Mansfield Park (Chapter 2, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 2

The little girl performed her long journey in safety; and at
Northampton was met by Mrs. Norris, who thus regaled in the credit of
being foremost to welcome her, and in the importance of leading her in
to the others, and recommending her to their kindness.

Fanny Price was at this time just ten years old, and though there might
not be much in her first appearance to captivate, there was, at least,
nothing to disgust her relations. She was small of her age, with no
glow of complexion, nor any other striking beauty; exceedingly timid
and shy, and shrinking from notice; but her air, though awkward, was
not vulgar, her voice was sweet, and when she spoke her countenance was
pretty. Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram received her very kindly; and Sir
Thomas, seeing how much she needed encouragement, tried to be all that
was conciliating: but he had to work against a most untoward gravity
of deportment; and Lady Bertram, without taking half so much trouble,
or speaking one word where he spoke ten, by the mere aid of a
good-humoured smile, became immediately the less awful character of the
two.

The young people were all at home, and sustained their share in the
introduction very well, with much good humour, and no embarrassment, at
least on the part of the sons, who, at seventeen and sixteen, and tall
of their age, had all the grandeur of men in the eyes of their little
cousin. The two girls were more at a loss from being younger and in
greater awe of their father, who addressed them on the occasion with
rather an injudicious particularity. But they were too much used to
company and praise to have anything like natural shyness; and their
confidence increasing from their cousin's total want of it, they were
soon able to take a full survey of her face and her frock in easy
indifference.

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