Books: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Chapters 25–32)

And so Edmund and Miss Crawford can come to no agreement, though there is love on each side. Or whatever passed for love in Regency society. It's so strange, when you think about it. Interactions were limited by propriety, and I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it's very little to go on when one is thinking about spending the rest of one's life with a person.

There is a ball at Mansfield, too, before William is scheduled to leave. And then Mr Crawford is kind enough to take William to London so that William won't have to go by post chaise or whatever. (To us it's the difference between taking a private car instead of having to ride a public coach.) It turns out Mr Crawford's big plan is to introduce William to his uncle, who is an admiral, and thus promote William's seafaring career. All, it would seem, so as to win Fanny over.

In fact, when Mr Crawford returns from London and is able to bring Fanny the great good news of William having been made a lieutenant, he wastes no time declaring himself and his intentions on the coattails of Fanny's joy and gratitude. But of course Fanny does not love Mr Crawford. She doesn't even trust him because she's seen the way he played with her cousins' affections. And she can hardly believe someone as low as she can have ignited any kind of passion or change in such a man as Mr Crawford appears to be.

When Fanny's uncle, Sir Thomas, hears Fanny's refusal of Crawford, he thinks her willful and ungrateful for such a chance as might never come her way again. And looking at it from Sir Thomas' POV, one could see it must appear really strange. Most girls would jump at such a chance, wouldn't they? But Sir Thomas is logical while Fanny ruled at least in majority by her heart—she has intellect, too, to be sure, but her mind tends to run along her heart lines. And she is not "most girls."

Meanwhile, Edmund has gone off to take orders and Miss Crawford has decided in his absence that she does love him, even if he is a clergyman. She only hopes he hasn't fallen in love with someone else while he's been away. Though, if a man's love is so easily removed and re-fixed based on whomever is nearest him, you probably don't want to marry that guy anyway.

1 comment:

M said...

Just to add: It's a wonder that even in Austen's time and world, a firm "No," from a woman was considered rude and ungrateful while a polite, "No," was simply seen as an invitation to try harder. #YesAllWomen?