Excepting the moments of peculiar45 delight, which any marked or unlooked-for instance of Edmund’s consideration of her in the last few months had excited, Fanny had never known so much felicity in her life, as in this unchecked, equal, fearless intercourse46 with the brother and friend who was opening all his heart to her, telling her all his hopes and fears, plans, and solicitudes47 respecting that long thought of, dearly earned, and justly valued blessing48 of promotion49; who could give her direct and minute information of the father and mother, brothers and sisters, of whom she very seldom heard; who was interested in all the comforts and all the little hardships of her home at Mansfield; ready to think of every member of that home as she directed, or differing only by a less scrupulous50 opinion, and more noisy abuse of their aunt Norris, and with whom (perhaps the dearest indulgence of the whole) all the evil and good of their earliest years could be gone over again, and every former united pain and pleasure retraced51 with the fondest recollection. An advantage this, a strengthener of love, in which even the conjugal52 tie is beneath the fraternal. Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connexions can supply; and it must be by a long and unnatural53 estrangement54, by a divorce which no subsequent connexion can justify55, if such precious remains56 of the earliest attachments58 are ever entirely59 outlived. Too often, alas60! it is so. Fraternal love, sometimes almost everything, is at others worse than nothing. But with William and Fanny Price it was still a sentiment in all its prime and freshness, wounded by no opposition61 of interest, cooled by no separate attachment57, and feeling the influence of time and absence only in its increase.