Chapter 5 Summary
The Bertrams and Mary and Henry Crawford soon become friends, sharing frequent dinners and outings. The Bertram sisters are almost as enthralled with Mary Crawford's beauty and personality as the Bertram brothers are. Henry, who at first appears not so handsome to the Bertram sisters, grows in their favor because he is so agreeable.
Because Maria is engaged, everyone assumes that if Henry were to pursue either of the Bertram sisters, it would, of course, be Julia. Julia is aware of this and begins to consider Henry as a man with whom she could fall in love.
Henry, though, is much more interested in Maria, even though she is promised to another man. Mary, Henry's sister, insists that Henry must be kidding. Julia is the one he should pursue. Henry tells Mary that these are his intentions, but in truth, Henry is not interested in marrying anyone. He wants to remain single because he has never met a married person who is happy.
His sister, Mrs. Grant, attempts to argue with Henry about the pleasures of marriage. However, Mary joins with Harry and professes her belief that most married couples she has known end up bitterly disappointed with their state. People marry expecting several good things about their partners but then wake up one day and find that the person they have married is not who they thought he or she was.
Both Mary and Henry enjoy their stay at Mansfield Park. Though they had not planned on staying there long, they had changed their minds upon meeting the Bertrams. Mary is particularly taken by Tom, the oldest Bertram, whom she is attracted to because of his easy manner, his ability to make friends, and his gallantry. Being the oldest son, Tom will also inherit the large estate of Mansfield Park, a fact that Mary has not missed.
One day when Mary Crawford is in the company of Tom and Edmund, she asks them about Fanny. Her first question involves whether or not Fanny has come out. Here she references the social status of a young, well-to-do girl who at eighteen or nineteen is officially introduced to society. It is a rite-of-passage in some ways, marking a young girl as a full grown woman who is now eligible for marriage.
Edmund does not know how to answer this question. He states that Fanny is grown up and has the sense of a woman. But he tells Mary he knows nothing of the coming out ceremony. Mary presses Edmund, asking if Fanny has ever been to a ball or been out to dinner at any house other than the parsonage. When Edmund answers in the negative, Mary declares that Fanny has definitely not yet come out.