She has the advantage in every feature, and I prefer her countenance; but I like Julia best; Miss Bertram is certainly the handsomest, and I have found her the most agreeable, but I shall always like Julia best, because you order me."
"I shall not talk to you, Henry, but I know you _will_ like her best at last."
"Do not I tell you that I like her best _at_ _first_?"
"And besides, Miss Bertram is engaged. Remember that, my dear brother. Her choice is made."
"Yes, and I like her the better for it. An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged: no harm can be done."
"Why, as to that, Mr. Rushworth is a very good sort of young man, and it is a great match for her."
"But Miss Bertram does not care three straws for him; _that_ is your opinion of your intimate friend. _I_ do not subscribe to it. I am sure Miss Bertram is very much attached to Mr. Rushworth. I could see it in her eyes, when he was mentioned. I think too well of Miss Bertram to suppose she would ever give her hand without her heart."
"Mary, how shall we manage him?"
"We must leave him to himself, I believe. Talking does no good. He will be taken in at last."
"But I would not have him _taken_ _in_; I would not have him duped; I would have it all fair and honourable."
"Oh dear! let him stand his chance and be taken in. It will do just as well. Everybody is taken in at some period or other."
"Not always in marriage, dear Mary."
"In marriage especially. With all due respect to such of the present company as chance to be married, my dear Mrs. Grant, there is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry. Look where I will, I see that it _is_ so; and I feel that it _must_ be so, when I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least honest themselves."
"Ah! You have been in a bad school for matrimony, in Hill Street."
"My poor aunt had certainly little cause to love the state; but, however, speaking from my own observation, it is a manoeuvring business. I know so many who have married in the full expectation and confidence of some one particular advantage in the connexion, or accomplishment, or good quality in the person, who have found themselves entirely deceived, and been obliged to put up with exactly the reverse. What is this but a take in?"
"My dear child, there must be a little imagination here. I beg your pardon, but I cannot quite believe you. Depend upon it, you see but half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere--and those evil-minded observers, dearest Mary, who make much of a little, are more taken in and deceived than the parties themselves."
"Well done, sister! I honour your _esprit_ _du_ _corps_. When I am a wife, I mean to be just as staunch myself; and I wish my friends in general would be so too. It would save me many a heartache."
"You are as bad as your brother, Mary; but we will cure you both. Mansfield shall cure you both, and without any taking in. Stay with us, and we will cure you."
The Crawfords, without wanting to be cured, were very willing to stay. Mary was satisfied with the Parsonage as a present home, and Henry equally ready to lengthen his visit. He had come, intending to spend only a few days with them; but Mansfield promised well, and there was nothing to call him elsewhere. It delighted Mrs. Grant to keep them both with her, and Dr. Grant was exceedingly well contented to have it so: a talking pretty young woman like Miss Crawford is always pleasant society to an indolent, stay-at-home man; and Mr.