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Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park Chapter 6 Summary

  • Tom goes off to gamble and get into trouble with friends. Later, Tom.
  • Mary thought she'd be bummed since Edmund is not fun.
  • At a dinner party Mary amuses herself by observing Mr. Rushworth and Maria.
  • Mr. Rushworth is talking about hiring an "improver," or a landscape person to fix up the house for him. Home improvement was all the rage among the rich during this period and, if HGTV were around back then, the society folk would all be addicted.
  • The group refers to a Mr. Repton, who is actually a famous real-life "improver" during this time period.
  • Mrs. Norris rants for about ten minutes about how if she had the time/money/whatever she would be improving her house all the time.
  • She also brags about all the improvements she made at the parsonage when she lived there but Dr. Grant essentially says, "Whatever, lady."
  • Dr. Grant then insults the apricot tree that Mrs. Norris had planted back in the day, but Mrs. Grant steps in and appeases her. Crisis averted.
  • They all switch to discussing the landscaping and redecorating that Mr. Rushworth can do at his house, Sotherton.
  • Fanny quietly shares her opinion with Edmund. Fanny prefers to let nature do its thing rather than step in with a lot of landscaping.
  • Henry shares that he's done lots of home improvement in his day.
  • Mary says she doesn't care much about it, and shares that her uncle was always tearing up his home and his summer place to "improve" them, which was just annoying.
  • Edmund is scandalized that Mary would share an unflattering story about her guardian in public.
  • The group then discusses Mary's harp, which is due to arrive shortly via Pony Express, or however packages were shipped in the pre-FedEx days.
  • Mary tried to hire a cart to go get the harp, but she's out in farm country during harvest time so there weren't any carts available.
  • Mary is a city girl and is confused by this.
  • Mary agrees to play for everyone when her harp arrives.
  • Mary tells Edmund to include the news of her harp in his next letter to Tom and then makes fun of how brothers never bother to write each other like sisters do. She teases Henry for sending her some pretty second-rate letters.
  • Fanny says that her brother William writes her awesome letters.
  • Mary, Fanny, and Edmund then discuss careers in the navy.
  • Mary makes a funny pun about how she's met plenty of Rears and Vices (Admirals) at her Admiral Uncle's house.
  • Edmund disapproves of puns.
  • Puns and navy aside, everyone is still talking about home improvement and Henry discusses the projects he's done and how he loves to be busy.
  • Mr. Rushworth asks Henry to help him out with his house and Henry is cool with it.
  • Everyone decides to take a road trip to check out Sotherton.

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