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|People of Fortune
Written by Robbin
(9/12/2010 1:43 a.m.)
The Crawfords arrive at Mansfield parsonage to the warmth of a sister who had been “always very fond of them” (4) but I do not think they equal their sister’s feelings or enthusiasm. Mrs. Grant feels “indebted for her sister’s proposal of coming to her” (4). It seems Mary invited herself to visit. Since Mrs. Grant hopes to keep Mary with her until she marries it does not seem the request was cast by Mary as a permanent arrangement.
Miss Crawford was not entirely free from similar apprehensions, though they arose principally from doubts of her sister’s style of living and tone of society; and it was not till after she had tried in vain to persuade her brother to settle with her at his own country house, that she could resolve to hazard herself among her other relations. (4)
Mary “had been mostly used to London” (4) and was not eager to reside in a country parsonage. She seems to have had only two options after the Admiral turned his home unrespectable. Her first choice was Henry’s country estate which he was unwilling to provide and Mrs. Grant’s home which she feared would mire her in the preciseness, “exactness; rigid nicety” of a parsonage or the rusticity, “savageness” (Johnson’s 1824) of country society. Mary’s concerns plus her pleasure in finding “a family [the Bertrams] of such consequence so very near” (4) seems rather snobby.
To anything like a permanence of abode, or limitation of society, Henry Crawford had, unluckily, a great dislike: he could not accommodate his sister in an article of such importance; but he escorted her, with the utmost kindness, into Northamptonshire, and as readily engaged to fetch her away again, at half an hour’s notice, whenever she were weary of the place. (4)
Henry’s refusal to provide Mary a respectable home seems selfish and a neglect of duty. This is not a great surprise as he was raised by Admiral Crawford whose behavior appears to be selfish and also neglectful of duty. Does Henry feel neglectful of Mary or is it that he was insensible to her situation. Fetching Mary here and there is a kindness but I wonder if it evidences an attachment to his sister or just his wanderlust. Henry had come to Mansfield “intending to spend only a few days” (5) but decides to lengthen his stay because society promised well and “there was nothing to call him elsewhere” (5).
No doubt the bickering environment of the admiral’s house plus the poor principles exampled by their aunt and uncle influenced Mary’s and Henry’s opinions and view of the world. It will be interesting to see how these people of fashion fit into life at MP. (:D)
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