Parting is such sweet sorrow
Fanny found it hard to sleep that night. As soon as she felt herself relaxing, and being close to falling asleep, Henry's words would jolt her back into consciousness.
"I want you to come to Kingston with me".
She sighed and rolled onto her back. It was true, she could. She could marry Henry and go with him to Jamaica.
But at the same time she couldn't! She would have to leave Mansfield, get used to married life with Henry. With all the changes that would mean, and all the insecurity. She would have to go to a completely different place on the other side of the earth. She'd be giving up everything for him. She would be giving herself another chance, but at the same time taking away every familiar object she had ever been surrounded by. Even Henry would be different.
Late into the night she decided that she needed a walk. She was tired and her head was tired but she needed to go outside for some fresh air. She put on a dressing gown and padded down the stairs. When she was younger she used to do this often, go outside to watch the stars. She walked into a small shrubbery and looked up. The sight was breathtaking. For just a few moments she enjoyed feeling insignificant.
Julia was sobbing furiously in her room, stifling the sounds with her pillow. She didn't want to live anymore. She felt trapped and panicky. She didn't know what to do.
Julia was a passionate person, but for many years she had controlled her passion. She had never allowed herself to let her true impulses show. She had been the weaker copy of Maria. The not so extreme sister. And she had suffered for it. She had started to dislike Maria. Julia had become jealous. Maria got all the attention, all the love, all the suitors. Henry Crawford had nearly broken Julia's heart. If Maria had married him Julia would probably never have recovered. She simply couldn't lose again without also losing her self-control.
So now she was crying. Trying to think of a solution. She couldn't understand Mr. Seul. She didn't know how to act around him, what it was appropriate to say. He brought out a side in her that she would have liked to keep hidden. He seemed to be in control all of the time.
She needed to break his control.
She needed him to show her who he really was.
But how could she?
Julia got up from the bed and started pacing the room, the tears still falling. She needed a plan.
The next morning Edmund Bertram rose early. He went about his morning prayer with some enthusiasm before eating an early breakfast alone. His wife wouldn't be up for a few hours. She liked to sleep far into the morning. He smiled to himself.
Edmund liked having the morning to himself. It gave him time to pray, read and prepare material for future sermons. When his wife joined him he could lay that aside and spend all his time with her. He was completely devoted to her still.
At eleven Mary Crawford walked down the stairs into the small breakfast room. The servant hurried to fetch her something to eat. Mary was a cook's nightmare. She would never say when she was going to eat, but always complained when a dish was late. One of the maids had helped her dress that morning so the kitchen had a little warning. A few minutes after coming down Mary had breakfast in front of her. She glanced with annoyance around the room. She wished to be out of this house soon, to be in a house of her own where she would be in charge. And while Edmund was at Mansfield he would go about his Mansfield ways. She hoped that their new home would enable him to make new habits. Habits that she would plant in his mind.
She looked up as the door opened. Julia walked in and took a place at the table. Mary looked jealously on as a maid appeared almost instantaneously with more food. How come the servants never did that for her?
"Julia, my dear. So glad to see you awake," Mary said with more affection than she felt.
"Good morning, Mary," Julia replied in a dull voice.
Julia was tired. She would have preferred to be alone.
"Oh sister, have you not slept well?" Mary continued, coaxing.
"No, I had trouble with a headache," Julia lied, "But it is better now."
"Oh headaches can be so tiring, my dear. But no matter if it is better. Pray, what are your plans for the day?"
"Nothing in particular. I was planning on going into town to look at some new fabrics. And then of course there's the dance at the Havishams' tonight."
"Oh was that tonight? I shall have to remind Edmund again. He is so very bad at remembering such things."
Julia ate in silence. Mary looked at her for a few seconds before continuing.
"Of course he was up at dawn today studying his Scripture and saying his monotonous prayers. I simply shall never understand why he takes it all so seriously. There are so many other things that I'd rather spend my time doing."
Julia sighed and prepared herself, "So what do you think of married life so far, sister."
No one would ever accuse Julia Bertram of being discourteous.
Mary smiled smugly, "Well you know, it's a WHOLE different thing being a married woman. Life has changed considerably. There are simply so many things to consider and decide. And of course you have to consider your husband's input on all matters, and make sure that you are on the same page as him."
"So when shall you be moving into your new residence? When shall we hear Edmund preach?"
Mary's eyes flashed dangerously. She didn't like to think of her husband's future employment.
"We shall be leaving Mansfield in two or three days and then there are some friends of mine to visit. We are waiting for everything to be ready for us. Of course we shall be back for the wedding here in a month."
Julia nodded and smiled. Both women went back to their food, neither of them caring much for what the other had said.