Fanny’s first week at the Price home in Portsmouth ends up being disappointing. She does not see William much before he leaves again, because everyone’s lives in Portsmouth are so hectic. Fanny entirely fails to connect with her father, who seems more interested in sailing and drinking than his children. She doesn’t fare much better with her mother either, who is so busy she cannot spend much time with Fanny, and who generally prefers her male children anyway.
Fanny is disappointed by Portsmouth. The effects of relative poverty sour Fanny’s stay—her mother is busy with too many children, her father drinks too much, and the house is noisy because the children are not well disciplined. Though Austen criticizes the lives of the rich, she also acknowledges how wealth allows for certain comforts.
Fanny is hurt by this total lack of interest on her mother’s part, but still tries to help out around the house. Fanny develops different relationships with each of her younger siblings. She finds Sam clever, Tom (Price) and Charles quite wild, Betsey spoiled, and Susan very agreeable. Fanny hates how there are no quiet spaces in the house, and begins to long for Mansfield.
When Fanny’s longs for the quiet spaces of Mansfield, she expresses a clear preference for countryside life over the city. She also comes to understand the importance of manners—though Fanny thought that she would not mind their absence, and might even be refreshed by her family’s roughness and lack of decorum, the resulting chaos proves her wrong.