By Jennifer Abella
Ever read a book and wanted to shake some sense into a character? “Mansfield Park’s” Edmund might just be one of those characters. For someone so earnest, he really can be blind. Let’s take a look at his most arrrrrrgh-inducing moments:
Lending Mary Fanny’s horse
When they parted at night Edmund asked Fanny whether she meant to ride the next day.
“No, I do not know—not if you want the mare,” was her answer.
“I do not want her at all for myself,” said he; “but whenever you are next inclined to stay at home, I think Miss Crawford would be glad to have her a longer time—for a whole morning, in short.”
Yes, it was sweet that he gets a horse for Fanny’s use so she can exercise regularly. And when he asks Fanny if Mary could borrow it (even though it’s technically his mare), he makes sure to get it back in good time. But the second time, he and Mary leave Fanny waiting. And then he asks Fanny to let Mary ride the horse a third time and of course what can Fanny do but say yes? Booooooooo.
Joining “Lover’s Vows”
“There is but one thing to be done, Fanny. I must take Anhalt myself. I am well aware that nothing else will quiet Tom.”
Sure, he is against the play at the start, but once Mary joins the cast and a neighbor is suggested to play her love interest, suddenly Edmund shows little hesitation in stepping into the role. For the good of the family, of course. Way to be a team player, Edmund.
Scary Fanny for one quick second
“I come from Dr. Grant’s,” said Edmund presently. “You may guess my errand there, Fanny.” And he looked so conscious, that Fanny could think but of one errand, which turned her too sick for speech. “I wished to engage Miss Crawford for the two first dances,” was the explanation that followed, and brought Fanny to life again, enabling her, as she found she was expected to speak, to utter something like an inquiry as to the result.
Well of course, she’d be sick — Edmund sounds like he’d just gone to propose marriage. Don’t scare a girl like that, Edmund!
Talking about his two dearest objects
“I would not have the shadow of a coolness arise,” he repeated, his voice sinking a little, “between the two dearest objects I have on earth.”
He was gone as he spoke; and Fanny remained to tranquillise 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.”
Poor Fanny — learning she is pretty much second in his affections and his wanting her to be happy about it.
He’s surprised Fanny won’t marry Henry
“Let him succeed at last, Fanny, let him succeed at last. … He will make you happy, Fanny; I know he will make you happy; but you will make him everything.”
Cue the reader saying: No, dummy, she doesn’t want to marry him, she wants to marry you!
Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow@nextjen on Twitter.