Fanny Dashwood invites me into her new home with a delighted, “come in, come in, oh it’s dreadful out there.” The butler takes away my coat soaked with rain and leads me into a bright room warm from the blazing fire. Mrs. Dashwood sits in her drawing room with her beautiful gown swept around her and calls the housemaid for tea. I am amazed at how well the drawing room is furnished in such a short time since her move into Norland.
“It was quite dreadful when I first entered the house, a number of lousy drawings scattered all over the walls,” she smiles as she sees me take in the room. I nod happily at her comment as I’m not much of a fan of drawings littering walls in an unappealing manner, either. We settle down for tea and scones and I am mesmerised by the lightness of the scone and the sweetness of the tea.
“Mrs. Dashwood, who is your cook? The tea and scones are delightful!” I compliment. Fanny looks absolutely ecstatic at my comment; it was obviously something she was proud of.
“Dear, ever since I moved in I had to change a number of things around. The cook was baking scones dripping with butter and, of course, too much butter is quite fatal for the figure,” she smiles and her arm briefly brushes her tiny waist. I am quite impressed with her fair complexion, and the contrast this has on her gown with minuscule details. I cannot help but be in awe of Mrs. Dashwood.
Our conversation turns to her husband and child. She explains to me how wonderful her husband is towards his sisters. “He spends too much time pondering about what he should do for them, luckily he has me to set his mind straight,” she says and takes another sip of her tea.
I am a little taken back by her comment and ponder it as she raves on about her wonderful son, Harry. I wonder if Mr. Dashwood should be thinking about his sisters who, as most of the neighbourhood knows, are in a critical financial situation. My initial reaction to being mesmerised by Mrs. Dashwood starts to wear off. I slowly steer the conversation towards the poor family who are seemingly being pushed out of their own home.
“Oh, they’ll be fine. Mr. Dashwood has given them an impressive sum, don’t you worry!” She throws her head back and laughs. Amazingly her hair is still perfect after all that movement. As our conversation dies down I am aware that I have overstayed my welcome. “Your home is beautiful,” I gesture to the well-placed furniture around this exquisite room. She thanks me profusely and leads me to the door, again thanking me for coming to meet with her.
As I exit the beautiful estate of Norland and gaze upon the landscape around it I am deeply saddened. I can’t help but realise that Mrs. Dashwood had not once mentioned the late Mr. Dashwood and did not even seem to consider him. While her cook makes a divine scone, Mrs. Dashwood is far too perfect for this estate. While her drawing room is furnished with high fashion and elaborate paintings, showcasing her talent for design, her talent for morality seems to be lacking. Especially since while driving the Dashwood family out of the estate may seem necessary to Mrs. Dashwood, she seems in a sure hurry to do it and be done with them.
Featured Photo: Tomline43