"In their very last conversation, Miss Crawford, in spite of some amiable sensations, and much personal kindness, had still been Miss Crawford; still shewn a mind led astray and bewildered, and without any suspicion of being so; darkened, yet fancying itself light."
Diane, see the above passage, which to me is the point of convergence of the two seemingly disconnected threads we have been discussing today so profitably: the reliability of Mary Crawford's descriptions of Dr. Grant, and the Quaker subtext in MP.
First, from what I understand, the Evangelicals came later and stole that concept of "the inner light" from the Quakers. Second, I think the above narration depicting Fanny's thoughts about Mary crystallizes what I am saying about Mary---she is not in her heart of hearts evil, but the inner light has been "darkened" (by early trauma and/or abuse, and also by Henry's very very very bad influence), so that Mary no longer accurately perceives her own heart. She can still see wrongdoing in others, I claim, and indeed is driven to do so by her still partially-active conscience--but not in herself and not in Henry.
So I consider her a very reliable observer of Dr. Grant, but a tragically bad observer of herself and Henry--who is a sadistic, degenerate jaded pervert who gets his kicks (just like Lovelace) trying to make holes in pure hearts, but who was also, perhaps, a youthful partner in suffering traumas from a horrific upbringing, and so somehow entitled to a permanent free pass in her mind.
If it weren't for the Admiral and Henry, the two devils of her life, I think Mary might have turned out all right.
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