A/N I just finished reading Mansfield Park and I couldn't help but wondering what was actually said when Edmund proposed. This is mostly just to satisfy myself, but I hope you find it pleasing too. Please read and rep, thanks! ^^ Oh and I know that in the book it says Fanny tells the whole truth (that she has loved him for a really long time) to Edmund later, but I think it would be waaay more interesting if it all happened now, don't you?
Disclaimer: I am not the great Jane Austen in disguise. She owns everything, I just own this fanfic.
Edmund Bertram was no longer in any way tied to Miss Mary Crawford, as his earlier love sick behavior may have suggested. No, it had been some time since he had thought upon her in a pleasing light. Ever since the elopement of his sister, Mrs. Rushworth, and her brother, Mr. Crawford, Miss Crawford's spell on him had been broken. Edmund was newly awakened to the faults and folly's of her upbringing, which all equated to a complete absence of good principle. Although he knew this, after everything had collapsed he still fancied to dream of her as he thought she once was: the most witty, intelligent, and beautiful woman of existence. But, in time, Edmund became more and more reconciled to the complete lack of Miss Crawford's good principle, with the constant discussion and support that came from his dear cousin, Fanny Price.
Yes, Fanny had helped him through it all. Once she returned from Portsmouth, she was of infinite use to everybody and everything. In her good will, she aided with Tom's sickness, was a talking companion to Lady Bertram, and comforted her uncle by having the character that his daughter, Mrs. Rushworth, so lacked; all these things, Edmund reflected, were more than what either of his sisters did in their family's time of need.
Little by little, Edmund began to see Fanny in a different light. Having been her companion, instructor, and dear friend since she was ten years old, he had always had a love for her. But now he fancied that friendly love was transforming into something more. Yes, Edmund was now hopelessly and completely in love with his cousin, Fanny Price.
Of course, the fact that Fanny was just as completely in love with him, as he was with her, was completely unbeknownst to Edmund. Ever since Miss Crawford fell in Edmund's esteem, Fanny had been a good deal happier than perhaps, was actually proper. But after having been so oppressed by the whole of the Crawford's, and to find Edmund was no longer duped in the character of both, Fanny could not help but be happy. She gave up trying to repress her feelings for Edmund, no matter how improper she deemed them. Instead, it became her goal to completely hide the feelings she could not ignore, from the one person they revolved around – Edmund.
There was but one thing left to do – Edmund had to admit his feelings to Fanny and make his proposal to her. He was quite anxious to do so. In fact, ever since he had stopped regretting Miss Crawford, the conviction that Fanny was just the kind of woman whom he should marry had been strong. Edmund was nervous – not because he believed himself not to know her character (as was the case with Miss Crawford), but because he believed Fanny was too good for him.
Edmund found he could not be silent for much longer and decided to find Fanny in the East Room, and talk to her uninterrupted. In fact, he was already heading up the stairs – his brother Tom was doing much better and did not need as much assistance as he once did.
Whilst Edmund was making his way to her room, Fanny was very absorbed in a book she was reading. For this reason, she did not see Edmund arrive at the door and his knock quite surprised her and almost made her jump.
"I apologize for intruding on your solitude, Fanny."
"Oh! I can read my book later."
"Why don't you sit down Edmund?" Fanny said, pointing at a chair across from herself. Edmund accepted her offer and sat down in front of her. "How is Tom today?"
"Much improved Fanny, I am very thankful. I now am in no doubt of his full recovery, in time. We should be very happy for him."
"Oh yes! I am glad to hear it. And Lady Bertram, is she well? I am sure she must have sent you with some message of hers to myself. Does she need me for something?"
"No indeed Fanny. Can't I visit my cousin without your aunt having sent for you?" Even if Edmund had been wanting an answer, Fanny could not have given him one. She was becoming increasingly confused as to why Edmund came all the way up to see her in the east room. Seeing her confusion, Edmund hastily added, "It seems we have not been able to talk like old times, what with me attending to my brother and you attending your aunt."
"Yes, well…" Fanny was about to say something of Miss Crawford being the reason, but having checked herself, fell silent. Edmund was silent too and for a few moments they sat in each other's awkwardness in silence.
Fanny, not being able to stand not talking to dear Edmund for long, looked up from her lap and studied his expression. To her alarm, he was quite pale, and she told him so. Upon having heard this, a faint blush could be seen in Edmund's cheeks. Fanny for whatever reason, chose not to notice this.
"Really Edmund, are you sure you are quite well?" She leaned closer to him. "You are beginning to look like Tom. Do you have a fever?" As she asked this she put her hand to his forehead.
"Yes, Fanny, I have never been better." This was not exactly a lie, for indeed whenever Fanny was close to Edmund, he had never been better.
Fanny, seeming to remember she had a hand, and that hand was on Edmund's face, withdrew it quickly. "Well in that case I am glad," she forced out. "Why did you say you came again?"
Edmund sighed. "Fanny, this is madness, complete madness. I must tell you the truth." He took her hands in his. "Fanny, dearest Fanny, I love you –" He was about to continue when Fanny, in utmost confusion, cut him off.
"Yes Edmund, I know that, and as your cousin, I love you too." She was hoping to hide her true feelings with this statement.
"No, Fanny, you must listen to me. I love you not as a cousin, or friend, but much more. I do not know why I did not see it sooner. Fanny, you are dear to me, in all of your smiles and all of your ways. I wish you would but smile at me now."
He paused, to smile at her, but Fanny was too shocked, and overcome with happiness, that she was not able to smile or say anything back.
Edmund continued, "I have always had such regard for you, when we first met you were so helpless and innocent, I could not help but liking you. What is the more natural progression of such feelings? I have always loved you, and have been guiding and protecting you since you were ten years old. Your mind has been formed by my care, and your comfort has depended on my kindness – you are the person at Mansfield most dear to me. I take pleasure in always being with you, and always being each other's confidant. And yes, Fanny, I much prefer your soft light eyes, full of kindness when they glance upon me.
"You, Fanny, are my only road to happiness. Prudence is on my side: there is nothing to stop me from loving you. I have no fear of any opposition of taste, or dissimilarity of temper. I well know your mind, disposition, opinions, and habits; I do not have to be blind to half of them and wish for future improvement. You are perfect the way you are.
"Dearest, loveliest, beautiful Fanny, I know you to be too good for me, but I ask you from the bottom of my heart to marry me. I am sure that your warm and sisterly regard from me is foundation enough for wedded love. But Fanny, you are silent, you must say something."
Edmund took his hands out of hers, but Fanny grabbed hold of his hands. "Edmund," Fanny said in a voice, timid, anxious, and doubting all in one, "Do you really mean it Edmund?"
"Why, Fanny, you must be joking. Did you not just listen to my speech? As hard as it may be for you to believe, yes, I do love you. Fanny, may I see your face?" He asked this for Fanny had returned to staring at her lap.
When Fanny looked up, the most expressive smile lit up her face.
"Fanny, what a beautiful smile, what is it?"
"Yes what Fanny?"
"Yes, Edmund, of course I will marry you. I have loved you longer than you should care to know. You need not worry from want of attraction on my part. There, I said it. You do not know how long those words have been hidden in my heart."
"Oh Fanny! I am so happy, I cannot even tell you. There are no words great enough to describe it. You have made me today, the happiest man alive. To think, that I have been the beloved of such a heart as yours, Fanny. The greatest joy!"
And with the promise of her one day becoming Mrs. Bertram, and the elation Edmund had on the acceptance of his heart's desire, he leaned in, and Fanny seeing his motive, leaned in as well. Fanny herself was so happy she could hardly believe it. After receiving such an assurance of affection, which she herself had scarcely been able to hope for, her feelings were great indeed. And with such apparent happiness on both sides, their two mouths met, and the two shared a most joyous kiss, which certainly was not their last.
A/N Awwwwww. Hope that wasn't too cliché. Ah but I feel sooo much better now. I finished Mansfield Park last night and it was bugging me how Ms. Austen never actually described how Edmund proposed. I hope you guys enjoyed it too. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts if you would be so kind as to review ^^