Mr. D'Arcy, Heir of Mansfield Park

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At last, some MP07 casting news! Alert Janeite Sandy sent us a link with a rundown on upcoming TV program(me)s in the UK, including the “Austen Season” offerings. The info about PERSUASION and NA we pretty much knew, but there also is some new cast info about MP.

Mansfield Park winter 2007, ITV1 – Adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, starring Billie Piper as Fanny Price who is taken from poverty to live with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park. With Michelle Ryan and Lucy Hurst as her cousins Maria and Julia, Douglas Hodge as Sir Thomas Bertram, Jemma Redgrave as Lady Bertram, Maggie O’Neill as Mrs Norris , Hayley Atwell as Mary Crawford, Joe Beattie as Mary’s brother Henry, James D’Arcy as Tom and Blake Ritson as Edmund. Made by Company Pictures.

Eagle-eyed Janeite Angie will no doubt be thrilled to learn that the disheveled Byronic gent we’ve seen as Henry Crawford is indeed Joe Beattie as she has claimed all along. The article also reveals that Tom Bertram will be played by James D’Arcy. When we saw the film MASTER AND COMMANDER we were quite smitten with Mr. D’Arcy, who played Tom Pullings, first lieutenant of the HMS Surprise (at the end of the film, we turned to our companion and said, “Have the first lieutenant washed, stripped and brought to our cabin”). We are delighted that a member of our Man-Harem will be playing the charming ne’er-do-well Tom Bertram, whom we find rather amusing.

Tom listened with some shame and some sorrow; but escaping as quickly as possible, could soon with cheerful selfishness reflect, firstly, that he had not been half so much in debt as some of his friends; secondly, that his father had made a most tiresome piece of work of it; and, thirdly, that the future incumbent, whoever he might be, would, in all probability, die very soon.

On Mr. Norris’s death the presentation became the right of a Dr. Grant, who came consequently to reside at Mansfield; and on proving to be a hearty man of forty-five, seemed likely to disappoint Mr. Bertram’s calculations. But “no, he was a short-necked, apoplectic sort of fellow, and, plied well with good things, would soon pop off.”

Hee.

Mr. Bertram was in the room again; and though feeling it would be a great honour to be asked by him, she thought it must happen. He came towards their little circle; but instead of asking her to dance, drew a chair near her, and gave her an account of the present state of a sick horse, and the opinion of the groom, from whom he had just parted. Fanny found that it was not to be, and in the modesty of her nature immediately felt that she had been unreasonable in expecting it. When he had told of his horse, he took a newspaper from the table, and looking over it, said in a languid way, “If you want to dance, Fanny, I will stand up with you.” With more than equal civility the offer was declined; she did not wish to dance. “I am glad of it,” said he, in a much brisker tone, and throwing down the newspaper again, “for I am tired to death. I only wonder how the good people can keep it up so long. They had need be all in love, to find any amusement in such folly; and so they are, I fancy. If you look at them you may see they are so many couple of lovers–all but Yates and Mrs. Grant–and, between ourselves, she, poor woman, must want a lover as much as any one of them. A desperate dull life hers must be with the doctor,” making a sly face as he spoke towards the chair of the latter, who proving, however, to be close at his elbow, made so instantaneous a change of expression and subject necessary, as Fanny, in spite of everything, could hardly help laughing at. “A strange business this in America, Dr. Grant! What is your opinion? I always come to you to know what I am to think of public matters.”

“My dear Tom,” cried his aunt soon afterwards, “as you are not dancing, I dare say you will have no objection to join us in a rubber; shall you?” Then leaving her seat, and coming to him to enforce the proposal, added in a whisper, “We want to make a table for Mrs. Rushworth, you know. Your mother is quite anxious about it, but cannot very well spare time to sit down herself, because of her fringe. Now, you and I and Dr. Grant will just do; and though we play but half-crowns, you know, you may bet half-guineas with him.”

“I should be most happy,” replied he aloud, and jumping up with alacrity, “it would give me the greatest pleasure; but that I am this moment going to dance. Come, Fanny,” taking her hand, “do not be dawdling any longer, or the dance will be over.”

Oh come on! It’s funny!

We have never really understood how Mary Crawford could fall for the Lord High Mayor of Wankerville when Tom was around, but that is neither here nor there. We shall just end with a link to Gratuitous Gaping Frilly Shirtage™, which is always a good thing.