"Well, Fanny, and how do you like Miss Crawford now?" said Edmund the next
day, after thinking some time on the subject himself. "How did you like her
"Very well--very much. I like to hear her talk. She entertains me; and she is so
extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her."
"It is her countenance that is so attractive. She has a wonderful play of feature!
But was there nothing in her conversation that struck you, Fanny, as not quite
"Oh yes! she ought not to have spoken of her uncle as she did. I was quite
astonished. An uncle with whom she has been living so many years, and who,
whatever his faults may be, is so very fond of her brother, treating him, they say,
quite like a son. I could not have believed it!"
"I thought you would be struck. It was very wrong; very indecorous."
"And very ungrateful, I think."
"Ungrateful is a strong word. I do not know that her uncle has any claim to her
gratitude; his wife certainly had; and it is the warmth of her respect for her aunt's
memory which misleads her here. She is awkwardly circumstanced. With such
warm feelings and lively spirits it must be difficult to do justice to her affection for
Mrs. Crawford, without throwing a shade on the Admiral. I do not pretend to know
which was most to blame in their disagreements, though the Admiral's present
conduct might incline one to the side of his wife; but it is natural and amiable that
Miss Crawford should acquit her aunt entirely. I do not censure her opinions; but
there certainly is impropriety in making them public."
"Do not you think," said Fanny, after a little consideration, "that this impropriety is
a reflection itself upon Mrs. Crawford, as her niece has been entirely brought up
by her? She cannot have given her right notions of what was due to the Admiral."
"That is a fair remark. Yes, we must suppose the faults of the niece to have been
those of the aunt; and it makes one more sensible of the disadvantages she has
been under. But I think her present home must do her good. Mrs. Grant's
manners are just what they ought to be. She speaks of her brother with a very
"Yes, except as to his writing her such short letters. She made me almost laugh;
but I cannot rate so very highly the love or good-nature of a brother who will not
give himself the trouble of writing anything worth reading to his sisters, when they
are separated. I am sure William would never have used me so, under any
circumstances. And what right had she to suppose that you would not write long
letters when you were absent?"
"The right of a lively mind, Fanny, seizing whatever may contribute to its own
amusement or that of others; perfectly allowable, when untinctured by ill-humour
or roughness; and there is not a shadow of either in the countenance or manner
of Miss Crawford: nothing sharp, or loud, or coarse. She is perfectly feminine,
except m the instances we have been speaking of. There she cannot be justified.
I am glad you saw it all as I did."