Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/77

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51
SANDITON

CHAPTER VIII

The two Ladies continued walking together till rejoined by the others, who as they issued from the Library were followed by a young Whitby running off with five volumes under his arm to Sir Edward’s Gig, and Sir Edward, approaching Charlotte, said: ‘You may perceive what has been our Occupation. My Sister wanted my Counsel in the selection of some books. We have many leisure hours, and read a great deal. I am no indiscriminate Novel-Reader. The mere Trash of the common Circulating Library, I hold in the highest contempt. You will never hear me advocating those puerile Emanations which detail nothing but discordant Principles incapable of Amalgamation, or those vapid tissues of ordinary Occurrences from which no useful Deductions can be drawn. In vain may we put them into a literary Alembic; we distil nothing which can add to Science. You understand me, I am sure?’ ‘I am not quite certain that I do. But if you will describe the sort of Novels which you do approve, I dare say it will give me a clearer idea.’ ‘Most willingly, Fair Questioner. The Novels which I approve are such as display Human Nature with Grandeur, such as shew her in the Sublimities of intense Feeling, such as exhibit the progress of strong Passion from the first Germ of incipient Susceptibility to the utmost Energies of Reason half-dethroned, where we see the strong spark of Woman’s Captivations elicit such Fire in the Soul of Man as leads him (though at the risk of some Aberration from the strict line of Primitive Obligations) to hazard all, dare all, achieve all, to obtain her. Such are the Works which I peruse with delight, and I hope I may say, with amelioration. They hold forth the most