatter myself the poor sufferer will soon be able to bear the removal without
material inconvenience or injury. As I have little doubt of your feeling for
us, my dear Fanny, under these distressing circumstances, I will write again
very soon."

Fanny's feelings on the occasion were indeed considerably more warm and genuine
than her aunt's style of writing. She felt truly for them all.  Tom dangerously
ill, Edmund gone to attend him, and the sadly small party remaining at
Mansfield, were cares to shut out every other care, or almost every other.  She
could just find selfishness enough to wonder whether Edmund had written to
Miss Crawford before this summons came, but no sentiment dwelt long with her
that was not purely affectionate and disinterestedly anxious.  Her aunt did not
neglect her: she wrote again and again; they were receiving frequent accounts
from Edmund, and these accounts were as regularly transmitted to Fanny, in the
same diffuse style, and the same medley of trusts, hopes, and fears, all
following and producing each other at haphazard. It was a sort of playing at
being frightened. The sufferings which Lady Bertram did not see had little
power over her fancy; and she wrote very comfortably about agitation, and
anxiety, and poor invalids, till Tom was actually conveyed to Mansfield, and
her own eyes had beheld his altered appearance.  Then a letter which she had
been previously preparing for Fanny was finished in a different style, in the
language of real feeling and alarm; then she wrote as she might have spoken.
"He is just come, my dear Fanny, and is taken upstairs; and I am so shocked to
see him, that I do not know what to do.  I am sure he has been very ill.  Poor
Tom! I am quite grieved for him, and very much frightened, and so is Sir
Thomas; and how glad I should be if you were here to comfort me.  But Sir
Thomas hopes he will be better to-morrow, and says we must consider his

The real solicitude now awakened in the maternal bosom was not soon over. 
Tom's extreme impatience to be removed to Mansfield, and experience those
comforts of home and family which had been little thought of in uninterrupted
health, had probably induced his being conveyed thither too early, as a return
of fever came on, and for a week he was in a more alarming state than ever.
They were all very seriously frightened.  Lady Bertram wrote her daily terrors
to her niece, who might now be said to live upon letters, and pass all her time
between suffering from that of to-day and looking forward to to-morrow's.
Without any particular affection for her eldest cousin, her tenderness of heart
made her feel that she could not spare him, and the purity of her principles
added yet a keener solicitude, when she considered how little useful, how
little self-denying his life had (apparently) been.

Susan was her only companion and listener on this, as on more common occasions.
 Susan was always ready to hear and to sympathise.  Nobody else could be
interested in so remote an evil as illness in a family above an hundred miles
off; not even Mrs. Price, beyond a brief question or two, if she saw her
daughter with a letter in her hand, and now and then the quiet observation of,
"My poor sister Bertram must be in a great deal of trouble."

So long divided and so differently situated, the ties of blood were little more
than nothing.  An attachment, originally as tranquil as their tempers, was now
become a mere name.  Mrs. Price did quite as much for Lady Bertram as Lady
Bertram would have done for Mrs. Price. Three or four Prices might have been
swept away, any or all except Fanny and William, and Lady Bertram would have
thought little about it; or perhaps might have caught from Mrs. Norris's lips
the cant of its being a very happy thing and a great blessing to their poor
dear sister Price to have them so well provided for.


At about the week's end from his return to Mansfield, Tom's immediate danger
was over, and he was so far pronounced safe as to make his mother perfectly
easy; for being now used to the sight of him in his suffering, helpless state,
and hearing only the best, and never thinking beyond what she heard, with no
disposition for alarm and no aptitude at a hint, Lady Bertram was the happiest
subject in the world for a little medical imposition. The fever was subdued;
the fever had been his complaint; of course he would soon be well again.  Lady
Bertram could think nothing less, and Fanny shared her aunt's security, till
she received a few lines from Edmund, written purposely to give her a clearer
idea of his brother's situation, and acquaint her with the apprehensions which
he and his father had imbibed from the physician with respect to some strong
hectic symptoms, which seemed to seize the frame on the departure of the fever.
 They judged it best that Lady Bertram should not be harassed by alarms which,
it was to be hoped, would prove unfounded; but there was no reason why Fanny
should not know the truth.  They were apprehensive for his lungs.

A very few lines from Edmund shewed her the patient and the sickroom in a
juster and stronger light than all Lady Bertram's sheets of paper could do. 
There was hardly any one in the house who might not have described, from
personal observation, better than herself; not one who was not more useful at
times to her son. She could do nothing but glide in quietly and look at him;
but when able to talk or be talked to, or read to, Edmund was the companion he
preferred.  His aunt worried him by her cares, and Sir Thomas knew not how to
bring down his conversation or his voice to the level of irritation and
feebleness.  Edmund was all in all.  Fanny would certainly believe him so at
least, and must find that her estimation of him was higher than ever when he
appeared as the attendant, supporter, cheerer of a suffering brother. There was
not only the debility of recent illness to assist: there was also, as she now
learnt, nerves much affected, spirits much depressed to calm and raise, and her
own imagination added that there must be a mind to be properly guided.

The family were not consumptive, and she was more inclined to hope than fear
for her cousin, except when she thought of Miss Crawford; but Miss Crawford
gave her the idea of being the child of good luck, and to her selfishness and
vanity it would be good luck to have Edmund the only son.

Even in the sick chamber the fortunate Mary was not forgotten.  Edmund's letter
had this postscript. "On the subject of my last, I had actually begun a letter
when called away by Tom's illness, but I have now changed my mind, and fear to
trust the influence of friends. When Tom is better, I shall go."

Such was the state of Mansfield, and so it continued, with scarcely any change,
till Easter.  A line occasionally added by Edmund to his mother's letter was
enough for Fanny's information.  Tom's amendment was alarmingly slow.

Easter came particularly late this year, as Fanny had most sorrowfully
considered, on first learning that she had no chance of leaving Portsmouth till
after it.  It came, and she had yet heard nothing of her return — nothing even
of the going to London, which was to precede her return. Her aunt often
expressed a wish for her, but there was no notice, no message from the uncle on
whom all depended. She supposed he could not yet leave his son, but it was a
cruel, a terrible delay to her.  The end of April was coming on; it would soon
be almost three months, instead of two, that she had been absent from them all,
and that her days had been passing in a state of penance, which she loved them
too well to hope they would thoroughly understand; and who could yet say when
there might be leisure to think of or fetch her?

Her eagerness, her impatience, her longings to be with them, were such as to
bring a line or two of Cowper's Tirocinium for ever before her.  "With what
intense desire she wants her home," was continually on her tongue, as the
truest description of a yearning which she could not suppose any schoolboy's
bosom to feel more keenly.

When she had been coming to Portsmouth, she had loved to call it her home, had
been fond of saying that she was going home; the word had been very dear to
her, and so it still was, but it must be applied to Mansfield.  That was now
the home.  Portsmouth was Portsmouth; Mansfield was home. They had been long so
arranged in the indulgence of her secret meditations, and nothing was more
consolatory to her than to find her aunt using the same language: "I cannot but
say I much regret your being from home at this distressing time, so very trying
to my spirits. I trust and hope, and sincerely wish you may never be absent
from home so long again," were most delightful sentences to her.  Still,
however, it was her private regale. Delicacy to her parents made her careful
not to betray such a preference of her uncle's house.  It was always: "When I
go back into Northamptonshire, or when I return to Mansfield, I shall do so and
so."  For a great while it was so, but at last the longing grew stronger, it
overthrew caution, and she found herself talking of what she should do when she
went home before she was aware. She reproached herself, coloured, and looked
fearfully towards her father and mother.  She need not have been uneasy. There
was no sign of displeasure, or even of hearing her. They were perfectly free
from any jealousy of Mansfield. She was as welcome to wish herself there as to
be there.

It was sad to Fanny to lose all the pleasures of spring. She had not known
before what pleasures she had to lose in passing March and April in a town. 
She had not known before how much the beginnings and progress of vegetation had
delighted her.  What animation, both of body and mind, she had derived from
watching the advance of that season which cannot, in spite of its
capriciousness, be unlovely, and seeing its increasing beauties from the
earliest flowers in the warmest divisions of her aunt's garden, to the opening
of leaves of her uncle's plantations, and the glory of his woods.  To be losing
such pleasures was no trifle; to be losing them, because she was in the midst
of closeness and noise, to have confinement, bad air, bad smells, substituted
for liberty, freshness, fragrance, and verdure, was infinitely worse: but even
these incitements to regret were feeble, compared with what arose from the
conviction of being missed by her best friends, and the longing to be useful to
those who were wanting her!

Could she have been at home, she might have been of service to every creature
in the house.  She felt that she must have been of use to all.  To all she must
have saved some trouble of head or hand; and were it only in supporting the
spirits of her aunt Bertram, keeping her from the evil of solitude, or the
still greater evil of a restless, officious companion, too apt to be
heightening danger in order to enhance her own importance, her being there
would have been a general good.  She loved to fancy how she could have read to
her aunt, how she could have talked to her, and tried at once to make her feel
the blessing of what was, and prepare her mind for what might be; and how many
walks up and down stairs she might have saved her, and how many messages she
might have carried.

It astonished her that Tom's sisters could be satisfied with remaining in
London at such a time, through an illness which had now, under different
degrees of danger, lasted several weeks.  They might return to Mansfield when
they chose; travelling could be no difficulty to them, and she could not
comprehend how both could still keep away. If Mrs. Rushworth could imagine any
interfering obligations, Julia was certainly able to quit London whenever she
chose. It appeared from one of her aunt's letters that Julia had offered to
return if wanted, but this was all. It was evident that she would rather remain
where she was.

Fanny was disposed to think the influence of London very much at war with all
respectable attachments. She saw the proof of it in Miss Crawford, as well as
in her cousins; her attachment to Edmund had been respectable, the most
respectable part of her character; her friendship for herself had at least been
blameless.  Where was either sentiment now?  It was so long since Fanny had had
any letter from her, that she had some reason to think lightly of the
friendship which had been so dwelt on. It was weeks since she had heard
anything of Miss Crawford or of her other connexions in town, except through
Mansfield, and she was beginning to suppose that she might never know whether
Mr. Crawford had gone into Norfolk again or not till they met, and might never
hear from his sister any more this spring, when the following letter was
received to revive old and create some new sensations—

"Forgive me, my dear Fanny, as soon as you can, for my long silence, and behave
as if you could forgive me directly. This is my modest request and expectation,
for you are so good, that I depend upon being treated better than I deserve,
and I write now to beg an immediate answer.  I want to know the state of things
at Mansfield Park, and you, no doubt, are perfectly able to give it.  One
should be a brute not to feel for the distress they are in; and from what I
hear, poor Mr. Bertram has a bad chance of ultimate recovery. I thought little
of his illness at first.  I looked upon him as the sort of person to be made a
fuss with, and to make a fuss himself in any trifling disorder, and was chiefly
concerned for those who had to nurse him; but now it is confidently asserted
that he is really in a decline, that the symptoms are most alarming, and that
part of the family, at least, are aware of it. If it be so, I am sure you must
be included in that part, that discerning part, and therefore entreat you to
let me know how far I have been rightly informed.  I need not say how rejoiced
I shall be to hear there has been any mistake, but the report is so prevalent
that I confess I cannot help trembling.  To have such a fine young man cut off
in the flower of his days is most melancholy. Poor Sir Thomas will feel it
dreadfully.  I really am quite agitated on the subject.  Fanny, Fanny, I see
you smile and look cunning, but, upon my honour, I never bribed a physician in
my life.  Poor young man!  If he is to die, there will be two poor young men
less in the world; and with a fearless face and bold voice would I say to any
one, that wealth and consequence could fall into no hands more deserving of
them.  It was a foolish precipitation last Christmas, but the evil of a few
days may be blotted out in part.  Varnish and gilding hide many stains. It will
be but the loss of the Esquire after his name. With real affection, Fanny, like
mine, more might be overlooked. Write to me by return of post, judge of my
anxiety, and do not trifle with it.  Tell me the real truth, as you have it
from the fountainhead.  And now, do not trouble yourself to be ashamed of
either my feelings or your own.  Believe me, they are not only natural, they
are philanthropic and virtuous.  I put it to your conscience, whether 'Sir
Edmund' would not do more good with all the Bertram property than any other
possible 'Sir.' Had the Grants been at home I would not have troubled you, but
you are now the only one I can apply to for the truth, his sisters not being
within my reach.  Mrs. R. has been spending the Easter with the Aylmers at
Twickenham (as to be sure you know), and is not yet returned; and Julia is with
the cousins who live near Bedford Square, but I forget their name and street. 
Could I immediately apply to either, however, I should still prefer you,
because it strikes me that they have all along been so unwilling to have their
own amusements cut up, as to shut their eyes to the truth.  I suppose Mrs. R.'s
Easter holidays will not last much longer; no doubt they are thorough holidays
to her.  The Aylmers are pleasant people; and her husband away, she can have
nothing but enjoyment. I give her credit for promoting his going dutifully down
to Bath, to fetch his mother; but how will she and the dowager agree in one
house?  Henry is not at hand, so I have nothing to say from him.  Do not you
think Edmund would have been in town again long ago, but for this illness?—
Yours ever, Mary."

"I had actually begun folding my letter when Henry walked in, but he brings no
intelligence to prevent my sending it. Mrs. R. knows a decline is apprehended;
he saw her this morning: she returns to Wimpole Street to-day; the old lady is
come. Now do not make yourself uneasy with any queer fancies because he has
been spending a few days at Richmond. He does it every spring.  Be assured he
cares for nobody but you.  At this very moment he is wild to see you, and
occupied only in contriving the means for doing so, and for making his pleasure
conduce to yours.  In proof, he repeats, and more eagerly, what he said at
Portsmouth about our conveying you home, and I join him in it with all my soul.
 Dear Fanny, write directly, and tell us to come. It will do us all good.  He
and I can go to the Parsonage, you know, and be no trouble to our friends at
Mansfield Park. It would really be gratifying to see them all again, and a
little addition of society might be of infinite use to them; and as to
yourself, you must feel yourself to be so wanted there, that you cannot in
conscience — conscientious as you are— keep away, when you have the means of
returning. I have not time or patience to give half Henry's messages; be
satisfied that the spirit of each and every one is unalterable affection."

Fanny's disgust at the greater part of this letter, with her extreme reluctance
to bring the writer of it and her cousin Edmund together, would have made her
(as she felt) incapable of judging impartially whether the concluding offer
might be accepted or not. To herself, individually, it was most tempting.  To
be finding herself, perhaps within three days, transported to Mansfield, was an
image of the greatest felicity, but it would have been a material drawback to
be owing such felicity to persons in whose feelings and conduct, at the present
moment, she saw so much to condemn: the sister's feelings, the brother's
conduct, her cold-hearted ambition, his thoughtless vanity. To have him
still the acquaintance, the flirt perhaps, of Mrs. Rushworth!  She was
mortified.  She had thought better of him.  Happily, however, she was not left
to weigh and decide between opposite inclinations and doubtful notions of
right; there was no occasion to determine whether she ought to keep Edmund and
Mary asunder or not. She had a rule to apply to, which settled everything. Her
awe of her uncle, and her dread of taking a liberty with him, made it instantly
plain to her what she had to do.  She must absolutely decline the proposal. If
he wanted, he would send for her; and even to offer an early return was a
presumption which hardly anything would have seemed to justify.  She thanked
Miss Crawford, but gave a decided negative.  "Her uncle, she understood, meant
to fetch her; and as her cousin's illness had continued so many weeks without
her being thought at all necessary, she must suppose her return would be
unwelcome at present, and that she should be felt an encumbrance."

Her representation of her cousin's state at this time was exactly according to
her own belief of it, and such as she supposed would convey to the sanguine
mind of her correspondent the hope of everything she was wishing for. Edmund
would be forgiven for being a clergyman, it seemed, under certain conditions of
wealth; and this, she suspected, was all the conquest of prejudice which he was
so ready to congratulate himself upon.  She had only learnt to think nothing of
consequence but money.


As Fanny could not doubt that her answer was conveying a real disappointment,
she was rather in expectation, from her knowledge of Miss Crawford's temper, of
being urged again; and though no second letter arrived for the space of a week,
she had still the same feeling when it did come.

On receiving it, she could instantly decide on its containing little writing,
and was persuaded of its having the air of a letter of haste and business. Its
object was unquestionable; and two moments were enough to start the probability
of its being merely to give her notice that they should be in Portsmouth that
very day, and to throw her into all the agitation of doubting what she ought to
do in such a case. If two moments, however, can surround with difficulties, a
third can disperse them; and before she had opened the letter, the possibility
of Mr. and Miss Crawford's having applied to her uncle and obtained his
permission was giving her ease.  This was the letter—

"A most scandalous, ill-natured rumour has just reached me, and I write, dear
Fanny, to warn you against giving the least credit to it, should it spread into
the country. Depend upon it, there is some mistake, and that a day or two will
clear it up; at any rate, that Henry is blameless, and in spite of a moment's
etourderie, thinks of nobody but you.  Say not a word of it; hear nothing,
surmise nothing, whisper nothing till I write again. I am sure it will be all
hushed up, and nothing proved but Rushworth's folly.  If they are gone, I would
lay my life they are only gone to Mansfield Park, and Julia with them.  But why
would not you let us come for you? I wish you may not repent it. — Yours, etc."

Fanny stood aghast.  As no scandalous, ill-natured rumour had reached her, it
was impossible for her to understand much of this strange letter.  She could
only perceive that it must relate to Wimpole Street and Mr. Crawford, and only
conjecture that something very imprudent had just occurred in that quarter to
draw the notice of the world, and to excite her jealousy, in Miss Crawford's
apprehension, if she heard it.  Miss Crawford need not be alarmed for her.  She
was only sorry for the parties concerned and for Mansfield, if the report
should spread so far; but she hoped it might not.  If the Rushworths were gone
themselves to Mansfield, as was to be inferred from what Miss Crawford said, it
was not likely that anything unpleasant should have preceded them, or at least
should make any impression.

As to Mr. Crawford, she hoped it might give him a knowledge of his own
disposition, convince him that he was not capable of being steadily attached to
any one woman in the world, and shame him from persisting any longer in
addressing herself.

It was very strange!  She had begun to think he really loved her, and to fancy
his affection for her something more than common; and his sister still said
that he cared for nobody else.  Yet there must have been some marked display of
attentions to her cousin, there must have been some strong indiscretion, since
her correspondent was not of a sort to regard a slight one.

Very uncomfortable she was, and must continue, till she heard from Miss
Crawford again.  It was impossible to banish the letter from her thoughts, and
she could not relieve herself by speaking of it to any human being. Miss
Crawford need not have urged secrecy with so much warmth; she might have
trusted to her sense of what was due to her cousin.

The next day came and brought no second letter. Fanny was disappointed.  She
could still think of little else all the morning; but, when her father came
back in the afternoon with the daily newspaper as usual, she was so far from
expecting any elucidation through such a channel that the subject was for a
moment out of her head.

She was deep in other musing.  The remembrance of her first evening in that
room, of her father and his newspaper, came across her.  No candle was now
wanted. The sun was yet an hour and half above the horizon. She felt that she
had, indeed, been three months there; and the sun's rays falling strongly into
the parlour, instead of cheering, made her still more melancholy, for sunshine
appeared to her a totally different thing in a town and in the country.  Here,
its power was only a glare:  a stifling, sickly glare, serving but to bring
forward stains and dirt that might otherwise have slept. There was neither
health nor gaiety in sunshine in a town. She sat in a blaze of oppressive heat,
in a cloud of moving dust, and her eyes could only wander from the walls,
marked by her father's head, to the table cut and notched by her brothers,
where stood the tea-board never thoroughly cleaned, the cups and saucers wiped
in streaks, the milk a mixture of motes floating in thin blue, and the bread
and butter growing every minute more greasy than even Rebecca's hands had first
produced it. Her father read his newspaper, and her mother lamented over the
ragged carpet as usual, while the tea was in preparation, and wished Rebecca
would mend it; and Fanny was first roused by his calling out to her, after
humphing and considering over a particular paragraph: "What's the name of your
great cousins in town, Fan?"

A moment's recollection enabled her to say, "Rushworth, sir."

"And don't they live in Wimpole Street?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then, there's the devil to pay among them, that's all! There" (holding out the
paper to her); "much good may such fine relations do you.  I don't know what
Sir Thomas may think of such matters; he may be too much of the courtier and
fine gentleman to like his daughter the less.  But, by G— ! if she belonged to
me, I'd give her the rope's end as long as I could stand over her.  A little
flogging for man and woman too would be the best way of preventing such

Fanny read to herself that "it was with infinite concern the newspaper had to
announce to the world a matrimonial fracas in the family of Mr. R. of Wimpole
Street; the beautiful Mrs. R., whose name had not long been enrolled in the
lists of Hymen, and who had promised to become so brilliant a leader in the
fashionable world, having quitted her husband's roof in company with the
well-known and captivating Mr. C., the intimate friend and associate of Mr. R.,
and it was not known even to the editor of the newspaper whither they were

"It is a mistake, sir," said Fanny instantly; "it must be a mistake, it cannot
be true; it must mean some other people."

She spoke from the instinctive wish of delaying shame; she spoke with a
resolution which sprung from despair, for she spoke what she did not, could not
believe herself. It had been the shock of conviction as she read.  The truth
rushed on her; and how she could have spoken at all, how she could even have
breathed, was afterwards matter of wonder to herself.

Mr. Price cared too little about the report to make her much answer.  "It might
be all a lie," he acknowledged; "but so many fine ladies were going to the
devil nowadays that way, that there was no answering for anybody."

"Indeed, I hope it is not true," said Mrs. Price plaintively; "it would be so
very shocking!  If I have spoken once to Rebecca about that carpet, I am sure I
have spoke at least a dozen times; have not I, Betsey?  And it would not be ten
minutes' work."

The horror of a mind like Fanny's, as it received the conviction of such guilt,
and began to take in some part of the misery that must ensue, can hardly be
described. At first, it was a sort of stupefaction; but every moment was
quickening her perception of the horrible evil. She could not doubt, she dared
not indulge a hope, of the paragraph being false.  Miss Crawford's letter,
which she had read so often as to make every line her own, was in frightful
conformity with it.  Her eager defence of her brother, her hope of its being
hushed up, her evident agitation, were all of a piece with something very
bad; and if there was a woman of character in existence, who could treat as a
trifle this sin of the first magnitude, who would try to gloss it over, and
desire to have it unpunished, she could believe Miss Crawford to be the woman!
Now she could see her own mistake as to who were gone, or said to be gone. 
It was not Mr. and Mrs. Rushworth; it was Mrs. Rushworth and Mr. Crawford.

Fanny seemed to herself never to have been shocked before. There was no
possibility of rest.  The evening passed without a pause of misery, the night
was totally sleepless. She passed only from feelings of sickness to shudderings
of horror; and from hot fits of fever to cold.  The event was so shocking, that
there were moments even when her heart revolted from it as impossible:  when
she thought it could not be.  A woman married only six months ago; a man
professing himself devoted, even engaged to another; that other her near
relation; the whole family, both families connected as they were by tie upon
tie; all friends, all intimate together!  It was too horrible a confusion of
guilt, too gross a complication of evil, for human nature, not in a state of
utter barbarism, to be capable of! yet her judgment told her it was so. His
unsettled affections, wavering with his vanity, Maria's decided attachment,
and no sufficient principle on either side, gave it possibility:  Miss
Crawford's letter stampt it a fact.

What would be the consequence?  Whom would it not injure? Whose views might it
not affect?  Whose peace would it not cut up for ever?  Miss Crawford, herself,
Edmund; but it was dangerous, perhaps, to tread such ground. She confined
herself, or tried to confine herself, to the simple, indubitable family misery
which must envelop all, if it were indeed a matter of certified guilt and
public exposure. The mother's sufferings, the father's; there she paused.
Julia's, Tom's, Edmund's; there a yet longer pause. They were the two on whom
it would fall most horribly. Sir Thomas's parental solicitude and high sense of
honour and decorum, Edmund's upright principles, unsuspicious temper, and
genuine strength of feeling, made her think it scarcely possible for them to
support life and reason under such disgrace; and it appeared to her that, as
far as this world alone was concerned, the greatest blessing to every one of
kindred with Mrs. Rushworth would be instant annihilation.

Nothing happened the next day, or the next, to weaken her terrors.  Two posts
came in, and brought no refutation, public or private.  There was no second
letter to explain away the first from Miss Crawford; there was no intelligence
from Mansfield, though it was now full time for her to hear again from her
aunt.  This was an evil omen. She had, indeed, scarcely the shadow of a hope to
soothe her mind, and was reduced to so low and wan and trembling a condition,
as no mother, not unkind, except Mrs. Price could have overlooked, when the
third day did bring the sickening knock, and a letter was again put into her
hands. It bore the London postmark, and came from Edmund.

"Dear Fanny, — You know our present wretchedness. May God support you under your
share!  We have been here two days, but there is nothing to be done.  They
cannot be traced.  You may not have heard of the last blow— Julia's elopement;
she is gone to Scotland with Yates. She left London a few hours before we
entered it. At any other time this would have been felt dreadfully. Now it
seems nothing; yet it is an heavy aggravation. My father is not overpowered. 
More cannot be hoped. He is still able to think and act; and I write, by his
desire, to propose your returning home. He is anxious to get you there for my
mother's sake. I shall be at Portsmouth the morning after you receive this, and
hope to find you ready to set off for Mansfield. My father wishes you to invite
Susan to go with you for a few months.  Settle it as you like; say what is
proper; I am sure you will feel such an instance of his kindness at such a
moment!  Do justice to his meaning, however I may confuse it.  You may imagine
something of my present state.  There is no end of the evil let loose upon us. 
You will see me early by the mail.— Yours, etc."

Never had Fanny more wanted a cordial.  Never had she felt such a one as this
letter contained.  To-morrow! to leave Portsmouth to-morrow! She was, she felt
she was, in the greatest danger of being exquisitely happy, while so many were
miserable.  The evil which brought such good to her! She dreaded lest she
should learn to be insensible of it. To be going so soon, sent for so kindly,
sent for as a comfort, and with leave to take Susan, was altogether such a
combination of blessings as set her heart in a glow, and for a time seemed to
distance every pain, and make her incapable of suitably sharing the distress
even of those whose distress she thought of most. Julia's elopement could
affect her comparatively but little; she was amazed and shocked; but it could
not occupy her, could not dwell on her mind.  She was obliged to call herself
to think of it, and acknowledge it to be terrible and grievous, or it was
escaping her, in the midst of all the agitating pressing joyful cares attending
this summons to herself.

There is nothing like employment, active indispensable employment, for
relieving sorrow.  Employment, even melancholy, may dispel melancholy, and her
occupations were hopeful. She had so much to do, that not even the horrible
story of Mrs. Rushworth — now fixed to the last point of certainty could affect
her as it had done before. She had not time to be miserable.  Within
twenty-four hours she was hoping to be gone; her father and mother must be
spoken to, Susan prepared, everything got ready. Business followed business;
the day was hardly long enough. The happiness she was imparting, too, happiness
very little alloyed by the black communication which must briefly precede
it — the joyful consent of her father and mother to Susan's going with her — the
general satisfaction with which the going of both seemed regarded, and the
ecstasy of Susan herself, was all serving to support her spirits.

The affliction of the Bertrams was little felt in the family. Mrs. Price talked
of her poor sister for a few minutes, but how to find anything to hold Susan's
clothes, because Rebecca took away all the boxes and spoilt them, was much more
in her thoughts:  and as for Susan, now unexpectedly gratified in the first
wish of her heart, and knowing nothing personally of those who had sinned, or
of those who were sorrowing — if she could help rejoicing from beginning to end,
it was as much as ought to be expected from human virtue at fourteen.

As nothing was really left for the decision of Mrs. Price, or the good offices
of Rebecca, everything was rationally and duly accomplished, and the girls were
ready for the morrow.  The advantage of much sleep to prepare them for their
journey was impossible.  The cousin who was travelling towards them could
hardly have less than visited their agitated spirits — one all happiness, the
other all varying and indescribable perturbation.

By eight in the morning Edmund was in the house.  The girls heard his entrance
from above, and Fanny went down. The idea of immediately seeing him, with the
knowledge of what he must be suffering, brought back all her own first
feelings.  He so near her, and in misery.  She was ready to sink as she entered
the parlour.  He was alone, and met her instantly; and she found herself
pressed to his heart with only these words, just articulate, "My Fanny, my only
sister; my only comfort now!" She could say nothing; nor for some minutes could
he say more.

He turned away to recover himself, and when he spoke again, though his voice
still faltered, his manner shewed the wish of self-command, and the resolution
of avoiding any farther allusion.  "Have you breakfasted?  When shall you be
ready?  Does Susan go?" were questions following each other rapidly.  His great
object was to be off as soon as possible.  When Mansfield was considered, time
was precious; and the state of his own mind made him find relief only in
motion.  It was settled that he should order the carriage to the door in half
an hour. Fanny answered for their having breakfasted and being quite ready in
half an hour.  He had already ate, and declined staying for their meal.  He
would walk round the ramparts, and join them with the carriage.  He was gone
again; glad to get away even from Fanny.

He looked very ill; evidently suffering under violent emotions, which he was
determined to suppress. She knew it must be so, but it was terrible to her.

The carriage came; and he entered the house again at the same moment, just in
time to spend a few minutes with the family, and be a witness — but that he saw
nothing— of the tranquil manner in which the daughters were parted with, and
just in time to prevent their sitting down to the breakfast-table, which, by
dint of much unusual activity, was quite and completely ready as the carriage
drove from the door.  Fanny's last meal in her father's house was in character
with her first: she was dismissed from it as hospitably as she had been

How her heart swelled with joy and gratitude as she passed the barriers of
Portsmouth, and how Susan's face wore its broadest smiles, may be easily
conceived. Sitting forwards, however, and screened by her bonnet, those smiles
were unseen.

The journey was likely to be a silent one.  Edmund's deep sighs often reached
Fanny.  Had he been alone with her, his heart must have opened in spite of
every resolution; but Susan's presence drove him quite into himself, and his
attempts to talk on indifferent subjects could never be long supported.

Fanny watched him with never-failing solicitude, and sometimes catching his
eye, revived an affectionate smile, which comforted her; but the first day's
journey passed without her hearing a word from him on the subjects that were
weighing him down.  The next morning produced a little more.  Just before their
setting out from Oxford, while Susan was stationed at a window, in eager
observation of the departure of a large family from the inn, the other two were
standing by the fire; and Edmund, particularly struck by the alteration in
Fanny's looks, and from his ignorance of the daily evils of her father's house,
attributing an undue share of the change, attributing all to the recent
event, took her hand, and said in a low, but very expressive tone, "No wonder—
you must feel it — you must suffer.  How a man who had once loved, could desert
you!  But yours — your regard was new compared with —— Fanny, think of me!"

The first division of their journey occupied a long day, and brought them,
almost knocked up, to Oxford; but the second was over at a much earlier hour.
They were in the environs of Mansfield long before the usual dinner-time, and
as they approached the beloved place, the hearts of both sisters sank a little.
Fanny began to dread the meeting with her aunts and Tom, under so dreadful a
humiliation; and Susan to feel with some anxiety, that all her best manners,
all her lately acquired knowledge of what was practised here, was on the point
of being called into action.  Visions of good and ill breeding, of old
vulgarisms and new gentilities, were before her; and she was meditating much
upon silver forks, napkins, and finger-glasses. Fanny had been everywhere awake
to the difference of the country since February; but when they entered the Park
her perceptions and her pleasures were of the keenest sort. It was three
months, full three months, since her quitting it, and the change was from
winter to summer. Her eye fell everywhere on lawns and plantations of the
freshest green; and the trees, though not fully clothed, were in that
delightful state when farther beauty is known to be at hand, and when, while
much is actually given to the sight, more yet remains for the imagination. Her
enjoyment, however, was for herself alone.  Edmund could not share it.  She
looked at him, but he was leaning back, sunk in a deeper gloom than ever, and
with eyes closed, as if the view of cheerfulness oppressed him, and the lovely
scenes of home must be shut out.

It made her melancholy again; and the knowledge of what must be enduring there,
invested even the house, modern, airy, and well situated as it was, with a
melancholy aspect.

By one of the suffering party within they were expected with such impatience as
she had never known before. Fanny had scarcely passed the solemn-looking
servants, when Lady Bertram came from the drawing-room to meet her; came with
no indolent step; and falling on her neck, said, "Dear Fanny! now I shall be


It had been a miserable party, each of the three believing themselves most
miserable.  Mrs. Norris, however, as most attached to Maria, was really the
greatest sufferer. Maria was her first favourite, the dearest of all; the match
had been her own contriving, as she had been wont with such pride of heart to
feel and say, and this conclusion of it almost overpowered her.

She was an altered creature, quieted, stupefied, indifferent to everything that
passed.  The being left with her sister and nephew, and all the house under her
care, had been an advantage entirely thrown away; she had been unable to direct
or dictate, or even fancy herself useful. When really touched by affliction,
her active powers had been all benumbed; and neither Lady Bertram nor Tom had
received from her the smallest support or attempt at support.  She had done no
more for them than they had done for each other.  They had been all solitary,
helpless, and forlorn alike; and now the arrival of the others only established
her superiority in wretchedness. Her companions were relieved, but there was no
good for her.  Edmund was almost as welcome to his brother as Fanny to her
aunt; but Mrs. Norris, instead of having comfort from either, was but the more
irritated by the sight of the person whom, in the blindness of her anger, she
could have charged as the daemon of the piece. Had Fanny accepted Mr. Crawford
this could not have happened.

Susan too was a grievance.  She had not spirits to notice her in more than a
few repulsive looks, but she felt her as a spy, and an intruder, and an
indigent niece, and everything most odious.  By her other aunt, Susan was
received with quiet kindness.  Lady Bertram could not give her much time, or
many words, but she felt her, as Fanny's sister, to have a claim at Mansfield,
and was ready to kiss and like her; and Susan was more than satisfied, for she
came perfectly aware that nothing but ill-humour was to be expected from aunt
Norris; and was so provided with happiness, so strong in that best of
blessings, an escape from many certain evils, that she could have stood against
a great deal more indifference than she met with from the others.

She was now left a good deal to herself, to get acquainted with the house and
grounds as she could, and spent her days very happily in so doing, while those
who might otherwise have attended to her were shut up, or wholly occupied each
with the person quite dependent on them, at this time, for everything like
comfort; Edmund trying to bury his own feelings in exertions for the relief of
his brother's, and Fanny devoted to her aunt Bertram, returning to every former
office with more than former zeal, and thinking she could never do enough for
one who seemed so much to want her.

To talk over the dreadful business with Fanny, talk and lament, was all Lady
Bertram's consolation.  To be listened to and borne with, and hear the voice of
kindness and sympathy in return, was everything that could be done for her. To
be otherwise comforted was out of the question. The case admitted of no
comfort.  Lady Bertram did not think deeply, but, guided by Sir Thomas, she
thought justly on all important points; and she saw, therefore, in all its
enormity, what had happened, and neither endeavoured herself, nor required
Fanny to advise her, to think little of guilt and infamy.

Her affections were not acute, nor was her mind tenacious. After a time, Fanny
found it not impossible to direct her thoughts to other subjects, and revive
some interest in the usual occupations; but whenever Lady Bertram was fixed
on the event, she could see it only in one light, as comprehending the loss of
a daughter, and a disgrace never to be wiped off.

Fanny learnt from her all the particulars which had yet transpired.  Her aunt
was no very methodical narrator, but with the help of some letters to and from
Sir Thomas, and what she already knew herself, and could reasonably combine,
she was soon able to understand quite as much as she wished of the
circumstances attending the story.

Mrs. Rushworth had gone, for the Easter holidays, to Twickenham, with a family
whom she had just grown intimate with:  a family of lively, agreeable manners,
and probably of morals and discretion to suit, for to their house Mr.
Crawford had constant access at all times. His having been in the same
neighbourhood Fanny already knew. Mr. Rushworth had been gone at this time to
Bath, to pass a few days with his mother, and bring her back to town, and Maria
was with these friends without any restraint, without even Julia; for Julia had
removed from Wimpole Street two or three weeks before, on a visit to some
relations of Sir Thomas; a removal which her father and mother were now
disposed to attribute to some view of convenience on Mr. Yates's account.  Very
soon after the Rushworths' return to Wimpole Street, Sir Thomas had received a
letter from an old and most particular friend in London, who hearing and
witnessing a good deal to alarm him in that quarter, wrote to recommend Sir
Thomas's coming to London himself, and using his influence with his daughter to
put an end to the intimacy which was already exposing her to unpleasant
remarks, and evidently making Mr. Rushworth uneasy.

Sir Thomas was preparing to act upon this letter, without communicating its
contents to any creature at Mansfield, when it was followed by another, sent
express from the same friend, to break to him the almost desperate situation in
which affairs then stood with the young people. Mrs. Rushworth had left her
husband's house:  Mr. Rushworth had been in great anger and distress to him
(Mr. Harding) for his advice; Mr. Harding feared there had been at least
very flagrant indiscretion.  The maidservant of Mrs. Rushworth, senior,
threatened alarmingly.  He was doing all in his power to quiet everything, with
the hope of Mrs. Rushworth's return, but was so much counteracted in Wimpole
Street by the influence of Mr. Rushworth's mother, that the worst consequences
might be apprehended.

This dreadful communication could not be kept from the rest of the family.  Sir
Thomas set off, Edmund would go with him, and the others had been left in a
state of wretchedness, inferior only to what followed the receipt of the next
letters from London.  Everything was by that time public beyond a hope.  The
servant of Mrs. Rushworth, the mother, had exposure in her power, and supported
by her mistress, was not to be silenced.  The two ladies, even in the short
time they had been together, had disagreed; and the bitterness of the elder
against her daughter-in-law might perhaps arise almost as much from the
personal disrespect with which she had herself been treated as from sensibility
for her son.

However that might be, she was unmanageable.  But had she been less obstinate,
or of less weight with her son, who was always guided by the last speaker, by
the person who could get hold of and shut him up, the case would still have
been hopeless, for Mrs. Rushworth did not appear again, and there was every
reason to conclude her to be concealed somewhere with Mr. Crawford, who had
quitted his uncle's house, as for a journey, on the very day of her absenting

Sir Thomas, however, remained yet a little longer in town, in the hope of
discovering and snatching her from farther vice, though all was lost on the
side of character.

His present state Fanny could hardly bear to think of. There was but one of
his children who was not at this time a source of misery to him.  Tom's
complaints had been greatly heightened by the shock of his sister's conduct,
and his recovery so much thrown back by it, that even Lady Bertram had been
struck by the difference, and all her alarms were regularly sent off to her
husband; and Julia's elopement, the additional blow which had met him on his
arrival in London, though its force had been deadened at the moment, must, she
knew, be sorely felt. She saw that it was.  His letters expressed how much he
deplored it.  Under any circumstances it would have been an unwelcome alliance;
but to have it so clandestinely formed, and such a period chosen for its
completion, placed Julia's feelings in a most unfavourable light, and severely
aggravated the folly of her choice. He called it a bad thing, done in the worst
manner, and at the worst time; and though Julia was yet as more pardonable than
Maria as folly than vice, he could not but regard the step she had taken as
opening the worst probabilities of a conclusion hereafter like her sister's.
Such was his opinion of the set into which she had thrown herself.

Fanny felt for him most acutely.  He could have no comfort but in Edmund. 
Every other child must be racking his heart. His displeasure against herself
she trusted, reasoning differently from Mrs. Norris, would now be done away.
She should be justified.  Mr. Crawford would have fully acquitted her conduct
in refusing him; but this, though most material to herself, would be poor
consolation to Sir Thomas.  Her uncle's displeasure was terrible to her; but
what could her justification or her gratitude and attachment do for him?  His
stay must be on Edmund alone.

She was mistaken, however, in supposing that Edmund gave his father no present
pain.  It was of a much less poignant nature than what the others excited; but
Sir Thomas was considering his happiness as very deeply involved in the offence
of his sister and friend; cut off by it, as he must be, from the woman whom he
had been pursuing with undoubted attachment and strong probability of success;
and who, in everything but this despicable brother, would have been so eligible
a connexion.  He was aware of what Edmund must be suffering on his own behalf,
in addition to all the rest, when they were in town: he had seen or conjectured
his feelings; and, having reason to think that one interview with Miss Crawford
had taken place, from which Edmund derived only increased distress, had been as
anxious on that account as on others to get him out of town, and had engaged
him in taking Fanny home to her aunt, with a view to his relief and benefit, no
less than theirs. Fanny was not in the secret of her uncle's feelings, Sir
Thomas not in the secret of Miss Crawford's character. Had he been privy to her
conversation with his son, he would not have wished her to belong to him,
though her twenty thousand pounds had been forty.

That Edmund must be for ever divided from Miss Crawford did not admit of a
doubt with Fanny; and yet, till she knew that he felt the same, her own
conviction was insufficient. She thought he did, but she wanted to be assured
of it. If he would now speak to her with the unreserve which had sometimes been
too much for her before, it would be most consoling; but that she found was
not to be. She seldom saw him:  never alone.  He probably avoided being alone
with her.  What was to be inferred?  That his judgment submitted to all his own
peculiar and bitter share of this family affliction, but that it was too keenly
felt to be a subject of the slightest communication. This must be his state. 
He yielded, but it was with agonies which did not admit of speech.  Long, long
would it be ere Miss Crawford's name passed his lips again, or she could hope
for a renewal of such confidential intercourse as had been.

It was long.  They reached Mansfield on Thursday, and it was not till Sunday
evening that Edmund began to talk to her on the subject.  Sitting with her on
Sunday evening — a wet Sunday evening — the very time of all others when, if a
friend is at hand, the heart must be opened, and everything told; no one else
in the room, except his mother, who, after hearing an affecting sermon, had
cried herself to sleep, it was impossible not to speak; and so, with the usual
beginnings, hardly to be traced as to what came first, and the usual
declaration that if she would listen to him for a few minutes, he should be
very brief, and certainly never tax her kindness in the same way again; she
need not fear a repetition; it would be a subject prohibited entirely:  he
entered upon the luxury of relating circumstances and sensations of the first
interest to himself, to one of whose affectionate sympathy he was quite

How Fanny listened, with what curiosity and concern, what pain and what
delight, how the agitation of his voice was watched, and how carefully her own
eyes were fixed on any object but himself, may be imagined. The opening was
alarming.  He had seen Miss Crawford. He had been invited to see her.  He had
received a note from Lady Stornaway to beg him to call; and regarding it as
what was meant to be the last, last interview of friendship, and investing her
with all the feelings of shame and wretchedness which Crawford's sister ought
to have known, he had gone to her in such a state of mind, so softened, so
devoted, as made it for a few moments impossible to Fanny's fears that it
should be the last. But as he proceeded in his story, these fears were over.
She had met him, he said, with a serious — certainly a serious— even an
agitated air; but before he had been able to speak one intelligible sentence,
she had introduced the subject in a manner which he owned had shocked him. "'I
heard you were in town,' said she; 'I wanted to see you. Let us talk over this
sad business.  What can equal the folly of our two relations?'  I could not
answer, but I believe my looks spoke.  She felt reproved.  Sometimes how quick
to feel!  With a graver look and voice she then added, 'I do not mean to defend
Henry at your sister's expense.' So she began, but how she went on, Fanny, is
not fit, is hardly fit to be repeated to you.  I cannot recall all her words. 
I would not dwell upon them if I could. Their substance was great anger at the
folly of each. She reprobated her brother's folly in being drawn on by a
woman whom he had never cared for, to do what must lose him the woman he
adored; but still more the folly of poor Maria, in sacrificing such a
situation, plunging into such difficulties, under the idea of being really
loved by a man who had long ago made his indifference clear. Guess what I must
have felt.  To hear the woman whom— no harsher name than folly given!  So
voluntarily, so freely, so coolly to canvass it!  No reluctance, no horror, no
feminine, shall I say, no modest loathings? This is what the world does.  For
where, Fanny, shall we find a woman whom nature had so richly endowed?  Spoilt,

After a little reflection, he went on with a sort of desperate calmness.  "I
will tell you everything, and then have done for ever.  She saw it only as
folly, and that folly stamped only by exposure.  The want of common discretion,
of caution:  his going down to Richmond for the whole time of her being at
Twickenham; her putting herself in the power of a servant; it was the
detection, in short — oh, Fanny! it was the detection, not the offence, which
she reprobated.  It was the imprudence which had brought things to extremity,
and obliged her brother to give up every dearer plan in order to fly with her."

He stopt.  "And what," said Fanny (believing herself required to speak), "what
could you say?"

"Nothing, nothing to be understood.  I was like a man stunned. She went on,
began to talk of you; yes, then she began to talk of you, regretting, as well
she might, the loss of such a — .  There she spoke very rationally.  But she has
always done justice to you.  'He has thrown away,' said she, 'such a woman as
he will never see again. She would have fixed him; she would have made him
happy for ever.'  My dearest Fanny, I am giving you, I hope, more pleasure than
pain by this retrospect of what might have been — but what never can be now. 
You do not wish me to be silent?  If you do, give me but a look, a word, and I
have done."

No look or word was given.

"Thank God," said he.  "We were all disposed to wonder, but it seems to have
been the merciful appointment of Providence that the heart which knew no guile
should not suffer.  She spoke of you with high praise and warm affection; yet,
even here, there was alloy, a dash of evil; for in the midst of it she could
exclaim, 'Why would not she have him?  It is all her fault. Simple girl!  I
shall never forgive her.  Had she accepted him as she ought, they might now
have been on the point of marriage, and Henry would have been too happy and too
busy to want any other object.  He would have taken no pains to be on terms
with Mrs. Rushworth again. It would have all ended in a regular standing
flirtation, in yearly meetings at Sotherton and Everingham.'  Could you have
believed it possible?  But the charm is broken. My eyes are opened."

"Cruel!" said Fanny, "quite cruel.  At such a moment to give way to gaiety, to
speak with lightness, and to you! Absolute cruelty."

"Cruelty, do you call it?  We differ there.  No, hers is not a cruel nature.  I
do not consider her as meaning to wound my feelings.  The evil lies yet deeper:
in her total ignorance, unsuspiciousness of there being such feelings; in a
perversion of mind which made it natural to her to treat the subject as she
did.  She was speaking only as she had been used to hear others speak, as she
imagined everybody else would speak.  Hers are not faults of temper.  She would
not voluntarily give unnecessary pain to any one, and though I may deceive
myself, I cannot but think that for me, for my feelings, she would— Hers are
faults of principle, Fanny; of blunted delicacy and a corrupted, vitiated mind.
 Perhaps it is best for me, since it leaves me so little to regret.  Not so,
however. Gladly would I submit to all the increased pain of losing her, rather
than have to think of her as I do. I told her so."

"Did you?"

"Yes; when I left her I told her so."

"How long were you together?"

"Five-and-twenty minutes.  Well, she went on to say that what remained now to
be done was to bring about a marriage between them.  She spoke of it, Fanny,
with a steadier voice than I can."  He was obliged to pause more than once as
he continued.  "'We must persuade Henry to marry her,' said she; 'and what with
honour, and the certainty of having shut himself out for ever from Fanny, I do
not despair of it.  Fanny he must give up.  I do not think that even he could
now hope to succeed with one of her stamp, and therefore I hope we may find no
insuperable difficulty. My influence, which is not small shall all go that way;
and when once married, and properly supported by her own family, people of
respectability as they are, she may recover her footing in society to a certain
degree. In some circles, we know, she would never be admitted, but with good
dinners, and large parties, there will always be those who will be glad of her
acquaintance; and there is, undoubtedly, more liberality and candour on those
points than formerly.  What I advise is, that your father be quiet.  Do not let
him injure his own cause by interference.  Persuade him to let things take
their course.  If by any officious exertions of his, she is induced to leave
Henry's protection, there will be much less chance of his marrying her than if
she remain with him.  I know how he is likely to be influenced. Let Sir Thomas
trust to his honour and compassion, and it may all end well; but if he get his
daughter away, it will be destroying the chief hold.'"

After repeating this, Edmund was so much affected that Fanny, watching him with
silent, but most tender concern, was almost sorry that the subject had been
entered on at all.  It was long before he could speak again. At last, "Now,
Fanny," said he, "I shall soon have done. I have told you the substance of all
that she said. As soon as I could speak, I replied that I had not supposed it
possible, coming in such a state of mind into that house as I had done, that
anything could occur to make me suffer more, but that she had been inflicting
deeper wounds in almost every sentence. That though I had, in the course of our
acquaintance, been often sensible of some difference in our opinions, on
points, too, of some moment, it had not entered my imagination to conceive the
difference could be such as she had now proved it.  That the manner in which
she treated the dreadful crime committed by her brother and my sister (with
whom lay the greater seduction I pretended not to say), but the manner in which
she spoke of the crime itself, giving it every reproach but the right;
considering its ill consequences only as they were to be braved or overborne by
a defiance of decency and impudence in wrong; and last of all, and above all,
recommending to us a compliance, a compromise, an acquiescence in the
continuance of the sin, on the chance of a marriage which, thinking as I now
thought of her brother, should rather be prevented than sought; all this
together most grievously convinced me that I had never understood her before,
and that, as far as related to mind, it had been the creature of my own
imagination, not Miss Crawford, that I had been too apt to dwell on for many
months past.  That, perhaps, it was best for me; I had less to regret in
sacrificing a friendship, feelings, hopes which must, at any rate, have been
torn from me now. And yet, that I must and would confess that, could I have
restored her to what she had appeared to me before, I would infinitely prefer
any increase of the pain of parting, for the sake of carrying with me the right
of tenderness and esteem.  This is what I said, the purport of it; but, as you
may imagine, not spoken so collectedly or methodically as I have repeated it to
you.  She was astonished, exceedingly astonished — more than astonished. I saw
her change countenance.  She turned extremely red. I imagined I saw a mixture
of many feelings:  a great, though short struggle; half a wish of yielding to
truths, half a sense of shame, but habit, habit carried it. She would have
laughed if she could.  It was a sort of laugh, as she answered, 'A pretty good
lecture, upon my word. Was it part of your last sermon?  At this rate you will
soon reform everybody at Mansfield and Thornton Lacey; and when I hear of you
next, it may be as a celebrated preacher in some great society of Methodists,
or as a missionary into foreign parts.'  She tried to speak carelessly, but she
was not so careless as she wanted to appear. I only said in reply, that from my
heart I wished her well, and earnestly hoped that she might soon learn to think
more justly, and not owe the most valuable knowledge we could any of us
acquire, the knowledge of ourselves and of our duty, to the lessons of
affliction, and immediately left the room.  I had gone a few steps, Fanny, when
I heard the door open behind me.  'Mr. Bertram,' said she. I looked back.  'Mr.
Bertram,' said she, with a smile; but it was a smile ill-suited to the
conversation that had passed, a saucy playful smile, seeming to invite in order
to subdue me; at least it appeared so to me. I resisted; it was the impulse of
the moment to resist, and still walked on.  I have since, sometimes, for a
moment, regretted that I did not go back, but I know I was right, and such has
been the end of our acquaintance.  And what an acquaintance has it been!  How
have I been deceived! Equally in brother and sister deceived!  I thank you for
your patience, Fanny.  This has been the greatest relief, and now we will have

And such was Fanny's dependence on his words, that for five minutes she thought
they had done.  Then, however, it all came on again, or something very like
it, and nothing less than Lady Bertram's rousing thoroughly up could really
close such a conversation.  Till that happened, they continued to talk of Miss
Crawford alone, and how she had attached him, and how delightful nature had
made her, and how excellent she would have been, had she fallen into good hands
earlier.  Fanny, now at liberty to speak openly, felt more than justified in
adding to his knowledge of her real character, by some hint of what share his
brother's state of health might be supposed to have in her wish for a complete
reconciliation.  This was not an agreeable intimation.  Nature resisted it for
a while. It would have been a vast deal pleasanter to have had her more
disinterested in her attachment; but his vanity was not of a strength to fight
long against reason. He submitted to believe that Tom's illness had influenced
her, only reserving for himself this consoling thought, that considering the
many counteractions of opposing habits, she had certainly been more attached
to him than could have been expected, and for his sake been more near doing
right.  Fanny thought exactly the same; and they were also quite agreed in
their opinion of the lasting effect, the indelible impression, which such a
disappointment must make on his mind.  Time would undoubtedly abate somewhat of
his sufferings, but still it was a sort of thing which he never could get
entirely the better of; and as to his ever meeting with any other woman who
could— it was too impossible to be named but with indignation. Fanny's
friendship was all that he had to cling to.


Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.  I quit such odious subjects as soon
as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to
tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.

My Fanny, indeed, at this very time, I have the satisfaction of knowing, must
have been happy in spite of everything. She must have been a happy creature in
spite of all that she felt, or thought she felt, for the distress of those
around her. She had sources of delight that must force their way. She was
returned to Mansfield Park, she was useful, she was beloved; she was safe from
Mr. Crawford; and when Sir Thomas came back she had every proof that could be
given in his then melancholy state of spirits, of his perfect approbation and
increased regard; and happy as all this must make her, she would still have
been happy without any of it, for Edmund was no longer the dupe of Miss

It is true that Edmund was very far from happy himself. He was suffering from
disappointment and regret, grieving over what was, and wishing for what could
never be. She knew it was so, and was sorry; but it was with a sorrow so
founded on satisfaction, so tending to ease, and so much in harmony with every
dearest sensation, that there are few who might not have been glad to exchange
their greatest gaiety for it.

Sir Thomas, poor Sir Thomas, a parent, and conscious of errors in his own
conduct as a parent, was the longest to suffer. He felt that he ought not to
have allowed the marriage; that his daughter's sentiments had been sufficiently
known to him to render him culpable in authorising it; that in so doing he had
sacrificed the right to the expedient, and been governed by motives of
selfishness and worldly wisdom. These were reflections that required some time
to soften; but time will do almost everything; and though little comfort arose
on Mrs. Rushworth's side for the misery she had occasioned, comfort was to be
found greater than he had supposed in his other children.  Julia's match became
a less desperate business than he had considered it at first. She was humble,
and wishing to be forgiven; and Mr. Yates, desirous of being really received
into the family, was disposed to look up to him and be guided.  He was not very
solid; but there was a hope of his becoming less trifling, of his being at
least tolerably domestic and quiet; and at any rate, there was comfort in
finding his estate rather more, and his debts much less, than he had feared,
and in being consulted and treated as the friend best worth attending to. 
There was comfort also in Tom, who gradually regained his health, without
regaining the thoughtlessness and selfishness of his previous habits. He was
the better for ever for his illness.  He had suffered, and he had learned to
think:  two advantages that he had never known before; and the self-reproach
arising from the deplorable event in Wimpole Street, to which he felt himself
accessory by all the dangerous intimacy of his unjustifiable theatre, made an
impression on his mind which, at the age of six-and-twenty, with no want of
sense or good companions, was durable in its happy effects. He became what he
ought to be:  useful to his father, steady and quiet, and not living merely for

Here was comfort indeed! and quite as soon as Sir Thomas could place dependence
on such sources of good, Edmund was contributing to his father's ease by
improvement in the only point in which he had given him pain before—
improvement in his spirits.  After wandering about and sitting under trees with
Fanny all the summer evenings, he had so well talked his mind into submission
as to be very tolerably cheerful again.

These were the circumstances and the hopes which gradually brought their
alleviation to Sir Thomas, deadening his sense of what was lost, and in part
reconciling him to himself; though the anguish arising from the conviction of
his own errors in the education of his daughters was never to be entirely done

Too late he became aware how unfavourable to the character of any young people
must be the totally opposite treatment which Maria and Julia had been always
experiencing at home, where the excessive indulgence and flattery of their aunt
had been continually contrasted with his own severity. He saw how ill he had
judged, in expecting to counteract what was wrong in Mrs. Norris by its reverse
in himself; clearly saw that he had but increased the evil by teaching them to
repress their spirits in his presence so as to make their real disposition
unknown to him, and sending them for all their indulgences to a person who had
been able to attach them only by the blindness of her affection, and the excess
of her praise.

Here had been grievous mismanagement; but, bad as it was, he gradually grew to
feel that it had not been the most direful mistake in his plan of education. 
Something must have been wanting within, or time would have worn away much of
its ill effect.  He feared that principle, active principle, had been wanting;
that they had never been properly taught to govern their inclinations and
tempers by that sense of duty which can alone suffice. They had been instructed
theoretically in their religion, but never required to bring it into daily
practice. To be distinguished for elegance and accomplishments, the authorised
object of their youth, could have had no useful influence that way, no moral
effect on the mind. He had meant them to be good, but his cares had been
directed to the understanding and manners, not the disposition; and of the
necessity of self-denial and humility, he feared they had never heard from any
lips that could profit them.

Bitterly did he deplore a deficiency which now he could scarcely comprehend to
have been possible. Wretchedly did he feel, that with all the cost and care of
an anxious and expensive education, he had brought up his daughters without
their understanding their first duties, or his being acquainted with their
character and temper.

The high spirit and strong passions of Mrs. Rushworth, especially, were made
known to him only in their sad result. She was not to be prevailed on to leave
Mr. Crawford. She hoped to marry him, and they continued together till she was
obliged to be convinced that such hope was vain, and till the disappointment
and wretchedness arising from the conviction rendered her temper so bad, and
her feelings for him so like hatred, as to make them for a while each other's
punishment, and then induce a voluntary separation.

She had lived with him to be reproached as the ruin of all his happiness in
Fanny, and carried away no better consolation in leaving him than that she
had divided them. What can exceed the misery of such a mind in such a

Mr. Rushworth had no difficulty in procuring a divorce; and so ended a marriage
contracted under such circumstances as to make any better end the effect of
good luck not to be reckoned on.  She had despised him, and loved another; and
he had been very much aware that it was so. The indignities of stupidity, and
the disappointments of selfish passion, can excite little pity.  His punishment
followed his conduct, as did a deeper punishment the deeper guilt of his wife. 
He was released from the engagement to be mortified and unhappy, till some
other pretty girl could attract him into matrimony again, and he might set
forward on a second, and, it is to be hoped, more prosperous trial of the
state:  if duped, to be duped at least with good humour and good luck; while
she must withdraw with infinitely stronger feelings to a retirement and
reproach which could allow no second spring of hope or character.

Where she could be placed became a subject of most melancholy and momentous
consultation.  Mrs. Norris, whose attachment seemed to augment with the
demerits of her niece, would have had her received at home and countenanced by
them all.  Sir Thomas would not hear of it; and Mrs. Norris's anger against
Fanny was so much the greater, from considering her residence there as the
motive. She persisted in placing his scruples to her account, though Sir
Thomas very solemnly assured her that, had there been no young woman in
question, had there been no young person of either sex belonging to him, to be
endangered by the society or hurt by the character of Mrs. Rushworth, he would
never have offered so great an insult to the neighbourhood as to expect it to
notice her. As a daughter, he hoped a penitent one, she should be protected by
him, and secured in every comfort, and supported by every encouragement to do
right, which their relative situations admitted; but farther than that he
could not go. Maria had destroyed her own character, and he would not, by a
vain attempt to restore what never could be restored, by affording his sanction
to vice, or in seeking to lessen its disgrace, be anywise accessory to
introducing such misery in another man's family as he had known himself.

It ended in Mrs. Norris's resolving to quit Mansfield and devote herself to her
unfortunate Maria, and in an establishment being formed for them in another
country, remote and private, where, shut up together with little society, on
one side no affection, on the other no judgment, it may be reasonably supposed
that their tempers became their mutual punishment.

Mrs. Norris's removal from Mansfield was the great supplementary comfort of Sir
Thomas's life.  His opinion of her had been sinking from the day of his return
from Antigua: in every transaction together from that period, in their daily
intercourse, in business, or in chat, she had been regularly losing ground in
his esteem, and convincing him that either time had done her much disservice,
or that he had considerably over-rated her sense, and wonderfully borne with
her manners before.  He had felt her as an hourly evil, which was so much the
worse, as there seemed no chance of its ceasing but with life; she seemed a
part of himself that must be borne for ever. To be relieved from her,
therefore, was so great a felicity that, had she not left bitter remembrances
behind her, there might have been danger of his learning almost to approve the
evil which produced such a good.

She was regretted by no one at Mansfield.  She had never been able to attach
even those she loved best; and since Mrs. Rushworth's elopement, her temper had
been in a state of such irritation as to make her everywhere tormenting. Not
even Fanny had tears for aunt Norris, not even when she was gone for ever.

That Julia escaped better than Maria was owing, in some measure, to a
favourable difference of disposition and circumstance, but in a greater to her
having been less the darling of that very aunt, less flattered and less spoilt.
Her beauty and acquirements had held but a second place. She had been always
used to think herself a little inferior to Maria.  Her temper was naturally the
easiest of the two; her feelings, though quick, were more controllable, and
education had not given her so very hurtful a degree of self-consequence.

She had submitted the best to the disappointment in Henry Crawford.  After the
first bitterness of the conviction of being slighted was over, she had been
tolerably soon in a fair way of not thinking of him again; and when the
acquaintance was renewed in town, and Mr. Rushworth's house became Crawford's
object, she had had the merit of withdrawing herself from it, and of chusing
that time to pay a visit to her other friends, in order to secure herself from
being again too much attracted. This had been her motive in going to her
cousin's. Mr. Yates's convenience had had nothing to do with it. She had been
allowing his attentions some time, but with very little idea of ever accepting
him; and had not her sister's conduct burst forth as it did, and her increased
dread of her father and of home, on that event, imagining its certain
consequence to herself would be greater severity and restraint, made her
hastily resolve on avoiding such immediate horrors at all risks, it is probable
that Mr. Yates would never have succeeded. She had not eloped with any worse
feelings than those of selfish alarm.  It had appeared to her the only thing to
be done.  Maria's guilt had induced Julia's folly.

Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, indulged
in the freaks of a cold-blooded vanity a little too long.  Once it had, by an
opening undesigned and unmerited, led him into the way of happiness. Could he
have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman's affections, could
he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working
himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been
every probability of success and felicity for him. His affection had already
done something.  Her influence over him had already given him some influence
over her. Would he have deserved more, there can be no doubt that more would
have been obtained, especially when that marriage had taken place, which would
have given him the assistance of her conscience in subduing her first
inclination, and brought them very often together. Would he have persevered,
and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward, and a reward very voluntarily
bestowed, within a reasonable period from Edmund's marrying Mary.

Had he done as he intended, and as he knew he ought, by going down to
Everingham after his return from Portsmouth, he might have been deciding his
own happy destiny. But he was pressed to stay for Mrs. Fraser's party; his
staying was made of flattering consequence, and he was to meet Mrs. Rushworth
there.  Curiosity and vanity were both engaged, and the temptation of immediate
pleasure was too strong for a mind unused to make any sacrifice to right:  he
resolved to defer his Norfolk journey, resolved that writing should answer the
purpose of it, or that its purpose was unimportant, and staid.  He saw Mrs.
Rushworth, was received by her with a coldness which ought to have been
repulsive, and have established apparent indifference between them for ever;
but he was mortified, he could not bear to be thrown off by the woman whose
smiles had been so wholly at his command:  he must exert himself to subdue so
proud a display of resentment; it was anger on Fanny's account; he must get the
better of it, and make Mrs. Rushworth Maria Bertram again in her treatment of

In this spirit he began the attack, and by animated perseverance had soon
re-established the sort of familiar intercourse, of gallantry, of flirtation,
which bounded his views; but in triumphing over the discretion which, though
beginning in anger, might have saved them both, he had put himself in the power
of feelings on her side more strong than he had supposed.  She loved him; there
was no withdrawing attentions avowedly dear to her. He was entangled by his own
vanity, with as little excuse of love as possible, and without the smallest
inconstancy of mind towards her cousin.  To keep Fanny and the Bertrams from a
knowledge of what was passing became his first object.  Secrecy could not have
been more desirable for Mrs. Rushworth's credit than he felt it for his own. 
When he returned from Richmond, he would have been glad to see Mrs. Rushworth
no more. All that followed was the result of her imprudence; and he went off
with her at last, because he could not help it, regretting Fanny even at the
moment, but regretting her infinitely more when all the bustle of the intrigue
was over, and a very few months had taught him, by the force of contrast, to
place a yet higher value on the sweetness of her temper, the purity of her
mind, and the excellence of her principles.

That punishment, the public punishment of disgrace, should in a just measure
attend his share of the offence is, we know, not one of the barriers which
society gives to virtue.  In this world the penalty is less equal than could be
wished; but without presuming to look forward to a juster appointment
hereafter, we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be
providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that
must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so
requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most
estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had
rationally as well as passionately loved.

After what had passed to wound and alienate the two families, the continuance
of the Bertrams and Grants in such close neighbourhood would have been most
distressing; but the absence of the latter, for some months purposely
lengthened, ended very fortunately in the necessity, or at least the
practicability, of a permanent removal. Dr. Grant, through an interest on which
he had almost ceased to form hopes, succeeded to a stall in Westminster, which,
as affording an occasion for leaving Mansfield, an excuse for residence in
London, and an increase of income to answer the expenses of the change, was
highly acceptable to those who went and those who staid.

Mrs. Grant, with a temper to love and be loved, must have gone with some regret
from the scenes and people she had been used to; but the same happiness of
disposition must in any place, and any society, secure her a great deal to
enjoy, and she had again a home to offer Mary; and Mary had had enough of her
own friends, enough of vanity, ambition, love, and disappointment in the course
of the last half-year, to be in need of the true kindness of her sister's
heart, and the rational tranquillity of her ways. They lived together; and when
Dr. Grant had brought on apoplexy and death, by three great institutionary
dinners in one week, they still lived together; for Mary, though perfectly
resolved against ever attaching herself to a younger brother again, was long in
finding among the dashing representatives, or idle heir-apparents, who were at
the command of her beauty, and her 20,000, any one who could satisfy the better
taste she had acquired at Mansfield, whose character and manners could
authorise a hope of the domestic happiness she had there learned to estimate,
or put Edmund Bertram sufficiently out of her head.

Edmund had greatly the advantage of her in this respect. He had not to wait and
wish with vacant affections for an object worthy to succeed her in them. 
Scarcely had he done regretting Mary Crawford, and observing to Fanny how
impossible it was that he should ever meet with such another woman, before it
began to strike him whether a very different kind of woman might not do just as
well, or a great deal better:  whether Fanny herself were not growing as dear,
as important to him in all her smiles and all her ways, as Mary Crawford had
ever been; and whether it might not be a possible, an hopeful undertaking to
persuade her that her warm and sisterly regard for him would be foundation
enough for wedded love.

I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at
liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and
the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different
people.  I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it
was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did
cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as
Fanny herself could desire.

With such a regard for her, indeed, as his had long been, a regard founded on
the most endearing claims of innocence and helplessness, and completed by every
recommendation of growing worth, what could be more natural than the change? 
Loving, guiding, protecting her, as he had been doing ever since her being ten
years old, her mind in so great a degree formed by his care, and her comfort
depending on his kindness, an object to him of such close and peculiar
interest, dearer by all his own importance with her than any one else at
Mansfield, what was there now to add, but that he should learn to prefer soft
light eyes to sparkling dark ones. And being always with her, and always
talking confidentially, and his feelings exactly in that favourable state which
a recent disappointment gives, those soft light eyes could not be very long in
obtaining the pre-eminence.

Having once set out, and felt that he had done so on this road to happiness,
there was nothing on the side of prudence to stop him or make his progress
slow; no doubts of her deserving, no fears of opposition of taste, no need of
drawing new hopes of happiness from dissimilarity of temper.  Her mind,
disposition, opinions, and habits wanted no half-concealment, no self-deception
on the present, no reliance on future improvement.  Even in the midst of his
late infatuation, he had acknowledged Fanny's mental superiority.  What must be
his sense of it now, therefore?  She was of course only too good for him; but
as nobody minds having what is too good for them, he was very steadily earnest
in the pursuit of the blessing, and it was not possible that encouragement from
her should be long wanting.  Timid, anxious, doubting as she was, it was still
impossible that such tenderness as hers should not, at times, hold out the
strongest hope of success, though it remained for a later period to tell him
the whole delightful and astonishing truth.  His happiness in knowing himself
to have been so long the beloved of such a heart, must have been great enough
to warrant any strength of language in which he could clothe it to her or to
himself; it must have been a delightful happiness.  But there was happiness
elsewhere which no description can reach. Let no one presume to give the
feelings of a young woman on receiving the assurance of that affection of which
she has scarcely allowed herself to entertain a hope.

Their own inclinations ascertained, there were no difficulties behind, no
drawback of poverty or parent. It was a match which Sir Thomas's wishes had
even forestalled. Sick of ambitious and mercenary connexions, prizing more and
more the sterling good of principle and temper, and chiefly anxious to bind by
the strongest securities all that remained to him of domestic felicity, he had
pondered with genuine satisfaction on the more than possibility of the two
young friends finding their natural consolation in each other for all that had
occurred of disappointment to either; and the joyful consent which met Edmund's
application, the high sense of having realised a great acquisition in the
promise of Fanny for a daughter, formed just such a contrast with his early
opinion on the subject when the poor little girl's coming had been first
agitated, as time is for ever producing between the plans and decisions of
mortals, for their own instruction, and their neighbours' entertainment.

Fanny was indeed the daughter that he wanted.  His charitable kindness had been
rearing a prime comfort for himself. His liberality had a rich repayment, and
the general goodness of his intentions by her deserved it.  He might have made
her childhood happier; but it had been an error of judgment only which had
given him the appearance of harshness, and deprived him of her early love; and
now, on really knowing each other, their mutual attachment became very strong. 
After settling her at Thornton Lacey with every kind attention to her comfort,
the object of almost every day was to see her there, or to get her away from

Selfishly dear as she had long been to Lady Bertram, she could not be parted
with willingly by her. No happiness of son or niece could make her wish the
marriage.  But it was possible to part with her, because Susan remained to
supply her place. Susan became the stationary niece, delighted to be so; and
equally well adapted for it by a readiness of mind, and an inclination for
usefulness, as Fanny had been by sweetness of temper, and strong feelings of
gratitude. Susan could never be spared.  First as a comfort to Fanny, then as
an auxiliary, and last as her substitute, she was established at Mansfield,
with every appearance of equal permanency.  Her more fearless disposition and
happier nerves made everything easy to her there. With quickness in
understanding the tempers of those she had to deal with, and no natural
timidity to restrain any consequent wishes, she was soon welcome and useful to
all; and after Fanny's removal succeeded so naturally to her influence over the
hourly comfort of her aunt, as gradually to become, perhaps, the most beloved
of the two. In her usefulness, in Fanny's excellence, in William's continued
good conduct and rising fame, and in the general well-doing and success of the
other members of the family, all assisting to advance each other, and doing
credit to his countenance and aid, Sir Thomas saw repeated, and for ever
repeated, reason to rejoice in what he had done for them all, and acknowledge
the advantages of early hardship and discipline, and the consciousness of being
born to struggle and endure.

With so much true merit and true love, and no want of fortune and friends, the
happiness of the married cousins must appear as secure as earthly happiness can
be. Equally formed for domestic life, and attached to country pleasures, their
home was the home of affection and comfort; and to complete the picture of
good, the acquisition of Mansfield living, by the death of Dr. Grant, occurred
just after they had been married long enough to begin to want an increase of
income, and feel their distance from the paternal abode an inconvenience.

On that event they removed to Mansfield; and the Parsonage there, which, under
each of its two former owners, Fanny had never been able to approach but with
some painful sensation of restraint or alarm, soon grew as dear to her heart,
and as thoroughly perfect in her eyes, as everything else within the view and
patronage of Mansfield Park had long been.