"I shall not attempt it. I have no wish to be
distinguished; and have every reason to hope I never shall.
Thank Heaven! I cannot be forced into genius and eloquence."
"You have no ambition, I well know. Your wishes
are all moderate."
"As moderate as those of the rest of the world,
I believe. I wish as well as every body else to be
perfectly happy; but, like every body else it must be
in my own way. Greatness will not make me so."
"Strange that it would!" cried Marianne. "What have
wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?"
"Grandeur has but little," said Elinor, "but wealth
has much to do with it."
"Elinor, for shame!" said Marianne, "money can only
give happiness where there is nothing else to give it.
Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction,
as far as mere self is concerned."
"Perhaps," said Elinor, smiling, "we may come
to the same point. YOUR competence and MY wealth
are very much alike, I dare say; and without them,
as the world goes now, we shall both agree that every
kind of external comfort must be wanting. Your ideas
are only more noble than mine. Come, what is your competence?"
"About eighteen hundred or two thousand a year;
not more than THAT."
Elinor laughed. "TWO thousand a year! ONE is my
wealth! I guessed how it would end."
"And yet two thousand a-year is a very moderate income,"
said Marianne. "A family cannot well be maintained on
a smaller. I am sure I am not extravagant in my demands.
A proper establishment of servants, a carriage, perhaps two,
and hunters, cannot be supported on less."
Elinor smiled again, to hear her sister describing
so accurately their future expenses at Combe Magna.
"Hunters!" repeated Edward--"but why must you have
hunters? Every body does not hunt."
Marianne coloured as she replied, "But most people do."
"I wish," said Margaret, striking out a novel thought,
"that somebody would give us all a large fortune apiece!"
"Oh that they would!" cried Marianne, her eyes
sparkling with animation, and her cheeks glowing
with the delight of such imaginary happiness.
"We are all unanimous in that wish, I suppose,"
said Elinor, "in spite of the insufficiency of wealth."
"Oh dear!" cried Margaret, "how happy I should be!
I wonder what I should do with it!"
Marianne looked as if she had no doubt on that point.
"I should be puzzled to spend so large a fortune myself,"
said Mrs. Dashwood, "if my children were all to be rich
"You must begin your improvements on this house,"
observed Elinor, "and your difficulties will soon vanish."
"What magnificent orders would travel from this family
to London," said Edward, "in such an event! What a happy
day for booksellers, music-sellers, and print-shops! You,
Miss Dashwood, would give a general commission for every
new print of merit to be sent you--and as for Marianne,
I know her greatness of soul, there would not be music enough
in London to content her. And books!--Thomson, Cowper,
Scott--she would buy them all over and over again: she
would buy up every copy, I believe, to prevent their
falling into unworthy hands; and she would have every
book that tells her how to admire an old twisted tree.
Should not you, Marianne? Forgive me, if I am very saucy.
But I was willing to shew you that I had not forgot our
"I love to be reminded of the past, Edward--whether it
be melancholy or gay, I love to recall it--and you
will never offend me by talking of former times.
You are very right in supposing how my money would be
spent--some of it, at least--my loose cash would certainly
be employed in improving my collection of music and books."
"And the bulk of your fortune would be laid out
in annuities on the authors or their heirs."
"No, Edward, I should have something else to do
"Perhaps, then, you would bestow it as a reward on that
person who wrote the ablest defence of your favourite maxim,
that no one can ever be in love more than once in their
life--your opinion on that point is unchanged, I presume?"
"Undoubtedly. At my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed.
It is not likely that I should now see or hear any thing to change them."
"Marianne is as steadfast as ever, you see," said Elinor,
"she is not at all altered."
"She is only grown a little more grave than she was."
"Nay, Edward," said Marianne, "you need not reproach me.
You are not very gay yourself."
"Why should you think so!" replied he, with a sigh.
"But gaiety never was a part of MY character."
"Nor do I think it a part of Marianne's," said Elinor;
"I should hardly call her a lively girl--she is very earnest,
very eager in all she does--sometimes talks a great deal
and always with animation--but she is not often really merry."
"I believe you are right," he replied, "and yet I
have always set her down as a lively girl."
"I have frequently detected myself in such kind of mistakes,"
said Elinor, "in a total misapprehension of character in some
point or other: fancying people so much more gay or grave,
or ingenious or stupid than they really are, and I can
hardly tell why or in what the deception originated.
Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves,
and very frequently by what other people say of them,
without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge."
"But I thought it was right, Elinor," said Marianne,
"to be guided wholly by the opinion of other people.
I thought our judgments were given us merely to be subservient
to those of neighbours. This has always been your doctrine,
I am sure."
"No, Marianne, never. My doctrine has never aimed
at the subjection of the understanding. All I have
ever attempted to influence has been the behaviour.
You must not confound my meaning. I am guilty, I confess,
of having often wished you to treat our acquaintance
in general with greater attention; but when have I advised
you to adopt their sentiments or to conform to their
judgment in serious matters?"
"You have not been able to bring your sister over to your
plan of general civility," said Edward to Elinor, "Do you gain
"Quite the contrary," replied Elinor,
looking expressively at Marianne.
"My judgment," he returned, "is all on your side
of the question; but I am afraid my practice is much
more on your sister's. I never wish to offend, but I
am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent,
when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness.
I have frequently thought that I must have been intended
by nature to be fond of low company, I am so little at
my ease among strangers of gentility!"
"Marianne has not shyness to excuse any inattention
of hers," said Elinor.
"She knows her own worth too well for false shame,"
replied Edward. "Shyness is only the effect of a sense
of inferiority in some way or other. If I could persuade
myself that my manners were perfectly easy and graceful,
I should not be shy."
"But you would still be reserved," said Marianne,
"and that is worse."
Edward started--"Reserved! Am I reserved, Marianne?"
"I do not understand you," replied he, colouring.
"Reserved!--how, in what manner? What am I to tell you?
What can you suppose?"
Elinor looked surprised at his emotion; but trying
to laugh off the subject, she said to him, "Do not you
know my sister well enough to understand what she means?
Do not you know she calls every one reserved who does not
talk as fast, and admire what she admires as rapturously
Edward made no answer. His gravity and thoughtfulness
returned on him in their fullest extent--and he sat
for some time silent and dull.
Elinor saw, with great uneasiness the low spirits
of her friend. His visit afforded her but a very
partial satisfaction, while his own enjoyment in it
appeared so imperfect. It was evident that he was unhappy;
she wished it were equally evident that he still
distinguished her by the same affection which once
she had felt no doubt of inspiring; but hitherto the
continuance of his preference seemed very uncertain;
and the reservedness of his manner towards her contradicted
one moment what a more animated look had intimated the preceding one.
He joined her and Marianne in the breakfast-room
the next morning before the others were down; and Marianne,
who was always eager to promote their happiness as far
as she could, soon left them to themselves. But before she
was half way upstairs she heard the parlour door open, and,
turning round, was astonished to see Edward himself come out.
"I am going into the village to see my horses,"
said be, "as you are not yet ready for breakfast; I shall
be back again presently."
Edward returned to them with fresh admiration
of the surrounding country; in his walk to the village,
he had seen many parts of the valley to advantage;
and the village itself, in a much higher situation than
the cottage, afforded a general view of the whole, which had
exceedingly pleased him. This was a subject which ensured
Marianne's attention, and she was beginning to describe
her own admiration of these scenes, and to question him more
minutely on the objects that had particularly struck him,
when Edward interrupted her by saying, "You must not
enquire too far, Marianne--remember I have no knowledge
in the picturesque, and I shall offend you by my ignorance
and want of taste if we come to particulars. I shall call
hills steep, which ought to be bold; surfaces strange
and uncouth, which ought to be irregular and rugged;
and distant objects out of sight, which ought only to be
indistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere.
You must be satisfied with such admiration as I can
honestly give. I call it a very fine country--the
hills are steep, the woods seem full of fine timber,
and the valley looks comfortable and snug--with rich
meadows and several neat farm houses scattered here
and there. It exactly answers my idea of a fine country,
because it unites beauty with utility--and I dare say it
is a picturesque one too, because you admire it; I can
easily believe it to be full of rocks and promontories,
grey moss and brush wood, but these are all lost on me.
I know nothing of the picturesque."