Good God! cried Marianne, he has been here while we were out. Elinor, rejoiced to be assured of his being in London, now ventured to say, Depend upon it, he will call again to-morrow. But Marianne seemed hardly to hear her, and on Mrs. Jenningss entrance, escaped with the precious card.
This event, while it raised the spirits of Elinor, restored to those of her sister all, and more than all, their former agitation. From this moment her mind was never quiet; the expectation of seeing him every hour of the day, made her unfit for any thing. She insisted on being left behind, the next morning, when the others went out.
Elinors thoughts were full of what might be passing in Berkeley-street during their absence; but a moments glance at her sister when they returned was enough to inform her, that Willoughby had paid no second visit there. A note was just then brought in, and laid on the table,
For me! cried Marianne, stepping hastily forward.
No, maam, for my mistress.
But Marianne, not convinced, took it instantly up.
It is indeed for Mrs. Jennings; how provoking!
You are expecting a letter, then? said Elinor, unable to be longer silent.
Yes, a littlenot much.
After a short pause. You have no confidence in me, Marianne.
Nay, Elinor, this reproach from youyou who have confidence in no one!
Me! returned Elinor in some confusion; indeed, Marianne, I have nothing to tell.
Nor I, answered Marianne with energy, our situations then are alike. We have neither of us any thing to tell; you, because you do not communicate, and I, because I conceal nothing.
Elinor, distressed by this charge of reserve in herself, which she was not at liberty to do away, knew not how, under such circumstances, to press for greater openness in Marianne.
Mrs. Jennings soon appeared, and the note being given her, she read it aloud. It was from Lady Middleton, announcing their arrival in Conduit-street the night before, and requesting the company of her mother and cousins the following evening. Business on Sir Johns part, and a violent cold on her own, prevented their calling in Berkeley-street. The invitation was accepted; but when the hour of appointment drew near, necessary as it was in common civility to Mrs. Jennings, that they should both attend her on such a visit, Elinor had some difficulty in persuading her sister to go, for still she had seen nothing of Willoughby; and therefore was not more indisposed for amusement abroad, than unwilling to run the risk of his calling again in her absence.
Elinor found, when the evening was over, that disposition is not materially altered by a change of abode, for although scarcely settled in town, Sir John had contrived to collect around him, nearly twenty young people, and to amuse them with a ball. This was an affair, however, of which Lady Middleton did not approve. In the country, an unpremeditated dance was very allowable; but in London, where the reputation of elegance was more important and less easily attained, it was risking too much for the gratification of a few girls, to have it known that Lady Middleton had given a small dance of eight or nine couple, with two violins, and a mere side-board collation.
Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were of the party; from the former, whom they had not seen before since their arrival in town, as he was careful to avoid the appearance of any attention to his mother-in-law, and
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