Jane Austen, Mansfield Park: Ch. 17

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

"You will find his consequencew 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 cipherw 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 articlesw 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 justd, 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 crownw here and there to the absent Sir Thomas, to have leisure for watching the behaviour, or guarding the happiness of his daughters.

X [w] consequence

Importance.

X [w] cipher

Writing & Reading

A person of no value, a zero.

Mansfield Park plays increasingly on "nothing" and something of value or "Price." Lady Bertram achieves the miraculous: being nothing with a great deal.

X [w] articles

Custom & Law

The conditions, essentially financial and having to do with a dowry and jointure, of the marriage contract Sir Thomas and Rushworth drew up and signed. 

X [d] had not affection or principle enough to make…

Education

How Fanny grew up to be a woman of deep affection and principle, given the disorder, we learn later, of her Portsmouth home, and given her treatment at Mansfield Park is only explainable as Edmund's affectionate concern and influence combining with the character of a young girl who, as the oldest girl, had had to assume the responsibilities neglected by her father and mother. (Yet, neither Maria nor Julia responds in that way, and so we must hold Mrs. Norris somewhat responsible for their mis-raising.)…

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X [w] half a crown

Money

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