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Chapter 32
Fanny had by no means forgotten Mr. Crawford when she awoke the next
morning; but she remembered the purport of her note, and was not less sanguine
as to its effect than she had been the night before. If Mr. Crawford would but go
away! That was what she most earnestly desired: go and take his sister with him,
as he was to do, and as he returned to Mansfield on purpose to do. And why it
was not done already she could not devise, for Miss Crawford certainly wanted
no delay. Fanny had hoped, in the course of his yesterday's visit, to hear the day
named; but he had only spoken of their journey as what would take place ere
Having so satisfactorily settled the conviction her note would convey, she could
not but be astonished to see Mr. Crawford, as she accidentally did, coming up to
the house again, and at an hour as early as the day before. His coming might
have nothing to do with her, but she must avoid seeing him if possible; and being
then on her way upstairs, she resolved there to remain, during the whole of his
visit, unless actually sent for; and as Mrs. Norris was still in the house, there
seemed little danger of her being wanted.
She sat some time in a good deal of agitation, listening, trembling, and fearing to
be sent for every moment; but as no footsteps approached the East room, she
grew gradually composed, could sit down, and be able to employ herself, and
able to hope that Mr. Crawford had come and would go without her being obliged
to know anything of the matter.
Nearly half an hour had passed, and she was growing very comfortable, when
suddenly the sound of a step in regular approach was heard; a heavy step, an
unusual step in that part of the house: it was her uncle's; she knew it as well as
his voice; she had trembled at it as often, and began to tremble again, at the idea
of his coming up to speak to her, whatever might be the subject. It was indeed Sir
Thomas who opened the door and asked if she were there, and if he might come
in. The terror of his former occasional visits to that room seemed all renewed,
and she felt as if he were going to examine her again in French and English.
She was all attention, however, in placing a chair for him, and trying to appear
honoured; and, in her agitation, had quite overlooked the deficiencies of her
apartment, till he, stopping short as he entered, said, with much surprise, "Why
have you no fire to-day?"
There was snow on the ground, and she was sitting in a shawl. She hesitated.
"I am not cold, sir: I never sit here long at this time of year."
"But you have a fire in general?"
"No, sir."
"How comes this about? Here must be some mistake. I understood that you had
the use of this room by way of making you perfectly comfortable. In your
bedchamber I know you cannot have a fire. Here is some great misapprehension
which must be rectified. It is highly unfit for you to sit, be it only half an hour a
day, without a fire. You are not strong. You are chilly. Your aunt cannot be aware
of this."