Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/63

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39
SANDITON

issued from a Circulating Library, but she could not separate the idea of a complete Heroine from Clara Brereton. Her situation with Lady Denham so very much in favour of it! She seemed placed with her on purpose to be ill-used. Such Poverty and Dependance joined to such Beauty and Merit, seemed to leave no choice in the business. These feelings were not the result of any spirit of Romance in Charlotte herself. No, she was a very sober-minded young Lady, sufficiently well-read in Novels to supply her Imagination with amusement, but not at all unreasonably influenced by them; and while she pleased herself the first 5 minutes with fancying the Persecutions which ought to be the Lot of the interesting Clara, especially in the form of the most barbarous conduct on Lady Denham’s side, she found no reluctance to admit from subsequent observation, that they appeared to be on very comfortable Terms. She could see nothing worse in Lady Denham, than the sort of oldfashioned formality of always calling her Miss Clara, nor anything objectionable in the degree of observance and attention which Clara paid. On one side it seemed protecting kindness, on the other grateful and affectionate respect. The Conversation turned entirely upon Sanditon, its present number of Visitants and the Chances of a good Season. It was evident that Lady Denham had more anxiety, more fears of loss, than her Coadjutor. She wanted to have the Place fill faster, and seemed to have many harassing apprehensions of the Lodgings being in some instances underlet. Miss Diana Parker’s two large Families were not forgotten. ‘Very good, very good,’ said her Ladyship. ‘A West Indy Family and a school. That sounds well. That will bring Money.’ ‘No people spend more freely, I believe, than West Indians,’ observed Mr. Parker. ‘Aye, so I have heard, and because they have full Purses, fancy themselves equal, may be, to your old