Mansfield Park (Chapter 9, page 1 of 16)


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Chapter 9

Mr. Rushworth was at the door to receive his fair lady; and the whole
party were welcomed by him with due attention. In the drawing-room
they were met with equal cordiality by the mother, and Miss Bertram had
all the distinction with each that she could wish. After the business
of arriving was over, it was first necessary to eat, and the doors were
thrown open to admit them through one or two intermediate rooms into
the appointed dining-parlour, where a collation was prepared with
abundance and elegance. Much was said, and much was ate, and all went
well. The particular object of the day was then considered. How would
Mr. Crawford like, in what manner would he chuse, to take a survey of
the grounds? Mr. Rushworth mentioned his curricle. Mr. Crawford
suggested the greater desirableness of some carriage which might convey
more than two. "To be depriving themselves of the advantage of other
eyes and other judgments, might be an evil even beyond the loss of
present pleasure."

Mrs. Rushworth proposed that the chaise should be taken also; but this
was scarcely received as an amendment: the young ladies neither smiled
nor spoke. Her next proposition, of shewing the house to such of them
as had not been there before, was more acceptable, for Miss Bertram was
pleased to have its size displayed, and all were glad to be doing
something.

The whole party rose accordingly, and under Mrs. Rushworth's guidance
were shewn through a number of rooms, all lofty, and many large, and
amply furnished in the taste of fifty years back, with shining floors,
solid mahogany, rich damask, marble, gilding, and carving, each
handsome in its way. Of pictures there were abundance, and some few
good, but the larger part were family portraits, no longer anything to
anybody but Mrs. Rushworth, who had been at great pains to learn all
that the housekeeper could teach, and was now almost equally well
qualified to shew the house. On the present occasion she addressed
herself chiefly to Miss Crawford and Fanny, but there was no comparison
in the willingness of their attention; for Miss Crawford, who had seen
scores of great houses, and cared for none of them, had only the
appearance of civilly listening, while Fanny, to whom everything was
almost as interesting as it was new, attended with unaffected
earnestness to all that Mrs. Rushworth could relate of the family in
former times, its rise and grandeur, regal visits and loyal efforts,
delighted to connect anything with history already known, or warm her
imagination with scenes of the past.

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