Chapter 14



Mrs. Norris is pleased at stopping a little boy for doing the same thing she always does: use work to get a good free meal at the Bertrams' house.

Stream of consciousness speculation warning for the next three paragraphs*:

I can't imagine Edmund meant an insult since he's very besotted at this point, so I don't understand Mary's mortification. Then again, he is currently in solemn judge mode. I went over his remark a few times: "...I should be sorry to make the character ridiculous by bad acting. It must be very difficult to keep Anhalt from appearing a formal, solemn lecturer; and the man who chooses the profession itself, is, perhaps, one of the last who would wish to represent it on the stage."

Oh, I think I have it now. He's sort of referencing their previous conversations and her attitude towards the clergy. Maybe he's saying that since she doesn't take clergy seriously and the play is meant to be entertaining, someone as serious as him wouldn't be fit for it. And that he wouldn't want to poke fun at the clergy by acting.

Or, I'm reading it wrong because I'm not good at deciphering hidden remarks unless they're very obvious. Edmund isn't supposed to be the subtle jabs type. She could just be mortified because her attempt at both convincing and flirtation was so thoroughly and successfully rejected, without any flirtiness from Edmund's part thanks to his seriousness on the play and his straightforwardness.

Moving on. Okay, Edmund does do some good in supporting Fanny against Mrs. Norris for a bit, but not as much as Mary. The narrative says Fanny doesn't love her - but does she like her? Liking was there, the first time Fanny expressed an opinion. I imagine their headbutting over things and jealousy over Edmund dimmed it, but by how much? In any case, she's starting to like her more now and cannot fail to be grateful even if she doesn't want to be; given how often she feels grateful and obliged, I don't think she has an objection to being so now.

It makes me like her more of course, and proves that Mary does have some sense of morality and feeling. Her amorality is about maneuvering herself in social politics as a result of a cutthroat environment; her morality and empathy come out when someone shows willingness to hurt a bystander as punishment. I kind of ship her and Fanny a bit.

Also, I can't quite remember if this is the first time she used her powers to smooth over a social situation. If it is, then her first time is a direct contrast to Henry Crawford's, which I think was him appeasing Julia and Mr. Rushworth after provoking them with Maria. She's trying to help someone and he's cleaning up after himself. Perhaps this difference is reflected in their endings: Henry ends in regret, and Mary ends up having to wait a while until she found someone she truly wanted. The wording of the text implies that she did find that person: "was long in finding" is the past tense.

*Everything is stream of consciousness that I go over a bit of course. I feel those three paragraphs have their own separate stream and an end to it when I resolved on an answer.
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