Friday, March 07, 2008

*~* Miss Jane Day *~*

He was gone as he spoke; and Fanny remained to tranquilise herself as she could. She was one of his two dearest -- that must support her. But the other! -- the first! She had never heard him speak so openly before, and though it told her no more than what she had long perceived, it was a stab; for it told of his own convictions and views. They were decided. He would marry Miss Crawford. It was a stab, in spite of every longstanding expectation; and she was obliged to repeat again and again that she was one of his two dearest, before the words gave her any sensation. Could she believe Miss Crawford to deserve him, it would be -- oh, how different would it be -- how far more tolerable! But he was deceived in her; he gave her merits which she had not; her faults were what they had ever been, but he saw them no longer. Till she had shed many tears over this deception, Fanny could not subdue her agitation; and the dejection which followed could only be relieved by the influence of fervent prayers for his happiness.

It was her intention, as she felt it to be her duty, to try to overcome all that was excessive, all that bordered on selfishness, in her affection for Edmund. To call or to fancy it a loss, a disappointment, would be a presumption, for which she had not words strong enough to satisfy her own humility. To think of him as Miss Crawford might be justified in thinking, would in her be insanity. To her, he could be nothing under any circumstances -- nothing dearer than a friend. Why did such an idea occur to her even enough to be reprobated and forbidden? It ought not have touched on the confines of her imagination. She would endeavour to be rational, and to deserve the right of judging of Miss Crawford's character and the privilege of true solicitude for him by a sound intellect and an honest heart.

She had all the heroism of principle, and was determined to do her duty; but having also many of the feelings of youth and nature, let her not be much wondered at if, after making all these good resolutions on the side of self-government, she seized the scrap of paper on which Edmund had begun writing to her, as a treasure beyond all her hopes, and reading with the tenderest emotion these words, 'My very dear Fanny, you must do me the favour to accept --' locked it up with the chain, as the dearest part of the gift. It was the only thing approaching to a letter which she had ever received from him; she might never receive another; it was impossible that she ever should receive another so perfectly gratifying in the occasion and the style. Two lines more prized had never fallen from the pen of the most distinguished author -- never more completely blessed the researches of the fondest biographer. The enthusiasm of a woman's love is even beyond the biographer's. To her, the handwriting itself, independent of anything it may convey, is a blessedness. Never were such characters cut by any other human being as Edmund's commonest handwriting gave! This specimen, written in haste as it was, had not a fault; and there was a felicity in the flow of the first four words, in the arrangement of 'My very dear Fanny,' which she could have looked at forever.

~Mansfield Park

4 comments:

Robert said...

This scene shows Fanny's strong feelings for Edmund.In the movie versions you can see she has some interest in him,but you don't know was Fanny is really thinking and feeling.

I also liked how Jane Austen described Fanny's feelings about the letter Edmund sent her.Do you remember what chapter that scene is from?

it's also hard for Fanny to love Edmund while seeing him in love with Mary.That's a theme in several of Austen's novels.

Ana said...

Robert~
Yes, I love this scene. Reading books is so much better then watching a movie because, try as you may, you can't show the deep feeling as well as a book can. :)

The chapter is 27. Thanks for your comment!

Elizabeth said...

This scene always makes me smile!

Ana said...

Elizabeth~
Yes, I love this scene. It does make one smile!