Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/36

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12
SANDITON

to shew me all the Newspapers that are printed in one week throughout the Kingdom, you would not persuade me of there being a Surgeon in Willingden, for having lived here ever since I was born, Man and Boy 57 years, I think I must have known of such a person, at least I may venture to say that he has not much Business. To be sure, if Gentlemen were to be often attempting this Lane in Post-chaises, it might not be a bad speculation for a Surgeon to get a House at the top of the Hill. But as to that Cottage, I can assure you, Sir, that it is in fact (in spite of its spruce air at this distance) as indifferent a double Tenement as any in the Parish, and that my Shepherd lives at one end, and three old women at the other.’ He took the pieces of paper as he spoke and having looked them over, added, ‘I believe I can explain it, Sir. Your mistake is in the place. There are two Willingdens in this Country, and your advertisements refer to the other, which is Great Willingden, or Willingden Abbots, and lies 7 miles off, on the other side of Battle—quite down in the Weald. And we, Sir’ (speaking rather proudly), ‘are not in the Weald.' ‘Not down in the Weald I am sure, Sir,’ replied the Traveller, pleasantly. ‘It took us half an hour to climb your Hill. Well, Sir, I dare say it is as you say, and I have made an abominably stupid Blunder. All done in a moment; the advertisements did not catch my eye till the last half hour of our being in Town, when everything was in the hurry and confusion which always attend a short stay there. One is never able to complete anything in the way of Business, you know, till the Carriage is at the door; and accordingly satisfying myself with a brief enquiry, and finding we were actually to pass within a mile of two of a Willingden, I sought no farther . . . My Dear’ (to his wife), ‘I am very sorry to have brought you into this Scrape. But do not be alarmed about my Leg. It gives me no pain while I am