Sir Thomas Bertram

This is my final post for my series on the characters of Mansfield Park, which I explored in depth while writing my novel, Fanny, a Mansfield Park Story .

I have decided to end this series as Austen ends the novel, on Sir Thomas Bertram. Of all the characters in Mansfield Park, it is the unlikeliest, the paternal figure, who learns and grows the most, and consequently, in whose point of view almost the entirety of the final chapter is given.

When we first meet Sir Thomas we learn he was "captivated" by a Miss Maria Ward of only seven thousand pounds. He then induces his friend, Mr. Norris to marry his wife's sister, by giving him the living at Mansfield Parsonage. We learn a lot about him in the very first chapter. He wants to help his wife's sister's family. He wants to do what's right. He's a principled man. He's willing to invite one of her numerous children to live in his home. But he doesn't want her marrying either of his sons and he wants to make sure a distinction is maintained between his niece and his daughters.

And we soon learn what kind of daughters they are: selfish, vain, shallow, and sometimes even cruel. Sir Thomas does not have an active role in raising them. Maybe in that time and place he shouldn't have, but he knew what kind of person his wife was; he knew she wasn't doing anything and he let Mrs. Norris fill the void, and fill his daughters' heads with flattery, self-importance, and a sense of superiority.

Sir Thomas was surprised to find out his sister-in-law who had pushed for the adoption does not intend to bring their neice into her own home and when Mr. Norris dies, Sir Thomas is again caught by surprise. Sure, he's willing to keep Fanny on, but he had been hoping "to be relieved from the expense of her support, and the obligation of her future provision."

He travels to Antigua soon after, just as his daughters are at the "interesting" age of entering the marriage market. A lot happens in his absence, including his daughter's engagement. And when he returns and discovers the kind of man Maria is engaged to, he offers her an out, but is actually relieved she doesn't take it. We learn she is motivated at least in part by the desire to get out of her father's house. Later, her sister Julia has the same motivation for her elopement with Yates.

But before that, Fanny receives an unwelcome proposal of marriage and Sir Thomas treats her very differently than he treated Maria. True, he was not around to see all the things Fanny objects to in Mr. Crawford, but she has told him she doesn't like him and doesn't want to marry him. He demands an explanation from her, and not being satisfied, he berates her for her refusal and then punishes her by sending her to Portsmouth. I believe he is motivated by self interest here, by the desire to be relieved of Fanny's present and future support, as he was after the death of Mr. Norris.

So far Sir Thomas does seem to have a lot to learn. What does it take for him to learn it? His daughter Maria commits adultery and gets a divorce; his other daughter elopes with Mr. Yates. Even his son Tom comes down with a life threatening illness and Edmund gets his heart broken. All of his children have suffered. But we are told that Sir Thomas "was the longest to suffer" because he was "conscious of errors in his own conduct as a parent" and "the anguish arising from the conviction of his own errors in the education of his daughters was never to be entirely done away." He now "saw how ill he had judged" in raising his daughters and allowing them to be so much influenced by Mrs. Norris. He reflected over it "bitterly" and "wretchedly" concluding, "Here had been grievous mismanagement." A large part of the final chapter is dedicated to the explanation of Sir Thomas' realizations and regrets. Until, at last, "Sick of ambitious and mercenary connexions, prizing more and more the sterling good of principle and temper," he finally "realised a great acquisition in the promise of Fanny for a daughter." And as it turned out, "Fanny was indeed the daughter that he wanted."

It seems to me everyone thought Mansfield Park would improve Fanny, but in the end, Fanny improved Mansfield Park which is "just such a contrast ... as time is for ever producing between the plans and decisions of mortals, for their own instruction, and their neighbours' entertainment."

What are your thoughts on Sir Thomas?
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Published on September 04, 2021 12:14 Tags: mansfield-park-jane-austen
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message 1: by Elise (new)

Elise Curran Thank you for this analysis! So many people see Sir Thomas as one-dimensional, but Austen treats him very differently than she did Mr. Bennet, for instance. And how unusual for her time, to take the patriarch of a superior family with all his position and privileges, and show not only how wrong he's been, but his own realization of his failings and attempts to correct them. That's why I get so frustrated when people brush off Austen as a romance author--how clueless can you get?

message 2: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Elise wrote: "Thank you for this analysis! So many people see Sir Thomas as one-dimensional, but Austen treats him very differently than she did Mr. Bennet, for instance. And how unusual for her time, to take th..."

Yes! I agree completely! In Mansfield Park, it's not the heroine who grows and learns, but the paternal figure; it's such an inversion of the normal paradigm. Others learn in the novel, mainly Edmund, but I think Sir Thomas has the most personal growth of all the characters, it just comes a little late in life for him.

message 3: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK I am struck by Elise's comment that Austen takes on not a young female to 'morally educate' but a successful, affluent, 'man of property' Sir Thomas Bertram. That is very challenging to society - that a mere impoverished spinster (Austen) of no particular influence or position in society should 'presume' to chastise and criticise a man like Sir Thomas. That really struck me! All credit to her.

Do we think she had someone 'in real life' in mind for Sir Thomas.

Can we call him 'A good man who allows bad things to happen' (eg, his daughter ruined beyond social rescue, a second throwing herself away on an inferior young man, his son growing up an extravagant wastrel and his other son unable to read the character of a woman who is morally tainted - not to mention that he was stupid enough to marry a pretty but stupid woman in the first place!)

message 4: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK 'Improvement' is definitely a known theme, I know - from the trailing of 'improving' Sotherton by cutting down ancient trees (Henry Crawford's very revealing-of-his-character's suggestion to Mr Rushworth)(is that his name, I always get it wrong!) - to, as you say, it turning out to be Fanny who 'improves' not just Sir Thomas, but Mansfield Park overall.

Sir Thomas definitely 'improves' by the end of the book, and so does Tom (chastened by his near death experience in his illness, so we gather), and so does Edmund (his faulty 'vision' is corrected that once fell for Mary Crawford). Julia, we are hinted at, who was never as bad as Maria, does 'improve' as does her husband, and I think there is a hint there that, though Austen does not develop it, that Mr Yates and Julia will become 'better' and the former not as 'silly' as he once, that education and good company will work on them.

Mrs Norris definitely doesn't improve - nor does Maria. We are given no hint that her social punishment makes her reflect upon her foolish, rash and wrong past behaviour.

Lady Bertram doesn't improve - probably impossible. (Again, Austen does not raise the issue of whether a woman like Lady B could even improve)

Fanny, of course, does not 'improve' - because she doesn't need to!!

message 5: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK And of course the Crawfords never improve either - though, yet again, Austen trails the questions of whether, had Fanny married Henry, she could have actually improved him. He was showing signs, after all, as he tells her, of taking more interest in his tenantry, and the responsibilities of being an estate owner.....

message 6: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Beth, thank you for your comments.

Do we think she had someone 'in real life' in mind for Sir Thomas.

I think she may have. She probably saw several negligent parents. The thing is Sir Thomas thought he was doing a good job until Maria proved otherwise in pretty spectacular fashion.

Can we call him 'A good man who allows bad things to happen'

Yes. I think so.

There is a lot of improvement in the novel, and I like your analogy to the discussion of improvement of their respective homes (Sotherton, Thornton Lacey, Everingham, even the improvement of Mansfield Parsonage is discussed.) Mrs. Norris and Maria don't improve, but Mansfield Park is improved by their absence. If you want to find out what happens to them, here's a little story:

I think the Crawfords do improve a little. Austen makes it clear they both regret losing Edmund and Fanny so there has to be something learned from that.

And yes, Austen does tease the tempting possibility of Henry deserving and winning Fanny, which was the basis for my novel.

message 7: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Ah, good point about how Mansfield Park is improved by Mrs Norris and Maria not being there any longer! I definitely hadn't spotted that.

And, yes, I concede that Mary and Henry do regret their losses - but whether they will ever 'come good' is less certain??

As ever, every Jane Austen novel leaves several more to be written about the rest of the characters she depicts.

With reference to which, I shall now go and read your 'other pen' that has, indeed, dwelt on misery...... (can't quite remember how Austen phrases it alas.) :)

message 8: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Just read it - so very little 'misery' in the end! I think both couples suit each other very well. :) :)

message 9: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." I'm glad you enjoyed it.

message 10: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK That's it! Thank you! Not that Maria feels any guilt, though (neither in the original, nor yours!!). Nor Henry either, come to that.

message 11: by Lori (new)

Lori Mulligan Davis Thank you for your fair and insightful assessment of Sir Thomas, whom I love dearly. My favorite part of my favorite Austen novel is Fanny's and Sir Thomas's loving father/daughter bond, and their daily meetings as the novel ends. I do want to say that Sir Thomas did intend to have her return to Mansfield, but after she learned the value of a privileged home, such as Henry Crawford could provide. I don't think he sent her away to be relieved of her present and future support. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your careful argument and supporting it with the text.

message 12: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Thanks for your comment Lori. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I agree with you. Sir Thomas did not send Fanny to Portsmouth to be relieved of her support and always intended her to return to Mansfield. But I think the expense of her support was a factor in his promoting her marriage to Henry.

message 13: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK His plan worked though - Fanny does indeed, come to realise how immensely privileged and lucky she's been in having grown up at Mansfield Park - though she has been very deprived of affection, and that is something, perhaps, that she would have got in Portsmouth, if not from her harrassed disorganised mum (certainly not her dad) but from William and Susan her favourite siblings.

How expensive would it have been to house her MP? After all, they have loads of spare rooms (Fanny takes over the old nursery I recall) and she can't have eaten very much (ie, to cause expense). She also acts as a companion and helpmeet to the uber-indolent Lady Bertram. And Mrs Norris uses her as an errand girl too.

She didn't have much by way of dresses (would she have got Maria and Julia's hand-me-downs? She might have made her own, or had the village seamstress make them, certainly not a posh dressmaker),

Was Sir Thomas ever going to fork out anything like a dowry for her at all, I wonder? I don't think there is any mention of it.

Of course, he'd have been very happy had she married Henry, not needing any dowry at all to induce it. Similarly, he would have been happier financially had Edmund married Mary Crawford with her money (something like £20k I think?)

message 14: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Beth,

You are right. The plan works in opening Fanny's eyes to the benefits of the lifestyle she's been able to enjoy. Obviously, his full plan was to get her to accept Crawford, but that was prevented by the elopement.

I agree it does seem kind of silly for him to be preoccupied by the expense of supporting Fanny, given how little it must cost to maintain her at MP. (And part of it may be that he feels he was duped into it by Mrs. Norris' zeal to adopt and then unwillingness to bear any of the burden.) But I think he's thinking of maintaining her as a gentlewoman for her future life. If she doesn't marry, he must feel like he has to make sure she has an establishment at some point. But it seems she'd be able to live at MP at least until he dies and after that what does he care? Maybe he doesn't think Tom would take care of her or keep her around once he inherits?

I always think the same thing when I read this passage in MP on Sir Thomas' reflection when he's expecting Fanny to go live with Mrs. Norris:

" became not undesirable to himself to be relieved from the expense of her support, and the obligation of her future provision".

Like, how expensive is her support? I think the second part, the obligation of her future provision may be a bigger concern. But this line is what makes me think this was part of his consideration in wanting her to accept Crawford.

message 15: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Yes, that distinction definitely makes sense! A child really doesn't cost much, but to establish her, as you say, as an independent adult, would. I guess he could always send her off to be a governness (like poor Jane Fairfax) but balked at that.

While he and Lady B were alive, Fanny would always have a home at MP, and she is, in effect, a kind of 'companion carer' to Lady B (who misses her once she marries Edmund, and sister Susan arrives to take her place). (What will become of Susan I wonder? Will Tom fall for her!!??)

If Mrs Norris is secure in her home, and can't be evicted and has her 'pension' then Fanny could live with her and become effectiveliy an unpaid servant I'm sure, but Fanny is likely to outlive all her mother's generation, and that is where the problem really comes. As you say, will Tom let her stay on at MP - or, more to the point, his wife (assuming he doesn't marry Susan!).

I would think that Sir T would make some kind of modest settlement on her, some kind of annuity, to see her out, but that would divert capital, or the use thereof, from his own children.

It really is easy to see why Sir T is SO keen on her marrying Henry.

message 16: by Amelia (last edited Nov 07, 2021 02:21PM) (new)

Amelia Logan It really is easy to see why Sir T is SO keen on her marrying Henry.

Yes, absolutely. But she was vindicated!

I personally have never liked the idea of Susan and Tom.

message 17: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Well, yes, I agree, in that she is vindicated as to Henry's character - on the other hand, one argument is that had she married him, he would never have succumbed to an adulterous affair with Maria, so there wouldn't have been anything to vindicate??.

message 18: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Well we don't know that for sure whether the affair would or would hat have happened if she'd married him, but probably not; Mary seems to think that's the case. But it's not Fanny's job to prevent him from having an adulterous affair.

But Fanny refused to marry Henry based on his previous behavior with Maria and Julia (the elopement hadn't occurred yet) so the elopement is what allows Sir Thomas to see that she was right and vindicate her decision, so without the elopement there still would be a need for her to be vindicated. If she marries Henry without that happening, then no one would know she was right in her opinion or in refusing him at first, depending on what point she accepts him.

message 19: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Good points - though I would say Fanny would never have married Henry C even if he'd been a saint, as she was in love with Edmund.

Like Elinor in Sense and Sensibility though, hers is a love she cannot speak, which puts her in a very difficult situation. Had she been able to tell Sir T she could never marry Henry as she was in love with another man, he might not have pressed her - but he'd have wanted to know who the other man was probably, and not been pleased when it was Edmund.

message 20: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Yes, all true. Although even if it wasn't Edmund I don't think she would have told Sir Thomas she was already in love. A proper lady was not supposed to be in love with a man who hadn't declared himself and I don't think Sir Thomas would have thought any better of her for turning down an eligible man who had proposed in favor of one who hadn't (even if it wasn't one of his sons). But Austen does say if Edmund had married Mary, and Fanny was consequently forced to get over her feelings for him, she would eventually have accepted Henry.

message 21: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK But can you think of anything worse than marrying the brother in law of the man you're in love with yourself?! Fanny would have had to socialise with Edmund, knowing him to be out of reach for ever (unless both Mary and Henry pegged out conveniently!).

Surely it would have been less agonising for her to return to Portsmouth, sever all connection with MP and avoid Edmund and Mary 'for ever'. I could see her easily marrying one of her brother's fellow officers in a few years time (after setting her parents' household in order!).

On the other hand, maybe she might have felt that if she couldn't have Edmund, if she did marry Henry she might still 'see something' of Edmund , and might have thought that some kind of 'continuation' in a way, sort of 'scraps from the table'?

I seem to recall that in Tolstoy's War and Peace, Natasha's cousin (Sophia?) has loved Natasha's brother (Nicky?) all her life, but he marries another woman (Prince Andrei's sister!). I think Sophia, though heartbroken ,stays on effectively as Nicky and his wife's children's governess, and goes on loving Nicky, even though she can never have him. It's 'better than nothign' from her point of view.

Fanny might have felt the same about Edmund had he married Mary??

message 22: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Thinking about it Fanny might have been very well suited had she married lovelorn Captain Benwick from Persuasion!! (In fact, wasn't his late fiancee, Captain Harville's sister, called Fanny too?)(er, changed I believe to 'Phoebe' in the film version, as Fanny is now, of course, too rude in the English vernacular to be used without sniggering!) (Sniggering occurs when Americans innocently refer to 'fanny packs'....)

message 23: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan I never noticed that about changing Fanny to Phoebe for the film! And I've read the book and watched the movie so many times! Time for re-read followed by a re-watch, I think. But I'm not sure I agree Fanny and Benwick would be suited. They are both kind of the same -- too serious and quiet. Fanny needs someone to cheer her up a little, to counterbalance her seriousness. I had thought James Morland might work for her, but then I realized he needs to marry Mary Bennet, and we don't really know much about his personality. Maybe someone like Bingley would be good.

It's funny what you say about the name "Fanny" which I chose as the title of my book, because that's her name. But sometimes an amazon search for the book might lead to a page of fannypacks! But no, it's not a name you see much anymore.

message 24: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Beth,

I didn't see your other message when I replied earlier. You raise some interesting points. I do like the idea of Fanny leaving MP and finding happiness and a husband (who is neither Edmund nor Henry) elsewhere. Getting her parents' house in order would definitely be a bonus! I hope she would not enjoy the idea of being in Edmund's orbit for scraps of his attention. (I've never read W&P and now I kind of don't want to!) I agree with you that it might be odd to marry Henry and be in the same social circle with the man she used to love. But Austen did say it could happen. And I don't think Fanny would ever accept Crawford (or anyone else) unless she was completely over Edmund and in love with Henry.

message 25: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Alas, Fanny is now just too rude in the crude English vernacular ever to be used as a female name any longer - things may change, but for now it just causes sniggers (at best). I don't quite know when it became effectively taboo, but it certainly is now. Sad and horrid, alas.

(I imagine that English teachers of Austen have to get past the first classroom sniggers, and get them out of the way, before they can get stuck into teaching the novel!!!!!)

(In similar vein, I can remember reading a fantasy book, written by an American, to my children in which there was a young wizard called Randy. Oh dear, in the crude English vernacular that has made Fanny impossible as a name for a girl, so Randy is impossible as a name for a boy - it, er, means, well, I guess 'eager for sex' I suppose is the most innocuous way of defining it!)

message 26: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK As for Fanny Price.....I just can't see her 'getting over' Edmund if she had to see him on a regular, familial basis, ie, if she married Henry, or just 'hung around' Mansfield Park itself after Edmund had married Mary C.

I do think decamping back to Portsmouth would be her only option.

Yes, I agree she's too solemn for Captain Benwick, but I think they would have got on, at any rate. It's always a little difficult to decide whether his falling for Louisa Musgrove was or wasn't a good match - Captain Wentworth seems to think not, because Fanny/Phoebe Harville was, he says, an exceptional young woman, compared to the jolly, high spirited but not that bright (???) Louisa. (Mind you, her near death experience is said to have 'sobered' her, so she might be better now for Benwick?)

message 27: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai I have always imagined Fannys marring Edmunds clergy friend but I cant even imagine his ending up marring Mary they are so unsuitable(except for physical attraction)However JA does hint that after all this expierence and under gentle and right minded Mrs Grant Marycomes to apreciate good values and we already know that she has a good heart and good intentens How about her marring C Fitzwilliam second son of an Eroll? Inmy mind I have had Ann Be Berg fade away and his inheriting rosings

message 28: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Mrs. Benyishai - I also always thought Mary and Edmund would be miserable together until someone pointed out to me that Austen does suggest otherwise in the text. I think Colonel Fitzwilliam might be a good match for Mary except at the end of Mansfield Park she's sworn off second sons. But he probably would not inherit Rosings if Anne de Bourgh "faded away." He could get it by marrying Anne though.

message 29: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai He is nephew to Lady de berg so is as close to inhereting as Mr collens. His eldest brother is to bcome earl so he is next also the property is Lady Debergs to hand out like JA aunt who can despose as she wants and gives it to the great nephew Edward James (Beth tell me if I have the british laws correct here) as for JA hinting that it might work out I dont agree sometimes-and with her novels always -the characters have a way of developing independent of the auther and Mary and Edmund just do not suit

message 30: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Yes! Austen's characters are all very real.

Anne de Bourgh is the heiress of Rosings because the estate was owned by her father, Sir Lewis de Bourgh. If Anne were to die before inheriting, the estate would probably go to another releative on the de Bourgh side. It is highly unlikely that Lady Catherine has the right to decide who will inherit Rosings. Colonel Fitzwilliam is related to Anne on Lady Catherine's side (the Fitzwilliam side) not the de Bourgh side. The Fitzwilliam side does have the earldom which is held by Lady Catherine's brother who is Colonel Fitzwilliam's father; but it has nothing to do with who inherits Rosings which was passed down on the de Bourgh side.

message 31: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai So how does Edward James Austen inherit from his Aunt by marriage who evedently gave her estate to whomever she fancied?

message 32: by Amelia (last edited Jan 06, 2022 04:16PM) (new)

Amelia Logan This is what wikipedia says:

"When Edward was twelve years old he was presented to Thomas and Catherine Knight, who were relatives of his father and were wealthy. Thomas had given George Austen the living at Steventon in 1761. They were childless and took an interest in Edward, making him their legal heir in about 1783. ... When Thomas died in 1794 he left the Godmersham Park estate to his wife for her life, with the remainder going to Edward."

So the husband, Thomas Knight, decided to leave the estate to Edward Austen. If Thomas had died before making Edward his heir, I guess it's possible his wife could still have done so, but I think it would be unlikely because landed property would not automatically go to a widow upon the death of the owner. Thomas would have had to leave her the estate in a will, including the power to decide who gets it on her death in order for her to be able to then give it to Edward (or anyone else). In reality, he only left her a life estate with the remainder interest to Edward.

That being said, we do know that Mrs. Ferrars in S&S is a widow who has absolute control over the inheritance of her sons. This would have been the exception rather than the rule and would most likely have been determined in her marriage contract when she married their father, which means she probably brought a lot of money to the marriage and may even have brought the estate she ultimately gives to Robert.

message 33: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai I am refering to a different inheritence Mrs Austins uncle inherted an estste and the Austens expected when he died that he would leave money to his sister and evetually the estate to one of the sons (not exclusavley the eldest. Henry was also thought of) However he crashed their hope (hey were poor and this was hard)hisAll was left to his wife at her discetion whom to leave it to She lived for another 20 years and kept them in suspence when Edward James (the eldest brothers son) married into a promnent family she chose to leave it to him He is the one who wrote the first biography of JA

message 34: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai Therefore I asume that Lady De berg can leave her EState at her descetion so as an imaginest I have Ann fade away and her leaving it to her attentive nephew C Fitzwilliam who then even though he is a second son can be attractive to a reformed Mary

message 35: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Okay I think I know who you're talking about now: James Edward Austen-Leigh, the son of Jane Austen's eldest brother, James. According to the internet, he inherited from Mrs. Jane Leigh Perrot who had been married to one of Mrs. Austen's brothers. It does say it was her husband's money so he would have had to leave her in control of it though details of that aspect of her life seem to be scarce; most articles that mention her talk about her trial for theft instead.

I think I acknowledged that it's not impossible for a widow to have control of an inheritance and I mentioned Mrs. Ferrars as an example. I don't think it would be likely in the case of Rosings, but we don't know. The book doesn't say one way or the other what would happen if Anne dies without issue. I just think it's more likely there's already an established heir on the de Bourgh side, than that Lady Catherine could do what she wants with it.

message 36: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai maybe I am imagining what I want... but I have had a good instructer in imagining

message 37: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai The Biographers dont make a big deal abuout the theft (that is todays media yellow tendecies) but do write about the fact that Mrs Austens brother could have but didnt leave his sister and har daughters any money as expected even though he knew their situation . My opinion is that he thought Edward should be diong more for them. Mrs Leigh Perriot had full control of her EState and funds at one point even Henry was considered but some biographers wondere dif the reason she didnt leave it to him was because she didnt aprove of his wife cousin Eliza so she left it to the next generation whose wife she approved of as upper upper class

message 38: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Can you recommend a biography that has more about this? There's not much on the internet and the books I've read about Austen haven't given much information on it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

And yes, you can imagine anything you like. P&P certainly doesn't tell us that Lady Catherine couldn't leave Rosings to Colonel Fitzwilliam if Anne predeceases her. I think it's unlikely, but that's just my opinion. I also prefer to think of Anne as surviving her mother and having an heir - maybe with Colonel Fitzwilliam as her husband.

message 39: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK I, too, hope poor little crushed Anne de Burgh gets a happy ending for herself. I hope Lady C dies of an apoplexy (possibly at Darcy's wedding!) making Anne an heiress. I assume Mr Darcy and Colonel Fitz would be her guardians/trustees, and would ensure she didn't get married for her money by a bounder like Mr Wickham.

She might indeed marry Colonel Fitz, but it would be nice if she got someone 'for herself' so to speak, and had more romance in her life. I can see her coming to Pemberley a lot, and being influenced by both Lizzie and Georgiana, and, with her overbearing mother dead, can 'un-crush' herself and finally blossom.

message 40: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan I wrote a little story about Anne. It's called Treasure and Trickery. I'm not able to post a link here but it's on my website at ameliamarielogan dot com.

message 41: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai I have just read Amelias story about Maria and it is what I "imagend" her ending up with C Tilney however I never thought of Mrs Norris marring and certainly not having a child -she was too old and what would attrct the general to that witch?

message 42: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan I'm glad you read it! It's just a bit of fun. I think General Tilney and Mrs. Norris were made for each other. As for her having a child, I admit it's not probable, but maybe not impossible!

message 43: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai Actually they are both so mean... but dodnt forget he eyed Catherine at the ball he had an eye for an attractive women and surly there were plenty of deperate attractive women around in Bathe for him to chose from. but by marrying they get there right deserts being both so nasty Lets continue imagining and give those poor children a wonderful nanny to bring them up maybe under th watchful eye of Henry and catherine or being moved to Elenores care

message 44: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK Amelia - thank you - I'll look it up.

message 45: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai To answer Amelia I have read so much on JA I am not sure where I got the information . but at least 3 of the soures are;
1 Claire Tomalin/Jane AUsten a life
2Dirdre Le Faye /Jane Austen-A family Record
3Jane Austen's Letters (fourth Edition) collected and edited by Deirde Le Faye

message 46: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai the wife she approved of was a Chute high up on the British gentry scale so she left them the Estate and money while Henry and Cassandra strugled all their lives and charles too ( as he had the same income as Frank I could never understand the difference like the differences between C Harvelle and C Wentworth)

message 47: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK I think Captain Wentworth gained more prize money than his co-captain Captain Harville.

Also, maybe the salaries of captains, such as it was, might have varied according to the size and status of the ships they commanded, plus the date of their captaincy (ie, if Wentworth were older, and had been made a captain sooner than Harville, his salary might have been higher?)

But I suspect the difference in their respective wealth was because of prize money???

message 48: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan It does seem curious that Captain Harville is described as not very wealthy (his fortune required him to take inexpensive lodgings) while Captain Wentworth is described as having significant wealth. But we also know that Harville was wounded and is lame, so maybe that explains the difference in their incomes. Also, Harville has a family. And it is possible, as you say, that Wentworth has been serving longer and has been able to accumulate more prize money.

message 49: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Logan Mrs. B - thanks for those book recommendations. I haven't read any of those, so I'll check them out.

message 50: by Beth-In-UK (new)

Beth-In-UK That's the only explanation I can come up with. Any one else with any other thoughts on the disparity?

To an extent, it must have been a matter of luck as to whether or not one got hold of any prize money - not all assignments would have taken one into situations where that was possible.

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