Sense and sensibility, p.7
Sense and Sensibility, p.7Jane Austen
No sooner was her answer dispatched, than Mrs. Dashwood indulgedherself in the pleasure of announcing to her son-in-law and his wifethat she was provided with a house, and should incommode them nolonger than till every thing were ready for her inhabiting it. Theyheard her with surprise. Mrs. John Dashwood said nothing; but herhusband civilly hoped that she would not be settled far from Norland.She had great satisfaction in replying that she was going intoDevonshire. Edward turned hastily towards her, on hearing this, and,in a voice of surprise and concern, which required no explanation toher, repeated, "Devonshire! Are you, indeed, going there? So far fromhence! And to what part of it?" She explained the situation. It waswithin four miles northward of Exeter.
"It is but a cottage," she continued, "but I hope to see many of myfriends in it. A room or two can easily be added; and if my friendsfind no difficulty in travelling so far to see me, I am sure I willfind none in accommodating them."
She concluded with a very kind invitation to Mr. and Mrs. JohnDashwood to visit her at Barton; and to Edward she gave one with stillgreater affection. Though her late conversation with herdaughter-in-law had made her resolve on remaining at Norland no longerthan was unavoidable, it had not produced the smallest effect on herin that point to which it principally tended. To separate Edward andElinor was as far from being her object as ever; and she wished toshow Mrs. John Dashwood, by this pointed invitation to her brother,how totally she disregarded her disapprobation of the match.
Mr. John Dashwood told his mother again and again how exceedinglysorry he was that she had taken a house at such a distance fromNorland as to prevent his being of any service to her in removing herfurniture. He really felt conscientiously vexed on the occasion; forthe very exertion to which he had limited the performance of hispromise to his father was by this arrangement rendered impracticable.The furniture was all sent around by water. It chiefly consisted ofhousehold linen, plate, china, and books, with a handsome pianoforteof Marianne's. Mrs. John Dashwood saw the packages depart with a sigh:she could not help feeling it hard that as Mrs. Dashwood's incomewould be so trifling in comparison with their own, she should have anyhandsome article of furniture.
Mrs. Dashwood took the house for a twelvemonth; it was readyfurnished, and she might have immediate possession. No difficultyarose on either side in the agreement; and she waited only for thedisposal of her effects at Norland, and to determine her futurehousehold, before she set off for the west; and this, as she wasexceedingly rapid in the performance of everything that interestedher, was soon done. The horses which were left her by her husband hadbeen sold soon after his death, and an opportunity now offering ofdisposing of her carriage, she agreed to sell that likewise at theearnest advice of her eldest daughter. For the comfort of herchildren, had she consulted only her own wishes, she would have keptit; but the discretion of Elinor prevailed. _Her_ wisdom too limitedthe number of their servants to three; two maids and a man, with whomthey were speedily provided from amongst those who had formed theirestablishment at Norland.
The man and one of the maids were sent off immediately intoDevonshire, to prepare the house for their mistress's arrival; for asLady Middleton was entirely unknown to Mrs. Dashwood, she preferredgoing directly to the cottage to being a visitor at Barton Park; andshe relied so undoubtingly on Sir John's description of the house, asto feel no curiosity to examine it herself till she entered it as herown. Her eagerness to be gone from Norland was preserved fromdiminution by the evident satisfaction of her daughter-in-law in theprospect of her removal; a satisfaction which was but feebly attemptedto be concealed under a cold invitation to her to defer her departure.Now was the time when her son-in-law's promise to his father mightwith particular propriety be fulfilled. Since he had neglected to doit on first coming to the estate, their quitting his house might belooked on as the most suitable period for its accomplishment. But Mrs.Dashwood began shortly to give over every hope of the kind, and to beconvinced, from the general drift of his discourse, that hisassistance extended no farther than their maintenance for six monthsat Norland. He so frequently talked of the increasing expenses ofhousekeeping, and of the perpetual demands upon his purse, which a manof any consequence in the world was beyond calculation exposed to,that he seemed rather to stand in need of more money himself than tohave any design of giving money away.
In a very few weeks from the day which brought Sir John Middleton'sfirst letter to Norland, every thing was so far settled in theirfuture abode as to enable Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters to begintheir journey.
Many were the tears shed by them in their last adieus to a place somuch beloved. "Dear, dear Norland!" said Marianne, as she wanderedalone before the house, on the last evening of their being there;"when shall I cease to regret you!--when learn to feel a homeelsewhere! Oh! happy house, could you know what I suffer in nowviewing you from this spot, from whence perhaps I may view you nomore! And you, ye well-known trees!--but you will continue the same.No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch becomemotionless although we can observe you no longer! No; you willcontinue the same; unconscious of the pleasure or the regret youoccasion, and insensible of any change in those who walk under yourshade! But who will remain to enjoy you?"
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