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|Jane Fairfax and Fanny Price
Written by Nikki N
(2/10/2011 5:31 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The reserved Jane Fairfax (Chapter 20) -- long, penned by Anne-Marie
JF's poor grandmother and aunt were relieved of her care, and she was given a much better education at the Campbells -- but to provide for her permanently "was out of Colonel Campbell's power; for though his income, by pay and appointments, was handsome, his fortune was moderate and must be all his daughter's; but, by giving her an education, he hoped to be supplying the means of respectable subsistance hereafter."
By contrast, Sir Thomas Bertram considered himself engaged to secure to Fanny "the provision of a gentlewoman", othrewise "there would be cruelty instead of kindness in taking her from her family".
But Fanny was never treated an an equal to the Bertram sisters -- the inequality was over-emphasized by Mrs Norris, who also encouraged her Bertram nieces to look down on their cousin. The Miss Bertram were handsome girls who were taught to be more accomplished than their cousin -- Fanny did not learn music or drawing.
Jane, on the other hand, was treated like "another daughter" by Col and Mrs campbell, and Miss Campbell in particular was warmly attached to her. Jane was superior in looks and accomplishments -- but Miss Campbell was too amiable to feel any resentment or envy (unlike Emma, who did have some envious feelings at Jane's superior accomplishments).
I don't think that it was always known that Miss C was destined for a wealthy husband and a life of luxury -- considering Col Campbell's moderate fortune of 12,000 pounds. As it turns out, she had the good luck to "engage the affections of Mr Dixon, a young man, rich and agreeable, almost as soon as they were acquainted".
Col and Mrs Campbell were reluctant to allow Jane to begin to seek employment as governess -- "The evil day was put off" and she shared as "another daughter, in all the rational pleasures of an elegant society". It is possible that they hoped that she would meet some well-to-do young man who would marry her in spite of her lack of dowry.
When Jane had reached the age of 21 -- "Perhaps they began to feel it might have been kinder and wiser to have resisted the temptation of any delay, and spared her from a taste of such enjoyments of ease and leisure as must now be relinquished. Still, however, affection was glad to catch at any reasonable excuse for not hurrying on the wretched moment. She had never been quite well since the time of their daughter's marriage; and till she should have completely recovered her usual strength, they must forbid her engaging in duties".
I wonder though -- it was understandable that Col Campbell felt that his 12,000 pounds should all go to his daughter before her marriage as it was not certain that she would get a rich husband -- but once she was married to a "rich and agreeable" man, couldn't he have provided Jane with some provision? It need not be equal to his daughter's, but even 1,000 pounds might be enough to give Jane a small income without having to earn a living.
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