Maria, Lady Bertram (née Maria Ward) is a character in Mansfield Park. She is married to Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park. She had two sisters, Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Price, the former who married to please her family, the latter who married an unsuitable man in rebellion.
Early life and marriageEdit
Miss Maria Ward had the good fortune to attract the attentions of a baronet, Sir Thomas. Once they were married, she was elevated in rank as a baronet's lady, with a lovely house and a large income. She married extremely well, better than either of her two sisters. She brought a dowry of only £7,000 to the marriage.
Her elder sister Mrs. Norris, married a respectable clergyman: Rev. Mr. Norris. Lady Bertram's husband gave them the parish at Mansfield. Their other sister, Fanny, married a man without consequence. She did not let them know of her marriage until after the fact, angering Mrs. Norris.
Peace between the sistersEdit
They did not communicate for 11 long years with their estranged sister, although they heard about her life. Finally, they received a letter from Mrs. Price asking for advice and help, as she was about to have her ninth child and didn't quite have the funds to support all her children. This re-established needed peace, and Lady Bertram send money and baby-linen for the new addition to the family; her husband sent career advice for Mrs. Price's sons.
Mrs. Norris hatched an idea to further help their poorer sister, by bringing Mrs. Price's second child and first daughter, Fanny Price, to Mansfield, and giving the girl an education courtesy of Miss Lee, the governess they already employed for Maria and Julia. Sir Thomas agreed after a bit of discussion, although with the caveat that they would send Fanny home if she proved to vulgar and a bad influence for his daughters. Upon Fanny's arrival, Lady Bertram was gracious to the girl but still worried for her pug.
Her husband and eldest son left for Antigua after Tom had gotten into enough gambling debts to force Sir Thomas to give up the parsonage that was meant to be Edmund's. Sir Thomas owned an estate there, and knew their funds would be straitened if it produced poor returns.
Lady Bertram is described to care more for her pug than for her children. She doesn't concern herself with their education, nor her daughters' come-outs, and leaves those things to her husband and her sister. She also does not attend social functions, preferring to remain at home. This also meant that her niece and and companion, Fanny Price, was kept from enjoying the events and socializing that her cousins did.