Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/75

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49
SANDITON

Jointure. And what good can such people do anybody?—except just as they take our empty Houses, and (between ourselves) I think they are great fools for not staying at home. Now, if we could get a young Heiress to be sent here for her health (and if she was ordered to drink asses’ milk I could supply her), and as soon as she got well, have her fall in love with Sir Edward!’ ‘That would be very fortunate indeed.’ ‘And Miss Esther must marry somebody of fortune too. She must get a rich Husband. Ah! young Ladies that have no Money are very much to be pitied!—But' (after a short pause) ‘if Miss Esther thinks to talk me into inviting them to come and stay at Sanditon House, she will find herself mistaken. Matters are altered with me since last Summer, you know. I have Miss Clara with me now, which makes a great difference.’ She spoke this so seriously that Charlotte instantly saw in it the evidence of real penetration and prepared for some fuller remarks; but it was followed only by—‘I have no fancy for having my House as full as an Hotel. I should not choose to have my two Housemaids’ Time taken up all the morning, in dusting out Bed rooms, They have Miss Clara’s room to put to rights as well as my own every day. If they had hard Places, they would want Higher Wages.’ For objections of this Nature, Charlotte was not prepared, and she found it so impossible even to affect sympathy, that she could say nothing. Lady Denham soon added, with great glee: ‘And besides all this, my Dear, am I to be filling my House to the prejudice of Sanditon? If People Want to be by the Sea, why don’t they take Lodgings? Here are a great many empty Houses—three on this very Terrace; no fewer than three Lodging Papers staring me in the face at this very moment, Numbers 3, 4 and 8. 8, the Corner House may be too large for them, but either of the two others are nice little snug Houses, very fit for a young Gentleman and his