Chapter 33 Summary
Fanny and Henry meet several times, and their conversations continue on the same matter. Henry insists that he loves Fanny, while Fanny insists she cannot and should not ever love him. Henry does not take her seriously and assumes that Fanny has no understanding of her own feelings. He thinks that his sudden proposal has merely shocked her into a state of confusion. He cannot imagine that the does not love him. Even if she does not love him, she at least should feel gratitude toward him for securing the promotion for her brother. He has never had any challenge in wooing other women, and does not understand why Fanny should give him so much trouble.
Although Fanny does not give in, her nature is so agreeable and gentle that Henry cannot believe it when she insists she does not love him. He will pursue her until she finally accepts him. But Fanny tells him they are not suited. Their backgrounds are so different; he is educated and a gentleman. None of this changes Henry’s mind. He loves her more each day. Her refusal only raises the temperature of his desire.
Sir Thomas, though he has told Fanny he would not bring up the topic again, feels he must approach her one more time. He is still very confused about why Fanny refuses Henry’s offer. He has hope for Henry. The young man is definitely persistent. Sir Thomas wants to know why Fanny does not admire Henry’s constancy and perseverance. He thinks Henry is an extraordinary man. Fanny might go another eighteen years and never come across another man like Henry. In an attempt to temper Sir Thomas’s feelings, Fanny suggests that she does not feel deserving of Henry.
Sir Thomas finally ends his conversation with Fanny by saying he will never force her to marry any man against her will. He had hoped the subject would not have to be spoken of again. However, he knows he must tell the members of his family because Henry is not one to keep his endeavors to himself. Mrs. Norris’s reaction is that of anger; she is not so angry that Fanny has refused Henry’s proposal but rather that she had been given it in the first place. Mrs. Norris believes Henry should have asked Julia.
Lady Bertram takes the news in a different manner. The idea of Henry Crawford asking Fanny to marry him raises Fanny in Lady Bertram’s estimation. It also elevates her concept of the whole Bertram family. “We certainly are a handsome family,” she tells Fanny. To prove her new affection for her niece, Lady Bertram promises to give Fanny a puppy the next time her dog has a litter.