Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/53

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SANDITON

says about its being a Hospital?’ ‘Oh! my dear Mary, merely a joke of his. He pretends to advise me to make a Hospital of it. He pretends to laugh at my Improvements. Sidney says any thing, you know. He has always said what he chose of and to us all. Most Families have such a member among them, I believe, Miss Heywood. There is a someone in most families privileged by superior abilities or spirits to say any thing. In ours, it is Sidney, who is a very clever Young Man, and with great powers of pleasing. He lives too much in the World to be settled; that is his only fault. He is here and there and every where. I wish we may get him to Sanditon. I should like to have you acquainted with him. And it would be a fine thing for the Place! Such a young Man as Sidney, with his neat equipage and fashionable air—you and I, Mary, know what effect it might have. Many a respectable Family, many a careful Mother, many a pretty Daughter, might it secure us, to the prejudice of Eastbourne and Hastings.’ They were now approaching the Church and neat village of Sanditon, which stood at the foot of the Hill they were afterwards to ascend—a Hill whose side was covered with the Woods and enclosures of Sanditon House and whose Height ended in an open Down where the new Buildings might soon be looked for. A branch only of the Valley, winding more obliquely towards the Sea, gave a passage to an inconsiderable Stream, and formed at its mouth a third Habitable Division, in a small cluster of Fisherman’s Houses. The Village contained little more than Cottages, but the Spirit of the day had been caught, as Mr. Parker observed with delight to Charlotte, and two or three of the best of them were smartened up with a white Curtain and ‘Lodgings to let’; and farther on, in the little Green Court of an old Farm House, two Females in elegant white were actually to be seen with their books and camp stools, and in