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|Really serviceable to Mrs. Price
Written by Robbin
(9/17/2010 10:51 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, How about this tack on Edmund's "coming out" remark?, penned by jeffrey
…to make it really serviceable to Mrs. Price, and creditable to ourselves, we must secure to the child, or consider ourselves engaged to secure to her hereafter, …the provision of a gentlewoman, if no such establishment should offer as you are so sanguine in expecting.” (1)
I agree Fanny’s future is in Sir Thomas’ hands (:D) and I think it is too soon to feel it has been neglected. As yet her future has not been determined but early on Sir Thomas considered it very honorably, adamant she must be “adequately provided for, or there would be cruelty instead of kindness in taking her from her family” (1). Mrs. Norris insisted an education, the advantages of being her uncle’s niece and introduction into society “under such very favourable circumstancest” would give the girl the “means of settling well” (2). Lacking a marriage, Sir Thomas decided she must be provided the provision of a gentlewoman.
So far Fanny has been given a gentlewoman’s education—French, history and with Edmund’s help extensive reading to improve her mind, she did not ‘learn either music or drawing” only because she did not wish it, and was taught to ride. Also the “little rusticities and awkwardnesses” of manner “necessarily wore away” (2) over time and I imagine with Fanny’s observation, attention and diligence and hopefully not too much of her aunt’s scolding. Half of the plan seems cooked.
When Sir Thomas left for Antigua Fanny was sixteen (3) the Miss Bertrams eighteen and nineteen (2). He regretted, “leaving his daughters to the direction of others at their present most interesting time of life” (3) which I think means their entrance into society. I don’t feel he is remiss in there not being a well known plan for Fanny. I imagine he determined the right time for his daughters and when he left MP Fanny was too young and it seems he thought it unlikely she would be ready before his return:
“If William does come to Mansfield… I fear, he must find his sister at sixteen in some respects too much like his sister at ten.” (3)
Fanny is just eighteen when the Crawfords arrive at MP and an age to enter society but it awaits Sir Thomas’s interest. Edmund was keen to procure a mare to replace the old grey pony but rather than add to the expense of his father’s stables he “resolved to exchange [his useful road–horse] for one that his cousin might ride” (5). I agree it is Sir Thomas decision when to bring Fanny “out” because it is his prerogative to decide at what expense and in what style it will be done—if it is to be done. Sir Thomas is, after all, under no obligation to treat Fanny exactly the same as his daughters.
I do not think Edmund is to blame for Fanny’s situation but Sir Thomas trusts his judgment (3) so his view Fanny has the “sense of a woman” (5) may bode well for the future. The true neglect on Sir Thomas’s part has been to leave Fanny, as well as his daughters, so much in the care of Mrs. Norris who, though with opposing approaches, has been a terrible influence on all three young ladies. (:D)
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