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Full text of "The Novels of Jane Austen"

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f\l C- OC ( f ^ I ^^ 






THE 
EDWARD SHELDON 
MEMORIAL COLLECTION 




Presented to the 
Harvard College Library 
by his mother 
MrsThe 




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THE NOVELS OF 

JANE AUSTEN 

WINCHESTER 
EDITION 

VOLUMB 
II 



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THE NOVELS OF 

JANE AUSTEN 



SENSE AND SENSIBILITY 
VOLUME II 




EDINBURGH: JOHN GRANT 
31 GEORGE IV. BRIDGE 

1905 



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LIBRARY 
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Edlnboffb : T. aod A. Comstaslb, Prinua to His H^«tty 



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SENSE AND 

SENSIBILITY 
II 



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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY 

CHAPTER XXX 

Mrs. Jennings came immediately to their room 
on her return, and without waiting to have her 
request of admittance answered, opened the door 
and walked in with a look of real concern. 

'How do you do, my dear?' said she, in a 
voice of great compassion, to Marianne, who 
turned away her face without attempting to 
answer. 

* How is she. Miss Dashwood ? Poor thing I 
she looks very bad. No wonder. Ay, it is 
but too true. He is to be married very soon — 
a good-for-nothing fellow I I have no patience 
with him. Mrs. Taylor told me of it half an 
hour ago, and she was told it by a particular 
friend of Miss Grey herself, else I am sure I 
should not have believed it ; and I was almost 
ready to sink as it was. Well, said I, all I can 
say is, that if it is true, he has used a young 
lady of my acquaintance abominably ill, and I 
wish with all my soul his wife may plague his 
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heart out And so I shall always say, my dear, 
you may depend on it. I have no notion of 
men's going on in this way ; and if ever I meet 
him again, I will give him such a dressing as 
he has not had this many a day. But there is 
one comfort, my dear Miss Marianne : he is not 
the only young man in the world worth having ; 
and with your pretty face you wiU never want 
admirers. Well, poor thing I I won't disturb 
her any longer, for she had better have her cry 
out at once and have done with it. The Parrys 
and Sandersons luckily are coming to-night, you 
know, and that will amuse her.' 

She then went away, walking on tiptoe out 
of the room, as if she supposed her young friend's 
affliction could be increased by noise. 

Marianne, to the surprise of her sister, deter- 
mined on dining with them. Elinor even 
advised her against it But * no, she would go 
down; she could bear it very well, and the 
bustle about her would be less.' Elinor, pleased 
to have her governed for a moment by such a 
motive, though believing it hardly possible that 
she could sit out the dinner, said no more ; and 
adjusting her dress for her as well as she could 
while Marianne still remained on the bed, was 
ready to assist her into the dining-room as soon 
as they were summoned to it 

When there, though looking most wretchedly, 
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she ate more, and was calmer than her sister had 
expected. Had she tried to speak, or had she 
been conscious of half Mrs, Jennings s well- 
meant but ill-judged attentions to her, this 
calmness could not have been maintained ; but 
not a syllable escaped her lips, and the abstrac- 
tion of her thoughts preserved her in ignorance 
of everything that was passing before her. 

Elinor, who did justice to Mrs. Jennings's 
kindness, though its effusions were often dis- 
tressing, and sometimes almost ridiculous, made 
her those acknowledgments, and returned her 
those civilities, which her sister could not make 
or return for herself. Their good friend saw 
that Marianne was unhappy, and felt that every- 
thing was due to her which might make her at 
all less so. She treated her, therefore, with all 
the indulgent fopdness of a parent towards a 
favourite child on the last day of its holidays. 
Marianne was to have the best place by the fire, 
was to be tempted to eat by every delicacy in 
the house, and to be amused by the relation of 
all the news of the day. Had not Elinor, in the 
sad countenance of her sister, seen a check to all 
mirth, she could have been entertained by Mrs. 
Jennings's endeavours to cure a disappointment 
in love, by a variety of sweetmeats and olives, 
and a good fire. As soon, however, as the con- 
sciousness of all this was forced by continual 

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repetition on Marianne, she could stay no longer. 
With an hasty exclamation of misery, and a sign 
to her sister not to follow her, she directly got 
up and hurried out of the room. 

* Poor soul ! ' cried Mrs. Jennings, as soon as 
she was gone, *how it grieves me to see her! 
And I declare if she is not gone away without 
finishing her wine I And the dried cherries too 1 
Lord! nothing seems to do her any good. I 
am sure if I knew of anything she would like, 
I would send all over the town for it. Well, it 
is the oddest thing to me, that a man should 
use such a pretty ^1 so ill I But when there is 
plenty of money on one side, and next to none 
on the other. Lord bless you I they care no more 
about such things 1 ' 

* The lady then — Miss Grey, I think you called 
her — is very rich ? ' 

* Fifty thousand pounds, my dear. Did you 
ever see her ? a smart, stylish girl, they say, but 
not handsome. I remember her aunt very well, 
Biddy Henshawe; she married a very wealthy 
man. But the family are all rich together. 
Fifty thousand pounds ! and by all accounts it 
won't come before it 's wanted ; for they say he 
is all to pieces. No wonder! dashing about 
with his curricle and hunters! Well, it don't 
signify talking, but when a young man, be he 
who he will, comes and makes love to a pretty 

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^1, and promises marriage, he has no business 
to fly off fjpom his word only because he grows 
poor, and a richer girl is ready to have him. 
Why don't he, in such a case, sell his horses, 
let his house, turn off his servants, and make a 
thorough reform at once ? I warrant you. Miss 
Marianne would have been ready to wait till 
matters came round. But that won't do nowa- 
days ; nothing in the way of pleasure can ever 
be given up by the young men of this age.' 

*Do you know what kind of a ^1 Miss Grey 
is ? Is she said to be amiable ? ' 

*I never heard any harm of her; indeed, I 
hardly ever heard her mentioned; except that 
Mrs. Taylor did say this morning, that one day 
Miss Walker hinted to her, that she believed 
Mr. and Mrs. Ellison would not be sorry to have 
Miss Grey married, for she and Mrs. EUison 
could never agree.' 

* And who are the Ellisons ? ' 

* Her guardians, my dear. But now she is of 
age and may choose for herself; and a pretty 
choice she has made ! — ^What now,' after pausing 
a moment — *your poor sister has gone to her 
own room, I suppose, to moan by herself. Is 
there nothing one can get to comfort her? 
Poor dear, it seems quite cruel to let her be 
alone. WeU, by and by we shall have a few 
friends, and that will amuse her a little. What 

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shall we play at? She hates whist, I know; 
but is there no round game she cares for ? ' 

^Dear ma'am, this kindness is quite un- 
necessary. Marianne, I dare say, will not leave 
her room again this evening. I shall persuade 
her, if I can, to go early to bed, for I am sure 
she wants rest.' 

* Ay, I believe that will be best for her. Let 
her name her own supper and go to bed. Lord! 
no wonder she has been looking so bad and so 
cast-down this last week or two, for this matter, 
I suppose, has been hanging over her hdhd as long 
as that. ' And so the letter that came to-day 
finished it ! Poor soul ! I am sure if I had had 
a notion of it I would not have joked her about 
it for all my money. But then, you know, how 
should I guess such a thing ? I made sure of 
its being nothing but a common love-letter, and 
you know how young people like to be laughed 
at about them. Lord ! how concerned Sir John 
and my daughters will be when they hear it I If 
I had had my senses about me, I might have 
called in Conduit Street in my way home, and 
told them of it. But I shall see them to- 
morrow.' 

* It would be unnecessary, I am sure, for you 
to caution Mrs. Palmer and Sir John against 
ever naming Mr. Willoughby, or making the 
slightest allusion to what has passed, before my 

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sister. Their own good-nature must point out 
to them the real cruelty of appearing to know 
anything about it when she is present ; and the 
less that may ever be said to myself on the 
subject, the more my feelings will be spared, as 
you, my dear madam, will easily believe.' 

* O Lord ! yes, that I do indeed. It must be 
terrible for you to hear it talked of; and as for 
your sister, I am sure I would not mention a 
word about it to her for the world. You saw 
I did not all dinner-time. No more would Sir 
John nor my daughters, for they are all very 
thoughtful and considerate — especially if I give 
them a hint, as I certainly will. For my part, I 
think the less that is said about such things the 
better, the sooner 'tis blown over and forgot. 
And what good does talking ever do, you 
know?' 

* In this aiF^ it can only do harm — ^more so, 
perhaps, than in many cases of a similar kind, 
for it has been attended by circumstances which, 
for the sake of every one concerned in it, make 
it unfit to become the public conversation. I 
must do this justice to Mr. WUloughby — he 
has broken no positive engagement with my 
sister.' 

*Law, my dearl Don't pretend to defend 
him. No positive engagement indeed 1 after 
taking her all over AUenham House, and fixing 

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on the very rooms they were to live in here- 
after!' 

Elinor, for her sister's sake, could not press 
the subject farther, and she hoped it was not 
required of her for Willoughby's ; since, though 
Marianne might lose much, he could gain very 
little by the enforcement of the real truth. 
After a short silence on both sides Mrs. Jen- 
nings, with all her natural hilarity, burst forth 
again — 

* Well, my dear, 'tis a true saying about an ill 
wind, for it will be aU the better for Colonel 
Brandon. He will have her at last ; ay, that he 
will. Mind me, now, if they an't married by 
Midsummer. Lord! how hell chuckle over 
this news ! I hope he will come to-night. It 
will be all to one a better match for your sister. 
Two thousand a year without debt or draw- 
back — except the little love-child, indeed; ay, 
I had forgot her; but she may be 'prenticed 
out at small cost, and then what does it signify ? 
Delaford is a nice place, I can tell you ; exactly 
what I call a nice old-fashioned place, full of 
comforts and conveniences ; quite shut in with 
great garden-walls that are covered with the 
best fruit-trees in the country ; and such a mul- 
berry tree in one comer ! Lord ! how Charlotte 
and I did stuff the only time we were there 1 
Then, there is a dovecote, some delightful stew- 
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ponds, and a very pretty canal; and every- 
thing, in short, that one could wish for: and, 
moreover, it is close to the church, and only a 
quarter of a mile from* the turnpike-road, so 'tis 
never dull, for if you only go and sit up in an 
old yew arbour behind the house, you may see 
all the carriages that pass along. Oh I 'tis a 
nice place I A butcher hard by in the village, 
and the parsonage-house within a stone's-throw. 
To my fancy, a thousand times prettier than 
Barton Park, where they are forced to send 
three miles for their meat, and have not a neigh- 
bour nearer than your mother. Well, I shall 
spirit up the Colonel as soon as I can. One 
shoulder of mutton, you know, drives another 
down. If we can but put Willoughby out of 
her head ! ' 

*Ay, if we can but do that, ma'am,' said 
Elinor, * we shall do very well with or without 
Colonel Brandon.' And then rising, she went 
away to join Marianne, whom she found, as she 
expected, in her own room, leaning, in silent 
misery, over the small remains of a fire which, 
till Elinor's entrance, had been her only light 

* You had better leave me,' was all the notice 
that her sister received from her. 

* I will leave you,' said Elinor, * if you will go 
to bed.' But this, from the momentary per- 
verseness of impatient suffering, she at first 

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refused to do. Her sister's earnest, though 
gentle persuasion, however, soon softened her 
to compliance, and Elinor saw her lay her 
aching head on the pillow, and saw her, as she 
hoped, in a way to get some quiet rest before 
she left her. 

In the drawing-room, whither she then re- 
paired, she was soon joined by Mrs. Jennings, 
with a wine-glass, full of something, in her hand. 

*My dear,' s«dd she, entering, *I have just 
recollected that I have some of the finest old 
Constantia wine in the house that ever was 
tasted, so I have brought a glass of it for your 
sister. My poor husband ! how fond he was of 
it 1 Whenever he had a touch of his old cholicky 
gout, he said it did him more good than any- 
thing else in the world. Do take it to your 
sister.' 

*Dear ma'am,' replied Elinor, smiling at the 
difference of the complaints for which it was 
recommended, * how good you are I But I have 
just left Marianne in bed, and, I hope, almost 
asleep; and as I think nothing will be of so 
much service to her as rest, if you would give 
me leave, I will drink the wine myself.' 

Mrs. Jennings, though regretting that she had 

not been five minutes earlier, was satisfied with 

the compromise; and Elinor, as she swallowed 

the chief of it» reflected that, though its good 

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effects on a cholicky gout were at present of 
little importance to her, its healing powers on a 
disappointed heart might be as reasonably tried 
on herself as on her sister. 

Colonel Brandon came in while the party were 
at tea, and by his manner of looking round the 
room for Marianne, Elinor immediately fancied 
that he neither expected nor wished to see her 
there, and, in short, that he was already aware 
of what occasioned her absence. Mrs. Jennings 
was not struck by the same thought ; for, soon 
after his entrance, she walked across the room to 
the tea-table where Elinor presided, and whis- 
pered — * The Colonel looks as grave as ever, 
you see. He knows nothing of it ; do tell him, 
my dear.' 

He shortly afterwards drew a chair close to 
hers, and, with a look which perfectly assured 
her of his good information, inquired after her 
sister. 

* Marianne is not well,* said she. *She has 
been indisposed all day ; and we have persuaded 
her to go to bed.' 

* Perhaps, then,' he hesitatingly replied, * what 
I heard this morning may be true — there may 
be more truth in it than I could believe possible 
at first.' 

* What did you hear?' 

*That a gentleman, whom I had reason to 

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think — ^in short, that a man, whom I knew to be 
engaged — ^but how shall I tell you? If you 
know it already, as surely you must, I may be 
spared.* 

*You mean,' answered Elinor, with forced 
calmness, * Mr. Willoughby's marriage with 
Miss Grey. Yes, we do know it all. This 
seems to have been a day of general elucidation, 
for this very morning first unfolded it to us. 
Mr. Willoughby is unfathomable I Where did 
you heap it ? ' 

*In a stationer's shop in Pall Mall, where I 
had business. Two ladies were waiting for their 
carriage, and one of them was giving the other 
an account of the intended match, in a voice 
so little attempting concealment, that it was 
impossible for me not to hear all. The name 
of Willoughby, John Willoughby, frequently 
repeated, first caught my attention, and what 
followed was a positive assertion that everything 
was now finally settled respecting his marriage 
with Miss Grey — ^it was no longer to be a secret 
— it would take place even within a few weeks, 
with many particulars of preparation and other 
matters. One thing, especially, I remember, 
because it served to identify the man still more ; 
— as soon as the ceremony was over they were 
to go to Combe Magna, his seat in Somerset- 
shire. My astonishment I — ^but it would be 
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impossible to describe what I felt The com- 
municative lady, I learnt on inquiry, for I staid 
in the shop till they were gone, was a Mrs. 
Ellison, and that, as I have been since informed, 
is the name of Miss Grey's guardian.' 

•It is. But have you likewise heard that 
Miss Grey has fifty thousand pounds ? In that, 
if in anything, we may find an explanation/ 

• It may be so ; but Willoughby is capable — 
at least I think ' — ^he stopped a moment ; then 
added in a voice which seemed to distrust itself, 
•And your sister — how did she ' 

•Her sufferings have been very severe. I 
have only to hope that they may be propor- 
tionally short It has been, it is a most cruel 
affliction. Till yesterday, I believe, she never 
doubted his r^ard; and even now, perhaps — 
but / am almost convinced that he never was 
really attached to her. He has been very 
deceitful! and, in some points, there seems a 
hardness of heart about him.' 

•Ah!' said Colonel Brandon, •there is indeed! 
But your sister does not — I think you said so — 
she does not consider it quite as you do ? ' 

• You know her disposition, and may believe 
how eagerly she would still justify him if she 
could.' 

He made no answer ; and soon afterwards, by 
the removal of the tea-things, and the arrange- 

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ment of the card - parties, the subject was 
necessarily dropped. Mrs. Jennings, who had 
watched them with pleasure while they were 
talking, and who expected to see the effect of 
Miss Dashwood's communication, in such an 
instantaneous gaiety on Colonel Brandon's side 
as might have become a man in the bloom of 
youth, of hope and happiness, saw him, with 
amazement, remain the whole evening more 
serious and thoughtful than usual. 



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CHAPTER XXXI 

From a night of more sleep than she had ex- 
pected, Marianne awoke the next morning to 
the same consciousness of misery in which she 
had closed her eyes. 

Elinor encom-aged her as much as possible to 
talk of what she felt ; and before breakfast was 
ready they had gone through the subject again 
and again ; with the same steady conviction and 
affectionate counsel on Elinor's side, the same 
impetuous feelings and varying opinions on 
Marianne's, as before. Sometimes she could 
believe Willoughby to be as unfortunate and as 
innocent as herself, and at others, lost every con- 
solation in the impossibility of acquitting him. 
At one moment she was absolutely indifferent to 
the observation of all the world, at another she 
would seclude herself from it for ever, and at a 
third could resist it with energy. In one thing, 
however, she was uniform, when it came to 
the point, in avoiding, where it was possible, 
the presence of Mrs. Jennings, and in a deter- 
mined silence when obliged to endure it. Her 

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heart was hardened against the belief of Mrs. 
Jennings's entering into her sorrows with any 
compassion. 

*No, no, no, it cannot be,* she cried; *she 
cannot feeL Her kindness is not sympathy; 
her good-natm-e is not tenderness. All that 
she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now 
because I supply it.' 

Elinor had not needed this to be assured of 
the injustice to which her sister was often led in 
her opinion of others, by the irritable refinement 
of her own mind, and the too great importance 
placed by her on the delicacies of a strong sensi- 
bility, and the graces of a polished manner. 
Like half the rest of the world, if more than 
half there be that are clever and good, Marianne, 
with excellent abilities and an excellent disposi- 
tion, was neither reasonable nor candid. She 
expected from other people the same opinions 
and feelings as her own, and she judged of their 
motives by the immediate effect of their actions 
on herself. Thus a circumstance occurred, while 
the sisters were together in their own room after 
breakfast, which sunk the heart of Mrs. Jennings 
still lower in her estimation; because, through 
her own weakness, it chanced to prove a source 
of fresh pain to herself, though Mrs. Jennings 
was governed in it by an impulse of the utmost 
good-will. 
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With a letter in her outstretched hand, and 
countenance gaily smiling, from the persuasion 
of bringing comfort, she entered their room, 
saying — 

* Now, my dear, I bring you something that 
I am sure will do you good.* 

Marianne heard enough. In one moment 
her imagination placed before her a letter from 
WiUoughby, full of tenderness and contrition, 
explanatory of all that had passed, satisfactory, 
convincing; and instantly followed by WU- 
loughby himself, rushing eagerly into the room 
to enforce, at her feet, by the eloquence of his 
eyes, the assurances of his letter. The work of 
one moment was destroyed by the next. The 
handwriting of her mother, never till then un- 
welcome, was before her ; and, in the acuteness 
of the disappointment which followed such an 
ecstasy of more than hope, she felt as if, till 
that instant, she had never suffered. 

The cruelty of Mrs. Jennings no language, 
within her reach in her moments of happiest 
eloquence, could have expressed; and now she 
could reproach her only by the tears which 
streamed from her eyes with passionate violence 
— a reproach, however, so entirely lost on its 
object, that, after many expressions of pity, she 
withdrew, still referring her to the letter for 
comfort But the letter, when she was calm 
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enough to read it, brought little comfort 
WiUoughby filled every page. Her mother, 
still confident of her engagement, and relying 
as warmly as ever on his constancy, had only 
been roused by Elinor s application to entreat 
from Marianne greater openness towards them 
both, and this, with such tenderness towards 
her, such affection for Willoughby, and such 
a conviction of their future happiness in each 
other, that she wept with agony through the 
whole of it. 

All her impatience to be at home again now 
returned; her mother was dearer to her than 
ever — dearer through the very excess of her 
mistaken confidence in Willoughby, and she 
was wildly urgent to be gone. Elinor, unable 
herself to determine whether it were better for 
Marianne to be in London or at Barton, offered 
no counsel of her own except of patience tUl 
their mother s wishes could be known ; and at 
length she obtained her sister s consent to wait 
for that knowledge. 

Mrs. Jennings left them earlier than usual ; for 
she could not be easy till the Middletons and 
Palmers were able to grieve as much as herself; 
and positively refusing Elinor's offered attend- 
ance, went out alone for the rest of the morning. 
Elinor, with a very heavy heart, aware of the 
pain she was going to conununicate, and per- 
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ceiving by Marianne's letter how ill she had 
succeeded in laying any foundation for it, then 
sat down to write her mother an account of 
what had passed, and entreat her directions for 
the future ; while Marianne, who came into the 
drawing-room on Mrs. Jennings's going away, 
remained fixed at the table where Elinor wrote, 
watching the advancement of her pen, grieving 
over her for the hardship of such a task, and 
grieving still more fondly over its effect on her 
mother. 

In this manner they had continued about a 
quarter of an hour, when Marianne, whose nerves 
could not then bear any sudden noise, was startled 
by a rap at the door. 

* Who can this be ? ' cried Elinor. * So early 
too I I thought we had been safe.' 

Marianne moved to the window. 

*It is Colonel Brandon 1' said she, with 
vexation. * We are never safe from him.^ 

*He will not come in, as Mrs. Jennings is 
from home.' 

* I will not trust to thatf retreating to her own 
room. * A man who has nothing to do with his 
own time has no conscience in his intrusion on 
that of others.' 

The event proved her conjecture right, though 
it was founded on injustice and error, for Colonel 
Brandon did come in ; and Elinor, who was 

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convinced that solicitude for Marianne brought 
him thither, and who saw that solicitude in his 
disturbed and melancholy look, and in his anxious 
though brief inquiry after her, could not forgive 
her sister for esteeming him so lightly. 

* I met Mrs, Jennings in Bond Street,* said he, 
after the first salutation, *and she encouraged 
me to come on; and I was the more easily 
encouraged, because I thought it probable that 
I might find you alone, which I was very de- 
sirous of doing. My object — ^my wish — ^my sole 
wish in desiring it — ^I hope, I believe it is — ^is to 
be a means of giving comfort — no, I must not 
say comfort — ^not present comfort — ^but convic- 
tion, lasting conviction to your sister's mind. 
My regard for her, for yourself, for your mother 
— ^will you allow me to prove it by relating some 
circumstances, which nothing but a very sincere 
regard — ^nothing but an earnest desire of being 

useful I think I am justified — ^though where 

so many hours have been spent in convincing 
myself that I am right, is there not some reason 
to fear I may be wrong ? ' He stopped. 

* I understand you,* said Elinor. * You have 
something to tell me of Mr. Willoughby, that 
will open his character farther. Your telling it 
will be the greatest act of fiiendship that can 
be shewn to Marianne. My gratitude will be 
insured immediately by any information tending 

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to that end, and hers must be gained by it in 
time. Pray, pray, let me hear W 

' You shall ; and, to be brief, when I quitted 
Barton last October — ^but this will give you no 
idea. I must go farther back. You will find 
me a very awkward narrator. Miss Dash wood ; 
I hardly know where to begm. A short account 
of myself, I believe, will be necessary, and it 
shaU be a short one. On such a subject,' sighing 
heavily, ^I can have little temptation to be 
dilBuse.' 

He stopped a moment for recollection, and 
then, with another sigh, went on. 

* You have probably entirely forgotten a con- 
versation— (it is not to be supposed that it could 
make any impression on you) — ^a conversation 
between us one evening at Barton Park — it was 
the evening of a dance — ^in which I alluded to a 
lady I had once known, as resembling, in some 
measure, your sister Marianne/ 

'Indeed,' answered Elinor, *I have not for- 
gotten it' He looked pleased by this remem- 
brance, and added — 

* If I am not deceived by the uncertainty, the 
partiality of tender recollection, there is a very 
strong resemblance between them, as well in 
mind as person — ^the same warmth of heart, the 
same eagerness of fancy and spirits. This lady 
was one of my nearest relations, an orphan from 

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her infancy, and under the guardianship of my 
father. Our ages were nearly the same, and 
from our earliest years we were playfellows and 
friends. I cannot remember the time when I 
did not love Eliza ; and my affection for her, as 
we grew up, was such, as perhaps, judging from 
my present forlorn and cheerless gravity, you 
might think me incapable of having ever felt. 
Hers, for me, was, I believe, fervent as the 
attachment of your sister to Mr. Willoughby, 
and it was, though from a different cause, no 
less unfortunate. At seventeen she was lost to 
me for ever. She was married — ^married against 
her inclination to my brother. Her fortune was 
large, and our family estate much encumbered. 
And this, I fear, is all that can be said for the 
conduct of one who was at once her uncle and 
guardian. My brother did not deserve her ; he 
did not even love her. I had hoped that her 
regard for me would support her under any diffi- 
culty, and for some time it did ; — ^but at last the 
misery of her situation, for she experienced great 
unkindness, overcame all her resolution, and 
though she had promised me that nothing — but 
how blindly I relate! I have never told you 
how this was brought on. We were within a 
few hours of eloping together for Scotland. The 
treachery, or tiie folly, of my cousin s maid 
betrayed us. I was banished to tiie house of a 
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relation far distant, and she was allowed no 
liberty, no society, no amusement, till my 
fathers point was gained. I had depended 
on her fortitude too far, and the blow was a 
severe one — ^but had her marriage been happy, 
so young as I then was, a few months must 
have reconciled me to it, or at least I should 
not have now to lament it. This, however, was 
not the case. My brother had no regard for her ; 
his pleasures were not what they ought to have 
been, and from the first he treated her unkindly. 
The consequence of this, upon a mind so young, 
so lively, so inexperienced as Mrs. Brandon's, 
was but too natural. She resigned herself at 
first to all the misery of her situation ; and 
happy had it been if she had not lived to over- 
come those regrets which the remembrance of 
me occasioned. But can we wonder that with 
such an husband to provoke inconstancy, and 
without a friend to advise or restrain her (for 
my father lived only a few months after their 
marriage, and I was with my re^ment in the 
East Indies), she should fall ? Had I remained 
in England, perhaps — ^but I meant to promote 
the happiness of both by removing from her for 
years, and for that purpose had procured my 
exchange. The shock which her marriage had 
^ven me,' he continued in a voice of great 
agitation, * was of trifling weight — ^was nothing — 

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to what I felt when I heard, about two years 
afterwards, of her divorce. It was that which 
threw this gloom — even now the recollection 
of what I suffered * 

He could say no more, and, rising hastily, 
walked for a few minutes about the room. 
Elinor, affected by his relation, and still more 
by his distress, could not speak. He saw her 
concern, and coming to her, took her hand, 
pressed it, and kissed it with grateful respect. 
A few minutes more of silent exertion enabled 
him to proceed with composure. 

^ It was nearly three years after this unhappy 
period before I returned to England. My first 
care, when I did arrive, was of course to seek 
for her ; but the search was as fruitless as it was 
melancholy. I could not trace her beyond her 
first seducer, and there was every reason to fear 
that she had removed from him only to sink 
deeper in a life of sin. Her legal allowance was 
not adequate to her fortune, nor sufficient for 
her comfortable maintenance, and I learnt from 
my brother that the power of receiving it had 
been made over some months before to another 
person. He imagined, and calmly could he 
imagine it, that her extravagance and conse- 
quent distress had obliged her to dispose of it 
for some immediate relief. At last, however, 
and aft;er I had been six months in England, I 
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did find her. R^ard for a former servant of 
my own, who had since fallen into misfortune, 
carried me to visit him in a spunging-house, 
where he was confined for debt ; and there, in 
the same house, under a similar confinement, 
was my unfortunate sister. So altered — ^so faded 
— ^wom down by acute suffering of every kind 1 
hardly could I believe the melancholy and sickly 
figure before me to be the remains of the lovely, 
blooming, healthful girl, on whom I had once 
doated. What I endured in so beholding her — 
but I have no right to wound your feeUngs by 
attempting to describe it — I have pained you too 
much already. That she was, to all appearance, 
in the last stage of a consumption, was — ^yes, 
in such a situation it was my greatest comfort 
Life could do nothing for her, beyond giving 
time for a better preparation for death; and 
that was given. I saw her placed in comfortable 
lodgings, and under proper attendants ; I visited 
her every day during the rest of her short life : 
I was with her in her last moments.' 

Again he stopped to recover himself; and 
Elmor spoke her feelmgs in an exclamation of 
tender concern at the fate of his unfortunate 
friend. 

•Your sister, I hope, cannot be offended,' said 
he, * by the resemblance I have fancied between 
her and my poor disgraced relation. Their fates, 

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their fortunes cannot be the same ; and had the 
natural sweet disposition of the one been guarded 
by a firmer mind, or a happier marriage, she 
might have been all that you will live to see 
the other be. But to what does all this lead ? 
I seem to have been distressing you for nothing. 
Ah ! Miss Dashwood — ^a subject such as this — 
untouched for fourteen years — it is dangerous 
to handle it at all ! I xvill be more collected — 
more concise. She left to my care her only little 
child, a little girl, the offspring of her first guilty 
connexion, who was then about three years old. 
She loved the child, and had always kept it with 
her. It was a valued, a precious trust to me; 
and gladly would I have discharged it in the 
strictest sense, by watching over her education 
myself, had the nature of our situations allowed 
it ; but I had no family, no home ; and my little 
Eliza was therefore placed at school. I saw her 
there whenever I could, and after the death of 
my brother (which happened about five years 
ago, and which left me the possession of the 
family property) she frequently visited me at 
Delaford. I called her a distant relation ; but 
I am weU aware that I have in general been 
suspected of a much nearer connexion with her. 
It is now three years ago (she had just reached 
her fourteenth year), that I removed her from 
school, to place her under the care of a very 
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respectable woman, residing in Dorsetshire, who 
had the charge of four or five other girls of about 
the same time of life ; and for two years I had 
every reason to be pleased with her situation. 
But last February, almost a twelvemonth back, 
she suddenly disappeared. I had allowed her 
(imprudently, as it has since turned out), at her 
earnest desire, to go to Bath with one of her 
young friends, who was attending her father 
there for his health. I knew him to be a very 
good sort of man, and I thought well of his 
daughter — ^better than she deserved, for, with 
a most obstinate and ill-judged secrecy, she 
would tell nothing, would give no clue, though 
she certainly knew alL He, her father, a well- 
meaning, but not a quick-sighted man, could 
really, I believe, give no information; for he 
had been generally confined to the house, while 
the girls were ranging over the town and making 
what acquaintances they chose ; and he tried to 
convince me, as thoroughly as he was convinced 
himself, of his daughter's being entirely uncon- 
cerned in the business. In short, I could learn 
nothing but that she was gone ; all the rest, for 
eight long months, was left to conjecture. What 
I thought, what I feared^ may be imagined ; and 
what I sufiered too/ 

*Good heavens 1' cried Elinor, ^ could it bel 

could Willoughby ' 

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*The first news that reached me of her/ he 
eontmued, 'came in a letter from herself last 
October. It was forwarded to me firom Delaford, 
and I received it on the very morning of our 
intended party to WhitweU ; and this was the 
reason of my leaving Barton so suddenly, which 
I am sure must at the time have appeared strange 
to everybody, and which I believe gave offence 
to some. Little did Mr. Willoughby imagine, 
I suppose, when his looks censured me for 
incivility in breaking up the party, that I was 
called away to the relief of one whom he had 
made poor and miserable; but had he known 
it, what would it have availed ? Would he have 
been less gay or less happy in the smiles of your 
sister ? No, he has already done that which no 
man who can feel for another would do. He 
had left the girl, whose youth and innocence 
he had seduced, in a situation of the utmost 
distress, with no creditable home, no help, no 
friends, ignorant of his address I He had left 
her, promising to return; he neither returned, 
nor wrote, nor relieved her.* 

*This is beyond everything!' exclaimed 
Elinor. 

* His character is now before you — expensive, 

dissipated, and worse than both. Knowing all 

this, as I have now known it many weeks, guess 

what I must have felt on seeing your sister as 

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fond of him as ever, and on being assured that 
she was to marry him; guess what I must 
have felt for all your sakes. When I came to 
you last week and found you alone, I came 
determined to know the truth, though irresolute 
what to do when it was known. My behaviour 
must have seemed strange to you then; but 
now you will comprehend it. To suffer you 
all to be so deceived; to see yoiur sister — ^but 
what could I do ? I had no hope of interfering 
with success; and sometimes I thought your 
sisters influence might yet reclaim him. But 
now, after such dishonourable usage, who can 
tell what were his designs on her ? Whatever 
they may have been, however, she may now, 
and hereafter doubtless wiU^ turn with gratitude 
towards her own condition, when she compares 
it with that of my poor Eliza, when she con- 
siders the wretched and hopeless situation of 
this poor girl, and pictures her to herself, with 
an affection for him as strong, still as strong as 
her own, and with a mind tormented by self- 
reproach, which must attend her through life. 
Surely this comparison must have its use with 
her. She wiU feel her own sufferings to be no- 
thing. They proceed from no misconduct, and 
can bring no disgrace. On the contrary, every 
friend must be made still more her friend by 
them. Concern for her unhappiness, and respect 

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for her fortitude under it, must strengthen every 
attachment. Use your own discretion, however, 
in communicating to her what I have told you. 
You must know best what will be its effect; 
but had I not seriously and from my heart 
beUeved it might be of service, might lessen her 
regrets, I would not have suffered myself to 
trouble you with this account of my family 
afflictions, with a recital which may seem to 
have been intended to raise myself at the ex- 
pense of others.' 

Elinor's thanks followed this speech with 
grateful earnestness; attended, too, with the 
assurance of her expecting material advantage 
to Marianne from the communication of what 
had passed. 

* I have been more pained,' sfud she, * by her 
endeavours to acquit him than by all the rest ; 
for it irritates her mind more tiian the most 
perfect conviction of his unworthiness can do. 
Now, though at first she will suffer much, I am 
sure she will soon become easier. Have you,' 
she continued, after a short silence, * ever seen 
Mr. Willoughby since you left him at Barton ? ' 

* Yes,' he replied gravely, * once I have. One 
meeting was unavoidable.' 

Elinor, startled by his manner, looked at him 
anxiously, saying — 

* What ! have you met him to ' 

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*I could meet him in no other way, Eliza 
had confessed to me, though most reluctantly, 
the name of her lover ; and when he returned to 
town, which was within a fortnight after myself, 
we met by appointment, he to defend, I to 
punish his conduct. We returned unwounded, 
and the meeting, therefore, never got abroad.' 

EUnor sighed over the fancied necessity of 
this ; but to a man and a soldier she presumed 
not to censure it. 

^Such,' sfud Colonel Brandon, after a pause, 
* has been the unhappy resemblance between the 
fate of mother and diaughter 1 and so imperfectly 
have I discharged my trust 1 ' 

* Is she still in town ? ' 

* No ; as soon as she recovered from her lying- 
in, for I found her near her delivery, I removed 
her and her child into the country, and there she 
remains.' 

Recollecting, soon afterwards, that he was 
probably dividing Elinor from her sister, he put 
an end to his visit, receiving from her again 
the same grateful acknowledgments, and leaving 
her full of compassion and esteem for him. 



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CHAPTER XXXII 

When the particulars of this conversation were 
repeated by Miss Dashwood to her sister, as 
they very soon were, their effect on her was not 
entirely such as the former had hoped to see. 
Not that Marianne appeared to distrust the 
truth of any part of it, for she listened to it all 
with the most steady and submissive attention, 
made neither objection nor remark, attempted 
no vindication of Willoughby, and seemed to 
shew by her tears* that she felt it to be impos- 
sible. But though this behaviour assured Elinor 
that the conviction of his guilt was carried home 
to her mind; though she saw with satisfaction 
the effect of it, in her no longer avoiding Colonel 
Brandon when he called, in her speaking to him, 
even voluntarily speaking, with a kind of com- 
passionate respect, and though she saw her spirits 
less violently irritated than before ; she did not 
see her less wretched. Her mind did become 
settled, but it was settled in a gloomy dejection. 
She fdt the loss of Willoughby's character yet 
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more heavily than she had felt the loss of his 
heart ; his seduction and desertion of Miss 
Williams, the misery of that poor girl, and the 
doubt of what his designs might once have been 
on herself, preyed altogether so much on her 
spirits, that she could not bring herself to speak 
of what she felt even to Elinor ; and, brooding 
over her sorrows in silence, gave more pain to 
her sister than could have been communicated 
by the most open and most frequent confession 
of them. 

To give the feelings or the language of Mrs. 
Dashwood, on receiving and answering Elinor's 
letter, would be only to give a repetition of what 
her daughters had already felt and said; of a dis- 
appointment hardly less painful than Marianne's, 
and an indignation even greater than Elinor's. 
Long letters from her, quickly succeeding each 
other, arrived to tell all that she suffered and 
thought ; to express her anxious solicitude for 
Marianne, and entreat she would bear up with 
fortitude under this misfortune. Bad indeed 
must the nature of Marianne's affliction be, when 
her mother could talk of fortitude I mortifying 
and humiliating must be the origin of those 
r^rets which she could wish her not to in- 
dulge! 

Against the interest of her own individual 
comfort Mrs. Dashwood had determineid that 
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it would be better for Marianne to be anjrwhere, 
at that time, than at Barton, where everything 
within her view would be bringing back the past 
in the strongest and most afflicting manner, by 
constantly placing Willoughby before her, such 
as she had always seen him there. She recom- 
mended it to her daughters, therefore, by all 
means not to shorten their visit to Mrs. Jennings; 
the length of which, though never exactly fixed, 
had been expected by all to comprise at least 
five or six weeks. A variety of occupations, of 
objects, and of company, which could not be 
procured at Barton, would be inevitable there, 
and might yet, she hoped, cheat Marianne, at 
times, into some interest beyond herself, and 
even into some amusement, much as the idea of 
both might now be spumed by her. 

From all danger of seeing Willoughby agfun 
her mother considered her to be at least equally 
safe in town as in the country, since his acquaint- 
ance must now be dropped by all who call them- 
selves her fiiends. Design could never bring 
them in each other's way; negligence could 
never leave them exposed to a surprise; and 
chance had less in its favour in the crowd of 
London than even in the retirement of Barton, 
where it might force him before her while pay- 
ing that visit at Allenham on his marriage, 
which Mrs. Dashwood, from foreseeing at first 
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as a probable eyent, had brought horsdf to 
expect as a certam one. 

She had yet another reason for wishmg her 
chfldren to remain where thej were: a ktter 
fix>m her son-m-hiw had told her that he and 
his wife were to be in town before the middle 
of February, and she judged it right that they 
should sometimes see their brother. 

Marianne had promised to be guided by her 
mother's opinion, and she submitted to it, 
therefore, without opposition ; thou^ it pfoved 
perfectly different fiom what she wished and 
expected, though she felt it to be entirely wrong, 
formed on mistaken grounds, and that by re- 
quiring her longer continuance in London it 
deprived her of the only posable alleviation of 
her wretchedness, the personal sjrmpathy of her 
mother, and doomed her to such society and 
such scenes as must prevent her ever knowing 
a moment's rest. 

But it was a matter of great consolation to 
her, that what brought evil to hersdf would 
bring good to her sister; and Elinor, on the 
other hand, suspecting that it would not be in 
her power to avoid Edward entirely, comforted 
herself by thi n king that, though thdr longer 
stay would therefore militate against her own 
happiness, it would be better for Marianne than 
an immediate return into Devonshire. 

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Her carefulness in guarding her sister from 
ever hearing Willoughby's name mentioned 
was not thrown away. Marianne, though with- 
out knowing it herself, reaped all its advantage ; 
for neither Mrs. Jennings, nor Sir John, nor 
even Mrs. Palmer herself, ever spoke of him 
before her. Elinor wished that the same for- 
bearance could have extended towards herself, 
but that was impossible, and she was obliged 
to listen day after day to the indignation of 
them alL 

Sir John could not have thought it possible. 
* A man of whom he had always had such reason 
to think well! Such a good-natured fellow! 
He did not believe there was a bolder rider in 
England! It was an unaccountable business. 
He wished him at the devil with all his heart 
He would not speak another word to him, meet 
him where he might, for all the world! No, 
not if it were to be by the side of Barton covert, 
and they were kept waiting for two hours to- 
gether. Such a scoundrel of a fellow! such a 
deceitful dog 1 It was only the last time they 
met that he had offered him one of Folly's 
puppies ! and this was the end of it ! ' 

Mrs. Palmer, in her way, was equally angry. 

'She was determined to drop his acquaintance 

immediately, and she was very thankful that 

she had never been acquainted with him at alL 

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She wished with all her heart Combe Magna 
was not so near Cleveland ; but it did not 
signify, for it was a great deal too far off to 
visit; she hated him so much that she was 
resolved never to mention his name again, and 
she should tell everybody she saw how good- 
for-nothing he was/ 

The rest of Mrs. Palmers sympathy was shewn 
in procuring aU the particulars in her power of 
the approaching marriage, and conununicating 
them to Elinor. She could soon tell at what 
coachmaker's the new carriage was building, by 
what painter Mr. Willoughby's portrait was 
drawn, and at what warehouse Miss Grey's 
clothes might be seen. 

The calm and polite unconcern of Lady Mid- 
dleton on the occasion was a happy relief to 
Elinor s spirits, oppressed as they often were by 
the clamorous kindness of the others. It was a 
great comfort to her to be sure of exciting no 
interest in one person at least among their circle 
of friends ; a great comfort to know that there 
was one who would meet her without feeling 
any curiosity after particulars, or any anxiety 
for her sister's health. 

Every qualification is raised at times, by the 

circumstances of the moment, to more than its 

real value ; and she was sometimes worried down 

by officious condolence to rate good-breeding 

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as more indispensable to comfort than good- 
nature. 

Lady Middleton expressed her sense of the 
affair about once every day, or twice, if the 
subject occurred very often, by sajring, *It is 
very shocking indeed 1' and, by tiie means of this 
continual though gentle vent, was able not only 
to see the Miss Dashwoods from the first with- 
out the smallest emotion, but very soon to see 
them without recollecting a word of the matter ; 
and having thus supported the dignity of her 
own sex, and spoken her decided censure of what 
was wrong in the other, she thought herself at 
liberty to attend to the interest of her own 
assemblies, and therefore determined (though 
rather against the opinion of Sir John), as Mrs. 
Willoughby would at once be a woman of 
elegance and fortune, to leave her card with 
her as soon as she married. 

Colonel Brandon's delicate, unobtrusive in- 
quiries were never unwelcome to Miss Dash- 
wood. He had abundantly earned the privilege 
of intimate discussion of her sister's disappoint- 
ment by the friendly zeal with which he had 
endeavoured to soften it, and they always con- 
versed with confidence. His chief reward for 
the painful exertion of disclosing past sorrows 
and present humiliations was given in the 
pitying eye with which Marianne sometimes 
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observed him, and the gentleness of her voice 
whenever (though it did not often happen) she 
was obliged, or could oblige herself, to speak 
to him. These assured him that his exertion 
had produced an increase of goodwill towards 
himself, and these gave Elinor hopes of its being 
farther augmented hereafter ; but Mrs. Jennings, 
who knew nothing of all this — ^who knew only 
that the Colonel continued as grave as ever, and 
that she could never prevail on him to make the 
offer himself, nor commission her to make it for 
him — ^began at the end of two days to think 
that, instead of Midsummer, they would not 
be married till Michaelmas, and by the end of 
a week that it would not be a match at all. 
The good understanding between the Colonel 
and Miss Dashwood seemed rather to declare 
that the honours of the mulberry-tree, the canal, 
and the yew arbour, would all be made over 
to her ; and Mrs. Jennings had for some time 
ceased to think at all of Mr. Ferrars. 

Early in February, within a fortnight from 
the receipt of Willoughby's letter, Elinor had 
the painful office of informing her sister that he 
was married. She had taken care to have the 
intelligence conveyed to herself, as soon as it 
was known that tiie ceremony was over, as she 
was desirous that Marianne should not receive 
the first notice of it from the public papers, 

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which she saw her eagerly examming every 
morning. 

She received the news with resolute com- 
posure : made no observation on it, and at first 
shed no tears ; but after a short time they would 
burst out, and for the rest of the day she was in 
a state hardly less pitiable than when she first 
learnt to expect the event. 

The Willoughbys left town as soon as they 
were married ; and Elinor now hoped, as there 
could be no danger of her seeing either of them, 
to prevail on her sister, who had never yet left 
the house since the blow first fell, to go out 
again by degrees as she had done before. 

About this time the two Miss Steeles, lately 
arrived at their cousin's house in Bartlett's 
Buildings, Holbom, presented themselves again 
before their more grand relations in Conduit and 
Berkeley Street, and were welcomed by them all 
with great cordiality. 

Elinor only was sorry to see them. Their 
presence always gave her pain, and she hardly 
knew how to make a very gracious return to the 
overpowering delight of Lucy in finding her still 
in town. 

*I should have been quite disappointed if I 

had not found you here still,' said she repeatedly, 

with a strong emphasis on the word. *But I 

always thought I should. I was almost sure 

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you would not leave London yet awhile; 
though you told me, you know, at Barton, that 
you should not stay above a month. But I 
thought, at the tune, that you would most likely 
change your mind when it came to the point. 
It would have been such a great pity to have 
went away before your brother and sister came. 
And now, to be sure, you will be in no hurry 
to be gone. I am amazingly glad you did not 
keep to your word.' 

Elinor perfectly understood her, and was 
forced to use all her self-command to make it 
appear that she did not. 

*Well, my dear,' said Mrs. Jennings, *and 
how did you travel ? ' 

* Not in the stage, I assure you,* replied Miss 
Steele, with quick exultation ; ' we came post all 
the way, and had a very smart beau to attend 
us. Dr. Davies was coming to town, and so we 
thought we 'd join him in a postchaise ; and he 
behaved very genteelly, and paid ten or twelve 
shillings more than we did.' 

* Oh, oh 1 ' cried Mrs. Jennings, ' very pretty, 
indeed I and the doctor is a single man, I 
warrant you.' 

'There now,' said Miss Steele, affectedly 
simpering ; * everybody laughs at me so about 
the doctor, and I cannot think why. My 
cousins say they are sure I have made a con- 

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quest ; but for my part I declare I never think 
about him fix>m one hour's end to another. 
"Lordl here comes your beau, Nancy," my 
cousin said t'other day, when she saw him 
crossing the street to the house. "My beau, 
indeed I" said I, " I cannot think who you mean. 
The doctor is no beau of mine." ' 

*Ay, ay, that is very pretty talking — but it 
won't do — ^the doctor is the man, I see.' 

' No, indeed 1 ' replied her cousin, with affected 
earnestness, ' and I beg you will contradict it if 
you ever hear it talked of.' 

Mrs. Jennings directly gave her the gratifying 
assurance that she certainly would not, and Miss 
Steele was made completely happy. 

* I suppose you will go and stay with your 
brother and sister. Miss Dashwood, when they 
come to town,' sidd Lucy, returning, after a 
cessation of hostile hints, to the charge. 

* No, I do not think we shalL' 
' Oh yes, I dare say you wilL' 

Elinor would not humour her by farther 
opposition. 

* What a charming thing it is that Mrs. Dash- 
wood can spare you both for so long a time 
together I ' 

'Long a time, indeed!' interposed Mrs. 
Jennings. * Why, their visit is but just begun I ' 
Lucy was silenced. 
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* I am sorry we cannot see your sister, Miss 
Dashwood/ said Miss Steele. * I am sorry she 
is not well '; for Marianne had left the room on 
their arrivaL 

*You are very good. My sister will be 
equally sorry to miss the pleasure of seeing you ; 
but she has been very much plagued lately with 
nervous headaches, which make her und&t for 
company or conversation.' 

* Oh dear, that is a great pity I but such old 
friends as Lucy and me ! — I tiiink she might see 
us ; and I am sure we would not speak a word.' 

Elinor, with great civility, declined the pro- 
posal ^Her sister was perhaps laid down 
upon the bed, or in her dressing-gown, and 
therefore not able to come to them.' 

* Oh, if that 's all,' cried Miss Steele, * we can 
just as well go and see Aer.' 

Elinor began to find this impertinence too 
much for her temper; but she was saved the 
trouble of checking it by Lucy's sharp repri- 
mand, which now, as on many occasions, though 
it did not give much sweetness to the manners 
of one sister, was of advantage in governing 
those of the other. 



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CHAPTER XXXIII 

After some opposition Maxianne yielded to 
her sister's entreaties, and consented to go out 
with her and Mrs. Jennings, one morning, for 
half an hour. She expressly conditioned, how- 
ever, for paying no visits, and would do no more 
than accompany them to Gray*s, in Sackville 
Street, where Elinor was carrying on a negotia- 
tion for the exchange of a few old-fashioned 
jewels of her mother. 

When they stopped at the door Mrs. Jennings 
recollected that there was a lady at the other 
end of the street on whom she ought to call ; 
and as she had no business at Gray's it was 
resolved that, while her young friends transacted 
theirs, she should pay her visit, and return for 
them. 

On ascending the stairs the Miss Dashwoods 
found so many people before them in the room, 
that there was not a person at liberty to attend 
to their orders ; and they were obliged to wait. 
All that could be done was to sit down at that 
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end of the counter which seemed to promise the 
quickest succession; one gentleman only was 
standing there, and it is probable that Elinor 
was not without hope of exciting his politeness 
to a quicker despatch. But the correctness of 
his eye, and the delicacy of his taste, proved to 
be beyond his politeness. He was giving orders 
for a toothpick-case for himself, and till its size, 
shape, and ornaments were determined — all of 
which, after examining and debating for a quarter 
of an hour over every toothpick-case in the shop, 
were finally arranged by his own inventive fancy 
— ^he had no leisure to bestow any other attention 
on the two ladies than what was comprised in 
three or four very broad stares ; a kind of notice 
which served to imprint on Elinor the remem- 
brance of a person and face of strong, natural, 
sterling insignificance, though adorned in the 
first style of fashion. 

Marianne was spared from the troublesome 
feelings of contempt and resentment, on this 
impertinent examination of their features, and 
on the puppyism of his manner in deciding on 
all the different horrors of the different tooth- 
pick-cases presented to his inspection, by remain- 
ing unconscious of it all; for she was as well 
able to collect her thoughts within herself, and 
be as ignorant of what was passing around her, 
in Mr, Gray's shop, as in her own bedroom. 

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At last the affair was decided. The ivory, 
the gold, and the pearls, all received their ap- 
pointment, and the gentleman, having named the 
last day on which his existence could be con- 
tinued without the possession of the toothpick- 
case, drew on his gloves with leisurely care, and 
bestowing another glance on the Miss Dash- 
woods, but such a one as seemed rather to 
demand than express admiration, walked off with 
an happy air of real conceit and affected indif- 
ference. 

Elinor lost no time in brin^g her business 
forward, and was on the point of concluding it, 
when another gentleman presented himself at 
her side. She turned her eyes towards his face, 
and found him, with some surprise, to be her 
brother. 

Their affection and pleasure in meeting was 
just enough to make a very creditable appear- 
ance in Mr. Gray's shop. John Dashwood was 
really far from being sorry to see his sisters 
again ; it rather gave them satisfaction ; and his 
inquiries after their mother were respectful and 
attentive. 

Elinor found that he and Fanny had been in 
town two days. 

' I wished very much to call upon you yester- 
day,' said he, * but it was impossible, for we were 
obliged to take Harry to see the wild beasts 
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at Exeter Exchange : and we spent the rest of 
the day with Mrs, Ferrars. Harry was vastly 
pleased. This morning I had fully intended to 
call on you, if I could possibly find a spare half- 
hour, but one has always so much to do on first 
coming to town ! I am come here to bespeak 
Fanny a seal But to-morrow I think I shall 
certainly be able to call in Berkeley Street, and 
be introduced to your friend Mrs. Jennings. I 
understand she is a woman of very good fortune. 
And the Middletons too, you must introduce 
me to them. As my mother-in-law's relations, 
I shall be happy to shew them every respect. 
They are excellent neighbours to you in the 
country, I understand.' 

'Excellent indeed* Their attention to our 
comfort, their fiiendliness in every particular, is 
more than I can express.' 

*I am extremely glad to hear it, upon my 
word ; extremely glad indeed. But so it ought 
to be ; they are people of large fortune, they are 
related to you, and every civility and accommo- 
dation that can serve to make your situation 
pleasant might be reasonably expected. And 
so you are most comfortably settled in your 
little cottage, and want for nothing. Edward 
brought us a most charming account of the 
place ; the most complete thing of its kind, he 
said, that ever was, and you all seemed to enjoy 

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it beyond anything. It was a great satisfaction 
to us to hear it, I assure you/ 

Elinor did feel a little ashamed of her brother ; 
and was not sorry to be spared the necessity of 
answering him by the arrival of Mrs. Jennings's 
servant, who came to tell her that his mistress 
waited for them at the door. 

Mr. Dashwood attended them downstairs, was 
introduced to Mrs. Jennings at the door of her 
carriage, and repeating his hope of being able to 
call on them the next day, took leave. 

His visit was duly paid. He came with a 
pretence at an apology from their sister-in-law 
for not coming too; *but she was so much 
engaged with her mother that, really, she had no 
leisure for going anywhere.' Mrs. Jennings, 
however, assured him directly that she should 
not stand upon ceremony, for they were all 
cousins, or something like it, and she should 
certainly wait on Mrs. John Dashwood very 
soon, and bring her sisters to see her. His 
manners to them^ though calm, were perfectly 
kind ; to Mrs. Jennings, most attentively civil ; 
and on Colonel Brandon's coming in soon after 
himself, he eyed him with a curiosity which 
seemed to say that he only wanted to know him 
to be rich to be equally civil to hivi. 

After staying with them half an hour he 
asked Elinor to walk with him to Conduit 
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Street, and introduce him to Sir John and Lady 
Middleton. The weather was remarkably fine, 
and she readily consented. As soon as they 
were out of the house his inquiries began. 

' Who is Colonel Brandon ? Is he a man of 
fortune?' 

•Yes; he hasaverygood property in Dorsetshire/ 
' I am glad of it. He seems a most gentle- 
manlike man, and I think, Elinor, I may 
congratulate you on the prospect of a very 
respectable establishment in life.' 

• Me, brother I — ^what do you mean ? * 

• He likes you. I observed him narrowly, and 
am convinced of it. What is the amount of his 
fortune ? ' 

' I believe about two thousand a year.' 

' Two thousand a year ' ; and tiben working 

himself up to a pitch of enthusiastic generosity, 

he added — 

• Elinor, I wish with all my heart it were twice 
as much, for your sake.' 

• Indeed I believe you,' replied Elinor, ' but I 
am very sure that Colonel Brandon has not the 
smallest wish of marrying me.* 

•You are mistaken, Elinor; you are very 
much mistaken. A very little trouble on your 
side secures him. Perhaps just at present he 
may be undecided; the smallness of your 
fortune may make him hang back; his friends 
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may all advise him against it But some of 
those little attentions and encom'agements which 
ladies can so easUy give will fix him, in spite of 
himself. And there can be no reason why you 
should not try for him. It is not to be supposed 
that any prior attachment on your side — ^in 
short you know, as to an attachment of that 
kind, it is quite out of the question, the 
objections are insurmountable — ^you have too 
much sense not to see all that. Colonel 
Brandon must be the man ; and no civility shall 
be wanting on my part to make him pleased 
with you and your family., It is a match that 
must give universal satisfaction. In short, it is a 
kind of thing that' — flowering his voice to an im- 
portant whisper — ' will be exceedingly welcome 
to all parties.' Recollecting himself, however, he 
added, * That is, I mean to say — ^your friends are 
all truly anxious to see you well settled, Fanny 
particularly, for she has your interest very much 
at heart, I assure you. And her mother too, 
Mrs. Ferrars, a very good-natured woman, I am 
sure it would give her great pleasure ; she said 
as much the other day.' 

Elinor would not vouchsafe any answer. 

* It would be something remarkable, now,' he 
continued, 'something droll, if Fanny should 
have a brother and I a sister settling at the 
same time. And yet it is not very unlikely.' 
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'Is Mr. Edward Ferrars/ said fHinor with 
resolution, * going to be married ? ' 

* It is not actually settled, but there is such a 
thing in agitation. He has a most excellent 
mother. Mrs. Ferrars, with the utmost liberality, 
will come forward, and settle on him a thousand 
a year, if the match takes place. The lady is 
the Honourable Miss Morton, only daughter of 
the late Lord Morton, with thirty thousand 
pounds — ^a very desirable connexion on both 
sides, and I have not a doubt of its taking place 
in time. A thousand a year is a great deal for 
a mother to give away, to make over for ever ; 
but Mrs. Ferrars has a noble spirit. To give 
you another instance of her liberality : — ^The 
other day, as soon as we came to town, aware 
that money could not be very plenty with us 
just now, she put banknotes into Fanny's hands 
to the amount of two hundred pounds. And 
extremely acceptable it is, for we must live at a 
great expense while we are here.* 

He paused for her assent and compassion; 
and she forced herself to say — 

'Your expenses both in town and country 
must certainly be considerable, but your income 
is a large one.' 

'Not so large, I dare say, as many people 
suppose. I do not mean to complain, however; it 
is undoubtedly a comfortable one, and, I hope, 

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will in time be better. The enclosure of Nor- 
land Common, now carrying on, is a most serious 
drain. And then I have made a little purchase 
within this half-year — East Kingham Farm, you 
must remember the place, where old Gibson 
used to live. The land was so very desirable 
for me in every respect, so immediately adjoin- 
ing my own property, that I felt it my duty to 
buy it I could not have answered it to my 
conscience to let it fall into any other hands. 
A man must pay for his convenience, and it has 
cost me a vast deal of money.' 

* More than you think it really and intrinsically 
worth?' 

* Why, I hope not that. I might have sold it 
again, the next day, for more than I gave : but, 
with regard to the purchase-money, I might 
have been very unfortunate indeed; for the 
stocks were at that time so low, that if I had 
not happened to have the necessary sum in my 
banker's hands, I must have sold out to very 
great loss/ 

Elinor could only smile. 

* Other great and inevitable expenses, too, 
we have had on first coming to Norland. Our 
respected father, as you well know, bequeathed 
all the Stanhill effects that remained at Norland 
(and very valuable they were) to your mother. 
Far be it for me to repine at his doing so ; he 

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had an undoubted right to dispose of his own 
property as he chose. But in consequence of it 
we have been obliged to make large purchases 
of linen, china, etc., to supply the place of what 
was taken away. You may guess, after all these 
expenses, how very far we must be from being 
rich, and how acceptable Mrs. Ferrars's kind- 
ness is.' 

* Certainly,' said Elinor ; * and assisted by her 
liberality I hope you may yet live to be in easy 
circumstances.' 

* Another year or two may do much towards 
it,' he gravely replied ; * but^ however, there is 
still a great deal to be done. There is not a 
stone laid of Fanny's greenhouse, and nothing 
but the plan of the flower-garden marked out' 

* Where is the greenhouse to be ? ' 

' Upon the knoU behind the house. The old 
walnut-trees are all come down to make room 
for it. It will be a very fine object fix)m many 
parts of the park, and the flower-garden will 
slope down just before it, and be exceedingly 
pretty. We have cleared away all the old thorns 
that grew in patches over the brow.' 

Elinor kept her concern and her censure to 
herself, and was very thankful that Marianne 
was not present to share the provocation. 

Having now said enough to make his poverty 
clear, and to do away the necessity of buying 
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a pair of ear-rings for each of his sisters, in his 
next visit at Gray's, his thoughts took a cheer- 
fuller turn, and he began to congratulate Elinor 
on having such a friend as Mrs. Jennings. 

*She seems a most valuable woman indeed. 
Her house, her style of living, all bespeak an 
exceeding good income, and it is an acquaint- 
ance that has not only been of great use to you 
hitherto, but in the end may prove materially 
advantageous. Her inviting you to town is 
certainly a vast thing in your favour ; and, in- 
deed, it speaks altogether so great a regard for 
you, that in all probability when she dies you 
will not be forgotten. She must have a great 
deal to leave.' 

* Nothing at all, I should rather suppose ; for 
she has only her jointure, which wiU descend 
to her children.' 

^ But it is not to be imagined that she lives up 
to her income. Few people of common prudence 
will do that ; and whatever she saves she will be 
able to dispose of.' 

*And do you not think it more likely that 
she should leave it to her daughters than to us ? ' 

^Her daughters are both exceedingly well 
married, and therefore I cannot perceive the 
necessity of her remembering them farther. 
Whereas, in my opinion, by her taking so much 
notice of you, and treating you in this kind 
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of way, she has given you a sort of claim on 
her future consideration, which a conscientious 
woman would not disregard. Nothing can be 
kinder than her behaviour ; and she can hardly 
do all this without being aware of the expecta- 
tions she raises.' 

' But she raises none in those most concerned. 
Indeed, brother, your anxiety for our welfare 
and prosperity carries you too far.' 

* Why, to be sure,' said he, seeming to recollect 
himself, * people have little, have very little, in 
their power. But, my dear Elinor, what is the 
matter with Marianne ? — she looks very unwell, 
has lost her colour, and is grown quite thin. 
Is she ill?' 

* She is not well ; she has had a nervous com- 
plaint on her for several weeks.' 

' I am sorry for that At her time of life 
anything of an illness destroys the bloom for 
ever! Hers has been a very short one! She 
was as handsome a girl last September as any 
I ever saw, and as likely to attract the men. 
There was something in her style of beauty to 
please them particularly. I remember Fanny 
used to say that she would marry sooner and 
better than you did; not but what she is ex- 
ceedingly fond of you — ^but so it happened to 
strike her. She will be mistaken, however. 
I question whether Marianne, /lotc, will marry 

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a man worth more than five or six hundred 
a year at the utmost, and I am very much 
deceived if you do not do better. Dorsetshire I 
I know very little of Dorsetshire, but, my dear 
Elinor, I shall be exceedingly glad to know 
more of it ; and I think I can answer for your 
having Fanny and myself among the earliest 
and best pleased of your visitors.' 

Elinor tried very seriously to convince him 
that there was no likelihood of her marrying 
Colonel Brandon ; but it was an expectation of 
too much pleasure to himself to be relinquished, 
and he was really resolved on seeking an inti- 
macy with that gentleman, and promoting the 
marriage by every possible attention. He had 
just compunction enough for having done no- 
thing for his sisters himself, to be exceedingly 
anxious that everybody else should do a great 
deal; and an offer from Colonel Brandon, or 
a legacy from Mrs. Jennings, was the easiest 
means of atoning for his own neglect. 

They were lucky enough to find Lady Mid- 
dleton at home, and Sir John came in before 
their visit ended. Abundance of civilities passed 
on all sides. Sir John was ready to like any- 
body, and though Mr. Dashwood did nox seem 
to know much about horses, he soon set him 
down as a very good-natured fellow ; while 
Lady Middleton saw enough of fashion in his 
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appearance to think his acquaintance worth 
having; and Mr, Dashwood went away de- 
lighted with both. 

a shaU have a channmg account to carry to 
Fanny/ said he, as he walked back with his 
sister. ^ Lady Middleton is really a most elegant 
woman! such a woman as, I am sure, Fanny 
will be glad to know. And Mrs. Jennings 
too, an exceeding well-behaved woman, though 
not so elegant as her daughter. Your sister 
need not have any scruple even of visiting her^ 
which, to say the truth, has been a little the 
case, and very naturally; for we only knew 
that Mrs. Jennings was the widow of a man 
who had got all his money in a low way ; and 
Fanny and Mrs. Ferrars were both strongly 
prepossessed that she nor her daughters were 
such kind of women as Fanny would like to 
associate with. But now I can carry her a most 
satisfactory account of both/ 



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CHAPTER XXXIV 

Mrs. John Dashwood had so much confidence 
in her husband's judgment that she waited the 
very next day both on Mrs. Jennings and her 
daughter ; and her confidence was rewarded by 
finding even the former, even the woman with 
whom her sisters were staying, by no means 
unworthy her notice; and as for Lady Middleton, 
she found her one of the most charming women 
in the world ! 

Lady Middleton was equally pleased with 
Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of cold- 
hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually 
attracted them ; and they sympathised with each 
other in an insipid propriety of demeanour and 
a general want of understanding. 

The same manners, however, which recom- 
mended Mrs. John Dashwood to the good 
opinion of Lady Middleton, did not suit the 
fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to her she appeared 
nothmg more than a little proud-looking woman 
of uncordial address, who met her husband s 
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sisters without any affection, and almost with- 
out having anything to say to them; for of 
the quarter of an hour bestowed on Berkeley 
Street she sat at least seven minutes and a half 
in silence. 

Elinor wanted very much to know, though 
she did not chuse to ask, whether Edward was 
then in town ; but nothing would have induced 
Fanny voluntarily to mention his name before 
her, till able to teU her that his marriage 
with Miss Morton was resolved on, or till her 
husband's expectations on Colonel Brandon 
were answered ; because she believed them still 
so very much attached to each other that they 
could not be too sedulously divided in word and 
deed on every occasion. The intelligence, how- 
ever, which she would not give, soon flowed from 
another quarter. Lucy came very shortly to 
claim Elinor's compassion on being unable to 
see Edward, though he had arrived in town with 
Mr. and Mrs. Dashwood. He dared not come 
to Bartlett's Buildings for fear of detection, and 
though their mutual impatience to meet was not 
to be told, they could do nothing at present but 
write. 

Edward assured them himself of his being in 
town, within a very short time, by twice calling 
in Berkeley Street. Twice was his card found 
on the table, when they returned from their 

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morning's engagements. Elinor was pleased 
that he had called, and still more pleased that 
she had missed him. 

The Dashwoods were so prodigiously de- 
lighted with the Middletons that, though not 
much in the habit of giving anything, they 
determined to give them a dinner; and soon 
after their acquaintance b^an^ mvited them to 
dine in Harley Street, where they had taken 
a very good house for three months. Their 
sisters and Mrs. Jennings were invited likewise, 
and John Dashwood was careful to secure 
Colonel Brandon, who, always glad to be where 
the Miss Dashwoods were, received his eager 
civilities with some surprise, but much more 
pleasure. They were to meet Mrs. Ferrars; 
but Elinor could not learn whether her sons 
were to be of the party. The expectation of 
seeing Aer, however, was enough to make her 
interested in the engagement; for though she 
could now meet Edward's mother without that 
strong anxiety which had once promised to 
attend such an introduction, though she could 
now see her with perfect indifference as to her 
opinion of herself, her desire of being in company 
with Mrs. Ferrars, her curiosity to know what 
she was like, was as lively as ever. 

The interest with which she thus anticipated 
the party was soon afterwards increased, more 
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powerfully than pleasantly, by her hearing that 
the Miss Steeles were also to be at it. 

So well had they recommended themselves 
to Lady Middleton, so agreeable had their 
assiduities made them to her, that though Lucy 
was certainly not elegant, and her sister not even 
genteel, she was as ready as Sir John to ask 
them to spend a week or two in Conduit Street ; 
and it happened to be particularly convenient 
to the Miss Steeles, as soon as the Dashwoods' 
invitation was known, that their visit should 
begin a few days before the party took place. 

Their claims to the notice of Mrs. John Dash- 
wood, as the nieces of the gentleman who for 
many years had had the care of her brother, 
might not have done much, however, towards 
procuring them seats at her table ; but as Lady 
Middleton's guests they must be welcome ; and 
Lucy, who had long wanted to be personally 
known to the family, to have a nearer view of 
their characters and her own difficulties, and to 
have an opportunity of endeavouring to please 
them, had seldom been happier in her life than 
she was on receiving Mrs. John Dashwood's 
card. 

On Elinor its effect was very different. She 
began immediately to determine that Edward, 
who lived with his mother, must be asked, as 
his mother was, to a party given by his sister ; 

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and to see him for the first tune, after all that 
passed, in the company of Lucy I — she hardly 
knew how she could bear it 1 

These apprehensions, perhaps, were not founded 
entirely on reason, and certainly not at all on 
truth. They were relieved, however, not by 
her own recollection, but by the goodwill of 
Lucy, who believed herself to be inflicting a 
severe disappointment when she told her that 
Edward certainly would not be in Harley Street 
on Tuesday, and even hoped to be carrying the 
pain still farther by persuading her, that he was 
kept away by that extreme affection for herself, 
which he could not conceal when they were 
together. 

The important Tuesday came that was to 
introduce the two young ladies to this formidable 
mother-in-law. 

* Pity me, dear Miss Dashwood ! ' said Lucy, 
as they walked up the stairs together — ^for the 
Middletons arrived so directly after Mrs. 
Jennings that they all followed the servant 
at the same time — * There is nobody here but 
you that can feel for me. I declare I can 
hardly stand. Good gracious! — in a moment 
I shall see the person that all my happiness 
depends on — ^that is to be my mother I ' 

Elinor could have given her inunediate relief 
by suggesting the possibility of its being Miss 
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Morton's mother, rather than her own, whom 
they were about to behold ; but instead of domg 
that, she assured her, and with great sincerity, 
that she did pity her — ^to the utter amazement 
of Lucy, who, though really uncomfortable her- 
self, hoped at least to be an object of irrepres- 
sible envy to Elinor. 

Mrs. Ferrars was a little, thin woman, up- 
right, even to formality, in her figure, and 
serious, even to sourness, in her aspect. Her 
complexion was sallow, and her features small, 
without beauty, and naturally without expres- 
sion ; but a lucky contraction of the brow had 
rescued her countenance from the disgrace of 
insipidity by giving it the strong characters of 
pride and ill-nature. She was not a woman 
of many words ; for, unlike people in general, she 
proportioned them to the number of her ideas : 
and of the few syllables that did escape her, not 
one feU to the share of Miss Dashwood, whom 
she eyed with the spirited determination of dis- 
liking her at aU events. 

Elinor could not now be made unhappy by 
this behaviour. A few months ago it would 
have hurt her exceedingly ; but it was not in 
Mrs. Ferrars's power to distress her by it now ; 
and the difference of her manners to the Miss 
Steeles — ^a difference which seemed purposely 
made to humbly her more — only amused her. 

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She could not but smile to see the graciousness 
of both mother and daughter towards the very 
person — for Lucy was particularly distinguished 
— ^whom of all others, had they known as much 
as she did, they would have been most anxious 
to mortify ; while she herself, who had compara- 
tively no power to wound them, sat pointedly 
slighted by both. But while she smiled at a 
graciousness so misapplied, she could not reflect 
on the mean-spirited folly from which it sprung, 
nor observe the studied attentions with which 
the Miss Stedes courted its continuance, with- 
out thoroughly despising them all four. 

Lucy was all exultation on being so honour- 
ably distinguished ; and Miss Steele wanted only 
to be teased about Dr. Davies to be perfectly 
happy. 

The dinner was a grand one, the servants 
were numerous, and everything bespoke the 
mistress's inclination for show, and the master's 
ability to support it. In spite of the improve- 
ments and additions which were making to the 
Norland estate, and in spite of its owner having 
once been within some thousand pounds of 
being obliged to sell out at a loss, nothing gave 
any symptom of that indigence which he had 
tried to infer from it ; no poverty of any kind, 
except of conversation, appeared — ^but there the 
deficiency was considerable. John Dashwood 
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had not much to say for hunself that was worth 
hearing, and his wife had still less. But there 
was no peculiar disgrace in this, for it was very 
much the case with the chief of their visitors, 
who almost all laboured under one or other of 
these disqualifications for being agreeable — ^want 
of sense, either natural or improved, want of 
el^ance, want of spirits, or want of temper. 

When the ladies withdrew to the drawing- 
room after dinner, this poverty was particularly 
evident, for the gentlemen had supplied the 
discourse with some variety — the variety of 
politics, enclosing land, and breaking horses — 
but then it was all over, and one subject only 
engaged the ladies till coffee came in, which was 
the comparative heights of Harry Dashwood 
and Lady Middleton's second son, William, 
who were nearly of the same age. 

Had both the children been there, the affair 
might have been determined too easily by 
measuring them at once; but as Harry only 
was present, it was all conjectural assertion on 
both sides, and everybody had a right to be 
equally positive in their opinion, and to repeat 
it over and over again as often as they liked. 

The parties stood thus — 

The two mothers, though each really con- 
vinced that her own son was the tallest, politely 
decided in favour of the other. 

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The two grandmothers, with not less parti- 
ality, but more sincerity, were equally earnest 
in support of their own descendant. 

Lucy, who was hardly less anxious to please 
one parent than the other, thought the boys 
were both remarkably tall for their age, and 
could not conceive that there could be the 
smallest difference in the world between them ; 
and Miss Steele, with yet greater address, gave 
it, as fast as she could, in favour of each. 

Elinor, having once delivered her opinion on 
Wilham's side, by which she offended Mrs. 
Ferrars, and Fanny still more, did not see the 
necessity of enforcing it by any farther asser- 
tion; and Marianne, when called on for hers, 
offended them all by declaring that she had no 
opinion to give, as she had never thought about it. 

Before her removing from Norland Elinor 
had painted a very pretty pair of screens for her 
sister-in-law, which being now just mounted and 
brought home, ornamented her present drawing- 
room; and these screens, catching the eye of 
John Dashwood on his following the other 
gentlemen into the room, were officiously handed 
by him to Colonel Brandon for his admiration. 

* These are done by my eldest sister,' said he ; 

* and you, as a man of taste, will, I dare say, be 

pleased with them. I do not know whether 

you ever happened to see any of her perform- 

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ances before, but she is in general reckoned to 
draw extremely welL' 

The Colonel, though disdaimmg all preten- 
sions to connoisseurship, warmly admired the 
screens, as he would have done anything painted 
by Miss Dashwood ; and the curiosity of the 
others being of course excited, they were handed 
round for general inspection. Mrs. Ferrars, not 
aware of their being Elinor's work, particularly 
requested to look at them; and after they 
had received the gratifying testimony of Lady 
Middleton's approbation, Fanny presented them 
to her moUier, considerately informing her at 
the same time that they were done by Miss 
Dashwood. 

•Hum' — ^said Mrs. Ferrars — *very pretty' — 
and, without regarding them at all, returned 
them to her daughter. 

Perhaps Fanny thought for a moment that 
her motlier had been quite rude enough ; for, 
colouring a little, she immediately siud — 

•They are very pretty, ma'am — ^an't they?' 
But then again, the dread of having been too 
civil, too encouraging herself, probably came 
over her, for she presently added — 

*Do you not think they are something in Miss 
Morton's style of painting, ma'am? She does 
paint most delightfully. How beautifully her 
last landscape is done 1 ' 

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* Beautifully indeed. But she does everything 
weU; 

Marianne could not bear this. She was already 
greatly displeased with Mrs. Ferrars ; and such 
ill-timed praise of another, at Elinor's expense, 
though she had not any notion of what was 
principally meant by it, provoked her imme- 
diately to say with warmth — 

* This is admiration of a very particular kind I 
What is Miss Morton to us ? Who knows or 
who cares for her ? It is Elinor of whom we 
think and speak.' 

And so saying, she took the screens out of her 
sister-in-law's hands to admire them herself as 
they ought to be admired. 

Mrs. Ferrars looked exceedingly angry, and 
drawing herself up more stiffly than ever, pro- 
nounced, in retort, this bitter philippic: *Miss 
Morton is Lord Morton's daughter.' 

Fanny looked very angry too, and her husband 
was all in a fright at his sister's audacity. Elinor 
was much more hurt by Marianne's warmth 
than she had been by what produced it; but 
Colonel Brandon's eyes, as they were fixed on 
Marianne, declared that he noticed only what 
was amiable in it : the affectionate heart which 
could not bear to see a sister slighted on the 
smallest point. 

Marianne's feelings did not stop here. The 
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cold insolence of Mrs. Ferrars*s general behaviour 
to her sister seemed, to her, to foretell such 
difficulties and distresses to Elinor as her own 
wounded heart taught her to think of with 
horror ; and, urged by a strong impulse of affec- 
tionate sensibility, she moved, after a moment, 
to her sister's chair, and putting one arm round 
her neck, and one cheek close to hers, said in a 
low, but eager voice — 

* Dear, dear Elinor, don't mind them. Don't 
let them make you unhappy.' 

She could say no more: her spirits were 
quite overcome ; and hiding her face on Elinor's 
shoulder, she burst into tears. Everybody's 
attention was called, and almost everybody was 
concerned. Colonel Brandon rose up and went 
to them without knowing what he did. Mrs. 
Jennings, with a very intelligent * Ah 1 poor 
dear,' immediately gave her her salts; and Sir 
John felt so desperately enraged against the 
author of this nervous distress, that he instantly 
changed his seat to one close by Lucy Steele, 
and gave her, in a whisper, a brief account of the 
whole shocking affdir. 

In a few minutes, however, Marianne was 
recovered enough to put an end to the bustle, 
and sit down among the rest ; though her spirits 
retained the impression of what had passed the 
whole evening. 

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* Poor Marianne 1 ' said her brother to Colonel 
Brandon in a low voice, as soon as he could secure 
his attention; 'she has not such good health 
as her sister — she is very nervous — ^she has not 
Elinor's constitution ; and one must allow that 
there is something very trying to a young woman 
who has been a beauty, in the loss of her personal 
attractions. You would not think it, perhaps, 
but Marianne wcls remarkably handsome a few 
months ago — quite as handsome as Elinor. Now 
you see it is all gone.' 



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CHAPTER XXXV 

Elinor's curiosity to see Mrs. Ferrars was satis- 
fied. She had found in her everything that 
could tend to make a farther connexion be- 
tween the families undesirable. She had seen 
enough of her pride, her meanness, and her deter- 
mined prejudice against herself, to comprehend 
all the difficulties that must have perplexed 
the engagement, and retarded the marriage of 
Edward and herself, had he been otherwise 
free; and she had seen almost enough to be 
thankful, for her own sake, that one greater 
obstacle preserved her from suffering under any 
other of Mrs. Ferrars s creation, preserved her 
from all dependence upon her caprice, or any 
solicitude for her good opinion. Or at least, if 
she did not bring herself quite to rejoice in 
Edward's being fettered to Lucy, she deter- 
mined that, had Lucy been more amiable, she 
ought to have rejoiced. 

She wondered that Lucy's spirits could be 
so very much elevated by the civility of Mrs. 
Ferrars ; that her interest and her vanity should 

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so very much blind her as to make the attention, 
which seemed only paid her because she was 
not Elinor f appear a compliment to herself — or 
to allow her to derive encouragement from a 
preference only given her because her real situa- 
tion was unknown. But that it was so, had not 
only been declared by Lucy's eyes at the time, 
but was declared over again the next morning 
more openly ; for, at her particular desire. Lady 
Middleton set her down in Berkeley Street on 
the chance of seeing Elinor alone, to tell her 
how happy she was. 

The chance proved a lucky one, for a message 
from Mrs. Palmer, soon after she arrived, carried 
Mrs. Jennings away. 

* My dear friend,' cried Lucy, as soon as they 
were by themselves, * I come to talk to you of 
my happiness. Could anything be so flattering 
as Mrs. Ferrars's way of treating me yesterday ? 
So exceedingly affable as she was 1 You know 
how I dreaded the thoughts of seeing her ; but 
the very moment I was introduced, there was 
such an affability m her behaviour as really 
should seem to say, she had quite took a fancy 
to me. Now was not it so ? You saw it all ; 
and was not you quite struck with it ? ' 

* She was certainly very civil to you.' 

* Civil 1 — ^Did you see nothing but only civility? 
I saw a vast deal more — ^such kindness as feU 

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to the share of nobody but me 1 No pride, no 
hauteur, and your sister just the same — aU 
sweetness and inability ! ' 

Elinor wished to talk of something else, but 
Lucy still pressed her to own that she had 
reason for her happiness, and Elinor was obliged 
to go on. 

* Undoubtedly, if they had known your en- 
gagement,' said she, * nothing could be more 
flattering than their treatment of you ; but as 
that was not the case * 

*I guessed you would say so,* replied Lucy 
quickly ; * but there was no reason in' the world 
why Mrs. Ferrars should seem to like me if she 
did not — and her liking me is everjrthing. You 
shan't talk me out of my satisfaction. I am 
sure it will all end well, and there will be no 
difficulties at all, to what I used to think. Mrs. 
Ferrars is a charming woman, and so is your 
sister. They are both delightful women indeed! 
— I wonder I should never hear you say how 
agreeable Mrs. Dash wood was ? * 

To this Elinor had no answer to make, and 
did not attempt any. 

* Are you ill. Miss Dashwood ? — ^you seem low 
— you don't speak ; — sure, you an't well.' 

* I never was in better health.' 

* I am glad of it with all my heart, but really 
you did not look it I should be so sorry to have 

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you ill, — you, that have been the greatest com- 
fort to me in the world I — Heaven knows what 
I should have done without your friendship/ 

Elinor tried to make a civil answer, though 
doubting her own success. But it seemed to 
satisfy Lucy, for she directly replied — 

* Indeed I am perfectly convinced of your 
regard for me, and next to Edward's love it is 
the greatest comfort I have. Poor Edward 1 
But now, there is one good thing — we shall be 
able to meet, and meet pretty often, for Lady 
Middleton 's delighted with Mrs. Dashwood, so 
we shall be a good deal in Harley Street, I 
dare say, and Edward spends half his time with 
his sister — ^besides. Lady Middleton and Mrs. 
Ferrars will visit now; and Mrs. Ferrars and 
your sister were both so good to say more than 
once, they should always be glad to see me. — 
They are such charming women 1 — I am sure, if 
ever you tell your sister what I think of her, 
you cannot speak too high.* 

But Elinor would not give her any encour- 
agement to hope that she should tell her sister. 
Lucy continued — 

* I am sure I should have seen it in a moment 
if Mrs. Ferrars had took a dislike to me. If she 
had only made me a formal curtsey, for instance, 
without saying a word, and never after had took 
any notice of me, and never looked at me in a 

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pleasant way — ^you know what I mean — ^if I 
had been treated in that forbidding sort of way, 
I should have gave it all up in despair. I could 
not have stood it. For where she does dislike, 
I know it is most violent.* 

Elinor was prevented from making any reply 
to this civil triumph by the door's being thrown 
open, the servant's announcing Mr. Ferrars, and 
Edward's immediately walking in. 

It was a very awkward moment; and the 
countenance of each shewed that it was so. 
They all looked exceedingly foolish ; and Edward 
seemed to have as great an inclination to walk 
out of the room again as to advance farther into 
it. The very circumstance, in its unpleasantest 
form, which they would each have been most 
anxious to avoid, had fallen on them — ^they were 
not only all three together, but were together 
without the relief of any other person. The 
ladies recovered themselves first. It was not 
Lucy's business to put herself forward, and the 
appearance of secrecy must still be kept up. 
She could therefore only look her tenderness, 
and after slightly addressing him, said no more. 

But Elinor had more to do ; and so anxious 
was she, for his sake and her own, to do it well, 
that she forced herself, after a moment's recollec- 
tion, to welcome him, with a look and manner 
that were almost easy and almost open; and 

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another struggle, another effort, still improved 
them. She would not allow the presence of 
Lucy, nor the consciousness of some injustice 
towards herself, to deter her from saying that 
she was happy to see him, and that she had very 
much regretted being from home when he called 
before in Berkeley Street. She would not be 
frightened from paying him those attentions 
which, as a friend and almost a relation, were 
his due, by the observant eyes of Lucy, though 
she soon perceived them to be narrowly watch- 
ing her. 

Her manners gave some reassurance to 
Edward, and he had courage enough to sit 
down; but his embarrassment still exceeded 
that of the ladies in a proportion which the case 
rendered reasonable, though his sex might make 
it rare ; for his heart had not the indifference of 
Lucy's, nor could his conscience have quite the 
ease of Elinor's. 

Lucy, with a demure and settled air, seemed 
determined to make no contribution to the 
comfort of the others, and would not say a 
word; and almost everything that wcis said 
proceeded from Elinor, who was obliged to 
volunteer all the information about her mother's 
health, their coming to town, etc., which 
Edward ought to have inquired about, but 
never did. 
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Her exertions did not stop here ; for she soon 
afterwards felt herself so heroically disposed as 
to determine, under pretence of fetching Mari- 
anne, to leave the others by themselves; and 
she really did it, and that in the handsomest 
manner, for she loitered away several minutes 
on the landing-place, with the most high-minded 
fortitude, before she went to her sister. When 
that was once done» however, it was time for 
the raptures of Edward to cease ; for Marianne s 
joy hurried her into the drawing-room imme- 
diately. Her pleasure in seeing him was like 
every other of her feelings, strong in itself and 
strongly spoken. She met him with a hand 
that would be taken, and a voice that expressed 
the affection of a sister. 

* Dear Edward 1 ' she cried, * this is a moment 
of great happiness ! — This would almost make 
amends for everything 1 * 

Edward tried to return her kindness as it 
deserved, but before such witnesses he dared 
not say half what he really felt. Again they 
all sat down, and for a moment or two all were 
silent; while Marianne was looking with the 
most speaking tenderness, sometimes at Edward 
and sometimes at Elinor, regretting only that 
their delight in each other should be checked by 
Lucy's unwelcome presence. Edward was the 
first to speak, and it was to notice Marianne's 

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altered looks, and express his fear of her not 
finduig London agree with her. 

* Oh 1 don't think of me ! ' she replied, with 
spirited earnestness, though her eyes were filled 
with tears as she spoke, * don't think of my 
health. Elinor is wdl, you see. That must be 
enough for us both.' 

This remark was not calculated to make 
Edward or Elinor more easy, nor to conciliate 
the goodwill of Lucy, who looked up at 
Marianne with no very benignant expression. 

* Do you like London ? ' said Edward, willing 
to say anything that might introduce another 
subject. 

* Not at alL I expected much pleasure in it, 
but I have found none. The sight of you, 
Edward, is the only comfort it has afforded; 
and, thank Heaven I you are what you always 
were I ' 

She paused — no one spoke. 

•I think, Elinor,' she presently added, *we 
must employ Edward to take care of us in our 
return to Barton. In a week or two, I suppose, 
we shall be going; and, I trust, Edward will 
not be very unwilling to accept the charge.' 

Poor Edward muttered something ; but what 

it was nobody knew, not even himself. But 

Marianne, who saw his agitation, and could 

easily trace it to whatever cause best pleased 

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herself, was perfectly satisfied, and soon talked 
of something else. 

*We spent such a day, Edward, in Harley 
Street, yesterday ! So dull, so wretchedly dull I 
But I have much to say to you on that head, 
which cannot be said now.' 

And with this admirable discretion did she 
defer the assurance of her finding their mutual 
relatives more disagreeable than ever, and of her 
being particularly disgusted with his mother, till 
they were more in private. 

'But why were you not there, Edward? 
Why did you not come ? * 

' I was engaged elsewhere.' 

'Engaged I But what was that, when such 
friends were to be met ? ' 

' Perhaps, Miss Marianne,' cried Lucy, eager 
to take some revenge on her, * you think young 
men never stand upon engagements, if they 
have no mind to keep them, Uttle as well as 
great.' 

Elinor was very angry, but Marianne seemed 
entirely insensible of the sting ; for she calmly 
replied — 

' Not so, indeed ; for, seriously speaking, I am 
very sure that conscience only kept Edward 
from Harley Street. And I really beUeve he 
has the most delicate conscience in the world ; 
the most scrupulous in performing every engage- 

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ment, however minute, and however it may 
make against his interest or pleasure. He is 
the most fearful of giving pain, of wounding 
expectation, and the most incapable of being 
selfish, of anybody I ever saw. Edward, it 
is so, and I will say it. What ! are you never 
to hear yourself praised ? Then you must be 
no fiiend of mine ; for those who will accept 
of my love and esteem must submit to my open 
commendation.' 

The nature of her commendation in the present 
case, however, happened to be particularly ill- 
suited to the feelings of two-thirds of her auditors, 
and was so very unexhilarating to Edward, that 
he very soon got up to go away. 

^ Going so soon!' said Marianne; ^my dear 
Edward, this must not be.' 

And drawing him a little aside, she whispered 
her persuasion that Lucy could not stay much 
longer. But even this encouragement failed, 
for he would go; and Lucy, who would have 
outstaid him had his visit lasted two hours, soon 
afterwards went away. 

*What can bring her here so often!' said 
Marianne, on her leaving them. * Could she not 
see that we wanted her gone ? How teasing to 
Edward ! ' 

* Why so ? — we were all his fiiends, and Lucy 
has been the longest known to him of any. It 
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is but natural that he should like to see her as 
well as ourselves.' 

Marianne looked at her steadily and said, 
* You know, Elinor, that this is a kind of talking 
which I cannot bear. If you only hope to have 
your assertion contradicted, as I must suppose 
to be the case, you ought to recollect that I am 
the last person in the world to do it. I cannot 
descend to be tricked out of assurances that are 
not really wanted.* 

She then left the room ; and Elinor dared not 
follow her to say more, for, bound as she was by 
her promise of secrecy to Lucy, she could give 
no information that would convince Marianne ; 
and piunful as the consequences of her still 
continuing in an error might be, she was obliged 
to submit to it. All that she could hope, was 
that Edward would not often expose her or 
himself to the distress of hearing Marianne s 
mistaken warmth, nor to the repetition of any 
other part of the pain that had attended their 
recent meeting — ^and this she had every reason 
to expect 



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CHAPTER XXXVl 

Within a few days after this meeting, the news- 
papers announced to the world that the lady of 
Thomas Palmer, Esq., was safely delivered of a 
son and heir ; a very interesting and satisfactory 
paragraph, at least to all those intimate con- 
nexions who knew it before. 

This event, highly important to Mrs. Jen- 
nings's happiness, produced a temporary altera- 
tion in the disposal of her time, and influenced 
in a like degree the engagements of her young 
fiiends; for as she wished to be as much as 
possible with Charlotte, she went thither every 
morning as soon as she was dressed, and did not 
return till late in the evening ; and the Miss 
Dashwoods, at the particular request of the 
Middletons, spent the whole of every day in 
Conduit Street. For their own comfort, they 
would much rather have remained, at least all 
the morning, in Mrs. Jennings's house; but it 
was not a thing to be urged against the wishes 
of everybody. Their hours were therefore made 
over to Lady Middleton and the two Miss 
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Steeles, by whom their company was, in fact, 
as little vfiJued as it was professedly sought. 

They had too much sense to be desirable com- 
panions to the former; and by the latter they 
were considered with a jealous eye, as intruding 
on their ground, and sharing the kindness which 
they wanted to monopolise. Though nothing 
could be more polite than Lady Middleton s 
behaviour to Elinor and Marianne, she did not 
really like them at all. Because they neither 
flattered herself nor her children, she could not 
believe them good-natured; and because they 
were fond of reading, she fancied them satuical : 
perhaps without exactly knowing what it was to 
be satirical; but that did not signify. It was 
censure in common use, and easily given. 

Their presence was a restraint both on her 
and on Lucy. It checked the idleness of one, 
and the business of the other. Lady Middleton 
was ashamed of doing nothing before them, and 
the flattery which Lucy was proud to think of 
and administer at other times, she feared they 
would despise her for offering. Miss Steele was 
the least discomposed of the three by their 
presence ; and it was in their power to reconcile 
her to it entirely. Would eitiier of them only 
have given her a full and minute account of 
the whole affair between Marianne and Mr. 
Willoughby, she would have thought herself 

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amply rewarded for the sacrifice of the best 
place by the fire after dinner, which their 
arrival occasioned. But this conciliation was 
not granted; for though she often threw out 
expressions of pity for her sister to Elinor, and 
more than once dropped a reflection on the in- 
constancy of beaux before Marianne, no effect 
was produced, but a look of indifierence from 
the former or of disgust in the latter. An effort 
even yet lighter might have made her their 
friend. Would they only have laughed at her 
about the doctor I But so little were they, any 
more than the others, inclined to oblige her, that 
if Sir John dined from home, she might spend 
a whole day without hearing any other raillery 
on the subject than what she was kind enough 
to bestow on herself. 

All these jealousies and discontents, however, 
were so totally unsuspected by Mrs. Jennings, 
that she thought it a delightful thing for the 
girls to be together ; and generally congratulated 
her young friends every night on having escaped 
the company of a stupid old woman so long. 
She joined them sometimes at Sir John's, and 
sometimes at her own house ; but wherever it 
was, she always came in excellent spirits, fuU 
of delight and importance, attributing Char- 
lotte's well-doing to her own care, and ready 
to give so exact, so minute a detail of her situa- 
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tion, as only Miss Steele had curiosity enough 
to desire. One thing did disturb her; and of 
that she made her daily complaint. Mr. Palmer 
maintained the common, but unfatherly opinion 
among his sex, of all infants being alike ; and, 
though she could plainly perceive at different 
times the most striking resemblance between 
this baby and every one of his relations on both 
sides, there was no convincing his &ther of it ; 
no persuading him to believe that it was not 
exactly like every other baby of the same age ; 
nor could he even be brought to acknowledge 
the simple proposition of its being the finest 
child in the world. 

I come now to the relation of a misfortune 
which about this time befell Mrs. John Dash- 
wood. It so happened that while her two sisters 
with Mrs. Jennings were first calling on her in 
Harley Street, another of her acquaintance had 
dropped in — a circumstance in itself not appar- 
ently likely to produce evil to her. But while 
the imaginations of other people will carry them 
away to form wrong judgments of our conduct, 
and to decide on it by slight appearances, one s 
happiness must in some measure be always at 
the mercy of chance. In the present instance, 
this last-arrived lady allowed her fancy so far to 
outrun truth and probability, that on merely 
hearing the name of the Miss Dashwoods, and 
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understanding them to be Mr. Dashwood's sisters, 
she immediately concluded them to be staying 
in Harley Street ; and this misconstruction pro- 
duced within a day or two afterwards cards of 
invitation for them, as well as for their brother 
and sister, to a small musical party at her house. 
The consequence of which was, that Mrs. John 
Dashwood was obliged to submit not only to 
the exceedingly great inconvenience of sending 
her carriage for the Miss Dashwoods, but, what 
was still worse, must be subject to all the un- 
pleasantness of appearing to treat them with 
attention ; and who could tell that they might 
not expect to go out with her a second time ? 
The power of disappointing them, it was true, 
must always be hers. But that was not enough ; 
for when people are determined on a mode of 
conduct which they know to be wrong, they 
feel injured by the expectation of anything 
better from them. 

Marianne had now been brought by degrees 
so much into the habit of going out every day, 
that it was become a matter of indifference to 
her whether she went or not : and she prepared 
quietly and mechanically for every evening's 
engagement, though without expecting the 
smallest amusement from any, and very often 
without knowing till the last moment where it 
was to take her. 
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To her dress and appearance she was growmg 
so perfectly indifferent as not to bestow half the 
consideration on it, during the whole of her 
toilette, which it received from Miss Steele in 
the first five minutes of their being together, 
when it was finished. Nothing escaped her 
minute observation and general curiosity; she 
saw everything, and asked everything ; was never 
easy till she knew the price of every part of 
Marianne s dress ; could have guessed the number 
of her gowns altogether with better judgment 
than Marianne herself, and was not without 
hopes of finding out before they parted how 
much her washing cost per week, and how much 
she had every year to spend upon herself. The 
impertinence of these kind of scrutinies, more- 
over, was generally concluded with a compliment, 
which, though meant as its douceur, was con- 
sidered by Marianne as the greatest impertinence 
of all ; for after undergoing an examination into 
the value and make of her gown, the colour of 
her shoes, and the arrangement of her hair, she 
was almost sure of being told, that upon ' her 
word she looked vastly smart, and she dared to 
say would make a great many conquests.' 

With such encouragement as this was she 
dismissed, on the present occasion, to her brother s 
carriage; which they were ready to enter five 
minutes after it stopped at the door, a punctuality 

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not very agreeable to their sister-in-law, who 
had preceded them to the house of her acquaint- 
ance, and was there hoping for some delay on 
their part that might inconvenience either herself 
or her coachman. 

The events of the evening were not very 
remarkable. The party, like other musical 
parties, comprehended a great many people who 
had real taste for the performance, and a great 
many more who had none at all ; and the per- 
formers themselves were, as usual, in their own 
estimation, and that of their immediate friends, 
the first private performers in England. 

As Elinor was neither musical, nor affecting 
to be so, she made no scruple of turning away 
her eyes from the grand pianoforte whenever 
it suited her, and, unrestrained even by the 
presence of a harp and a violoncello, woidd fix 
them at pleasure on any other object in the 
room. In one of these excursive glances she 
perceived, among the group of young men, the 
very he who had given them a lecture on tooth- 
pick-cases at Gray s. She perceived him soon 
afterwards looking at herself, and speaking 
familiarly to her brother ; and had just deter- 
mined to find out his name from the latter, 
when they both came towards her, and Mr. 
Dashwood introduced him to her as Mr. Robert 
Ferrars. 
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He addressed her with easy civility, and twisted 
his head into a bow which assured her, as plainly 
as words could have done, that he was exactly 
the coxcomb she had heard him described to 
be by Lucy. Happy had it been for her if her 
regard for Edward had depended less on his own 
merit, than on the merit of his nearest relations. 
For then his brother s bow must have given the 
finishing stroke to what the ill-humour of his 
mother and sister would have begun. But whUe 
she wondered at the difference of the two young 
men, she did not find that the emptiness and 
conceit of the one put her at all out of charity 
with the modesty and worth of the other. Why 
they were different Robert explained to her 
himself in the course of a quarter of an hour's 
conversation ; for, talking of his brother, and 
lamenting the extreme gaiicherie which he really 
believed kept him firoixi mixing in proper society, 
he candidly and generously attributed it much 
less to any natural deficiency, than to the mis- 
fortune of a private education ; while he himself, 
though probably without any particular, any 
material superiority by nature, merely from the 
advantage of a public school, was as well fitted 
to mix in the world as any other man. 

*Upon my soul,' he added, *I believe it is 
nothing more: and so I often tell my mother 
when she is grieving about it. " My dear madam," 

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I always say to her, " you must make yourself 
easy. The evil is now irremediable, and it has 
been entirely your own doing. Why would you 
be persuaded by my uncle. Sir Robert, against 
your own judgment, to place Edward under 
private tuition, at the most critical time of his 
life ? If you had only sent him to Westminster 
as well as myself, instead of sending him to Mr. 
Pratt s, all this would have been prevented." 
This is the way in which I always consider the 
matter, and my mother is perfectly convinced 
of her error.' 

Elinor would not oppose his opinion, because 
whatever might be her general estimation of the 
advantage of a public school, she could not think 
of Edward s abode in Mr. Pratt's family with 
any satisfaction. 

* You reside in Devonshire, I think,' was his 
next observation, * in a cottage near Dawlish.' 

Elinor set him right as to its situation, and it 
seemed rather surprising to him that anybody 
could live in Devonshire without living near 
Dawlish. He bestowed his hearty approbation, 
however, on their species of house. 

* For my own part,' said he, * I am excessively 
fond of a cottage; there is always so much 
comfort, so much elegance about them. And 
I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should 
buy a little land and build one myself, within 

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a short distance of London, where I might drive 
myself down at any time, and collect a few 
friends about me, and be happy. I advise every- 
body who is going to build, to build a cottage. 
My friend Lord Courtland came to me the 
other day on purpose to ask my advice, and laid 
before me three different plans of Bonomi*s. I 
was to decide on the best of them. " My dear 
Courtland," said I, immediately throwing them 
all into the fire, " do not adopt either of them, 
but by aU means build a cottage." And that, 
I fancy, will be the end of it. 

•Some people imagine that there can be no 
accommodations, no space in a cottage ; but this 
is all a mistake. I was last month at my friend 
Elliott's, near Dartford. Lady Elliott wished to 
give a dance. ** But how can it be done ? " said 
she ; " my dear Ferrars, do tell me how it is to 
be managed. There is not a room in this cottage 
that will hold ten couple, and where can the 
supper be?" / immediately saw that there 
could be no difficulty in it, so I said, " My dear 
Lady Elliott, do not be uneasy. The (fining- 
parlour will admit eighteen couple with ease; 
card-tables may be placed in the drawing-room ; 
the library may be open for tea and other 
refireshments ; and let the supper be set out in 
the saloon." Lady EUiott was delighted with 
the thought. We measured the dining-room, 

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and found it would hold exactly eighteen couple, 
and the affair was arranged precisely after my 
plan. So that in fact, you see, if people do but 
know how to set about it, every comfort may 
be as well enjoyed in a cottage as in the most 
spacious dwelling.* 

Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he 
deserved the compliment of rational opposition. 

As John Dashwood had no more pleasure in 
music than his eldest sister, his mind was equally 
at liberty to fix on anything else ; and a thought 
struck him during the evening, which he com- 
municated to his wife, for her approbation, when 
they got home. The consideration of Mrs. Den- 
nison's mistake, in supposing his sisters their 
guests, had suggested the propriety of their 
being really invited to become such, while Mrs. 
Jennings's engagements kept her from home. 
The expense would be nothing, the inconveni- 
ence not more ; and it was altogether an atten- 
tion which the delicacy of his conscience pointed 
out to be requisite to its complete enfranchise- 
ment from his promise to his father. Fanny 
was startled at the proposal. 

* I do not see how it can be done,' said she, 
'without affronting Lady Middleton, for they 
spend every day with her; otherwise I should 
be exceedingly glad to do it. You know I am 
always ready to pay them any attention in my 
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power, as my taking them out this evening 
shews. But they are Lady Middleton's visitors. 
How can I ask them away from her ? ' 

Her husband, but with great humility, did 
not see the force of her objection. * They had 
abeady spent a week in this manner in Conduit 
Street, and Lady Middleton could not be dis- 
pleased at their giving the same number of days 
to such near relations.' 

Fanny paused a moment, and then, with fresh 
vigour, said — 

*My love, I would ask them with all my 
heart, if it was in my power. But I have just 
settled within myself to ask the Miss Steeles to 
spend a few days with us. They are very well- 
behaved, good kind of girls; and I think the 
attention is due to them, as their uncle did so 
very well by Edward. We can ask your sisters 
some other year, you know; but the Miss 
Steeles may not be in town any more. I am 
sure you will like them; indeed, you do like 
them, you know, very much already, and so 
does my mother ; and they are such favourites 
with Harry I ' 

Mr. Dashwood was convinced. He saw the 
necessity of inviting the Miss Steeles imme- 
diately, and his conscience was pacified by the 
resolution of inviting his sisters another year; 
at the same time, however, slyly suspecting that 

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another year would make the invitation needless, 
by bringing Elinor to town as Colonel Brandon's 
wife, and Marianne as their visitor. 

Fanny, rejoicing in her escape, and proud of 
the ready wit that had procured it, wrote the 
next morning to Lucy, to request her company 
and her sister s for some days in Harley Street, 
as soon as Lady Middleton could spare them. 
This was enough to make Lucy really and 
reasonably happy. Mrs. Dashwood seemed 
actually working for her herself, cherishing all 
her hopes, and promoting all her views 1 Such 
an opportunity of being with Edward and his 
family was, above all things, the most material 
to her interest, and such an invitation the most 
gratifying to her feelings ! It was an advantage 
that could not be too gratefully acknowledged, 
nor too speedily made use of; and the visit to 
Lady Middleton, which had not before had any 
precise limits, was instantly discovered to have 
been always meant to end in two days' time. 

When the note was shewn to Elinor, as it 
was within ten minutes after its arrival, it gave 
her, for the first time, some share in the expecta- 
tions of Lucy ; for such a mark of uncommon 
kindness, vouchsafed on so short an acquaint- 
ance, seemed to declare that the goodwill 
towards her arose from something more than 
merely malice against herself, and might be 
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brought, by time and address, to do everything 
that Lucy wished. Her flattery had ahready 
subdued the pride of Lady Middleton, and 
made an CTitry into the close heart of Mrs. John 
Dashwood; and these were effects that laid 
open the probability of greater. 

The Miss Steeles removed to Harley Street, 
and all that reached Elinor of their influence 
there strengthened her expectation of the event. 
Sir John, who called on them more than once, 
brought home such accounts of the favour they 
were in as must be universally striking. Mrs. 
Dashwood had never been so much pleased with 
any young women in her life as she was with 
them ; had given each of them a needle-book, 
made by some emigrant; called Lucy by her 
Christian name ; and did not know whether she 
should ever be able to part with them. 



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CHAPTER XXXVII 

Mrs. Palmer was so well at the end of a fort- 
night that her mother felt it no longer necessary 
to give up the whole of her time to her ; and, 
contenting herself with visiting her once or 
twice a day, returned from that period to her 
own home, and her own habits, in which she 
found the Miss Dashwoods very ready to re- 
assume their former share. 

About the third or fourth morning after their 
being thus resettled in Berkeley Street, Mrs. 
Jennings, on returning from her ordinary visit 
to Mrs. Palmer, entered the drawing-room, 
where Elinor was sitting by herself, with an air 
of such hurrying importance as prepared her to 
hear something wonderful ; and, giving her time 
only to form that idea, began directly to justify 
it by saying — 

*Lord! my dear Miss Dashwoodl have you 
heard the news ? * 

* No, ma'am. What is it?' 

* Something so strange ! But you shall hear 
it all. When I got to Mr. Palmer's, I found 

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Charlotte quite in a fuss about the child. She 
was sure it was very ill — ^it cried, and fretted, 
and was all over pimples. So I looked at it 
directly, and, "Lordl my dear," says I, "it is 
nothing in the world but the red-gum"; and 
nurse said just the same. But Charlotte, she 
would not be satisfied, so Mr. Donavan was sent 
for ; and luckily he happened to be just come in 
from Harley Street, so he stepped over directly, 
and as soon as ever he saw the child he said 
just as we did, that it was nothing in the world 
but the red-gum, and then Charlotte was easy. 
And so, just as he was going away again, it came 
into my head, I am sure I do not know how I 
happened to think of it, but it came into my 
head to ask him if there was any news. So 
upon that he smirked, and simpered, and looked 
grave, and seemed to know something or other, 
and at last he siud in a whisper, " For fear any 
unpleasant report should reach the young ladies 
under your care as to their sister's indisposition, 
I think it advisable to say that I believe there 
is no great reason for alarm ; I hope Mrs. Dash- 
wood will do very well." ' 

•WhatI is Fanny iU?' 

•That is exactiy what I said, my dear. 

«• Lord ! " says I, « is Mrs. Dashwood iU ? " So 

then it all came out ; and the long and the short 

of the matter, by all I can learn, seems to be 

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this: — Mr. Edward Ferrars, the very young man 
I used to joke with you about (but however, as 
it turns out, I am monstrous glad there never 
was anything in it), Mr. Edward Ferrars, it 
seems, has been engaged above this twelvemonth 
to my cousin Lucy 1 There 's for you, my dear ! 
And not a creature knowing a syllable of the 
matter except Nancy 1 Could you have believed 
such a thing possible ? There is no great wonder 
in their liking one another; but that matters 
should be brought so forward between them, 
and nobody suspect it! That is strange 1 I 
never happened to see them together, or I am 
sure I should have found it out directly. Well, 
and so this was kept a great secret, for fear of 
Mrs. Ferrars ; and neither she nor your brother 
or sister suspected a word of the matter — ^till 
this very morning, poor Nancy, who, you know, 
is a well-meaning creature, but no conjuror, 
popt it all out. ^^Lord ! " thinks she to herself, 
" they are all so fond of Lucy, to be sure they 
will make no difficulty about it " ; and so, away 
she went to your sister, who was sitting all alone 
at her carpet-work, little suspecting what was 
to come — ^for she had just been saying to your 
brother, only five minutes before, that she thought 
to make a match between Edward and some 
lord's daughter or other, I forget who. So you 
may think what a blow it was to all h» vanity 
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and pride. She fell into violent hysterics 
immediately, with such screams as reached your 
brother's ears, as he was sitting in his own dress- 
ing-room downstairs, thinking about writing a 
letter to his steward in the country. So up 
he flew directly, and a terrible scene took place, 
for Lucy was come to them by that time, little 
dreaming what was going on. Poor soul 1 1 pity 
her. And I must say, I think she was used very 
hardly; for your sister scolded like any Airy, and 
soon drove her into a fainting fit. Nancy, she 
fell upon her knees, and cried bitterly ; and your 
brother, he walked about the room, and said 
he did not know what to do. Mrs. Dashwood 
declared they should not stay a minute longer 
in the house, and your brother was forced to go 
down upon his knees too, to persuade her to let 
them stay till they had packed up their clothes. 
TTien she fell into hysterics again, and he was so 
frightened that he would send for Mr. Donavan, 
and Mr. Donavan found the house in all this 
uproar. The carriage was at the door ready to 
take my poor cousins away, and they were just 
stepping in as he came ofi^; poor Lucy in such 
a condition, he says, she could hardly walk ; and 
Nancy, she was almost as bad. I declare, I have 
no patience with your sister ; and I hope, with 
all my heart, it will be a match in spite of her. 
Lord I what a taking poor Mr. Edward will be 

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in when he hears of it 1 To have his love used 
so scornfully ! for they say he is monstrous fond 
of her, as well he may. I should not wonder if 
he was to be in the greatest of a passion ! — ^and 
Mr. Donavan thinks just the same. He and I 
had a great deal of talk about it ; and the best 
of all is, that he is gone back again to Harley 
Street, that he may be within call when Mrs. 
Ferrars is told of it, for she was sent for as soon 
as ever my cousins left the house, for your sister 
was sure she would be in hysterics too ; and so 
she may for what I care. I have no pity for 
either of them. I have no notion of people's 
making such a to-do about money and greatness. 
There is no reason on earth why Mr. Edward 
and Lucy should not marry ; for I am sure Mrs. 
Ferrars may afford to do very well by her son ; 
and though Lucy has next to nothing herself, 
she knows better than anybody how to make 
the most of everything ; and I dare say, if Mrs. 
Ferrars would only allow him five hundred a year, 
she would make as good an appearance with it 
as anybody eke would with eight. Lord I how 
snug they might live in such another cottage as 
yours — or a little bigger — ^with two maids and 
two men; and I believe I could help them to 
a housemaid, for my Betty has a sister out of 
place that would fit them exactly.' 

Here Mrs. Jennings ceased; and as Elinor had 
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had time enough to collect her thoughts, she 
was able to give such an answer, and make such 
observations, as the subject might naturally be 
supposed to produce. Happy to find that she 
was not suspected of any extraordinary interest 
in it; that Mrs. Jennings (as she had of late 
often hoped might be the case) had ceased to 
imagine her at all attached to Edward; and 
happy, above all the rest, in the absence of 
Marianne, she felt very well able to speak of the 
affair without embarrassment, and to give her 
judgment, as she believed with impartiality, on 
the conduct of every one concerned in it. 

She could hardly determine what her own 
expectation of its event really was ; though she 
earnestly tried to drive away the notion of its 
being possible to end otherwise at last than in 
the marriage of Edward and Lucy. What Mrs. 
Ferrars would say and do, though there could 
not be a doubt of its nature, she was anxious 
to hear; and still more anxious to know how 
Edward would conduct himself. For Mm she 
felt much compassion; for Lucy very little — 
and it cost her some pains to procure that little ; 
— ^for the rest of the party none at all. 

As Mrs. Jennings could talk on no other 
subject, Elinor soon saw the necessity of pre- 
paring Marianne for its discussion. No time 
was to be lost in undeceiving her, in making her 
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acquainted with the real truth, and in endeavour- 
ing to bring her to hear it talked of by others, 
without betraying that she felt any uneasi- 
ness for her sister, or any resentment against 
Edward. 

Elinor's office was a ptunful one. She was 
going to remove what she really believed to be 
her sister's chief consolation — ^to ^ve such par- 
ticulars of Edward as, she feared, would ruin 
him for ever in her good opinion — and to make 
Marianne, by a resemblance in their situations, 
which to Jier fancy would seem strong, feel all 
her own disappointment over again. But, un- 
welcome as such a task must be, it was neces- 
sary to be done, and Elinor therefore hastened 
to perform it 

She was very far from wishing to dwell on 
her own feelings, or to represent herself as 
suffering much, any otherwise than as the self- 
command she had practised since her first know- 
ledge of Edward's engagement might suggest a 
hint of what was practicable to Marianne. Her 
narration was clear and simple; and though it 
could not be given without emotion, it was not 
accompanied by violent a^tation nor impetuous 
grief. That belonged rather to the hearer, for 
Marianne listened with horror, and cried exces- 
sively. Elinor was to be the comforter of others 
in her own distresses no less than in theirs ; and 
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all the comfort that could be given by assurances 
of her own composure of mind, and a very earnest 
vindication of Edward from every charge but of 
imprudence, was readily offered. 

But Marianne for some time would give 
credit to neither. Edward seemed a second 
Willoughby ; and acknowledging, as Elinor did, 
that she had loved him most sincerely, could 
she fed less than herself! As for Lucy Steele, 
she considered her so totally unamiable, so ab- 
solutely incapable of attaching a sensible man, 
that she could not be persuaded at first to be- 
lieve, and afterwards to pardon, any former 
affection of Edward for her. She would not 
even admit it to have been natural ; and Elinor 
left her to be convinced that it was so, by that 
which only could convince her, a better know- 
ledge of mankind. 

Her first communication had reached no 
farther than to state the fact of the engage- 
ment, and the length of time it had existed. 
Marianne s feelings had then broken in, and put 
an end to all regularity of detail ; and for some 
time all that could be done was to soothe her 
distress, lessen her alarms, and combat her resent- 
ment. The first question on her side, which led 
to farther particulars, was — 

* How long has this been known to you, 
EUinor ? Has he written to you ? ' 

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* I have known it these four months. When 
Lucy first came to Barton Park last November, 
she told me in confidence of her engagement/ 

At these words Marianne's eyes expressed 
the astonishment which her lips could not utter. 
After a pause of wonder, she exclaimed — 

* Four months 1 Have you known of this four 
months ? ' 

Elinor confirmed it. 

* What I — ^while attending me in all my misery, 
has this been on your heart? and I have re- 
proached you for being happy 1 ' 

*It was not fit that you should then know 
how much I was the reverse.' 

*Four months 1' cried Marianne again. *So 
calm I so cheerful I How have you been sup- 
ported?' 

* By feeling that I was doing my duty. My 
promise to Lucy obliged me to be secret. I 
owed it to her, therefore, to avoid giving any 
hint of the truth ; and I owed it to my family and 
friends not to create in them a solicitude about 
me, which it could not be in my power to satisfy/ 

Marianne seemed much struck. 

* I have very often wished to undeceive your- 
self and my mother,' added Elinor; *and once 
or twice I have attempted it ; — ^but without 
betraying my trust I never could have con- 
vinced you.' 

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* Four months I — and yet you loved him I * 
'Yes. But I did not love only him; — and 
while the comfort of others was dear to me, 
I was glad to spare them from knowing how 
much I felt. Now, I can think and speak of 
it with little emotion. I would not have you 
suffer on my account; for I assure you I no 
longer suffer materially myself. I have many 
things to support me. I am not conscious of 
having provoked the disappointment by any 
imprudence of my own, and I have borne it as 
much as possible without spreading it farther. 
I acquit Edward of aU essential misconduct. 
I wish him very happy; and I am so sure of 
his always doing his duty, that though now 
he may harbour some regret, in the end he 
must become so. Lucy does not want sense, 
and that is the foundation on which everything 
good may be built. And after all, Marianne, after 
all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and 
constant attachment, and all that can be said of 
one's happiness depending entirely on any par- 
ticular person, it is not meant — it is not fit — it is 
not possible that it should be so. Edward will 
marry Lucy ; he will marry a woman superior 
in person and understanding to half her sex; 
and time and habit will teach him to forget that 
he ever thought another superior to Aer.' 

'If such is your way of thinking,' said 

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Marianne, * if the loss of what is most valued is 
so easily to be made up by something else, your 
resolution, your self-command, are perhaps a 
little less to be wondered at. They are brought 
more within my comprehension/ 

* I understand you. You do not suppose that 
I have ever felt much. For four months, 
Marianne, I have had all this hanging on my 
mind, without being at liberty to speak of it to 
a single creature ; knowing that it would make 
you and my mother most unhappy whenever it 
were explained to you, yet unable to prepare 
you for it in the least. It was told me — ^it 
was in a manner forced on me^ — by the very 
person herself whose prior engagement ruined 
all my prospects; and told me, as I thought, 
with triumph. This person's suspicions, there- 
fore, I have had to oppose, by endeavouring 
to appear indifferent where I have been most 
deeply interested. And it has not been only 
once; I have had her hopes and exultation to 
listen to again and again. I have known myself 
to be divided from Edward for ever, without 
hearing one circumstance that could make me 
less desire the connexion. Nothing has proved 
him unworthy; nor has anything declared him 
indifferent to me. I have had to contend 
against the unkindness of his sister, and the 
insolence of his mother, and have suffered the 
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punishment of an attachment without enjoying 
its advantages. And all this has been going on 
at a time when, as you too well know, it has not 
been my only unhappiness. If you can think 
me capable of ever feeling, surely you may 
suppose that I have suffered now. The com- 
posure of mind with which I have brought 
myself at present to consider the matter, the 
consolation that I have been willing to admit, 
have been the effect of constant and painful 
exertion ; — ^they did not spruig up of themselves; 
they did not occur to relieve my spirits at first 
— no, Marianne. Then, if I had not been 
bound to silence, perhaps nothing could have 
kept me entirely — ^not even what I owed to my 
dearest friends — ^from openly shewing that I was 
very unhappy/ 

Marianne was quite subdued. 

* Oh 1 Elinor,' she cried, * you have made me 
hate myself for ever. How barbarous have I 
been to you! — ^you, who have been my only 
comfort, who have borne with me in all my 
misery, who have seemed to be only suffering 
for me I Is this my gratitude ? Is this the only 
return I can make you? Because your merit 
cries out upon myself, I have been trying to do 
it away.* 

The tenderest caresses followed this con- 
fession« In such a frame of mind as she was 

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now in, Elinor had no difficulty in obtaining 
from her whatever promise she required; and, 
at her request, Marianne engaged never to speak 
of the affair to any one with the least appearance 
of bitterness ; to meet Lucy without betraying 
the smallest increase of dislike to her ; and even 
to see Edward himself, if chance should bring 
them together, without any diminution of her 
usual cordiality. These were great concessions, 
but where Marianne felt that she had injured, 
no reparation could be too much for her to 
make. 

She performed her promise of being discreet 
to admiration. She attended to all that Mrs. 
Jennings had to say upon the subject with an 
unchanging complexion, dissented from her in 
nothing, and was heard three times to say, *Yes, 
ma'am.' She listened to her praise of Lucy with 
only moving from one chair to another, and 
when Mrs. Jennings talked of Edward s affec- 
tion, it cost her only a spasm in her throat. 
Such advances towards heroism in her sister 
made Elinor feel equal to anything herself. 

The next morning brought a farther trial of 
it, in a visit from their brother, who came with 
a most serious aspect to talk over the dreadful 
affair, and bring them news of his wife. 

*You have heard, I suppose,' said he, with 
great solemnity, as soon as he was seated, 'of 
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the very shocking discovery that took place 
under our roof yesterday/ 

They all looked their assent; it seemed too 
awful a moment for speech. 

*Your sister/ he continued, *has suffered 
dreadfully. Mrs. Ferrars too — ^in short, it has 
been a scene of such complicated distress ; but 
I will hope that the storm may be weathered 
without our being, any of us, quite overcome. 
Poor Fanny ! she was in hysterics all yesterday. 
But I would not alarm you too much. Donavan 
says there is nothing materially to be appre- 
hended; her constitution is a good one, and 
her resolution equal to anything. She has 
borne it all with the fortitude of an angel I 
She says she never shall think well of anybody 
again ; and one cannot wonder at it, after being 
so deceived 1 — ^meeting with such ingratitude, 
where so much kindness had been shewn, so 
much confidence had been placed. It was quite 
out of the benevolence of her heart that she 
had asked these young women to her house; 
merely because she thought they deserved some 
attention, were harmless, well-behaved girls, and 
would be pleasant companions; for otherwise 
we both wished very much to have invited you 
and Marianne to be with us, while your kind 
friend there was attending her daughter. And 
now to be so rewarded 1 ** I wish with all my 

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heart," says poor Fanny, in her afieetionate 
way, "that we had asked your sisters instead 
of them."' 

Here he stopped to be thanked ; which being 
done, he went on. 

* What poor Mrs. Ferrars sulTered, when first 
Fanny broke it to her, is not to be described. 
While she, with the truest affection, had been 
planning a most eligible connexion for him, was 
it to be supposed that he could be all the time 
secretly engaged to another person I — such a 
suspicion could never have entered her head I 
If she suspected any prepossession elsewhere, 
it could not be in tJmt quarter. " TJierCy to be 
sure," said she, " I might have thought myself 
safe." She was quite in an agony. We con- 
sulted together, however, as to what should be 
done, and at last she determined to send for 
Edward. He came. But I am sorry to relate 
what ensued. All that Mrs. Ferrars could say 
to make hhn put an end to the engagement, 
assisted, too, as you may well suppose, by my 
arguments, and Fanny's entreaties, was of no 
avail. Duty, affection, everything was disre- 
garded. I never thought Edward so stubborn, 
so unfeeling, before. His mother explained to 
him her liberal designs, in case of his marrying 
Miss Morton ; told him she would settle on him 
the Norfolk estate, which, clear of land-tax, 
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brings in a good thousand a year; offered even, 
when matters grew desperate, to make it twelve 
hmidred; and in opposition to this, if he still 
persisted in this low connexion, represented to 
him the certain penmy that must attend the 
match. His own two thousand pounds, she 
protested, should be his all ; she would never see 
him again ; and so far would she be from afford- 
ing him the smallest assistance, that if he were 
to enter into any profession with a view of 
better support, she would do all in her power to 
prevent his advancing in it.' 

Here Marianne, in an ecstasy of indignation, 
clapped her hands together and cried, * Gracious 
God 1 can this be possible 1 ' 

*Well may you wonder, Marianne,' replied 
her brother, * at the obstinacy which could resist 
such arguments as these. Your exclamation is 
very natural' 

Marianne was going to retort, but she remem- 
bered her promises, and forbore. 

* All this, however,' he continued, *was urged 
in vain. Edward said very little ; but what he 
did say was in the most determined manner. 
Nothing could prevail on him to give up his 
engagement He would stand to it, cost him 
what it might.' 

•Then,' cried Mrs. Jennings, with blunt sin- 
cerity, no longer able to be silent, • he has acted 

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like an honest man. I beg your pardon, Mr. 
Dashwood, but if he had done otherwise, I 
should have thought him a rascal. I have some 
little concern in the business, as weU as your- 
self, for Lucy Steele is my cousin, and I be- 
lieve there is not a better kind of girl in the 
world, nor one who more deserves a good hus- 
band.' 

John Dashwood was greatly astonished ; but 
his nature was calm, not open to provocation, 
and he never wished to offend anybody, espe- 
cially anybody of good fortune. He therefore 
replied, without any resentment — 

^I would by no means speak disrespectfully 
of any relation of yours, madam. Miss Lucy 
Steele is, I dare say, a very deserving young 
woman, but in the present case, you know, the 
connexion must be impossible. And to have 
entered into a secret engagement with a young 
man under her uncle's care, the son of a woman 
especially of such very large fortune as Mrs. 
Ferrars, is perhaps altogether a little extra- 
ordinary. In short, I do not mean to reflect 
upon the behaviour of any person whom you 
have a regard for, Mrs. Jennings. We all wish 
her extremely happy, and Mrs. Ferrars's con- 
duct throughout tiie whole has been such as 
every conscientious, good mother, in like circum- 
stances, would adopt. It has been dignified and 
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liberal. Edward has drawn his own lot, and I 
fear it will be a bad one.' 

Marianne sighed out her similar apprehension ; 
and EUinor s heart wrung for the feelings of 
Edward, while braving his mother's threats, for 
a woman who could not reward him. 

* Well, sir,' said Mrs. Jennings, * and how did 
it end?' 

* I am sorry to say, ma'am, in a most unhappy 
rupture — Edward is dismissed for ever from his 
mother's notice. He left her house yesterday, 
but where he is gone, or whether he is still in 
town, I do not know ; for tee, of course, can 
make no inquiry.' 

•Poor young man I and what is to become of 
him?' 

^ What indeed, ma'am ! It is a melancholy 
consideration. Bom to the prospect of such 
affluence! I cannot conceive a situation more 
deplorable. The interest of two thousand pounds 
— ^how can a man live on it 1 And when to that 
is added the recollection that he might, but for 
his own folly, within three months have been 
in receipt of two thousand five hundred a year 
(for Miss Morton has thirty thousand pounds), 
I cannot picture to myself a more wretched 
condition. We must all feel for him ; and the 
more so, because it is totally out of our power 
to assist hmu' 

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'Poor young man!' cried Mrs. Jennings, *I 
am sure he should be very welcome to bed and 
board at my house; and so I would tell hun, 
if I could see him. It is not fit that he should 
be living about at his own charge now, at 
lodgings and taverns/ 

Elinor's heart thanked her for such kindness 
towards Edward, though she could not forbear 
smiling at the form of it. 

* If he would only have done as weU by him- 
self,' said John Dashwood, 'as all his friends 
were disposed to do by him, he might now have 
been in his proper situation, and would have 
wanted for nothing. But as it is, it must be 
out of anybody's power to assist lum. And 
there is one thing more preparing against him, 
which must be worse than all — ^his mother has 
determined, with a very natural kind of spirit, 
to settle that estate upon Robert immediately, 
which might have been Edward's on proper con- 
ditions. I left her this morning with her lawyer, 
talking over the business.' 

'Weill' said Mrs. Jennings, 'that is her 
revenge. Everybody has a way of their own. 
But I don't think mine would be to make one 
son independent because another had plagued 
me.' 

Marianne got up and walked about the room. 

' Can anything be more galling to the spirit of 
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a man/ continued John, * than to see his younger 
brother in possession of an estate which might 
have been his own ? Poor Edward 1 I feel for 
him sincerely/ 

A few minutes more, spent in the same kind 
of effusion, concluded his visit ; and with repeated 
assurances to his sisters that he really believed 
there was no material danger in Fanny's indis- 
position, and that they need not therefore be 
very uneasy about it, he went away; leaving 
the three ladies unanimous in their sentiments 
on the present occasion, as far at least as it 
regarded Mrs. Ferrars's conduct, the Dashwoods', 
and Edward's. 

Marianne's indignation burst forth as soon as 
he quitted the room; and as her vehemence 
made reserve impossible in Elinor, and unneces- 
sary in Mrs. Jennings, they all joined in a very 
spirited critique upon the party. 



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CHAPTER XXXVIII 

Mrs. Jennings was very warm in her praise of 
Edward's conduct, but only Elinor and Marianne 
understood its true merit. They only knew 
how little he had had to tempt him to be dis- 
obedient, and how small was the consolation, 
beyond the consciousness of doing right, that 
could remain to him in the loss of friends and 
fortune. Elinor gloried in his integrity; and 
Marianne forgave all his offences in compassion 
for his punishment. But though confidence 
between them was, by this public discovery, 
restored to its proper state, it was not a subject 
on which either of them were fond of dwelling 
when alone. Elinor avoided it upon principle, 
as tending to fix still more upon her thoughts, 
by the too warm, too positive assurances of 
Marianne, that belief of Edward's continued 
affection for herself, which she rather wished to 
do away; and Marianne's courage soon failed 
her, in trying to converse upon a topic which 
always IdFt her more dissatisfied witihi herself 
than ever, by the comparison it necessarily 
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produced between Elinor's conduct and her 
own. 

She felt all the force of that comparison ; but 
not as her sister had hoped, to urge her to 
exertion now; she felt it with all the pain of 
continual self-reproach, regretted most bitterly 
that she had never exerted herself before ; but 
it brought only the torture of penitence, without 
the hope of amendment. Her mind was so 
much weakened that she still fancied present 
exertion impossible, and therefore it oi^y dis- 
pirited her more. 

Nothing new was heard by them for a day 
or two afterwards of affairs in Harley Street 
or Bartlett's Buildings. But though so much of 
the matter was known to them already, that 
Mrs. Jennings might have had enough to do in 
spreading that knowledge farther, without seek- 
ing after more, she had resolved from the first to 
pay a visit of comfort and inquiry to her cousins 
as soon as she could ; and nothing but the hind- 
rance of more visitors than usual had prevented 
her going to them within that time. 

The third day succeeding their knowledge of 
the particulars was so fine, so beautiful a Sunday 
as to draw many to Kensington Gardens, though 
it was only the second week in March. Mrs. 
Jennings and Elinor were of the number; but 
Marianne, who knew that the Willoughbys were 
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again in town, and had a constant dread of 
meeting them, chose rather to stay at home than 
venture into so public a place. 

An intimate acquaintance of Mrs. Jennings 
joined them soon after they entered the Gardens, 
and Elinor was not sorry that, by her continuing 
with them, and engaging all Mrs. Jennings's 
conversation, she was herself left to quiet reflec- 
tion. She saw nothing of the Willoughbys, 
nothing of Edward, and for some time nothing 
of anybody who could by any chance, whether 
grave or gay, be interesting to her. But at last 
she found herself, with some surprise, accosted 
by Miss Steele, who, though looking rather shy, 
expressed great satisfaction in meeting them; 
and on receiving encouragement from the par- 
ticular kindness of Mrs. Jennings, left her own 
party for a short time to join theirs. Mrs. 
Jennings immediately whispered to Elinor — 

* Get it all out of her, my dear. She will tell 
you anything, if you ask. You see I cannot 
leave Mrs. Clarke.' 

It was lucky, however, for Mrs. Jennings's 
curiosity, and Elinor's too, that she would tell 
anything wUhout being asked, for nothing would 
otherwise have been learnt. 

< I am so glad to see you,' said Miss Steele, 
taking her familiarly by tiie arm, 'for I wanted 
to see you, of all things in the world '; and then 
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lowering her voice, 'I suppose Mrs. Jennings 
has heard all about it. Is she augry ? ' 

* Not at all, I believe, with you/ 

' That is a good thing. And Lady Middleton, 
is she angry ? * 

' I cannot suppose it possible that she should." 

* I am monstrous glad of it. Good gracious 1 
I have had such a time of itl I never saw 
Lucy in such a rage in my life. She vowed at 
first she would never trim me up a new bonnet, 
nor do anything else for me again, so long as she 
lived ; but now she is quite come to, and we are 
as good friends as ever. Look, she made me 
this bow to my hat, aud put in the feather last 
night. There now, you are going to laugh at 
me too. But why should not I wear pink 
ribbons? I do not care if it w the doctor's 
favourite colour. I am sure, for my part, I 
should never have known he did like it better 
than any other colour, if he had not happened 
to say so. My cousins have been so plaguing 
me! I declare, sometimes, I do not know 
which way to look before them.' 

She had wandered away to a subject on which 
Ehnor had nothing to say, and therefore soon 
judged it expedient to find her way back again 
to the first. 

*Well, but, Miss Dashwood,' speaking tri- 
umphantly, 'people may say what they chuse 

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about Mr. Ferrars's declaring he would not have 
Lucy, for it 's no such a thing, I can tell you ; 
and it 's quite a shame for such ill-natured reports 
to be spread abroad. Whatever Lucy might 
think about it herself, you know it was no 
business of other people to set it down for certain/ 

* I never heard 'anything of the kind hinted 
at before, I assure you,' said Elinor. 

' Oh I did not you ? But it was said, I know 
very well, and by more than one; for Miss 
Godby told Miss Sparks, that nobody in their 
senses could expect Mr. Ferrars to give up a 
woman like Miss Morton, with thirty thousand 
pounds to her fortune, for Lucy Steele, that 
had nothing at all; and I had it from Miss 
Sparks myself. And besides that, my cousin 
Richard said himself, that when it came to the 
point, he was afraid Mr. Ferrars would be off; 
and when Edward did not come near us for 
three days, I could not tell what to think my- 
self ; and I believe in my heart Lucy gave it 
all up for lost; for we came away from your 
brother's Wednesday, and we saw nothing of 
him not all Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 
and did not know what was become with him. 
Once Lucy thought to write to him, but then 
her spirit rose against that. However, this 
morning he came, just as we came home from 
church ; and then it all came out, how he had 
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been sent for Wednesday to Harley Street, 
and been talked to by his mother and all of 
them, and how he had declared before them all 
that he loved nobody but Lucy, and nobody but 
Lucy would he have. And how he had been 
so worried by what passed, that as soon as he 
had went away from his mother s house, he had 
got upon his horse, and rid into the country 
somewhere or other; and how he had staid 
about at an inn aU Thursday and Friday, on 
purpose to get the better of it. And after 
thinking it all over and over again, he said it 
seemed to him as if, now he had no fortune, and 
no nothing at all, it would be quite unkind to 
keep her on to the engagement, because it must 
be for her loss, for he had nothing but two 
thousand pounds, and no hope of anything else ; 
and if he was to go into orders, as he had some 
thoughts, he could get nothing but a curacy, 
and how was they to live upon that ? — ^He could 
not bear to think of her doing no better, and so 
he begged, if she had the least mind for it, to 
put an end to the matter directly, and leave 
him to shift for himself. I heard him say all 
this as plain as could possibly be. And it was 
entirely for her sake, and upon her account, that 
he said a word about being off, and not upon his 
own. I will take my oath he never dropt a 
syllable of being tired of her, or of wishing to 

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marry Miss Morton, or anything like it. But, 
to be sure, Lucy would not give ear to such 
kind of talking; so she told him directly (with 
a great deal about sweet and love, you know, 
and all that — Oh la ! one can't repeat such kind 
of things, you know) — ^she told him directly, she 
had not the least mind in the world to be off, 
for she could live with him upon such a trifle, 
and how little soever he might have, she should 
be very glad to have it all, you know, or some- 
thing of the kind. So then he was monstrous 
happy, and talked on some time about what 
they should do, and they agreed he should take 
orders directly, and they must wait to be married 
till he got a living. And just then I could not 
hear any more, for my cousin called from below 
to tell me Mrs. Richardson was come in her 
coach, and would take one of us to Kensington 
Gardens ; so I was forced to go into the room 
and interrupt them, to ask Lucy if she would 
like to go, but she did not care to leave Edward ; 
so I just run upstairs and put on a pair of silk 
stockings, and came off with the Richardsons.' 

*I do not understand what you mean by 
interrupting them,' said Elinor; *you were all 
in the same room together, were not you ? ' 

'No indeed 1 not us. Lai Miss Dashwood, 
do you think people make love when anybody 
else is by ? Oh ! for shame 1 To be sure, 
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you must know better than that. (Laughing 
affectedly.) — ^No, no ; they were shut up m the 
drawing-room together, and all I hear^ was only 
by listening at the door/ 

*Howl' cried Elinor; *have you bfe^n re- 
peating to me what you only learnt yourself by 
listening at the door? I am sorry I did not 
know it before ; for I certainly would not have 
suffered you to give me particulars of a con- 
versation which you ought not to have known 
yourself. How could you behave so unfiurly 
by your sister ? ' 

'Oh la I there is nothing in that. I only 
stood at the door, and heard what I could. 
And I am sure Lucy would have done just the 
same by me; for, a year or two back, when 
Martha Sharpe and I had so many secrets to- 
gether, she never made any bones of hiding in 
a closet, or behind a chinmey-board, on purpose 
to hear what we sidd.' 

Elinor tried to talk of something else; but 
Miss Steele could not be kept beyond a couple 
of minutes from what was uppermost in her mind 

* Edward talks of going to Oxford soon,' said 
she; *but now he is lodging at No. — , Pall Mall. 
What an ill-natured woman her mother is, an't 
she? And your brother and sister were not 
very kindl However, I shan't say anything 
against them to you; and to be sure they did 

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send us home in their own chariot, which was 
more than I looked for. And for my part, I 
was all in a fright for fear your sister should ask 
us for the huswifes she had gave us a day or 
two before; but, however, nothing was said 
about them, and I took care to keep mine out 
of sight Edward have got some business at 
Oxford, he says, so he must go there for a time ; 
and after tJuit, as soon as he can light upon a 
bishop, he will be ordained. I wonder what 
curacy he will getl Good gracious! (giggling 
as she spoke) I 'd lay my life I know what my 
cousins will say, when they hear of it. They 
will tell me I should write to the doctor, to 
get Edward the curacy of his new living. I 
know they will ; but I am sure I would not do 
such a thing for all the world. *• La 1 " I shall 
say directly, "I wonder how you could think 
of such a thing. / write to the doctor, in- 
deed 1"' 

•Well,' s«d Elinor, * it is a comfort to be 
prepared against the worst. You have got 
your answer ready/ 

Miss Steele was going to reply on the same 
subject, but the approach of her own party 
made another more necessary. 

•Oh lal here come the Richardsons. I had 
a vast deal more to say to you, but I must not 
stay away from them not any longer. I assure 
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you they are very genteel people. He makes 
a monstrous deal of money, and they keep their 
own coadu I have not tune to speak to Mrs. 
Jennings about it myself, but pray tell her I 
am quite happy to hear she is not in anger 
agamst us, and Lady Middleton the same; and 
if anything should happen to take you and your 
sister away, and Mrs. Jennings should want 
company, I am sure we should be very glad to 
come and stay with her for as long a time as 
she likes. I suppose Lady Middleton won't 
ask us any more this bout. Good-bye; I am 
sorry Miss Marianne was not here. Remember 
me kindly to her. Lai if you have not got 
your best spotted muslin on! — I wonder you 
was not afraid of its being torn.' 

Such was her parting concern ; for after this 
she had time only to pay her farewell compli- 
ments to Mrs. Jennings, before her company 
was claimed by Mrs. Richardson: and Elinor 
was left in possession of knowledge which might 
feed her powers of reflection some time, though 
she had learnt very little more than what had 
been already foreseen and foreplanned in her 
own mind. Edward's marriage with Lucy was 
as firmly determined on, and the time of its 
taking place remained as absolutely uncertain, 
as she had concluded it would be; everything 
depended, exactly after her expectation, on his 

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getting that preferment, of which, at present, 
there seemed not the smallest chance. 

As soon as they returned to the carriage 
Mrs. Jennings was eager for information; but 
as Elinor wished to spread as little as possible 
intelligence that had in the first place been so 
unfairly obtained, she confined herself to the 
brief repetition of such simple particulars, as 
she felt assured that Lucy, for the sake of her 
own consequence, would chuse to have known. 
The continuance of their engagement, and the 
means that were to be taken for promoting its 
end, was all her communication ; and this pro- 
duced from Mrs. Jennings the following natural 
remark — 

*Wait for his having a living 1 — ay, we all 
know how that will end; — ^they will wait a 
twelvemonth, and finding no good comes of it, 
will set down upon a curacy of fifty pounds a year, 
with the interest of his two thousand pounds, and 
what little matter Mr. Steele and Mr. Pratt can 
^ve her. — ^Then they will have a child every 
yearl and Lord help 'eml how poor they will 
be 1 I must see what I can give them towards 
furnishing their house. Two maids and two 
men indeed 1 — ^as I talked of t' other day. — ^No, 
no, they must get a stout girl of all works. — 
Betty's sister would never do for them now.* 

The next morning brought Elinor a letter by 
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the twopenny post from Lucy herself. It was 
as follows : — 

•Babtlett*s Buildings, March 

'I hope my dear Miss Dash wood will excuse 
the liberty I take of writing to her ; but I know 
your friendship for me will make you pleased to 
hear such a good account of myself and my dear 
Edward, after all the troubles we have went 
through lately, therefore will make no more 
apologies, but proceed to say that, thank God ! 
though we have suffered dreadfully, we are both 
quite well now, and as happy as we must always 
be in one another's love. We have had great 
trials, and great persecutions, but, however, at 
the same time, gratefully acknowledge many 
friends, yourself not the least among them, 
whose great kindness I shall always thankfully 
remember, as wiQ Edward too, who I have told 
of it I am sure you will be glad to hear, as 
likewise dear Mrs, Jennings, I spent two happy 
hours with him yesterday afternoon, he would 
not hear of our parting, though earnestly did I, 
as I thought my duty required, urge him to it 
for prudence sake, and would have parted for 
ever on the spot, would he consent to it ; but he 
said it should never be, he did not regard his 
mother's anger, while he could have my affections; 
our prospects are not very bright, to be sure, but 
we must wait, and hope for the best ; he will be 

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ordained shortly, and should it ever be in your 
power to recommend him to anybody that has 
a living to bestow, am veiy sure you will not 
forget us, and dear Mrs. Jennings too, trust she 
will break a good word for us to Sir John, or 
Mr. Pahner, or any fiiend that may be able to 
assist us. — ^Poor Anne was much to blame for 
what she did, but she did it for the best, so I say 
nothing ; hope Mrs. Jennings won't think it too 
much trouble to give us a call, should she come 
this way any morning, 'twould be a great kind- 
ness, and my cousins would be proud to know 
her. — My paper reminds me to conclude, and 
begging to be most gratefully and respectfully 
remembered to her, and to Sir John and Lady 
Middleton, and the dear children, when you 
chance to see Hiern, and love to Miss Marianne, 

' I am, etc., etc' 

As soon as Elinor had finished it, she per- 
formed what she concluded to be its writer s 
real design, by placing it in the hands of 
Mrs. Jennings, who read it aloud with many 
comments of satisfaction and praise. 

* Very well indeed I — ^how prettily she writes 1 
— ay, liat was quite proper to let him be off 
if he would. That was just like Lucy. — Poor 
soul ! I wish I could get him a living with all 
my heart — She calls me dear Mrs. Jennings, 
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you see. She is a good-hearted ^1 as ever 
lived. Very well, upon my word. That sen- 
tence is very prettily turned. Yes, yes, I will 
go and see her sure enough. How attentive 
she is, to think of everybody 1 — ^Thank you, my 
dear, for shewing it me. It is as pretty a letter 
as ever I saw, and does Lucy's head and heart 
great credit* 



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CHAPTER XXXIX 

The Miss Dashwoods had now been rather 
more than two months in town, and Marianne's 
impatience to be gone increased every day. She 
sighed for the air, the liberty, the quiet of the 
country; and fancied that if any place could 
give her ease, Barton must do it. Elinor was 
hardly less anxious than herself for their re- 
moval, and only so much less bent on its being 
effected immediately, as that she was conscious 
of the difficulties of so long a journey, which 
Marianne could not be brought to acknowledge. 
She began, however, seriously to turn her 
thoughts towards its accomplishment, and had 
already mentioned their wishes to their kind 
hostess, who resisted them with all the eloquence 
of her goodwill, when a plan was suggested, 
which, though detaining them from home yet a 
few weeks longer, appeared to Elinor altogether 
much more eligible than any other. The 
Palmers were to remove to Cleveland about the 
end of March, for the Easter holidays; and 
Mrs. Jennings, with both her friends, received 
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a very warm inyitation from Charlotte to go 
with them. This would not, in itself, have 
been sufficient for the delicacy of Miss Dash- 
wood ; — ^but it was enforced with so much real 
politeness by Mr. Palmer himself, as, joined to 
the very great amendment of his manners to- 
wards them since her sister had been known 
to be unhappy, induced her to accept it with 
pleasure. 

When she told Marianne what she had done, 
however, her first reply was not very auspicious. 

'Cleveland I' she cried, with great agitation. 
* No, I cannot go to Cleveland.' 

*You forget,' said Elinor gently, 'that its 
situation is not • • • that it is not in the neigh- 
bourhood of . . .' 

*But it is in Somersetshire. I cannot go 
into Somersetshire. There, where I looked 
forward to going . . . No, Elinor, you cannot 
expect me to go there.' 

Elinor would not argue upon the propriety 
of overcoming such feelings ; — she only endeav- 
oured to counteract them by working on others ; 
— ^and represented it, therefore, as a measure 
which would fix the time of her returning to 
that dear mother, whom she so much wished 
to see, in a more eligible, more comfortable 
manner, than any other plan could do, and 
perhaps without any greater delay. From 

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Cleveland, which was within a few miles of 
Bristol, the distance to Barton was not beyond 
one day, though a long day's journey ; and their 
mother s servant might easily come there to 
attend them down; and as there could be no 
occasion for their staying above a week at 
Cleveland, they might now be at home in little 
more than three weeks' time. As Marianne's 
affection for her mother was sincere, it must 
triumph, with little difficulty, over the imaginary 
evil she had started. 

Mrs. Jennings was so far from being weary of 
her guests, that she pressed them very earnestly 
to return with her again from Cleveland. Elinor 
was grateftil for the attention, but it could not 
alter their design; and their mother's concur- 
rence being readily gained, everything relative 
to their return was arranged as far as it could 
be ; — ^and Marianne found some relief in drawing 
up a statement of the hours that were yet to 
divide her from Barton. 

* Ah I Colonel, I do not know what you and 
I shall do without the Miss Dashwoods,' was 
Mrs. Jennings's address to him when he first 
called on her, after their leaving her was settled ; 
*for they are quite resolved upon going home 
from the Palmers; — and how forlorn we shall 
be, when I come back I — ^Lord I we shall sit and 
gape at one another as dull as two cats.' 
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Perhaps Mrs. Jennings was in hopes, by tliis 
vigorous sketch of their future ennuis to provoke 
him to make that offer which might give himself 
an escape from it — and if so, she had soon after- 
wards good reason to think her object gained ; 
for, on Ellinor's moving to the window to take 
more expeditiously the dimensions of a print 
which she was going to copy for her friend, he 
followed her to it with a look of particular 
meaning, and conversed with her there for several 
minutes. The effect of this discourse on the 
lady, too, could not escape her observation ; for 
though she was too honourable to listen, and 
had even changed her seat on purpose that she 
might not hear, to one close by the pianoforte 
on which Marianne was playing, she could not 
keep herself from seeing that Elinor changed 
colour, attended with agitation, and was too 
intent on what he said to pursue her employ- 
ment. Still farther in confirmation of her hopes, 
in the interval of Marianne's turning from one 
lesson to another, some words of the Colonel's 
inevitably reached her ear, in which he seemed 
to be apologising for the badness of his house. 
This set the matter beyond a doubt. She won- 
dered indeed at his thinking it necessary to do 
so ; but supposed it to be the proper etiquette. 
What Elinor said in reply she could not dis- 
tinguish, but judged from the motion of her lips 
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that she did not think that any material objec- 
tion ; — and Mrs. Jennings conmiended her in her 
heart for being so honest. They then talked 
on for a few minutes longer without her catching 
a syllable, when another lucky stop in Marianne s 
performance brought her these words in the 
Colonel's cahn voice — 

• I am afraid it cannot take place very soon/ 
Astonished and shocked at so unloverlike 

a speech, she was almost ready to cry out, 
* Lord I what should hinder it I' — ^but checking 
her desire, confined herself to this silent ejacu- 
lation — 

* This is very strange I — sure he need not wait 
to be older.* 

This delay on the Colonel's side, however, did 
not seem to offend or mortify his fair companion 
in the least ; for on their breaking up the con- 
ference soon afterwards, and moving different 
ways, Mrs. Jennings very plainly heard Elinor 
say, and in a voice which shewed her to feel 
what she said — 

•I shall always think myself very much 
obliged to you.' 

Mrs. Jennings was delighted with her grati- 
tude, and only wondered that, after hearing 
such a sentence, the Colonel should be able to 
take leave of them, as he immediately did, with 
the utmost sang-froid^ and go without making 
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her any reply 1 — She had not thought her old 
friend could have made so indifferent a suitor. 

What had really passed between them was to 
this effect — 

* I have heard,' said he, with great compassion, 
*of the injustice your friend Mr. Ferrars has 
suffered from his family; for, if I understand 
the matter right, he has been entirely cast off 
by them for persevering in his engagement with 
a very deserving young woman. Have I been 
rightly informed ? — Is it so ? ' 

Elinor told him that it was. 

• The cruelty, the impolitic cruelty,' he replied, 
with great feeling, * of dividing, or attempting to 
divide, two young people long attached to each 
other, is terrible. Mrs. Ferrars does not know 
what she may be doing — ^what she may drive 
her son to. I have seen Mr. Ferrars two or 
thvte times in Harley Street, and am much 
pleased with him. He is not a young man with 
whom one can be intimately acquainted in a 
short time, but I have seen enough of him to 
wish him weU for his own sake, and as a friend 
of yours, I wish it still more. I understand that 
he intends to take orders. Will you be so good 
as to tell him that the living of Delaford, now 
just vacant, as I am informed by this day's post, 
is his, if he think it worth his acceptance ; — ^but 
thctt, perhaps, so unfortunately circumstanced as 

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he is now, it may be nonsense to appear to doubt; 
I only wish it were more valuable. It is a rectory, 
but a smaU one ; the late incumbent, I believe, 
did not make more than two hundred pounds 
per annum; and though it is certainly capable of 
improvement, I fear not to such an amount as 
to afford him a very comfortable income. Such 
as it is, however, my pleasure in presenting him 
to it will be very great. Pray assure him of it' 
Elinor s astonishment at this commission could 
hardly have been greater had the Colonel been 
really making her an offer of his hand. The 
preferment, which only two days before she had 
considered as hopeless for Edward, was already 
provided to enable him to marry ; — ^and she^ of 
all people in the world, was fixed on to bestow 
itl Her emotion was such as Mrs. Jennings 
had attributed to a very different cause; — but 
whatever minor feelings less pure, less pleasing, 
might have a share in that emotion, her esteem 
for the general benevolence, and her gratitude 
for the particular friendship, which together 
prompted Colonel Brandon to this act, were 
strongly felt, and warmly expressed. She 
thanked him for it with all her heart, spoke of 
Edward's principles and disposition with that 
praise which she knew them to deserve, and 
promised to undertake the commission with 
pleasure, if it were really his wish to put off 
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so agreeable an office to another. But, at the 
same time, she could not help thmkmg that no 
one could so well perform it as himself. It was 
aii office, in short, from which, unwilling to give 
Edward the pain of receiving an obligation from 
her, she would have been very glad to be spared 
herself; — ^but Colonel Brandon, on motives of 
equal delicacy declining it likewise, still seemed 
so desirous of its being given through her means, 
that she would not on any account make farther 
opposition. Edward, she believed, was still in 
town, and fortunately she had heard his address 
from Miss Steele. She could undertake, there- 
fore, to inform him of it in the course of the day. 
After this had been settled. Colonel Brandon 
began to talk of his own advantage in securing 
so respectable and agreeable a neighbour; and 
then it was that he mentioned with regret, that 
the house was small and indifferent; — an evil 
which Elinor, as Mrs. Jennings had supposed 
her to do, made very light of, at least as far as 
regarded its size. 

* The smallness of the house,' said she, * I can- 
not imagine any inconvenience to them, for it 
will be in proportion to their family and income.' 

By which the Colonel was surprised to find 
that she was considering their marriage as the 
certain consequence of the presentation ; for he 
did not suppose it possible that Delaford living 

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could supply such an income as anybody in their 
style of Itfe would venture to settle on — ^and he 
said so. 

* This little rectory can do no more than make 
Mr. Ferrars comfortable as a bachelor; it can- 
not enable him to marry. I am sorry to say 
that my patronage ends with this; and my 
interest is hardly more extensive. If, however, 
by any unforeseen chance it should be in my 
power to serve him farther, I must think very 
differently of him from what I now do, if I am 
not as ready to be useful to him then as I 
sincerely wish I could be at present What I 
am now doing, indeed, seems nothing at all, since 
it can advance him so little towards what must 
be his principal, his only object of happiness. 
His marriage must still be a distant good ; — ^at 
least I am afraid it cannot take place very 
soon.' 

Such was the sentence which, when misunder- 
stood, so justly offended the delicate feelings of 
Mrs. Jennings ; but after this narration of what 
really passed between Colonel Brandon and 
Elinor, while they stood at the window, the 
gratitude expressed by the latter on their part- 
ing may perhaps appear, in general, not less 
reasonably excited, nor less properly worded, 
than if it had arisen from an offer of marriage. 



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CHAPTER XL 

*Well, Miss Dashwood/ said Mrs. Jennings, 
sagaciously smiling, as soon as the gentleman 
had withdrawn, 'I do not ask you what the 
Colonel has been saying to you; for though, 
upon my honour, I tried to keep out of hearing, 
I could not help catching enough to understand 
his business. And I assure you I never was 
better pleased in my life, and I wish you joy of 
it with all my heart* 

^ Thank you, ma'am,' said Elinor. ^It i^ a 
matter of great joy to me ; and I feel the good- 
ness of Colonel Brandon most sensibly. There 
are not many men who would act as he has 
done. Few people have so compassionate a 
heart! I never was more astonished in my 
life.' 

*Lordl my dear, you are very modest 1 I 
an't the least astonished at it in the world, for I 
have often thought, of late, there was nothing 
more likely to happen.' 

*You judged from your knowledge of the 
Colonels general benevolence ; but at least you 

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could not foresee that the opportunity would so 
very soon occur.' 

* Opportunity I ' repeated Mrs. Jennings — 
' Oh 1 as to that, when a man has once made up 
his mind to such a thing, somehow or other he 
will soon find an opportunity. Well, my dear, 
I wish you joy of it again and again ; and if ever 
there was a happy couple in the world, I think I 
shall soon know where to look for them.' 

* You mean to go to Delaford after them, I 
suppose,' said Elinor, with a faint smile. 

* Ay, my dear, that I do indeed. And as to 
the house being a bad one, I do not know what 
the Colonel would be at, for it is as good a one 
as ever I saw.' 

* He spoke of its being out of repair.' 

* Well, and whose fault is that? Why don't 
he repwr it ? — ^who should do it but himself? ' 

They were interrupted by the servant's 
coming in, to announce the carriage being at 
the door; and Mrs. Jennings, immediately pre- 
paring to go, said — 

* Well, my dear, I must be gone before I have 
had half my talk out. But, however, we may 
have it aU over in the evening, for we shall be 
quite alone. I do not ask you to go with 
me, for I dare say your mind is too full of the 
matter to care for company; and beside, you 
must long to tell your sister all about it' 

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Marianne had left the room before the 
conversation began. 

* Certainly', ma'am, I shaU tell Marianne of it ; 
but I shall not mention it at^resent to anybody 
else/ 

*Oh! very well,' said Mrs. Jennings, rather 
disappointed. *Then you would not have me 
tell it Lucy, for I think of going as far as 
Holbom to-day.* 

*No, ma'am, not even Lucy, if you please. 
One day's delay will not be very material ; and 
till I have written to Mr. Ferrars, I think it 
ought not to be mentioned to anybody else. I 
shall do that directly. It is of importance that 
no time should be lost with him, for he will, of 
course, have much to do relative to his ordina- 
tion.' 

This speech at first puzzled Mrs. Jennings 
exceedingly. Why Mr. Ferrars was to be 
written to about it in such a hurry she could 
not immediately comprehend. A few moments' 
reflection, however, produced a very happy idea, 
and she exclaimed — 

*Oh hoi I understand you. Mr. Ferrars is 
to be the man. Well, so much the better for 
him. Ay, to be sure, he must be ordained in 
readiness ; and I am very glad to jfind things are 
so forward between you. But, my dear, is not 
this rather out of character ? Should not the 

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Colonel write himself? Sure, he is the proper 
person.' 

Elinor did not quite understand the beginning 
of Mrs. Jennings's speech ; neither did she think 
it worth inquiring into; and therefore only 
replied to its conclusion. 

^Colonel Brandon is so delicate a man, that 
he rather wished any one to announce his 
intentions to Mr. Ferrars than himself' 

* And so you are forced to do it. Well, that 
is an odd kind of delicacy I However, I will 
not disturb you (seeing her preparing to write). 
You know your own concerns best So good- 
bye, my dear. I have not heard of anjrthing to 
please me so well since Charlotte was brought 
to bed.' 

And away she went, but returning again in a 
moment — 

* I have just been thinking of Betty's sister, 
my dear. I should be very glad to get her so 
good a mistress. But whether she would do for 
a lady's maid, I am sure I can't tell. She is an 
excellent housemaid, and works very well at her 
needle. However, you will think of all that at 
your leisure.' 

* Certainly, ma'am,' replied Elinor, not hearing 
much of what she said, and more anxious to be 
alone than to be mistress of the subject. 

How she should begin — how she should 
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express herself in her note to Edward was now 
all her concern. The particular circumstances 
between them made a difficulty of that which to 
any other person would have been the easiest 
thing in the world; but she equally feared to 
say too much or too little, and sat deliberating 
over her paper, with the pen in her hand, till 
broken in on by the entrance of Edward 
himself. 

He had met Mrs. Jennings at the door, in her 
way to the carriage, as he came to leave his fare- 
well card; and she, after apologising for not 
returning herself, had obliged him to enter by 
saying that Miss Dashwood was above, and 
wanted to speak with him on very particular 
business. 

Elinor had just been congratulating herself, in 
the midst of her perplexity, that however diffi- 
cult it might be to express herself properly by 
letter, it was at least preferable to giving the 
information by word of mouth, when her visitor 
entered, to force her upon this greatest exertion 
of all. Her astonishment and confusion were 
very great on his so sudden appearance. She 
had not seen him before since his engagement 
became public, and therefore not since his 
knowing her to be acquainted with it; which, 
with the consciousness of what she had been 
thinking of, and what she had to tell him, made 

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her feel particularly uncomfortable for some 
minutes. He too was much distressed, and they 
sat down together in a most promising state of 
embarrassment. — Whether he had asked her 
pardon for his intrusion on first coming into the 
room, he could not recollect ; but determining 
to be on the safe side, he made his apology in 
form as soon as he could say anything, after 
taking a chair. 

*Mrs. Jennings told me,' said he, *that you 
wished to speak with me, at least I understood 
her so — or I certainly should not have intruded 
on you in such a manner ; though, at the same 
time, I should have been extremely sorry to 
leave London without seeing you and your 
sister ; especially as it will most likely be some 
time — it is not probable that I should soon 
have the pleasure of meeting you again. I go 
to Oxford to-morrow.' 

*You would not have gone, however,' said 
Elinor, recovering herself, and determined to 
get over what she so much dreaded as soon as 
possible, * without receiving our good wishes, 
even if we had not been able to give them in 
person. Mrs. Jennings was quite right in what 
she said. I have something of consequence to 
inform you of, which I was on the point of 
communicating by paper. I am charged with 
a most agreeable office (breathing rather faster 
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than usual as she spoke). Colonel Brandon, 
who was here only ten minutes ago, has desired 
me to say, that, understanding you mean to take 
orders, he has great pleasure in offering you the 
living of Delaford, now just vacant, and only 
wishes it were more valuable. Allow me to 
congratulate you on having so respectable and 
well-judging a friend, and to join in his wish 
that the living — ^it is about two hundred a year 
— ^were much more considerable, and such as 
might better enable you to — ^as might be more 
than a temporary accommodation to yourself — 
such, in short, as might establish all your views 
of happiness.' 

What Edward felt, as he could not say it 
himself, it cannot be expected that any one 
else should say it for him. He looked all the 
astonishment which such unexpected, which 
such unthought-of information could not fail of 
exciting ; but he said only these two words — 

* Colonel Brandon 1 ' 

*Yes,' continued Elinor, gathering more 
resolution as some of the worst was over, 
•Colonel Brandon means it as a testimony of 
his concern for what has lately passed — ^for the 
cruel situation in which the unjustifiable conduct 
of yoiu" family has placed you — a concern which, 
I am sure, Marianne, myself and aU your friends 
must share ; and likewise as a proof of his high 
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esteem for your general character, and his par- 
ticular approbation of your behaviour on the 
present occasion.' 

'Colonel Brandon give me a living 1 Can it 
be possible ? ' 

'The unkindness of your own relations has 
made you astonished to find friendship any- 
where.' 

*No,* replied he, with sudden consciousness, 
' not to find it in you ; for I cannot be ignorant 
that to you, to your goodness, I owe it all. I 
feel it — I would express it if I could — ^but, as 
you well know, I am no orator.' 

* You are very much mistaken. I do assure 
you that you owe it entirely, at least almost 
entirely, to your own merit, and Colonel 
Brandon's discernment of it. I have had no 
hand in it. I did not even know, till I under- 
stood his design, that the living was vacant; nor 
had it ever occurred to me that he might have 
such a living in his ^ft. As a friend of mine, 
of my family, he may perhaps — ^indeed I know 
he haSi still greater pleasure in bestowing it; 
but, upon my word, you owe nothing to my 
solicitation.' 

Truth obliged her to acknowledge some small 

share in the action; but she was at the same 

time so unwilling to appear as the benefactress 

of Edward, that she acknowledged it with 

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hesitation; which probably contributed to fix 
that suspicion in his mind which had re- 
cently entered it For a short time he sat 
deep in thought, after Elinor had ceased to 
speak ; at last, as if it were rather an effort, he 
said — 

^ Colonel Brandon seems a man of great worth 
and respectability. I have always heard him 
spoken of as such, and your brother, I know, 
esteems him highly. He is undoubtedly a 
sensible man, and in his manners perfectly the 
gentleman.' 

* Indeed,' replied Elinor, * I believe that you 
will find him, on farther acquaintance, aU that 
you have heard him to be; and as you will be 
such very near neighbours (for I understand the 
parsonage is almost dose to the mansion-house), 
it is particularly important that he should be all 
this.' 

Edward made no answer ; but when she had 
turned away her head, gave her a look, so 
serious, so earnest, so uncheerful, as seemed 
to say, that he might hereafter wish the dis- 
tance between the parsonage and the mansion- 
house much greater. 

^Colonel Brandon, I think, lodges in St. 
James's Street,' said he, soon afterwards, rising 
firom his chair. 

Elinor told him the number of the house. 

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* I must hurry away, then, to give him those 
thanks which you will not allow me to give 
you ; to assure him that he has made me a very 
— ^an exceedingly happy man.' 

Elinor did not offer to detain him ; and they 
parted, with a very earnest assurance on her side 
of her unceasing good wishes for his happiness 
in every change of situation that might befall 
him; on his, with rather an attempt to return 
the same goodwill, than the power of express- 
ing it. 

^When I see him again,' said Elinor to 
herself, as the door shut him out, *I shall see 
him the husband of Lucy.' 

And with this pleasing anticipation she sat 
down to reconsider the past, recall the words, 
and endeavour to comprehend all the feelings of 
Edward; and, of course, to reflect on her own 
with discontent. 

When Mrs. Jennings came home, though she 
returned from seeing people whom she had never 
seen before, and of whom therefore she must 
have a great deal to say, her mind was so much 
more occupied by the important secret in her 
possession, than by anything else, that she 
reverted to it again as soon as Elinor appeared. 

^Well, my dear,' she cried, *I sent you up 
the young man. Did not I do right ? And I 
suppose you had no great difficulty. — ^You did 
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not find him very unwilling to accept your 
proposal ? ' 

* No, ma'am ; that was not very likely.* 

* Well, and how soon will he be ready ? — For 
it seems all to depend upon that.' 

'Really,' said Elinor, 'I know so little of 
these kind of forms, that I can hardly even con- 
jecture as to the time, or the preparation neces- 
sary; but I suppose two or three months will 
complete his ordination.' 

* Two or three months I ' cried Mrs. Jennings ; 
*Lordl my dear, how calmly you talk of itl 
and can the Colonel wait two or three months I 
Lord bless mel — I am sure it would put me 
quite out of patience. And though one would 
be very glad to do a kindness by poor Mr. 
Ferrars, I do think it is not worth while to wait 
two or three months for him. Sure, somebody 
else might be found that would do as well — 
somebody that is in orders already.' 

* My dear ma'am,' said Elinor, * what can you 
be thinking of? — Why, Colonel Brandon's only 
object is to be of use to Mr. Ferrars.' 

* Lord bless you, my dear 1 — Sure you do not 
mean to persuade me that the Colonel only 
marries you for the sake of giving ten guineas 
to Mr. Ferrars 1 ' 

The deception could not continue after this ; 
and an explanation immediately took place, by 
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which both gained considerable amusement for 
the moment, without any material loss of happi- 
ness to either, for Mrs. Jennings only exchanged 
one form of delight for another, and still with- 
out forfeiting her expectation of the first 

'Ay, ay, the parsonage is but a small one,' 
said she, after the first ebullition of surprise 
and satisfaction was over, * and very likely may 
be out of repair ; but to hear a man apologising, 
as I thought, for a house that to my knowledge 
has five sitting-rooms on the ground floor, and, 
I think the housekeeper told me, could make 
up fifteen beds 1 — ^And to you too, that had been 
used to live in Barton Cottage 1 It seemed 
quite ridiculous. But, my dear, we must touch 
up the Colonel to do something to the parsonage, 
and make it comfortable for them, before Lucy 
goes to it.' 

* But Colonel Brandon does not seem to have 
any idea of the living's being enough to allow 
them to marry.' 

* The Colonel is a ninny, my dear ; because he 
has two thousand a year himself, he thinks that 
nobody else can marry on less. Take my word 
for it, that if I am alive, I shall be pa3dng a 
visit at Delaford Parsonage before Michaelmas ; 
and I am sure I shan't go if Lucy an't there.' 

Elinor was quite of her opinion, as to the pro- 
bability of their not waiting for anything more. 
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CHAPTER XLI 

Edwabd, having carried his thanks to Colonel 
Brandon, proceeded with his happiness to Lucy; 
and such was the excess of it by the time he 
reached Bartlett's Buildings, that she was able 
to assure Mrs. Jennings, who called on her 
again the next day with her congratulations, 
that she had never seen him in such spirits 
before in her life. 

Her own happiness, and her own spirits, were 
at least very certain; and she joined Mrs. 
Jennings most heartily in her expectation of 
their being aU comfortably together in Delaford 
Parsonage before Michaelmas. So far was she, 
at the same time, from any backwardness to 
give Elinor that credit which Edward would 
give her, that she spoke of her friendship for 
them both with the most grateM warmth, was 
ready to own aU their obligation to her, and 
openly declared that no exertion for their good 
on Miss Dashwood's part, either present or 
future, would ever surprise her, for she believed 
her capable of doing anjrthing in the world for 

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those she really valued. As for Colonel Brandon, 
she was not only ready to worship him as a saint, 
but was moreover truly anxious that he should 
be treated as one in all worldly concerns; 
anxious that his tithes should be raised to the 
utmost; and secretly resolved to avail herself 
at Delaford, as far as she possibly could, of his 
servants, his carriage, his cows, and his poultry. 
It was now above a week since John Dash- 
wood had called in Berkeley Street, and as since 
that time no notice had been taken by them 
of his wife's indisposition, beyond one verbal 
inquiry, Elinor began to feel it necessary to pay 
her a visit. This was an obligation, however, 
which not only opposed her own inclination, 
but which had not the assistance of any en- 
couragement from her companions. Marianne, 
not contented with absolutely refusing to go 
herself, was very urgent to prevent her sister's 
going at all; and Mrs. Jennings, though her 
carriage was always at Elinor's service, so very 
much disliked Mrs. John Dashwood, that not 
even her curiosity to see how she looked after 
the late discovery, nor her strong desire to 
affront her by taking Edward's part, could over- 
come her unwillingness to be in her company 
again. The consequence was, that Elinor set 
out by herself to pay a visit, for which no one 
could really have less inclination, and to nm 
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the risk of a tite-a-tite with a woman whom 
neither of the others had so much reason to 
dislike. 

Mrs. Dashwood was denied; but before the 
carriage could turn from the house her husband 
accidentally came out. He expressed great 
pleasure in meeting Elinor, told her that he 
had been just going to call in Berkeley Street, 
and assuring her that Fanny would be very glad 
to see her, invited her to come in. 

They walked up stairs into the drawing-room. 
Nobody was there. 

* Fanny is in her own room, I suppose,' siud 
he ; — * I will go to her presently, for I am sure 
she will not have the least objection in the 
world to seeing you — ^very far from it indeed. 
Now especially there cannot be — ^but, however, 
you and Marianne were always great favourites. 
Why would not Marianne come ? * 

!E^or made what excuse she could for her. 

* I am not sorry to see you alone,' he replied, 
* for I have a good deal to say to you. This 
living of Colonel Brandon's — can it be true? 
— ^has he really given it to Edward? I heard 
it yesterday by chance, and was coming to you 
on purpose to inquire farther about it.' 

*It is perfectly true. — Colonel Brandon has 
pven the living of Delaford to Edward.' 

* Really I — ^Well, this is very astonishing 1 — no 

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relationship! — ^no connexion between them I — 
and now that livings fetch such a price 1 — ^what 
was the value of this ? * 

* About two hundred a year.' 

* Very well ; and for the next presentation to 
a living of that value — ^supposing the late in- 
cumbent to have been old and sickly, and likely 
to vacate it soon — ^he might have got, I dare 
say, fourteen hundred pounds. And how came 
he not to have settled that matter before this 
person's death? — Now indeed it would be too 
late to sell it, but a man of Colonel Brandon's 
sense 1 — I wonder he should be so improvident 
in a point of such common, such natural con- 
cern ! Well, I am convinced that there is a 
vast deal of inconsistency in almost every human 
character. I suppose, however — on recollection 
— ^that the case may probably be this. Edward 
is only to hold the living till the person to whom 
the Colonel has really sold the presentation is 
old enough to take it. — ^Ay, ay, that is the 
fact, depend upon it.' 

Elinor contradicted it, however, very posi- 
tively; and by relating that she had herself 
been employed in conveying the offer from 
Colonel Brandon to Edward, and therefore must 
understand the terms on which it was given, 
obliged him to submit to her authority. 

* It is truly astonishing 1 ' he cried, after hear- 

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ing what she said. * What could be the Colonel's 
motive ? ' 

•A very simple one — ^to be of use to Mr. 
Ferrars.' 

*Well, well; whatever Colonel Brandon may 
be, Edward is a very lucky man 1 You will not 
mention the matter to Fanny, however; for 
though I have broke it to her, and she bears it 
vastly well, she will not like to hear it much 
talked of.* 

Elinor had some difficulty here to refrain from 
observing, that she thought Fanny might have 
borne with composure an acquisition of wealth 
to her brother, by which neither she nor her 
child could be possibly impoverished. 

* Mrs. Ferrars,' added he, lowering his voice 
to the tone becoming so important a subject, 
* knows nothing about it at present, and I be- 
lieve it will be best to keep it entirely concealed 
from her as long as may be. — ^When the mar- 
riage takes place, I fear she must hear of it all.' 

*But why should such precaution be used? 
Though it is not to be supposed that Mrs. 
Ferrars can have the smallest satisfaction in 
knowing that her son has money enough to live 
upon — ^for that must be quite out of the ques- 
tion; yet why, after her late behaviour, is she 
supposed to feel at all ? She has done with her 
son, she has cast him off for ever, and has made 

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all those over whom she had any influence cast 
hun off likewise. Surely, after doing so, she 
cannot be imagined liable to any impression of 
sorrow or of joy on his account — she cannot 
be interested in anything that befalls him. She 
would not be so weak as to throw away the 
comfort of a child, and yet retain the anxiety of 
a parent 1 ' 

* Ah I Elinor,' said John, * your reasoning is 
very good, but it is founded on ignorance 
of human nature. When Edward's unhappy 
match takes place, depend upon it his mother 
will feel as much as if she had never discarded 
him ; and, therefore, every circumstance that 
may accelerate that dreadful event must be 
concealed from her as much as possible. Mrs. 
Ferrars can never forget that Edward is her 
son.' 

*You surprise me; I should think it must 
nearly have escaped her memory by this tune.' 

*You wrong her exceedingly. Mrs. Ferrars 
is one of the most affectionate mothers in the 
world.* 

Elinor was silent. 

*We think now,* said Mr. Dashwood, after 
a short pause, *of Robert's marrying Miss 
Morton.' 

Elinor, smiling at the grave and decisive im- 
portance of her brother's tone, calmly replied — 
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*The lady, I suppose, has no choice in the 
affair/ 

* Choice 1 — how do you mean ? ' 

* I only mean, that I suppose from your manner 
of speaking, it must be the same to Miss Morton 
whether she marry Edward or Robert.' 

* Certainly, there can be no difference; for 
Robert will now, to all intents and purposes, 
be considered as the eldest son ; and as to any- 
thing else, they are both very agreeable young 
m^i — I do not know that one is superior to the 
other.* 

Elinor said no more, and John was also for a 
short time silent. His reflections ended thus — 

* Of one thing, my dear sister,* kindly taking 
her hand, and speaking in an awful whisper, ' I 
may assure you : and I xmU do it, because I know 
it must gratify you. I have good reason to 
think — indeed I have it from the best authority, 
or I should not repeat it, for otherwise it would 
be very wrong to say anjrthing about it — ^but 
I have it from the very best authority — ^not that 
I ever precisely heard Mrs. Ferrars say it herself, 
but her daughter did, and I have it from her — 
that, in short, whatever objections there might 
be against a certain — ^a certain connexion — you 
understand me — ^it would have been far prefer- 
able to her, it would not have given her half 
the vexation that this does. I was exceedingly 

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pleased to hear that Mrs. Ferrars considered it 
in that light — a very gratifying circumstance, 
you know, to us all. "It would have been 
beyond comparison," she said, "the least evil 
of the two, and she would be glad to compound 
noiv for nothing worse." But, however, all that 
is quite out of the question — ^not to be thought 
of or mentioned; as to any attachment, you 
know — ^it never could be — all that is gone by. 
But I thought I would just tell you of this, 
because I knew how much it must please you. 
Not that you have any reason to regret, my dear 
Elinor. There is no doubt of your doing ex- 
ceedingly well — quite as well, or better, perhaps, 
all things considered. Has Colonel Brandon 
been with you lately ? * 

Elinor had heard enough, if not to gratify her 
vanity and raise her self-importance, to agitate her 
nerves and fill her mind ; and she was therefore 
glad to be spared from the necessity of saying 
much in reply herself, and from the danger of 
hearing anything more from her brother, by the 
entrance of Mr. Robert Ferrars. After a few 
moments' chat, John Dashwood, recollecting 
that Fanny was yet uninformed of his sister 
being there, quitted the room in quest of her ; 
and Elinor was left to unprove her acquaintance 
with Robert, who, by the gay unconcern, the 
happy self-complacency of his manner while 
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enjoying so unfair a division of his mother's love 
and liberality, to the prejudice of his banished 
brother, earned only by his own dissipated 
course of life, and that brother's integrity, was 
confirming her most unfavourable opinion of his 
head and heart 

They had scarcely been two minutes by them- 
selves before he began to speak of Edward ; for 
he too had heard of the living, and was very 
inquisitive on the subject. Elinor repeated the 
particulars of it, as she had given them to John, 
and their efiect on Robert, though very different, 
was not less striking than it had been on him. 
He laughed most immoderately. The idea of 
Edward's being a clergyman, and living in a 
small parsonage-house, diverted him beyond 
measure; and when to that was added the 
fanci^ imagery of Edward reading prayers 
in a white surplice, and publishing the banns 
of marriage between John Smith and Mary 
Brown, he could conceive nothing more ridi- 
culous. 

Elinor, while she waited in silence and im- 
movable gravity the conclusion of such folly, 
could not restrain her eyes from being fixed on 
him with a look that spoke all the contempt it 
excited. It was a look, however, very well 
bestowed, for it relieved her own feelings, and 
gave no intelligence to him. He was recalled 

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from wit to wisdom, not by any reproof of hers, 
but by his own sensibility. 

* We may treat it as a joke,' said he at last, 
recovering from the affected laugh which had 
considerably lengthened out the genuine gaiety 
of the moment; *but, upon my soul, it is a 
most serious business. Poor Edward! he is 
ruined for ever. I am extremely sorry for it — 
for I know him to be a very good -hearted 
creature; as well-meaning a fellow, perhaps, as 
any in the world. You must not judge of him, 
Miss Dashwood, from your slight acquaintance. 
Poor Edward 1 His manners are certainly not 
the happiest in nature. But we are not all 
bom, you know, with the same powers — the 
same address. Poor fellow 1 to see him in a 
circle of strangers ! — ^to be sure it was pitiable 
enough ! — ^but, upon my soul, I believe he has 
as good a heart as any in the kingdom ; and I 
declare and protest to you I never was so shocked 
in my life as when it all burst forth. I could 
not believe it. My mother was the first person 
who told me of it, and I, feeling myself called 
on to act with resolution, immediately said to 
her, "My dear madam, I do not know what 
you may intend to do on the occasion, but as 
for myself, I must say, that if Edward does 
marry this young woman, /, never will see him 
again." That was what I said immediately — 
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I was most uncommonly shocked indeed I Poor 
Edward 1 he has done for hhnself completely! 
— ^shut hhnself out for ever from all decent 
society 1 — ^but, as I directly said to my mother, 
I am not in the least surprised at it ; from his 
style of education it was always to be expected. 
My poor mother was half frantic* 

• Have you ever seen the lady ? ' 

*Yes, once; while she was staying in this 
house. I happened to drop in for ten minutes ; 
and I saw quite enough of her. The merest 
awkward country girl, without style or elegance, 
and almost without beauty. I remember her 
perfectly. Just the kind of ^1 I should sup- 
pose likely to captivate poor Edward. I offered 
immediately, as soon as my mother related the 
affair to me, to talk to him myself, and dissuade 
him from the match ; but it was too late then^ I 
found, to do anjrthing; for, unluckily, I was not 
in the way at first, and knew nothing of it till 
after the breach had taken place, when it was 
not for me, you know, to interfere. But had I 
been informed of it a few hours earlier, I think 
it is most probable that something might have 
been hit on. I certainly should have represented 
it to Edward in a very strong light. " My dear 
fellow,*' I should have said, " consider what you 
are doing. You are making a most disgraceful 
connexion, and such a one as your family are 
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unanimous in disapproving." I cannot help 
thinking, in short, that means might have been 
found. But now it is all too late. He must 
be starved, you know; that is certain; absolutely 
starved.' 

He had just settled this point with great com- 
posure, when the entrance of Mrs. John Dash- 
wood put an end to the subject. But though 
she never spoke of it out of her own family, 
Elinor could see its influence on her mind, in 
the something like confusion of countenance 
with which she entered, and an attempt at 
cordiality in her behaviour to herself. She even 
proceeded so far as to be concerned to find that 
Elinor and her sister were so soon to leave town, 
as she had hoped to see more of them ; an exer- 
tion in which her husband, who attended her 
into the room, and hung enamoured over her 
accents, seemed to distinguish everything that 
was most affectionate and gracefuL 



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CHAPTER XLII 

One other short call in Harley Street, in which 
Elinor received her brother's congratulations, on 
their travelling so far towards Barton without 
any expense, and on Colonel Brandon's being to 
foUow them to Cleveland in a day or two, com- 
pleted the intercourse of the brother and sisters 
in town ; and a faint invitation from Fanny, to 
come to Norland whenever it should happen to 
be in their way, which of all things was the 
most unlikely to occur, with a more warm, 
though less public assurance, fit>m John to 
Elinor, of the promptitude with which he should 
come to see her at Delaford, was all that foretold 
any meeting in the country. 

It amused her to observe that all her friends 
seemed determined to send her to Delaford ; a 
place in which, of all others, she would now 
least chuse to visit or wish to reside; for not 
only was it considered as her future home by 
her brother and Mrs. Jennings, but even Lucy, 
when they parted, gave her a pressing invitation 
to visit her there. 

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Very early in April, and tolerably early in the 
day, the two parties from Hanover Square and 
Berkeley Street set out from their respective 
homes, to meet by appointment on the road. 
For the convenience of Charlotte and her child, 
they were to be more than two days on their 
journey, and Mr. Palmer, travelling more ex- 
peditiously with Colonel Brandon, was to join 
them at Cleveland soon after their arrival 

Marianne, few as had been her hours of com- 
fort in London, and eager as she had long been 
to quit it, could not, when it came to the point, 
bid adieu to the house in which she had for the 
last time enjoyed those hopes and that confidence 
in Willoughby, which were now extinguished 
for ever, without great pain. Nor could she 
leave the place in which Willoughby remained 
busy in new engagements, and new schemes, in 
which she could have no share, without shedcUng 
many tears. 

Elinor's satisfaction at the moment of removal 
was more positive. She had no such object for her 
lingering thoughts to fix on, she left no creature 
behind from whom it would give her a moment's 
regret to be divided for ever, she was pleased to 
be free herself from the persecution of Lucy's 
friendship, she was grateful for bringing her 
sister away unseen by WiUoughby since his 
marriage, and she looked forward with hope to 
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what a few months of tranquillity at Barton 
might do towards restoring Marianne's peace of 
mind, and confirming her own. 

Their journey was safely performed. The 
second day hrought them into the cherished, 
or the prohibited county of Somerset, for as 
such was it dwelt on by turns in Marianne's 
imagination; and in the forenoon of the third 
they drove up to Cleveland. 

Cleveland was a spacious, modem-built house, 
situated on a sloping lawn. It had no park, but 
the pleasure-grounds were tolerably extensive; 
and like every other place of the same degree 
of importance, it had its open shrubbery, and 
closer wood- walk; a road of smooth gravel, 
winding round a plantation, led to the front; 
the lawn was dotted over with timber; the 
house itself was under the guardianship of the 
fir, the mountain-ash, and the acacia, and a 
thick screen of them altogether, interspersed 
with taU Lombardy poplars, shut out the offices. 

Marianne entered the house with an heart 
swelling with emotion from the consciousness 
of being only eighty miles from Barton, and 
not thirty from Combe Magna; and before she 
had been five minutes within its walls, while the 
others were busily helping Charlotte shew her 
child to the housekeeper, she quitted it again, 
stealing away through the winding shrubberies, 
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now just banning to be in beauty, to gain 
a distant eminence; where, from its Grecian 
temple, her eye, wandering over a wide tract 
of country to the south-east, could fondly rest 
on the farthest ridge of hills in the hoiizon, and 
fancy that from their summits Combe Magna 
might be seen. 

In such moments of precious, of invaluable 
misery, she rejoiced in tears of agony to be at 
Cleveland; and as she returned by a different 
circuit to the house, feeling all the happy privi- 
lege of country liberty, of wandering from place 
to place in free and luxurious solitude, she re- 
solved to spend almost every hour of every day, 
while she remained with the Palmers, in the 
indulgence of such solitary rambles. 

She returned just in time to join the others, 
as they quitted the house, on an excursion 
through its more immediate premises; and the 
rest of the morning was easily whiled away, in 
lounging round the kitchen garden, examining 
the bloom upon its walls, and listening to the 
gardener's lamentations upon blights, — ^in dawd- 
ling through the greenhouse, where the loss 
of her favourite plants, unwarily exposed, and 
nipped by the lingering frost, raised the laughter 
of Charlotte, — and in visiting her poultry-yard, 
where in the disappointed hopes of her dairy- 
maid, by hens forsaking their nests, or being 
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stolen by a fox, or in the rapid decease of a 
promising young brood, she found fresh sources 
of merriment. 

The morning was fine and dry, and Marianne, 
in her plan of employment abroad, had not 
calculated for any change of weather during 
their stay at Cleveland. With great surprise, 
therefore, did she find herself prevented by a 
settled rain from going out again after dinner. 
She had depended on a twilight walk to the 
Grecian temple, and perhaps all over the grounds, 
and an evening merely cold or damp would not 
have deterred her from it; but a heavy and 
settled rain even she could not fancy dry or 
pleasant weather for walking. 

Their party was small, and the hours passed 
quietly away. Mrs. Palmer had her child, and 
Mrs. Jennings her carpet-work ; they talked of 
the friends they had left behind, arranged Lady 
Middleton's engagements, and wondered whether 
Mr. Palmer and Colonel Brandon would get 
farther than Reading that night. Elinor, how- 
ever little concerned in it, joined in their dis- 
course, and Marianne, who had the knack of 
finding her way in every house to the library, 
however it might be avoided by the family in 
general, soon procured herself a book. 

Nothing was wanting on Mrs. Palmer's side 
that constant and friendly good-humour could 

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do, to make them feel themselves welcome. The 
openness and heartiness of her manner more 
than atoned for that want of recollection and 
elegance which made her often deficient in the 
forms of politeness ; her kindness, recommended 
hy so pretty a face, was engaging; her folly, 
though evident, was not disgusting, because it 
was not conceited; and Elinor could have for- 
^ven everything but her laugh. 

The two gentlemen arrived the next day 
to a very late dinner, affording a pleasant en- 
largement of the party, and a very welcome 
variety to their conversation, which a long 
morning of the same continued rain had reduced 
very low. 

Elinor had seen so little of Mr. Palmer, and 
in that little had seen so much variety in his 
address to her sister and herself, that she knew 
not what to expect to find him in his own family. 
She found him, however, perfectly the gentle- 
man in his behaviour to all his visitors, and only 
occasionally rude to his wife and her mother; 
she found him very capable of being a pleasant 
companion, and only prevented firom being so 
always by too great an aptitude to fancy himself 
as much superior to people in general, as he 
must feel himself to be to Mrs. Jennings and 
Charlotte. For the rest of his character and 
habits, they were marked, as far as Elinor could 
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perceive, with no traits at all unusual in his sex 
and time of life. He was nice in his eating, un- 
certain in his hours ; fond of his child, though 
affecting to slight it; and idled away the morn- 
ings at billiards, which ought to have been 
devoted to business. She liked him, however, 
upon the whole; much better than she had 
expected, and in her heart was not sorry that 
she could like him no more; not sorry to be 
driven by the observation of his epicurism, his 
selfishness, and his conceit, to rest with com- 
placency on the remembrance of Edward s 
generous temper, simple taste, and diffident 
feelings. 

Of Edward, or at least of some of his con- 
cerns, she now received intelligence from Colonel 
Brandon, who had been into Dorsetshire lately ; 
and who, treating her at once as the disinterested 
friend of Mr. Ferrars, and the kind confidante of 
himself, talked to her a great deal of the par- 
sonage at Delaford, described its deficiencies, 
and told her what he meant to do himself 
towards removing them. His behaviour to her 
in this as well as in every other particular, his 
open pleasure in meeting her after an absence of 
only ten days, his readiness to converse with 
her, and his deference for her opinion, might 
very well justify Mrs. Jennings's persuasion of 
his attachment, and would have been enough, 

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perhaps, had not Elinor still, as from the first, 
believed Marianne his real favourite, to make 
her suspect it herself. But as it was, such a 
notion had scarcely ever entered her head, except 
by Mrs. Jennings's suggestion; and she could 
not help believing herself the nicest observer 
of the two; she watched his eyes, while Mrs. 
Jennhigs thought only of his behaviour; and 
while his looks of anxious solicitude on Mari- 
anne's feeling in her head and throat the begin- 
ning of a heavy cold, because unexpressed by 
words, entirely escaped the latter lady's obser- 
vation, she could discover in them the quick 
feelings and needless alarm of a lover. 

Two delightful twilight walks on the third 
and fourth evenings of her being there, not 
merely on the dry gravel of the shrubbery, but 
all over the grounds, and especially in the most 
distant parts of them, where there was some- 
thing more of wildness than in the rest, where 
the trees were the oldest, and the grass was the 
longest and wettest, had — assisted by the still 
greater imprudence of sitting in her wet shoes 
and stockings — given Marianne a cold so violent 
as, though for a day or two trifled with or denied, 
would force itself by increasing ailment on the 
concern of everybody, and the notice of herself. 
Prescriptions poured in from all quarters, and 
as usual were all declined. Though heavy and 
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feverish, with a pain in her limbs, a cough, and 
a sore throat, a good night's rest was to cure her 
entirely ; and it was with difficulty that Elinor 
prevailed on her, when she went to bed, to try 
one or two of the simplest of remedies. 



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CHAPTER XLIII 

Marianne got up the next morning at her usual 
time; to every inquiry replied that she was 
better, and tried to prove herself so by engaging 
in her accustomary employments. But a day 
spent in sitting shivering over the fire with a 
book in her hand, which she was unable to read, 
or in lying, weary and languid, on a sofa, did not 
speak much in favour of her amendment ; and 
when at last she went early to bed, more and 
more indisposed. Colonel Brandon was only 
astonished at her sister's composure, who, though 
attending and nursing her the whole day, against 
Marianne's inclination, and forcing proper medi- 
cines on her at night, trusted like Marianne to 
the certainty and efficacy of sleep, and felt no 
real alarm. 

A very restless and feverish night, however, 
disappointed the expectation of both ; and when 
Marianne, aiter persisting in rising, confessed 
herself unable to sit up, and returned voluntarily 
to her bed, Elinor was very ready to adopt Mrs. 
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Jennings's advice, of sending for the Palmers' 
apothecary. 

He came, examined his patient, and though 
encowaging Miss Dashwood to expect that a 
very few days would restore her sister to health, 
yet by pronouncing her disorder to have a putrid 
tendency, and allowing the word 'infection' to 
pass his lips, gave instant alarm to Mrs, Palmer 
on her baby's account. Mrs. Jennings, who had 
been inclined from the first to think Marianne's 
complaint more serious than Elinor, now looked 
very grave on Mr. Harris's report, and confirm- 
ing Charlotte's fears and caution, urged the 
necessity of her immediate removal with her 
infant; and Mr. Palmer, though treating their 
apprehensions as idle, found the anxiety and 
importunity of his wife too great to be with- 
stood. Her departure, therefore, was fixed on ; 
and within an hour after Mr. Harris's arrival, 
she set off, with her little boy and his nurse, for 
the house of a near relation of Mr. Palmer's, 
who lived a few miles on the other side of Bath ; 
whither her husband promised, at her earnest 
entreaty, to join her in a day or two; and 
whither she was almost equally urgent with her 
mother to accompany her. Mrs. Jennings, how- 
ever, with a kindness of heart which made Elinor 
really love her, declared her resolution of not 
stirring from Cleveland as long as Marianne 

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remained ill, and of endeavouring, by her own 
attentive care, to supply to her the place of the 
mother she had taken her fix>m; and Elinor 
found her on every occasion a most willing and 
active helpmate, desirous to share in all her 
fatigues, and often, by her better experience in 
nursing, of material use. 

Poor Marianne, languid and low from the 
nature of her malady, and feeling herself uni- 
versally ill, could no longer hope that to-morrow 
would find her recovered ; and the idea of what 
to-morrow would have produced, but for this 
unlucky illness, made every ailment more severe ; 
for on that day they were to have begun their 
journey home, and, attended the whole way by 
a servant of Mrs. Jennings, were to have taken 
their mother by surprise on the following fore- 
noon. The little that she said was all in lamen- 
tation of this inevitable delay; though Elinor 
tried to raise her spirits, and make her believe, 
as she then really believed herself, that it would 
be a very short one. 

The next day produced littie or no alteration 
in the state of the patient; she certainly was 
not better, and except that there was no amend- 
ment, did not appear worse. Their party was 
now farther reduced; for Mr. Palmer, though 
very unwiUing to go, as well from real humanity 
and good-nature as from a dislike of appearing 
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to be frightened away by his wife, was per- 
suaded at last by Colonel Brandon to perform 
his promise of following her ; and while he was 
preparing to go, Colonel Brandon himself, with 
a much greater exertion, began to talk of going 
likewise. Here, however, the kindness of Mrs. 
Jennings interposed most acceptably; for to 
send the Colonel away while his love was in so 
much uneasiness on her sister's account, would 
be to deprive them both, she thought, of every 
comfort ; and therefore, telling him at once that 
his stay at Cleveland was necessary to herself, 
that she should want him to play at piquet of 
an evening while Miss Dashwood was above 
with her sister, etc., she urged him so strongly 
to remain that he, who was gratifying the first 
wish of his own heart by a compliance, could 
not long even affect to demur; especially as 
Mrs. Jennings's entreaty was warmly seconded 
by Mr. Palmer, who seemed to fed a relief to 
himself in leaving behind him a person so well 
able to assist or advise Miss Dashwood in any 
emergence. 

Marianne was of course kept in ignorance of 
all these arrangements. She knew not that she 
had been the means of sending the owners of 
Cleveland away, in about seven days from the 
time of their arrival. It gave her no surprise 
that she saw nothing of Mrs. Palmer 1 and as it 

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gave her likewise no concern, she never men* 
tioned her name. 

Two days passed away firom the time of Mr. 
Palmer's departure, and her situation continued, 
with little variation, the same. Mr. Harris, who 
attended her every day, still talked boldly of a 
speedy recovery, and Miss Dashwood was equally 
sanguine; but the expectation of the others was 
by no means so cheerfid. Mrs. Jennings had 
determined very early in the seizure that Mari- 
anne would never get over it, and Colonel 
Brandon, who was chiefly of use in listening 
to Mrs. Jennings's forebodings, was not in a 
state of mind to resist their influence. He tried 
to reason himself out of fears which the difierent 
judgment of the apothecary seemed to render 
absurd; but the many hours of each day in 
which he was left entirely alone were but too 
favourable for the admission of every melancholy 
idea, and he could not expel from his mind the 
persuasion that he should see Marianne no more. 

On the morning of the third day, however, 
the gloomy anticipations of both were almost 
done away; for when Mr. Harris arrived, he 
declared his patient materially better. Her 
pulse was much stronger and every symptom 
more favourable than on the preceding visit. 
Elinor, confirmed in every pleasant hope, was 
all cheerfulness ; rejoicing that in her letters to 
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her mother, she had pursued her own judgment 
rather than her friend's, in makmg very light of 
the indisposition which delayed them at Cleve- 
land, and almost fixing on the time when 
Marianne would be able to travel. 

But the day did not close so auspiciously as it 
began. Towards the evening Marianne became 
ill again, growing more heavy, restless, and 
uncomfortable than before. Her sister, how- 
ever, still sanguine, was willing to attribute the 
change to nothing more than the fatigue of 
having sat up to have her bed made ; and care- 
fully administering the cordials prescribed, saw 
her with satisfaction sink at last into a slumber 
from which she expected the most beneficial 
effects. Her sleep, though not so quiet as 
Elinor wished to see it, lasted a considerable 
time; and anxious to observe the result of it 
herself, she resolved to sit with her during the 
whole of it. Mrs. Jennings, knowing nothing 
of any change in the patient, went unusually 
early to bed; her maid, who was one of the 
principal nurses, was recreating herself in the 
housekeeper's room, and Elinor remained alone 
with Marianne. 

The repose of the latter became more and 

more disturbed; and her sister, who watched 

with unremitting attention her continual change 

of posture, and heard the frequent but inarticu- 

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late sounds of complaint which passed her lips« 
was almost wishing to rouse her from so painful 
a slumber, when Marianne, suddenly awakened 
by some accidental noise in the house, started 
hastily up, and, with feverish wildness, cried 
out — . 

* Is mama coming ? ' 

•Not yet,* replied the other, concealing her 
terror, and assisting Marianne to lie down again ; 

* but she will be here, I hope, before it is long. 
It is a great way, you know, from hence to 
Barton.' 

*But she must not go round by London,' 
cried Marianne, in the same hurried manner. 

* I shall never see her if she goes to London.' 

Elinor perceived with alarm that she was not 
quite herself, and while attempting to soothe her, 
eagerly felt her pulse. It was lower and quicker 
than ever ; and Marianne still talking wildly of 
mama, her alarm increased so rapidly, as to 
determine her on sending instantly for Mr. 
Harris, and despatching a messenger to Barton 
for her mother. To consult with Colonel 
Brandon on the best means of effecting the 
latter, was a thought which immediately fol- 
lowed the resolution of its performance; and 
as soon as she had rung up the maid to take her 
place by her sister, she hastened down to the 
drawing-room, where she knew he was generally 
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to be found at a much later hour than at 
present 

It was no time for hesitation. Her fears and 
her difficulties were immediately before him. 
Her fears, he had no courage, no confidence to 
attempt the removal of; — ^he listened to them in 
silent despondence; — ^but her difficulties were 
instantly obviated, for with a readiness that 
seemed to speak the occasion, and the service 
prearranged in his mind, he offered himself as 
the messenger who should fetch Mrs. Dashwood. 
Elinor made no resistance that was not easily 
overcome. She thanked him with a brirf, 
though fervent gratitude, and while he went 
to hurry off his servant with a message to Mr. 
Harris, and an order for post-horses directly, 
she wrote a few lines to her mother. 

The comfort of such a friend at that moment 
as Colonel Brandon — of sueh a companion for 
her mother, — how gratefully was it feltl — a 
companion whose judgment would guide, whose 
attendance must relieve, and whose friendship 
might soothe her 1 — as far as the shock of such a 
summons could be lessened to her, his presence, 
bin manners, his assistance, would lessen it. 

He, meanwhile, whatever he might feel, acted 
with all the fimmess of a collected mind, made 
every necessary arrangement with the utmost 
despatch, and calculated with exactness the time 

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in which she might look for his return. Not 
a moment was lost in delay of any kind. The 
horses arrived, even before they were expected, 
and Colonel Brandon, only pressing her hand 
with a look of solemnity, and a few words 
spoken too low to reach her ear, hurried into 
the carriage. It was then about twelve o'clock, 
and she returned to her sister's apartment to 
wait for the arrival of the apothecary, and to 
watch by her the rest of the night. It was 
a night of ahnost equal suffering to both. Hour 
after hour passed away in sleepless pain and 
delirium on Marianne's side, and in the most 
cruel anxiety on Elinor's, before Mr. Harris 
appeared. Her apprehensions once raised, paid 
by their excess for all her former security ; and 
the servant who sat up with her, for she would 
not allow Mrs. Jennings to be called, only tor- 
tured her more by hints of what her mistress 
had always thought. 

Marianne's ideas were still, at intervals, fixed 
incoherently on her mother, and whenever she 
mentioned her name, it gave a pang to the 
heart of poor Elinor, who, reproaching herself 
for having trifled with so many days of iUness, 
and wretched for some immediate relief, fancied 
that all relief might soon be in vaui, that every- 
thing had been delayed too long, and pictured 
to herself her suffering mother, arriving too 
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late to see this darling child, or to see her 
rationaL 

She was on the point of sending again for 
Mr, Harris, or if he could not Come, for some 
other advice, when the former — ^but not till after 
five o'clock — arrived. His opinion, however, 
made some little amends for his delay, for though 
acknowledging a very unexpected and unpleasant 
alteration in his patient, he would not allow the 
danger to be material, and talked of the rehef 
which a fresh mode of treatment must procure, 
with a confidence which, in a lesser degree, was 
communicated to Elinor. He promised to call 
again, in the course of three or four hours, and 
left both the patient and her anxious attendant 
more composed than he had found them. 

With strong concern, and with many re- 
proaches for not being called to their aid, did 
Mrs. Jennings hear in the morning of what had 
passed. Her former apprehensions, now with 
greater reason restored, left her no doubt of the 
event; and though trying to speak comfort 
to Elinor, her conviction of her sister's danger 
would not allow her to offer the comfort of hope. 
Her heart was really grieved. The rapid decay, 
the early death of a girl so young, so lovely as 
Marianne, must have struck a less interested 
person with concern. On Mrs. Jennings's com- 
passion she had other claims. She had been for 
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three months her companion, was still under her 
care, and she was known to have been greatly 
injured, and long unhappy. The distress of 
her sister too, particularly a favourite, was 
before her; — and as for their mother, when 
Mrs. Jennings considered that Marianne might 
probably be to her what Charlotte was to her- 
self, her sympathy in her sufferings was very 
suicere. 

Mr. Harris was punctual in his second visit ; 
but he came to be disappointed in his hopes of 
what the last would produce. His medicines, 
had failed; — the fever was unabated; and 
Marianne, only more quiet — ^not more herself 
— ^remained in an heavy stupor. EUnor, catch- 
ing all, and more than all, his fears in a moment, 
proposed to call in farther advice. But he 
judged it unnecessary: he had still something 
more to try, some fresh application, of whose 
success he was almost as confident as the last ; 
and his visit concluded with encouraging assur- 
ances which reached the ear, but could not enter 
the heart of Miss Dashwood. She was calm, 
except when she thought of her mother, but 
she was almost hopeless; and in this state she 
continued till noon, scarcely stirring from her 
sister's bed, her thoughts wandering from one 
image of grief, one suffering friend to another, 
and her spirits oppressed to the utmost by the 
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conversation of Mrs. Jennings, who scrupled 
not to attribute the severity and danger of this 
attack to the many weeks of previous indis- 
position which Marianne's disappointment had 
brought on. Elinor felt all the reasonableness 
of the idea, and it gave fresh misery to her 
reflections. 

About noon, however, she began — ^but with 
a caution, a dread of some disappointment, which 
for some time kept her silent, even to her friend 
— ^to fancy, to hope she could perceive a slight 
amendment in her sister's pulse; — she waited, 
watched, examined it again and again; — and 
at last, with an agitation more difficult to bury 
under exterior calmness than all her foregoing 
distress, ventured to communicate her hopes. 
Mrs. Jennings, though forced on examination to 
acknowledge a temporary revival, tried to keep 
her young friend from indulging a thought of its 
continuance; and Elinor, conning over every 
injunction of distrust, told herself likewise not 
to hope. But it was too late. Hope had already 
entered; and feeling all its anxious flutter, she 
bent over her sister to watch — she hardly knew 
for what. Half an hour passed away, and the 
favourable symptom yet blessed her. Others 
even arose to confirm it. Her breath, her skin, 
her lips, all flattered Elinor with signs of amend- 
ment, axxd Marianne fixed her eyes on her with 

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a rational, though languid, gaze. Anxiety 
and hope now oppressed her in equal degrees, 
and left her no moment of tranquillity till 
the arrival of Mr. Harris at four o'clock; — 
when his assurances, his felicitations on a re- 
covery in her sister even surpassing his expecta- 
tion, gave her confidence, comfort, and tears 
of joy. 

Marianne was in every respect materially 
better, and he declared her entirely out of 
danger. Mrs. Jennings, perhaps satisfied with 
the partial justification of her forebodings which 
had been found in their late alarm, allowed her- 
self to trust in his judgment, and admitted with 
unfeigned joy, and soon with unequivocal cheer- 
fulness, the probability of an entire recovery. 

Elinor could not be cheerful. Her joy was 
of a diiferent kind, and led to anything rather 
than to gaiety. Marianne restored to life, health, 
friends, and to her doating mother, was an idea 
to fill her heart with sensations of exquisite 
comfort, and expand it in fervent gratitude ; 
but it led to no outward demonstrations of 
joy, no words, no smiles. All within Elinor's 
breast was satisfaction, silent and strong. 

She continued by the side of her sister with 
little intermission the whole afternoon, calming 
every fear, satisfying every inquiry of her en- 
feebled spirits, supplying every succour, and 
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watching almost every look and every breath. 
The possibility of a relapse would, of course, 
in some moments, occur to remind her of what 
anxiety was ; but when she saw on her frequent 
and minute examination, that every symptom 
of recovery continued, and saw Marianne at six 
o'clock sink into a quiet, steady, and to all 
appearance comfortable sleep, she silenced every 
doubt. 

The time was now drawing on when Colonel 
Brandon might be expected back. At ten 
o'clock, she trusted, or at least not much later, 
her mother would be relieved from the dreadful 
suspense in which she must now be travelling 
towards them. The Colonel tool — perhaps 
scarcely less an object of pity ! Oh ! how slow 
was the progress of time which yet kept them 
in ignorance ! 

At seven o'clock, leaving Marianne still sweetly 
asleep, she joined Mrs. Jennings in the drawing- 
room to tea. Of breakfast she had been kept 
by her fears, and of dinner by their sudden 
reverse, from eatmg much; and the present 
refreshment, therefore, with such feelings of 
content as she brought to it, was particularly 
welcome. Mrs. Jennings would have persuaded 
her at its conclusion to take some rest before 
her mother's arrival, and allow her to take her 
place by Marianne; but EUnor had no sense 

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of fatigue, no capability of sleep at that moment 
about her, and she was not to be kept away from 
her sister an unnecessary instant. Mrs. Jennings 
therefore, attending her up stairs Into the sick- 
chamber, to satisfy herself that all continued 
right, left her there again to her charge and her 
thoughts, and retired to her own room to write 
letters and sleep. 

The night was cold and stormy. The wind 
roared round the house, and the rain beat against 
the windows ; but Elinor, all happiness within, 
regard^ it not. Marianne slept through every 
blast, and the travellers — ^they had a rich reward 
in store, for every present inconvenience. 

The clock struck eight. Had it been ten, 
Elinor would have been convinced that at that 
moment she heard a carriage driving up to the 
house ; and so strong was the persuasion that 
she didy in spite of the almost impossibility of 
their being already come, that she moved into 
the adjoining dressing - closet and opened a 
window-shutter, to be satisfied of the truth. 
She instantly saw that her ears had not deceived 
her. The flaring lamps of a carriage were im- 
mediately in view. By their uncertain light she 
thought she could discern it to be drawn by four 
horses ; and this, while it told the excess of her 
poor mother s alarm, gave some explanation to 
such unexpected rapidity. 
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Never in her life had Elinor found it so diffi- 
cult to be calm, as at that moment. The know- 
ledge of what her mother must be feeling as the 
carriage stopped at the door, of her doubt — ^her 
dread — ^perhaps her despair I — and of what she 
had to tell 1 — ^with such knowledge it was im- 
possible to be calm. All that remained to be 
done was to be speedy ; and therefore, staying 
only till she could leave Mrs. Jennings's maid 
with her sister, she hurried down stairs. 

The bustle in the vestibule, as she passed 
along an inner lobby, assured her that they were 
already in the house. She rushed forwards 
towards the drawing-room — she entered it — and 
saw only Willoughby. 



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CHAPTER XLIV 

Elinor, starting back with a look of horror 
at the sight of him, obeyed the first impulse 
of her heart in turning instantly to quit the 
room, and her hand was already on the lock, 
when its action was suspended by his hastily 
advancing, and saying, in a voice rather of 
command than supplication — 

•Miss Dashwood, for half an hour — for ten 
minutes — I entreat you to stay.' 

*No, sir,' she replied with firmness, *I shall 
not stay. Your business cannot be with me. 
The servants, I suppose, forgot to tell you that 
Mr. Palmer was not in the house.' 

* Had they told me,' he cried with vehemence, 
*that Mr. Palmer and all his relations were at 
the devil, it would not have turned me from 
the door. My business is with you, and only 
you.' 

* With me I ' — ^in the utmost amazement — 
* well, sir — be quick — and, if you can — less 
violent.' 

* Sit down, and I will be both.' 

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She hesitated ; she knew not what to do. The 
possibility of Colonel Brandon's arriving and 
fmding him there came across her. But she 
had promised to hear him, and her curiosity no 
less than her honour was engaged. After a 
moment's recollection, therefore, concluding that 
prudence required despatch, and that her acqui- 
escence would best promote it, she walked 
silently towards the table and sat down. He 
took the opposite chair, and for half a minute 
not a word was said by either. 

* Pray be quick, sir,' said Elinor impatiently ; 
* I have no time to spare.' 

He was sitting in an attitude of deep medita- 
tion, and seemed not to hear her. 

•Your sister,' said he, with abruptness, a 
moment afterwards, * is out of danger. I heard 
it from the servant. God be praised ! But is it 
true ? — ^is it really true ? ' 

Elinor would not speak. He repeated the 
inquiry with yet greater eagerness. 

* For God's sake tell me, is she out of danger, 
or is she not ? ' 

* We hope she is.' 

He rose up, and walked across the room. 

* Had I known as much half an hour ago — 
But since I am here' — speaking with a forced 
vivacity as he returned to his seat — * what does 
it signify ? For once. Miss Dashwood — ^it will 

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be the last time, perhaps — ^let us be cheerful 
together. — I am m a fine mood for gaiety. Tell 
me honestly * — a deeper glow overspreading his 
cheeks — *do you think me most a knave or a 
fool?' 

Elinor looked at him with greater astonish* 
ment than ever. She began to think that he 
must be in liquor; the strangeness of such a 
visit, and of such manners, seemed no other- 
wise intelligible; and with this impression she 
immediately rose, saying — 

• Mr. WUloughby, I advise you at present to 
return to Combe. I am not at leisure to remain 
with you longer. Whatever your business may 
be with me, it will be better recollected and 
explained to-morrow.' 

*I understand you,' he replied, with an ex- 
pressive smile, and a voice perfectly calm. * Yes, 
I am very drunk. A pint of porter with my 
cold beef at Marlborough was enough to over- 
set me.' 

*At Marlborough I ' cried Elinor, more and 
more at a loss to understand what he would 
be at. 

•Yes — I left London this morning at eight 
o'clock, and the only ten minutes I have spent 
out of my chaise since that time procured me 
a nuncheon at Marlborough.' 

The steadiness of his manner, and the intelli- 
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gence of his eye as he spoke, convincing Elinor, 
that whatever other unpardonable folly might 
bring him to Cleveland, he was not brought 
there by intoxication, she said, after a moment's 
recollection — 

*Mr. Willoughby, you ought to feel, and I 
certainly do — ^that after what has passed — ^your 
coming here in this manner, and forcing yourself 
upon my notice, requires a very particular excuse. 
What is it that you mean by it ? ' 

* I mean,' said he, with serious energy, • if I 
can, to make you hate me one degree less than 
you do note?. I mean to offer some kind of 
explanation, some kind of apology, for the past 
— to open my whole heart to you, and by con- 
vincing you, that though I have been always 
a blockhead, I have not been always a rascal, 
to obtain something like forgiveness from Ma — 
from your sister.' 

* Is this the real reason of your coming ? ' 
*Upon my soul it is,' was his answer, with 

a warmth which brought all the former Wil- 
loughby to her remembrance, and in spite of 
herself made her think him sincere. 

< If that is all, you may be satisfied already, 
for Marianne does — ^she has long forgiven 
you.' 

* Has she ! ' he cried, in the same eager tone. 
'Then she has forgiven me before she ought 

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to have done it. But she shall forgive me again, 
and on more reasonable grounds. Norvo^ will 
you listen to me ? ' 

Elinor bowed her assent. 

*I do not know/ said he, after a pause of 
expectation on her side, and thoughtfidness on 
his own, *how you may have accounted for 
my behaviour to your sister, or what diabolical 
motive you may have imputed to me. Perhaps 
you will hardly think the better of me, — ^it is 
worth the trial, however, and you shall hear 
everything. When I first became intimate in 
your family, I had no other intention, no other 
view in the acquaintance than to pass my time 
pleasantly while I was obliged to remain in 
Devonshire, more pleasantly than I had ever 
done before. Your sister's lovely person and 
interesting manners could not but please me; 
and her behaviour to me, almost from the first, 

was of a kind It is astonishing, when I 

reflect on what I was, and what she was, that 
my heart should have been so insensible ! — ^But at 
first, I must confess, my vanity only was elevated 
by it. Careless of her happiness, thinking only 
of my own amusement, giving way to feelings 
which I had always been too much in the habit 
of indulging, I endeavoured, by every means in 
my power, to make myself pleasing to her, with- 
out any design of returning her affection.' 
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Miss Dashwood at this point, turning her 
eyes on him with the most angry contempt, 
stopped him, by saying — 

*It is hardly worth while, Mr. Willoughby, 
for you to relate, or for me to listen any longer. 
Such a beginning as this cannot be followed by 
anything. Do not let me be pained by hearing 
anything more on the subject.' 

* I insist on your hearing the whole of it,' he 
replied. *My fortune was never large, and I 
had always been expensive, always in the habit 
of associating with people of better income than 
myself. Every year since my coming of age, 
or even before, I believe, had added to my 
debts ; and though the death of my old cousin, 
Mrs. Smith, was to set me free, yet that event 
being uncertain, and possibly far distant, it had 
been for some time my intention to re-establish 
my circumstances by marrying a woman of 
fortune. To attach myself to your sister, there- 
fore, was not a thing to be thought of; — ^and 
with a meanness, selfishness, cruelty — ^which no 
indignant, no contemptuous look, even of yours. 
Miss Dashwood, can ever reprobate too much 
— I was acting in this manner, trying to engage 
her regard, without a thought of returning it 
But one thing may be said for me, even in that 
horrid state of selfish vanity, I did not know 
the extent of the injury I meditated, because 
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I did not then know what it was to love. But 
have I ever known it ? — Well may it be doubted; 
for, had I really loved, could I have sacrificed 
my feelings to vanity, to avarice ? — or, what is 
more, could I have sacrificed hers ? — But I have 
done it. To avoid a comparative poverty, which 
her affection and her society would have de- 
prived of all its horrors, I have, by raising 
myself to affluence, lost everything that could 
make it a blessing.' 

* You did, then,' said Elinor, a little softened, 
• believe yourself at one time attached to her.' 

*To have resisted such attractions, to have 
withstood such tenderness I Is there a man on 
earth who could have done it? Yes, I found 
myself, by insensible degrees, sincerely fond of 
her; and the happiest hours of my life were 
what I spent with her, when I felt my intentions 
were strictly honourable, and my feelings blame- 
less. Even then^ however, when fully determined 
on paying my addresses to her, I allowed myself 
most improperly to put off^, fi-om day to day, 
the moment of doing it, fi-om an unwillingness 
to enter into an engagement while my circum- 
stances were so greatly embarrassed. I will not 
reason here — nor will I stop for you to expatiate 
on the absurdity, and the worse than absurdity, 
of scrupling to engage my faith where my honour 
was already bound. The event has proved that 
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I was a cunning fool, providing with great cir- 
cumspection for a possible opportunity of making 
myself contemptible and wretched for ever. At 
last, however, my resolution was taken, and I 
had determined, as soon as I could engage her 
alone, to justify the attentions I had so invariably 
paid her, and openly assure her of an affection 
which I had already taken such pains to display. 
But in the interim — ^in the interim of the very 
few hours that were to pass, before I could have 
an opportunity of speaking with her in private 
— a circumstance occurred — an unlucky circum- 
stance, to ruin all my resolution, and with it all 
my comfort. A discovery took place ' — ^here he 
hesitated and looked down. *Mrs. Smith had 
somehow or other been informed, I imagine by 
some distant relation, whose interest it was to 
deprive me of her favour, of an affair, a connexion 
— ^but I need not explain myself farther,' he 
added, looking at her with a heightened colour 
and an inquiring eye, * your particular intimacy 
— ^you have probably heard the whole story 
long ago.' 

• I have,' returned EUnor, colouring likewise, 
and hardening her heart anew against any com- 
passion for him, * I have heard it all. And how 
you will explain away any part of your guilt in 
that dreadful business, I confess is beyond my 
comprehension.' 

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* Remember/ cried Willoughby, * from whom 
you received the account. Could it be an 
impartial one? I acknowledge that her situation 
and her character ought to have been respected 
by me. I do not mean to justify myself, but at 
the same time cannot leave you to suppose that 
I have nothing to urge — that because she was 
injured, she was irreproachable ; and because / 
was a libertine, she must be a saint. If the 
violence of her passions, the weakness of her 
understanding — I do not mean, however, to 
defend myself. Her affection for me deserved 
better treatment, and I often, with great self- 
reproach, recall the tenderness which, for a very 
short time, had the power of creating any return. 
I wish — I heartily wish it had never been. But 
I have injured more than herself; and I have 
injured one whose aflFection for me (may I say 
it ?) was scarcely less warm than hers, and whose 
mind — oh 1 how infinitely superior 1 ' 

*Your indifference, however, towards that 
unfortunate girl — I must say it, unpleasant to 
me as the discussion of such a subject may well 
be — your indifference is no apology for your 
cruel neglect of her. Do not think yourself 
excused by any weakness, any natural defect 
of understanding on her side, in the wanton 
cruelty so evident on yours. You must have 
known, that while you were enjoying yourself 
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in Devonshire, pursuing firesh schemes, always 
gay, always happy, she was reduced to the 
extremest indigence.* 

* But, upon my soul, I did not know it,' he 
warmly replied ; * I did not recollect that I had 
omitted to ^ve her my direction ; and common- 
sense might have told her how to find it out.' 

* Well, sir, and what said Mrs. Smith ? ' 

* She taxed me with the offence at once, and 
my confusion may be guessed. The purity of her 
life, the formality of her notions, her ignorance 
of the world — everything was against me. The 
matter itself I could not deny, and vmu was 
every endeavour to soften it. She was previ- 
ously disposed, I believe, to doubt the morality 
of my conduct in general, and was moreover 
discontented with the very little attention, the 
very little portion of my time that I had 
bestowed on her, in my present visit. In short, 
it ended in a total breach. By one measure I 
might have saved myself. In the height of her 
morality, good woman 1 she offered to forgive 
the past if I would marry Eliza. That could 
not be — and I was formally dismissed from her 
favour and her house. The night following this 
afiair — I was to go the next morning — ^was 
spent by me in deliberating on what my fixture 
conduct should be. The struggle was great — ^but 
it ended too soon. My affection for Marianne, 

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my thorough conviction of her attachment to 
me — ^it was all insufficient to outweigh that dread 
of poverty, or get the better of those false ideas 
of the necessity of riches, which I was naturally 
inclined to feel, and expensive society had in- 
creased. I had reason to believe myself secure 
of my present wife, if I chose to address her, 
and I persuaded myself to think that nothing 
else in common prudence remained for me to 
do. An heavy scene, however, awaited me, 
before I could leave Devonshire : I was engaged 
to dine with you on that very day ; some apology 
was therefore necessary for my breaking the 
engagement. But whether I should write this 
apology, or deliver it in person, was a point of 
long debate. To see Marianne I felt would be 
dreadful, and I even doubted whether I could see 
her again, and keep to my resolution. In that 
point, however, I undervalued my own magna- 
nimity, as the event declared ; for I went, I saw 
her, and saw her miserable, and left her miserable 
— and left her, hoping never to see her again.' 

•Why did you call, Mr. Willoughby?' said 
Elinor reproachfully; •a note would have 
answered every purpose. Why was it necessary 
to call?' 

• It was necessary to my own pride. I could 
not bear to leave the country in a manner that 
might lead you, or the rest of the neighbour- 
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hood, to suspect any part of what had really 
passed between Mrs. Smith and myself, and I 
resolved therefore on calling at the cottage, in 
my way to Honiton. The sight of your dear 
sister, however, was really dreadful; and to 
heighten the matter, I found her alone. You 
were all gone, I do not know where. I had left 
her only the evening before, so fully, so firmly 
resolved within myself on doing right ! A few 
hours were to have engaged her to me for ever ; 
and I remember how happy, how gay were my 
spirits, as I walked from the cottage to Allen- 
ham, satisfied with myself, delighted with every- 
body! But in this, our last interview of 
^endship, I approached her with a sense of 
guilt that almost took from me the power of 
dissembling. Her sorrow, her disappointment, 
her deep regret, when I told her that I was 
obliged to leave Devonshire so immediately — I 
never shall forget it; united, too, with such 
reliance, such confidence in me 1 O God 1 what 
an hard-hearted rascal I was ! ' 

They were both silent for a few moments. 
Elinor first spoke. 

* Did you tell her that you should soon return?' 

* I do not know what I told her,' he replied 
impatiently; *less than was due to the past, 
beyond a doubt, and in all likelihood much 
more than was justified by the ftiture. I cannot 

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think of it — it won't do. Then came your dear 
mother to torture me farther, with all her kind- 
ness and confidence. Thank Heaven! it did 
torture me. I was miserable. Miss Dashwood, 
you cannot have an idea of the comfort it gives 
me to look back on my own misery. I owe 
such a grudge to myself for the stupid, rascally 
foUy of my own heart, that all my past suffer- 
ings under it are only triumph and exultation 
to me now. Well, I went, left all that I loved, 
and went to those to whom, at best, I was only 
indifferent. My journey to town — ^travelling 
with my own horses, and therefore so tediously 
— no creature to speak to — ^my own reflections 
so cheerful — when I looked forward everything 
so inviting! — ^when I looked back at Barton, 
the picture so soothing!— oh 1 it was a blessed 
journey.' 
He stopped. 

* Well, sir,' said Elinor, who, though pitying 
him, grew impatient for his departure, * and this 
isaU?' 

*A11! — ^no — ^have you forgot what passed in 
town ? That infamous letter I Did she shew it 
you?' 

* Yes, I saw every note that passed.' 
•When the first of hers reached me (as it 

immediately did, for I was in town the whole 
time), what I fdt is, in the conunon phrase, 
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not to be expressed; in a more simple one — 
perhaps too simple to raise any emotion — my 
feelings were very, very painful. Every line, 
every word, was — ^in the hackneyed metaphor 
which their dear writer, were she here, would 
forbid — ^a dagger to my heart To know that 
Marianne was in town was, in the same language, 
a thunderbolt. Thunderbolts and daggers 1 — 
what a reproof would she have given me ! Her 
taste, her opinions — I believe they are better 
known to me than my own, and I am sure they 
are dearer.' 

Elinor's heart, which had undergone many 
changes in the course of this extraordinary con- 
versation, was now softened again ; yet she felt 
it her duty to check such ideas in her companion 
as the last. 

*This is not right, Mr. Willoughby. Re- 
member that you are married. Relate only 
what in your conscience you think necessaryfor 
me to hear.' 

* Marianne s note, by assuring me that I was 
still as dear to her as in former days — ^that, in 
spite of tlie many, many weeks we had been 
separated, she was as constant in her own feel- 
ings, and as full of faith in the constancy of 
mine, as ever, awakened all my remorse. I say 
awakened, because time and London, business 
and dissipation, had, in some measure, quieted 

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it, and I had bf^n growing a fine hardened 
villain, fancying myself indifferent to her, and 
chusing to fancy that she too must have become 
indifferent to me ; talking to myself of our past 
attachment as a mere idle, trifling business, 
shrugging up my shoulders in proof of its being 
so, and silencing every reproach, overcoming 
every scruple, by secretly saying now and then, 
**I shall be heartily glad to hear she is well 
married." But this note made me know myself 
better. I felt that she was infinitely dearer to 
me than any other woman in the world, and that 
I was using her infamously. But everything 
was then just settled between Miss Grey and 
me. To retreat was impossible. All that I had 
to do was to avoid you both. I sent no answer 
to Marianne, intending by that means to pre- 
serve myself from her farther notice; and for 
some time I was even determined not to call in 
Berkeley Street ; but at last, judging it wiser to 
affect the air of a cool, common acquaintance 
than anything else, t watched you all safely out 
of the house one morning, and left my name.' 

* Watched us out of the house 1 ' 

*Even so. You would be surprised to hear 
how often I watched you, how often I was on 
the point of falling in with you. I have entered 
many a shop to avoid your sight as the carriage 
drove by. Lodging as I did in Bond Street, 
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there was hardly a day in which I did not catch 
a glimpse of one or other of you ; and nothing 
but the most constant watchfulness on my side, 
a most invariably prevailing desire to keep out 
of your sight, could have separated us so long. 
I avoided the Middletons as much as possible, 
as well as everybody else who was likely to 
prove an acquaintance in common. Not aware 
of their being in town, however, I blundered on 
Sir John, I believe, the first day of his coming, 
and the day after I called at Mrs. Jennings's. 
He asked me to a party, a dance at his house in 
the evening. Had he not told me, as an induce- 
ment, that you and your sister were to be there, 
I should have felt it too certain a thing to trust 
myself near him. The next morning brought 
another short note from Marianne — ^still affec- 
tionate, open, artless, confiding — everything that 
could make my conduct most hateful. I could 
not answer it. I tried, but could not frame a 
sentence. But I thought of her, I believe, 
every moment of the day. If you can pity me. 
Miss Dashwood, pity my situation as it was 
then. With my head and heart full of your 
sister, I was forced to play the happy lover to 
another woman! Those three or four weeks 
were worse than all. Well, at last, as I need 
not tell you, you were forced on me : and what 
a sweet figure I cut 1 what an evening of agony 

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it was I Marianne, beautiful as an angel, on one 
side, calling me Willoughby in such a tone! 

God! — holding out her hand to me, asking 
me for an explanation with those bewitching 
eyes fixed in such speaking solicitude on my 
face! and Sophia, jealous as the devil, on the 

other hand, looking all that was Well, it 

does not signify; it is over now. Such an 
evening! I ran away from you all as soon as 

1 could, but not before I had seen Marianne's 
sweet face as white as death. That was the 
last, last look I ever had of her — ^the last manner 
in which she appeared to me. It was an horrid 
sight! Yet when I thought of her to-day as 
really dying, it was a kind of comfort to me to 
imagine that I knew exactly how she would 
appear to those who saw her last in this world. 
She was before me, constantly before me, as I 
travelled, in the same look and hue.' 

A short pause of mutual thoughtfulness 
succeeded. Willoughby, first rousing himself, 
broke it thus — 

*Well, let me make haste and be gone. 
Your sister is certainly better, certainly out of 
danger ? ' 

* We are assured of it.' 

* Your poor mother too ! doating on Marianne ! ' 
*But the letter, Mr. Willoughby, your own 

letter ; have you anything to say about that ? ' 
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*Yes, yes, that in particular. Your sister 
wrote to me again, you know, the very next 
morning. Yon saw what she said. I was break- 
fasting at the Ellisons'; and her letter, with 
some others, was brought to me there from my 
lodgings. It happened to catch Sophia's ^ye 
before it caught mine ; and its size, the elegance 
of the paper, the handwriting, altogether im- 
mediately gave her a suspicion. Some vague 
report had reached her before of my attachment 
to some young lady in Devonshire, and what 
had passed within her observation the preceding 
evening had marked who the young lady was, 
and made her more jealous than ever. Affect- 
ing that air of playfulness, therefore, which is 
delightful in a woman one loves, she opened the 
letter directly, and read its contents. She was 
well paid for her impudence. She read what 
made her wretched. Her wretchedness I could 
have borne, but her passion — ^her malice — at all 
events it must be appeased. And in short, what 
do you think of my wife's style of letter- writing? 
— delicate, tender, truly feminine was it not ? ' 

*Your wifel — the letter was in your own 
handwriting.' 

* Yes, but I had only the credit of servilely 
copying such sentences as I was ashamed to put 
my name to. The original was all her own, her 
own happy thoughts and gentle diction. But 

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what could I do ? — ^we were engaged, everything 
m preparation, the day almost fixed — ^but I am 
talking like a fooL Preparation I — day I — In 
honest words, her money was necessary to me, 
and in a situation like mine anything was to be 
done to prevent a rupture. And after all, what 
did it signify to my character, in the opinion of 
Marianne and her friends, in what language my 
answer was couched ? It must have been only 
to one end. My business was to declare myself 
a scoundrel, and whether I did it with a bow or 
a bluster was of little importance. " I am ruined 
for ever in their opinion," said I to myself; **I 
am shut out for ever from their society; they 
already think me an unprincipled fellow, this 
letter will only make them think me a black- 
guard one." Such were my reasonings as, in a 
sort of desperate carelessness, I copied my wife's 
words, and parted with the last relics of Mari- 
anne. Her three notes — unluckily they were 
all in my pocket-book, or I should have denied 
their existence, and hoarded them for ever; I 
was forced to put them up, and could not even 
kiss them. And the lock of hair — ^that too I 
had always carried about me in the same pocket- 
book, which was now searched by madam with 
the most ingratiating virulence — ^the dear lock 
— all, every memento was torn from me.' 

* You are very wrong, Mr. Willoughby, very 
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blamable/ said Elinor, while her voice, in spite 
of herself, betrayed her compassionate emotion ; 
* you ought not to speak in this way, either of 
Mrs. Willoughby or my sister. You have made 
your own choice. It was not forced on you. 
Your wife has a claim to your politeness, to 
your respect, at least. She must be attached 
to you, or she would not have married you. 
To treat her with unkindness, to speak of her 
slightingly, is no atonement to Marianne, nor 
can I suppose it a relief to your own con- 
science.' 

* Do not talk to me of my wife,' said he, with 
a heavy sigh. * She does not deserve your com- 
passion. She knew I had no regard for her when 
we married. Well, married we were, and came 
down to Combe Magna to be happy, and after- 
wards returned to town to be gay. And now 
do you pity me. Miss Dashwood? or have I 
said all this to no purpose ? Am I — ^be it only 
one degree — am I less guilty in your opinion 
than I was before? My intentions were not 
always wrong. Have I explained away any 
part of my guilt ? ' 

* Yes, you have certainly removed something 
— a little. You have proved yourself, on the 
whole, less faulty than I had believed you. You 
have proved your heart less wicked, much less 
wicked. But I hardly know — ^the misery that 

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you have inflicted — I hardly know what could 
have made it worse.* 

* Will you repeat to your sister, when she is 
recovered, what I have been telling you ? Let 
me be a litde lightened too in her opinion as 
well as in yours. You tell me that she has 
forgiven me already. Let me be able to fancy 
that a better knowledge of my heart, and of 
my present feelings, will draw from her a more 
spontaneous, more natural, more gentle, less 
dignified forgiveness. Tell her of my misery 
and my penitence, tell her that my heart was 
never inconstant to her, and if you will, that at 
this moment she is dearer to me than ever.' 

* I will teU her all that is necessary to what 
may comparatively be called your justification. 
But you have not explained to me the particular 
reason of your coming now, nor how you heard 
of her illness.' 

*Last night, in Drury Lane lobby, I ran 
against Sir John Middleton, and when he saw 
who I was — ^for the first time these two months 
— ^he spoke to me. That he had cut me ever 
since my marriage, I had seen without surprise 
or resentment. Now, however, his good-natured, 
honest, stupid soul, full of indignation against 
me, and concern for your sister, could not resist 
the temptation of telling me what he knew 
ought to, though probably he did not think 
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it wouldf vex me horribly. As bluntly as he 
could speak it, therefore, he told me that Mari- 
anne Dashwood was dying of a putrid fever 
at Cleveland — ^a letter that morning received 
fix>m Mrs. Jennings declared her danger most 
imminent — ^the Palmers all gone off in a fright, 
etc. I was too much shocked to be able to pass 
myself off as insensible, even to the undisceming 
Sir John. His heart was softened in seeing 
mine suffer; and so much of his ill-will was 
done away, that when we parted, he almost 
shook me by the hand, while he reminded me 
of an old promise about a pointer puppy. What 
I felt on hearing that your sister was dying — 
and dying, too, believing me the greatest villain 
upon earth, scorning, hating me in her latest 
moments — for how could I tell what horrid 
projects might not have been imputed? — One 
person I was sure would represent me as capable 
of anything. What I felt was dreadful 1 My 
resolution was soon made, and at eight o'clock 
this morning I was in my carriage. Now you 
know all.' 

Elinor made no answer. Her thoughts were 
silently fixed on the irreparable injury which 
too early an independence and its consequent 
habits of idleness, dissipation, and luxury, had 
made in the mind, the character, the happiness, 
of a man who, to every advantage of person and 
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talents, united a disposition naturally open and 
honest, and a feeling, affectionate temper. The 
world had made him extravagant and vain; 
extravagance and vanity had made him cold- 
hearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its 
own guilty triumph at the expense of another, 
had involved him in a real attachment, which 
extravagance, or at least its offspring necessity, 
had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty pro- 
pensity, in leading him to evil, had led him 
likewise to punishment. The attachment from 
which against honour, against feeling, against 
every better interest he had outwardly torn 
himself, now, when no longer allowable, governed 
every thought ; and the connexion, for the sake 
of which he had, with little scruple, left her 
sister to misery, was likely to prove a source 
of unhappiness to himself of a far more incurable 
nature. From a reverie of this kind she was 
recalled at the end of some minutes by Wil- 
loughby, who, rousing himself from a reverie 
at least equally painful, started up in preparation 
for going, and said — 

'There is no use in staying here; I must 
be off.' 

* Are you going back to town ? ' 

*No; to Combe Magna. I have business 
there; from thence to town in a day or two. 
Good-bye.' 
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He held out his hand. She could not refuse 
to give him hers ; he pressed it with affection. 

* And you do think something better of me 
than you did?' said he, letting it fall, and leaning 
against the mantelpiece, as if forgetting he was 
to go. 

Elinor assured him that she did; that she 
forgave, pitied him, wished him well — ^was even 
interested in his happiness — and added some 
gentle counsel as to the behaviour most likely 
to promote it His answer was not very 
encouraging. 

* As to that,' said he, * I must rub through the 
world as well as I can. Domestic happiness is 
out of the question. If, however, I am allowed 
to think that you and yours feel an interest in 
my fate and actions, it may be the means — it 
may put me on my guard — at least, it may be 
something to live for. Marianne, to be sure, 
is lost to me for ever. Were I even, by any 
blessed chance, at liberty again * 

Elinor stopped him with a reproof. 
*WeU,' he replied, *once more good-bye. I 
shall now go away and live in dread of one event.' 

* What do you mean ? ' 
'Your sister's marriage.' 

* You are very wrong. She can never be more 
lost to you than she is now.' 

*But she will be gained by some one else. 

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And if that some one should be the very he 

whom, of all others, I could least bear But 

I will not stay to rob myself of all your com- 
passionate goodwill, by shewing that where I 
have most injured I can least forgive. Good- 
bye ; God bless you 1 ' 

And with these words, he ahnost ran out of 
the room. 



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CHAPTER XLV 

Ei.iNOR, for some time after he left her, for some 
time even after the sound of his carriage had 
died away, remained too much oppressed by a 
crowd of ideas, widely differing in themselves, 
but of which sadness was the general result, to 
think even of her sister. 

Willoughby — ^he whom only half an hour ago 
she had abhorred as the most worthless of men 
— Willoughby, in spite of all his faults, excited 
a degree of commiseration for the sufferings 
produced by them, which made her think of 
him as now separated for ever from her family 
with a tenderness, a regret, rather in proportion, 
as she soon acknowledged within herself, to his 
wishes than to his merits. She felt that his 
influence over her mind was heightened by 
circumstances which ought not in reason to 
have weight; by that person of uncommon 
attraction — ^that open, affectionate, and lively 
manner which it was no merit to possess ; and 
by that still ardent love for Marianne, which it 
was not even innoeent to indulge. But she felt 
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that it was so, long, long before she could feel 
his influence less. 

When at last she returned to the unconscious 
Marianne, she found her just awaking, refreshed 
by so long and sweet a sleep to the extent of 
her hopes. Elinor s heart was fulL The past, 
the present, the future — Willoughby's visit, 
Marianne's safety, and her mother's expected 
arrival, threw her altogether into an agitation 
of spirits which kept off every indication of 
fatigue, and made her only fearful of betraying 
herself to her sister. Short was the time, how- 
ever, in which that fear could affect her, for 
within half an hour after Willoughby's leaving 
the house, she was again called downstairs by 
the sound of another carriage. Eager to save 
her mother from every unnecessary moment's 
horrible suspense, she ran immediately into the 
hall, and reached the outward door just in time 
to receive and support her as she entered it. 

Mrs. Dashwood, whose terror as they drew 
near the house had produced almost the con- 
viction of Marianne's being no more, had no 
voice to inquire after her, no voice even for 
Elinor; but she, waiting neither for salutation 
nor inquiry, instantly gave the joyful relief; — 
and her mother, catching it with all her usual 
warmth, was in a moment as much overcome 
by her happiness as she had been before by her 
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fears. She was supported into the drawing- 
room between her daughter and her friend: and 
there, shedding tears of joy, though still unable 
to speak, embraced Elinor again and again, 
turning from her at intervals to press Colonel 
Brandon's hand, with a look which spoke at 
once her gratitude, and her conviction of his 
sharing with herself in the bliss of the moment. 
He shared it, however, in a silence even greater 
than her own. 

As soon as Mrs. Dashwood had recovered 
herself, to see Marianne was her first desire; 
and in two minutes she was with her beloved 
child, rendered dearer to her than ever by ab- 
sence, unhappiness, and danger. Elinor's delight 
as she saw what each felt in the meeting, was 
only checked by an apprehension of its robbing 
Marianne of farther sleep : but Mrs. Dashwood 
could be calm, could be even prudent, when the 
life of a child was at stake; and Marianne, 
satisfied in knowing her mother was near her, 
and conscious of being too weak for conversa- 
tion, submitted readily to the silence and quiet 
prescribed by every nurse around her. Mrs. 
Dashwood voovM sit up with her all night, and 
Elinor, in compliance with her mother's entreaty, 
went to bed. But the rest, which one night 
entirely sleepless and many hours of the most 
wearing anxiety seemed to make requisite, was 

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kept off by irritation of spirits. Willoughby, 
* poor Willoughby,' as she now allowed herself 
to call him, was constantly in her thoughts ; 
she would not but have heard his vindication 
for the world, and now blamed, now acquitted 
herself, for having judged him so harshly before. 
But her promise of relating it to her sister was 
invariably painful. She dreaded the performance 
of it, dr^tded what its effect on Marianne might 
be ; doubted whether, after such an explanation, 
she could ever be happy with another, and for 
a moment wished Willoughby a widower ; then 
remembering Colonel Brandon, reproved herself, 
felt that to his suffenngs and his constancy, far 
more than to his rival's, the reward of her sister 
was due, and wished anything rather than Mrs. 
Willoughby's death. 

The shock of Colonel Brandon's errand at 
Barton had been much softened to Mrs. Dash- 
wood by her own previous alarm ; for so great 
was her uneasiness about Marianne, that she had 
already determined to set out for Cleveland on 
that very day, without waiting for any farther 
intelligence, and had so far settled her journey 
before his arrival, that the Careys were then 
expected every moment to fetch Margaret away, 
as her mother was unwilling to take her where 
there might be infection. 

Marianne continued to mend every day, and 
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the brilliant cheerfulness of Mrs. Dashwood's 
looks and spirits proved her to be, as she re- 
peatedly declared herself, one of the happiest 
women in the world. Elinor could not hear 
the declaration, nor witness its proofs, without 
sometimes wondering whether her mother ever 
recollected Edward. But Mrs. Dashwood, 
trusting to the temperate account of her own 
disappointment which Elinor had sent her, was 
led away by the exuberance of her joy to think 
only of what would increase it. Marianne was 
restored to her from a danger in which, as she 
now began to feel, her own mistaken judgment 
in encouraging the unfortunate attachment to 
Willoughby had contributed to place her ; and 
in her recovery she had yet another source of 
joy, unthought of by Elinor. It was thus hn- 
parted to her, as soon as any opportunity of 
private conference between them occurred. 

* At last we are alone. My Elinor, you do not 
yet know all my happiness. Colonel Brandon 
loves Marianne ; he has told me so himself.' 

Her daughter, feeling by turns both pleased 
and pained, surprised and not surprised, was all 
silent attention. 

*You are never like me, dear Elinor, or I 
should wonder at your composure now. Had I 
sat down to wish for any possible good to my 
family, I should have fixed on Colonel Brandon's 

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mairying one of you as the object most desir- 
able. And I believe Marianne will be the most 
happy with him of the two.' 

Elinor was half inclined to ask her reason for 
thinking so, because satisfied that none founded 
on an impartial consideration of their age, char- 
acters, or feelings, could be given ; but her 
mother must always be carried away by her 
ima^ation on any interestuig subject, and 
therefore, instead of an inquiry, she passed it 
off with a smile. 

* He opened his whole heart to me yesterday 
as we travelled. It came out quite unawares, 
quite undesignedly. I, you may well believe, 
could talk of nothing but my child ; — ^he could 
not conceal his distress ; I saw that it equalled 
my own, and he, perhaps thinking that mere 
friendship, as the world now goes, would not 
justify so warm a sympathy — or rather not 
thinking at all, I suppose — ^giving way to irre- 
sistible feelings, made me acquainted with his 
earnest, tender, constant affection for Marianne. 
He has loved her, my Elinor, ever since the first 
moment of seeing her.' 

Here, however, Elinor perceived, not the 
language, not the professions of Colonel Bran- 
don, but the natural embellishments of her 
mother's active fancy, which fashioned every- 
thing delightful to her as it chose. 
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* His regard for her, infinitely surpassing any- 
thing that Willoughby ever felt or feigned, as 
much more warm, as more sincere or constant — 
whichever we are to call it — ^has subsisted 
through aU the knowledge of dear Marianne's 
unhappy prepossession for that worthless young 
man! — and without selfishness — without en- 
coura^ng a hope I — could he have seen her 
happy with another? Such a noble mind! — 
such openness, such sincerity! — ^no one can be 
deceived in Mm' 

* Colonel Brandon's character,' said Elinor * as 
an excellent man, is weU established/ 

*I know it is,' replied her mother seriously, 

* or after such a warning, / should be the last to 
encourage such affection, or even to be pleased 
by it. But his coming for me as he did, with 
such active, such ready friendship, is enough to 
prove him one of the worthiest of men.' 

*His character, however,' answered Elinor, 

* does not rest on one act of kindness, to which 
his affection for Marianne, were humanity out of 
the case, would have prompted him. To Mrs. 
Jennings, to the Middletons, he has been long 
and intimately known; they equally love and 
respect him; and even my knowledge of him, 
though lately acquired, is very considerable ; ai^d 
so highly do / value and esteem him, that if 
Marianne can be happy with him, I shall be as 

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ready as yourself to think our connexion the 
greatest blessing to us in the world. What 
answer did you ^ve him ? Did you allow him 
to hope?' 

* Oh I my love, I could not then talk of hope 
to him or to myself. Marianne might at that 
moment be dying. But he did not ask for hope 
or encouragement His was an involuntary 
confidence, an irrepressible effusion to a soothing 
friend — ^not an application to a parent. Yet 
after a time I did say, for at first I was quite 
overcome, that if she lived, as I trusted she 
might, my greatest happiness would lie in pro- 
moting their marriage; and since our arrival, 
since our delightful security, I have repeated it 
to him more fuUy, have given him every en- 
couragement in my power. Time, a very little 
time, I tell him, will do everything; — Marianne's 
heart is not to be wasted for ever on such a man as 
Willoughby . His own merits must soon secure it. ' 

* To judge from the Colonel's spirits, however, 
you have not yet made him eqbally sanguine.' 

*No. He thinks Marianne's affection too 
deeply rooted for any change in it under a 
great length of time ; and even supposing her 
heart again free, is too diffident of himself to 
believe, that with such a difference of age and 
disposition, he could ever attach her. There, 
however, he is quite mistaken* His age is only 
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so much beyond hers as to be an advantage, as 
to make his character and principles fixed ; and 
his disposition, I am well convinced, is exactly 
the very one to make your sister happy. And 
his person, his manners too, are all in his favour. 
My partiality does not blind me : he certainly 
is not so handsome as Willoughby ; but, at the 
same time, there is something much more 
pleasing in his countenance. There was always 
a something, if you remember, in Willoughby's 
eyes at times, which I did not like.* 

Elinor could not remember it ; but her mother, 
without waiting for her assent, continued — 

* And his manners, the Colonel's manners, are 
not only more pleasmg to me than Willoughby's 
ever were, but they are of a kind I well know to 
be more solidly attaching to Marianne. Their 
gentleness, their genuine attention to other 
people, and their manly, unstudied simplicity, 
is much more accordant with her real disposition 
than the liveliness, often artificial, and often ill- 
timed, of the other. I am very sure myself that 
had Willoughby turned out as really amiable as 
he has proved himself the contrary, Marianne 
would yet never have been so happy with Mm as 
she will be with Colonel Brandon.' 

She paused. Her daughter could not quite 
agree with her, but her dissent was not heard, 
and therefore gave no offence. 

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•At Delaford she will be within an easy 
distance of me/ added Mrs. Dashwood, ' even if 
I remain at Barton ; and in all probability, for 
I hear it is a large village — ^indeed, there cer- 
tainly must be some small house or cottage close 
by that would suit us quite as well as our present 
situation.' 

Poor Elinor! here was a new scheme for 
getting her to Delaford I but her spirit was 
stubborn. 

* His fortune too I for at my time of life, you 
know, everybody cares about that ; and though 
I neither know, nor desire to know, what it 
reaUy is, I am sure it must be a good one.' 

Here they were interrupted by the entrance 
of a third person, and Elinor withdrew to think 
it all over in private, to wish success to her 
friend, and yet, in wishing it, to feel a pang for 
Willoughby. 



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CHAPTER XLVI 

Marianne's illness, though weakening in its 
kind, had not been long enough to make her 
recovery slow ; and with youth, natural strength, 
and her mother s presence in aid, it proceeded so 
smoothly as to enable her to remove, within four 
days after the arrival of the latter, into Mrs. 
Palmer's dressing-room. When there, at her 
own particular request, for she was impatient to 
pour forth her thanks to him for fetching her 
mother. Colonel Brandon was invited to visit 
her. 

His emotion in entering the room, in seeing 
her altered looks, and in receiving the pale hand 
which she immediately held out to him, was 
such as, in Elinor's conjecture, must arise from 
something more than his affection for Marianne, 
or the consciousness of its being known to 
others; and she soon discovered in his melan- 
choly eye and varying complexion, as he looked 
at her sister, the probable recurrence of many 
past scenes of misery to his mind, brought back 
by that resemblance between Marianne and 

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Eliza, already acknowledged, and now strength- 
ened by the hollow eye, the sickly skin, the 
posture of reclining weakness, and the warm 
acknowledgment of peculiar obligation. 

Mrs. . Dash wood, not less watchful of what 
passed than her daughter, but with a mind very 
diiFerently influenced, and therefore watching to 
very different effect, saw nothing in the Colonel's 
behaviour but what arose from the most simple 
and self-evident sensations, while in the actions 
and words of Marianne she persuaded herself to 
think that something more than gratitude already 
dawned. 

At the end of another day or two, Marianne 
growing visibly stronger every twelve hours, 
Mrs. Dashwood, urged equally by her own and 
her daughter s wishes, began to talk of removing 
to Barton. On her measures depended those of 
her two friends : Mrs. Jennings could not quit 
Cleveland during the Dashwoods' stay, and 
Colonel Brandon was soon brought, by their 
united request, to consider his own abode there 
as equally determinate, if not equally indispens- 
able. At his and Mrs. Jennings's united request 
in return, Mrs. Dashwood was prevailed on to 
accept the use of his carriage on her journey 
back, for the better accommodation of her sick 
child ; and the Colonel, at the joint invitation 
of Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Jennings, whose 
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active good-nature made her fiiendly and hospit- 
able for other people as well as herself, engaged 
with pleasure to redeem it by a visit at the 
cottage in the course of a few weeks. 

The day of separation and departure arrived ; 
and Marianne, after taking so particular and 
lengthened a leave of Mrs. Jennings — one so 
earnestly grateful, so full of respect and kind 
wishes as seemed due to her own heart from a 
secret acknowledgment of past inattention — and 
bidding Colonel Brandon farewell with the cor- 
diality of a friend, was carefully assisted by him 
into the carriage, of which he seemed anxious 
that she should engross at least half. Mrs. 
Dashwood and Elinor then followed, and the 
others were left by themselves, to talk of the 
travellers, and feel their own dulness, till Mrs. 
Jennings was summoned to her chaise to take 
comfort in the gossip of her maid for the loss 
of her two young companions; and Colonel 
Brandon immediately afterwards took his solitary 
way to Delaford. 

The Dashwoods were two days on the road, 
and Marianne bore her journey on both without 
essential fatigue. Everjrthing that the most 
zealous affection, the most solicitous care, could 
do to render her comfortable, was the office of 
each watchful companion, and each found their 
reward in her bodily ease and her caknness of 
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spirits. To Elinor, the observation of the latter 
was particularly grateful. She who had seen 
her week after week so constantly suffering, 
oppressed by anguish of heart which she had 
neither courage to speak of, nor fortitude to 
conceal, now saw, with a joy which no other 
could equally share, an apparent composure of 
mind which, in being the result, as she trusted, 
of serious reflection, must eventually lead her to 
contentment and cheerfulness. 

As they approached Barton, indeed, and 
entered on scenes of which every field and 
every tree brought some peculiar, some piunful 
recollection, she grew silent and thoughtful, 
and turning away her face from their notice, 
sat eamestiy gazing through the window. But 
here, Elinor could neither wonder nor blame; 
and when she saw, as she assisted Marianne 
from the carriage, that she had been crying, 
she saw only an emotion too natural in itself 
to raise anything less tender than pity, and 
in its unobtrusiveness entitied to praise. In 
the whole of her subsequent manner, she traced 
the direction of a mind awakened to reasonable 
exertion ; for no sooner had they entered their 
common sitting-room, than Marianne turned her 
eyes around it with a look of resolute firmness, 
as if determined at once to accustom herself 
to the sight of every object with which the 
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remembrance of Willoughby could be con- 
nected. She said little, but every sentence 
aimed at cheerfulness, and though a sigh some- 
times escaped her, it never passed away without 
the atonement of a smile. After dinner, she 
would try her pianoforte. She went to it ; but 
the music on which her eye first rested was an 
opera, procured for her by Willoughby, contain- 
ing some of their favourite duets, and bearing 
on its outward leaf her own name in his hand- 
writing. That would not do. She shook her 
head, put the music aside, and, after running 
over the keys for a minute, complained of feeble- 
ness in her fingers, and closed the instrument 
again ; declaring, however, with firmness as she 
did so, that she should in future practise much. 

The next morning produced no abatement in 
these happy symptoms. On the contrary, with 
a mind and body alike strengthened by rest, 
she looked and spoke with more genuine spirit, 
anticipating the pleasure of Margaret's return, 
and talking of the dear family party which 
would then be restored, of their mutual pursuits 
and cheerful society, as the only happiness worth 
a wish. 

*When the weather is settled, and I have 
recovered my strength,* said she, *we will take 
long walks together every day. We will walk 
to the farm at the edge of tiie down, and see 

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how the children go on; we will walk to Sir 
John's new plantations at Barton Cross, and 
the Abbeyland; and we will often go to the 
old ruins of the Priory, and try to trace its 
foundations as far as we are told they once 
reached. I know we shall be happy. I know 
the summer will pass happily away. I mean 
never to be later in rising than six, and from 
that time till dinner I shall divide every moment 
between music and reading. I have formed my 
plan, and am determined to enter on a course 
of serious study. Our own library is too well 
known to me to be resorted to for anything 
beyond mere amusement. But there are many 
works well worth reading at the Park; and 
there are others of more modem production 
which I know I can borrow of Colonel Brandon. 
By reading only six hours a day, I shall gain in 
the course of a twelvemonth a great deal of 
instruction which I now feel myself to want' 

Elinor honoured her for a plan which origin- 
ated so nobly as this ; though smiling to see the 
same eager fancy which had been leading her 
to the extreme of languid indolence and selfish 
repining, now at work in introducing excess 
into a scheme of such rational employment and 
virtuous self-controul. Her smile, however, 
changed to a sigh when she remembered that 
her promise to Willoughby was yet unfulfilled, 
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and feaxed she had that to communicate which 
might again unsettle the mind of Marianne, and 
ruin, at least for a time, this fair prospect of busy 
tranquillity. Willing, therefore, to delay the evil 
hour, she resolved to wait till her sister's health 
were more secure, before she appointed it. But 
the resolution was made only to be broken. 

Marianne had been two or three days at home 
before the weather was fine enough for an in- 
valid like herself to venture out But at last 
a soft, genial morning appeared — ^such as might 
tempt the daughter's wishes and the mother's 
confidence; and Marianne, leaning on Elinor's 
arm, was authorised to walk as long as she 
could without fatigue, in the lane before the 
house. 

The sisters set out at a pace slow as the 
feebleness of Marianne, in an exercise hitherto 
untried since her illness, required; — and they 
had advanced only so far beyond the house as 
to admit a fuU view of the hill, the important 
hill behind, when, pausing with her eyes turned 
towards it, Marianne calmly sidd — 

* There, exactly there' — pointing with one 
hand — ^ on that projecting mound — ^there I fell ; 
and there I first saw Willoughby.* 

Her voice sunk with the word, but presently 
reviving, she added — 

^ I am thankful to find that I can look with 
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so little pain on the spot! — ^shall we ever talk 
on that subject, Elinor?' — ^hesitatingly it was 
said. — * Or will it be wrong ? — ^I can talk of it 
now, I hope, as I ought to do.* 

Elinor tenderly invited her to be open. 

* As for regret,' said Marianne, * I have done 
with that, as far as A^ is concerned. I do not 
mean to talk to you of what my feelings have 
been for him, but what they are now. At 
present, if I could be satisfied on one point — 
if I could be allowed to think that he was 
not always acting a part, not always deceiv- 
ing me; but above aU, if I could be assured 
that he never was so very wicked as my fears 
have sometimes fancied him, since the story 
of that unfortunate girl ' 

She stopped. Elinor jo)rfully treasured her 
words as she answered — 

* If you could be assured of that, you think 
you should be easy.' 

* Yes. My peace of mind is doubly involved 
in it ; for not only is it horrible to suspect a 
person, who has been what he has been to me^ 
of such designs — ^but what must it make me to 
appear myself? What, in a situation like mine, 
but a most shamefully unguarded affection could 
expose me to ' 

•How then,* asked her sister, 'would you 
account for his behaviour ? ' 
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* I would suppose him — oh I how gladly 
would I suppose him — only fickle — ^very, very 
fickle/ 

Elinor said no more. She was debating 
within herself on the eli^bility of beginning 
her story directly, or postponing it till Marianne 
were in stronger health ; and they crept on for 
a few minutes in silence. 

* I am not wishing him too much good,' said 
Marianne at last, with a sigh, * when I wish his 
secret reflections may be no more unpleasant 
than my own. He will suffer enough in 
them.* 

* Do you compare your conduct with his ? * 
*No. I compare it with what it ought to 

have been ; I compare it with yours.* 

* Our situations have borne little resemblance.' 
*They have borne more than our conduct. 

Do not, my dearest Elinor, let your kindness 
defend what I know your judgment must cen- 
sure. My iUness has made me think — ^it has 
given me leisure and calmness for serious recol- 
lection. Long before I was enough recovered 
to talk, I was perfectly able to reflect. I con- 
sidered the past : I saw in my own behaviour, 
since the beginning of our acquaintance with 
him last autumn, nothing but a series of im- 
prudence towards myself, and want of kind- 
ness to others. I saw that my own feelings 

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had prepared my sufferings, and that my want 
of fortitude under them had ahnost led me to 
the grave. My iUness, I well knew, had been 
entirely brought on by myself, by such negli- 
gence of my own health as I felt even at the 
time to be wrong. Had I died, it would have 
been self-destruction. I did not know my danger 
till the danger was removed ; but with such 
feelings as these reflections gave me, I wonder 
at my recovery — ^wonder that the very eagerness 
of my desire to live, to have time for atonement 
to my God, and to you all, did not kill me at 
once. Had I died, in what peculiar misery 
should I have left you, my nurse, my friend, 
my sister 1 You, who had seen all the fretful 
selfishness of my latter days ; who had known 
all the murmurings of my heart 1 How should 
I have lived in your remembrance 1 My mother 
too 1 How could you have consoled her 1 I can- 
not express my own abhorrence of myself. When- 
ever I looked towards the past, I saw some duty 
neglected, or some failing indulged. Everybody 
seemed injured by me. The kindness, the unceas- 
ing kindness of Mrs. Jennings, I had repaid with 
ungrateful contempt. To the Middletons, the 
Palmers, the Steeles, to every common acquaint- 
ance even, I had been insolent and unjust ; with 
a heart hardened agidnst their merits, and a 
temper irritated by their very attention. To 
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John, to Fanny — ^yes, even to them, little as 
they deserve, I had given less than their due. 
But you — ^you above all, above my mother, had 
been wronged by me. I, and only I, knew your 
heart and its sorrows; yet, to what did it in- 
fluence me ? not to any compassion that could 
benefit you or myself. Your example was 
before me ; but to what avail ? Was I more 
considerate of you and your comfort ? Did I 
imitate your forbearance, or lessen your re- 
straints, by taking any part in those oflices of 
general complaisance or particular gratitude 
which you had hitherto been left to discharge 
alone? No; not less when I knew you to be 
unhappy, than when I had believed you at ease, 
did I turn away from every exertion of duty or 
friendship ; scarcely allowed sorrow to exist but 
with me, regretting only that heart which de- 
serted and wronged me, and leaving you, for 
whom I professed an unbounded affection, to be 
miserable for my sake.' 

Here ceased tiie rapid flow of her self-reproving 
spirit ; and Elinor, impatient to soothe, though 
too honest to flatter, gave her instantly that 
praise and support which her frankness and her 
contrition so well deserved. Marianne pressed 
her hand and replied — 

* You are very good. The future must be my 
proof. I have laid down my plan, and if I am 

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capable of adhering to it, my feelings shall be 
governed and my temper improved. They shall 
no longer worry others, nor torture myself. I 
shall now live solely for my family. You, my 
mother, and Margaret, must henceforth be all 
the world to me ; you will share my affections 
entirely between you. From you, from my 
home, I shall never again have the smallest 
incitement to move ; and if I do mix in other 
society, it will only be to shew that my spirit 
is humbled, my heart amended, and that I can 
practise the civilities, the lesser duties of life, 
with gentleness and forbearance. As for Wil- 
loughby, to say that I shall soon, or that I shall 
ever forget him, would be idle. His remem- 
brance (ian be overcome by no change of circum- 
stances or opinions. But it shall be regulated, 
it shall be checked by reli^on, by reason, by 
constant employment.' 

She paused, and added in a lower voice, ' If 
I could but know his heart, everything would 
become easy.' 

Elinor, who had now been some time reflect- 
ing on the propriety or impropriety of speedily 
hazarding her narration, without feeling at all 
nearer decision than at first, heard this ; and 
perceiving that, as reflection did nothing, resolu- 
tion must do all, soon found herself leading to 
the fact. 

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She managed the recital, as she hoped, with 
address ; prepared her anxious listener with 
caution; related simply and honestly the chief 
points on which Willoughby grounded his 
apology ; did justice to his repentance, and 
softened only his protestations of present regard. 
Marianne said not a word ; she trembled, her 
eyes were fixed on the ground, and her lips 
became whiter than even sickness had left 
them. A thousand inquiries sprang up from 
her heart, but she dared not urge one. She 
caught every syllable with panting eager- 
ness ; her hand, unknowingly to herself, closely 
pressed her sister's, and tears covered her 
cheeks. 

Elinor, dreading her being tired, led her 
towards home; and till they reached the door 
of the cottage, easily conjecturing what her 
curiosity must be, though no question was 
suffered to speak it, talked of nothing but 
Willoughby, and their conversation together 
was carefully minute in every particular of speech 
and look, where minuteness could be safely in- 
dulged. As soon as they entered the house 
Marianne, with a kiss of gratitude, and these 
two words just articulate through her tears, 
* Tell mama,' withdrew from her sister and 
walked slowly upstairs. Elinor would not 
attempt to disturb a solitude so reasonable as 

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what she now sought ; and with a mind anxiously 
prearran^g its result^ and a resolution of re- 
viving the subject again should Marianne fail to 
do it, she turned into the parlour to fulfil her 
parting injunction. 



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CHAPTER XLVII 

Mrs. Dashwood did not hear unmoved the 
vindication of her former favourite. She re- 
joiced in his being cleared from some part of 
his imputed guilt; she was sorry for him; she 
wished him happy. But the feelings of the past 
could not be recalled. Nothing could restore 
him with a faith unbroken — a character un- 
blemished, to Marianne. Nothing could do 
away the knowledge of what the latter had 
suffered through his means, nor remove the 
guilt of his conduct towards Eliza. Nothing 
could replace him, therefore, in her former 
esteem, nor injure the interest of Colonel 
Brandon. 

Had Mrs. Dashwood, like her daughter, heard 
WiUoughby's story from himself— had she wit- 
nessed his distress, and been under the influence 
of his countenance and his manner, it is pro- 
bable that her compassion would have been 
greater. But it was neither in Elinor's power, 
nor in her wish, to rouse such feelings in another, 
by her retfuled explanation, as had at first been 

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called forth in herself. Reflection had given 
calmness to her judgment, and sobered her own 
opinion of Willoughby's deserts; she wished, 
therefore, to declare only the simple truth, and 
lay open such facts as were really due to his 
character, without any embellishment of tender- 
ness to lead the fancy astray. 

In the evening, when they were all there 
together, Marianne began voluntarily to speak 
of him again ; but that it was not without an 
effort, the restless, unquiet thoughtfulness in 
which she had been for some time previously 
sitting, her rising colour as she spoke, and her 
unsteady voice, plainly shewed. 

^I wish to assure you both,' said she, 'that 
I see everything — as you can desire me to 
do.' 

Mrs. Dashwood would have interrupted her 
instantly with soothmg tenderness, had not 
Elinor, who really wished to hear her sister's 
unbiassed opinion, by an eager sign, engaged 
her silence. Marianne slowly continued — 

^ It is a great relief to me — ^what Elinor told 
me this morning — I have now heard exactly 
what I wished to hear.' For some moments 
her voice was lost ; but, recovering herself, she 
added, and with greater calmness than before: 
*I am now perfectly satisfied. I wish for no 
change. I never could have been happy with 
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him, after knowing, as sooner or later I must 
have known, all this. I should have had no 
confidence, no esteem. Nothing could have 
done it away to my feelings.' 

*I know it — I know it,' cried her mother. 
* Happy with a man of libertine practices 1 With 
one who had so injured the peace of the dearest 
of our friends, and the best of men ? No — my 
Marianne has not a heart to be made happy 
by such a man I Her conscience, her sensitive 
conscience, would have felt all that the conscience 
of her husband ought to have felt.' 

Marianne sighed, and repeated — ^•I wish for 
no change.' 

*You consider the matter,' said Elinor, 'ex- 
actly as a good mind and a sound understanding 
must consider it; and I dare say you perceive, 
as well as myself, not only in this, but in many 
other circumstances, reason enough to be con- 
vinced that your marriage must have involved 
you in many certain troubles and disappoint- 
ments in which you would have been poorly 
supported by an affection, on his side, much less 
certain. Had you married, you must have been 
always poor. His expensiveness is acknowledged 
even by himself, and his whole conduct declares 
that self-denial is a word hardly understood by 
him. His demands, and your inexperience to- 
gether, on a small, very small income, must have 

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brought on distresses which would not be the 
/if^j grievous to you from having been entirely 
unknown and unthought of before. Your sense 
of honour and honesty would have led you, I 
know, when aware of your situation, to attempt 
all the economy that would appear to you pos- 
sible; and perhaps, as long as your frugality 
retrenched only on your own comfort, you might 
have been suffered to practise it, but beyond 
that — and how little could the utmost of your 
single management do to stop the ruin which 
had begun before your marriage ? beyond that^ 
had you endeavoured, however reasonably, to 
abridge 1m enjoyments, is it not to be feared 
that, instead of prevailing on feelings so selfish 
to consent to it, you would have lessened your 
own influence on his heart, and made him regret 
the connexion which had involved him in such 
difficulties?' 

Marianne's lips quivered, and she repeated the 
word ' Selfish ? ' in a tone that implied < Do you 
really think him selfish ? ' 

• The whole of his behaviour,' replied Elinor, 
'from the beginning to the end of the affair, 
has been grounded on selfishness. It was selfish- 
ness which first made him sport with your affec- 
tions ; wWch afterwards, when his own were 
engaged, made him delay the confession of it, 
and which finally carried him frt>m Barton. His 
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own enjoyment, or his own ease, was in every 
particular his ruling principle.' 

*It is very true. My happiness never was 
his object.' 

*At present,' continued Elinor, 'he regrets 
what he has done. And why does he regret 
it? Because he finds it has not answered 
towards himself. It has not made him happy. 
His circumstances are now unembarrassed — ^he 
suffers from no evil of that kind, and he thinks 
only that h*e has married a woman of a less 
amiable temper than yourself. But does it 
thence follow that, had he married you, he 
would have been happy ? The inconveniences 
would have been different. He would then 
have suffered under the pecuniary distresses 
which, because they are removed, he now 
reckons as nothing. He would have had a 
wife of whose temper he could make no com- 
plaint, but he would have been always neces- 
sitous — always poor; and probably would soon 
have learnt to rank the innumerable comforts 
of a clear estate and good income as of far more 
importance, even to domestic happiness, than 
the mere temper of a wife.' 

'I have not a doubt of it,' said Marianne; 
* and I have nothing to regret — nothing but my 
own folly.' 

'Rather say your mother's imprudence, my 
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child/ sftid Mrs. Dashwood ; * she must be answer- 
able/ 

Marianne would not let her proceed; and 
Elinor, satisfied that each felt theu- own error, 
wished to avoid any survey of the past that 
might weaken her sister's spirits ; she therefore, 
pursuing the first subject, immediately con- 
tinued — 

* One observation may, I think, be fairly drawn 
from the whole of the story — ^that all Wil- 
loughby's difficulties have arisen from the first 
offence against virtue, in his behaviour to Eliza 
Williams. That crime has been the origin of 
every lesser one, and of all his present dis- 
contents.' 

Marianne assented most feelingly to the re- 
mark; and her mother was led by it to an 
enumeration of Colonel Brandon's injuries and 
merits, warm as friendship and design could 
unitedly dictate. Her daughter did not look, 
however, as if much of it were heard by her. 

Elinor, according to her expectation, saw, on 
the two or three following days, that Marianne 
did not continue to gain strength as she had 
done ; but while her resolution was unsubdued, 
and she still tried to appear cheerful and easy, 
her sister could safely trust to the effect of time 
upon her health. 

Margaret returned, and the family were again 
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all restored to each other, again quietly settled 
at the cottage, and if not pursuing their usual 
studies with quite so much vigour as when they 
first came to Barton, at least planning a vigorous 
prosecution of them in future. 

Elinor grew impatient for some tidings of 
Edward. She had heard nothing of him since 
her leaving London, nothing new of his plans, 
nothing certain even of his present abode. Some 
letters had passed between her and her brother, 
in consequence of Marianne's iUness ; and in the 
first of John's there had been this sentence: 
* We know nothing of our unfortunate Edward, 
and can make no inquiries on so prohibited a 
subject, but conclude him to be stiU at Oxford ' ; 
which was all the intelligence of Edward afforded 
her by the correspondence, for his name was not 
even mentioned in any of the succeeding letters. 
She was not doomed, however, to be long in 
ignorance of his measures. 

Their man-servant had been sent one morning 
to Exeter on business ; and when, as he waited 
at table, he had satisfied the inquiries of his 
mistress as to the event of his errand, this was 
his voluntary communication — 

*I suppose you know, ma'am, that Mr. Ferrars 
is married.' 

Marianne gave a violent start, fixed her eyes 
upon Elinor, saw her turning pale, and fell back 

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in her chair in hysterics. Mrs. Dashwood» whose 
eyes, as she answered the servant's inquiry, had 
intuitively taken the same direction, was shocked 
to perceive by Elinor's countenance how much 
she really suffered, and in a moment afterwards, 
alike distressed by Marianne's situation, knew 
not on which child to bestow her principal 
attention. 

The servant, who saw only that Miss Mari- 
anne was taken ill, had sense enough to call 
one of the maids, who, with Mrs. Dashwood's 
assistance, supported her into the other room. 
By that time Marianne was rather better, and 
her mother, leaving her to the care of Margaret 
and the maid, returned to Elinor, who, though 
still much disordered, had so far recovered the 
use of her reason and voice as to be just begin- 
ning an inquiry of Thomas as to the source of his 
intelligence. Mrs. Dashwood immediately took 
all that trouble on herself: and Elinor had the 
benefit of the information without the exertion 
of seeking it. 

* Who told you that Mr. Ferrars was married, 
Thomas?' 

* I see Mr. Ferrars myself, ma'am, this morn- 
ing in Exeter, and his lady too. Miss Steele as 
was. They was stopping in a chaise at the door 
of the New London Inn, as I went there with a 
message from Sally at the Park to her brother, 

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who is one of the postboys. I happened to look 
up as I went by the chdse, and so I see directly 
it was the youngest Miss Steele ; so I took off 
my hat, and she knew me and called to me, and 
inquired after you, ma'am, and the young ladies, 
especially Miss Marianne, and bid me I should 
give her compliments and Mr. Ferrars's, their 
best compliments and service, and how sorry 
they was they had not time to come on and see 
you — ^but they was in a great hurry to go for- 
wards, for they was going further down for a 
little while — but howsever, when they come 
back, they 'd make sure to come and see you/ 

*But did she teU you she was married, 
Thomas?* 

^ Yes, ma am. She smiled, and said how she 
had changed her name since she was in these 
parts. She was always a very affable and free- 
spoken young lady, and very civil-behaved. So, 
I made free to wish her joy.* 

* Was Mr. Ferrars in the carriage with her ? * 

* Yes, ma'am, I just see him leaning back in 
it, but he did not look up; — ^he never was a 
gentleman much for talking.' 

Elinor's heart could easily account for his not 
putting himself forward ; and Mrs. Dashwood 
probably found the same explanation. 

* Was there no one else in the carriage ? * 

* No, ma'am, only they two.* 

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* Do you know where they came from ? ' 

* They come straight from town, as Miss Lucy 
— Mrs. Ferrars told me.' 

* And are going farther westward ? ' 

*Yes, ma'am — ^but not to bide long. They 
will soon be back again, and then they'd be 
sure and call here.' 

Mrs. Dashwood now looked at her daughter ; 
but Elinor knew better than to expect them. 
She recognised the whole of Lucy in the 
message, and was very confident that Edward 
would never come near them. She observed, 
in a low voice, to her mother, that they were 
probably going down to Mr. Pratt's, near 
Plymouth. 

Thomas's intelligence seemed over. Elinor 
looked as if she wished to hear more. 

* Did you see them off before you came away? ' 

* No, ma'am — ^the horses was just coming out, 
but I could not bide any longer ; I was afraid of 
being late.' 

' Did Mrs. Ferrars look well ? ' 

*Yes, ma'am, she said how she was very 
well; and to my mind she was always a very 
handsome young lady — arid she seemed vastly 
contented.' 

Mrs. Dashwood could think of no other 
question, and Thomas and the table-cloth, now 
alike needless, were soon after dismissed. Mari- 
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anne had already sent to say that she should eat 
nothing more; Mrs. Dashwood's and Elmor's 
appetites were equally lost, and Margaret might 
think herself very well off, that with so much 
uneasiness as both her sisters had lately experi- 
enced, so much reason as they had often had to 
be careless of their meals, she had never been 
obliged to go without her dinner before. 

When the dessert and the wine were arranged, 
and Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor were left to 
themselves, they remained long together in a 
similarity of thoughtfulness and silence. Mrs. 
Dashwood feared to hazard any remark, and 
ventured not to offer consolation. She now 
found that she had erred in relying on Elinor's 
representation of herself; and justly concluded 
that everything had been expressly softened at 
the time, to spare her from an increase of un- 
happiness, suffering as she then had suffered 
for Marianne. She found that she had been 
misled by the careful, the considerate attention 
of her daughter, to think the attachment, which 
once she had so well understood, much slighter 
in reality than she had been wont to believe, or 
than it was now proved to be. She feared that 
under this persuasion she had been unjust, in- 
attentive — ^nay, almost unkind to her Elinor: 
that Marianne's affliction, because more acknow- 
ledged, more immediately before her, had too 

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much engrossed her tenderness, and led her 
away to forget that in Elinor she might have 
a daughter suffering almost as much» certainly 
with less self -provocation and greater forti- 
tude. 



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CHAPTER XLVIII 

Elinor now found the difference between the 
expectation of an unpleasant event, however 
certain the mind may be told to consider it, and 
certainty itself She now found that, in spite of 
herself, she had always admitted a hope, while 
Edward remained single, that something would 
occur to prevent his marrying Lucy ; that some 
resolution of his own, some mediation of friends, 
or some more eligible opportunity of establish- 
ment for the lady, would arise to assist the 
happiness of all. But he was now married, and 
she condemned her heart for the lurking flattery 
which so much heightened the pain of the 
intelligence. 

That he should be married so soon, before (as 
she imagined) he could be in orders, and conse- 
quently before he could be in possession of the 
living, surprised her a little at first But she 
soon saw how likely it was that Lucy, in her 
self-provident care, in her haste to secure him, 
should overlook everything but the risk of delay. 

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They were married, married in town, and now 
hastening down to her uncle s. What had 
Edward felt on being within four miles of 
Barton, on seeing her mother s servant, on hear- 
ing Lucy s message I 

They would soon, she supposed, be settled 
at Delaford — ^Delaford, that place in which so 
much conspired to give her an interest — which 
she wished to be acquainted with, and yet 
desired to avoid. She saw them in an instant 
in their parsonage-house ; saw in Lucy the 
active, contriving manager, uniting at once a 
desire of smart appearance with the utmost 
frugality, and ashamed to be suspected of half 
her economical practices; — ^pursuing her own 
interest in every thought, courting the flavour 
of Colonel Brandon, of Mrs, Jennings, and of 
every wealthy friend. In Edward she knew not 
what she saw, nor what she wished to see; — 
happy or unhappy — ^nothing pleased her; — she 
turned away her head from every sketch of him. 

Elinor flattered herself that some one of their 
connexions in London would write to them to 
announce the event, and give farther particulars ; 
but day after day passed off, and brought no 
letter, no tidings. Though uncertain that any 
one were to blame, she found fault with every 
absent friend. They were all thoughtless or 
indolent. 
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*When do you write to Colonel Brandon, 
ma'am ? * was an mquiry which sprung from the 
impatience of her mind to have something 
going on. 

*I wrote to him, my love, last week, and 
rather expect to see, than to hear from him 
again. I earnestly pressed his coming to us, 
and should not be surprised to see him walk in 
to-day or to-morrow, or any day.' 

This was gaining something, something to 
look forward to. Colonel Brandon nmst have 
some information to give. 

Scarcely had she so determined it, when the 
figure of a man on horseback drew her eyes to 
the window. He stopped at their gate. It was 
a gentleman, it was Colonel Brandon himself. 
Now she should hear more ; — and she trembled 
in expectation of it. But — ^it was Tiot Colonel 
Brandon — ^neither his air nor his height. Were 
it possible, she should say it must be Edward. 
She looked again. He had just dismounted ; — 
she could not be mistaken — ^it was Edward. 
She moved away and sat down. * He comes 
from Mr. Pratt's purposely to see us. I will be 
calm ; I wiU be mistress of myself.' 

In a moment she perceived that the others 
were likewise aware of the mistake. She saw 
her mother and Marianne change colour; saw 
them look at herself, and whisper a few sentences 

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to each other. She would have given the world 
to be able to speak — and to make them under- 
stand that she hoped no coolness, no slight^ 
would appear m their behavioiur to him; but 
she had no utterance, and was obliged to leave 
all to their own discretion. 

Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited 
in silence for the appearance of their visitor. 
His footsteps were heard along the gravel patii ; 
in a moment he was in the passage, and in 
another he was before them. 

His countenance, as he entered the room, was 
not too happy, even for Elinor. His complexion 
was white with agitation, and he looked as if 
fearful of his reception, and conscious that he 
merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, how- 
ever, conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes 
of that daughter by whom she then meant, in 
the warmth of her heart, to be guided in every- 
thing, met him with a look of forced complacency, 
gave him her hand, and wished him joy. 

He coloured, and stammered out an un- 
intelligible reply. Elinor's lips had moved with 
her mother's, and when the moment of action 
was over, she wished that she had shaken hands 
with him too. But it was then too late, and 
with a countenance meaning to be open, she 
sat down again and talked of the weather. 

Marianne had retreated as much as possible out 
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of sight, to conceal her distress ; and Margaret, 
understanding some part, but not the whole 
of the case, thought it incumbent on her to 
be dignified, and therefore took a seat as far 
from him as she could, and maintained a strict 
silence. 

When Elinor had ceased to rejoice in the 
dryness of the season, a very awful pause took 
place. It was put an end to by Mrs. Dash- 
wood, who felt obliged to hope that he had left 
Mrs. Ferrars very well. In a hurried manner 
he replied in the affirmative. 

Another pause. 

Elinor, resolving to exert herself, though 
fearing the sound of her own voice, now said — 

* Is Mrs. Ferrars at Longstaple ? ' 

*At Longstaple I' he replied, with an air of 
surprise. * No, my mother is in town.' 

* I meant,' said Elinor, taking up some work 
from the table, *to inquire after Mrs. Edward 
Ferrars.' 

She dared not look up ; — ^but her mother and 
Marianne both turned their eyes on him. He 
coloured, seemed perplexed, looked doubtingly, 
and after some hesitation, said — 

* Perhaps you mean — ^my brother — ^you mean 
Mrs. — Mrs. Robert Ferrars.' 

* Mrs. Robert Ferrars 1 ' was repeated by Mari- 
anne and her mother in an accent of the utmost 

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amazement; and though Elinor could not 
speak» even her eyes were fixed on him t^th 
the same impatient wonder. He rose from his 
seat and walked to the window, apparently 
from not knowing what to do ; took up a pair 
of scissors that lay there, and while spoiling both 
them and their sheath by cutting tiie latter to 
pieces as he spoke, sidd, in an hurried voice — 

* Perhaps you do not know — you may not 
have heard that my brother is lately married to 
— ^to the youngest — ^to Miss Lucy Steele/ 

His words were echoed with unspeakable 
astonishment by all but Elinor, who sat with 
her head leaning over her work, in a state of 
such agitation as made her hardly know where 
she was. 

* Yes,' said he, * they were married last week 
and are now at Dawlish/ 

Elinor could sit it no longer. She almost ran 
out of the room, and as soon as the door was 
closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she 
thought would never cease. Edward, who had 
till then looked anywhere rather than at her, 
saw her hurry away, and perhaps saw — or even 
heard — ^her emotion ; for immediately afterwards 
he fell into a reverie, which no remarks, no 
inquiries, no affectionate address of Mrs. Dash- 
wood could penetrate, and at last, without saying 
a word, quitted the room, and walked out towards 
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the village, leaving the others in the greatest 
astonishment and perplexity on a change in 
his situation so wonderful and so sudden — a 
perplexity which they had no means of lessening 
but by their own conjectures. 



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CHAPTER XLIX 

Unaccountable, however, as the circumstances 
of his release might appear to the whole family, 
it was certain that Edward was free; and to 
what purpose that freedom would be employed 
was easily predetermined by all; for after ex- 
periencing the blessings of one imprudent engage- 
ment, contracted without his mother's consent, 
as he had already done for more than four years, 
nothing less could be expected of him in the 
failure of that, than the immediate contraction 
of another. 

His errand at Barton, in fact, was a simple 
one. It was only to ask Elinor to marry him ; 
and considering that he was not altogether in- 
experienced in such a question, it might be 
strange that he should feel so uncomfortable in 
the present case as he really did, so much in 
need of encouragement and fresh air. 

How soon he had walked himself into the 
proper resolution, however, how soon an oppor- 
tunity of exercising it occurred, in what maimer 
he expressed himself, and how he was received, 
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need not be particularly told. This only need 
be said : — ^that when they all sat down to table 
at four o'clock, about three hours after his 
arrival, he had secured his lady, engaged her 
mother's consent, and was not only in the rap- 
turous profession of the lover, but in the reality 
of reason and truth, one of the happiest of men. 
His situation indeed was more than commonly 
joyfuL He had more than the ordinary triumph 
of accepted love to swell his heart and raise his 
spirits. He was released, without any reproach 
to himself, from an entanglement which had 
long formed his misery, from a woman whom he 
had long ceased to love — and elevated at once 
to that security with another, which he must 
have thought of almost with despair, as soon as 
he had learnt to consider it with desire. He was 
brought, not from doubt or suspense, but from 
misery to happiness ; and the change was openly 
spoken in such a genuine, flowing, grateful 
cheerfulness, as his friends had never witnessed 
in him before. 

His heart was now open to Elinor — ^all its 
weaknesses, all its errors confessed, and his first 
boyish attachment to Lucy treated with all the 
philosophic dignity of twenty-four. 

' It was a foolish, idle inclination on my side,' 
said he, 'the consequence of ignorance of the 
world — and want of employment. Had my 
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mother ^ven me some active profession when 
I was removed at eighteen from the care of 
Mr. Pratt, I think, nay, I am sure, it would 
never have happened ; for, though I left Long- 
staple with what I thought, at the time, a most 
unconquerable preference for his niece, yet had 
I then had any pursuit, any object to engage 
my time and keep me at a distance from her for 
a few months, I should very soon have out- 
grown the fancied attachment, especially by 
mixing more with the world, as in such a case 
I must have done. But instead of having any- 
thing to do — instead of having any profession 
chosen for me, or being allowed to chuse any 
myself, I returned home to be completely idle ; 
and for the first twelvemonth afterwards I had 
not even the nominal employment which belong- 
ing to the university would have given me, for 
I was not entered at Oxford till I was nineteen. 
I had therefore nothing in the world to do but 
to fancy myself in love ; and as my mother did 
not make my home in every respect comfortable, 
as I had no friend, no companion in my brother, 
and disliked new acquaintance, it was not un- 
natural for me to be very often at Longstaple, 
where I always felt myself at home, and was 
always sure of a welcome; and accordingly I 
spent the greatest part of my time there from 
eighteen to nineteen. Lucy appeared every- 
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thing that was amiable and obliging. She was 
pretty too — at least I thought so then; and I 
had seen so little of other women that I could 
make no comparisons, and see no defects. Con- 
sidering everything, therefore, I hope, foolish as 
our engagement was, foolish as it has since in 
every way been proved, it was not at the time 
an unnatural, or an inexcusable piece of folly.' 

The change which a few hours had wrought 
in the minds and the happiness of the Dash- 
woods was such — ^so great — as promised them aU 
the satisfaction of a sleepless night. Mrs. Dash- 
wood, too happy to be comfortable, knew not 
how to love Edward nor praise Elinor enough — 
how to be enough thankful for his release with- 
out wounding his delicacy, nor how at once to 
give them leisure for unrestrained conversation 
together, and yet enjoy, as she wished, the sight 
and society of both. 

Marianne could speak her happiness only by 
tears. Comparisons would occur, regrets would 
arise ; and her joy, though sincere as her love 
for her sister, was of a kind to ^ve her neither 
spirits nor language. 

But Elinor, how are her feelings to be 
described ? From the moment of learning that 
Lucy was married to another, that Edward was 
free, to the moment of his justifying the hopes 
which had so instantly followed, she was every- 

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thing by turns but tranquil But when the 
second moment had passed — ^when she found 
every doubt, every solicitude removed — com- 
pared her situation with what so lately it had 
been — saw him honourably released from his 
former engagement — ^saw him instantly profiting 
by the release, to address herself and declare an 
affection as tender, as constant as she had ever 
supposed it to be — ^she was oppressed, she was 
overcome by her own felicity ; and happily dis- 
posed as is tiie human mind to be easily familiar- 
ised with any change for the better, it required 
several hours to give sedateness to her spirits, or 
any degree of tranquillity to her heart 

Edward was now fixed at the cottage at least 
for a week ; for whatever other claims might be 
made on him, it was impossible that less than a 
week should be given up to the enjoyment of 
Elinor s company, or sufiice to say half that was 
to be said of the past, the present, and the 
future ; for though a very few hours spent in the 
hard labour of incessant talking wiQ despatch 
more subjects than can really be in common 
between any two rational creatures, yet with 
lovers it is different Between them no subject 
is finished, no communication is even made, till 
it has been made at least twenty times over. 

Lucy's marriage, the unceasing and reasonable 
wonder among them aU, formed of course one 
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of the earliest discussions of the lovers ; and 
Elinor's particular knowledge of each party 
made it appear to her, in every view, as one 
of the most extraordinary and unaccountable 
circumstances she had ever heard. How they 
could be thrown together, and by what attrac- 
tion Robert could be drawn on to marry a girl 
of whose beauty she had herself heard him speak 
without any admiration — a girl, too, already 
engaged to his brother, and on whose account 
that brother had been thrown off by his family — 
it was beyond her comprehension to make out. 
To her own heart it was a delightful affair, to 
her imagination it was even a ridiculous one ; 
but to her reason, her judgment, it was com- 
pletely a puzzle. 

Edward could only attempt an explanation by 
supposing that, perhaps, at first accidentally 
meeting, the vanity of the one had been so 
worked on by the flattery of the other as to 
lead by degrees to all the rest. Elinor re- 
membered what Robert had told her in Harley 
Street, of his opinion of what his own mediation 
in his brother's affairs might have done, if applied 
to in time. She repeated it to Edward. 

* ThxU was exactly like Robert,* was his 

immediate observation. * And thaU he presently 

added, ' might perhaps be in his head when the 

acquaintance between them first began. And 

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Lucy, perhaps, at first might think only of pro- 
curing his good offices in my favour. Other 
designs might afterwards arise.' 

How long it had been carrying on between 
them, however, he was equally at a loss with 
herself to make out ; for at Oxford, where be 
had remained by choice ever since his quitting 
London, he had had no means of hearing of her 
but from herself, and her letters to the very last 
were neither less frequent nor less affectionate 
than usual. Not the smallest suspicion, there- 
fore, had ever occurred to prepare him for what 
followed ; and when at last it burst on him in a 
letter from Lucy herself, he had been for some 
time, he believed, half stupefied between the 
wonder, the horror, and the joy, of such a 
deliverance. He put the letter into Elinor's 
hands — 

•Dear Sir, — Being very sure I have long 
lost your affections, I have thought myself at 
liberty to bestow my own on another, and have 
no doubt of being as happy with him as I once 
used to think I might be with you ; but I scorn 
to accept a hand while the heart was another's. 
Sincerely wish you happy in your choice, and it 
shall not be my fault if we are not always good 
friends, as our near relationship now makes 
proper. I can safely say I owe you no ill-will, 
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and am sure you will be too generous to do us 
any ill offices. Your brother has gained my 
afFections entirely, and as we could not live 
without one another, we are just returned from 
the altar, and are now on our way to Dawlish 
for a few weeks, which place your dear brother 
has great curiosity to see, but thought I would 
first trouble you with these few lines, and shall 
always remain, — ^Your sincere well-wisher, friend, 
and sister, Lucy Fe&rars. 

• I have burnt all your letters, and will return 
your picture the first opportunity. Please to 
destroy my scrawls ; but tiie ring, with my hair, 
you are very welcome to keep.' 

Elinor read and returned it without any 
comment. 

*I will not ask your opinion of it as a 
composition,' said Edward. * For worlds would 
not I have had a letter of hers seen by you in 
former days. In a sister it is bad enough, but 
in a wife 1 How I have blushed over the pages 
of her writing! and I believe I may say that 
since the first half-year of our foolish — ^business 
— ^this is the only letter I ever received from her, 
of which the substance made me any amends for 
the defect of the style.' 

* However it may have come about,' said 
Elinor, after a pause, 'they are certainly 

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married. And your mother has brought on 
herself a most appropriate punishment. The 
independence she settled on Robert, through 
resentment against you, has put it in his power 
to make his own choice; and she has actually 
been bribing one son with a thousand a year to 
do the very deed which she disinherited the other 
for intending to do. She will hardly be less 
hurt, I suppose, by Robert's marrying Lucy, than 
she would have been by your manying her.' 

* She will be more hurt by it, for Robert 
always was her favourite. She will be more 
hurt by it, and on the same principle will forgive 
him much sooner.' 

In what state the afFair stood at present 
between them Edward knew not, for no com- 
munication with any of his family had yet been 
attempted by him. He had quitted Oxford 
within four-and-twenty hours after Lucy's letter 
arrived, and with only one object before him, 
the nearest road to Barton, had had no leisure 
to form any scheme of conduct with which that 
road did not hold the most intimate connexion. 
He could do nothing till he were assured of his 
fate with Miss Dashwood ; and by his rapidity 
in seeking that fate, it is to be supposed, in 
spite of the jealousy with which he had once 
thought of Colonel Brandon — in spite of the 
modesty with which he rated his own deserts, 
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and the politeness with which he talked of his 
douhts, he did not upon the whole expect a very 
cruel reception. It was his business, however, 
to say that he did, and he said it very prettily. 
What he might say on the subject a twelve- 
month after, must be referred to the imagina- 
tion of husbands and wives. 

That Lucy had certainly meant to deceive, to 
go off with a flourish of malice against him in 
her message by Thomas, was perfectly clear to 
Elinor; and Edward himself, now thoroughly 
enlightened on her character, had no scruple in 
beUeving her capable of the utmost meanness of 
wanton ill-nature. Though his eyes had been 
long opened, even before his acquaintance with 
Elinor began, to her ignorance and a want of 
liberality in some of her opinions, they had been 
equally imputed by him to her want of educa- 
tion ; and till her last letter reached him he had 
always believed her to be a well-disposed, good- 
hearted girl, and thoroughly attached to himself. 
Nothing but such a persuasion could have pre- 
vented his putting an end to an engagement 
which, long before the discovery of it laid him 
open to his mother's anger, had been a continual 
source of disquiet and regret to him. 

* I thought it my duty,' said he, * independent 
of my feelings, to give her the option of con- 
tinuing the engagement or not, when I was 

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renounced by my mother, and stood to aU 
appearance without a friend in the world to 
assist me. In such a situation as that, where 
there seemed nothing to tempt the avarice or 
the vanity of any living creature, how could 
I suppose, when she so earnestly, so warmly 
insisted on sharing my fate, whatever it might 
be, that anything but the most disinterested 
affection was her inducement ? And even now 
I cannot comprehend on what motive she acted, 
or what fancied advantage it could be to her, to 
be fettered to a man for whom she had not the 
smallest regard, and who had only two thousand 
pounds in the world She could not foresee 
that Colonel Brandon would give me a living.' 

'No, but she might suppose that something 
would occur in your favour; that your own 
family might in time relent. And at any rate, 
she lost nothing by continuing the engagement, 
for she has proved that it fettered neither her 
inclination nor her actions. The connexion was 
certainly a respectable one, and probably gained 
her consideration among her friends; and if 
nothing more advantageous occurred, it would 
be better for her to marry you than be single.' 

Edward was of course immediately convinced 
that nothing could have been more natural than 
Lucy's conduct, nor more self-evident than the 
motive of it. 
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Elinor scolded him, harshly as ladies always 
scold the imprudence which compliments them- 
selves, for having spent so much time with them 
at Norland, when he must have felt his own 
inconstancy. 

•Your behaviour was certainly very wrong,' 
said she, * because — ^to say nothing of my own 
conviction — our relations were aU led away by 
it to fancy and expect whaU as you were thtii 
situated, could never be.* 

He could only plead an ignorance of his own 
heart, and a misti^en confidence in the force of 
his engagement. 

' I was simple enough to think that, because 
my Jhith was plighted to another, there could be 
no danger in my being with you ; and that the 
consciousness of my engagement was to keep 
my heart as safe and sacred as my honour. I 
felt that I admired you, but I told myself it was 
only friendship ; and tiU I began to make com- 
parisons between yourself and Lucy, I did not 
know how far I was got After that, I suppose, 
I was wrong in remaining so much in Sussex, 
and the arguments with which I reconciled my- 
self to the expediency of it were no better than 
these : — The danger is my own ; I am doing no 
injury to anybody but myself.' 

Elinor smiled and shook her head. 

Edward heard with pleasure of Colonel 

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Brandon's being expected at the cottage, as he 
really wished not only to be better acquainted 
with him, but to have an opportunity of con- 
vincing him that he no longer resented his 
giving him the Uving of Delaford — 'Which at 
present,' said he, 'after thanks so ungraciously 
delivered as mine were on the occasion, he must 
think I have never forgiven him for offering/ 

Now he felt astonished himself that he had 
never yet been to the place. But so little 
interest had he taken in the matter, that he 
owed all his knowledge of the house, garden, 
and glebe, extent of the parish, condition of the 
land, and rate of the tithes, to Elinor herself, 
who had heard so much of it from Colonel 
Brandon, and heard it with so much attention 
as to be entirely mistress of the subject. 

One question after this only remained un- 
decided between them, one difficulty only was 
to be overcome. They were brought together 
by mutual affection, with the warmest ap- 
probation of their real friends; their intimate 
knowledge of each other seemed to make 
their happiness certain — ^and they only wanted 
something to live upon. Edward had two 
thousand pounds, and Elinor one, which, with 
Delaford living, was all that they could call 
their own; for it was impossible that Mrs. 
Dashwood should advance anything, and they 
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were neither of them quite enough in love to 
think that three hundred and fifty pounds a 
year would supply them with the comforts of 
life, 

Edward was not entirely without hopes of 
some favourable change in his mother towards 
him; and on that he rested for the residue of 
their income. But Elinor had no such depend- 
ence; for, since Edward would still be unable 
to marry Miss Morton, and his chusing herself 
had been spoken of in Mrs. Ferrars's flattering 
language as only a lesser evil than his chusing 
Lucy Steele, she feared that Robert's offence 
would serve no other purpose than to enrich 
Fanny. 

About four days after Edward's arrival 
Colonel Brandon appeared, to complete Mrs. 
Dashwood's satisfaction, and to give her the 
dignity of having, for the first time since her 
living at Barton, more company with her than 
her house would hold. Edward was allowed to 
retain the privilege of first-comer, and Colonel 
Brandon therefore walked every night to his 
old quarters at the Park; firom whence he 
usually returned in the morning, early enough 
to interrupt the lovers' first tke-a-tHe before 
breakfast. 

A three weeks' residence at Delaford, where, 
in his evening hours at least, he had little to 

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do but to calculate the disproportion between 
thirty-six and seventeen, brought him to Barton 
in a temper of mind which needed aU the im- 
provement in Marianne's looks, aU the kindness 
of her welcome, and all the encouragement of 
her mothers language, to make it cheerful. 
Among such friends, however, and such flattery, 
he did revive. No rumour of Lucy's marriage 
had yet reached him ; he knew nothing of what 
had passed, and the first hours of his visit were 
consequently spent in hearing and in wondering. 
Everything was explained to him by Mrs. Dash- 
wood, and he found fresh reason to rejoice in 
what he had done for Mr. Ferrars, since eventu- 
ally it promoted the interest of Ehnor. 

It would be needless to say that the gentle- 
men advanced in the good opinion of each other 
as they advanced in each other's acquaintance, 
for it could not be otherwise. Their resemblance 
in good principles and good sense, in disposition 
and manner of thinking, would probably have 
been sufficient to unite them in friendship, with- 
out any other attraction ; but their being in love 
with two sisters, and two sisters fond of each 
other, made that mutual regard inevitable and 
immediate, which might otherwise have waited 
the effect of time and judgment. 

The letters from town, which a few days 
before would have made every nerve in Elinor's 
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body thrill with transport, now arrived to be 
read with less emotion than mirth. Mrs. Jen- 
nings wrote to tell the wonderful tale, to vent 
her honest indignation against the jilting girl, 
and pour forth her compassion towards poor Mr. 
Edward, who, she was sure, had quite doated 
upon the worthless hussy, and was now, by all 
accounts, almost broken-hearted, at Oxford. — 
* I do think,' she continued, * nothing was ever 
carried on so sly ; for it was but two days before 
Lucy called and sat a couple of hours with me. 
Not a soul suspected anything of the matter, 
not even Nancy, who, poor soul! came crying 
to me the day after, in a great fright for fear of 
Mrs. Ferrars, as well as not knowing how to get 
to Plymouth ; for Lucy, it seems, borrowed all 
her money before she went off to be married, on 
purpose, we suppose, to make a show with, and 
poor Nancy had not seven shillings in the world ; 
— so I was very glad to give her five guineas, to 
take her down to Exeter, where she thinks of 
staying three or four weeks with Mrs. Burgess, 
in hopes, as I tell her, to fall in with the doctor 
again. And I must say that Luqy's crossness 
not to take her along with them in the chaise is 
worse than all. Poor Mr. Edward I I cannot 
get him out of my head, but you must send for 
him to Barton, and Miss Marianne must try to 
comfort him/ 

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Mr. Dashwood s strains were more solemn. 
Mrs. Ferrars was the most unfortmiate of women 
— ^poor Fanny had suffered agonies of sensi- 
bility — and he considered the existence of each» 
under such a blow, with grateful wonder. 
Robert's offence was unpardonable, but Lucy's 
was infinitely worse. Neither of them was ever 
again to be mentioned to Mrs. Ferrars; and, 
even if she might hereafter be induced to forgive 
her son, his wife should never be acknowledged 
as her daughter, nor be permitted to appear in 
her presence. The secrecy with which every- 
thing had been carried on between them was 
rationally treated as enormously heightening the 
crime, because, had any suspicion of it occurred 
to the others, proper measures would have been 
taken to prevent the marriage ; and he called on 
Elinor to join with him in regretting that Lucy's 
engagement with Edward had not rather been 
fulfilled, than that she should thus be the means 
of spreading misery farther in the family. He 
thus continued — 

* Mrs. Ferrars has never yet mentioned 
Edward's name, which does not surprise us; 
but, to our great astonishment, not a line has 
been received from him on the occasion. Per- 
haps, however, he is kept silent by his fear of 
offending, and I shall therefore give him a hint, 
by a line to Oxford, that his sister and I both 
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think a letter of proper submission from him, 
addressed perhaps to Fanny, and by her shewn 
to her mother, might not be taken amiss; for 
we aU know the tenderness of Mrs. Ferrars's 
heart, and that she wishes for nothing so much 
as to be on good terms with her children.' 

This paragraph was of some importance to 
the prospects and conduct of Edward. It de- 
termined him to attempt a reconciliation, though 
not exactly in the manner pointed out by their 
brother and sister. 

* A letter of proper submission 1 ' repeated he ; 
* would they have me beg my mother's pardon 
for Robert's ingratitude to Aer, and breach of 
honour to me ? — I can make no submission — 1 
am grown neither humble nor penitent by what 
has passed. I am grown very happy, but that 
would not interest I know of no submission 
that is proper for me to make.' 

* You may certainly ask to be forgiven,' said 
Elinor, * because you have offended ; and I should 
think you might now venture so far as to profess 
some concern for having ever formed the en- 
gagementwhich drew on you your mother's anger.' 

He agreed that he might 

* And when she has forgiven you, perhaps a 
little humility may be convenient while ac- 
knowledging a second engagement, ahnost as 
imprudent in her eyes as the &st.' 

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He had nothing to uige agamst it, but still 
resisted the idea of a letter of proper submission ; 
and therefore, to make it easier to him, as he 
declared a much greater willingness to make 
mean concessions by word of mouth than on 
paper, it was resolved that, instead of writing 
to Fanny, he should go to London, and per- 
sonally entreat her good offices in his favour. 
• And if they really do interest themselves,' said 
Marianne, in her new character of candour, * in 
bringing about a reconciliation, I shall think 
that even John and Fanny are not entirely 
without merit.' 

After a visit on Colonel Brandon's side of 
only three or four days, the two gentlemen 
quitted Barton together. They were to go 
immediately to Delaford, that Edward might 
have some personal knowledge of his future 
home, and assist his patron and friend in de- 
ciding on what improvements were needed to 
it ; and from thence, after staying there a couple 
of nights, he was to proceed on his journey to 
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CHAPTER L 

Aft£R a proper resistance on the part of Mrs. 
Ferrars, just so violent and so steady as to pre- 
serve her from that reproach which she always 
seemed fearful of incurring, the reproach of 
being too amiable, Edward was admitted to 
her presence, and pronounced to be again her 
son. 

Her family had of late been exceedingly 
fluctuating. For many years of her life she 
had had two sons ; but the crime and annihila- 
tion of Edward, a few weeks ago, had robbed 
her of one; the similar annihilation of Robert 
had left her for a fortnight without any; and 
now, by the resuscitation of Edward, she had 
one again. 

In spite of his being allowed once more to 
live, however, he did not feel the continuance 
of his existence secure, till he had revealed his 
present engagement ; for the publication of that 
curcumstance, he feared, might give a sudden 
turn to his constitution, and carry him off as 
rapidly as before. With apprehensive caution, 

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therefore, it was revealed, and he was listened 
to with unexpected calmness. Mrs. Ferrars at 
first reasonably endeavoured to dissuade him 
from marrying Miss Dashwood, by every argu- 
ment in her power; — told him, that in Miss 
Morton he would have a woman of higher rank 
and larger fortune ; — ^and enforced the assertion 
by observing that Miss Morton was the daughter 
of a nobleman with thirty thousand pounds, 
while Miss Dashwood was only the daughter 
of a private gentleman, with no more than 
threes but when she found that, though per- 
fectly admitting the truth of her representation, 
he was by no means inclined to be guided by 
it, she judged it wisest, from the experience of 
the past, to submit — ^and therefore, after such 
an ungracious delay as she owed to her own 
dignity, and as served to prevent every suspicion 
of goodwill, she issued her decree of consent 
to the marriage of Edward and Elinor. 

What she would engage to do towards aug- 
menting their income was next to be considered : 
and here it plainly appeared, that though Edward 
was now her only son, he was by no means her 
eldest; for while Robert was inevitably endowed 
with a thousand pounds a year, not the smallest 
objection was made ag^st Edward's taking 
orders for the sake of two hundred and fifty at 
the utmost; nor was anything promised either 
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for the present or in future, beyond the ten 
thousand pounds, which had been given with 
Fanny. 

It was as much, however, as was desired, and 
more than was expected, by Edward and Elinor ; 
and Mrs. Ferrars herself, by her shuffling excuses, 
seemed the only person surprised at her not 
giving more. 

With an income quite sufficient to their wants 
thus secured to them, they had nothing to wait 
for, after Edward was in possession of the living, 
but the readiness of the house, to which Colonel 
Brandon, with an eager desire for the accom- 
modation of Elinor, was making considerable 
improvements ; and after waiting some time for 
their completion — after experiencing, as usual, 
a thousand disappointments and delays, from 
the unaccountable dilatoriness of the workmen 
— Elinor, as usual, broke through the first posi- 
tive resolution of not marrying till everything 
was ready, and the ceremony took place in 
Barton church early in the autumn. 

The first month after their marriage was spent 
with their friend at the mansion-house, from 
whence they could superintend the progress of 
the parsonage, and direct everything as ihey 
liked on the spot; could chuse papers, project 
shrubberies, and invent a sweep. Mrs. Jenn- 
ings's prophecies, though rather jumbled together, 
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were chiefly fulfilled; for she was able to visit 
Edward and his wife in their parsonage by 
Michaelmas, and she found in Elinor and her 
husband, as she really believed, one of the 
happiest couples in the world. They had 
in fact nothing to wish for, but the marriage 
of Colonel Brandon and Marianne, and rather 
better pasturage for their cows. 

They were visited on their first settling by. 
almost all their relations and friends. Mr& 
Ferrars came to inspect the happiness which she 
was almo^ ashamed of having authorised ; and 
even the Dashwoods were at the expense of a 
journey from Sussex to do them honour. 

* I will not say that I am disappointed, my 
dear sister,' said John, as they were walking 
together one morning before the gates of Dehir 
ford House — *that would be sajring too much, 
for certidnly you have been one of the most 
fortunate young women in the world, as it is. 
But, I confess, it would give me great pleasure 
to call Colonel Brandon brother. His property 
here, his place, his house, everything in such 
respectable and excellent condition 1 and his 
woods 1 I have not seen such timber anywhere 
in Dorsetshire as there is now standing in Dela- 
ford Hanger 1 And though, perhaps, Marianne 
may not seem exactly the person to attract him, 
yet I think it would altogether be advisable for 
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you to have them now frequently staying with 
you ; for as Colonel Brandon seems a great deal 
at home, nobody can tell what may happen — 
for, when people are much thrown together, and 
see little of anybody else — and it will always be 
in your power to set her off to advantage, and 
so forth ; in short, you may as well give her a 
chance — ^You understand me/ 

But though Mrs. Ferrars did come to see 
them, and always treated them with the make- 
believe of decent affection, they were never 
insulted by her real favour and preference. That 
was due to the folly of Robert, and the cunning 
of his wife ; and it was earned by them before 
many months had passed away. The selfish 
sagacity of the latter, which had at first drawn 
Robert into the scrape, was the principal in- 
strument of his deliverance from it; for her 
respectful humility, assiduous attentions, and 
endless flatteries, as soon as the smallest opening 
was given for their exercise, reconciled Mrs. 
Ferrars to his choice, and re-established him 
completely in her favour. 

The whole of Lucy^s behaviour in the affair, 
and the prosperity which crowned it, therefore, 
may be held forth as a most encouraging in- 
stance of what an earnest, an unceasing atten- 
tion to self-interest, however its progress may 
be apparently obstructed, will do in seeming 

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every advantage of fortune, with no other 
sacrifice than that of time and conscience. 
When Robert first sought her acquaintance, 
and privately visited her in Bartlett s Buildings, 
it was only Mrith the view imputed to him by 
his brother. He merely meant to persuade her 
to give up the engagement ; and as there could 
be nothing to overcome but the affection of 
both, he naturally expected that one or two 
interviews would settle the matter. In that 
point, however, and that only, he erred; for 
though Lucy soon gave him hopes that his 
eloquence would convince her in time, another 
visit, another conversation, was always wanted 
to produce this conviction. Some doubts always 
lingered in her mind when they parted, which 
could only be removed by another half-hours 
discourse with himself. His attendance was by 
this means secured, and the rest followed in 
course. Instead of talking of Edward, they 
came gradually to talk only of Robert, a subject 
on which he had always more to say than on 
any other, and in which she soon betrayed an 
interest even equal to his own; and in short, 
it became speedily evident to both, that he had 
entirely supplanted his brother. He was proud 
of his conquest, proud of tricking Edward, and 
very proud of marrying privately without his 
mother's consent. What immediately followed 
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is known. They passed some months in great 
happiness at Dawlish ; for she had many relations 
and old acquaintance to cut — ^and he drew several 
plans for magnificent cottages ; and from thence 
returning to town, procured the forgiveness of 
Mrs. Ferrars, by the simple expedient of asking 
it, Avhich, at Lucy's instigation, was adopted. 
The forgiveness at first, indeed, as was reason- 
able, comprehended only Robert; and Lucy, 
who had owed his mother no duty, and there- 
fore could have transgressed none, still remained 
some weeks longer unpardoned. But persever- 
ance in humility of conduct, and messages, in 
self-condemnation for Robert's oflTence, and 
gratitude for the utikindness she was treated 
with, procured her in time the haughty notice 
which overcame her by its graciousness, and led 
soon afterwards, by rapid degrees, to the highest 
state of affection and influence. Lucy became 
as necessary to Mrs. Ferrars as either Robert or 
Fanny ; and while Edward was never cordially 
forgiven for having once intended to marry her, 
and Ehnor, though superior to her in fortune 
and birth, was spoken of as an intruder, she was 
in everything considered, and always openly 
acknowledged, to be a favourite child. They 
settled in town, received very liberal assistance 
from Mrs. Ferrars, were on the best terms 
imaginable with the Dashwoods, and setting 

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aside the jealousies and ill-will continually sub- 
sisting between Fanny and Lucy, in which their 
husbands of course took a part, as well as the 
frequent domestic disagreements between Robert 
and Lucy themselves, nothing could exceed the 
harmony in which they all lived together. 

What Edward had done to forfeit the right 
of eldest son might have puzzled many people 
to find out; and what Robert had done to 
succeed to it might have puzzled them still 
more. It was an arrangement, however, justified 
in its effects, if not in its cause ; for nothing ever 
appeared in Robert's style of living, or of talk- 
ing, to give a suspicion of his regretting the 
extent of his income, as either leaving his 
brother too little, or brining himself too much ; 
and if Edward might be judged from the ready 
discharge of his duties in every particular, from 
an increasing attachment to his wife and his 
home, and from the regular cheerfulness of his 
spirits, he might be supposed no less contented 
with his lot, no less free from every wish of an 
exchange. 

Elinor's marriage divided her as litUe from her 
family as could weU be contrived, without 
rendering the cottage at Barton entirely useless, 
for her mother and sisters spent much more than 
half their time with her. Mrs. Dashwood was 
acting on motives of policy as well as pleasure 
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in the frequency of her visits to Delaford ; for 
her wish of bringing Marianne and Colonel 
Brandon together was hardly less earnest, 
though rather more liberal, than what John 
had expressed. It was now her darling object. 
Precious as was the company of her daughter 
to her, she desired nothing so much as to give 
up its constant enjoyment to her valued friend; 
and to see Marianne settled at the mansion- 
house was equally the wish of Edward and 
Elinor. They each felt his sorrows and. their 
own obligations, and Marianne, by general con- 
sent, was to be the reward of all. 

With such a confederacy against her — with 
a knowledge so intimate of his goodness — ^with 
a conviction of his fond attachment to herself, 
which at last, though long after it was observ- 
able to everybody else, burst on her — what 
could she do ? 

Marianne Dashwood avos bom to an extra- 
ordinary fate. She was bom to discover the 
falsehood of her own opinions and to counteract 
by her conduct her most favourite maxims. 
She was bom to overcome an affection formed 
so late in life as at seventeen, and with no senti- 
ment superior to strong esteem and lively friend- 
ship, voluntarily to give her hand to another I 
and that other, a man who had suffered no less 
than herself under the event of a fomier attach- 

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ment — ^whom, two years before, she had con- 
sidered too old to be married — and who still 
sought the constitutional safeguard of a flannel 
waistcoat ! 

But so it was. Instead of falling a sacrifice 
to an irresistible passion, as once she had fondly 
flattered herself with expecting — ^instead of re- 
maining even for ever with her mother, and 
finding her only pleasures in retirement and 
study, as afterwards in her more calm and sober 
judgment she had determined on — ^she found 
herself, at nineteen, submitting to new attach- 
ments, entering on new duties, placed in a new 
home, a wife, the mistress of a family, and the 
patroness of a village. 

Colonel Brandon was now as happy as all 
those who best loved him believed he deserved 
to be ; in Marianne he was consoled for every 
past affiction ; her regard and her society re- 
stored his mind to animation, and his spirits to 
cheerfulness : and that Marianne found her own 
happiness in forming his, was equally the per- 
suasion and delight of each observing friend. 
Marianne could never love by halves ; and her 
whole heart became, in time, as much devoted 
to her husband as it had once been to Wil- 
loughby. 

Willoughby could not hearof her marriage with- 
out a pang ; and his punishment was soon after- 
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wards complete in the voluntary forgiveness of 
Mrs. Smith, who, by stating his marriage with 
a woman of character as the som*ce of her 
clemency, gave him reason for believing that, 
had he behaved with honour towards Marianne, 
he might at once have been happy and rich. 
That his repentance of misconduct, which thus 
brought its own punishment, was sincere, need 
not be doubted; nor that he long thought of 
Colonel Brandon with envy, and of Marianne 
with regret But that he was for ever incon- 
solable — ^that he fled from society, or contracted 
an habitual gloom of temper, or died of a broken 
heart, must not be depended on — ^for he did 
neither. He lived to exert, and frequently to 
enjoy himself. His wife was not always out of 
humour, nor his home always uncomfortable ! 
and in his breed of horses and dogs, and in 
sporting of every kind, he found no inconsider- 
able degree of domestic felicity. 

For Marianne, however — in spite of his in- 
civility in surviving her loss — ^he always retained 
that decided regard which interested him in 
everything that befell her, and made her his 
secret standard of perfection in woman; and 
many a rising beauty would be slighted by him 
in after days as bearing no comparison with 
Mrs. Brandon. 

Mrs. Dashwood was prudent enough to remain 

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at the cottage, without attemptmg a removal 
to Delaford ; and fortunately for Sir John and 
Mrs. Jennings, when Marianne was taken from 
them, Margaret had reached an age highly suit- 
able for dancing, and not very ineligible for being 
supposed to have a lover. 

Between Barton and Delaford there was that 
constant communication which strong family 
affection would naturally dictate; and among 
the merits and the happiness of Elinor and 
Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least con- 
siderable that, though sisters, and living almost 
within sight of each other, they could live 
without disagreement between themselves, or 
producing coolness between their husbands. 



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at ihe Edinburgh University Press 



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