Mansfield Park (Chapter 3, page 2 of 7)


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Chapter 3

He had a wife about fifteen years his junior, but no children; and they
entered the neighbourhood with the usual fair report of being very
respectable, agreeable people.

The time was now come when Sir Thomas expected his sister-in-law to
claim her share in their niece, the change in Mrs. Norris's situation,
and the improvement in Fanny's age, seeming not merely to do away any
former objection to their living together, but even to give it the most
decided eligibility; and as his own circumstances were rendered less
fair than heretofore, by some recent losses on his West India estate,
in addition to his eldest son's extravagance, it became not undesirable
to himself to be relieved from the expense of her support, and the
obligation of her future provision. In the fullness of his belief that
such a thing must be, he mentioned its probability to his wife; and the
first time of the subject's occurring to her again happening to be when
Fanny was present, she calmly observed to her, "So, Fanny, you are
going to leave us, and live with my sister. How shall you like it?"

Fanny was too much surprised to do more than repeat her aunt's words,
"Going to leave you?"

"Yes, my dear; why should you be astonished? You have been five years
with us, and my sister always meant to take you when Mr. Norris died.
But you must come up and tack on my patterns all the same."

The news was as disagreeable to Fanny as it had been unexpected. She
had never received kindness from her aunt Norris, and could not love
her.

"I shall be very sorry to go away," said she, with a faltering voice.

"Yes, I dare say you will; that's natural enough. I suppose you have
had as little to vex you since you came into this house as any creature
in the world."

"I hope I am not ungrateful, aunt," said Fanny modestly.

"No, my dear; I hope not. I have always found you a very good girl."

"And am I never to live here again?"

"Never, my dear; but you are sure of a comfortable home. It can make
very little difference to you, whether you are in one house or the
other."

Fanny left the room with a very sorrowful heart; she could not feel the
difference to be so small, she could not think of living with her aunt
with anything like satisfaction. As soon as she met with Edmund she
told him her distress.

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