Character Sketches, Part IV

Originally Posted by Miss Sneyd on November 21, 2009, 12:50 PM

Nanny: A servant to Mrs. Norris who calls her “my chief counsellor.” She is sent to London to meet Fanny Price and bring her to Mansfield Park.

Admiral Crawford: The uncle of Henry and Mary Crawford (he is their father’s brother). “Admiral and Mrs. Crawford, though agreeing in nothing else, were united in affection for these children, or, at least, were no farther adverse in their feelings than that each had their favourite, to whom they showed the greatest fondness of the two.  The Admiral delighted in the boy, Mrs. Crawford doted on the girl.” When his wife dies, Admiral Crawford, “a man of vicious conduct” chose “instead of retaining his niece, to bring his mistress under his own roof.” He remains on good terms with Henry, however, and when Henry brings Fanny Price’s brother William to dine with the Admiral, he exerts himself to get William a commission.

Mrs. Crawford: The wife of Admiral Crawford. She had “knowledge of the world” that made her “looked up to by all the young people of her acquaintance”. Fanny and Edmund, knowing that Mary Crawford “has been entirely brought up by her”, conclude “the faults of the niece to have been those of the aunt”. Her death obliges Mary Crawford to find another home.

Lord Ravenshaw: The owner of Ecclesford, where the private theatricals of “a large party assembled for gaiety at the house” are abruptly ended by “the sudden death of one of the nearest connexions of the family,”–a grandmother. Lord Ravenshaw was to have played the Baron in the play, the role coveted by Mr. Yates, who was of his party. Mr. Yates wanted the news of the death suppressed until after the play was completed, but Lord Ravenshaw, who he supposes “is one of the most correct men in England, would not hear of it.”

Lady Ravenshaw: The wife of Lord Ravenshaw, she was to have portrayed Agatha in the play.

Christopher Jackson: A carpenter employed by Sir Thomas Bertram. He builds a theatre for Tom Bertram and does a “neat job” which does him credit. When Sir Thomas returns, Christopher Jackson is “set … to work in pulling down what had been so lately put up.”

Charles Maddox: When Tom Bertram finds that it is impossible for him to undertake the part of Anhalt in the play, he says that he “should not be afraid to trust either of the Olivers or Charles Maddox. … and Charles Maddox is as gentlemanlike a man as you will see anywhere.” Miss Crawford prefers him, as she has met him, and remembers him as “a quiet-looking young man.” However, he does not end up with the part as Edmund Bertram takes it, to avoid “the excessive intimacy which must spring from his being admitted among us in this manner.”

Tom Oliver: When Tom Bertram finds that it is impossible for him to undertake the part of Anhalt in the play, he says that he “should not be afraid to trust either of the Olivers or Charles Maddox. Tom Oliver is a very clever fellow.”

Mr. Owen: A friend of Edmund Bertram’s and the son of a clergyman, he is also going to be a clergyman. Edmund stays with him during Christmas, and they receive their ordination together. He has three sisters grown up.

The Misses Owens: The three grown up sisters of Mr. Owen. They are “pleasant, good-humoured, unaffected girls.” Miss Crawford becomes jealous of them when Edmund Bertram defers “his return, having promised to remain some days longer with his friend,” their brother.

Mrs. Fraser: Formerly Miss Janet Ross. She is the wife of Mr. Fraser, the sister of Lady Stornaway, the step-mother of Margaret Fraser (whom she tries to get Henry Crawford to marry), and the intimate friend of Mary Crawford. She is “as unhappy as most other married people.” “There is a spirit of irritation which, to say nothing worse, is certainly very ill-bred.” Miss Crawford stays with her in London during Easter. Edmund dines with the Frasers when he comes to London, and Mrs. Fraser is “very much struck with his gentlemanlike appearance.” Edmund is afraid that if he writes to Miss Crawford to ask her to marry him, that she will consult Mrs. Fraser whom he considers “ a cold-hearted, vain woman, who has married entirely from convenience … and is the determined supporter of everything mercenary and ambitious, provided it be only mercenary and ambitious enough.”

Lady Stornaway: Formerly Miss Flora Ross. She is the sister of Mrs. Fraser and a “most particular friend” of Mary Crawford. She was “dying for Henry the first winter she came out” and then “jilted a very nice young man in the Blues for the sake of that horrid Lord Stornaway” who has a “blackguard character.” She is more affluent than her sister. Miss Crawford goes to visit her after Easter. Miss Crawford says “she seems in high spirits, and very happy.  I fancy Lord S. is very good-humoured and pleasant in his own family.” Edmund’s eyes are opened to Mary Crawford’s true character when he meets her for the last time while she is staying with Lady Stornaway.

Rebecca: The very unhelpful and lazy servant of Mr. and Mrs. Price, she is even louder than Mrs. Price and Betsey, “thoroughly without a single recommendation,” and “never where she ought to be.” She is, however, alert “in going to the door, a duty which always interested her beyond any other.” Fanny Price  finds it difficult to inure herself to “Rebecca’s cookery and Rebecca’s waiting.” Rebecca discomposes Mrs. Price by wearing “a flower in her hat.”

Mr. Harding: An “old and most particular friend” of Sir Thomas Bertram, “who hearing and witnessing a good deal to alarm him” in Maria Rushworth’s behavior, “wrote to recommend Sir Thomas’s coming to London himself, and using his influence with his daughter to put an end to the intimacy which was already exposing her to unpleasant remarks, and evidently making Mr. Rushworth uneasy.” This letter is “followed by another, sent express from the same friend, to break to him the almost desperate situation in which affairs then stood with the young people. Mrs. Rushworth had left her husband’s house:  Mr. Rushworth had been in great anger and distress to him (Mr. Harding) for his advice; Mr. Harding feared there had been at least very flagrant indiscretion. … He was doing all in his power to quiet everything, with the hope of Mrs. Rushworth’s return, but was … much counteracted.”

Pug: Lady Bertram’s pet dog, of whom she is very fond “thinking more of her pug than her children”. Some apprehension is felt by Lady Bertram when the idea of bringing Fanny Price to Mansfield Park is being discussed, “I hope she will not tease my poor pug … I have but just got Julia to leave it alone.” However, Pug, too, can be troublesome, as Lady Bertram observed, “Sitting and calling to Pug, and trying to keep him from the flower-beds, was almost too much for me.” Lady Bertram, however, kindly welcomes Fanny and makes “her sit on the sofa with herself and pug”–though this, unfortunately is not enough to put the homesick Fanny at her ease. When a party is made up to visit Sotherton, they depart amid “the barking of Pug in his mistress’s arms”. When Lady Bertram’s husband returns from Antigua she is “so sensibly animated as to put away her work, move Pug from her side, and give all her attention and all the rest of her sofa to her husband”. When Lady Bertram finds out that Fanny has an admirer, she is so enlivened that she declares, “And I will tell you what, Fanny, which is more than I did for Maria: the next time Pug has a litter you shall have a puppy.”

Character Sketches:
Part I: Fanny Price, the Bertrams, & the Norrises
Part II: The Prices
Part III: The Grants & the Crawfords; The Rushworths & Mr. Yates
Part IV: Other Characters