Henry returns to the Parsonage from London. Henry tells Mary that he wants to marry Fanny, to Mary’s complete surprise. Mary says Fanny is very lucky, and that she approves of his choice. She conjectures that he must have been in London to consult the Admiral about his choice. Henry says no, but that when the Admiral meets her he will love her. Henry has not yet asked Fanny, and Mary says that she thinks Fanny will not agree to marry him unless she loves him, but that she thinks he could make her love him.
Henry’s revelation that his flirtation with Fanny has become more than just a game, and that he is, in fact, in love with her, comes as a surprise to Mary and likely to the reader as well. Mary’s warning that Fanny won’t marry him for his money implies that Fanny is unusual in this respect, highlighting how removed marriage is from love for most people in this society.
They then discuss all of Fanny’s charms and virtues. Mary comments that Henry’s cruel project of trying to make Fanny fall in love with him for sport ended up taking a turn. Henry says that once they are married he would like to move to Northamptonshire, the neighborhood of Mansfield, so they can all be together, and divide their time between Northamptonshire and London.
The twist that Henry falls in love with Fanny is extremely satisfying, since he spent so much of the book tricking women into falling in love with him. He clearly believes that Fanny will marry him, showing that he is confident in getting what he wants with his money and charm.
Mary tells him that she was afraid that Henry was going to end up like the Admiral, and Henry tells her not to let her negative opinion of the Admiral influence Fanny’s. Mary tells Henry that she has no worries about how Henry will treat Fanny, despite his flirtatious behavior, since he loves her. They discuss the fact that Julia and Maria will be angry, but that they will eventually forget about it. Henry plans to do even more for Fanny’s happiness than Edmund and Sir Thomas have.
Mary mentions her fear that Henry would end up like the Admiral, recalling Edmund’s earlier comment that he worries Mary’s upbringing with the Admiral has negatively affected her character. Henry’s enthusiasm for Fanny seems to be really genuine, despite the fact that he has lied so much in the past.