“Mama’s been busy,” Brianna said, automatically turning the potatoes on one shelf as she selected a dozen to take. “I suppose you have, too,” she added, smiling at Fanny. “You helped gather all of this, I’m sure.”
Fanny looked down modestly, but glowed a little.
“I dug up the turnips and some of the potatoes,” she said. “There were a lot growing in that place they call Old Garden. Under the weeds.”
“Old Garden,” Bree repeated. “Yes, I suppose so.” A shiver that had nothing to do with the chill of the root cellar rose up her neck and contracted her scalp. Her mother had written in a letter, with a brevity that made her words strike like rubber bullets, about Malva Christie’s death in the garden. And the death of her unborn child. Under the weeds, indeed.
She glanced sidelong at Fanny, who was twisting an onion off its braid, but the girl showed no emotion about the garden; probably no one had told her—_yet_, Bree thought—about what had happened there, and why the garden had been abandoned to the weeds.
“Should we take more potatoes?” Fanny asked, dropping two fat yellow onions into the basket. “And maybe apples, for fritters? If it doesn’t stop raining, those men will stay the night. And we haven’t any eggs for breakfast.” “Good thought,” Bree said, quite impressed at Fanny’s housewifely forethought. The remark turned her mind, though, to the mysterious visitors.
“What you said to Da—about one of the men being an officer. How did you know that?” _And how did Da know you would know something like that_? she added silently.
Fanny looked at her for a long moment, her face quite expressionless. Then she seemed quite suddenly to have made up her mind about something, for she nodded, as though to herself.
“I’ve seen them,” she said simply. “Lots of times. At the brothel.”
“At the—“ Brianna nearly dropped the pawpaw she’d picked off the upper shelf.
“Brothel,” Fanny repeated, the word clipped short. Bree had turned to look at her; she was pale, but her eyes were steady under her cap. “In Philadelphia.”
“I see.” Brianna hoped her own voice and eyes were as steady as Fanny’s, and tried to speak calmly, in spite of the inner, appalled voice saying, _Jesus Lord, she’s only eleven_! “Did…um…Da—is that where he found you?”
Fanny’s eyes welled quite suddenly with tears, and she turned hurriedly away, fumbling with a shelf of apples.
“No,” she said in a muffled voice. “My—my sister…she…we…we wan away togevver.”
“Your sister,” Bree said carefully. “Where—“
“Oh, Fanny!” She’d dropped the pawpaw, but it didn’t matter. She grabbed Fanny and held her tight, as though she could somehow smother the dreadful sorrow that oozed between them, squeeze it out of existence. Fanny was shaking, silently. “Oh, Fanny,” she said again, softly, and rubbed the girl’s back as she would have done for Jem or Mandy, feeling the delicate bones beneath her fingers.
It didn’t last long. After a moment, Fanny got hold of herself—Bree could feel it happen, a stopping, a drawing in of the flesh—and stepped back, out of Bree’s embrace.
“It’s all right,” she said, blinking fast to keep more tears from coming. “It’s all right. She’s—she’s safe now.” She drew a deep breath and straightened her back. “After—after it happened, William gave me to Mr. Fraser. Oh!” A thought stuck her and she looked uncertainly at Bree. “Do you—know about William?”
For a moment, Bree’s mind was completely blank. _William_? But suddenly the penny dropped, and she looked at Fanny, startled.
“William. You mean…Mr. Fraser’s…Da’s…son?” Saying the word brought him to life; the tall young man, cat-eyed and long-nosed, dark where she was fair, speaking to her on the quay in Wilmington.
“Yes,” Fanny said, still a little wary. “I think—does that mean he’s your brother?”
“Half-brother, yes.” Brianna felt dazed, and bent to pick up the fallen fruit. “You said he _gave_ you to Da?”
“Yes.” Fanny took another breath, and bent to pick up the last apple. Standing, she looked Bree straight in the eye. “Do you mind?”
“No,” Bree said, softly, and touched Fanny’s tender cheek. “Oh, Fanny, no. Not at all.”
I'm watching Mansfield Park for the first time and oh my gosh, I love it. Billie is brillant as always and Fanny is just precious. I wonder.. is there any Tennant that would go well with Miss Fanny Price?
Yessssss :D Fanny is so fucking precious. She is a literal ray of sunshine and it’s impossible not to love her. Billie was a perfect casting for that character. I mean, I just. Look at her.
Look how fucking precious she is. I can’t even.
Who would I ship with Fanny? Hmmm. Any one of these idiots.
Casanova is my favorite, not because he’s a period character but because he’d actually be super gentle with her. Fanny would bring out the best in him. And just looking at Fanny he’d want to treat her like the queen she is. He’s still a dumbass but then again so is Edmund at times
Donald would come in a close second because he’s a precious sweetheart who’d fall head over heels for her and be super sweet to her. At the end of the day he’s a safer choice for Fanny, but I like the idea of Casanova a bit more