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Fanny's rides recommenced the very next day; and as it was a pleasant
fresh-feeling morning, less hot than the weather had lately been,
Edmund trusted that her losses, both of health and pleasure, would be
soon made good. While she was gone Mr. Rushworth arrived, escorting
his mother, who came to be civil and to shew her civility especially,
in urging the execution of the plan for visiting Sotherton, which had
been started a fortnight before, and which, in consequence of her
subsequent absence from home, had since lain dormant. Mrs. Norris and
her nieces were all well pleased with its revival, and an early day was
named and agreed to, provided Mr. Crawford should be disengaged: the
young ladies did not forget that stipulation, and though Mrs. Norris
would willingly have answered for his being so, they would neither
authorise the liberty nor run the risk; and at last, on a hint from
Miss Bertram, Mr. Rushworth discovered that the properest thing to be
done was for him to walk down to the Parsonage directly, and call on
Mr. Crawford, and inquire whether Wednesday would suit him or not.
Before his return Mrs. Grant and Miss Crawford came in. Having been
out some time, and taken a different route to the house, they had not
met him. Comfortable hopes, however, were given that he would find Mr.
Crawford at home. The Sotherton scheme was mentioned of course. It
was hardly possible, indeed, that anything else should be talked of,
for Mrs. Norris was in high spirits about it; and Mrs. Rushworth, a
well-meaning, civil, prosing, pompous woman, who thought nothing of
consequence, but as it related to her own and her son's concerns, had
not yet given over pressing Lady Bertram to be of the party. Lady
Bertram constantly declined it; but her placid manner of refusal made
Mrs. Rushworth still think she wished to come, till Mrs. Norris's more
numerous words and louder tone convinced her of the truth.