Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/49

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25
SANDITON

preparing, in all the anger and perturbation which a belief of very gross imposition there, and an ignorance of where to go for better usage, to leave the Hotel at all hazards, when the Cousins, the politic and lucky Cousins, who seemed always to have a spy on her, introduced themselves at this important moment, and learning her situation, persuaded her to accept such a home for the rest of her stay as their humbler house, in a very inferior part of London, could offer. She went; was delighted with her welcome and the hospitality and attention she received from every body, found her good Cousins the Breretons beyond her expectation worthy people, and finally was impelled by a personal knowledge of their narrow Income and pecuniary difficulties, to invite one of the girls of the family to pass the Winter with her. The invitation was to one, for six months, with the probability of another being then to take her place; but in selecting the one, Lady Denham had shewn the good part of her Character, for passing by the actual daughters of the House, she had chosen Clara, a Niece, more helpless and more pitiable of course than any, a dependant on Poverty, an additional Burthen on an encumbered Circle, and one who had been so low in every worldly view, as with all her natural endowments and powers, to have been preparing for a situation little better than a Nursery Maid. Clara had returned with her, and by her good sense and merit had now, to all appearance, secured a very strong hold in Lady Denham's regard. The six months had long been over, and not a syllable was breathed of any change, or exchange. She was a general favourite; the influence of her steady conduct and mild, gentle Temper was felt by everybody. The prejudices which had met her at first in some quarters were all dissipated. She was felt to be worthy of Trust, to be the very companion who would guide and soften Lady Denham, who would enlarge her mind and open her