Christmas: A Quotation

Originally Posted by Miss Sneyd on December 25, 2009, 7:20 AM

Fanny and William Price (Katy Durham-Matthews  and Luke Healy). Image from sns_red_curtain.

“Amid the cares and the complacency which his own children suggested, Sir Thomas did not forget to do what he could for the children of Mrs. Price: he assisted her liberally in the education and disposal of her sons as they became old enough for a determinate pursuit; and Fanny, though almost totally separated from her family, was sensible of the truest satisfaction in hearing of any kindness towards them, or of anything at all promising in their situation or conduct. Once, and once only, in the course of many years, had she the happiness of being with William. Of the rest she saw nothing: nobody seemed to think of her ever going amongst them again, even for a visit, nobody at home seemed to want her; but William determining, soon after her removal, to be a sailor, was invited to spend a week with his sister in Northamptonshire before he went to sea. Their eager affection in meeting, their exquisite delight in being together, their hours of happy mirth, and moments of serious conference, may be imagined; as well as the sanguine views and spirits of the boy even to the last, and the misery of the girl when he left her. Luckily the visit happened in the Christmas holidays, when she could directly look for comfort to her cousin Edmund; and he told her such charming things of what William was to do, and be hereafter, in consequence of his profession, as made her gradually admit that the separation might have some use. Edmund’s friendship never failed her: his leaving Eton for Oxford made no change in his kind dispositions, and only afforded more frequent opportunities of proving them. Without any display of doing more than the rest, or any fear of doing too much, he was always true to her interests, and considerate of her feelings, trying to make her good qualities understood, and to conquer the diffidence which prevented their being more apparent; giving her advice, consolation, and encouragement.”

(Mansfield ParkChapter I)

Character Sketches, Part II

Originally Posted by Miss Sneyd on October 31, 2009, 8:43 AM

The Prices:

Lieutenant Mr. Price: A “lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions.” He marries Miss Frances Ward. Eleven years later he is “disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor.” He is Fanny’s father. “He did not want abilities but he had no curiosity, and no information beyond his profession; he read only the newspaper and the navy-list; he talked only of the dockyard, the harbour, Spithead, and the Motherbank; he swore and he drank, he was dirty and gross.”

Mrs. Price: Formerly Miss Frances Ward. Fanny’s mother, wife of Lieutenant Mr. Price, and the younger sister of Mrs. Norris and Lady Bertram. “Her days were spent in a kind of slow bustle; all was busy without getting on, always behindhand and lamenting it, without altering her ways.” Her favorite child is her eldest son: “William was her pride; Betsey her darling; and John, Richard, Sam, Tom, and Charles occupied all the rest of her maternal solicitude.” “Her daughters never had been much to her,” except Betsey. “To her she was most injudiciously indulgent.” She is “ a partial, ill-judging parent, a dawdle, a slattern, who neither taught nor restrained her children, whose house was the scene of mismanagement and discomfort from beginning to end, and who had no talent, no conversation”.

William Price: Eldest child of Lieutenant and Mrs. Price. He joins the Royal Navy and serves first as Midshipman and later as Second Lieutenant. He is Fanny’s favorite brother, and he keeps up an “excellent” correspondence with her from the time she leaves for Mansfield Park. Fanny is “the first object of his love.” William is a young man of “good principles, professional knowledge, energy, courage, and cheerfulness, everything that could deserve or promise well” and “of an open, pleasant countenance, and frank, unstudied, but feeling and respectful manners.”

John and Richard Price: Second and third sons of Lieutenant Price. One is “a clerk in a public office in London, and the other midshipman on board an Indiaman.”

Susan Price: The second daughter of Lieutenant Price, “A quick-looking girl … all eyes and ears”. She and Fanny become friends when Fanny visits her family. “Susan saw that much was wrong at home, and wanted to set it right. … Fanny soon became more disposed to admire the natural light of the mind which could so early distinguish justly….Susan tried to be useful.” Susan returns with Fanny to Mansfield Park, eventually replacing Fanny as companion to Lady Bertram.

Mary Price: The third daughter of Lieutenant Price, “a very pretty little girl” with “something remarkably amiable about her.” She dies a few years after Fanny moves to Mansfield Park. “Fanny in those early days had preferred her to Susan; and when the news of her death had at last reached Mansfield, had for a short time been quite afflicted.”

Sam Price: Son of Lieutenant Price, he is “loud and overbearing” but “clever and intelligent.” At age eleven he is about to “commence his career of seamanship” in the Thrush. He is “influenced by Fanny’s services and gentle persuasions.” Fanny finds him to be “the best of the three younger” boys.

Tom and Charles Price: The two youngest sons of Lieutenant Price. Fanny soon despairs of “making the smallest impression on them; they were quite untameable by any means of address which she had spirits or time to attempt. Every afternoon brought a return of their riotous games all over the house; and she very early learned to sigh at the approach of Saturday’s constant half-holiday.” Charles was born after Fanny moved to Mansfield Park, but Tom Fanny “had often helped to nurse” and had had an “infant preference of herself.”

Betsey Price: The youngest child of Lieutenant Price. She is her mother’s darling, “the first of her girls whom she had ever much regarded”–“a spoiled child, trained up to think the alphabet her greatest enemy”.

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