Mansfield Park (Chapter 10, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 10

A quarter of an hour, twenty minutes, passed away, and Fanny was still
thinking of Edmund, Miss Crawford, and herself, without interruption
from any one. She began to be surprised at being left so long, and to
listen with an anxious desire of hearing their steps and their voices
again. She listened, and at length she heard; she heard voices and
feet approaching; but she had just satisfied herself that it was not
those she wanted, when Miss Bertram, Mr. Rushworth, and Mr. Crawford
issued from the same path which she had trod herself, and were before
her.

"Miss Price all alone" and "My dear Fanny, how comes this?" were the
first salutations. She told her story. "Poor dear Fanny," cried her
cousin, "how ill you have been used by them! You had better have staid
with us."

Then seating herself with a gentleman on each side, she resumed the
conversation which had engaged them before, and discussed the
possibility of improvements with much animation. Nothing was fixed on;
but Henry Crawford was full of ideas and projects, and, generally
speaking, whatever he proposed was immediately approved, first by her,
and then by Mr. Rushworth, whose principal business seemed to be to
hear the others, and who scarcely risked an original thought of his own
beyond a wish that they had seen his friend Smith's place.

After some minutes spent in this way, Miss Bertram, observing the iron
gate, expressed a wish of passing through it into the park, that their
views and their plans might be more comprehensive. It was the very
thing of all others to be wished, it was the best, it was the only way
of proceeding with any advantage, in Henry Crawford's opinion; and he
directly saw a knoll not half a mile off, which would give them exactly
the requisite command of the house. Go therefore they must to that
knoll, and through that gate; but the gate was locked. Mr. Rushworth
wished he had brought the key; he had been very near thinking whether
he should not bring the key; he was determined he would never come
without the key again; but still this did not remove the present evil.
They could not get through; and as Miss Bertram's inclination for so
doing did by no means lessen, it ended in Mr. Rushworth's declaring
outright that he would go and fetch the key. He set off accordingly.

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