Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/90

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removals to look at the Sea and the Hotel, Charlotte’s place was by Arthur, who was sitting next to the Fire with a degree of Enjoyment which gave a good deal of merit to his civility in wishing her to take his Chair. There was nothing dubious in her manner of declining it, and he sat down again with much satisfaction. She drew back her Chair to have all the advantage of his Person as a screen, and was very thankful for every inch of Back and Shoulders beyond her pre-conceived idea. Arthur was heavy in Eye as well as figure, but by no means indisposed to talk; and while the other four were chiefly engaged together, he evidently felt it no penance to have a fine young Woman next to him, requiring in common Politeness some attention, as his Brother, who felt the decided want of some motive for action, some Powerful object of animation for him, observed with considerable pleasure. Such was the influence of Youth and Bloom that he began even to make a sort of apology for having a Fire. ‘We should not have one at home,’ said he, ‘but the Sea air is always damp. I am not afraid of any thing so much as Damp.’ ‘I am so fortunate,’ said Charlotte, ‘as never to know whether the air is damp or dry. It has always some property that is wholesome and invigorating to me.’ ‘I like the Air too, as well as any body can,’ replied Arthur. ‘I am very fond of standing at an open Window when there is no Wind, but unluckily a Damp air does not like me. It gives me the Rheumatism. You are not rheumatic, I suppose?’ ‘Not at all.’ ‘That’s a great blessing. But perhaps you are nervous.’ ‘No, I believe not. I have no idea that I am.’ ‘I am very nervous. To say the truth Nerves are the worst part of my Complaints in my opinion. My Sisters think me Bilious, but I doubt it.’ ‘You are quite in the right, to doubt it as long as you possibly can, I am sure.’ ‘If I were Bilious,’ he continued, ‘you know Wine would disagree with me, but it always does me good.