But what, said she after a short silence, are your views? or have you none but that of waiting for Mrs. Ferrars death, which is a melancholy and shocking extremity?Is her son determined to submit to this, and to all the tediousness of the many years of suspense in which it may involve you, rather than run the risk of her displeasure for a while by owning the truth?
If we could be certain that it would be only for a while! But Mrs. Ferrars is a very headstrong proud woman, and in her first fit of anger upon hearing it, would very likely secure every thing to Robert, and the idea of that, for Edwards sake, frightens away all my inclination for hasty measures.
And for your own sake too, or you are carrying your disinterestedness beyond reason.
Lucy looked at Elinor again, and was silent.
Do you know Mr. Robert Ferrars? asked Elinor.
Not at allI never saw him; but I fancy he is very unlike his brothersilly and a great coxcomb.
A great coxcomb! repeated Miss Steele, whose ear had caught those words by a sudden pause in Mariannes music. Oh, they are talking of their favourite beaux, I dare say.
No sister, cried Lucy, you are mistaken there, our favourite beaux are not great coxcombs.
I can answer for it that Miss Dashwoods is not, said Mrs. Jennings, laughing heartily; for he is one of the modestest, prettiest behaved young men I ever saw; but as for Lucy, she is such a sly little creature, there is no finding out who she likes.
Oh, cried Miss Steele, looking significantly round at them, I dare say Lucys beau is quite as modest and pretty behaved as Miss Dashwoods.
Elinor blushed in spite of herself. Lucy bit her lip, and looked angrily at her sister. A mutual silence took place for some time. Lucy first put an end to it by saying in a lower tone, though Marianne was then giving them the powerful protection of a very magnificent concerto
I will honestly tell you of one scheme which has lately come into my head, for bringing matters to bear; indeed I am bound to let you into the secret, for you are a party concerned. I dare say you have seen enough of Edward to know that he would prefer the church to every other profession; now my plan is that he should take orders as soon as he can, and then through your interest, which I am sure you would be kind enough to use out of friendship for him, and I hope out of some regard to me, your brother might be persuaded to give him Norland living; which I understand is a very good one, and the present incumbent not likely to live a great while. That would be enough for us to marry upon, and we might trust to time and chance for the rest.
I should always be happy, replied Elinor, to show any mark of my esteem and friendship for Mr. Ferrars; but do you not perceive that my interest on such an occasion would be perfectly unnecessary? He is brother to Mrs. John Dashwoodthat must be recommendation enough to her husband.
But Mrs. John Dashwood would not much approve of Edwards going into orders.
Then I rather suspect that my interest would do very little.
They were again silent for many minutes. At length Lucy exclaimed with a deep sigh,
I believe it would be the wisest way to put an end to the business at once by dissolving the engagement. We seem so beset with difficulties on every side, that though it would make us miserable for a time, we should be happier perhaps in the end. But you will not give me your advice, Miss Dashwood?
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