Elinor had always thought it would be more prudent
for them to settle at some distance from Norland,
than immediately amongst their present acquaintance.
On THAT head, therefore, it was not for her to oppose
her mother's intention of removing into Devonshire.
The house, too, as described by Sir John, was on so
simple a scale, and the rent so uncommonly moderate,
as to leave her no right of objection on either point;
and, therefore, though it was not a plan which brought
any charm to her fancy, though it was a removal from
the vicinity of Norland beyond her wishes, she made
no attempt to dissuade her mother from sending a letter
No sooner was her answer dispatched, than Mrs. Dashwood
indulged herself in the pleasure of announcing to her
son-in-law and his wife that she was provided with a house,
and should incommode them no longer than till every thing were
ready for her inhabiting it. They heard her with surprise.
Mrs. John Dashwood said nothing; but her husband civilly
hoped that she would not be settled far from Norland.
She had great satisfaction in replying that she was going
into Devonshire.--Edward turned hastily towards her,
on hearing this, and, in a voice of surprise and concern,
which required no explanation to her, repeated,
"Devonshire! Are you, indeed, going there? So far from hence!
And to what part of it?" She explained the situation.
It was within four miles northward of Exeter.
"It is but a cottage," she continued, "but I hope
to see many of my friends in it. A room or two can
easily be added; and if my friends find no difficulty
in travelling so far to see me, I am sure I will find
none in accommodating them."
She concluded with a very kind invitation to
Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood to visit her at Barton;
and to Edward she gave one with still greater affection.
Though her late conversation with her daughter-in-law had
made her resolve on remaining at Norland no longer than
was unavoidable, it had not produced the smallest effect
on her in that point to which it principally tended.
To separate Edward and Elinor was as far from being her
object as ever; and she wished to show 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 exceedingly sorry he was that she had taken a house at
such a distance from Norland as to prevent his being of any
service to her in removing her furniture. He really felt
conscientiously vexed on the occasion; for the very exertion
to which he had limited the performance of his promise to
his father was by this arrangement rendered impracticable.--
The furniture was all sent around by water. It chiefly
consisted of household linen, plate, china, and books,
with a handsome pianoforte of Marianne's. Mrs. John
Dashwood saw the packages depart with a sigh: she could
not help feeling it hard that as Mrs. Dashwood's income
would be so trifling in comparison with their own,
she should have any handsome article of furniture.
Mrs. Dashwood took the house for a twelvemonth; it was
ready furnished, and she might have immediate possession.
No difficulty arose on either side in the agreement; and she
waited only for the disposal of her effects at Norland,
and to determine her future household, before she set
off for the west; and this, as she was exceedingly rapid
in the performance of everything that interested her,
was soon done.--The horses which were left her by her husband
had been sold soon after his death, and an opportunity
now offering of disposing of her carriage, she agreed
to sell that likewise at the earnest advice of her
eldest daughter. For the comfort of her children, had she
consulted only her own wishes, she would have kept it;
but the discretion of Elinor prevailed. HER wisdom
too limited the number of their servants to three;
two maids and a man, with whom they were speedily provided
from amongst those who had formed their establishment
The man and one of the maids were sent off immediately
into Devonshire, to prepare the house for their mistress's
arrival; for as Lady Middleton was entirely unknown
to Mrs. Dashwood, she preferred going directly to the
cottage to being a visitor at Barton Park; and she relied
so undoubtingly on Sir John's description of the house,
as to feel no curiosity to examine it herself till she
entered it as her own. Her eagerness to be gone from Norland
was preserved from diminution by the evident satisfaction
of her daughter-in-law in the prospect of her removal;
a satisfaction which was but feebly attempted to 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 might with particular propriety be fulfilled.
Since he had neglected to do it on first coming to
the estate, their quitting his house might be looked
on as the most suitable period for its accomplishment.
But Mrs. Dashwood began shortly to give over every
hope of the kind, and to be convinced, from the general
drift of his discourse, that his assistance extended no
farther than their maintenance for six months at Norland.
He so frequently talked of the increasing expenses
of housekeeping, and of the perpetual demands upon his purse,
which a man of any consequence in the world was beyond
calculation exposed to, that he seemed rather to stand
in need of more money himself than to have any design of
giving money away.
In a very few weeks from the day which brought Sir
John Middleton's first letter to Norland, every thing was
so far settled in their future abode as to enable
Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters to begin their journey.
Many were the tears shed by them in their last
adieus to a place so much beloved. "Dear, dear Norland!"
said Marianne, as she wandered alone before the house,
on the last evening of their being there; "when shall I cease
to regret you!--when learn to feel a home elsewhere!--Oh!
happy house, could you know what I suffer in now viewing
you from this spot, from whence perhaps I may view
you no more!--And you, ye well-known trees!--but you
will continue the same.--No leaf will decay because we
are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we
can observe you no longer!--No; you will continue the same;
unconscious of the pleasure or the regret you occasion,
and insensible of any change in those who walk under your
shade!--But who will remain to enjoy you?"
The first part of their journey was performed in too
melancholy a disposition to be otherwise than tedious
and unpleasant. But as they drew towards the end of it,
their interest in the appearance of a country which they
were to inhabit overcame their dejection, and a view of
Barton Valley as they entered it gave them cheerfulness.
It was a pleasant fertile spot, well wooded, and rich
in pasture. After winding along it for more than a mile,
they reached their own house. A small green court was
the whole of its demesne in front; and a neat wicket gate
admitted them into it.
As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable
and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the
building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window
shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered
with honeysuckles. A narrow passage led directly through
the house into the garden behind. On each side of the
entrance was a sitting room, about sixteen feet square;
and beyond them were the offices and the stairs.
Four bed-rooms and two garrets formed the rest of the house.
It had not been built many years and was in good repair.
In comparison of Norland, it was poor and small indeed!--but
the tears which recollection called forth as they entered
the house were soon dried away. They were cheered
by the joy of the servants on their arrival, and each
for the sake of the others resolved to appear happy.
It was very early in September; the season was fine,
and from first seeing the place under the advantage
of good weather, they received an impression in its
favour which was of material service in recommending
it to their lasting approbation.
The situation of the house was good. High hills rose
immediately behind, and at no great distance on each side;
some of which were open downs, the others cultivated and woody.
The village of Barton was chiefly on one of these hills,
and formed a pleasant view from the cottage windows.
The prospect in front was more extensive; it commanded the
whole of the valley, and reached into the country beyond.
The hills which surrounded the cottage terminated
the valley in that direction; under another name,
and in another course, it branched out again between two
of the steepest of them.
With the size and furniture of the house Mrs. Dashwood
was upon the whole well satisfied; for though her former
style of life rendered many additions to the latter
indispensable, yet to add and improve was a delight to her;
and she had at this time ready money enough to supply all
that was wanted of greater elegance to the apartments.
"As for the house itself, to be sure," said she, "it is
too small for our family, but we will make ourselves
tolerably comfortable for the present, as it is too late
in the year for improvements. Perhaps in the spring,
if I have plenty of money, as I dare say I shall, we may
think about building. These parlors are both too small
for such parties of our friends as I hope to see often
collected here; and I have some thoughts of throwing the
passage into one of them with perhaps a part of the other,
and so leave the remainder of that other for an entrance;
this, with a new drawing room which may be easily added,
and a bed-chamber and garret above, will make it a very snug
little cottage. I could wish the stairs were handsome.
But one must not expect every thing; though I suppose it
would be no difficult matter to widen them. I shall see
how much I am before-hand with the world in the spring,
and we will plan our improvements accordingly."