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Chapter 43
It was presumed that Mr. Crawford was travelling back, to London, on the
morrow, for nothing more was seen of him at Mr. Price's; and two days
afterwards, it was a fact ascertained to Fanny by the following letter from his
sister, opened and read by her, on another account, with the most anxious
"I have to inform you, my dearest Fanny, that Henry has been down to
Portsmouth to see you; that he had a delightful walk with you to the dockyard last
Saturday, and one still more to be dwelt on the next day, on the ramparts; when
the balmy air, the sparkling sea, and your sweet looks and conversation were
altogether in the most delicious harmony, and afforded sensations which are to
raise ecstasy even in retrospect. This, as well as I understand, is to be the
substance of my information. He makes me write, but I do not know what else is
to be communicated, except this said visit to Portsmouth, and these two said
walks, and his introduction to your family, especially to a fair sister of yours, a
fine girl of fifteen, who was of the party on the ramparts, taking her first lesson, I
presume, in love. I have not time for writing much, but it would be out of place if I
had, for this is to be a mere letter of business, penned for the purpose of
conveying necessary information, which could not be delayed without risk of evil.
My dear, dear Fanny, if I had you here, how I would talk to you! You should listen
to me till you were tired, and advise me till you were still tired more; but it is
impossible to put a hundredth part of my great mind on paper, so I will abstain
altogether, and leave you to guess what you like. I have no news for you. You
have politics, of course; and it would be too bad to plague you with the names of
people and parties that fill up my time. I ought to have sent you an account of
your cousin's first party, but I was lazy, and now it is too long ago; suffice it, that
everything was just as it ought to be, in a style that any of her connections must
have been gratified to witness, and that her own dress and manners did her the
greatest credit. My friend, Mrs. Fraser, is mad for such a house, and it would not
make me miserable. I go to Lady Stornaway after Easter; she seems in high
spirits, and very happy. I fancy Lord S. is very good-humoured and pleasant in
his own family, and I do not think him so very ill-looking as I did--at least, one
sees many worse. He will not do by the side of your cousin Edmund. Of the last-
mentioned hero, what shall I say? If I avoided his name entirely, it would look
suspicious. I will say, then, that we have seen him two or three times, and that
my friends here are very much struck with his gentlemanlike appearance. Mrs.
Fraser (no bad judge) declares she knows but three men in town who have so
good a person, height, and air; and I must confess, when he dined here the other
day, there were none to compare with him, and we were a party of sixteen.
Luckily there is no distinction of dress nowadays to tell tales, but--but-- but Yours
I had almost forgot (it was Edmund's fault: he gets into my head more than does
me good) one very material thing I had to say from Henry and myself--I mean
about our taking you back into Northamptonshire. My dear little creature, do not