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Chapter 7

  • "Well, Fanny, and how do you like Miss Crawford now?" said Edmund the nex_ay, after thinking some time on the subject himself. "How did you like he_esterday?"
  • "Very well—very much. I like to hear her talk. She entertains me; and she i_o extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her."
  • "It is her countenance that is so attractive. She has a wonderful play o_eature! But was there nothing in her conversation that struck you, Fanny, a_ot quite right?"
  • "Oh yes! she ought not to have spoken of her uncle as she did. I was quit_stonished. 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, the_ay, 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 t_er gratitude; his wife certainly had; and it is the warmth of her respect fo_er aunt's memory which misleads her here. She is awkwardly circumstanced.
  • With such warm feelings and lively spirits it must be difficult to do justic_o her affection for Mrs. Crawford, without throwing a shade on the Admiral. _o not pretend to know which was most to blame in their disagreements, thoug_he Admiral's present conduct might incline one to the side of his wife; bu_t is natural and amiable that Miss Crawford should acquit her aunt entirely.
  • I do not censure her opinions; but there certainly is impropriety in makin_hem public."
  • "Do not you think," said Fanny, after a little consideration, "that thi_mpropriety is a reflection itself upon Mrs. Crawford, as her niece has bee_ntirely brought up by her? She cannot have given her right notions of wha_as due to the Admiral."
  • "That is a fair remark. Yes, we must suppose the faults of the niece to hav_een those of the aunt; and it makes one more sensible of the disadvantage_he 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 wit_ very pleasing affection."
  • "Yes, except as to his writing her such short letters. She made me almos_augh; but I cannot rate so very highly the love or good-nature of a brothe_ho will not give himself the trouble of writing anything worth reading to hi_isters, when they are separated. I am sure William would never have used m_o, under any circumstances. And what right had she to suppose that you woul_ot write long letters when you were absent?"
  • "The right of a lively mind, Fanny, seizing whatever may contribute to its ow_musement or that of others; perfectly allowable, when untinctured by ill- humour or roughness; and there is not a shadow of either in the countenance o_anner of Miss Crawford: nothing sharp, or loud, or coarse. She is perfectl_eminine, except in the instances we have been speaking of. There she canno_e 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 he_hinking like him; though at this period, and on this subject, there began no_o be some danger of dissimilarity, for he was in a line of admiration of Mis_rawford, which might lead him where Fanny could not follow. Miss Crawford'_ttractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for she played with the greatest obligingness, with a_xpression and taste which were peculiarly becoming, and there was somethin_lever to be said at the close of every air. Edmund was at the Parsonage ever_ay, to be indulged with his favourite instrument: one morning secured a_nvitation for the next; for the lady could not be unwilling to have _istener, and every thing was soon in a fair train.
  • A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and bot_laced 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 an_an's heart. The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tendernes_nd sentiment. Mrs. Grant and her tambour frame were not without their use: i_as all in harmony; and as everything will turn to account when love is onc_et going, even the sandwich tray, and Dr. Grant doing the honours of it, wer_orth looking at. Without studying the business, however, or knowing what h_as about, Edmund was beginning, at the end of a week of such intercourse, t_e 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 th_rts of flattery or the gaieties of small talk, he began to be agreeable t_er. She felt it to be so, though she had not foreseen, and could hardl_nderstand it; for he was not pleasant by any common rule: he talked n_onsense; he paid no compliments; his opinions were unbending, his attention_ranquil and simple. There was a charm, perhaps, in his sincerity, hi_teadiness, his integrity, which Miss Crawford might be equal to feel, thoug_ot 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; i_as enough.
  • Fanny could not wonder that Edmund was at the Parsonage every morning; sh_ould gladly have been there too, might she have gone in uninvited an_nnoticed, to hear the harp; neither could she wonder that, when the evenin_troll was over, and the two families parted again, he should think it righ_o attend Mrs. Grant and her sister to their home, while Mr. Crawford wa_evoted to the ladies of the Park; but she thought it a very bad exchange; an_f Edmund were not there to mix the wine and water for her, would rather g_ithout it than not. She was a little surprised that he could spend so man_ours with Miss Crawford, and not see more of the sort of fault which he ha_lready observed, and of which she was almost always reminded by a somethin_f the same nature whenever she was in her company; but so it was. Edmund wa_ond of speaking to her of Miss Crawford, but he seemed to think it enoug_hat the Admiral had since been spared; and she scrupled to point out her ow_emarks to him, lest it should appear like ill-nature. The first actual pai_hich Miss Crawford occasioned her was the consequence of an inclination t_earn to ride, which the former caught, soon after her being settled a_ansfield, from the example of the young ladies at the Park, and which, whe_dmund's acquaintance with her increased, led to his encouraging the wish, an_he offer of his own quiet mare for the purpose of her first attempts, as th_est fitted for a beginner that either stable could furnish. No pain, n_njury, however, was designed by him to his cousin in this offer: she was no_o lose a day's exercise by it. The mare was only to be taken down to th_arsonage half an hour before her ride were to begin; and Fanny, on its bein_irst proposed, so far from feeling slighted, was almost over-powered wit_ratitude that he should be asking her leave for it.
  • Miss Crawford made her first essay with great credit to herself, and n_nconvenience to Fanny. Edmund, who had taken down the mare and presided a_he whole, returned with it in excellent time, before either Fanny or th_teady old coachman, who always attended her when she rode without he_ousins, were ready to set forward. The second day's trial was not s_uiltless. Miss Crawford's enjoyment of riding was such that she did not kno_ow 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 th_xercise, something was probably added in Edmund's attendance an_nstructions, and something more in the conviction of very much surpassing he_ex in general by her early progress, to make her unwilling to dismount. Fann_as ready and waiting, and Mrs. Norris was beginning to scold her for no_eing gone, and still no horse was announced, no Edmund appeared. To avoid he_unt, and look for him, she went out.
  • The houses, though scarcely half a mile apart, were not within sight of eac_ther; but, by walking fifty yards from the hall door, she could look down th_ark, and command a view of the Parsonage and all its demesnes, gently risin_eyond the village road; and in Dr. Grant's meadow she immediately saw th_roup—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 an_ooking 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. I_as a sound which did not make her cheerful; she wondered that Edmund shoul_orget her, and felt a pang. She could not turn her eyes from the meadow; sh_ould not help watching all that passed. At first Miss Crawford and he_ompanion made the circuit of the field, which was not small, at a foot'_ace; then, at her apparent suggestion, they rose into a canter; and t_anny's timid nature it was most astonishing to see how well she sat. After _ew minutes they stopped entirely. Edmund was close to her; he was speaking t_er; he was evidently directing her management of the bridle; he had hold o_er hand; she saw it, or the imagination supplied what the eye could no_each. She must not wonder at all this; what could be more natural than tha_dmund should be making himself useful, and proving his good-nature by an_ne? She could not but think, indeed, that Mr. Crawford might as well hav_aved him the trouble; that it would have been particularly proper an_ecoming in a brother to have done it himself; but Mr. Crawford, with all hi_oasted good-nature, and all his coachmanship, probably knew nothing of th_atter, and had no active kindness in comparison of Edmund. She began to thin_t 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 seein_he party in the meadow disperse, and Miss Crawford still on horseback, bu_ttended by Edmund on foot, pass through a gate into the lane, and so into th_ark, and make towards the spot where she stood. She began then to be afrai_f appearing rude and impatient; and walked to meet them with a great anxiet_o avoid the suspicion.
  • "My dear Miss Price," said Miss Crawford, as soon as she was at all withi_earing, "I am come to make my own apologies for keeping you waiting; but _ave nothing in the world to say for myself—I knew it was very late, and tha_ was behaving extremely ill; and therefore, if you please, you must forgiv_e. Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope o_ cure."
  • Fanny's answer was extremely civil, and Edmund added his conviction that sh_ould be in no hurry. "For there is more than time enough for my cousin t_ide twice as far as she ever goes," said he, "and you have been promoting he_omfort by preventing her from setting off half an hour sooner: clouds are no_oming 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 save_ourself this walk home."
  • "No part of it fatigues me but getting off this horse, I assure you," sai_he, as she sprang down with his help; "I am very strong. Nothing eve_atigues me but doing what I do not like. Miss Price, I give way to you with _ery bad grace; but I sincerely hope you will have a pleasant ride, and that _ay 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 joinin_hem, Fanny was lifted on hers, and they set off across another part of th_ark; 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 di_er attendant do her much good by his comments on Miss Crawford's grea_leverness as a horse-woman, which he had been watching with an interes_lmost 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 o_ear. Very different from you, miss, when you first began, six years ago com_ext Easter. Lord bless you! how you did tremble when Sir Thomas first had yo_ut on!"
  • In the drawing-room Miss Crawford was also celebrated. Her merit in bein_ifted by Nature with strength and courage was fully appreciated by the Mis_ertrams; her delight in riding was like their own; her early excellence in i_as 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. He_igure is as neat as her brother's."
  • "Yes," added Maria, "and her spirits are as good, and she has the same energ_f character. I cannot but think that good horsemanship has a great deal to d_ith the mind."
  • When they parted at night Edmund asked Fanny whether she meant to ride th_ext day.
  • "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 nex_nclined to stay at home, I think Miss Crawford would be glad to have her _onger time— for a whole morning, in short. She has a great desire to get a_ar 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 wil_o for this. She would be extremely sorry to interfere with you. It would b_ery 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 ver_ften lately, and would rather stay at home. You know I am strong enough no_o walk very well."
  • Edmund looked pleased, which must be Fanny's comfort, and the ride t_ansfield Common took place the next morning: the party included all the youn_eople but herself, and was much enjoyed at the time, and doubly enjoyed agai_n the evening discussion. A successful scheme of this sort generally bring_n another; and the having been to Mansfield Common disposed them all fo_oing 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 t_o. A young party is always provided with a shady lane. Four fine morning_uccessively were spent in this manner, in shewing the Crawfords the country, and doing the honours of its finest spots. Everything answered; it was al_aiety and good-humour, the heat only supplying inconvenience enough to b_alked of with pleasure— till the fourth day, when the happiness of one of th_arty was exceedingly clouded. Miss Bertram was the one. Edmund and Julia wer_nvited to dine at the Parsonage, and she was excluded. It was meant and don_y Mrs. Grant, with perfect good-humour, on Mr. Rushworth's account, who wa_artly expected at the Park that day; but it was felt as a very grievou_njury, and her good manners were severely taxed to conceal her vexation an_nger till she reached home. As Mr. Rushworth did not come, the injury wa_ncreased, and she had not even the relief of shewing her power over him; sh_ould only be sullen to her mother, aunt, and cousin, and throw as great _loom as possible over their dinner and dessert.
  • Between ten and eleven Edmund and Julia walked into the drawing-room, fres_ith the evening air, glowing and cheerful, the very reverse of what the_ound in the three ladies sitting there, for Maria would scarcely raise he_yes 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 question_bout the dinner, which were not immediately attended to, seemed almos_etermined to say no more. For a few minutes the brother and sister were to_ager in their praise of the night and their remarks on the stars, to thin_eyond 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 ver_ong 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 _ofa. Why cannot you come and sit here, and employ yourself as we do? If yo_ave no work of your own, I can supply you from the poor basket. There is al_he new calico, that was bought last week, not touched yet. I am sure I almos_roke 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 b_lways lolling upon a sofa."
  • Before half this was said, Fanny was returned to her seat at the table, an_ad taken up her work again; and Julia, who was in high good-humour, from th_leasures 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 hav_he headache."
  • 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 lon_ave 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 sta_ithin such a fine day as this? Were not we all out? Even your mother was ou_o-day for above an hour."
  • "Yes, indeed, Edmund," added her ladyship, who had been thoroughly awakened b_rs. 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 ver_leasant it was, I assure you, but very hot. It was shady enough in th_lcove, 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 foun_t 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 rathe_oftened 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 _ot sun; but I dare say it will be well to-morrow. Suppose you let her hav_our aromatic vinegar; I always forget to have mine filled."
  • "She has got it," said Lady Bertram; "she has had it ever since she came bac_rom your house the second time."
  • "What!" cried Edmund; "has she been walking as well as cutting roses; walkin_cross the hot park to your house, and doing it twice, ma'am? No wonder he_ead 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 th_oses were gathered, your aunt wished to have them, and then you know the_ust 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, Fann_orgot to lock the door of the room and bring away the key, so she was oblige_o go again."
  • Edmund got up and walked about the room, saying, "And could nobody be employe_n 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 _annot be in two places at once; and I was talking to Mr. Green at that ver_ime about your mother's dairymaid, by her desire, and had promised John Groo_o write to Mrs. Jefferies about his son, and the poor fellow was waiting fo_e half an hour. I think nobody can justly accuse me of sparing myself upo_ny occasion, but really I cannot do everything at once. And as for Fanny'_ust stepping down to my house for me— it is not much above a quarter of _ile—I cannot think I was unreasonable to ask it. How often do I pace it thre_imes a day, early and late, ay, and in all weathers too, and say nothin_bout it?"
  • "I wish Fanny had half your strength, ma'am."
  • "If Fanny would be more regular in her exercise, she would not be knocked u_o soon. She has not been out on horseback now this long while, and I a_ersuaded that, when she does not ride, she ought to walk. If she had bee_iding before, I should not have asked it of her. But I thought it woul_ather do her good after being stooping among the roses; for there is nothin_o refreshing as a walk after a fatigue of that kind; and though the sun wa_trong, it was not so very hot. Between ourselves, Edmund," noddin_ignificantly at his mother, "it was cutting the roses, and dawdling about i_he flower-garden, that did the mischief."
  • "I am afraid it was, indeed," said the more candid Lady Bertram, who ha_verheard her; "I am very much afraid she caught the headache there, for th_eat 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, wa_lmost too much for me."
  • Edmund said no more to either lady; but going quietly to another table, o_hich the supper-tray yet remained, brought a glass of Madeira to Fanny, an_bliged 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 swallo_han to speak.
  • Vexed as Edmund was with his mother and aunt, he was still more angry wit_imself. His own forgetfulness of her was worse than anything which they ha_one. Nothing of this would have happened had she been properly considered; but she had been left four days together without any choice of companions o_xercise, and without any excuse for avoiding whatever her unreasonable aunt_ight require. He was ashamed to think that for four days together she had no_ad the power of riding, and very seriously resolved, however unwilling h_ust be to check a pleasure of Miss Crawford's, that it should never happe_gain.
  • Fanny went to bed with her heart as full as on the first evening of he_rrival at the Park. The state of her spirits had probably had its share i_er indisposition; for she had been feeling neglected, and been strugglin_gainst discontent and envy for some days past. As she leant on the sofa, t_hich she had retreated that she might not be seen, the pain of her mind ha_een much beyond that in her head; and the sudden change which Edmund'_indness had then occasioned, made her hardly know how to support herself.