Chapter 25 Summary
Sir Thomas relents and accepts an invitation to dinner at Dr. and Mrs. Grant's parsonage. Previously, Sir Thomas had been too distracted by his dwindling finances to consider social gatherings. Because his business affairs in Antigua have become more stable after his visit there, Sir Thomas has more time to think of social interactions.
At the Grants' home, Henry has insisted on sitting next to Fanny and continues to lavish most of his attention on her. This is not missed by Edmund nor by Sir Thomas, who has become aware of Henry as a potential suitor for his niece.
After dinner, the group sits down to play cards. As Henry advises both Lady Bertram and Fanny on which cards to play to their advantage, he tells a story about his most recent horse ride. While he was hunting, his horse had thrown a shoe, so he had to walk his horse home. On taking a different route, he came across a village he had never seen before. He decided that it must be Thornton Lacey, an almost deserted cluster of small houses and a vacant parsonage. Henry had suspected, and was rightly informed, that Thornton Lacey was the church Edmund would head once he had taken his orders.
Thornton Lacey, Henry reports, has a nice parsonage, but it needs a lot of work. Henry provides many details about how he would rearrange the landscape and the parsonage to make it look more elegant. The house itself had the potential of being refurbished and taking on the appearance of a mansion.
After listening to Henry continue to describe how he would transform the place, Edmund interrupts him. Edmund prefers much less ornamentation than Henry suggests and rejects much of what Henry has planned. Henry insists that the parsonage deserves a renovation, which would then make the house fit for a gentleman. Henry also suggests that he might like to live in Thornton Lacey. It would be close enough to Mansfield Park for him to keep his acquaintances with the Bertrams while giving him room to expand on his own.
The conversation then is taken over by William, who asks Fanny if she has ever danced or gone to a ball. He would like to see his sister dance and would enjoy being her partner. William informs her that when he has gone to military balls, he is most often left alone. The women, though he knows many of them, prefer dancing with officers.
Fanny attempts to cheer up William, telling him that he will have many opportunities, for one day he too will be an officer. William thinks not, but Fanny reminds him that Sir Thomas will surely work on William's behalf to assure his promotion.
As the evening comes to a close, Edmund goes to fetch Fanny's shawl, but Henry retrieves it before him. Henry then wraps the shawls around Fanny's shoulders.