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Change in the air
Fanny Price, is sent at the age of ten to live with her rich aunt and
uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram at Mansfield Park. Her parents have
numerous children and are not well-off, so are pleased when the offer
is made. Near Mansfield Park lives Fanny's other aunt, Mrs Norris, who
is the wife of the local parson.
- Fanny's Bertram
cousins, Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia
all older and more confident and noisy than Fanny, who tends to be
rather shy. Edmund is kind to her; the others merely tolerate her.
Fanny misses her sisters and brothers very much, especially her eldest
Love in the air?
- When Fanny is fifteen, Mr Norris dies and a new
appointed. Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram rather expect that Mrs Norris
will now take on the care of their niece: after all, Fanny would be a
good companion for a new widow, but Mrs Norris doesn't fancy the idea
at all. So Fanny remains at Mansfield Park while Sir Thomas goes away
to look after his estates in the West Indies, taking his eldest son Tom
- Lady Bertram doesn't really mind Fanny still being
she doesn't make much noise, is helpful everyone, and to someone as
lazy as Lady Bertram she is very useful. Fanny is much relieved - she
doesn't like Mrs Norris much and it's mutual.
- The new parson, Dr Grant arrives with his wife. Mrs
doesn't think much of them; she thinks Mrs Grant has ideas above her
- The Bertram girls take a full part in local society -
suppers, balls, assemblies and so on. They are escorted by their aunt,
Mrs Norris - Lady Bertram is too lazy to make such a social effort, but
she is perfectly happy at home with Fanny.
- Edmund takes on all the business of the Mansfield
estate while his father is away and effectively runs the household. Sir
Thomas's business takes longer than he had thought, and a year later he
is still away with no idea when he will be back. Tom, however, returns
Fanny is neglected
- Maria Bertram, the elder of the two girls, accepts a
proposal of marriage from Mr Rushworth, who is a rich young man
with a very good estate not far from Mansfield Park. It is a
match for her and everyone is delighted. Sir Thomas writes to consent
to her marriage, but stipulates that it must not take place until he
gets home. Maria is not in love, but she thinks Mr Rushworth's money
will make her perfectly happy, thank you.
- Mrs Grant's brother and sister, Henry and Mary
arrive to stay with her for a while. Mrs Grant starts matchmaking
immediately; she thinks Mary will do very well for Tom Bertram, and
that Henry should marry Julia Bertram.
- Tom goes away to a horse-racing meeting, and in his
it seems that Edmund is the one most likely to fall in love with Mary
wanderers return home to some dramatic events
- The Crawfords and Bertrams are introduced; everyone
well, although the Crawfords cannot understand Fanny's social position.
They are encouraged to think she is merely a poor relation by Mrs
Norris, who sets up an outing to Mr Rushworth's estate, Sotherton, that
- Fanny suffers more humiliation as Miss Crawford
horse in order to go on riding excursions with the others, thus
excluding Fanny. Finally
Edmund realises that she is being neglected and puts a stop to it. He
arranges for her to be included on the outing to Sotherton in spite of
Mrs Norris's objections. No one else had even noticed that she wanted
- The Sotherton excursion takes place. Maria Bertram
it trying to escape from Mr Rushworth without his mother noticing;
Julia Bertram spends it trying to bewitch Henry Crawford; Mary Crawford
spends it trying to bewitch Edmund Bertram. Fanny and Mr Rushworth are
- It is announced that Sir Thomas is on his way home.
daughters are not pleased: Maria because her wedding to Mr Rushworth is
due to take place soon after he gets home, and Julia because he will
make her behave herself.
Mr Rushworth, the Misses Bertram and Mr Crawford; enter William Price
and Mr Crawford again
- Tom Bertram returns from the races with a new friend,
Yates. They suggest getting up a play, but Edmund disapproves of the
idea. Tom overrules him and plans are laid.
- Miss Crawford has decided against trying to marry Tom
Bertram, and is fixed on trying to get Edmund as a husband instead.
Henry Crawford is still flirting with both the Bertram sisters, in
spite of Maria's engagement, and the sisters are jealous of one
another. Fanny has gone off the Crawfords in a big way since the visit
to Sotherton, and when the play is suggested, she joins with Edmund in
- The play selected is called Lovers
Vows. Maria Bertram gets the female starring role, much to
Julia's fury, especially when Henry Crawford openly says that Maria
would be better in the part. Julia goes into a sulk and refuses to
speak to anyone. Tom wants Fanny take a small part in the play, since
he cannot get anyone else, but she refuses. He talks of getting another
play one of the other male parts, since Edmund refuses to do it. To
avoid this and to keep the play acting strictly within the families of
Bertram and Crawford, Edmund reluctantly agrees to take the part
himself, which horrifies Fanny. Meanwhile Mrs Grant agrees to take the
part that Fanny was offered.
- Rehearsals and plans proceed; Fanny is excluded at
since she is taking no part, but is soon found to be useful as a
prompter and test audience. Julia is still sulking. Edmund is worried
that Tom is getting carried away, spending too much money and inviting
too many people. Maria and Henry Crawford are getting on much too well,
and Mr Rushworth is jealous. Mrs Norris is busy helping with the
practical arrangements and scolding Fanny for not doing enough.
- When everything is at an advanced stage of rehearsal,
Thomas unexpectedly arrives home. He at once puts a stop to the whole
thing, considering it very improper; he agrees entirely with Fanny's
opinion on the subject and Edmund explains to him as best he can how it
all came about. The stage is taken down and all the copies of the play
that Sir Thomas can find are destroyed.
Fanny's first ball
- Following the cancellation of the play, Henry
away to visit his uncle in Bath. Maria had been hoping he would declare
his love for her and enable her to get rid of Mr Rushworth, but no such
luck. Pride takes over, and she marries Mr Rushworth without any
further delay. The happy couple leave on honeymoon to Brighton, taking
Julia with them.
- Mary Crawford is more friendly these days to Fanny
ever before; there is no one else left to be friends with. Mrs Grant
invites Fanny to dinner, which she has never done before; Mrs Norris
thinks Fanny is getting ideas above her station, but Sir Thomas insists
that she go and take the carriage. Edmund goes too, and on their
arrival they find that Henry Crawford has just returned.
- It becomes clear to Miss Crawford that Edmund will be
taking orders as a priest very shortly, and that as a result he will
never be rich. She is determined to marry a rich man, and had hoped he
would change his mind and find a more lucrative profession, but she is
disappointed. She also suspects that Fanny has more than cousinly
feelings for Edmund - and she is absolutely right.
- Fanny receives a letter from her brother William to
has returned to England after seven years at sea. Sir Thomas
immediately invites him to stay at Mansfield and Fanny is overjoyed to
see him again at last.
Crawford declares himself
- Henry Crawford, in the absence of any other
decides to make Fanny fall in love with him. He does manage to make
Fanny feel a little more kindly towards him than before, but she
continues to dislike him, and is certainly not in love with him.
- Sir Thomas decides to hold a ball for William and
this will be Fanny's first ball and she is very excited. Her enjoyment
is marred only by the idea that Edmund is about to propose to Miss
- William has given Fanny a cross but she has no chain
it. Miss Crawford presses a necklace on her that her brother gave her
but which is surplus to her own requirements, but Edmund then
gives her a chain which is much more suitable. To avoid offending
either, Fanny wears both to the ball.
- At the ball, Fanny dances with Henry Crawford to
with and later with Edmund. She much enjoys the ball, but the next day
her brother leaves with Henry Crawford on his way back to Portsmouth.
Edmund leaves the following day to be ordained, and Fanny is left alone
at Mansfield Park with her aunt and uncle. Even Miss Crawford is
somewhat depressed, as she is likely to leave for London before
- Henry Crawford confides to his sister that he has
love with Fanny and is determined to marry her. Mary Crawford is
astonished, but relieved, since if Fanny marries Henry, she will no
longer be a threat to her planned marriage to Edmund. He has secured
William Price's promotion to lieutenant, through the influence of his
uncle, the Admiral, and expects this to help induce Fanny to fall in
love with him. Both Crawfords therefore remain in Mansfield.
- Henry proposes to Fanny; horrified, she refuses him,
doesn't take no for an answer. He confesses his love to Sir Thomas, who
is appalled when Fanny refuses to entertain the idea of marrying Mr
Crawford. He eventually accepts her decision, but Mr Crawford does not
and vows to persevere.
- Edmund returns and far from discouraging Mr Crawford,
keen that Fanny should accept him. He had expected Mary Crawford to
have left by the time he returned, and is much encouraged that she has
not. He and Sir Thomas agree that Fanny should be left to consider Mr
Crawford's proposal and think that she might come round to it, given
- William returns for a few days on leave, and it is
that Fanny should accompany him on his return to Portsmouth, and visit
her own family for a while. Sir Thomas thinks this will bring home to
her the lifestyle that she is rejecting by refusing Mr Crawford, and
make her more likely to accept him.
- The Crawfords depart for London, and Mary writes
often to Fanny, always enclosing a few lines from her brother.
events in London and Fanny is called back to Mansfield
- Fanny and William arrive at their parents' house in
Portsmouth. William has to leave immediately for his ship; Fanny is
struck by how small and poor the house is in comparison with Mansfield
Park. She is disappointed with her parents, who have very little time
for her, but makes friends with her fourteen year-old sister, Susan.
- Edmund has gone to London to propose to Mary
Crawford, and has promised to write as soon as he has news. Mary
continues to write to Fanny, and tells her that Mr Crawford has gone to
his estate in Norfolk.
- After about four weeks, to Fanny's astonishment Mr
Crawford comes to call at the house and she is forced to introduce him
to her family. She feels sure he will be completely put off the idea of
marrying her when he has seen what her family is like, but to her
surprise he is very polite and doesn't seem put off at all.
- Edmund still hasn't written, and Mary Crawford makes
no mention of any proposal in her letters. Finally he does write, to
say that he has not yet proposed as Miss Crawford does not appear to
feel as strongly towards him as she did before, and he fears that she
may prefer the fashionable life in London to that of being his wife.
Meanwhile Lady Bertram writes to say that Tom has fallen ill, and
Edmund has gone to fetch him home.
- Tom is recovering, but the family suffers another
blow. Maria has left Mr Rushworth and gone off with Mr Crawford to who
knows where. Edmund is sent to London to try to find them, only to
discover on his arrival that Julia has eloped with Mr Yates.
- Fanny is now urgently needed at Mansfield Park to
comfort her aunt and is invited to bring Susan with her. Edmund arrives
the next morning to fetch them. Fanny is happy to be going home and to
be with Edmund again, but he is very much depressed over what has
happened. Once back at Mansfield Park, he tells Fanny that everything
is over between he and Miss Crawford; she has treated his sister's
affair with her brother as something to be covered up and made the best
of, rather than seeing as he does, as an unforgivable sin and descent
- Tom is horrified by his sisters' actions,
particularly Maria. Mrs Norris is stunned almost into silence, as Maria
was always her favourite niece. Lady Bertram accepts that she may never
see her daughter again with her usual placidity. Sir Thomas, when he
returns, is delighted to see Fanny there and Fanny has never felt so
loved or so useful. Edmund remains very unhappy, but accepts that he
was deceived into believing that Miss Crawford could ever have been the
right wife for him.
the text of Mansfield Park for yourself
- Tom has been suitably chastened by his sisters'
behaviour, and once his health is recovered he does not return to his
previous lifestyle but starts behaving himself and spending more time
with his father. Julia returns with her new husband, both suitably
apologetic and repentant, and eager to return to her family circle. She
explains that she only eloped because she thought that Maria's actions
had ruined her own reputation and that she would be seen as guilty by
- Maria refuses to leave Mr Crawford and continues to
live with him, hoping to marry him. He has no intention of marrying
her, however, and they eventually separate. She wants to return to
Mansfield Park, but Sir Thomas refuses, and eventually she sets up
house with Mrs Norris, far away from home where no one knows them.
- Mr Rushworth divorces Maria and resolves to do better
next time he selects a wife. Sir Thomas blames himself for all that has
passed and regrets that he did not bring up his daughters properly.
- The Grants move to London and Mary Crawford goes to
with her sister. She decides that she won't even consider younger sons
as potential husbands in future. Henry Crawford knows that he has lost
Fanny for ever after running off with her cousin; he was genuinely in
love with her and bitterly regrets what he did.
- It finally dawns on Edmund that the right woman for
him has been in front of him all along; he and Fanny are married.
Fanny's place as Lady Bertram's help and support is taken by Susan, who
takes up permanent residence at Mansfield Park.
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