Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/48

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24
SANDITON

After having always protested against any such Addition, and long and often enjoyed the repeated defeats she had given to every attempt of her relations to introduce this young Lady or that young Lady as a Companion at Sanditon House, she had brought back with her from London last Michaelmas a Miss Brereton, who bid fair by her Merits to vie in favour with Sir Edward, and to secure for herself and her family that share of the accumulated Property which they had certainly the best right to inherit. Mr. Parker spoke warmly of Clara Brereton, and the interest of his story increased very much with the introduction of such a Character. Charlotte listened with more than amusement now; it was solicitude and Enjoyment, as she heard her described to be lovely, amiable, gentle, unassuming, conducting herself uniformly with great good sense, and evidently gaining, by her innate worth, on the affections of her Patroness. Beauty, Sweetness, Poverty and Dependance do not want the imagination of a Man to operate upon. With due exceptions, Woman feels for Woman very promptly and compassionately. He gave the particulars which had led to Clara’s admission at Sanditon, as no bad exemplification of that mixture of Character, that union of Littleness with Kindness, with Good Sense, with even Liberality, which he saw in Lady Denham. After having avoided London for many years, principally on account of these very Cousins, who were continually writing, inviting and tormenting her, and whom she was determined to keep at a distance, she had been obliged to go there last Michaelmas with the certainty of being detained at least a fortnight. She had gone to an Hotel, living by her own account as prudently as possible, to defy the reputed expensiveness of such a home, and at the end of three Days calling for her Bill, that she might judge of her state. Its amount was such as determined her on staying not another hour in the House, and she was