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|Forevermore was an exaggeration
Written by Margaret C
(9/25/2013 3:01 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, back to Mansfield, penned by Nikki N
I did not mean to suggest that Fanny was a guest at Mansfield, only that if her uncle had had the choice of delegating fetching her home to the Crawfords, and Fanny had held out for Edmund (or anyone else), I think she would have been waiting a long time.
Crawford's scheme, when first proposed in Ch.42, seems to be no more than, in two or three weeks time he should return her to Mansfield, if she wished it.
But when he discussed the matter with his sister, less than two days later, the project he discussed with Mary is already significantly larger "we would make a little circuit, and shew you Everingham in our way, and perhaps you would not mind passing through London, and seeing the inside of St. George’s, Hanover Square."(Ch.43)
I suspect only the visit to the famous wedding chapel was really Mary's idea. Mary adding "Only keep your cousin Edmund from me at such a time: I should not like to be tempted." is probably the strongest indication she has given of how willingly she would accept him, if Edmund would only propose. (This part of Mary's letter seems almost to be urging "If you will not come to further your own courtship, come to further mine", unaware that that is already Fanny's main concern, and that she could not have employed a less persuasive argument.)
The trip to Everingham I ascribe to Henry - part and parcel of the new-found interest he has taken in Everingham since Fanny went to Portsmouth. In fact, the improvements he has made already to the north side of the estate, seem to me to have been born out of Rushworth's experience. Henry is not going to welcome his intended with overgrown roads, or give her cause to remark "Those cottages are really a disgrace.".
I also agree with Adrian, Crawford is scheming to monopolise Fanny, to at least secure her from any other suit, if she will not choose him, if not to ruin her absolutely. (A little off track - it was the first time that I've really noticed that the General pulls this same trick on Catherine in Northanger Abbey to remove her from the tender intentions of John Thorpe. What a monster!)
In any case, the direct route from Portsmouth to Northampton is through Southampton and Oxford, not London and Yarmouth (or anywhere else in Norfolk).
There is an implication that Sir Thomas was waiting for Crawford to make a move, too, in the poem that Fanny quotes from.
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown
The' indented stick that loses day by day
So by quoting this, Fanny seems almost to be blaming her uncle for putting her at the mercy of the Crawfords/Prices instead of sending for her. He has taught her the lesson he sent her away to learn, she is "heartily sick of home before her visit ended", but Fanny's reformation has not taken the form he anticipated. As the quote shows, Fanny is no longer under the illusion she could have a home outside of Mansfield: Portsmouth is a prison to her. But she would rather live in a prison than have Crawford free her.
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