Mansfield Park (Chapter 7, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 7

"The right of a lively mind, Fanny, seizing whatever may contribute to
its own amusement or that of others; perfectly allowable, when
untinctured by ill-humour or roughness; and there is not a shadow of
either in the countenance or manner of Miss Crawford: nothing sharp,
or loud, or coarse. She is perfectly feminine, except in the instances
we have been speaking of. There she cannot be justified. I am glad
you saw it all as I did."

Having formed her mind and gained her affections, he had a good chance
of her thinking like him; though at this period, and on this subject,
there began now to be some danger of dissimilarity, for he was in a
line of admiration of Miss Crawford, which might lead him where Fanny
could not follow. Miss Crawford's attractions did not lessen. The
harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for
she played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste
which were peculiarly becoming, and there was something clever to be
said at the close of every air. Edmund was at the Parsonage every day,
to be indulged with his favourite instrument: one morning secured an
invitation for the next; for the lady could not be unwilling to have a
listener, and every thing was soon in a fair train.

A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and
both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a
little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was
enough to catch any man's heart. The season, the scene, the air, were
all favourable to tenderness and sentiment. Mrs. Grant and her tambour
frame were not without their use: it was all in harmony; and as
everything will turn to account when love is once set going, even the
sandwich tray, and Dr. Grant doing the honours of it, were worth
looking at. Without studying the business, however, or knowing what he
was about, Edmund was beginning, at the end of a week of such
intercourse, to be a good deal in love; and to the credit of the lady
it may be added that, without his being a man of the world or an elder
brother, without any of the arts of flattery or the gaieties of small
talk, he began to be agreeable to her. She felt it to be so, though
she had not foreseen, and could hardly understand it; for he was not
pleasant by any common rule: he talked no nonsense; he paid no
compliments; his opinions were unbending, his attentions tranquil and
simple. There was a charm, perhaps, in his sincerity, his steadiness,
his integrity, which Miss Crawford might be equal to feel, though not
equal to discuss with herself. She did not think very much about it,
however: he pleased her for the present; she liked to have him near
her; it was enough.

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