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Chapter 30

  • Miss Crawford's uneasiness was much lightened by this conversation, and sh_alked home again in spirits which might have defied almost another week o_he 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 he_wn. His still refusing to tell her what he had gone for was but the promotio_f gaiety; a day before it might have irritated, but now it was a pleasan_oke— suspected only of concealing something planned as a pleasant surprise t_erself. And the next day did bring a surprise to her. Henry had said h_hould 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 fo_im to walk with her in the garden, met him at last most impatiently in th_weep, 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 swee_s if not knowing where he was: "I could not get away sooner; Fanny looked s_ovely! I am quite determined, Mary. My mind is entirely made up. Will i_stonish you? No: you must be aware that I am quite determined to marry Fann_rice."
  • The surprise was now complete; for, in spite of whatever his consciousnes_ight suggest, a suspicion of his having any such views had never entered hi_ister's imagination; and she looked so truly the astonishment she felt, tha_e 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. Ther_as even pleasure with the surprise. Mary was in a state of mind to rejoice i_ connexion with the Bertram family, and to be not displeased with he_rother's marrying a little beneath him.
  • "Yes, Mary," was Henry's concluding assurance. "I am fairly caught. You kno_ith what idle designs I began; but this is the end of them. I have, I flatte_yself, made no inconsiderable progress in her affections; but my own ar_ntirely fixed."
  • "Lucky, lucky girl!" cried Mary, as soon as she could speak; "what a match fo_er! My dearest Henry, this must be my first feeling; but my second, which yo_hall have as sincerely, is, that I approve your choice from my soul, an_oresee your happiness as heartily as I wish and desire it. You will have _weet little wife; all gratitude and devotion. Exactly what you deserve. Wha_n amazing match for her! Mrs. Norris often talks of her luck; what will sh_ay now? The delight of all the family, indeed! And she has some true friend_n 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, thoug_othing could be more agreeable than to have it asked. "How the pleasin_lague had stolen on him" he could not say; and before he had expressed th_ame sentiment with a little variation of words three times over, his siste_agerly interrupted him with, "Ah, my dear Henry, and this is what took you t_ondon! This was your business! You chose to consult the Admiral before yo_ade up your mind."
  • But this he stoutly denied. He knew his uncle too well to consult him on an_atrimonial scheme. The Admiral hated marriage, and thought it neve_ardonable in a young man of independent fortune.
  • "When Fanny is known to him," continued Henry, "he will doat on her. She i_xactly the woman to do away every prejudice of such a man as the Admiral, fo_he he would describe, if indeed he has now delicacy of language enough t_mbody his own ideas. But till it is absolutely settled— settled beyond al_nterference, he shall know nothing of the matter. No, Mary, you are quit_istaken. You have not discovered my business yet."
  • "Well, well, I am satisfied. I know now to whom it must relate, and am in n_urry for the rest. Fanny Price! wonderful, quite wonderful! That Mansfiel_hould have done so much for—that you should have found your fate i_ansfield! But you are quite right; you could not have chosen better. There i_ot a better girl in the world, and you do not want for fortune; and as to he_onnexions, they are more than good. The Bertrams are undoubtedly some of th_irst people in this country. She is niece to Sir Thomas Bertram; that will b_nough for the world. But go on, go on. Tell me more. What are your plans?
  • Does she know her own happiness?"
  • "No."
  • "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 yo_lready (of which, however, I can have little doubt)—you would be safe. Th_entleness and gratitude of her disposition would secure her all your ow_mmediately. 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 b_mbition, I can suppose it her; but ask her to love you, and she will neve_ave the heart to refuse."
  • As soon as her eagerness could rest in silence, he was as happy to tell as sh_ould be to listen; and a conversation followed almost as deeply interestin_o her as to himself, though he had in fact nothing to relate but his ow_ensations, nothing to dwell on but Fanny's charms. Fanny's beauty of face an_igure, Fanny's graces of manner and goodness of heart, were the exhaustles_heme. The gentleness, modesty, and sweetness of her character were warml_xpatiated on; that sweetness which makes so essential a part of every woman'_orth 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 an_o praise. He had often seen it tried. Was there one of the family, exceptin_dmund, who had not in some way or other continually exercised her patienc_nd forbearance? Her affections were evidently strong. To see her with he_rother! What could more delightfully prove that the warmth of her heart wa_qual to its gentleness? What could be more encouraging to a man who had he_ove in view? Then, her understanding was beyond every suspicion, quick an_lear; and her manners were the mirror of her own modest and elegant mind. No_as this all. Henry Crawford had too much sense not to feel the worth of goo_rinciples in a wife, though he was too little accustomed to seriou_eflection to know them by their proper name; but when he talked of her havin_uch a steadiness and regularity of conduct, such a high notion of honour, an_uch an observance of decorum as might warrant any man in the fulles_ependence on her faith and integrity, he expressed what was inspired by th_nowledge of her being well principled and religious.
  • "I could so wholly and absolutely confide in her," said he; "and that is wha_ want."
  • Well might his sister, believing as she really did that his opinion of Fann_rice was scarcely beyond her merits, rejoice in her prospects.
  • "The more I think of it," she cried, "the more am I convinced that you ar_oing quite right; and though I should never have selected Fanny Price as th_irl most likely to attach you, I am now persuaded she is the very one to mak_ou happy. Your wicked project upon her peace turns out a clever though_ndeed. You will both find your good in it."
  • "It was bad, very bad in me against such a creature; but I did not know he_hen; and she shall have no reason to lament the hour that first put it int_y head. I will make her very happy, Mary; happier than she has ever yet bee_erself, or ever seen anybody else. I will not take her from Northamptonshire.
  • I shall let Everingham, and rent a place in this neighbourhood; perhap_tanwix Lodge. I shall let a seven years' lease of Everingham. I am sure of a_xcellent tenant at half a word. I could name three people now, who would giv_e my own terms and thank me."
  • "Ha!" cried Mary; "settle in Northamptonshire! That is pleasant! Then we shal_e all together."
  • When she had spoken it, she recollected herself, and wished it unsaid; bu_here was no need of confusion; for her brother saw her only as the suppose_nmate of Mansfield parsonage, and replied but to invite her in the kindes_anner 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 _ight in you. Fanny will be so truly your sister!"
  • Mary had only to be grateful and give general assurances; but she was now ver_ully purposed to be the guest of neither brother nor sister many month_onger.
  • "You will divide your year between London and Northamptonshire?"
  • "Yes."
  • "That's right; and in London, of course, a house of your own: no longer wit_he Admiral. My dearest Henry, the advantage to you of getting away from th_dmiral before your manners are hurt by the contagion of his, before you hav_ontracted any of his foolish opinions, or learned to sit over your dinner a_f it were the best blessing of life! You are not sensible of the gain, fo_our regard for him has blinded you; but, in my estimation, your marryin_arly may be the saving of you. To have seen you grow like the Admiral in wor_r deed, look or gesture, would have broken my heart."
  • "Well, well, we do not think quite alike here. The Admiral has his faults, bu_e is a very good man, and has been more than a father to me. Few father_ould have let me have my own way half so much. You must not prejudice Fann_gainst him. I must have them love one another."
  • Mary refrained from saying what she felt, that there could not be two person_n existence whose characters and manners were less accordant: time woul_iscover 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 nex_rs. Crawford would have half the reason which my poor ill-used aunt had t_bhor the very name, I would prevent the marriage, if possible; but I kno_ou: I know that a wife you loved would be the happiest of women, and tha_ven when you ceased to love, she would yet find in you the liberality an_ood-breeding of a gentleman."
  • The impossibility of not doing everything in the world to make Fanny Pric_appy, or of ceasing to love Fanny Price, was of course the groundwork of hi_loquent answer.
  • "Had you seen her this morning, Mary," he continued, "attending with suc_neffable sweetness and patience to all the demands of her aunt's stupidity,
  • working with her, and for her, her colour beautifully heightened as she lean_ver the work, then returning to her seat to finish a note which she wa_reviously engaged in writing for that stupid woman's service, and all thi_ith such unpretending gentleness, so much as if it were a matter of cours_hat she was not to have a moment at her own command, her hair arranged a_eatly 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, stil_peaking at intervals to me, or listening, and as if she liked to listen, t_hat I said. Had you seen her so, Mary, you would not have implied th_ossibility of her power over my heart ever ceasing."
  • "My dearest Henry," cried Mary, stopping short, and smiling in his face, "ho_lad 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 sor_f woman it is that can attach me, that can attach a man of sense. I wish th_iscovery may do them any good. And they will now see their cousin treated a_he ought to be, and I wish they may be heartily ashamed of their ow_bominable neglect and unkindness. They will be angry," he added, after _oment's silence, and in a cooler tone; "Mrs. Rushworth will be very angry. I_ill be a bitter pill to her; that is, like other bitter pills, it will hav_wo moments' ill flavour, and then be swallowed and forgotten; for I am no_uch 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 differenc_ndeed: a daily, hourly difference, in the behaviour of every being wh_pproaches her; and it will be the completion of my happiness to know that _m the doer of it, that I am the person to give the consequence so justly he_ue. 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 Si_homas 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 d_or her happiness, comfort, honour, and dignity in the world, to what I shal_o?"