Chapter 8 Summary
Plans to visit Mr. Rushworth's estate, Sotherton, are renewed when Mr. Rushworth arrives at Mansfield Park with his mother. Mrs. Rushworth makes a point of encouraging the trip to Sotherton. The plan had been delayed due to Mrs. Rushworth's absence from the manor.
How to travel there and who should go takes up much of the Bertrams' discussion. They decide that Henry should drive, as he had earlier offered his carriage. At the moment, however, Henry is at the home of the clergyman. In order to confirm Henry's availability, Mr. Rushworth volunteers to find him.
While they are waiting, Edmund questions why they cannot travel in their own carriage. His suggestion is denied because Henry's carriage is larger and can accommodate more people. When the list of people who will go is named, Edmund notices that Fanny's name is not included. Mrs. Norris insists that Fanny must stay behind in order to take care of Lady Bertram. At this, Edmund volunteers to stay with his mother, thus giving Mrs. Norris no further argument against Fanny joining the party. Again, however, Mrs. Norris objects. She says that Mrs. Rushworth has not invited Fanny. Mrs. Norris supplied the list of guests to Mrs. Rushworth, and Fanny had not been included.
In response, Edmund tells Mrs. Norris that when he was walking Mrs. Rushworth to the door as she was preparing to leave, he had mentioned Fanny's name and had asked if Fanny might be welcome at Mrs. Rushworth's home. Mrs. Rushworth had graciously consented. After this announcement, though she remains against Fanny going to Sotherton, Mrs. Norris concedes.
Fanny is not present during these discussions, but when she is told she will be going to Sotherton, she is filled with excitement—until she learns that Edmund will not be joining them.
Henry and Mr. Rushworth enter the house with Mrs. Grant, the clergyman's wife. When she hears that Edmund is not going to Sotherton, she offers to stay with Lady Bertram, thus relieving Edmund of this task. Fanny is quite happy with this arrangement, as is Mary Crawford.
During the ride to Sotherton several days later, Fanny is amazed at the scenery around her. Except for the first trip to Mansfield Park, Fanny has never been so far out into the countryside. Maria meanwhile is sorting through her mixed emotions as the carriage traverses the rough path. She is jealous of Julia's seating position in the carriage, which is next to Henry. Maria would like to have enjoyed Henry's attention. But Maria is also flushed with emotions as they near Sotherton, knowing that all the land around them belongs to Mr. Rushworth, the man she will be marrying.