Study Guide

Mansfield Park Chapter 28

By Jane Austen

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Chapter 28

  • Fanny heads downstairs and all the adults agree that she looks very nice.
  • Fanny is excited and happy to go to her first ball.
  • But she gets less happy when the Crawfords arrive and she sees Mary and Edmund together again, especially since Mary looks particularly pretty.
  • Henry quickly asks Fanny to dance the first two dances with him and she agrees, somewhat reluctantly.
  • Henry then compliments Fanny's necklace, the one he originally gave Mary, which makes her uncomfortable.
  • Sir Thomas proceeds to ruin the ball for Fanny by announcing that she'll be opening the ball (i.e., leading the first dance) and that this is basically her "coming out" ball. This means that Fanny is now "out" in society and this evening is sort of like a debutante ball for her.
  • Fanny flips out over this since she's super shy and being the center of attention is nightmarish.
  • Fanny is incredibly nervous but manages to dance just fine and opens the ball well.
  • Mary's feelings are still confused but the doesn't pass up the chance to suck up to Sir Thomas some by complimenting Fanny.
  • Mary then tries to give Fanny a boost by hinting about Henry's feelings for her, but this just causes Fanny to stress out even more.
  • Overall, Fanny still has a good time, though, and enjoys her quiet dance with Edmund.
  • Edmund has an awful time at the ball. He and Mary get into a fight and part on bad terms.
  • Fanny is secretly happy about it, but then is upset with herself for feeling happy.
  • By the end of the ball Fanny is exhausted. William told her to not get up to see him off in the morning but she gets upset at the mere idea and Sir Thomas says she can come see William off tomorrow.
  • Sir Thomas has decided the Henry is in love with Fanny. He orders Fanny off to bed in order to show Henry how persuadable she is – always a good quality in a wife. Hmm.

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