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 will in time be better.
The enclosure of Norland 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 adjoining 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
"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 from me to repine at his
doing so; he 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, &c. 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
"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
green-house, and nothing but the plan of the flower-garden
"Where is the green-house to be?"
"Upon the knoll behind the house. The old
walnut trees are all come down to make room for it.
It will be a very fine object from 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 a pair of ear-rings
for each of his sisters, in his next visit at Gray's
his thoughts took a cheerfuller 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 acquaintance 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 indeed, 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 will 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 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 expectation it 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 complaint
on her for several weeks."
"I am sorry for that. At her time of life,
any thing of an illness destroys the bloom for ever!
Her's has been a very short one! She was as handsome a girl
last September, as I ever saw; and as likely to attract
the man. 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 exceedingly fond of YOU, but so it
happened to strike her. She will be mistaken, however.
I question whether Marianne NOW, will marry 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 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 intimacy with that gentleman, and promoting the marriage
by every possible attention. He had just compunction
enough for having done nothing 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 Middleton
at home, and Sir John came in before their visit ended.
Abundance of civilities passed on all sides. Sir John
was ready to like anybody, and though Mr. Dashwood did
not 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 appearance to think his
acquaintance worth having; and Mr. Dashwood went away
delighted with both.
"I shall have a charming 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 exceedingly 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 neither
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."
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 demeanor,
and a general want of understanding.
The same manners, however, which recommended Mrs. John
Dashwood to the good opinion of Lady Middleton did not suit
the fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to HER she appeared nothing
more than a little proud-looking woman of uncordial address,
who met her husband's sisters without any affection,
and almost without 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 tell 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 however, 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