Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/104

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here, and a curve there threw them to a better distance. The Fence was a proper Park paling in excellent condition; with clusters of fine Elms, or rows of old Thorns following its line almost every where. Almost must be stipulated, for there were vacant spaces, and through one of these Charlotte, as soon as they entered the Enclosure, caught a glimpse over the pales of something White and Womanish in the field on the other side; it was a something which immediately brought Miss Brereton into her head, and stepping to the pales, she saw indeed, and very decidedly, in spite of the Mist, Miss Brereton seated, not far before her, at the foot of the bank which sloped down from the outside of the Paling and which a narrow Path seemed to skirt along—Miss Brereton seated, apparently very composedly, and Sir Edward Denham by her side. They were sitting so near each other and appeared so closely engaged in gentle conversation, that Charlotte instantly felt she had nothing to do but to step back again, and say not a word. Privacy was certainly their object. It could not but strike her rather unfavourably with regard to Clara; but hers was a situation which must not be judged with severity. She was glad to perceive that nothing had been discerned by Mrs. Parker. If Charlotte had not been considerably the tallest of the two, Miss Brereton's white ribbons might not have fallen within the ken of her more observant eyes. Among other points of moralising reflection which the sight of this tête-â-tête produced, Charlotte could not but think of the extreme difficulty which secret Lovers must have in finding a proper spot for their stolen Interviews. Here perhaps they had thought themselves so perfectly secure from observation!—the whole field open before them, a steep bank and Pales never crossed by the foot [of] Man at their back, and a great thickness of air, in aid. Yet here, she had seen them. They were really ill-used.—The House was large and handsome;