Mary Crawford Quotations

Quotations from the antiheroine of Mansfield Park, the lively, worldly, and entertaining Mary Crawford:

1814 Ackermann's fashion plate - Walking Dress“I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly: I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage.” (Ch. 4)

“Oh dear! let him stand his chance and be taken in. It will do just as well. Everybody is taken in at some period or other. … In marriage especially. With all due respect to such of the present company as chance to be married, my dear Mrs. Grant, there is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry. Look where I will, I see that it is so; and I feel that it must be so, when I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least honest themselves. … speaking from my own observation, it is a manoeuvring business. I know so many who have married in the full expectation and confidence of some one particular advantage in the connexion, or accomplishment, or good quality in the person, who have found themselves entirely deceived, and been obliged to put up with exactly the reverse. What is this but a take in?” (Ch. 5)

Miss Crawford soon felt that he and his situation might do. She looked about her with due consideration, and found almost everything in his favour: a park, a real park, five miles round, a spacious modern-built house, so well placed and well screened as to deserve to be in any collection of engravings of gentlemen’s seats in the kingdom, and wanting only to be completely new furnished—pleasant sisters, a quiet mother, and an agreeable man himself—with the advantage of being tied up from much gaming at present by a promise to his father, and of being Sir Thomas hereafter. It might do very well; she believed she should accept him … (Ch. 5)

“Three years ago the Admiral, my honoured uncle, bought a cottage at Twickenham for us all to spend our summers in; and my aunt and I went down to it quite in raptures; but it being excessively pretty, it was soon found necessary to be improved” (Ch. 6)

“Mr. Bertram,” said she, “I have tidings of my harp at last. I am assured that it is safe at Northampton; and there it has probably been these ten days, in spite of the solemn assurances we have so often received to the contrary.” Edmund expressed his pleasure and surprise. “The truth is, that our inquiries were too direct; we sent a servant, we went ourselves: this will not do seventy miles from London; but this morning we heard of it in the right way. It was seen by some farmer, and he told the miller, and the miller told the butcher, and the butcher’s son-in-law left word at the shop.” (Ch. 6)

“What strange creatures brothers are! You would not write to each other but upon the most urgent necessity in the world; and when obliged to take up the pen to say that such a horse is ill, or such a relation dead, it is done in the fewest possible words. You have but one style among you. I know it perfectly. Henry, who is in every other respect exactly what a brother should be, who loves me, consults me, confides in me, and will talk to me by the hour together, has never yet turned the page in a letter; and very often it is nothing more than — ‘Dear Mary, I am just arrived. Bath seems full, and everything as usual. Yours sincerely.’ That is the true manly style; that is a complete brother’s letter.” (Ch. 6)

%22The Marchioness of Northampton Playing a Harp%22 by Sir Henry Raeburn“My dear Miss Price,” said Miss Crawford, as soon as she was at all within hearing, “I am come to make my own apologies for keeping you waiting; but I have nothing in the world to say for myself — I knew it was very late, and that I was behaving extremely ill; and therefore, if you please, you must forgive me. Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” (Ch. 7)

“Nothing ever fatigues me but doing what I do not like.” (Ch. 7)

“Oh! do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” (Ch. 9)

“I must move,” said she; “resting fatigues me.” (Ch. 9)

“I often think of Mr. Rushworth’s property and independence, and wish them in other hands; but I never think of him.” (Ch. 17)

“I see no wonder in this shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it.” (Ch. 22)

“Well,” said Miss Crawford, “and do you not scold us for our imprudence? What do you think we have been sitting down for but to be talked to about it, and entreated and supplicated never to do so again?” (Ch. 22)

“Upon my word,” cried Miss Crawford, “you are two of the most disappointing and unfeeling kind friends I ever met with! There is no giving you a moment’s uneasiness. You do not know how much we have been suffering, nor what chills we have felt! But I have long thought Mr. Bertram one of the worst subjects to work on, in any little manoeuvre against common sense, that a woman could be plagued with. I had very little hope of him from the first; but you, Mrs. Grant, my sister, my own sister, I think I had a right to alarm you a little.” (Ch. 22)

“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” (Ch. 22)

“Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves.” (Ch. 23)

“Foolish fellow! And so this is her attraction after all! This it is, her not caring about you, which gives her such a soft skin, and makes her so much taller, and produces all these charms and graces!” (Ch. 24)

“There, I will stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it.” (Ch. 25)

“A poor honourable is no catch, and I cannot imagine any liking in the case, for take away his rants, and the poor baron has nothing. What a difference a vowel makes! If his rents were but equal to his rants!” (Ch. 40)

“Varnish and gilding hide many stains.” (Ch. 45)

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Illustrations: “Walking Dress” an 1814 Ackermann’s fashion plate and “The Marchioness of Northampton Playing a Harp” by Sir Henry Raeburn.

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One comment on “Mary Crawford Quotations

  1. genusrosa says:

    Ah, Mary Crawford…such wit and zest! Yes, she did ‘stake her last like a woman of spirit’. And she lost. It is clear her author and creator identified with Mary in many ways, and, in the end, refused to rein her in and allow her happiness with the one man who had a claim on her heart. Mary is left to the age old comforts of companionship with her sister. (With some exceptions, I think of Mary Crawford as ‘Jane Austen, unplugged’!)

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