Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/31

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SANDITON


CHAPTER I

A Gentleman and Lady travelling from Tunbridge towards that part of the Sussex coast which lies between Hastings and Eastbourne, being induced by Business to quit the high road, and attempt a very rough Lane, were overturned in toiling up its long ascent, half rock, half sand. The accident happened just beyond the only Gentleman's House near the Lane—a House, which their Driver on being first required to take that direction, had conceived to be necessarily their object, and had with most unwilling Looks been constrained to pass by. He had grumbled, and shaken his shoulders so much indeed, and pitied and cut his Horses so sharply, that he might have been open to the suspicion of overturning them on purpose (especially as the Carriage was not his Masters' own) if the road had not indisputably become considerably worse than before, as soon as the premises of the said House were left behind—expressing with a most intelligent portentous countenance that beyond it no wheels but cart wheels could safely proceed. The severity of the fall was broken by their slow pace and the narrowness of the Lane, and the Gentleman having scrambled out and helped out his companion, they neither of them at first felt more than shaken and bruised. But the Gentleman had in the course of the extrication sprained his foot, and soon becoming sensible of it, was obliged in