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Crawford, Intro and Chapter 1

June 11, 2022 04:17PM
Blurb: Fanny accepts a ride home from Portsmouth, Henry tries to escape his affair, and Mary and Edmund meet over Tom’s (nearly) dead body.

Hello Dwiggies! It's been awhile, I know. I'm still around, just mostly doing things other than writing. However, last summer I reread Mansfield Park, and not long after, I wrote this. It was, I have to say, some of the most fun I have ever had writing, as I had no idea where it was going to go or what would happen, even at the beginning of each scene as I started it. I wrote the whole thing in 10 days, which is completely unprecedented for me. I have been excited since then it share it, but I'm a teacher, so I decided to wait until I had the time to enjoy posting again.

There are 10 chapters and I will post 2-3 times a week. My thanks to Debra Mc, who read it last year and gave me feedback.




Introduction to Crawford

This story begins right near the end of chapter 45 (XLV) of Mansfield Park. For those of you who haven’t read it recently, or who aren’t as familiar with the book, I thought I should give a summary of the situation as it stands going into my story. (You will really need to have read the book to appreciate the story, though.)

At this point in the book, Tom is sick at Mansfield, Henry has just returned from Richmond, where he was entangled in an affair with Maria which he is desperate to escape, and Fanny is stuck in Portsmouth, living on letters. Edmund, if you remember, had gone to town for a few weeks with the intention of proposing to Mary Crawford, but finding her much changed by her town friends, became despondent and returned to Mansfield. He doesn’t feel that he can give her up, though, and writes to Fanny that he has decided to propose by letter. This letter is interrupted by news of Tom’s illness, and he later changes his mind and decides to propose in person instead (see the postscript to Edmund’s letter, below).

At this very interesting state of affairs, Fanny receives the very long and awful letter from Mary (reproduced in full below), in which she jokes about how nice it would be if Tom died so that Edmund could inherit, and tells her that Henry has come in and wants to know, once again, if they can please come take Fanny back home to Mansfield. (He just got back from Richmond that morning.) In the book, Fanny is torn about this on a personal level—she doesn’t want to bring Mary and Edmund back together again, but she really, really wants to go home. In the end, she defers to her uncle, and decides that since he has not said he wants her to come back yet, she will stay there. Henry runs off with Maria less than a week later.

This is the point in the narrative that I was fascinated with. What, exactly, was Henry’s plan here? Did he really intend to go back to courting Fanny as if nothing had happened? Did he think it wouldn’t come out? And why, if getting away from Maria was as simple as leaving town, didn’t he do it anyway? What would have happened if Fanny accepted that ride home from Portsmouth?

These were the questions I set out to answer. In order to move Fanny into accepting the Crawfords’ offer, I had Edmund tell her in his second letter that Sir Thomas does want her to come home as soon as transportation can be arranged. From that point on, my only goal was to write all of these characters in a way that held as closely as possible to my understanding of them from the book, and see what happened. I found the result extremely interesting, if not always pleasant.

I feel I should be clear: this is not a comedy.

Note on the letters: There are a number of letters included in this story, many of which are taken from or based on the original text. Here’s what I wrote, and what I took from the book:

1) Letter from Edmund to Fanny - Described in the book, written by me, with modifications for the current story. The post-script, which refers to Edmund’s previously stated intention to propose to Mary by letter, comes verbatim from the book.
2) Letter from Mary to Fanny - Copied entirely from the book, and included for the sake of context.
3) 1st letter from Mr. Harding - Described in the book, written by me.
4) 2nd letter from Mr. Harding - Described in the book, written by me with modifications for the current story.
5) Any other letters - My invention only.

Final note: In order to try to understand the order and timing of events during this crucial week, I used the masterfully compiled Mansfield Park timeline here. (You will need to scroll down most of the way to get to this point in the story.) Based on her proposed dates and Fanny’s belief that she could be back at Mansfield “within three days,” I set the date of their setting out from Portsmouth as May 1. Also, for anyone wondering about delivery times on mail, I figured it would take 1 day for mail to travel between either London and Portsmouth or London and Mansfield, and 2 days between Portsmouth and Mansfield.





Crawford



“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
- Romans 7:19, NASB

“You will hurt yourself, Miss Bertram,” she cried, “you will certainly hurt yourself against those spikes—you will tear your gown—you will be in danger of slipping into the ha-ha.”
- Mansfield Park, chapter 10


Wisdom is better than Wit, and in the long run will certainly have the laugh on her side.
- Jane Austen, Letter to Fanny Knight, 1814



Letter to Fanny Price from Edmund Bertram:

I feel I must write to you, my dear Fanny, because I fear my mother has given you in her letters a far too complacent picture of Tom’s current condition. She does not know the truth, and we have seen no purpose, at this time, in disturbing her with it. It is true that the immediate danger is past, but the doctor has been at some pains to warn us that Tom cannot be considered safe. Although his original injury is healing, he is very weak, and there are marked hectic symptoms౼restlessness, nervousness, etc, that do not leave him. A cough has set in, and the doctor fears that his lungs may sustain permanent damage. My father and my aunt do all they can to relieve me, but I am best suited to care for him right now, and I do it gladly, but I will admit to you that I am tired. I am tired and I miss you, and I still fear for Tom’s life, that it may be lost in the end. You are much missed here, not only by me. Your aunt asks for you every hour, and your uncle has said that he would like you home with us as soon it may be possible to arrange it, only he does not know how it may be done right now. We neither of us can leave Tom, and there is no other respectable person to whom we can entrust you—but should the chance come, please do not hesitate—do not delay in returning home to us. My dearest cousin and sister, we need you more than ever now. With love, I remain yours, etc,—Edmund

On the subject of my last, I had actually begun a letter when called away by Tom’s illness, but I have now changed my mind, and fear to trust the influence of friends. When Tom is better, I shall go.


Letter to Fanny Price from Mary Crawford:

Forgive me, my dear Fanny, as soon as you can, for my long silence, and behave as if you could forgive me directly. This is my modest request and expectation, for you are so good, that I depend upon being treated better than I deserve, and I write now to beg an immediate answer. I want to know the state of things at Mansfield Park, and you, no doubt, are perfectly able to give it. One should be a brute not to feel for the distress they are in; and from what I hear, poor Mr. Bertram has a bad chance of ultimate recovery. I thought little of his illness at first. I looked upon him as the sort of person to be made a fuss with, and to make a fuss himself in any trifling disorder, and was chiefly concerned for those who had to nurse him; but now it is confidently asserted that he is really in a decline, that the symptoms are most alarming, and that part of the family, at least, are aware of it. If it be so, I am sure you must be included in that part, that discerning part, and therefore entreat you to let me know how far I have been rightly informed. I need not say how rejoiced I shall be to hear there has been any mistake, but the report is so prevalent that I confess I cannot help trembling. To have such a fine young man cut off in the flower of his days is most melancholy. Poor Sir Thomas will feel it dreadfully. I really am quite agitated on the subject. Fanny, Fanny, I see you smile and look cunning, but, upon my honour, I never bribed a physician in my life. Poor young man! If he is to die, there will be two poor young men less in the world; and with a fearless face and bold voice would I say to any one, that wealth and consequence could fall into no hands more deserving of them. It was a foolish precipitation last Christmas, but the evil of a few days may be blotted out in part. Varnish and gilding hide many stains. It will be but the loss of the Esquire after his name. With real affection, Fanny, like mine, more might be overlooked. Write to me by return of post, judge of my anxiety, and do not trifle with it. Tell me the real truth, as you have it from the fountainhead. And now, do not trouble yourself to be ashamed of either my feelings or your own. Believe me, they are not only natural, they are philanthropic and virtuous. I put it to your conscience, whether ‘Sir Edmund’ would not do more good with all the Bertram property than any other possible ‘Sir.’ Had the Grants been at home I would not have troubled you, but you are now the only one I can apply to for the truth, his sisters not being within my reach. Mrs. R. has been spending the Easter with the Aylmers at Twickenham (as to be sure you know), and is not yet returned; and Julia is with the cousins who live near Bedford Square, but I forget their name and street. Could I immediately apply to either, however, I should still prefer you, because it strikes me that they have all along been so unwilling to have their own amusements cut up, as to shut their eyes to the truth. I suppose Mrs. R.’s Easter holidays will not last much longer; no doubt they are thorough holidays to her. The Aylmers are pleasant people; and her husband away, she can have nothing but enjoyment. I give her credit for promoting his going dutifully down to Bath, to fetch his mother; but how will she and the dowager agree in one house? Henry is not at hand, so I have nothing to say from him. Do not you think Edmund would have been in town again long ago, but for this illness?—Yours ever, Mary.

I had actually begun folding my letter when Henry walked in, but he brings no intelligence to prevent my sending it. Mrs. R. knows a decline is apprehended; he saw her this morning: she returns to Wimpole Street to-day; the old lady is come. Now do not make yourself uneasy with any queer fancies because he has been spending a few days at Richmond. He does it every spring. Be assured he cares for nobody but you. At this very moment he is wild to see you, and occupied only in contriving the means for doing so, and for making his pleasure conduce to yours. In proof, he repeats, and more eagerly, what he said at Portsmouth about our conveying you home, and I join him in it with all my soul. Dear Fanny, write directly, and tell us to come. It will do us all good. He and I can go to the Parsonage, you know, and be no trouble to our friends at Mansfield Park. It would really be gratifying to see them all again, and a little addition of society might be of infinite use to them; and as to yourself, you must feel yourself to be so wanted there, that you cannot in conscience—conscientious as you are—keep away, when you have the means of returning. I have not time or patience to give half Henry’s messages; be satisfied that the spirit of each and every one is unalterable affection. —Yours, Mary


Chapter 1

Fanny was waiting upstairs with Susan when the carriage came. Her trunk was packed, and lighter than when she brought it, as she had given as much as she could to her sister. “You must write to me every week,” she had told her, “and tell me what you are reading. I have paid the subscription at the library for three more months, and you must promise me that you will make use of it.”

Susan had promised, and tried to look brave, but Fanny’s heart was sick with guilt and grief to leave her—and yet happy, so unspeakably happy to be going home to Mansfield!—and yet in what company she must go. With so much in her heart, it was no wonder she could not stop from crying as she embraced her sister. Susan, weeping also, embraced her back, and they went down the stairs.

Mr. Crawford was already in the small parlour, speaking with her father. Mr. Price was eager to talk of ships and navy lists, and had gotten fairly along into his subject when Fanny made her appearance. He would have continued talking, too, had not Mr. Crawford broken in to greet her. Fanny, remembering all of his sister’s mentions of Mrs. Rushworth, could not bring herself to meet his eyes for more than a moment. Still, he spoke her name in the same soft, eager tone he had so often used with her before. “I am happy,” he said, “extremely happy that you accepted our offer to convey you home. Mary is just outside in the carriage; she is almost as eager to see you as I have been, and although I know we cannot expect to be a merry party, under the current circumstances, still I hope it will not be an unpleasant journey—it cannot be unpleasant to me, no matter what may happen.”

He turned from her to Susan, whom he greeted and spoke to with great civility, and then to Mrs. Price, when she appeared. Then there was a few minutes of bustle, while Fanny’s trunk was brought down, and all her younger siblings called to bid her good-bye. There were no tears other than Susan’s and Fanny’s. John and Charles got into a fight halfway down the stairs and could scarcely be separated long enough to acknowledge her, Betsey occupied her mother’s attention, and Mr. Price was still trying to speak to Mr. Crawford about the latest French frigates to be seized even while he was handing Fanny into the carriage. At any other time, she would have been utterly sunk by such a leave-taking. Today, it could only occupy a small part of Fanny’s feelings. Too many other feelings demanded priority—fear over Tom, grief over Susan, joy over Mansfield. She was unhappy to be owing such joy to the Crawfords. She could not forgive Mary her recent letter, and the cold-hearted feelings she had so jestingly expressed. She dreaded what the result of her coming to Mansfield now might be—what Edmund might say or do, how he might commit himself—and to one who had wished for his own brother’s death!

As for Mr. Crawford, the last time Fanny had seen him, he had left her with warmer feelings than she had ever had for him before. His behaviour to her and her family during his visit to Portsmouth had really been irreproachable. She had really begun to believe that he might love her—but then to hear that he had not gone to Norfolk as he said, that he had stayed to see Mrs. Rushworth again—had continued to see her, perhaps to flirt with her! Fanny was mortified. With the sister she was disgusted, but with the brother she was disappointed.

And so, with such a mixture of pleasure and resentment, of anticipation and dread, of sorrow for the one behind, fear for those ahead, and dislike of those to whom she must now owe her greatest happiness, did Fanny begin her journey.

“My very dearest Fanny,” said Mary, embracing her as she climbed into the carriage, “words cannot express how pleased I am to see you! I missed you more than I can say. I do not know how it is, for I was used to think people in London were the only source for really good company in the world, but I could not find anyone worth talking to there. Except for your cousin Edmund when he came, of course—but truly, I am relieved to be away from them and back with you.” She shook her head, half laughing at herself. “You are too sweet by far, Fanny. You have spoiled us both.”

“I do not accept the word spoiled,” replied her brother, as he settled across from them. “Say rather, Mary, that Fanny—Miss Price has improved us; she has elevated our taste, and taught us what a really good thing is.” He looked at Fanny very earnestly, though she only coloured and studied her hands. “London was dreadful without you,” he said softly. “I have no wish to ever return to it again. I only wish to be near you.”

Between embarrassment and anger, Fanny could not speak. After studying her for a few moments, Henry changed the subject and began to talk to Mary. They conversed back and forth, lightly discussing people they knew. Neither of them called upon Fanny to say anything, and yet she felt his gaze on her constantly. It occurred to her, after a time, that there was a tension in Mr. Crawford’s voice that she had not heard before. Listening to his gay conversation, almost studied in its brightness, she thought she must have been mistaken—yet, no, there was something. Fanny had listened to Mr. Crawford speak enough that she knew his voice, knew its timbres and expressions, and just at this time he did not sound quite like his usual sanguine self. She wondered what had happened in London with Maria. Perhaps his conscience betrayed him; it certainly ought.

“My dear girl,” said Mary after a time, “now that I get a good look at your face, I see that Henry was quite right to be worried about you. No wonder you are so silent; I am sure you must feel very poorly.”

“I am well enough. I am so very grateful to you for taking me back to Mansfield.”

“You ought never to have been gone so long,” said the brother. “I knew how it would be, when I saw you there last; I am only sorry I did not persuade you then to accept a ride home. You did not keep faith with me, Miss Price—I trusted you not to conceal your ill health, and yet you did it anyway.” He shook his head. “It would have been infinitely better—better for everyone—had you but said you were ill sooner. Nothing, then, would have prevented me from coming for you.”

“Better for everyone, Mr. Crawford?” she could not help asking.

“Well, for one, your family at Mansfield,” he said after a moment. “You cannot tell me you would not have been a great comfort to them during your cousin’s illness. Lady Bertram, I am sure, has been missing you by the minute, and I can only imagine Edmund’s burdens have been heavier for lack of your company and help. Think if Tom had died, and you still stuck in Portsmouth! What comfort would you have been able to give or receive there? What comfort has your tender heart been in need of already? It would have been better for you, I will not allow you to pretend otherwise, and as much as I respect your family, that must always weigh heaviest with me. I cannot be as concerned about their wellbeing as I am about yours.”

“What Henry is not saying is that he thinks it would have been far better for him too. If you had heard his complaints to me, Fanny, his sighs and laments and panegyrics in favour of your beauty and virtues, then I am sure you would not have made him wait so long to see you again. If nothing else, you would have had pity on me, as the chief auditor of his misery. You would not have subjected me to more of his sulks than you could help, if you but knew how acute and noisy they really were.”

Her brother, far from discomposed at this picture of himself, laughed. “I do not deny it. In fact, I quite agree—do, Miss Price, have mercy on my sister. Let your tender heart work in her favour, at least.”

Despite herself, Fanny could not help a smile at this, but she shook her head reprovingly and looked out the window. The rest of the afternoon passed in conversation. As much as Fanny disliked Mary Crawford, she could not, in the circumstances, refuse to answer her civil inquiries about the other Prices, and when Henry added his own approving compliments on Susan’s manners and good sense, she came very near to liking him again. Conversation then turned towards Mansfield, and what might await them there. Imprudent as Mary may have been in her letter, she had taste enough not to repeat those sentiments in person, and Henry entered into all of Fanny’s concerns with the good sense and feeling he was capable of. No one said anything to trouble her, for an hour or two at least, and she began to feel herself more tranquil and more hopeful than she had thought possible when they set out at noon.

~%~


They stopped for the night in _____. A private parlour was easily had, but the innkeeper informing them that only two bed chambers remained to be claimed, Mary and Fanny were to share the larger, while Mr. Crawford took the second. Having ordered dinner and taken a few minutes to tidy himself, Crawford came to the parlour to find only Fanny, standing by the window. Mary was still upstairs.

He lingered near the doorway to admire her for a few moments, seeing now more clearly, as she had put off her bonnet and pelisse, what depredations her stay in Portsmouth had made against her health. Fanny jumped when she looked up and saw him watching her.

“I startled you,” he said, coming into the room.

“Oh, no! That is, only a little.”

He drew closer and Fanny clasped her hands together, worried he would try to take one. Instead, he stopped a few feet away and crossed his arms in front of his chest, watching her with dark, intense eyes. “I missed you.”

Fanny blushed and looked away.

“Do not look away from me, please. I have longed to look into your eyes again—those soft eyes with their compelling looks. Your eyes are full of truth and goodness, Fanny. When you look at me, you make me more than I was—more than I am.” He swallowed. “You could make me into anything.”

“Please, Mr. Crawford,” Fanny said in her gentle way. “You know I do not like this kind of talk.”

“I cannot help it. I love you too much to stay silent about my feelings. Miss Price—Fanny—I am desperate for you! I have waited—you know I have waited these months, and I will continue to wait, however long you require it—but surely you see how unalterable my passion for you is? How eagerly I would do anything, perform any task, undertake any journey, no matter how arduous, if it would win me a smile and a warm look from you?”

“Please, Mr. Crawford—” Hardly knowing what she did, Fanny put out her hand in a beseeching fashion, only to have it instantly seized. Henry came a step nearer.

“Will you not call me Henry, my dearest?”

“Mr. Crawford!” She tugged on her hand, and he let it go, only to take her other one instead.

“Would you have me go down on my knees before you?” To her horror, he looked as if he was preparing to do just that, and she fled across the room to stand by the fireplace. He followed her more slowly. “Why do you flee from me? I thought we parted as friends last time, in Portsmouth, did we not?”

“This is not speaking to me as a friend.” Her tone was as close to angry as Fanny ever got.

He stopped a little away, looking frustrated. “Will you at least tell me that you believe me?—that you accept that my feelings for you are real and lasting?”

Fanny hesitated. She had begun to think so, after his visit in Portsmouth. She had really begun to believe that he did love her; but that was before the name of Mrs. Rushworth appeared in Mary’s letters. She did not know what to think now, with this renewal of his professions. Slowly, she began to nod her head, then changed it to a shake halfway though, and then another nod. Henry let out a long sigh, but before he could press her for more, Mary came into the room, giving them bright-eyed and significant looks as she laughingly begged pardon for taking so long.

After this, Fanny could not be comfortable again, and said little through dinner except for “yes,” “no,” and “thank you.” Henry, too, had fallen silent, and so it was left to Mary to carry the burden of conversation, which she did with little monologues on Mrs. Fraser and Lady Stornaway, on Mr. and Mrs. Grant, music, Everingham, and popular novels. At last hitting on a topic she felt must interest, she asked Fanny if she had heard anything from her cousins in London.

“No—nothing,” was Fanny’s answer.

“I must reproach them, when next I see them, for neglecting you. Though it is not to be wondered at, I suppose, if they can remain indifferently in town when they know their brother is so ill. I know you understand me, Fanny. You have a brother you love. I am sure you can no more imagine ignoring William in his time of need than I can imagine ignoring Henry.”

“Oh no!”

“Then again, Henry is superior to Tom, as brothers go, which they certainly know. I told you, did I not, in one of my letters, how Mrs. Rushworth looked when I mentioned your name to her? She is not one who can be said to be gracious in defeat.”

“Mary,” said Henry.

“Miss Julia Bertram takes it better—but as she is also still in town, I do not know that I can attribute it to any great spirit of charity she might possess.” She laughed. “You needn’t look so concerned, my dear, nor you either, Henry. That is all in the past now. Henry and Maria are on perfectly amiable terms now, aren’t you?”

Henry’s smile seemed a bit forced. “We spoke a little, in company.”

“Well, suffice to say that I am glad that it is you, my dear Fanny, who is Henry’s choice.”

To this Fanny had no reply, and after a moment the brother took up the reins of conversation again, talking of unexceptional subjects until, at last, dinner was done, and Fanny felt justified in pleading tiredness so she could retire.

When she was gone, Henry turned baleful eyes upon his sister. “If you are under the impression you are helping me, you are not.”

She shook her head. “Do not be absurd, Henry. Fanny knows very well that you have had scores of women in love with you, for I told her so myself, and you are much mistaken if you do not think she knows Maria and Julia were among them. I know that because she told me herself. She is quiet, not blind.”

Henry frowned and paced about the room. Mary selected a sweetmeat off a plate and ate it as she watched him. As the scowl on his face grew, so did the frown on hers. “How much trouble are you in?” she asked finally.

“What?” He looked at her in surprise.

“With Maria Rushworth, I mean. I thought it was merely a flirtation between you two, but the way you are acting now, I almost begin to think it more than that.”

He gave a short, bitter laugh. “You do not think a flirtation will be enough for Fanny, if she hears of it?”

“It may be, if you act mysterious about it, and hide it. Of course she will think it must be dreadful. But if you will only speak of Mrs. Rushworth casually—mention her in passing, like the merest acquaintance—why then, she will assume all is innocent—as indeed, it is.”

“You may be right. Still, I cannot like—” He broke off. “I wish I had never gone to that party,” he murmured. “I wish I had never seen her again.”

Mary shook her head. “You are making a great deal out of nothing. I own, I was surprised to see you going after her again; I really did think your love for Fanny had cured you of your flirtatious ways. But still, what is a little town flirtation? It is nothing at all, and if Fanny is not quite able to see that yet, dear, innocent creature that she is, she will learn it soon enough.”

Henry shook his head in turn, but did not contradict her. Stopping before the fire, he thrust his hands into his pockets and gazed at the flames. “You never did tell me how things stood between you and Bertram,” he said eventually. “I gather he has not proposed?”

She came to stand next to him. “I think he meant to, but I gave him no opening. I could not decide what to say.”

“And now?”

“And now,” she said lightly, “I am waiting to see what will become of dear Tom’s illness.”

Henry’s brows went up, and he looked at her in surprise. “That is a little cynical even for you, my dear.”

She tossed her head. “I will take no reproof from you, of the four thousand a year. It is easy enough for you to not care about money.” He did not reply, and after a moment she added quietly, “I have missed him terribly, though. I do not quite understand what it is about him, but I could not find any man in town I liked half so well. Though he is less in every way I think important, yet he is still somehow… more than all of them.”

Henry put his arm around her shoulders. “I know exactly what you mean.”

~%~


Sir Thomas Bertram sat at his desk in his own dear room, and looked at the two letters open before him. He had received them both that morning.

London, 30 April

My dear Sir Thomas, after much deliberation I have determined to write to you on a matter of the most serious nature. I trust that you will forgive me the liberty I take in the name of our friendship. It has come to my attention that certain rumours are circulating in London concerning your daughter Mrs. Rushworth, and a Mr. Crawford, with whom I believe you are acquainted. Mr. Crawford has been very often in Wimpole St. since some time in March, and it is beginning to be said around Town that Mrs. Rushworth has taken him as her established flirt. I myself have attended parties at the Rushworths’, and seen him there, and can confirm the appearance of intimacy between them. Mr. Rushworth spoke to me of it on one occasion and I did my best to reassure him, but he must only become increasingly jealous if such behaviour continues. —Such was the situation before Mrs. Rushworth removed to Twickenham for Easter. I hesitated to write to you, as it seemed possibly no more than a flirtation at that time, and I hoped that a separation of some days or weeks might be sufficient to put an end to it. You may imagine my dismay, when having occasion to travel to Twickenham myself last week, I learned that Mr. Crawford was staying nearby, in Richmond, and that he was a frequent visitor in the house where your daughter stayed. And now, I have learned that they returned to London on the same day, and have since been seen together. This comfort I can offer you, that I do not believe the situation to be desperate yet. There has been some talk, but it may all be forgotten quickly, if Mrs. Rushworth can be prevailed upon to give the young man up. It is all the more necessary because Mr. Rushworth has returned with his mother, and she, I believe, will be far less inclined than he to impute innocent motives to their association. I urge you, therefore, to come to town as soon as you are able, and use your influence with your daughter. —Yours, etc, J. Harding.


Portsmouth, 29 April
Dear Sir,

I pray that you will forgive me if I have done any wrong, but as I understood from my cousin Edmund’s last letter that you wished for me to return if possible, I have taken the liberty of accepting Mr. and Miss Crawford’s kind offer to convey me to Mansfield. I hope we shall arrive on the evening of the 2nd, or 3rd at the latest. Again, please forgive me if I have acted presumptuously, and give my love to my aunt and tell her I am eager to see her soon. I believe Mr. and Miss Crawford intend to stay at the parsonage, so you do not need to concern yourself with accommodating them. ౼Respectfully, your niece, F. Price
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Crawford, Intro and Chapter 1

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