The young people were pleased with each other from the first. On each side
there was much to attract, and their acquaintance soon promised as early an
intimacy as good manners would warrant. Miss Crawford's beauty did her no
disservice with the Miss Bertrams. They were too handsome themselves to
dislike any woman for being so too, and were almost as much charmed as their
brothers with her lively dark eye, clear brown complexion, and general prettiness.
Had she been tall, full formed, and fair, it might have been more of a trial: but as
it was, there could be no comparison; and she was most allowably a sweet,
pretty girl, while they were the finest young women in the country.
Her brother was not handsome: no, when they first saw him he was absolutely
plain, black and plain; but still he was the gentleman, with a pleasing address.
The second meeting proved him not so very plain: he was plain, to be sure, but
then he had so much countenance, and his teeth were so good, and he was so
well made, that one soon forgot he was plain; and after a third interview, after
dining in company with him at the Parsonage, he was no longer allowed to be
called so by anybody. He was, in fact, the most agreeable young man the sisters
had ever known, and they were equally delighted with him. Miss Bertram's
engagement made him in equity the property of Julia, of which Julia was fully
aware; and before he had been at Mansfield a week, she was quite ready to be
fallen in love with.
Maria's notions on the subject were more confused and indistinct. She did not
want to see or understand. "There could be no harm in her liking an agreeable
man-- everybody knew her situation--Mr. Crawford must take care of himself."
Mr. Crawford did not mean to be in any danger! the Miss Bertrams were worth
pleasing, and were ready to be pleased; and he began with no object but of
making them like him. He did not want them to die of love; but with sense and
temper which ought to have made him judge and feel better, he allowed himself
great latitude on such points.
"I like your Miss Bertrams exceedingly, sister," said he, as he returned from
attending them to their carriage after the said dinner visit; "they are very elegant,
"So they are indeed, and I am delighted to hear you say it. But you like Julia
"Oh yes! I like Julia best."
"But do you really? for Miss Bertram is in general thought the handsomest."
"So I should suppose. She has the advantage in every feature, and I prefer her
countenance; but I like Julia best; Miss Bertram is certainly the handsomest, and
I have found her the most agreeable, but I shall always like Julia best, because
you order me."
"I shall not talk to you, Henry, but I know you will like her best at last."
"Do not I tell you that I like her best at first?"