by Ey Stargazer
Fantasy adaptation of Mansfield Park
|Life, previously a friend to Miss Frances Ward, seemed disinclined to show her any favours subsequent to her meeting lieutenant Price. The romance with its prime attraction of not meeting the expectations she had spent the past seven years listening to was completed swiftly and culminated in an elopement. The match was only then made known to the new Mrs. Price's family. Her eldest sister had married to a Sir Thomas Bertram who had an estate in Northampton raising her to a baronet's lady, her second sister had married Revered Mr Norris, a friend of sir Thomas, who had similarly provided him a living on his estate of Mansfield Park. The concealment was made in knowledge of her sisters. Her husband, objectively, had no education, fortune, or connections to benefit or please the exaulted ladies and their husbands, she could not hope for excitement but their relationship till now has not suggested there would be much beyond disappointment. She would be proven wrong in this supposition however in the reply she received from her sister Mrs Norris. She had more hope of a civil reply from lady Bertram, a sister of similar temperament but alas she chose not to communicate. Mrs Norris' letter was so abusive to Fanny and her husband, in what must to the newly wed must be an exaggeration of her folly and multiple fancies of disaster sure to befall Mrs Price. The silence of the more tranquil sister seemed to confirm Mrs Norris assertion that their feelings were in agreement and Mrs Price injured and angry with the communication responded in kind encompassing all the family at Mansfield. All contact between them ceased save the provoking haphazard messages she would receive from Mrs Norris.
Thus they continued for the next 11 years. By this time Mrs Price was getting overwhelmed, her husband, injured beyond service by a seavern burn that nearly cost him his leg, was not unequal to drink and friends but had not made the hoped for promotions and prize money before his misfortune and with an ever increasing family they found their circumstances further reduced. His friends kept him in spirits but could not provide or gift to the support of his family. His brother indeed having a family in the same Portsmouth could bring his smaller brood of childeren and his wife for some solace and company to Mrs. Price but being of lower rank than her own husband he was ill equipt to help in their provision especially as he was frequently required to be from home and Mrs. Gemima Price had need of the full of her enonomy to care for her children. Mrs. Frances Price's only slight reprieve was her three oldest children now being old enough to help distract her younger children and their getting rather efficient at shooing the small wyrms that would find ways into their house. The oldest boys one of 10 the other 7 were eager for employment to assist their meager living sums, the oldest daughter, a quiet but adept girl of 9 was frequently in charge of the education of the younger. Resigned to this way of life with simple hope of improving the situation when they got older, the children had no expectation of improvement through their mother's influence. Mrs Price however was finding her pride and resolve over the wound she received to wane rapidly in the face of her up coming ninth confiment.
With her husband's being unconcerned with whether she renewed her familial relationships and perhaps even being reluctant to expose himself to what he considered the worst opinions of the upper echalaunce of society on the basis of his appearance left her to succeed or fail without comment. Mrs. Price addressed herself to her oldest sister Lady Bertram, she wrote with contrition humility and as much deference as she could putting as best she could any thought of the communication with their other sister from her head. She spoke if her desire for reconciliation, the desperation of her cicrumstances, of her many children, here was a topic she could not engage with the childless Mrs. Norris upon but she could appeal to the feelings of the mother of two nephews and two neices. She pleaded that they might sponsore her expected child and hinted about how important they might be to the future maintence of the eight already in being. Her oldest son was of some particular concern, old enough to be wanting to do something and old enough to be sent to do it, though she would be loathed to part with him as he was a useful child she did feel the advantage to his having some kind of employment. Sir Thomas owned property in the West Indies perhaps the boy could be of use there? Or perhpas Woolwich, he was adept at handling wyrms perhaps he could be trained to handle something bigger? Or how might be be sent out to the east?
For the space of a week Mrs. Price was anxious for a reply, her sister in law sitting with her one day implored her to be calm.
"What good will it do you my dear sister to worry out of your mind about waht you don't even know if they will say."
"My only hope is like to be if my sister Norris does not see my letter first, she never could abide anything for long that didn't have direct to do about her. And this blanket is vexing me greatly by not comeing back together."
"You have made progress," she put out her hand to bid calm before Frances could wander about the room again, "little Fanny made such excellent progress with it I really think you should give it back to her to finish."
"If it does not start cooperating soon I'll have no choice in the matter," she tossed the ragged knitwear, now absent the singes back into the basket it had laid in before, "she is trying to teach Mary her letters, or rather she had been."
"She likely still is, I doubt Ali would prevent her, rather I think she would join. She has great affection for her cousins but especially little Fanny and tries to follow along with everything she does."
"A blessing they are so close, to be sure, close in age and temperment, though your Alegria is more outspoken certainly. William is Fanny's advocate for everything it seems she never brings me a complaint though I've never heard her voice one to William either, but I suppose haveing a more languid and retiring personality will serve her when she is old enough to be out."
"To be sure."
The two Miss Price cousins, separated in age by a mere excess of three months on Fanny's part were inseprable in everything else. Their houses by two streets were hardly an obstical and they enjoyed to think they were running a little school for their younger siblings. The reply from Fanny's aunt was no concern to them much beyond their parents discussing the advice from Sir Thomas about her brothers, and the baby linen Lady Bertram had sent, her other aunt had written an accompanying letter, though their mother did not read it to them. The next parsels they recieved were of some more interest as it contained some outgrown clothes from her cousins, perhaps they were not new but they were much finer than anything the Price cousins and children had ever had, what didn't fit Fanny must learn to alter being by far the best seamstress in her family. They were later sent some toys picked out by her cousins at Mansfield , her brother was sure to save her a sling before the others were divided amoung the boys, Mary having avoided learning the use of one and Susan being to young to learn. These were more welcome than the clothes though the linens purposed to little Tom upon his birth were not to be slighted