schöner wohnen wohnzimmer regal
sense and sensibilityby jane austen (1811) chapter 15 mrs. dashwood's visit to lady middletontook place the next day, and two of her daughters went with her; but marianneexcused herself from being of the party, under some trifling pretext of employment; and her mother, who concluded that apromise had been made by willoughby the night before of calling on her while theywere absent, was perfectly satisfied with her remaining at home. on their return from the park they foundwilloughby's curricle and servant in
waiting at the cottage, and mrs. dashwoodwas convinced that her conjecture had been just. so far it was all as she had foreseen; buton entering the house she beheld what no foresight had taught her to expect. they were no sooner in the passage thanmarianne came hastily out of the parlour apparently in violent affliction, with herhandkerchief at her eyes; and without noticing them ran up stairs. surprised and alarmed they proceededdirectly into the room she had just quitted, where they found only willoughby,who was leaning against the mantel-piece
with his back towards them. he turned round on their coming in, and hiscountenance shewed that he strongly partook of the emotion which over-powered marianne."is anything the matter with her?" cried mrs. dashwood as she entered--"is she ill?" "i hope not," he replied, trying to lookcheerful; and with a forced smile presently added, "it is i who may rather expect to beill--for i am now suffering under a very heavy disappointment!" "disappointment?""yes, for i am unable to keep my engagement with you.
mrs. smith has this morning exercised theprivilege of riches upon a poor dependent cousin, by sending me on business tolondon. i have just received my dispatches, andtaken my farewell of allenham; and by way of exhilaration i am now come to take myfarewell of you." "to london!--and are you going thismorning?" "almost this moment.""this is very unfortunate. but mrs. smith must be obliged;--and herbusiness will not detain you from us long i hope." he coloured as he replied, "you are verykind, but i have no idea of returning into
devonshire immediately.my visits to mrs. smith are never repeated within the twelvemonth." "and is mrs. smith your only friend?is allenham the only house in the neighbourhood to which you will be welcome?for shame, willoughby, can you wait for an invitation here?" his colour increased; and with his eyesfixed on the ground he only replied, "you are too good."mrs. dashwood looked at elinor with surprise. elinor felt equal amazement.for a few moments every one was silent.
mrs. dashwood first spoke. "i have only to add, my dear willoughby,that at barton cottage you will always be welcome; for i will not press you to returnhere immediately, because you only can judge how far that might be pleasing to mrs. smith; and on this head i shall be nomore disposed to question your judgment than to doubt your inclination." "my engagements at present," repliedwilloughby, confusedly, "are of such a nature--that--i dare not flatter myself"--he stopt. mrs. dashwood was too much astonished tospeak, and another pause succeeded.
this was broken by willoughby, who saidwith a faint smile, "it is folly to linger in this manner. i will not torment myself any longer byremaining among friends whose society it is impossible for me now to enjoy."he then hastily took leave of them all and left the room. they saw him step into his carriage, and ina minute it was out of sight. mrs. dashwood felt too much for speech, andinstantly quitted the parlour to give way in solitude to the concern and alarm whichthis sudden departure occasioned. elinor's uneasiness was at least equal toher mother's.
she thought of what had just passed withanxiety and distrust. willoughby's behaviour in taking leave ofthem, his embarrassment, and affectation of cheerfulness, and, above all, hisunwillingness to accept her mother's invitation, a backwardness so unlike a lover, so unlike himself, greatly disturbedher. one moment she feared that no seriousdesign had ever been formed on his side; and the next that some unfortunate quarrelhad taken place between him and her sister;--the distress in which marianne had quitted the room was such as a seriousquarrel could most reasonably account for,
though when she considered what marianne'slove for him was, a quarrel seemed almost impossible. but whatever might be the particulars oftheir separation, her sister's affliction was indubitable; and she thought with thetenderest compassion of that violent sorrow which marianne was in all probability not merely giving way to as a relief, butfeeding and encouraging as a duty. in about half an hour her mother returned,and though her eyes were red, her countenance was not uncheerful. "our dear willoughby is now some miles frombarton, elinor," said she, as she sat down
to work, "and with how heavy a heart doeshe travel?" "it is all very strange. so suddenly to be gone!it seems but the work of a moment. and last night he was with us so happy, socheerful, so affectionate? and now, after only ten minutes notice--gone too without intending to return!-- something more than what he owned to usmust have happened. he did not speak, he did not behave likehimself. you must have seen the difference as wellas i. what can it be?
can they have quarrelled?why else should he have shewn such unwillingness to accept your invitationhere?"-- "it was not inclination that he wanted,elinor; i could plainly see that. he had not the power of accepting it. i have thought it all over i assure you,and i can perfectly account for every thing that at first seemed strange to me as wellas to you." "can you, indeed!" "yes. i have explained it to myself in themost satisfactory way;--but you, elinor, who love to doubt where you can--it willnot satisfy you, i know; but you shall not
talk me out of my trust in it. i am persuaded that mrs. smith suspects hisregard for marianne, disapproves of it, (perhaps because she has other views forhim,) and on that account is eager to get him away;--and that the business which she sends him off to transact is invented as anexcuse to dismiss him. this is what i believe to have happened. he is, moreover, aware that she doesdisapprove the connection, he dares not therefore at present confess to her hisengagement with marianne, and he feels himself obliged, from his dependent
situation, to give into her schemes, andabsent himself from devonshire for a while. you will tell me, i know, that this may ormay not have happened; but i will listen to no cavil, unless you can point out anyother method of understanding the affair as satisfactory at this. and now, elinor, what have you to say?""nothing, for you have anticipated my answer.""then you would have told me, that it might or might not have happened. oh, elinor, how incomprehensible are yourfeelings! you had rather take evil upon credit thangood.
you had rather look out for misery formarianne, and guilt for poor willoughby, than an apology for the latter. you are resolved to think him blameable,because he took leave of us with less affection than his usual behaviour hasshewn. and is no allowance to be made forinadvertence, or for spirits depressed by recent disappointment?are no probabilities to be accepted, merely because they are not certainties? is nothing due to the man whom we have allsuch reason to love, and no reason in the world to think ill of?
to the possibility of motives unanswerablein themselves, though unavoidably secret for a while?and, after all, what is it you suspect him of?" "i can hardly tell myself.but suspicion of something unpleasant is the inevitable consequence of such analteration as we just witnessed in him. there is great truth, however, in what youhave now urged of the allowances which ought to be made for him, and it is my wishto be candid in my judgment of every body. willoughby may undoubtedly have verysufficient reasons for his conduct, and i will hope that he has.but it would have been more like willoughby
to acknowledge them at once. secrecy may be advisable; but still icannot help wondering at its being practiced by him." "do not blame him, however, for departingfrom his character, where the deviation is necessary. but you really do admit the justice of whati have said in his defence?--i am happy-- and he is acquitted.""not entirely. it may be proper to conceal theirengagement (if they are engaged) from mrs. smith--and if that is the case, it must behighly expedient for willoughby to be but
little in devonshire at present. but this is no excuse for their concealingit from us." "concealing it from us! my dear child, doyou accuse willoughby and marianne of concealment? this is strange indeed, when your eyes havebeen reproaching them every day for incautiousness.""i want no proof of their affection," said elinor; "but of their engagement i do." "i am perfectly satisfied of both.""yet not a syllable has been said to you on the subject, by either of them.""i have not wanted syllables where actions
have spoken so plainly. has not his behaviour to marianne and toall of us, for at least the last fortnight, declared that he loved and considered heras his future wife, and that he felt for us the attachment of the nearest relation? have we not perfectly understood eachother? has not my consent been daily asked by hislooks, his manner, his attentive and affectionate respect? my elinor, is it possible to doubt theirengagement? how could such a thought occur to you?
how is it to be supposed that willoughby,persuaded as he must be of your sister's love, should leave her, and leave herperhaps for months, without telling her of his affection;--that they should partwithout a mutual exchange of confidence?" "i confess," replied elinor, "that everycircumstance except one is in favour of their engagement; but that one is the totalsilence of both on the subject, and with me it almost outweighs every other." "how strange this is! you must think wretchedly indeed ofwilloughby, if, after all that has openly passed between them, you can doubt thenature of the terms on which they are
together. has he been acting a part in his behaviourto your sister all this time? do you suppose him really indifferent toher?" "no, i cannot think that. he must and does love her i am sure.""but with a strange kind of tenderness, if he can leave her with such indifference,such carelessness of the future, as you attribute to him." "you must remember, my dear mother, that ihave never considered this matter as certain.
i have had my doubts, i confess; but theyare fainter than they were, and they may soon be entirely done away.if we find they correspond, every fear of mine will be removed." "a mighty concession indeed!if you were to see them at the altar, you would suppose they were going to bemarried. ungracious girl! but i require no such proof.nothing in my opinion has ever passed to justify doubt; no secrecy has beenattempted; all has been uniformly open and unreserved.
you cannot doubt your sister's wishes.it must be willoughby therefore whom you suspect.but why? is he not a man of honour and feeling? has there been any inconsistency on hisside to create alarm? can he be deceitful?" "i hope not, i believe not," cried elinor. "i love willoughby, sincerely love him; andsuspicion of his integrity cannot be more painful to yourself than to me.it has been involuntary, and i will not encourage it. i was startled, i confess, by thealteration in his manners this morning;--he
did not speak like himself, and did notreturn your kindness with any cordiality. but all this may be explained by such asituation of his affairs as you have supposed. he had just parted from my sister, had seenher leave him in the greatest affliction; and if he felt obliged, from a fear ofoffending mrs. smith, to resist the temptation of returning here soon, and yet aware that by declining your invitation, bysaying that he was going away for some time, he should seem to act an ungenerous,a suspicious part by our family, he might well be embarrassed and disturbed.
in such a case, a plain and open avowal ofhis difficulties would have been more to his honour i think, as well as moreconsistent with his general character;--but i will not raise objections against any one's conduct on so illiberal a foundation,as a difference in judgment from myself, or a deviation from what i may think right andconsistent." "you speak very properly. willoughby certainly does not deserve to besuspected. though we have not known him long, he is nostranger in this part of the world; and who has ever spoken to his disadvantage?
had he been in a situation to actindependently and marry immediately, it might have been odd that he should leave uswithout acknowledging everything to me at once: but this is not the case. it is an engagement in some respects notprosperously begun, for their marriage must be at a very uncertain distance; and evensecrecy, as far as it can be observed, may now be very advisable." they were interrupted by the entrance ofmargaret; and elinor was then at liberty to think over the representations of hermother, to acknowledge the probability of many, and hope for the justice of all.
they saw nothing of marianne till dinnertime, when she entered the room and took her place at the table without saying aword. her eyes were red and swollen; and itseemed as if her tears were even then restrained with difficulty. she avoided the looks of them all, couldneither eat nor speak, and after some time, on her mother's silently pressing her handwith tender compassion, her small degree of fortitude was quite overcome, she burstinto tears and left the room. this violent oppression of spiritscontinued the whole evening. she was without any power, because she waswithout any desire of command over herself.
the slightest mention of anything relativeto willoughby overpowered her in an instant; and though her family were mostanxiously attentive to her comfort, it was impossible for them, if they spoke at all, to keep clear of every subject which herfeelings connected with him. > chapter 16 marianne would have thought herself veryinexcusable had she been able to sleep at all the first night after parting fromwilloughby. she would have been ashamed to look herfamily in the face the next morning, had
she not risen from her bed in more need ofrepose than when she lay down in it. but the feelings which made such composurea disgrace, left her in no danger of incurring it.she was awake the whole night, and she wept the greatest part of it. she got up with a headache, was unable totalk, and unwilling to take any nourishment; giving pain every moment toher mother and sisters, and forbidding all attempt at consolation from either. her sensibility was potent enough! when breakfast was over she walked out byherself, and wandered about the village of
allenham, indulging the recollection ofpast enjoyment and crying over the present reverse for the chief of the morning. the evening passed off in the equalindulgence of feeling. she played over every favourite song thatshe had been used to play to willoughby, every air in which their voices had beenoftenest joined, and sat at the instrument gazing on every line of music that he had written out for her, till her heart was soheavy that no farther sadness could be gained; and this nourishment of grief wasevery day applied. she spent whole hours at the pianofortealternately singing and crying; her voice
often totally suspended by her tears. in books too, as well as in music, shecourted the misery which a contrast between the past and present was certain of giving.she read nothing but what they had been used to read together. such violence of affliction indeed couldnot be supported for ever; it sunk within a few days into a calmer melancholy; butthese employments, to which she daily recurred, her solitary walks and silent meditations, still produced occasionaleffusions of sorrow as lively as ever. no letter from willoughby came; and noneseemed expected by marianne.
her mother was surprised, and elinor againbecame uneasy. but mrs. dashwood could find explanationswhenever she wanted them, which at least satisfied herself. "remember, elinor," said she, "how veryoften sir john fetches our letters himself from the post, and carries them to it. we have already agreed that secrecy may benecessary, and we must acknowledge that it could not be maintained if theircorrespondence were to pass through sir john's hands." elinor could not deny the truth of this,and she tried to find in it a motive
sufficient for their silence. but there was one method so direct, sosimple, and in her opinion so eligible of knowing the real state of the affair, andof instantly removing all mystery, that she could not help suggesting it to her mother. "why do you not ask marianne at once," saidshe, "whether she is or she is not engaged to willoughby? from you, her mother, and so kind, soindulgent a mother, the question could not give offence.it would be the natural result of your affection for her.
she used to be all unreserve, and to youmore especially." "i would not ask such a question for theworld. supposing it possible that they are notengaged, what distress would not such an enquiry inflict!at any rate it would be most ungenerous. i should never deserve her confidenceagain, after forcing from her a confession of what is meant at present to beunacknowledged to any one. i know marianne's heart: i know that shedearly loves me, and that i shall not be the last to whom the affair is made known,when circumstances make the revealment of it eligible.
i would not attempt to force the confidenceof any one; of a child much less; because a sense of duty would prevent the denialwhich her wishes might direct." elinor thought this generosityoverstrained, considering her sister's youth, and urged the matter farther, but invain; common sense, common care, common prudence, were all sunk in mrs. dashwood'sromantic delicacy. it was several days before willoughby'sname was mentioned before marianne by any of her family; sir john and mrs. jennings,indeed, were not so nice; their witticisms added pain to many a painful hour;--but one evening, mrs. dashwood, accidentally takingup a volume of shakespeare, exclaimed,
"we have never finished hamlet, marianne;our dear willoughby went away before we could get through it. we will put it by, that when he comesagain...but it may be months, perhaps, before that happens.""months!" cried marianne, with strong "no--nor many weeks." mrs. dashwood was sorry for what she hadsaid; but it gave elinor pleasure, as it produced a reply from marianne soexpressive of confidence in willoughby and knowledge of his intentions. one morning, about a week after his leavingthe country, marianne was prevailed on to
join her sisters in their usual walk,instead of wandering away by herself. hitherto she had carefully avoided everycompanion in her rambles. if her sisters intended to walk on thedowns, she directly stole away towards the lanes; if they talked of the valley, shewas as speedy in climbing the hills, and could never be found when the others setoff. but at length she was secured by theexertions of elinor, who greatly disapproved such continual seclusion. they walked along the road through thevalley, and chiefly in silence, for marianne's mind could not be controlled,and elinor, satisfied with gaining one
point, would not then attempt more. beyond the entrance of the valley, wherethe country, though still rich, was less wild and more open, a long stretch of theroad which they had travelled on first coming to barton, lay before them; and on reaching that point, they stopped to lookaround them, and examine a prospect which formed the distance of their view from thecottage, from a spot which they had never happened to reach in any of their walksbefore. amongst the objects in the scene, they soondiscovered an animated one; it was a man on horseback riding towards them.
in a few minutes they could distinguish himto be a gentleman; and in a moment afterwards marianne rapturously exclaimed, "it is he; it is indeed;--i know it is!"--and was hastening to meet him, when elinor cried out,"indeed, marianne, i think you are mistaken. it is not willoughby.the person is not tall enough for him, and has not his air.""he has, he has," cried marianne, "i am sure he has. his air, his coat, his horse.i knew how soon he would come."
she walked eagerly on as she spoke; andelinor, to screen marianne from particularity, as she felt almost certainof its not being willoughby, quickened her pace and kept up with her. they were soon within thirty yards of thegentleman. marianne looked again; her heart sunkwithin her; and abruptly turning round, she was hurrying back, when the voices of bothher sisters were raised to detain her; a third, almost as well known as willoughby's, joined them in begging her tostop, and she turned round with surprise to see and welcome edward ferrars.
he was the only person in the world whocould at that moment be forgiven for not being willoughby; the only one who couldhave gained a smile from her; but she dispersed her tears to smile on him, and in her sister's happiness forgot for a timeher own disappointment. he dismounted, and giving his horse to hisservant, walked back with them to barton, whither he was purposely coming to visitthem. he was welcomed by them all with greatcordiality, but especially by marianne, who showed more warmth of regard in herreception of him than even elinor herself. to marianne, indeed, the meeting betweenedward and her sister was but a
continuation of that unaccountable coldnesswhich she had often observed at norland in their mutual behaviour. on edward's side, more particularly, therewas a deficiency of all that a lover ought to look and say on such an occasion. he was confused, seemed scarcely sensibleof pleasure in seeing them, looked neither rapturous nor gay, said little but what wasforced from him by questions, and distinguished elinor by no mark ofaffection. marianne saw and listened with increasingsurprise. she began almost to feel a dislike ofedward; and it ended, as every feeling must
end with her, by carrying back her thoughtsto willoughby, whose manners formed a contrast sufficiently striking to those ofhis brother elect. after a short silence which succeeded thefirst surprise and enquiries of meeting, marianne asked edward if he came directlyfrom london. no, he had been in devonshire a fortnight. "a fortnight!" she repeated, surprised athis being so long in the same county with elinor without seeing her before. he looked rather distressed as he added,that he had been staying with some friends near plymouth."have you been lately in sussex?" said
elinor. "i was at norland about a month ago.""and how does dear, dear norland look?" cried marianne. "dear, dear norland," said elinor,"probably looks much as it always does at this time of the year.the woods and walks thickly covered with dead leaves." "oh," cried marianne, "with whattransporting sensation have i formerly seen them fall! how have i delighted, as i walked, to seethem driven in showers about me by the
wind!what feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! now there is no one to regard them.they are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possiblefrom the sight." "it is not every one," said elinor, "whohas your passion for dead leaves." "no; my feelings are not often shared, notoften understood. but sometimes they are."--as she said this,she sunk into a reverie for a few moments;- -but rousing herself again, "now, edward,"said she, calling his attention to the prospect, "here is barton valley.
look up to it, and be tranquil if you can.look at those hills! did you ever see their equals?to the left is barton park, amongst those woods and plantations. you may see the end of the house.and there, beneath that farthest hill, which rises with such grandeur, is ourcottage." "it is a beautiful country," he replied;"but these bottoms must be dirty in winter.""how can you think of dirt, with such objects before you?" "because," replied he, smiling, "among therest of the objects before me, i see a very
dirty lane.""how strange!" said marianne to herself as she walked on. "have you an agreeable neighbourhood here?are the middletons pleasant people?" "no, not all," answered marianne; "we couldnot be more unfortunately situated." "marianne," cried her sister, "how can yousay so? how can you be so unjust? they are a very respectable family, mr.ferrars; and towards us have behaved in the friendliest manner.have you forgot, marianne, how many pleasant days we have owed to them?"
"no," said marianne, in a low voice, "norhow many painful moments." elinor took no notice of this; anddirecting her attention to their visitor, endeavoured to support something likediscourse with him, by talking of their present residence, its conveniences, &c. extorting from him occasional questions andremarks. his coldness and reserve mortified herseverely; she was vexed and half angry; but resolving to regulate her behaviour to himby the past rather than the present, she avoided every appearance of resentment or displeasure, and treated him as she thoughthe ought to be treated from the family
connection. chapter 17 mrs. dashwood was surprised only for amoment at seeing him; for his coming to barton was, in her opinion, of all thingsthe most natural. her joy and expression of regard longoutlived her wonder. he received the kindest welcome from her;and shyness, coldness, reserve could not stand against such a reception. they had begun to fail him before heentered the house, and they were quite overcome by the captivating manners of mrs.dashwood.
indeed a man could not very well be in lovewith either of her daughters, without extending the passion to her; and elinorhad the satisfaction of seeing him soon become more like himself. his affections seemed to reanimate towardsthem all, and his interest in their welfare again became perceptible. he was not in spirits, however; he praisedtheir house, admired its prospect, was attentive, and kind; but still he was notin spirits. the whole family perceived it, and mrs.dashwood, attributing it to some want of liberality in his mother, sat down to tableindignant against all selfish parents.
"what are mrs. ferrars's views for you atpresent, edward?" said she, when dinner was over and they had drawn round the fire;"are you still to be a great orator in spite of yourself?" "no. i hope my mother is now convinced thati have no more talents than inclination for a public life!" "but how is your fame to be established?for famous you must be to satisfy all your family; and with no inclination forexpense, no affection for strangers, no profession, and no assurance, you may findit a difficult matter." "i shall not attempt it.i have no wish to be distinguished; and
have every reason to hope i never shall. thank heaven!i cannot be forced into genius and eloquence.""you have no ambition, i well know. your wishes are all moderate." "as moderate as those of the rest of theworld, i believe. i wish as well as every body else to beperfectly happy; but, like every body else it must be in my own way. greatness will not make me so.""strange that it would!" cried marianne. "what have wealth or grandeur to do withhappiness?"
"grandeur has but little," said elinor,"but wealth has much to do with it." "elinor, for shame!" said marianne, "moneycan only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. beyond a competence, it can afford no realsatisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.""perhaps," said elinor, smiling, "we may come to the same point. your competence and my wealth are very muchalike, i dare say; and without them, as the world goes now, we shall both agree thatevery kind of external comfort must be wanting.
your ideas are only more noble than mine.come, what is your competence?" "about eighteen hundred or two thousand ayear; not more than that." elinor laughed. "two thousand a year!one is my wealth! i guessed how it would end.""and yet two thousand a-year is a very moderate income," said marianne. "a family cannot well be maintained on asmaller. i am sure i am not extravagant in mydemands. a proper establishment of servants, acarriage, perhaps two, and hunters, cannot
be supported on less." elinor smiled again, to hear her sisterdescribing so accurately their future expenses at combe magna."hunters!" repeated edward--"but why must you have hunters? every body does not hunt."marianne coloured as she replied, "but most people do." "i wish," said margaret, striking out anovel thought, "that somebody would give us all a large fortune apiece!" "oh that they would!" cried marianne, hereyes sparkling with animation, and her
cheeks glowing with the delight of suchimaginary happiness. "we are all unanimous in that wish, isuppose," said elinor, "in spite of the insufficiency of wealth.""oh dear!" cried margaret, "how happy i should be! i wonder what i should do with it!"marianne looked as if she had no doubt on that point. "i should be puzzled to spend so large afortune myself," said mrs. dashwood, "if my children were all to be rich without myhelp." "you must begin your improvements on thishouse," observed elinor, "and your
difficulties will soon vanish." "what magnificent orders would travel fromthis family to london," said edward, "in such an event!what a happy day for booksellers, music- sellers, and print-shops! you, miss dashwood, would give a generalcommission for every new print of merit to be sent you--and as for marianne, i knowher greatness of soul, there would not be music enough in london to content her. and books!--thomson, cowper, scott--shewould buy them all over and over again: she would buy up every copy, i believe, toprevent their falling into unworthy hands;
and she would have every book that tellsher how to admire an old twisted tree. should not you, marianne?forgive me, if i am very saucy. but i was willing to shew you that i hadnot forgot our old disputes." "i love to be reminded of the past, edward--whether it be melancholy or gay, i love to recall it--and you will never offend me bytalking of former times. you are very right in supposing how mymoney would be spent--some of it, at least- -my loose cash would certainly be employedin improving my collection of music and books." "and the bulk of your fortune would be laidout in annuities on the authors or their
heirs.""no, edward, i should have something else to do with it." "perhaps, then, you would bestow it as areward on that person who wrote the ablest defence of your favourite maxim, that noone can ever be in love more than once in their life--your opinion on that point isunchanged, i presume?" "undoubtedly.at my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed. it is not likely that i should now see orhear any thing to change them." "marianne is as steadfast as ever, yousee," said elinor, "she is not at all
altered." "she is only grown a little more grave thanshe was." "nay, edward," said marianne, "you need notreproach me. you are not very gay yourself." "why should you think so!" replied he, witha sigh. "but gaiety never was a part of mycharacter." "nor do i think it a part of marianne's,"said elinor; "i should hardly call her a lively girl--she is very earnest, veryeager in all she does--sometimes talks a great deal and always with animation--butshe is not often really merry."
"i believe you are right," he replied, "andyet i have always set her down as a lively girl." "i have frequently detected myself in suchkind of mistakes," said elinor, "in a total misapprehension of character in some pointor other: fancying people so much more gay or grave, or ingenious or stupid than they really are, and i can hardly tell why or inwhat the deception originated. sometimes one is guided by what they say ofthemselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without givingoneself time to deliberate and judge." "but i thought it was right, elinor," saidmarianne, "to be guided wholly by the
opinion of other people. i thought our judgments were given usmerely to be subservient to those of neighbours.this has always been your doctrine, i am sure." "no, marianne, never.my doctrine has never aimed at the subjection of the understanding.all i have ever attempted to influence has been the behaviour. you must not confound my meaning. i am guilty, i confess, of having oftenwished you to treat our acquaintance in
general with greater attention; but whenhave i advised you to adopt their sentiments or to conform to their judgmentin serious matters?" "you have not been able to bring yoursister over to your plan of general civility," said edward to elinor. "do you gain no ground?""quite the contrary," replied elinor, looking expressively at marianne. "my judgment," he returned, "is all on yourside of the question; but i am afraid my practice is much more on your sister's. i never wish to offend, but i am sofoolishly shy, that i often seem negligent,
when i am only kept back by my naturalawkwardness. i have frequently thought that i must havebeen intended by nature to be fond of low company, i am so little at my ease amongstrangers of gentility!" "marianne has not shyness to excuse anyinattention of hers," said elinor. "she knows her own worth too well for falseshame," replied edward. "shyness is only the effect of a sense ofinferiority in some way or other. if i could persuade myself that my mannerswere perfectly easy and graceful, i should not be shy." "but you would still be reserved," saidmarianne, "and that is worse."
edward started--"reserved!am i reserved, marianne?" "yes, very." "i do not understand you," replied he,colouring. "reserved!--how, in what manner?what am i to tell you? what can you suppose?" elinor looked surprised at his emotion; buttrying to laugh off the subject, she said to him, "do not you know my sister wellenough to understand what she means? do not you know she calls every onereserved who does not talk as fast, and admire what she admires as rapturously asherself?"
edward made no answer. his gravity and thoughtfulness returned onhim in their fullest extent--and he sat for some time silent and dull. chapter 18 elinor saw, with great uneasiness the lowspirits of her friend. his visit afforded her but a very partialsatisfaction, while his own enjoyment in it appeared so imperfect. it was evident that he was unhappy; shewished it were equally evident that he still distinguished her by the sameaffection which once she had felt no doubt
of inspiring; but hitherto the continuance of his preference seemed very uncertain;and the reservedness of his manner towards her contradicted one moment what a moreanimated look had intimated the preceding one. he joined her and marianne in thebreakfast-room the next morning before the others were down; and marianne, who wasalways eager to promote their happiness as far as she could, soon left them tothemselves. but before she was half way upstairs sheheard the parlour door open, and, turning round, was astonished to see edward himselfcome out.
"i am going into the village to see myhorses," said he, "as you are not yet ready for breakfast; i shall be back againpresently." *** edward returned to them with freshadmiration of the surrounding country; in his walk to the village, he had seen manyparts of the valley to advantage; and the village itself, in a much higher situation than the cottage, afforded a general viewof the whole, which had exceedingly pleased him. this was a subject which ensured marianne'sattention, and she was beginning to
describe her own admiration of thesescenes, and to question him more minutely on the objects that had particularly struck him, when edward interrupted her by saying,"you must not enquire too far, marianne-- remember i have no knowledge in thepicturesque, and i shall offend you by my ignorance and want of taste if we come toparticulars. i shall call hills steep, which ought to bebold; surfaces strange and uncouth, which ought to be irregular and rugged; anddistant objects out of sight, which ought only to be indistinct through the softmedium of a hazy atmosphere. you must be satisfied with such admirationas i can honestly give.
i call it a very fine country--the hillsare steep, the woods seem full of fine timber, and the valley looks comfortableand snug--with rich meadows and several neat farm houses scattered here and there. it exactly answers my idea of a finecountry, because it unites beauty with utility--and i dare say it is a picturesqueone too, because you admire it; i can easily believe it to be full of rocks and promontories, grey moss and brush wood, butthese are all lost on me. i know nothing of the picturesque.""i am afraid it is but too true," said marianne; "but why should you boast of it?"
"i suspect," said elinor, "that to avoidone kind of affectation, edward here falls into another. because he believes many people pretend tomore admiration of the beauties of nature than they really feel, and is disgustedwith such pretensions, he affects greater indifference and less discrimination inviewing them himself than he possesses. he is fastidious and will have anaffectation of his own." "it is very true," said marianne, "thatadmiration of landscape scenery is become a mere jargon. every body pretends to feel and tries todescribe with the taste and elegance of him
who first defined what picturesque beautywas. i detest jargon of every kind, andsometimes i have kept my feelings to myself, because i could find no language todescribe them in but what was worn and hackneyed out of all sense and meaning." "i am convinced," said edward, "that youreally feel all the delight in a fine prospect which you profess to feel.but, in return, your sister must allow me to feel no more than i profess. i like a fine prospect, but not onpicturesque principles. i do not like crooked, twisted, blastedtrees.
i admire them much more if they are tall,straight, and flourishing. i do not like ruined, tattered cottages.i am not fond of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms. i have more pleasure in a snug farm-housethan a watch-tower--and a troop of tidy, happy villages please me better than thefinest banditti in the world." marianne looked with amazement at edward,with compassion at her sister. elinor only laughed. the subject was continued no farther; andmarianne remained thoughtfully silent, till a new object suddenly engaged herattention.
she was sitting by edward, and in takinghis tea from mrs. dashwood, his hand passed so directly before her, as to make a ring,with a plait of hair in the centre, very conspicuous on one of his fingers. "i never saw you wear a ring before,edward," she cried. "is that fanny's hair?i remember her promising to give you some. but i should have thought her hair had beendarker." marianne spoke inconsiderately what shereally felt--but when she saw how much she had pained edward, her own vexation at herwant of thought could not be surpassed by his.
he coloured very deeply, and giving amomentary glance at elinor, replied, "yes; it is my sister's hair.the setting always casts a different shade on it, you know." elinor had met his eye, and lookedconscious likewise. that the hair was her own, sheinstantaneously felt as well satisfied as marianne; the only difference in theirconclusions was, that what marianne considered as a free gift from her sister, elinor was conscious must have beenprocured by some theft or contrivance unknown to herself.
she was not in a humour, however, to regardit as an affront, and affecting to take no notice of what passed, by instantly talkingof something else, she internally resolved henceforward to catch every opportunity of eyeing the hair and of satisfying herself,beyond all doubt, that it was exactly the shade of her own. edward's embarrassment lasted some time,and it ended in an absence of mind still more settled.he was particularly grave the whole morning. marianne severely censured herself for whatshe had said; but her own forgiveness might
have been more speedy, had she known howlittle offence it had given her sister. before the middle of the day, they werevisited by sir john and mrs. jennings, who, having heard of the arrival of a gentlemanat the cottage, came to take a survey of the guest. with the assistance of his mother-in-law,sir john was not long in discovering that the name of ferrars began with an f. andthis prepared a future mine of raillery against the devoted elinor, which nothing but the newness of their acquaintance withedward could have prevented from being immediately sprung.
but, as it was, she only learned, from somevery significant looks, how far their penetration, founded on margaret'sinstructions, extended. sir john never came to the dashwoodswithout either inviting them to dine at the park the next day, or to drink tea withthem that evening. on the present occasion, for the betterentertainment of their visitor, towards whose amusement he felt himself bound tocontribute, he wished to engage them for both. "you must drink tea with us to night," saidhe, "for we shall be quite alone--and tomorrow you must absolutely dine with us,for we shall be a large party."
mrs. jennings enforced the necessity. "and who knows but you may raise a dance,"said she. "and that will tempt you, miss marianne.""a dance!" cried marianne. "impossible! who is to dance?""who! why yourselves, and the careys, and whitakers to be sure.--what! you thoughtnobody could dance because a certain person that shall be nameless is gone!" "i wish with all my soul," cried sir john,"that willoughby were among us again." this, and marianne's blushing, gave newsuspicions to edward.
"and who is willoughby?" said he, in a lowvoice, to miss dashwood, by whom he was sitting.she gave him a brief reply. marianne's countenance was morecommunicative. edward saw enough to comprehend, not onlythe meaning of others, but such of marianne's expressions as had puzzled himbefore; and when their visitors left them, he went immediately round her, and said, ina whisper, "i have been guessing. shall i tell you my guess?""what do you mean?" "shall i tell you." "certainly.""well then; i guess that mr. willoughby
hunts." marianne was surprised and confused, yetshe could not help smiling at the quiet archness of his manner, and after amoment's silence, said, "oh, edward! how can you?--but the time will come ihope...i am sure you will like him." "i do not doubt it," replied he, ratherastonished at her earnestness and warmth; for had he not imagined it to be a joke forthe good of her acquaintance in general, founded only on a something or a nothing between mr. willoughby and herself, hewould not have ventured to mention it.
chapter 19 edward remained a week at the cottage; hewas earnestly pressed by mrs. dashwood to stay longer; but, as if he were bent onlyon self-mortification, he seemed resolved to be gone when his enjoyment among hisfriends was at the height. his spirits, during the last two or threedays, though still very unequal, were greatly improved--he grew more and morepartial to the house and environs--never spoke of going away without a sigh-- declared his time to be wholly disengaged--even doubted to what place he should go when he left them--but still, go he must.never had any week passed so quickly--he
could hardly believe it to be gone. he said so repeatedly; other things he saidtoo, which marked the turn of his feelings and gave the lie to his actions. he had no pleasure at norland; he detestedbeing in town; but either to norland or london, he must go. he valued their kindness beyond any thing,and his greatest happiness was in being with them. yet, he must leave them at the end of aweek, in spite of their wishes and his own, and without any restraint on his time.
elinor placed all that was astonishing inthis way of acting to his mother's account; and it was happy for her that he had amother whose character was so imperfectly known to her, as to be the general excuse for every thing strange on the part of herson. disappointed, however, and vexed as shewas, and sometimes displeased with his uncertain behaviour to herself, she wasvery well disposed on the whole to regard his actions with all the candid allowances and generous qualifications, which had beenrather more painfully extorted from her, for willoughby's service, by her mother.
his want of spirits, of openness, and ofconsistency, were most usually attributed to his want of independence, and his betterknowledge of mrs. ferrars's disposition and designs. the shortness of his visit, the steadinessof his purpose in leaving them, originated in the same fettered inclination, the sameinevitable necessity of temporizing with his mother. the old well-established grievance of dutyagainst will, parent against child, was the cause of all. she would have been glad to know when thesedifficulties were to cease, this opposition
was to yield,--when mrs. ferrars would bereformed, and her son be at liberty to be happy. but from such vain wishes she was forced toturn for comfort to the renewal of her confidence in edward's affection, to theremembrance of every mark of regard in look or word which fell from him while at barton, and above all to that flatteringproof of it which he constantly wore round his finger. "i think, edward," said mrs. dashwood, asthey were at breakfast the last morning, "you would be a happier man if you had anyprofession to engage your time and give an
interest to your plans and actions. some inconvenience to your friends, indeed,might result from it--you would not be able to give them so much of your time. but (with a smile) you would be materiallybenefited in one particular at least--you would know where to go when you left them." "i do assure you," he replied, "that i havelong thought on this point, as you think now. it has been, and is, and probably willalways be a heavy misfortune to me, that i have had no necessary business to engageme, no profession to give me employment, or
afford me any thing like independence. but unfortunately my own nicety, and thenicety of my friends, have made me what i am, an idle, helpless being.we never could agree in our choice of a profession. i always preferred the church, as i stilldo. but that was not smart enough for myfamily. they recommended the army. that was a great deal too smart for me. the law was allowed to be genteel enough;many young men, who had chambers in the
temple, made a very good appearance in thefirst circles, and drove about town in very knowing gigs. but i had no inclination for the law, evenin this less abstruse study of it, which my family approved. as for the navy, it had fashion on itsside, but i was too old when the subject was first started to enter it--and, atlength, as there was no necessity for my having any profession at all, as i might be as dashing and expensive without a red coaton my back as with one, idleness was pronounced on the whole to be mostadvantageous and honourable, and a young
man of eighteen is not in general so earnestly bent on being busy as to resistthe solicitations of his friends to do nothing.i was therefore entered at oxford and have been properly idle ever since." "the consequence of which, i suppose, willbe," said mrs. dashwood, "since leisure has not promoted your own happiness, that yoursons will be brought up to as many pursuits, employments, professions, andtrades as columella's." "they will be brought up," said he, in aserious accent, "to be as unlike myself as is possible.
in feeling, in action, in condition, inevery thing." "come, come; this is all an effusion ofimmediate want of spirits, edward. you are in a melancholy humour, and fancythat any one unlike yourself must be happy. but remember that the pain of parting fromfriends will be felt by every body at times, whatever be their education orstate. know your own happiness. you want nothing but patience--or give it amore fascinating name, call it hope. your mother will secure to you, in time,that independence you are so anxious for; it is her duty, and it will, it must erelong become her happiness to prevent your
whole youth from being wasted indiscontent. how much may not a few months do?""i think," replied edward, "that i may defy many months to produce any good to me." this desponding turn of mind, though itcould not be communicated to mrs. dashwood, gave additional pain to them all in theparting, which shortly took place, and left an uncomfortable impression on elinor's feelings especially, which required sometrouble and time to subdue. but as it was her determination to subdueit, and to prevent herself from appearing to suffer more than what all her familysuffered on his going away, she did not
adopt the method so judiciously employed by marianne, on a similar occasion, to augmentand fix her sorrow, by seeking silence, solitude and idleness. their means were as different as theirobjects, and equally suited to the advancement of each. elinor sat down to her drawing-table assoon as he was out of the house, busily employed herself the whole day, neithersought nor avoided the mention of his name, appeared to interest herself almost as much as ever in the general concerns of thefamily, and if, by this conduct, she did
not lessen her own grief, it was at leastprevented from unnecessary increase, and her mother and sisters were spared muchsolicitude on her account. such behaviour as this, so exactly thereverse of her own, appeared no more meritorious to marianne, than her own hadseemed faulty to her. the business of self-command she settledvery easily;--with strong affections it was impossible, with calm ones it could have nomerit. that her sister's affections were calm, shedared not deny, though she blushed to acknowledge it; and of the strength of herown, she gave a very striking proof, by still loving and respecting that sister, inspite of this mortifying conviction.
without shutting herself up from herfamily, or leaving the house in determined solitude to avoid them, or lying awake thewhole night to indulge meditation, elinor found every day afforded her leisure enough to think of edward, and of edward'sbehaviour, in every possible variety which the different state of her spirits atdifferent times could produce,--with tenderness, pity, approbation, censure, anddoubt. there were moments in abundance, when, ifnot by the absence of her mother and sisters, at least by the nature of theiremployments, conversation was forbidden among them, and every effect of solitudewas produced.
her mind was inevitably at liberty; herthoughts could not be chained elsewhere; and the past and the future, on a subjectso interesting, must be before her, must force her attention, and engross hermemory, her reflection, and her fancy. from a reverie of this kind, as she sat ather drawing-table, she was roused one morning, soon after edward's leaving them,by the arrival of company. she happened to be quite alone. the closing of the little gate, at theentrance of the green court in front of the house, drew her eyes to the window, and shesaw a large party walking up to the door. amongst them were sir john and ladymiddleton and mrs. jennings, but there were
two others, a gentleman and lady, who werequite unknown to her. she was sitting near the window, and assoon as sir john perceived her, he left the rest of the party to the ceremony ofknocking at the door, and stepping across the turf, obliged her to open the casement to speak to him, though the space was soshort between the door and the window, as to make it hardly possible to speak at onewithout being heard at the other. "well," said he, "we have brought you somestrangers. how do you like them?""hush! they will hear you." "never mind if they do.
it is only the palmers.charlotte is very pretty, i can tell you. you may see her if you look this way." as elinor was certain of seeing her in acouple of minutes, without taking that liberty, she begged to be excused."where is marianne? has she run away because we are come? i see her instrument is open.""she is walking, i believe." they were now joined by mrs. jennings, whohad not patience enough to wait till the door was opened before she told her story. she came hallooing to the window, "how doyou do, my dear?
how does mrs. dashwood do?and where are your sisters? what! all alone! you will be glad of alittle company to sit with you. i have brought my other son and daughter tosee you. only think of their coming so suddenly! i thought i heard a carriage last night,while we were drinking our tea, but it never entered my head that it could bethem. i thought of nothing but whether it mightnot be colonel brandon come back again; so i said to sir john, i do think i hear acarriage; perhaps it is colonel brandon come back again"--
elinor was obliged to turn from her, in themiddle of her story, to receive the rest of the party; lady middleton introduced thetwo strangers; mrs. dashwood and margaret came down stairs at the same time, and they all sat down to look at one another, whilemrs. jennings continued her story as she walked through the passage into theparlour, attended by sir john. mrs. palmer was several years younger thanlady middleton, and totally unlike her in every respect. she was short and plump, had a very prettyface, and the finest expression of good humour in it that could possibly be.
her manners were by no means so elegant asher sister's, but they were much more prepossessing. she came in with a smile, smiled all thetime of her visit, except when she laughed, and smiled when she went away. her husband was a grave looking young manof five or six and twenty, with an air of more fashion and sense than his wife, butof less willingness to please or be pleased. he entered the room with a look of self-consequence, slightly bowed to the ladies, without speaking a word, and, after brieflysurveying them and their apartments, took
up a newspaper from the table, andcontinued to read it as long as he staid. mrs. palmer, on the contrary, who wasstrongly endowed by nature with a turn for being uniformly civil and happy, was hardlyseated before her admiration of the parlour and every thing in it burst forth. "well! what a delightful room this is!i never saw anything so charming! only think, mama, how it is improved sincei was here last! i always thought it such a sweet place,ma'am! (turning to mrs. dashwood) but you havemade it so charming! only look, sister, how delightful everything is!
how i should like such a house for myself!should not you, mr. palmer?" mr. palmer made her no answer, and did noteven raise his eyes from the newspaper. "mr. palmer does not hear me," said she,laughing; "he never does sometimes. it is so ridiculous!" this was quite a new idea to mrs. dashwood;she had never been used to find wit in the inattention of any one, and could not helplooking with surprise at them both. mrs. jennings, in the meantime, talked onas loud as she could, and continued her account of their surprise, the eveningbefore, on seeing their friends, without ceasing till every thing was told.
mrs. palmer laughed heartily at therecollection of their astonishment, and every body agreed, two or three times over,that it had been quite an agreeable "you may believe how glad we all were tosee them," added mrs. jennings, leaning forward towards elinor, and speaking in alow voice as if she meant to be heard by no one else, though they were seated on different sides of the room; "but, however,i can't help wishing they had not travelled quite so fast, nor made such a long journeyof it, for they came all round by london upon account of some business, for you know (nodding significantly and pointing to herdaughter) it was wrong in her situation.
i wanted her to stay at home and rest thismorning, but she would come with us; she longed so much to see you all!" mrs. palmer laughed, and said it would notdo her any harm. "she expects to be confined in february,"continued mrs. jennings. lady middleton could no longer endure sucha conversation, and therefore exerted herself to ask mr. palmer if there was anynews in the paper. "no, none at all," he replied, and read on. "here comes marianne," cried sir john."now, palmer, you shall see a monstrous pretty girl."
he immediately went into the passage,opened the front door, and ushered her in himself. mrs. jennings asked her, as soon as sheappeared, if she had not been to allenham; and mrs. palmer laughed so heartily at thequestion, as to show she understood it. mr. palmer looked up on her entering theroom, stared at her some minutes, and then returned to his newspaper.mrs. palmer's eye was now caught by the drawings which hung round the room. she got up to examine them."oh! dear, how beautiful these are! well! how delightful!do but look, mama, how sweet!
i declare they are quite charming; i couldlook at them for ever." and then sitting down again, she very soonforgot that there were any such things in the room. when lady middleton rose to go away, mr.palmer rose also, laid down the newspaper, stretched himself and looked at them allaround. "my love, have you been asleep?" said hiswife, laughing. he made her no answer; and only observed,after again examining the room, that it was very low pitched, and that the ceiling wascrooked. he then made his bow, and departed with therest.
sir john had been very urgent with them allto spend the next day at the park. mrs. dashwood, who did not chuse to dinewith them oftener than they dined at the cottage, absolutely refused on her ownaccount; her daughters might do as they but they had no curiosity to see how mr.and mrs. palmer ate their dinner, and no expectation of pleasure from them in anyother way. they attempted, therefore, likewise, toexcuse themselves; the weather was uncertain, and not likely to be good. but sir john would not be satisfied--thecarriage should be sent for them and they must come.lady middleton too, though she did not
press their mother, pressed them. mrs. jennings and mrs. palmer joined theirentreaties, all seemed equally anxious to avoid a family party; and the young ladieswere obliged to yield. "why should they ask us?" said marianne, assoon as they were gone. "the rent of this cottage is said to below; but we have it on very hard terms, if we are to dine at the park whenever any oneis staying either with them, or with us." "they mean no less to be civil and kind tous now," said elinor, "by these frequent invitations, than by those which wereceived from them a few weeks ago. the alteration is not in them, if theirparties are grown tedious and dull.
we must look for the change elsewhere." chapter 20 as the miss dashwoods entered the drawing-room of the park the next day, at one door, mrs. palmer came running in at the other,looking as good humoured and merry as before. she took them all most affectionately bythe hand, and expressed great delight in seeing them again. "i am so glad to see you!" said she,seating herself between elinor and marianne, "for it is so bad a day i wasafraid you might not come, which would be a
shocking thing, as we go away againtomorrow. we must go, for the westons come to us nextweek you know. it was quite a sudden thing our coming atall, and i knew nothing of it till the carriage was coming to the door, and thenmr. palmer asked me if i would go with him to barton. he is so droll!he never tells me any thing! i am so sorry we cannot stay longer;however we shall meet again in town very soon, i hope." they were obliged to put an end to such anexpectation.
"not go to town!" cried mrs. palmer, with alaugh, "i shall be quite disappointed if you do not. i could get the nicest house in world foryou, next door to ours, in hanover-square. you must come, indeed. i am sure i shall be very happy to chaperonyou at any time till i am confined, if mrs. dashwood should not like to go intopublic." they thanked her; but were obliged toresist all her entreaties. "oh, my love," cried mrs. palmer to herhusband, who just then entered the room-- "you must help me to persuade the missdashwoods to go to town this winter."
her love made no answer; and after slightlybowing to the ladies, began complaining of the weather."how horrid all this is!" said he. "such weather makes every thing and everybody disgusting. dullness is as much produced within doorsas without, by rain. it makes one detest all one's acquaintance. what the devil does sir john mean by nothaving a billiard room in his house? how few people know what comfort is!sir john is as stupid as the weather." the rest of the company soon dropt in. "i am afraid, miss marianne," said sirjohn, "you have not been able to take your
usual walk to allenham today."marianne looked very grave and said nothing. "oh, don't be so sly before us," said mrs.palmer; "for we know all about it, i assure you; and i admire your taste very much, fori think he is extremely handsome. we do not live a great way from him in thecountry, you know. not above ten miles, i dare say.""much nearer thirty," said her husband. "ah, well! there is not much difference. i never was at his house; but they say itis a sweet pretty place." "as vile a spot as i ever saw in my life,"said mr. palmer.
marianne remained perfectly silent, thoughher countenance betrayed her interest in what was said. "is it very ugly?" continued mrs. palmer--"then it must be some other place that is so pretty i suppose." when they were seated in the dining room,sir john observed with regret that they were only eight all together."my dear," said he to his lady, "it is very provoking that we should be so few. why did not you ask the gilberts to come tous today?" "did not i tell you, sir john, when youspoke to me about it before, that it could
not be done? they dined with us last.""you and i, sir john," said mrs. jennings, "should not stand upon such ceremony.""then you would be very ill-bred," cried mr. palmer. "my love you contradict every body," saidhis wife with her usual laugh. "do you know that you are quite rude?""i did not know i contradicted any body in calling your mother ill-bred." "ay, you may abuse me as you please," saidthe good-natured old lady, "you have taken charlotte off my hands, and cannot give herback again.
so there i have the whip hand of you." charlotte laughed heartily to think thather husband could not get rid of her; and exultingly said, she did not care how crosshe was to her, as they must live together. it was impossible for any one to be morethoroughly good-natured, or more determined to be happy than mrs. palmer. the studied indifference, insolence, anddiscontent of her husband gave her no pain; and when he scolded or abused her, she washighly diverted. "mr. palmer is so droll!" said she, in awhisper, to elinor. "he is always out of humour."
elinor was not inclined, after a littleobservation, to give him credit for being so genuinely and unaffectedly ill-naturedor ill-bred as he wished to appear. his temper might perhaps be a little souredby finding, like many others of his sex, that through some unaccountable bias infavour of beauty, he was the husband of a very silly woman,--but she knew that this kind of blunder was too common for anysensible man to be lastingly hurt by it.-- it was rather a wish of distinction, shebelieved, which produced his contemptuous treatment of every body, and his generalabuse of every thing before him. it was the desire of appearing superior toother people.
the motive was too common to be wonderedat; but the means, however they might succeed by establishing his superiority inill-breeding, were not likely to attach any one to him except his wife. "oh, my dear miss dashwood," said mrs.palmer soon afterwards, "i have got such a favour to ask of you and your sister.will you come and spend some time at cleveland this christmas? now, pray do,--and come while the westonsare with us. you cannot think how happy i shall be! it will be quite delightful!--my love,"applying to her husband, "don't you long to
have the miss dashwoods come to cleveland?""certainly," he replied, with a sneer--"i came into devonshire with no other view." "there now,"--said his lady, "you see mr.palmer expects you; so you cannot refuse to come."they both eagerly and resolutely declined her invitation. "but indeed you must and shall come.i am sure you will like it of all things. the westons will be with us, and it will bequite delightful. you cannot think what a sweet placecleveland is; and we are so gay now, for mr. palmer is always going about thecountry canvassing against the election;
and so many people came to dine with us that i never saw before, it is quitecharming! but, poor fellow! it is very fatiguing tohim! for he is forced to make every body like him." elinor could hardly keep her countenance asshe assented to the hardship of such an obligation."how charming it will be," said charlotte, "when he is in parliament!--won't it? how i shall laugh!it will be so ridiculous to see all his letters directed to him with an m.p.--butdo you know, he says, he will never frank
for me? he declares he won't.don't you, mr. palmer?" mr. palmer took no notice of her."he cannot bear writing, you know," she continued--"he says it is quite shocking." "no," said he, "i never said any thing soirrational. don't palm all your abuses of languagesupon me." "there now; you see how droll he is. this is always the way with him!sometimes he won't speak to me for half a day together, and then he comes out withsomething so droll--all about any thing in
the world." she surprised elinor very much as theyreturned into the drawing-room, by asking her whether she did not like mr. palmerexcessively. "certainly," said elinor; "he seems veryagreeable." "well--i am so glad you do. i thought you would, he is so pleasant; andmr. palmer is excessively pleased with you and your sisters i can tell you, and youcan't think how disappointed he will be if you don't come to cleveland.--i can'timagine why you should object to it." elinor was again obliged to decline herinvitation; and by changing the subject,
put a stop to her entreaties. she thought it probable that as they livedin the same county, mrs. palmer might be able to give some more particular accountof willoughby's general character, than could be gathered from the middletons' partial acquaintance with him; and she waseager to gain from any one, such a confirmation of his merits as might removethe possibility of fear from marianne. she began by inquiring if they saw much ofmr. willoughby at cleveland, and whether they were intimately acquainted with him. "oh dear, yes; i know him extremely well,"replied mrs. palmer;--"not that i ever
spoke to him, indeed; but i have seen himfor ever in town. somehow or other i never happened to bestaying at barton while he was at allenham. mama saw him here once before;--but i waswith my uncle at weymouth. however, i dare say we should have seen agreat deal of him in somersetshire, if it had not happened very unluckily that weshould never have been in the country he is very little at combe, i believe; butif he were ever so much there, i do not think mr. palmer would visit him, for he isin the opposition, you know, and besides it is such a way off. i know why you inquire about him, verywell; your sister is to marry him.
i am monstrous glad of it, for then i shallhave her for a neighbour you know." "upon my word," replied elinor, "you knowmuch more of the matter than i do, if you have any reason to expect such a match.""don't pretend to deny it, because you know it is what every body talks of. i assure you i heard of it in my waythrough town." "my dear mrs. palmer!" "upon my honour i did.--i met colonelbrandon monday morning in bond-street, just before we left town, and he told me of itdirectly." "you surprise me very much.
colonel brandon tell you of it!surely you must be mistaken. to give such intelligence to a person whocould not be interested in it, even if it were true, is not what i should expectcolonel brandon to do." "but i do assure you it was so, for allthat, and i will tell you how it happened. when we met him, he turned back and walkedwith us; and so we began talking of my brother and sister, and one thing andanother, and i said to him, 'so, colonel, there is a new family come to barton cottage, i hear, and mama sends me wordthey are very pretty, and that one of them is going to be married to mr. willoughby ofcombe magna.
is it true, pray? for of course you mustknow, as you have been in devonshire so lately.'""and what did the colonel say?" "oh--he did not say much; but he looked asif he knew it to be true, so from that moment i set it down as certain.it will be quite delightful, i declare! when is it to take place?" "mr. brandon was very well i hope?""oh! yes, quite well; and so full of your praises, he did nothing but say fine thingsof you." "i am flattered by his commendation. he seems an excellent man; and i think himuncommonly pleasing."
"so do i.--he is such a charming man, thatit is quite a pity he should be so grave and so dull. mama says he was in love with your sistertoo.-- i assure you it was a great compliment if he was, for he hardly everfalls in love with any body." "is mr. willoughby much known in your partof somersetshire?" said elinor. "oh! yes, extremely well; that is, i do notbelieve many people are acquainted with him, because combe magna is so far off; butthey all think him extremely agreeable i assure you. nobody is more liked than mr. willoughbywherever he goes, and so you may tell your
sister. she is a monstrous lucky girl to get him,upon my honour; not but that he is much more lucky in getting her, because she isso very handsome and agreeable, that nothing can be good enough for her. however, i don't think her hardly at allhandsomer than you, i assure you; for i think you both excessively pretty, and sodoes mr. palmer too i am sure, though we could not get him to own it last night." mrs. palmer's information respectingwilloughby was not very material; but any testimony in his favour, however small, waspleasing to her.
"i am so glad we are got acquainted atlast," continued charlotte.--"and now i hope we shall always be great friends.you can't think how much i longed to see you! it is so delightful that you should live atthe cottage! nothing can be like it, to be sure!and i am so glad your sister is going to be well married! i hope you will be a great deal at combemagna. it is a sweet place, by all accounts.""you have been long acquainted with colonel brandon, have not you?"
"yes, a great while; ever since my sistermarried.-- he was a particular friend of sir john's. i believe," she added in a low voice, "hewould have been very glad to have had me, if he could.sir john and lady middleton wished it very much. but mama did not think the match goodenough for me, otherwise sir john would have mentioned it to the colonel, and weshould have been married immediately." "did not colonel brandon know of sir john'sproposal to your mother before it was made? had he never owned his affection toyourself?"
"oh, no; but if mama had not objected toit, i dare say he would have liked it of all things.he had not seen me then above twice, for it was before i left school. however, i am much happier as i am.mr. palmer is the kind of man i like." chapter 21 the palmers returned to cleveland the nextday, and the two families at barton were again left to entertain each other. but this did not last long; elinor hadhardly got their last visitors out of her head, had hardly done wondering atcharlotte's being so happy without a cause,
at mr. palmer's acting so simply, with good abilities, and at the strangeunsuitableness which often existed between husband and wife, before sir john's andmrs. jennings's active zeal in the cause of society, procured her some other newacquaintance to see and observe. in a morning's excursion to exeter, theyhad met with two young ladies, whom mrs. jennings had the satisfaction ofdiscovering to be her relations, and this was enough for sir john to invite them directly to the park, as soon as theirpresent engagements at exeter were over. their engagements at exeter instantly gaveway before such an invitation, and lady
middleton was thrown into no little alarmon the return of sir john, by hearing that she was very soon to receive a visit from two girls whom she had never seen in herlife, and of whose elegance,--whose tolerable gentility even, she could have noproof; for the assurances of her husband and mother on that subject went for nothingat all. their being her relations too made it somuch the worse; and mrs. jennings's attempts at consolation were thereforeunfortunately founded, when she advised her daughter not to care about their being so fashionable; because they were all cousinsand must put up with one another.
as it was impossible, however, now toprevent their coming, lady middleton resigned herself to the idea of it, withall the philosophy of a well-bred woman, contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subjectfive or six times every day. the young ladies arrived: their appearancewas by no means ungenteel or unfashionable. their dress was very smart, their mannersvery civil, they were delighted with the house, and in raptures with the furniture,and they happened to be so doatingly fond of children that lady middleton's good opinion was engaged in their favour beforethey had been an hour at the park.
she declared them to be very agreeablegirls indeed, which for her ladyship was enthusiastic admiration. sir john's confidence in his own judgmentrose with this animated praise, and he set off directly for the cottage to tell themiss dashwoods of the miss steeles' arrival, and to assure them of their beingthe sweetest girls in the world. from such commendation as this, however,there was not much to be learned; elinor well knew that the sweetest girls in theworld were to be met with in every part of england, under every possible variation ofform, face, temper and understanding. sir john wanted the whole family to walk tothe park directly and look at his guests.
benevolent, philanthropic man! it was painful to him even to keep a thirdcousin to himself. "do come now," said he--"pray come--youmust come--i declare you shall come--you can't think how you will like them. lucy is monstrous pretty, and so goodhumoured and agreeable! the children are all hanging about heralready, as if she was an old acquaintance. and they both long to see you of allthings, for they have heard at exeter that you are the most beautiful creatures in theworld; and i have told them it is all very true, and a great deal more.
you will be delighted with them i am sure.they have brought the whole coach full of playthings for the children.how can you be so cross as not to come? why they are your cousins, you know, aftera fashion. you are my cousins, and they are my wife's,so you must be related." but sir john could not prevail. he could only obtain a promise of theircalling at the park within a day or two, and then left them in amazement at theirindifference, to walk home and boast anew of their attractions to the miss steeles, as he had been already boasting of the misssteeles to them.
when their promised visit to the park andconsequent introduction to these young ladies took place, they found in theappearance of the eldest, who was nearly thirty, with a very plain and not a sensible face, nothing to admire; but inthe other, who was not more than two or three and twenty, they acknowledgedconsiderable beauty; her features were pretty, and she had a sharp quick eye, and a smartness of air, which though it did notgive actual elegance or grace, gave distinction to her person.-- their mannerswere particularly civil, and elinor soon allowed them credit for some kind of sense,
when she saw with what constant andjudicious attention they were making themselves agreeable to lady middleton. with her children they were in continualraptures, extolling their beauty, courting their notice, and humouring their whims;and such of their time as could be spared from the importunate demands which this politeness made on it, was spent inadmiration of whatever her ladyship was doing, if she happened to be doing anything, or in taking patterns of some elegant new dress, in which her appearance the day before had thrown them intounceasing delight.
fortunately for those who pay their courtthrough such foibles, a fond mother, though, in pursuit of praise for herchildren, the most rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous; her demands are exorbitant; but she willswallow any thing; and the excessive affection and endurance of the miss steelestowards her offspring were viewed therefore by lady middleton without the smallestsurprise or distrust. she saw with maternal complacency all theimpertinent encroachments and mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted. she saw their sashes untied, their hairpulled about their ears, their work-bags
searched, and their knives and scissorsstolen away, and felt no doubt of its being a reciprocal enjoyment. it suggested no other surprise than thatelinor and marianne should sit so composedly by, without claiming a share inwhat was passing. "john is in such spirits today!" said she,on his taking miss steeles's pocket handkerchief, and throwing it out ofwindow--"he is full of monkey tricks." and soon afterwards, on the second boy'sviolently pinching one of the same lady's fingers, she fondly observed, "how playfulwilliam is!" "and here is my sweet little annamaria,"she added, tenderly caressing a little girl
of three years old, who had not made anoise for the last two minutes; "and she is always so gentle and quiet--never was theresuch a quiet little thing!" but unfortunately in bestowing theseembraces, a pin in her ladyship's head dress slightly scratching the child's neck,produced from this pattern of gentleness such violent screams, as could hardly beoutdone by any creature professedly noisy. the mother's consternation was excessive;but it could not surpass the alarm of the miss steeles, and every thing was done byall three, in so critical an emergency, which affection could suggest as likely toassuage the agonies of the little sufferer. she was seated in her mother's lap, coveredwith kisses, her wound bathed with
lavender-water, by one of the miss steeles,who was on her knees to attend her, and her mouth stuffed with sugar plums by theother. with such a reward for her tears, the childwas too wise to cease crying. she still screamed and sobbed lustily,kicked her two brothers for offering to touch her, and all their united soothingswere ineffectual till lady middleton luckily remembering that in a scene of similar distress last week, some apricotmarmalade had been successfully applied for a bruised temple, the same remedy waseagerly proposed for this unfortunate scratch, and a slight intermission of
screams in the young lady on hearing it,gave them reason to hope that it would not be rejected.-- she was carried out of theroom therefore in her mother's arms, in quest of this medicine, and as the two boys chose to follow, though earnestly entreatedby their mother to stay behind, the four young ladies were left in a quietness whichthe room had not known for many hours. "poor little creatures!" said miss steele,as soon as they were gone. "it might have been a very sad accident." "yet i hardly know how," cried marianne,"unless it had been under totally different circumstances.
but this is the usual way of heighteningalarm, where there is nothing to be alarmed at in reality.""what a sweet woman lady middleton is!" said lucy steele. marianne was silent; it was impossible forher to say what she did not feel, however trivial the occasion; and upon elinortherefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell. she did her best when thus called on, byspeaking of lady middleton with more warmth than she felt, though with far less thanmiss lucy. "and sir john too," cried the elder sister,"what a charming man he is!"
here too, miss dashwood's commendation,being only simple and just, came in without any eclat. she merely observed that he was perfectlygood humoured and friendly. "and what a charming little family theyhave! i never saw such fine children in my life.--i declare i quite doat upon them already, and indeed i am always distractedly fond ofchildren." "i should guess so," said elinor, with asmile, "from what i have witnessed this morning." "i have a notion," said lucy, "you thinkthe little middletons rather too much
indulged; perhaps they may be the outsideof enough; but it is so natural in lady middleton; and for my part, i love to see children full of life and spirits; i cannotbear them if they are tame and quiet." "i confess," replied elinor, "that while iam at barton park, i never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence." a short pause succeeded this speech, whichwas first broken by miss steele, who seemed very much disposed for conversation, andwho now said rather abruptly, "and how do you like devonshire, miss dashwood? i suppose you were very sorry to leavesussex."
in some surprise at the familiarity of thisquestion, or at least of the manner in which it was spoken, elinor replied thatshe was. "norland is a prodigious beautiful place,is not it?" added miss steele. "we have heard sir john admire itexcessively," said lucy, who seemed to think some apology necessary for thefreedom of her sister. "i think every one must admire it," repliedelinor, "who ever saw the place; though it is not to be supposed that any one canestimate its beauties as we do." "and had you a great many smart beauxthere? i suppose you have not so many in this partof the world; for my part, i think they are
a vast addition always." "but why should you think," said lucy,looking ashamed of her sister, "that there are not as many genteel young men indevonshire as sussex?" "nay, my dear, i'm sure i don't pretend tosay that there an't. i'm sure there's a vast many smart beaux inexeter; but you know, how could i tell what smart beaux there might be about norland;and i was only afraid the miss dashwoods might find it dull at barton, if they hadnot so many as they used to have. but perhaps you young ladies may not careabout the beaux, and had as lief be without them as with them.
for my part, i think they are vastlyagreeable, provided they dress smart and behave civil.but i can't bear to see them dirty and nasty. now there's mr. rose at exeter, aprodigious smart young man, quite a beau, clerk to mr. simpson, you know, and yet ifyou do but meet him of a morning, he is not fit to be seen.-- i suppose your brother was quite a beau, miss dashwood, before hemarried, as he was so rich?" "upon my word," replied elinor, "i cannottell you, for i do not perfectly comprehend the meaning of the word.
but this i can say, that if he ever was abeau before he married, he is one still for there is not the smallest alteration inhim." "oh! dear! one never thinks of marriedmen's being beaux--they have something else to do.""lord! anne," cried her sister, "you can talk ofnothing but beaux;--you will make miss dashwood believe you think of nothingelse." and then to turn the discourse, she beganadmiring the house and the furniture. this specimen of the miss steeles wasenough. the vulgar freedom and folly of the eldestleft her no recommendation, and as elinor
was not blinded by the beauty, or theshrewd look of the youngest, to her want of real elegance and artlessness, she left the house without any wish of knowing thembetter. not so the miss steeles.--they came fromexeter, well provided with admiration for the use of sir john middleton, his family,and all his relations, and no niggardly proportion was now dealt out to his fair cousins, whom they declared to be the mostbeautiful, elegant, accomplished, and agreeable girls they had ever beheld, andwith whom they were particularly anxious to be better acquainted.-- and to be better
acquainted therefore, elinor soon found wastheir inevitable lot, for as sir john was entirely on the side of the miss steeles,their party would be too strong for opposition, and that kind of intimacy must be submitted to, which consists of sittingan hour or two together in the same room almost every day. sir john could do no more; but he did notknow that any more was required: to be together was, in his opinion, to beintimate, and while his continual schemes for their meeting were effectual, he had not a doubt of their being establishedfriends.
to do him justice, he did every thing inhis power to promote their unreserve, by making the miss steeles acquainted withwhatever he knew or supposed of his cousins' situations in the most delicate particulars,--and elinor had not seen themmore than twice, before the eldest of them wished her joy on her sister's having beenso lucky as to make a conquest of a very smart beau since she came to barton. "'twill be a fine thing to have her marriedso young to be sure," said she, "and i hear he is quite a beau, and prodigioushandsome. and i hope you may have as good luckyourself soon,--but perhaps you may have a
friend in the corner already." elinor could not suppose that sir johnwould be more nice in proclaiming his suspicions of her regard for edward, thanhe had been with respect to marianne; indeed it was rather his favourite joke of the two, as being somewhat newer and moreconjectural; and since edward's visit, they had never dined together without hisdrinking to her best affections with so much significancy and so many nods andwinks, as to excite general attention. the letter f--had been likewise invariablybrought forward, and found productive of such countless jokes, that its character asthe wittiest letter in the alphabet had
been long established with elinor. the miss steeles, as she expected, had nowall the benefit of these jokes, and in the eldest of them they raised a curiosity toknow the name of the gentleman alluded to, which, though often impertinently expressed, was perfectly of a piece withher general inquisitiveness into the concerns of their family. but sir john did not sport long with thecuriosity which he delighted to raise, for he had at least as much pleasure in tellingthe name, as miss steele had in hearing it. "his name is ferrars," said he, in a veryaudible whisper; "but pray do not tell it,
for it's a great secret.""ferrars!" repeated miss steele; "mr. ferrars is the happy man, is he? what! your sister-in-law's brother, missdashwood? a very agreeable young man to be sure; i know him very well." "how can you say so, anne?" cried lucy, whogenerally made an amendment to all her sister's assertions. "though we have seen him once or twice atmy uncle's, it is rather too much to pretend to know him very well."elinor heard all this with attention and "and who was this uncle?where did he live?
how came they acquainted?" she wished very much to have the subjectcontinued, though she did not chuse to join in it herself; but nothing more of it wassaid, and for the first time in her life, she thought mrs. jennings deficient either in curiosity after petty information, or ina disposition to communicate it. the manner in which miss steele had spokenof edward, increased her curiosity; for it struck her as being rather ill-natured, andsuggested the suspicion of that lady's knowing, or fancying herself to know something to his disadvantage.--but hercuriosity was unavailing, for no farther
notice was taken of mr. ferrars's name bymiss steele when alluded to, or even openly mentioned by sir john. chapter 22 marianne, who had never much toleration forany thing like impertinence, vulgarity, inferiority of parts, or even difference oftaste from herself, was at this time particularly ill-disposed, from the state of her spirits, to be pleased with the misssteeles, or to encourage their advances; and to the invariable coldness of herbehaviour towards them, which checked every endeavour at intimacy on their side, elinor
principally attributed that preference ofherself which soon became evident in the manners of both, but especially of lucy,who missed no opportunity of engaging her in conversation, or of striving to improve their acquaintance by an easy and frankcommunication of her sentiments. lucy was naturally clever; her remarks wereoften just and amusing; and as a companion for half an hour elinor frequently foundher agreeable; but her powers had received no aid from education: she was ignorant and illiterate; and her deficiency of allmental improvement, her want of information in the most common particulars, could notbe concealed from miss dashwood, in spite
of her constant endeavour to appear toadvantage. elinor saw, and pitied her for, the neglectof abilities which education might have rendered so respectable; but she saw, withless tenderness of feeling, the thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and integrity of mind, which her attentions,her assiduities, her flatteries at the park betrayed; and she could have no lastingsatisfaction in the company of a person who joined insincerity with ignorance; whose want of instruction prevented their meetingin conversation on terms of equality, and whose conduct toward others made every shewof attention and deference towards herself
perfectly valueless. "you will think my question an odd one, idare say," said lucy to her one day, as they were walking together from the park tothe cottage--"but pray, are you personally acquainted with your sister-in-law'smother, mrs. ferrars?" elinor did think the question a very oddone, and her countenance expressed it, as she answered that she had never seen mrs.ferrars. "indeed!" replied lucy; "i wonder at that,for i thought you must have seen her at norland sometimes.then, perhaps, you cannot tell me what sort of a woman she is?"
"no," returned elinor, cautious of givingher real opinion of edward's mother, and not very desirous of satisfying what seemedimpertinent curiosity-- "i know nothing of her." "i am sure you think me very strange, forenquiring about her in such a way," said lucy, eyeing elinor attentively as shespoke; "but perhaps there may be reasons--i wish i might venture; but however i hope you will do me the justice of believingthat i do not mean to be impertinent." elinor made her a civil reply, and theywalked on for a few minutes in silence. it was broken by lucy, who renewed thesubject again by saying, with some
hesitation,"i cannot bear to have you think me impertinently curious. i am sure i would rather do any thing inthe world than be thought so by a person whose good opinion is so well worth havingas yours. and i am sure i should not have thesmallest fear of trusting you; indeed, i should be very glad of your advice how tomanage in such an uncomfortable situation as i am; but, however, there is no occasionto trouble you. i am sorry you do not happen to know mrs.ferrars." "i am sorry i do not," said elinor, ingreat astonishment, "if it could be of any
use to you to know my opinion of her. but really i never understood that you wereat all connected with that family, and therefore i am a little surprised, iconfess, at so serious an inquiry into her character." "i dare say you are, and i am sure i do notat all wonder at it. but if i dared tell you all, you would notbe so much surprised. mrs. ferrars is certainly nothing to me atpresent--but the time may come--how soon it will come must depend upon herself--when wemay be very intimately connected." she looked down as she said this, amiablybashful, with only one side glance at her
companion to observe its effect on her."good heavens!" cried elinor, "what do you mean? are you acquainted with mr. robert ferrars?can you be?" and she did not feel much delighted withthe idea of such a sister-in-law. "no," replied lucy, "not to mr. robertferrars--i never saw him in my life; but," fixing her eyes upon elinor, "to his eldestbrother." what felt elinor at that moment? astonishment, that would have been aspainful as it was strong, had not an immediate disbelief of the assertionattended it.
she turned towards lucy in silentamazement, unable to divine the reason or object of such a declaration; and thoughher complexion varied, she stood firm in incredulity, and felt in no danger of anhysterical fit, or a swoon. "you may well be surprised," continuedlucy; "for to be sure you could have had no idea of it before; for i dare say he neverdropped the smallest hint of it to you or any of your family; because it was always meant to be a great secret, and i am surehas been faithfully kept so by me to this hour. not a soul of all my relations know of itbut anne, and i never should have mentioned
it to you, if i had not felt the greatestdependence in the world upon your secrecy; and i really thought my behaviour in asking so many questions about mrs. ferrars mustseem so odd, that it ought to be explained. and i do not think mr. ferrars can bedispleased, when he knows i have trusted you, because i know he has the highestopinion in the world of all your family, and looks upon yourself and the other miss dashwoods quite as his own sisters."--shepaused. elinor for a few moments remained silent. her astonishment at what she heard was atfirst too great for words; but at length
forcing herself to speak, and to speakcautiously, she said, with calmness of manner, which tolerably well concealed her surprise and solicitude-- "may i ask ifyour engagement is of long standing?" "we have been engaged these four years.""four years!" "yes." elinor, though greatly shocked, still feltunable to believe it. "i did not know," said she, "that you wereeven acquainted till the other day." "our acquaintance, however, is of manyyears date. he was under my uncle's care, you know, aconsiderable while."
"your uncle!" "yes; mr. pratt.did you never hear him talk of mr. pratt?" "i think i have," replied elinor, with anexertion of spirits, which increased with her increase of emotion. "he was four years with my uncle, who livesat longstaple, near plymouth. it was there our acquaintance begun, for mysister and me was often staying with my uncle, and it was there our engagement wasformed, though not till a year after he had quitted as a pupil; but he was almostalways with us afterwards. i was very unwilling to enter into it, asyou may imagine, without the knowledge and
approbation of his mother; but i was tooyoung, and loved him too well, to be so prudent as i ought to have been.-- though you do not know him so well as me, missdashwood, you must have seen enough of him to be sensible he is very capable of makinga woman sincerely attached to him." "certainly," answered elinor, withoutknowing what she said; but after a moment's reflection, she added, with revivedsecurity of edward's honour and love, and her companion's falsehood--"engaged to mr. edward ferrars!--i confess myself sototally surprised at what you tell me, that really--i beg your pardon; but surely theremust be some mistake of person or name.
we cannot mean the same mr. ferrars." "we can mean no other," cried lucy,smiling. "mr. edward ferrars, the eldest son of mrs.ferrars, of park street, and brother of your sister-in-law, mrs. john dashwood, isthe person i mean; you must allow that i am not likely to be deceived as to the name ofthe man on who all my happiness depends." "it is strange," replied elinor, in a mostpainful perplexity, "that i should never have heard him even mention your name." "no; considering our situation, it was notstrange. our first care has been to keep the mattersecret.-- you knew nothing of me, or my
family, and, therefore, there could be nooccasion for ever mentioning my name to you; and, as he was always particularly afraid of his sister's suspecting anything, that was reason enough for his not mentioning it."she was silent.--elinor's security sunk; but her self-command did not sink with it. "four years you have been engaged," saidshe with a firm voice. "yes; and heaven knows how much longer wemay have to wait. poor edward! it puts him quite out of heart."then taking a small miniature from her
pocket, she added, "to prevent thepossibility of mistake, be so good as to look at this face. it does not do him justice, to be sure, butyet i think you cannot be deceived as to the person it was drew for.--i have had itabove these three years." she put it into her hands as she spoke; andwhen elinor saw the painting, whatever other doubts her fear of a too hastydecision, or her wish of detecting falsehood might suffer to linger in her mind, she could have none of its beingedward's face. she returned it almost instantly,acknowledging the likeness.
"i have never been able," continued lucy,"to give him my picture in return, which i am very much vexed at, for he has beenalways so anxious to get it! but i am determined to set for it the veryfirst opportunity." "you are quite in the right," repliedelinor calmly. they then proceeded a few paces in silence. lucy spoke first. "i am sure," said she, "i have no doubt inthe world of your faithfully keeping this secret, because you must know of whatimportance it is to us, not to have it reach his mother; for she would neverapprove of it, i dare say.
i shall have no fortune, and i fancy she isan exceeding proud woman." "i certainly did not seek your confidence,"said elinor; "but you do me no more than justice in imagining that i may be dependedon. your secret is safe with me; but pardon meif i express some surprise at so unnecessary a communication. you must at least have felt that my beingacquainted with it could not add to its safety." as she said this, she looked earnestly atlucy, hoping to discover something in her countenance; perhaps the falsehood of thegreatest part of what she had been saying;
but lucy's countenance suffered no change. "i was afraid you would think i was takinga great liberty with you," said she, "in telling you all this. i have not known you long to be sure,personally at least, but i have known you and all your family by description a greatwhile; and as soon as i saw you, i felt almost as if you was an old acquaintance. besides in the present case, i reallythought some explanation was due to you after my making such particular inquiriesabout edward's mother; and i am so unfortunate, that i have not a creaturewhose advice i can ask.
anne is the only person that knows of it,and she has no judgment at all; indeed, she does me a great deal more harm than good,for i am in constant fear of her betraying me. she does not know how to hold her tongue,as you must perceive, and i am sure i was in the greatest fright in the world t'otherday, when edward's name was mentioned by sir john, lest she should out with it all. you can't think how much i go through in mymind from it altogether. i only wonder that i am alive after what ihave suffered for edward's sake these last four years.
every thing in such suspense anduncertainty; and seeing him so seldom--we can hardly meet above twice a-year.i am sure i wonder my heart is not quite broke." here she took out her handkerchief; butelinor did not feel very compassionate. "sometimes." continued lucy, after wipingher eyes, "i think whether it would not be better for us both to break off the matterentirely." as she said this, she looked directly ather companion. "but then at other times i have notresolution enough for it.-- i cannot bear the thoughts of making him so miserable, asi know the very mention of such a thing
would do. and on my own account too--so dear as he isto me--i don't think i could be equal to it.what would you advise me to do in such a case, miss dashwood? what would you do yourself?""pardon me," replied elinor, startled by the question; "but i can give you no adviceunder such circumstances. your own judgment must direct you." "to be sure," continued lucy, after a fewminutes silence on both sides, "his mother must provide for him sometime or other; butpoor edward is so cast down by it!
did you not think him dreadful low-spiritedwhen he was at barton? he was so miserable when he left us atlongstaple, to go to you, that i was afraid you would think him quite ill." "did he come from your uncle's, then, whenhe visited us?" "oh, yes; he had been staying a fortnightwith us. did you think he came directly from town?" "no," replied elinor, most feelinglysensible of every fresh circumstance in favour of lucy's veracity; "i remember hetold us, that he had been staying a fortnight with some friends near plymouth."
she remembered too, her own surprise at thetime, at his mentioning nothing farther of those friends, at his total silence withrespect even to their names. "did not you think him sadly out ofspirits?" repeated lucy. "we did, indeed, particularly so when hefirst arrived." "i begged him to exert himself for fear youshould suspect what was the matter; but it made him so melancholy, not being able tostay more than a fortnight with us, and seeing me so much affected.-- poor fellow!- -i am afraid it is just the same with himnow; for he writes in wretched spirits. i heard from him just before i leftexeter;" taking a letter from her pocket
and carelessly showing the direction toelinor. "you know his hand, i dare say, a charmingone it is; but that is not written so well as usual.--he was tired, i dare say, for hehad just filled the sheet to me as full as possible." elinor saw that it was his hand, and shecould doubt no longer. this picture, she had allowed herself tobelieve, might have been accidentally obtained; it might not have been edward'sgift; but a correspondence between them by letter, could subsist only under a positive engagement, could be authorised by nothingelse; for a few moments, she was almost
overcome--her heart sunk within her, andshe could hardly stand; but exertion was indispensably necessary; and she struggled so resolutely against the oppression of herfeelings, that her success was speedy, and for the time complete. "writing to each other," said lucy,returning the letter into her pocket, "is the only comfort we have in such longseparations. yes, i have one other comfort in hispicture, but poor edward has not even that. if he had but my picture, he says he shouldbe easy. i gave him a lock of my hair set in a ringwhen he was at longstaple last, and that
was some comfort to him, he said, but notequal to a picture. perhaps you might notice the ring when yousaw him?" "i did," said elinor, with a composure ofvoice, under which was concealed an emotion and distress beyond any thing she had everfelt before. she was mortified, shocked, confounded. fortunately for her, they had now reachedthe cottage, and the conversation could be continued no farther. after sitting with them a few minutes, themiss steeles returned to the park, and elinor was then at liberty to think and bewretched.
[at this point in the first and secondeditions, volume 1 ends.] chapter 23 however small elinor's general dependenceon lucy's veracity might be, it was impossible for her on serious reflection tosuspect it in the present case, where no temptation could be answerable to the folly of inventing a falsehood of such adescription. what lucy had asserted to be true,therefore, elinor could not, dared not longer doubt; supported as it was too onevery side by such probabilities and proofs, and contradicted by nothing but herown wishes.
their opportunity of acquaintance in thehouse of mr. pratt was a foundation for the rest, at once indisputable and alarming;and edward's visit near plymouth, his melancholy state of mind, his dissatisfaction at his own prospects, hisuncertain behaviour towards herself, the intimate knowledge of the miss steeles asto norland and their family connections, which had often surprised her, the picture, the letter, the ring, formed altogethersuch a body of evidence, as overcame every fear of condemning him unfairly, andestablished as a fact, which no partiality could set aside, his ill-treatment of
herself.--her resentment of such behaviour,her indignation at having been its dupe, for a short time made her feel only forherself; but other ideas, other considerations, soon arose. had edward been intentionally deceivingher? had he feigned a regard for her which hedid not feel? was his engagement to lucy an engagement ofthe heart? no; whatever it might once have been, shecould not believe it such at present. his affection was all her own. she could not be deceived in that.her mother, sisters, fanny, all had been
conscious of his regard for her at norland;it was not an illusion of her own vanity. he certainly loved her. what a softener of the heart was thispersuasion! how much could it not tempt her to forgive! he had been blamable, highly blamable, inremaining at norland after he first felt her influence over him to be more than itought to be. in that, he could not be defended; but ifhe had injured her, how much more had he injured himself; if her case were pitiable,his was hopeless. his imprudence had made her miserable for awhile; but it seemed to have deprived
himself of all chance of ever beingotherwise. she might in time regain tranquillity; buthe, what had he to look forward to? could he ever be tolerably happy with lucysteele; could he, were his affection for herself out of the question, with hisintegrity, his delicacy, and well-informed mind, be satisfied with a wife like her--illiterate, artful, and selfish? the youthful infatuation of nineteen wouldnaturally blind him to every thing but her beauty and good nature; but the foursucceeding years--years, which if rationally spent, give such improvement to the understanding, must have opened hiseyes to her defects of education, while the
same period of time, spent on her side ininferior society and more frivolous pursuits, had perhaps robbed her of that simplicity which might once have given aninteresting character to her beauty. if in the supposition of his seeking tomarry herself, his difficulties from his mother had seemed great, how much greaterwere they now likely to be, when the object of his engagement was undoubtedly inferior in connections, and probably inferior infortune to herself. these difficulties, indeed, with a heart soalienated from lucy, might not press very hard upon his patience; but melancholy wasthe state of the person by whom the
expectation of family opposition andunkindness, could be felt as a relief! as these considerations occurred to her inpainful succession, she wept for him, more than for herself. supported by the conviction of having donenothing to merit her present unhappiness, and consoled by the belief that edward haddone nothing to forfeit her esteem, she thought she could even now, under the first smart of the heavy blow, command herselfenough to guard every suspicion of the truth from her mother and sisters. and so well was she able to answer her ownexpectations, that when she joined them at
dinner only two hours after she had firstsuffered the extinction of all her dearest hopes, no one would have supposed from the appearance of the sisters, that elinor wasmourning in secret over obstacles which must divide her for ever from the object ofher love, and that marianne was internally dwelling on the perfections of a man, of whose whole heart she felt thoroughlypossessed, and whom she expected to see in every carriage which drove near theirhouse. the necessity of concealing from her motherand marianne, what had been entrusted in confidence to herself, though it obligedher to unceasing exertion, was no
aggravation of elinor's distress. on the contrary it was a relief to her, tobe spared the communication of what would give such affliction to them, and to besaved likewise from hearing that condemnation of edward, which would probably flow from the excess of theirpartial affection for herself, and which was more than she felt equal to support. from their counsel, or their conversation,she knew she could receive no assistance, their tenderness and sorrow must add to herdistress, while her self-command would neither receive encouragement from theirexample nor from their praise.
she was stronger alone, and her own goodsense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance ofcheerfulness as invariable, as with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possiblefor them to be. much as she had suffered from her firstconversation with lucy on the subject, she soon felt an earnest wish of renewing it;and this for more reasons than one. she wanted to hear many particulars oftheir engagement repeated again, she wanted more clearly to understand what lucy reallyfelt for edward, whether there were any sincerity in her declaration of tender regard for him, and she particularly wantedto convince lucy, by her readiness to enter
on the matter again, and her calmness inconversing on it, that she was no otherwise interested in it than as a friend, which she very much feared her involuntaryagitation, in their morning discourse, must have left at least doubtful. that lucy was disposed to be jealous of herappeared very probable: it was plain that edward had always spoken highly in herpraise, not merely from lucy's assertion, but from her venturing to trust her on so short a personal acquaintance, with asecret so confessedly and evidently important.and even sir john's joking intelligence
must have had some weight. but indeed, while elinor remained so wellassured within herself of being really beloved by edward, it required no otherconsideration of probabilities to make it natural that lucy should be jealous; and that she was so, her very confidence was aproof. what other reason for the disclosure of theaffair could there be, but that elinor might be informed by it of lucy's superiorclaims on edward, and be taught to avoid him in future? she had little difficulty in understandingthus much of her rival's intentions, and
while she was firmly resolved to act by heras every principle of honour and honesty directed, to combat her own affection for edward and to see him as little aspossible; she could not deny herself the comfort of endeavouring to convince lucythat her heart was unwounded. and as she could now have nothing morepainful to hear on the subject than had already been told, she did not mistrust herown ability of going through a repetition of particulars with composure. but it was not immediately that anopportunity of doing so could be commanded, though lucy was as well disposed as herselfto take advantage of any that occurred; for
the weather was not often fine enough to allow of their joining in a walk, wherethey might most easily separate themselves from the others; and though they met atleast every other evening either at the park or cottage, and chiefly at the former, they could not be supposed to meet for thesake of conversation. such a thought would never enter either sirjohn or lady middleton's head; and therefore very little leisure was evergiven for a general chat, and none at all for particular discourse. they met for the sake of eating, drinking,and laughing together, playing at cards, or
consequences, or any other game that wassufficiently noisy. one or two meetings of this kind had takenplace, without affording elinor any chance of engaging lucy in private, when sir johncalled at the cottage one morning, to beg, in the name of charity, that they would all dine with lady middleton that day, as hewas obliged to attend the club at exeter, and she would otherwise be quite alone,except her mother and the two miss steeles. elinor, who foresaw a fairer opening forthe point she had in view, in such a party as this was likely to be, more at libertyamong themselves under the tranquil and well-bred direction of lady middleton than
when her husband united them together inone noisy purpose, immediately accepted the invitation; margaret, with her mother'spermission, was equally compliant, and marianne, though always unwilling to join any of their parties, was persuaded by hermother, who could not bear to have her seclude herself from any chance ofamusement, to go likewise. the young ladies went, and lady middletonwas happily preserved from the frightful solitude which had threatened her. the insipidity of the meeting was exactlysuch as elinor had expected; it produced not one novelty of thought or expression,and nothing could be less interesting than
the whole of their discourse both in the dining parlour and drawing room: to thelatter, the children accompanied them, and while they remained there, she was too wellconvinced of the impossibility of engaging lucy's attention to attempt it. they quitted it only with the removal ofthe tea-things. the card-table was then placed, and elinorbegan to wonder at herself for having ever entertained a hope of finding time forconversation at the park. they all rose up in preparation for a roundgame. "i am glad," said lady middleton to lucy,"you are not going to finish poor little
annamaria's basket this evening; for i amsure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight. and we will make the dear little love someamends for her disappointment to-morrow, and then i hope she will not much mind it." this hint was enough, lucy recollectedherself instantly and replied, "indeed you are very much mistaken, lady middleton; iam only waiting to know whether you can make your party without me, or i shouldhave been at my filigree already. i would not disappoint the little angel forall the world: and if you want me at the card-table now, i am resolved to finish thebasket after supper."
"you are very good, i hope it won't hurtyour eyes--will you ring the bell for some working candles? my poor little girl would be sadlydisappointed, i know, if the basket was not finished tomorrow, for though i told her itcertainly would not, i am sure she depends upon having it done." lucy directly drew her work table near herand reseated herself with an alacrity and cheerfulness which seemed to infer that shecould taste no greater delight than in making a filigree basket for a spoiltchild. lady middleton proposed a rubber of casinoto the others.
no one made any objection but marianne, whowith her usual inattention to the forms of general civility, exclaimed, "your ladyshipwill have the goodness to excuse me--you know i detest cards. i shall go to the piano-forte; i have nottouched it since it was tuned." and without farther ceremony, she turnedaway and walked to the instrument. lady middleton looked as if she thankedheaven that she had never made so rude a speech. "marianne can never keep long from thatinstrument you know, ma'am," said elinor, endeavouring to smooth away the offence;"and i do not much wonder at it; for it is
the very best toned piano-forte i everheard." the remaining five were now to draw theircards. "perhaps," continued elinor, "if i shouldhappen to cut out, i may be of some use to miss lucy steele, in rolling her papers forher; and there is so much still to be done to the basket, that it must be impossible i think for her labour singly, to finish itthis evening. i should like the work exceedingly, if shewould allow me a share in it." "indeed i shall be very much obliged to youfor your help," cried lucy, "for i find there is more to be done to it than ithought there was; and it would be a
shocking thing to disappoint dear annamariaafter all." "oh! that would be terrible, indeed," saidmiss steele-- "dear little soul, how i do love her!" "you are very kind," said lady middleton toelinor; "and as you really like the work, perhaps you will be as well pleased not tocut in till another rubber, or will you take your chance now?" elinor joyfully profited by the first ofthese proposals, and thus by a little of that address which marianne could nevercondescend to practise, gained her own end, and pleased lady middleton at the sametime.
lucy made room for her with readyattention, and the two fair rivals were thus seated side by side at the same table,and, with the utmost harmony, engaged in forwarding the same work. the pianoforte at which marianne, wrappedup in her own music and her own thoughts, had by this time forgotten that any bodywas in the room besides herself, was luckily so near them that miss dashwood now judged she might safely, under the shelterof its noise, introduce the interesting subject, without any risk of being heard atthe card-table. chapter 24
in a firm, though cautious tone, elinorthus began. "i should be undeserving of the confidenceyou have honoured me with, if i felt no desire for its continuance, or no farthercuriosity on its subject. i will not apologize therefore for bringingit forward again." "thank you," cried lucy warmly, "forbreaking the ice; you have set my heart at ease by it; for i was somehow or otherafraid i had offended you by what i told you that monday." "offended me!how could you suppose so? believe me," and elinor spoke it with thetruest sincerity, "nothing could be farther
from my intention than to give you such anidea. could you have a motive for the trust, thatwas not honourable and flattering to me?" "and yet i do assure you," replied lucy,her little sharp eyes full of meaning, "there seemed to me to be a coldness anddispleasure in your manner that made me quite uncomfortable. i felt sure that you was angry with me; andhave been quarrelling with myself ever since, for having took such a liberty as totrouble you with my affairs. but i am very glad to find it was only myown fancy, and that you really do not blame if you knew what a consolation it was to meto relieve my heart speaking to you of what
i am always thinking of every moment of mylife, your compassion would make you overlook every thing else i am sure." "indeed, i can easily believe that it was avery great relief to you, to acknowledge your situation to me, and be assured thatyou shall never have reason to repent it. your case is a very unfortunate one; youseem to me to be surrounded with difficulties, and you will have need of allyour mutual affection to support you under them. mr. ferrars, i believe, is entirelydependent on his mother." "he has only two thousand pounds of hisown; it would be madness to marry upon
that, though for my own part, i could giveup every prospect of more without a sigh. i have been always used to a very smallincome, and could struggle with any poverty for him; but i love him too well to be theselfish means of robbing him, perhaps, of all that his mother might give him if hemarried to please her. we must wait, it may be for many years. with almost every other man in the world,it would be an alarming prospect; but edward's affection and constancy nothingcan deprive me of i know." "that conviction must be every thing toyou; and he is undoubtedly supported by the same trust in your's.
if the strength of your reciprocalattachment had failed, as between many people, and under many circumstances itnaturally would during a four years' engagement, your situation would have beenpitiable, indeed." lucy here looked up; but elinor was carefulin guarding her countenance from every expression that could give her words asuspicious tendency. "edward's love for me," said lucy, "hasbeen pretty well put to the test, by our long, very long absence since we were firstengaged, and it has stood the trial so well, that i should be unpardonable todoubt it now. i can safely say that he has never gave meone moment's alarm on that account from the
first." elinor hardly knew whether to smile or sighat this assertion. lucy went on. "i am rather of a jealous temper too bynature, and from our different situations in life, from his being so much more in theworld than me, and our continual separation, i was enough inclined for suspicion, to have found out the truth inan instant, if there had been the slightest alteration in his behaviour to me when wemet, or any lowness of spirits that i could not account for, or if he had talked more
of one lady than another, or seemed in anyrespect less happy at longstaple than he used to be. i do not mean to say that i am particularlyobservant or quick-sighted in general, but in such a case i am sure i could not bedeceived." "all this," thought elinor, "is verypretty; but it can impose upon neither of us." "but what," said she after a short silence,"are your views? or have you none but that of waiting for mrs. ferrars's death, whichis a melancholy and shocking extremity?--is her son determined to submit to this, and
to all the tediousness of the many years ofsuspense in which it may involve you, rather than run the risk of her displeasurefor a while by owning the truth?" "if we could be certain that it would beonly for a while! but mrs. ferrars is a very headstrong proudwoman, and in her first fit of anger upon hearing it, would very likely secure everything to robert, and the idea of that, for edward's sake, frightens away all myinclination for hasty measures." "and for your own sake too, or you arecarrying your disinterestedness beyond reason." lucy looked at elinor again, and wassilent.
"do you know mr. robert ferrars?" askedelinor. "not at all--i never saw him; but i fancyhe is very unlike his brother--silly and a great coxcomb." "a great coxcomb!" repeated miss steele,whose ear had caught those words by a sudden pause in marianne's music.-- "oh,they are talking of their favourite beaux, i dare say." "no sister," cried lucy, "you are mistakenthere, our favourite beaux are not great coxcombs." "i can answer for it that miss dashwood'sis not," said mrs. jennings, laughing
heartily; "for he is one of the modestest,prettiest behaved young men i ever saw; but as for lucy, she is such a sly little creature, there is no finding out who shelikes." "oh," cried miss steele, lookingsignificantly round at them, "i dare say lucy's beau is quite as modest and prettybehaved as miss dashwood's." elinor blushed in spite of herself. lucy bit her lip, and looked angrily at hersister. a mutual silence took place for some time. lucy first put an end to it by saying in alower tone, though marianne was then giving
them the powerful protection of a verymagnificent concerto-- "i will honestly tell you of one schemewhich has lately come into my head, for bringing matters to bear; indeed i am boundto let you into the secret, for you are a party concerned. i dare say you have seen enough of edwardto know that he would prefer the church to every other profession; now my plan is thathe should take orders as soon as he can, and then through your interest, which i am sure you would be kind enough to use out offriendship for him, and i hope out of some regard to me, your brother might bepersuaded to give him norland living; which
i understand is a very good one, and the present incumbent not likely to live agreat while. that would be enough for us to marry upon,and we might trust to time and chance for the rest." "i should always be happy," replied elinor,"to show any mark of my esteem and friendship for mr. ferrars; but do you notperceive that my interest on such an occasion would be perfectly unnecessary? he is brother to mrs. john dashwood--thatmust be recommendation enough to her husband.""but mrs. john dashwood would not much
approve of edward's going into orders." "then i rather suspect that my interestwould do very little." they were again silent for many minutes.at length lucy exclaimed with a deep sigh, "i believe it would be the wisest way toput an end to the business at once by dissolving the engagement. we seem so beset with difficulties on everyside, that though it would make us miserable for a time, we should be happierperhaps in the end. but you will not give me your advice, missdashwood?" "no," answered elinor, with a smile, whichconcealed very agitated feelings, "on such
a subject i certainly will not. you know very well that my opinion wouldhave no weight with you, unless it were on the side of your wishes." "indeed you wrong me," replied lucy, withgreat solemnity; "i know nobody of whose judgment i think so highly as i do ofyours; and i do really believe, that if you was to say to me, 'i advise you by all means to put an end to your engagement withedward ferrars, it will be more for the happiness of both of you,' i should resolveupon doing it immediately." elinor blushed for the insincerity ofedward's future wife, and replied, "this
compliment would effectually frighten mefrom giving any opinion on the subject had i formed one. it raises my influence much too high; thepower of dividing two people so tenderly attached is too much for an indifferentperson." "'tis because you are an indifferentperson," said lucy, with some pique, and laying a particular stress on those words,"that your judgment might justly have such weight with me. if you could be supposed to be biased inany respect by your own feelings, your opinion would not be worth having."
elinor thought it wisest to make no answerto this, lest they might provoke each other to an unsuitable increase of ease andunreserve; and was even partly determined never to mention the subject again. another pause therefore of many minutes'duration, succeeded this speech, and lucy was still the first to end it. "shall you be in town this winter, missdashwood?" said she with all her accustomary complacency."certainly not." "i am sorry for that," returned the other,while her eyes brightened at the information, "it would have gave me suchpleasure to meet you there!
but i dare say you will go for all that. to be sure, your brother and sister willask you to come to them." "it will not be in my power to accept theirinvitation if they do." "how unlucky that is! i had quite depended upon meeting youthere. anne and me are to go the latter end ofjanuary to some relations who have been wanting us to visit them these severalyears! but i only go for the sake of seeingedward. he will be there in february, otherwiselondon would have no charms for me; i have
not spirits for it." elinor was soon called to the card-table bythe conclusion of the first rubber, and the confidential discourse of the two ladieswas therefore at an end, to which both of them submitted without any reluctance, for nothing had been said on either side tomake them dislike each other less than they had done before; and elinor sat down to thecard table with the melancholy persuasion that edward was not only without affection for the person who was to be his wife; butthat he had not even the chance of being tolerably happy in marriage, which sincereaffection on her side would have given, for
self-interest alone could induce a woman to keep a man to an engagement, of which sheseemed so thoroughly aware that he was weary. from this time the subject was neverrevived by elinor, and when entered on by lucy, who seldom missed an opportunity ofintroducing it, and was particularly careful to inform her confidante, of her happiness whenever she received a letterfrom edward, it was treated by the former with calmness and caution, and dismissed assoon as civility would allow; for she felt such conversations to be an indulgence
which lucy did not deserve, and which weredangerous to herself. the visit of the miss steeles at bartonpark was lengthened far beyond what the first invitation implied. their favour increased; they could not bespared; sir john would not hear of their going; and in spite of their numerous andlong arranged engagements in exeter, in spite of the absolute necessity of returning to fulfill them immediately,which was in full force at the end of every week, they were prevailed on to stay nearlytwo months at the park, and to assist in the due celebration of that festival which
requires a more than ordinary share ofprivate balls and large dinners to proclaim its importance. chapter 25 though mrs. jennings was in the habit ofspending a large portion of the year at the houses of her children and friends, she wasnot without a settled habitation of her own. since the death of her husband, who hadtraded with success in a less elegant part of the town, she had resided every winterin a house in one of the streets near portman square.
towards this home, she began on theapproach of january to turn her thoughts, and thither she one day abruptly, and veryunexpectedly by them, asked the elder misses dashwood to accompany her. elinor, without observing the varyingcomplexion of her sister, and the animated look which spoke no indifference to theplan, immediately gave a grateful but absolute denial for both, in which she believed herself to be speaking theirunited inclinations. the reason alleged was their determinedresolution of not leaving their mother at that time of the year.
mrs. jennings received the refusal withsome surprise, and repeated her invitation immediately."oh, lord! i am sure your mother can spare you verywell, and i do beg you will favour me with your company, for i've quite set my heartupon it. don't fancy that you will be anyinconvenience to me, for i shan't put myself at all out of my way for you.it will only be sending betty by the coach, and i hope i can afford that. we three shall be able to go very well inmy chaise; and when we are in town, if you do not like to go wherever i do, well andgood, you may always go with one of my
daughters. i am sure your mother will not object toit; for i have had such good luck in getting my own children off my hands thatshe will think me a very fit person to have the charge of you; and if i don't get one of you at least well married before i havedone with you, it shall not be my fault. i shall speak a good word for you to allthe young men, you may depend upon it." "i have a notion," said sir john, "thatmiss marianne would not object to such a scheme, if her elder sister would come intoit. it is very hard indeed that she should nothave a little pleasure, because miss
dashwood does not wish it. so i would advise you two, to set off fortown, when you are tired of barton, without saying a word to miss dashwood about it." "nay," cried mrs. jennings, "i am sure ishall be monstrous glad of miss marianne's company, whether miss dashwood will go ornot, only the more the merrier say i, and i thought it would be more comfortable for them to be together; because, if they gottired of me, they might talk to one another, and laugh at my old ways behind myback. but one or the other, if not both of them,i must have.
lord bless me! how do you think i can livepoking by myself, i who have been always used till this winter to have charlottewith me. come, miss marianne, let us strike handsupon the bargain, and if miss dashwood will change her mind by and bye, why so much thebetter." "i thank you, ma'am, sincerely thank you,"said marianne, with warmth: "your invitation has insured my gratitude forever, and it would give me such happiness, yes, almost the greatest happiness i amcapable of, to be able to accept it. but my mother, my dearest, kindest mother,--i feel the justice of what elinor has urged, and if she were to be made lesshappy, less comfortable by our absence--oh!
no, nothing should tempt me to leave her. it should not, must not be a struggle." mrs. jennings repeated her assurance thatmrs. dashwood could spare them perfectly well; and elinor, who now understood hersister, and saw to what indifference to almost every thing else she was carried by her eagerness to be with willoughby again,made no farther direct opposition to the plan, and merely referred it to hermother's decision, from whom however she scarcely expected to receive any support in her endeavour to prevent a visit, which shecould not approve of for marianne, and
which on her own account she had particularreasons to avoid. whatever marianne was desirous of, hermother would be eager to promote--she could not expect to influence the latter tocautiousness of conduct in an affair respecting which she had never been able to inspire her with distrust; and she darednot explain the motive of her own disinclination for going to london. that marianne, fastidious as she was,thoroughly acquainted with mrs. jennings' manners, and invariably disgusted by them,should overlook every inconvenience of that kind, should disregard whatever must be
most wounding to her irritable feelings, inher pursuit of one object, was such a proof, so strong, so full, of theimportance of that object to her, as elinor, in spite of all that had passed,was not prepared to witness. on being informed of the invitation, mrs.dashwood, persuaded that such an excursion would be productive of much amusement toboth her daughters, and perceiving through all her affectionate attention to herself, how much the heart of marianne was in it,would not hear of their declining the offer upon her account; insisted on their bothaccepting it directly; and then began to foresee, with her usual cheerfulness, a
variety of advantages that would accrue tothem all, from this separation. "i am delighted with the plan," she cried,"it is exactly what i could wish. margaret and i shall be as much benefitedby it as yourselves. when you and the middletons are gone, weshall go on so quietly and happily together with our books and our music! you will find margaret so improved when youcome back again! i have a little plan of alteration for yourbedrooms too, which may now be performed without any inconvenience to any one. it is very right that you should go totown; i would have every young woman of
your condition in life acquainted with themanners and amusements of london. you will be under the care of a motherlygood sort of woman, of whose kindness to you i can have no doubt. and in all probability you will see yourbrother, and whatever may be his faults, or the faults of his wife, when i considerwhose son he is, i cannot bear to have you so wholly estranged from each other." "though with your usual anxiety for ourhappiness," said elinor, "you have been obviating every impediment to the presentscheme which occurred to you, there is still one objection which, in my opinion,cannot be so easily removed."
marianne's countenance sunk."and what," said mrs. dashwood, "is my dear prudent elinor going to suggest? what formidable obstacle is she now tobring forward? do let me hear a word about the expense ofit." "my objection is this; though i think verywell of mrs. jennings's heart, she is not a woman whose society can afford us pleasure,or whose protection will give us consequence." "that is very true," replied her mother,"but of her society, separately from that of other people, you will scarcely have anything at all, and you will almost always
appear in public with lady middleton." "if elinor is frightened away by herdislike of mrs. jennings," said marianne, "at least it need not prevent my acceptingher invitation. i have no such scruples, and i am sure icould put up with every unpleasantness of that kind with very little effort." elinor could not help smiling at thisdisplay of indifference towards the manners of a person, to whom she had often haddifficulty in persuading marianne to behave with tolerable politeness; and resolved within herself, that if her sisterpersisted in going, she would go likewise,
as she did not think it proper thatmarianne should be left to the sole guidance of her own judgment, or that mrs. jennings should be abandoned to the mercyof marianne for all the comfort of her domestic hours. to this determination she was the moreeasily reconciled, by recollecting that edward ferrars, by lucy's account, was notto be in town before february; and that their visit, without any unreasonableabridgement, might be previously finished. "i will have you both go," said mrs.dashwood; "these objections are nonsensical.
you will have much pleasure in being inlondon, and especially in being together; and if elinor would ever condescend toanticipate enjoyment, she would foresee it there from a variety of sources; she would, perhaps, expect some from improving heracquaintance with her sister-in-law's family." elinor had often wished for an opportunityof attempting to weaken her mother's dependence on the attachment of edward andherself, that the shock might be less when the whole truth were revealed, and now on this attack, though almost hopeless ofsuccess, she forced herself to begin her
design by saying, as calmly as she could,"i like edward ferrars very much, and shall always be glad to see him; but as to the rest of the family, it is a matter ofperfect indifference to me, whether i am ever known to them or not."mrs. dashwood smiled, and said nothing. marianne lifted up her eyes inastonishment, and elinor conjectured that she might as well have held her tongue. after very little farther discourse, it wasfinally settled that the invitation should be fully accepted. mrs. jennings received the information witha great deal of joy, and many assurances of
kindness and care; nor was it a matter ofpleasure merely to her. sir john was delighted; for to a man, whoseprevailing anxiety was the dread of being alone, the acquisition of two, to thenumber of inhabitants in london, was something. even lady middleton took the trouble ofbeing delighted, which was putting herself rather out of her way; and as for the misssteeles, especially lucy, they had never been so happy in their lives as thisintelligence made them. elinor submitted to the arrangement whichcounteracted her wishes with less reluctance than she had expected to feel.
with regard to herself, it was now a matterof unconcern whether she went to town or not, and when she saw her mother sothoroughly pleased with the plan, and her sister exhilarated by it in look, voice, and manner, restored to all her usualanimation, and elevated to more than her usual gaiety, she could not be dissatisfiedwith the cause, and would hardly allow herself to distrust the consequence. marianne's joy was almost a degree beyondhappiness, so great was the perturbation of her spirits and her impatience to be gone. her unwillingness to quit her mother washer only restorative to calmness; and at
the moment of parting her grief on thatscore was excessive. her mother's affliction was hardly less,and elinor was the only one of the three, who seemed to consider the separation asany thing short of eternal. their departure took place in the firstweek in january. the middletons were to follow in about aweek. the miss steeles kept their station at thepark, and were to quit it only with the rest of the family.