Mansfield Park (Chapter 4, page 2 of 7)


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Chapter 4

The ensuing spring deprived her of her valued friend, the old grey
pony; and for some time she was in danger of feeling the loss in her
health as well as in her affections; for in spite of the acknowledged
importance of her riding on horse-back, no measures were taken for
mounting her again, "because," as it was observed by her aunts, "she
might ride one of her cousin's horses at any time when they did not
want them," and as the Miss Bertrams regularly wanted their horses
every fine day, and had no idea of carrying their obliging manners to
the sacrifice of any real pleasure, that time, of course, never came.
They took their cheerful rides in the fine mornings of April and May;
and Fanny either sat at home the whole day with one aunt, or walked
beyond her strength at the instigation of the other: Lady Bertram
holding exercise to be as unnecessary for everybody as it was
unpleasant to herself; and Mrs. Norris, who was walking all day,
thinking everybody ought to walk as much. Edmund was absent at this
time, or the evil would have been earlier remedied. When he returned,
to understand how Fanny was situated, and perceived its ill effects,
there seemed with him but one thing to be done; and that "Fanny must
have a horse" was the resolute declaration with which he opposed
whatever could be urged by the supineness of his mother, or the economy
of his aunt, to make it appear unimportant. Mrs. Norris could not help
thinking that some steady old thing might be found among the numbers
belonging to the Park that would do vastly well; or that one might be
borrowed of the steward; or that perhaps Dr. Grant might now and then
lend them the pony he sent to the post. She could not but consider it
as absolutely unnecessary, and even improper, that Fanny should have a
regular lady's horse of her own, in the style of her cousins. She was
sure Sir Thomas had never intended it: and she must say that, to be
making such a purchase in his absence, and adding to the great expenses
of his stable, at a time when a large part of his income was unsettled,
seemed to her very unjustifiable. "Fanny must have a horse," was
Edmund's only reply. Mrs. Norris could not see it in the same light.
Lady Bertram did: she entirely agreed with her son as to the necessity
of it, and as to its being considered necessary by his father; she only
pleaded against there being any hurry; she only wanted him to wait till
Sir Thomas's return, and then Sir Thomas might settle it all himself.
He would be at home in September, and where would be the harm of only
waiting till September?

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