Chapter 29 Summary
Mansfield Park is very quiet the day after the ball. William and Henry have left for the city, and Edmund is visiting friends. The absence of her brother makes Fanny sad. She berates herself for not having spent more time with William while he was there. When she reflects on his visit, she finds missed opportunities to be with him that she should have taken better advantage of. As she sits in the drawing room with Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, she compares how much brighter the room had seemed the night before at the height of the excitement of the ball.
By the second day, Fanny begins to adjust to the return of a normal routine. She listens to Sir Thomas talk about William and is delighted when he compliments her brother for his character. Sir Thomas is sure that William will soon be promoted and that he will visit Mansfield Park much more frequently now.
It does not lighten her heart, however, when Sir Thomas mentions that Edmund will soon be gone forever. Edmund's career in the clergy will demand all his time. Sir Thomas warns that the family must learn to adjust to Edmund's absence.
When Fanny is gone from the room, Sir Thomas talks about her to his wife. He tells her how impressed he is with Fanny and suggests that they should praise her more frequently to her face. Lady Bertram tells her husband that although she must get used to having her other children gone, she is thankful that Fanny will always be there. Sir Thomas chides his wife at this remark, telling her not to be so sure about always having Fanny around. He warns that Fanny, too, will one day be married. Lady Bertram cannot bear this thought. She has no idea what she would do without Fanny there to aid her.
Mary Crawford has been confined to the parsonage and has spent too much time alone. The winter weather has also kept her trapped inside the house. Her misery mounts, and one morning she can no longer bear not having someone near her age to talk to. She thus walks over to Mansfield Park to find Fanny.
Mary wants to know what Edmund wrote in his letter. Fanny tells her she heard little of it, as the letter was addressed to Sir Thomas. All Fanny knows is that Edmund will be delayed, his friend having asked him to extend his visit. Mary then asks about Edmund's friend. She has heard that Edmund's friend has three sisters. Mary wonders if any of the three women might be the reason Edmund is staying over. Mary cannot understand why Edmund would not come home on time, because he knowing that she is about to depart for London. Mary worries that teasing Edmund about his becoming a clergyman has turned him against her.