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|Fanny’s rise in Consequence
Written by Robbin
(9/27/2010 12:38 a.m.)
Becoming, as she then did, the only young woman in the drawing–room, the only occupier of that interesting division of a family in which she had hitherto held so humble a third, it was impossible for her not to be more looked at, more thought of and attended to, than she had ever been before; and “Where is Fanny?” became no uncommon question, even without her being wanted for any one’s convenience. (22)
Fanny’s consequence increases at MP (above) and at the parsonage after her cousins depart to seek their amusements among other company. At MP Fanny is the only young woman left to look at but I also think Edmund is no longer alone in trying to bring Fanny forward. When Sir Thomas left for Antigua Fanny wished he had ‘smiled upon her, and called her “my dear Fanny,” while he said it’ (3) and at their first meeting after his return her wish is pretty much granted:
“But where is Fanny? Why do not I see my little Fanny?”—and on perceiving her, came forward with a kindness which astonished and penetrated her, calling her his dear Fanny, kissing her affectionately, and observing with decided pleasure how much she was grown! (19)
Fanny’s relationship with Sir Thomas has taken a turn for the better. She felt secure enough to ask him about the slave-trade and Edmund reported that it would have “pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther” (21). Fanny was only prevented because she did not want it to appear as if “I wanted to set myself off at their [Miss Bertrams] expense” (21). Fanny is far kinder to her cousins than they deserve. This is however only a partial victory. Edmund told Fanny his father admires her beauty and to “trust to his seeing as much beauty of mind in time” (21).
Edmund is pleased at Fanny’s friendship with Mary but it seems to me the ladies still do not have anything in common. Fanny is still apt to rhapsodize on the verdure and Miss Crawford is still unmoved, as she says ‘something like the famous Doge at the court of Lewis XIV.; and may declare… I see no wonder in this shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it’ (22). Although the sisters at the parsonage are very kind to Fanny she feels the distinction is less for herself than to fulfill Miss Crawford’s ‘desire of something new’ and ‘Mrs. Grant’s eagerness ‘to get any change for her sister’ (22). I can’t say I blame her:
Fanny went to her [Mary] every two or three days: it seemed a kind of fascination: she could not be easy without going, and yet it was without loving her, without ever thinking like her, without any sense of obligation for being sought after now when nobody else was to be had; and deriving no higher pleasure from her conversation than occasional amusement, and that often at the expense of her judgment, when it was raised by pleasantry on people or subjects which she wished to be respected. (22)
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