Miss Crawford accepted the part very readily; and soon after Miss Bertram's
return from the Parsonage, Mr. Rushworth arrived, and another character was
consequently cast. He had the offer of Count Cassel and Anhalt, and at first did
not know which to choose, and wanted Miss Bertram to direct him; but upon
being made to understand the different style of the characters, and which was
which, and recollecting that he had once seen the play in London, and had
thought Anhalt a very stupid fellow, he soon decided for the Count. Miss Bertram
approved the decision, for the less he had to learn the better; and though she
could not sympathize in his wish that the Count and Agatha might be to act
together, nor wait very patiently while he was slowly turning over the leaves with
the hope of still discovering such a scene, she very kindly took his part in hand,
and curtailed every speech that admitted being shortened; besides pointing out
the necessity of his being very much dressed, and choosing his colours. Mr.
Rushworth liked the idea of his finery very well, though affecting to despise it;
and was too much engaged with what his own appearance would be to think of
the others, or draw any of those conclusions, or feel any of that displeasure
which Maria had been half prepared for.
Thus much was settled before Edmund, who had been out all the morning, knew
anything of the matter; but when he entered the drawing-room before dinner, the
buzz of discussion was high between Tom, Maria, and Mr. Yates; and Mr.
Rushworth stepped forward with great alacrity to tell him the agreeable news.
"We have got a play," said he. "It is to be Lovers' Vows; and I am to be Count
Cassel, and am to come in first with a blue dress and a pink satin cloak, and
afterwards am to have another fine fancy suit, by way of a shooting-dress. I do
not know how I shall like it."
Fanny's eyes followed Edmund, and her heart beat for him as she heard this
speech, and saw his look, and felt what his sensations must be.
"Lovers' Vows!" in a tone of the greatest amazement, was his only reply to Mr.
Rushworth, and he turned towards his brother and sisters as if hardly doubting a
"Yes," cried Mr. Yates. "After all our debatings and difficulties, we find there is
nothing that will suit us altogether so well, nothing so unexceptionable, as Lovers'
Vows. The wonder is that it should not have been thought of before. My stupidity
was abominable, for here we have all the advantage of what I saw at Ecclesford;
and it is so useful to have anything of a model! We have cast almost every part."
"But what do you do for women?" said Edmund gravely, and looking at Maria.
Maria blushed in spite of herself as she answered, "I take the part which Lady
Ravenshaw was to have done, and" (with a bolder eye) "Miss Crawford is to be
"I should not have thought it the sort of play to be so easily filled up, with us,"
replied Edmund, turning away to the fire, where sat his mother, aunt, and Fanny,
and seating himself with a look of great vexation.