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Chapter 48

  • Elinor now found the difference between the expectation of an unpleasan_vent, however certain the mind may be told to consider it, and certaint_tself. She now found, that in spite of herself, she had always admitted _ope, while Edward remained single, that something would occur to prevent hi_arrying Lucy; that some resolution of his own, some mediation of friends, o_ome more eligible opportunity of establishment for the lady, would arise t_ssist the happiness of all. But he was now married; and she condemned he_eart for the lurking flattery, which so much heightened the pain of th_ntelligence.
  • That he should be married soon, before (as she imagined) he could be i_rders, and consequently 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 ever_hing but the risk of delay. They were married, married in town, and no_astening down to her uncle's. What had Edward felt on being within four mile_rom Barton, on seeing her mother's servant, on hearing Lucy's message!
  • They would soon, she supposed, be settled at Delaford.—Delaford,—that place i_hich so much conspired to give her an interest; which she wished to b_cquainted with, and yet desired to avoid. She saw them in an instant in thei_arsonage-house; saw in Lucy, the active, contriving manager, uniting at onc_ desire of smart appearance with the utmost frugality, and ashamed to b_uspected of half her economical practices;— pursuing her own interest i_very thought, courting the favour of Colonel Brandon, of Mrs. Jennings, an_f every wealthy friend. In Edward—she knew not what she saw, nor what sh_ished to see;—happy or unhappy,—nothing pleased her; she turned away her hea_rom every sketch of him.
  • Elinor flattered herself that some one of their connections in London woul_rite to them to announce the event, and give farther particulars,—but da_fter day passed off, and brought no letter, no tidings. Though uncertain tha_ny one were to blame, she found fault with every absent friend. They were al_houghtless or indolent.
  • "When do you write to Colonel Brandon, ma'am?" was an inquiry which sprun_rom 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 hea_rom him again. I earnestly pressed his coming to us, and should not b_urprised to see him walk in today or tomorrow, or any day."
  • This was gaining something, something to look forward to. Colonel Brandon mus_ave some information to give.
  • Scarcely had she so determined it, when the figure of a man on horseback dre_er eyes to the window. He stopt at their gate. It was a gentleman, it wa_olonel Brandon himself. Now she could hear more; and she trembled i_xpectation of it. But—it was NOT Colonel Brandon—neither his air—nor hi_eight. Were it possible, she must say it must be Edward. She looked again. H_ad just dismounted;—she could not be mistaken,—it WAS Edward. She moved awa_nd sat down. "He comes from Mr. Pratt's purposely to see us. I WILL be calm;
  • I WILL 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, an_hisper a few sentences to each other. She would have given the world to b_ble to speak—and to make them understand that she hoped no coolness, n_light, would appear in their behaviour to him;—but she had no utterance, an_as obliged to leave all to their own discretion.
  • Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited in silence for the appearance o_heir visitor. His footsteps were heard along the gravel path; in a moment h_as 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 hi_eception, and conscious that he merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, however,
  • conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes of that daughter, by whom she the_eant in the warmth of her heart to be guided in every thing, met with a loo_f forced complacency, gave him her hand, and wished him joy.
  • He coloured, and stammered out an unintelligible reply. Elinor's lips ha_oved with her mother's, and, when the moment of action was over, she wishe_hat she had shaken hands with him too. But it was then too late, and with _ountenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather.
  • Marianne had retreated as much as possible out of sight, to conceal he_istress; and Margaret, understanding some part, but not the whole of th_ase, thought it incumbent on her to be dignified, and therefore took a sea_s 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 awfu_ause took place. It was put an end to by Mrs. Dashwood, who felt obliged t_ope that he had left Mrs. Ferrars very well. In a hurried manner, he replie_n 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!" he replied, with an air of surprise.— "No, my mother is i_own."
  • "I meant," said Elinor, taking up some work from the table, "to inquire fo_rs. EDWARD Ferrars."
  • She dared not look up;—but her mother and Marianne both turned their eyes o_im. He coloured, seemed perplexed, looked doubtingly, and, after som_esitation, said,—
  • "Perhaps you mean—my brother—you mean Mrs.—Mrs. ROBERT Ferrars."
  • "Mrs. Robert Ferrars!"—was repeated by Marianne and her mother in an accent o_he utmost amazement;—and though Elinor could not speak, even HER eyes wer_ixed on him with the same impatient wonder. He rose from his seat, and walke_o the window, apparently from not knowing what to do; took up a pair o_cissors that lay there, and while spoiling both them and their sheath b_utting the latter to pieces as he spoke, said, in a hurried voice,
  • "Perhaps you do not know—you may not have heard that my brother is latel_arried to—to the youngest—to Miss Lucy Steele."
  • His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by all but Elinor, who sa_ith her head leaning over her work, in a state of such agitation as made he_ardly 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 a_he door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought woul_ever cease. Edward, who had till then looked any where, rather than at her,
  • saw her hurry away, and perhaps saw— or even heard, her emotion; fo_mmediately afterwards he fell into a reverie, which no remarks, no inquiries,
  • no affectionate address of Mrs. Dashwood could penetrate, and at last, withou_aying a word, quitted the room, and walked out towards the village—leavin_he others in the greatest astonishment and perplexity on a change in hi_ituation, so wonderful and so sudden;—a perplexity which they had no means o_essening but by their own conjectures.