Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/174

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though till that day, till the leisure for reflection which followed it, he had not understood the perfect excellence of the Mind, with which Louisa’s could so ill bear a comparison, or the perfect, the unrivalled hold it possessed over his own. There he had learnt to distinguish between the steadiness of Principle and the Obstinacy of Self-will, between the Daring of Heed-lessness and the Resolution of a collected Mind; there he had seen everything to exalt in his estimation the Woman he had lost, and there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of resentment which had kept him from trying to regain her, when thrown in his way. From that period to the present had his penance been the most severe. He had no sooner been free from the horror and remorse attending the first few days of Louisa’s accident, no sooner begun to feel himself alive again, than he had begun to feel himself, though alive, not at liberty. He found that he was considered by his friend Harville as an engaged Man. The Harvilles entertained not a doubt of a mutual attachment between him and Louisa, and though this, to a degree, was contradicted instantly, it yet made him feel that perhaps by her family, by everybody, by herself even, the same idea might be held, and that he was not free in honour, though, if such were to be the conclusion, too free, alas! in Heart. He had never thought justly on this subject before; he had not sufficiently considered that his excessive Intimacy at Uppercross must have its danger of ill consequence in many ways, and that while trying whether he could attach himself to either of the Girls, he might be exciting unpleasant reports, if not raising unrequited regard! He found, too late, that he had entangled himself and that precisely as he became thoroughly satisfied of his not caring for Louisa at all, he must regard himself as bound to her, if her feelings for him were what the Harvilles supposed. It determined him to leave Lyme, and await her perfect recovery