SANDITON – THE ANNA LEFROY CONTINUATION
First published by The Chiron Press of Chicago 1983
The influence of later years displayed it self beyond the Walls of Sanditon House: & whilst the Denham Place, & Denham Villas of modern Sanditon (with the Denham Gardens, which formed part of the original plan, & still made a good figure in the prospectus) were all situated on land belonging to the Hollis Estate, it was only the little old way-side Public House, at the foot of the hill, just where a by-road turned off to the fishing Hamlet, that retained it’s allegiance, & still bore the name, as it had once done the sign, of “The Hollis Arms”Lady Denham, after a time, made her appearance, pleased to see her visitors, & very ready to explain the cause of her delay in making them welcome. It was her invariable rule, twice in the year,
to make a strict examination of her Kitchen & other offices, with all their contents — Every article — for culinary use was submitted to her inspection — compared with her own private list, & it’s condition approved of, or condemned. “I daresay Miss Heywood thinks I might as well call such a job as this to my House Keeper:but that is not my plan: I never trust to any thing but my own eyes: I wouldn’t want to give my company poison in the made dishes:& I won’t be poisoned myself. It’s not a very pleasant occupation to be sure, but I had just got through it, & was setting myself to rights in my own room when I saw you Ladies coming up to the door. It’s not work for one’s best clothes, you know, as I told Miss Clara, when she came & asked me, so very prettily, if I could make her of any use.
No, no, my Dear, said I, attics is no place for your delicate light coloured muslin — I bought two of Jebb’s best muslins for Miss Clara in the spring, & I must observe Mrs. Parker, that I think his shop abominably dear”. “I am sorry to hear you say so: but I am afraid it is apt to be the case at all these Bathing places: and here, my Husband says, the demand for goods being precarious, & confined to a few months of the year: at least to any great extent, the shop keepers are obliged to make their prices high for the season, in order to meet the falling off of custom during the last of the year—” By & by”… “Yes, yes, my Dear, Mr. Parker is always ready with his by & bys, but Trade people should have some conscience: & I thought Jebb’s muslins quite out of the way. To be
sure I might have bought Ginghams for Miss Clara, & most likely should if she had been going back to her own family — but living with me,as she does, at least for the present,& at Sanditon House, it seems proper that she should be dressed conformable but, as I was saying, I could not have her, or any body else, following me about, so I just desired she would keep out of my way for the next two hours:and if she wanted something to do there was all the Lavender,and rose leaves that had been carried up to the South Attic waiting to be looked over & spread out for drying — so she seemed mightily well pleased, & went up stairs, where she has been, I fancy,ever since. Aye my dear”, observing a slight turn of Charlotte’s head
“that is the Picture of my poor dear
Sir Harry Denham: & very like him too; though he never had such a fine head of hair after I knew him: nor did I ever see him in a coat of that colour. There is another Picture of him, by a different hand at Denham Park: Sir Harry, & his Lady, his first wife you know, & they hang one on each side of the fire place in the Dining Parlour. Sir Harry made me a present, of this one: it is the only thing belonging to the family that I brought away with me.” Here at last there was a pause, which enabled Mrs. Parker to mention the arrival of her Brother in law. “Oh! Mr. Sidney! What he’s home to Sanditon: with his smart turn out of carriage & horses, I suppose.” There was just a shade of annoyance in the tone — for probably Lady Denham
was adverting in her own mind to Sir Edward’s more straightened means. “Well, people must do as they can afford; & the wisest of them in my opinion, don’t do quite as much. Come to stay with you, of course, at Trefalgar House.” “It ought to be of course—” said Mrs. Parker, with a smile, but I am sorry to say Sidney insists on putting up at the Hotel: I believe he is expecting to be joined there by some friends” — “So much the better for Mrs. Woodcock —I don’t see that you need to concern ye self about it — but my dear Mrs. Parker” observing a glance at Charlotte — I cannot have you running away yet. Miss Hey wood will like to see the house, & I shall be proud to shew it her and here’s little Missy too”—as Mary jumped up from the low chair on which she had been seated—
she always expects a game of play with Miss Clara or a ride on the Chamber Horse: we will all go up to the gallery, & I dare say we shall find her not far off.” Charlotte could not but feel some trepidation on Miss Brereton’s account: as well as on their own, least some unpleasant discovery shd. be made before they’d got clear of the house. As nothing however could be done to prevent the catastrophe she had only to follow Mrs. Parker out of the room, & up the principal staircase: and, Lady Denham was right, hardly had they entered the gallery when from one of the several doors which opened out of it, Miss Brereton made her appearance dressed in her Bonnet & Shawl. There was no appearance of her being taken by surprise, but after paying her compliments to Mrs.
& Miss Heywood, went up to Lady Denham. She was just coming,she said, not aware of visitors being in the house, to ask if she wd feel disposed for a little walk: she had been out for a little while herself, & now that the mist had cleared off the day was pleasant. “Mist, my Dear!” Lady Denham exclaimed. I know nothing about mists — but if I wanted to go out of doors it is not a mist that would keep me within, that I can tell you. No matter about it however now; here is Mrs. Parker’s little girl who will be glad to stay with you whilst we go over the house. The gallery in which they now were was tolerably long &spacious with a large window at one end commanding a very lovely view:a stretch of broken Forest ground melting into a blue distance, with an outline of bold hills just appearing on the horizon.
Charlotte looked & honestly admired: there was nothing shewn her afterwards that pleased her half so well. Sanditon House was handsome but common place: it had the usual amount of Dining & Drawing rooms, well proportioned, & well furnished: the two or three of really good Paintings, & the much larger number of very indifferent ones. They returned to the Hall after the customary tour, & being joined by Miss Brereton & little Mary had no choice but to seat themselves once more in the morning room to be regaled with the chocolate: this was one of the standing hospitalities of the place, & Lady Denham made a point of keeping it up.”Do you suppose” asked Charlotte, after they had left the house & proceeded a little way in silence” that Miss Brereton
can be very happy in this place?””You mean in living with Lady DenhamOh’ Surely— there can be no doubt of its’ being a most happy change for her.I fancy she had a very very wretched home— more so perhaps than you orI can form any idea of— and afterwards I mean— when the Uncle took her into his own family, it could not have been very comfortable: she was on the point of going, you know,as a mere nursing Governess.””And I think, in her place, I should very much have preferred doing so”:replied Charlotte — “Oh! my dear Miss Heywood, you cannot really mean that — Lady Denham is not a person, certainly, of very tender feelings, any more than of highly polished manners, but there can be no doubt of her treating Miss Breretonwell, as to essentials
For my own part I never observed anything but what was quite proper on both sides; and then do consider how much more safe & respectable it is for such a young & pretty person to live under Lady Denham’s care!” “Perhaps it may be was Charlotte’s cautious reply; & when next she spoke it was on a different subject.
They had reached the high road, & were climbing the steepest part of the hill which led to the Downs, when they found themselves overtaken by Mr. Parker. He was returning from a ride, & the party proceeded together home ward; he, walking his horse by the side of the raised foot path, & listening with pleasure to the news of Sidney’s arrival. “He must have reached Sanditon just after I left:
and drove of course straight to the Hotel; but, depend on it, we shall find him at home, romping with the children; unless indeed he has gone down to the Terrace, but no,surely this is Sidney, coming to meet us” — and so it proved; a few steps more, & they were met & joined
by Sidney Parker.
“And how are you mounted,Tom! What horses have you now?”was Sidney’s inquiry, as he walked by the side of his Brother, & glanced at the animal he was riding”Oh! none at present: I have no horses of my own: this fellow is hired
from the Hotel. The fact is, you see,that my expenses here have been considerable,building a new house, for instance,with other calls for money.
so that, for the present, my income is a good deal reduced, in consequence I have given up my whole stable establishment — we get Post horses as we need them, either for the close carriage or the phaeton — and Woodcock’s Hack answers my purpose well enough — It is only for a time, you know” observing a look of concern on Sidney’s face, “only a temporary retrenchment; before many years have gone over our heads I expect, if alive, to be a rich man; & in much less time I hope”, looking at his wife, “Mary will have her carriage horses again; mean while, I escape the plague & expense of coachman & groom,
and, as I said before, this beast, & it is not a bad one, serves to get about upon. I think, Mary, I have made him do me good service today, though with out going to the distance I intended. The mist was so thick on the lower grounds that I gave up the longer expedition, for not well knowing the road, I thought I might find myself among the marshes.” “What?” said Sidney, before Mrs. Parker could reply, “have you been again in pursuit of a Doctor?” “Ah! I knew that would be a good story for you, Sidney; but no I have given up the Doctor — at least for the present. I have a different object in view: meaner, but more attainable— It is the purchase of some Donkeys
for the use of invalid Ladies, or children, as one sees them at all other Watering Places. They would be a great acquisition to Sanditon, for we are not well supplied at present with the means of getting about either for health or for pleasure. In time I trust it will be very different, after another season or two there will probably be more than one Sanditon Pleasure boat-perhaps even a small yacht— In the mean time Willis has given his fishing boat a new coat of paint — you remember old Willis, Sidney, whom we used to go out with so often when we were Boys; he is really old Willis now, but still able to do something
& generally goes out with his Son though he is as steady a fellow as need be. They will pick up a little money I expect, during the season, with their smartened up boat. & the new sail that I have given them. Then for land excursions, there is a sociable that Woodcock bought last year, second hand, & which he puts a horse to when ever it is wanted — but these are literally all our resources — I mean for visitors generally: we, of course have our own independant means of getting about.” “And what has been your success in this new enterprise?” enquired Sidney with an evident though suppressed smile. “As good as possible, for a beginning.
I went in the first place to the Hollis Arms, to have some talk with Steadman, & find out whether he would be disposed to take the chance of some advantage to himself from the scheme by providing food & yard room for the animals — also I thought he might be willing to let his two Boys have the charge of them on the beach. I have no doubt that amongst them they might make a very good thing of it Steadman seemed quite to think their proposal worth consideration &told me of two Donkeys he thought likely to answer my purpose —”
“But, my love, I beg your pardon for interrupting you’ said Mrs. Parker,but surely the two Steadman Boys belong to the Sanditon School & Mrs.Henderson may not approve of their being taken so suddenly away.
“My dear Mary, these two Boys, have been attending the Sanditon School for 6 or 7 years: & it is quite time they shdbe doing some thing for a livelihood depend on it Henderson would be glad to have more of his Boy Parishners just into a course of regular &respectable occupation”. “But is it certain”, asked Sidney, that Mr. Henderson will consider the occupation you propose as regular & respectable?”“Regular’ replied his Brother “itmust be, you are not aware Sidney of the rapid advance Sandition is making or you would have no doubt as to there being a sufficient amount of labour. My own fears have taken a contrary direction, & I confess I have some apprehension that the fatigue of attending on
different parties, perhaps in the same day may be rather too much for the Boys — more at least than at present they may be equal to; one of them is but a little fellow. I noticed him whilst I was talking with Steadman, leading Sir Edwd. Denham’s horse up & down the road —” “Did you then mention the scheme to Sir Edwd Denham”? asked Mrs. Parker — “No, my Dear, not I. I saw nothing of him; probably he had business with the Willises, & had walked down to the Cove; it is a very disagreeable shingley piece of road for a horse. The Boy & Horse had both disappeared when I returned from Jackson’s — the man to whom those Donkeys belong. He does not seem as if he cared to
part with them — but I suppose he will, if he gets his price” — By this time the party had reached that point on the Down where the roads diverged & Mr. Parker followed that which led direct to the Hotel, after receiving a promise from his Brother to dine at Trefalgar House. “Yes, Yes,” said Sidney, as he accompanied the Ladies on the homeward path, “I settled that point with Morgan, & accepted his invitation on my first arrival. He was the only member of the family from whom I could get either welcome or information: following his instructions I presented myself at the door of No 3 in the Terrace where I found old Sam more dull & incomprehensible than ever. He told me that Miss Parker
was upstairs in her bed room, and not coming down again — not to see nobody—and Miss Diana, was she within?”No she wasnt: she was gone out in a sheen with somebody as wanted her company — Mary, on what scheme for the good of her fellow creatures has dear Die embarked?””Ah! Sidney you may truly say for the good of her fellow creatures,for I really believe that to be Diana’s object in everything she does” “Her object, no doubt I too believe that “And Arthur, did you see nothing of him?” Not an inch that I could positively swear to. Sam indeed expressed his belief that Mr. Arthur was some where handy— most likely walking on the Terrace— but as from where I stood I could see, & Sam from where he stood might also have seen from one end of the Terrace to the other, there see me.
no ground for any such belief. Under the circumstances, therefore I thought the best amends I could make myself would be to walk across the Down & try to meet you& Miss Heywood. It was upon reaching the higher ground, & looking down upon the sands that I perceived a Gentleman who I could have guessed from his figure to be Arthur: & yet, I
hardly think it cd be him.” “On the sands & by himself?” On the sands assuredly, but not at all by himself:seated on one of the detached pieces
of rock, with two rather stylish looking girls standing near, & making as it seemed to me— making themselves in short extremely agreeable, Miss Heywood,you smile— I suspect you know something of the matter — is it so?””I know nothing, I only think it might have been Mr. Arthur Parker.” “Thank you, that is kindly said— I hope it was, we’ll
all be glad to have Arthur come out in so new a character”They had already reached, & were lingering at the gate opening into the lawn — it was time to part. Sidney therefore after a playful attempt to prevent little Mary’s entrance took leave to dress, & appear again at dinner.
The evening passed pleasantly there was music — Mrs. Parker played extremely well — Charlotte Heywood sang, not perhaps equally well, but what is commonly meant by very agreably — and so also, especially when they sang together, did Mr. Sidney Parker. He talked also very agreably, with much of his Brother’s openness of manner & a charm of voice which seemed common to the Parker family there was joined a spirit in all
that he said, indicating stronger powers, as well as a keener sense of the ridiculous. “He is very pleasant” said Charlotte Heywood to herself after his departure— and I suppose clever— superior in someways to the rest of his family — one may easily see their weak points: his do not so soon appear”—
It was Sunday — cloudless & bright— the weather as pleasant to look at as weather could be: but two miles of open downs on dusty road interposed between Trafalgar House and its’ Parrish Church. And Mrs. Parker thought, with regret, as she had done many a previous Sunday, of the pleasant shady walk, scarce half a mile in length which had formed one of the many comforts of her formerhome.
At the usual hour however, the party, including Sidney Parker, set forth; & had proceeded about half way when overtaken by Mr. Woodcock’s sociable, which according to established rule, stopped to take up little Mary. The other Passengers were then perceived to be Miss Lambe carefully guarded by a thick veil, & various wraps from the chance of a summer breeze, & next to her her maid. Opposite, dressed in the extreme of fashions for July, sat Miss Letitia Beaufort, & by her side, Mr. Arthur Parker. His eldest Sister was still keeping his arm; & Diana had set forth alone much earlier in the day to volunteer both advice & assistance at the Sunday School — “Well,” as she observed to her elder Brother after church that she haddone so for what should she see onreaching the foot of Sanditon Hill but two Boys turning the corner that led to the fishing cove; with the
evident design of shirking school. She had followed them far enough to ascertain the fact of their being the two Steadmans, but when she reported the circumstance to Mr. Henderson he had expressed no surprise, only observing that they were two of the idlest Boys in the Parish. Charlotte saw a smile of amusement on the face of Sidney Parker, whilst his Brother briefly explained to Diana his own intention of finding employment for the Lads, on the other days of the week. She listened approvingly: had no doubt in the world but that exercise on a Donkey would be excellent for Miss Lambe: should speak to Mrs. Griffiths & stronglyreccommend it and as to the Boys if they were supplied with interesting books or tracts to read at leisure moments, & if their employer would make a point of talking to, & giving them good advice
it might be the positive saving of them!” “My dear Diana!” exclaimed Mr. Parker, as he handed her into the Sociable, “You are always kind & encouraging!” Miss Diana Parker had consented to take the place of Miss Lambe’s maid in the carriage, but more for the sake of reproaching Arthur with his carelessness in coming without his great coat than for the rest which she really required for herself. “You will be seen to have an attack of rheumatism after sitting in the draught of an open carriage — you always do; & & I shall have to spend the whole of this evening in rubbing your shoulders with Essence of Mustard” — but that nice, good natured girl, (as Miss Diana Parker called her) Letitia Beaufort, discovered the coat under the seat of the carriage, & even assisted in puttingit on
“I am sorry,” said Arthur, as hestruggled into his great coat, “thatI cannot offer to get out & walkhome with you, Sidney, but yousee this hill is so much againstme — I should get heated, & then —” but here,Mr. Woodcock, thinking probablyof his own approaching dinner hourtouched his horse chose to drive on & Arthur bythe sudden jerk, was plungednearly headlong upon Miss LetitiaBeaufort’s flounces. It was timefor all the party to be movingon homeward, or Lady Denham would haveclimbed the first half of the hill,& turned into her own groundsbefore her neighbours could overtakeher, & exchange those greetingswhich she considered essential tothe right observance of Sunday.
Mrs. Parker staid at home in the afternoon with her children, but Charlotte, who was a good walker, accompanied Mr. P. again to church. They saw nothing of Sidney as they went, nor had more than a glimpse of him afterwards — he staid behind conversing with Hillier, his Brother s Tenant, & was last seen walking with him in the direction of their old home. Charlotte felt when she once more reached Trafalgar House that she had had enough of walking & every thing, for one hot summer’s day. It was the custom of the family to dine on Sunday between the services, but Sidney had said something in the morning of looking in after his own late dinner at the Hotel, & was accordingly expected.
The long evening however passed on without his coming, & Mrs. Parker at last suggested that he had gone instead to spend the evening with his Sisters & Arthur — It certainly might be the case, & perhaps ought to be; & so thinking, Charlotte resolved to fix her attention on the book she had been rather idling over. At last the Drawing room door was thrown open by Morgan, but not with the announcement of “Mr. Sidney.” It was, “10 o’clock, if you please, Sir”, which, being interpreted meant that the Servants of the family having finished an excellent supper were ready to say their Prayers, & go to bed—
Sidney Parker made his appearance soon after Breakfast, & with him a friend who had arrived the evening before, & who was now introduced as Mr. Tracy”; the only one of his late companions who had not, as Sidney said, shabbily deserted him. The Parkers would at all times have cordially welcomed any friend of Sidney’s, but now as a visitor, to Sanditon he had a double share of their good will. The party remained together all the morning, & when they separated late in the afternoon, it was with the expectation of meeting again at dinner. Mr. Tracy looked, like Sidney Parker, very much the gentleman but this was the only point of resemblance Not tall, though well proportioned for his heigth, looking more than the 7 or so years that he really was older than his friend, with a face, which though neither handsome nor always pleasant in expression, was yet a face to be noticed, & remembered—
In society Mr. Tracy was considered agreable, (except perhaps by very young Ladies, of whom he made little account) yet it must have been rather in his quality of being a good listener, than for his powers of conversation. Charlotte Hey wood seemed to have no plea for his disapprobation: she was not a very young Lady, & Mr. Tracy had, for him, paid her considerable attention; and yet, in the solitude of her own room, when she reviewed the events of the day, she felt a consciousness of not liking Mr. Tracy: “but why? she asked herself, “what had he said or done amiss?” In the first place he had travelled to Sanditon on a Sunday without any necessity, or apparent reason, except the breaking up of the party to which he had belonged: she had certainly some right to disapprove of him on that account; then, besides — in the course of the afternoon, on their return from the Beach, Mrs. Parker, feeling tired, had gone in doors, whilst Charlotte having no wish to do the same had been easily persuade.
by Mr. Parker to accompany him, & the other Gentlemen, across the Downs. It was to a park where some new houses were in the course of building; which, when finished were to command the finest & grandest views of the open sea; superior access to those on the Terrace — no sands, nor even Beach, to be sure, worth mentioning the character of the ground on that side preventing it; but to make more than amends these houses would have, on their own level, & directly in front of them, the Denham gardens —beautiful to the eye, & the greatest possible advantage in many ways, especially to Invalids — So Mr. Parker talked— explaining to his new acquaintance with his usual unreserve, all he had done at, & for Sandition; all he had now in contemplation or was assisting others to perform; his sanguine spirit made him diffuse on the subject of Rents, & returns for money expended, & it seemed as if, neither the probability of delay, nor the possibility of loss could enter into his calculations— Suddenly he turned from Mr. Tracy
to make some eager remark to his Brother & Charlotte, at the same moment caught the expression that passed over Mr. Tracy’s countenance —passed—& was gone, but had been there. What profound contempt mixed with astonishment, it had revealed!
Charlotte was partial to Mr. Parker: she could not live under his roof, & see him in his own family, without becoming every day more sensible of the goodness of his principles, & the sweetness of his disposition; she wasn’t even, in a certain degree, to think well of his schemes; or, at any rate, to wish them well; and she was indignant that he, or they should be scorned, “by that supercilious Mr. Tracy”. She could not say that she admired Mr. Sidney Parker’s choice of a friend!
Mr. Tracy was one of those fortunate individuals who continue to live without an Income; & what may be more uncommon, without getting into debt. He had a large acquaintance both in the fashionable & political world;
was well received, & well spoken of in the best society. What his circumstances really were nobody knew; he occasionally spoke of himself as a poor man, yet he never appeared to be in want of money, & various were the conjectures which accounted for this circumstance — Though he had not the character of a gamester, it was known in certain circles that he occasionally played, well, & successfully; to others he was better known as an acute & very useful political agent, the probable reason of his living so much abroad; — and the literary world had also it’s acquaintance with & it’s on dits concerningMr. Tracy. It was on the Continent that he & Sidney Parker first became acquainted, a letter of introduction from an influential quarter ensured to the latter all the attention that Mr. Tracy had it in his immediate power to bestow, & the liking which grew out of these official courtesies contributed very materially to Sidney’s enjoyments as a Tourist —
there being scarcely a count in Europe with which Mr. Tracy had not had some connection, nor a country with whose usages he was not acquainted — Sidney Parker took no delight in Politicks or Diplomacy, but Mr. Tracy did not like him the less on that account. There were times when he felt glad himself to cast them aside, & to listen in preference to Sidney Parker’s animated discourse on all other subjects — on men, & manners past or present; the literature of that day, or of former days; works of nature or of art, all, & every thing that had taken hold of his imagination. Every thing, but music, for which the listener had neither ear nor taste — The pleasure which each took in the society of the other, not withstanding some important differences of opinion, ripened into a certain degree of intimacy & during the one or two following years they lived a good deal together, both in Paris, & at Brussells.
Mr. Tracy could not, for his misfortune,
be termed a strictly religious man,but he possessed at least the minor virtueof respecting the opinions, or as he mightconsider them, prejudices of thosewith whom he consortedon the other hand, it was not in the nature ofa Parker to find out evil—and Sidney, though considered in his own family, in spite of their great love & admiration, as rather severe & critical in his judgements, was in reality no exception — It was during their breakfast the next morng that the following conversation took place, beginning with an enquiry on the part of Mr. Tracy whether the Sir Edwd. Denham, whose name had been mentioned more than once the preceding day, could be identical with a very young Mr. Denham he had seen something of in Paris “When? let me see, yes, the year 14 must have been the time.” Between them, by description on one side, & recollections on the other they satisfied themselves that such had really been the case. It occurred in the last year of Sir Harry Denham’s life, when he had rather unexpectedly furnished his nephew with the means of spending a few weeks abroad —
During which, the latter, according to Mr. Tracy’s brief narrative had fallen into a bad set, lost his money, & wd have been involved in a dispute equally hopeless & disreputable, if he, had not himself by chance become acquainted with the circumstances & in time to prevent further mischief, “For a quiet & peaceable man as you call yourself; one who takes for his motto, let those who are in trouble get out as they can, this was tolorably inconsistent; not the first time I have caught you tripping in this particular: but what followed?” “It required” said Mr. Tracy with a smile, “no great stretch of benevolence; one could not stand by, & see such a young fellow, (a remarkably good looking lad he was too) first pigeoned & then Bullied. It was not a case to stand investigation, & so we heard no more of it. I saw Denham
some few times afterwards; in fact having been a good deal frightened he was disposed to fasten himself upon me more than for a continuance I should have found agreable — I remember thinking there was something rather queer about him; how has he turned out?”
To this question Sidney cd. make only a very general & vague reply—
Before suceeding to the Denham estate Sir Edwd. had not belonged to the same county; & since that event very little of Sidney Parker’s time had been spent at Sanditon — “And now he is a Baronet.” “Yes, & an extremely poor one. a ruinous Law suit, a generation or two back has encumbered the estate, & the late Sir Harry was a distressed man all his life.” “And of course not an acre of land can be sold. — but this Lady Denham whose name seems a propos toeverything
in this place— who is she?” “Lady Denham is the widow of the late Baronet, the Uncle of this young man — but she is not dowered on the estate — you will not be 10 minutes in her company before she acquaints you with that fact— She had a good fortune I believe, of her own, & she was also nobly provided for by a first Husband, a Mr. Hollis; from the Denham property she receives nothing.” “And under such circumstances they suffered this young man to grow up with out any profession! What amazing folly!” “The Law, the usual line for such young men, might not have helped him much.” “Perhaps not, but he ought to have done something — He should have let his place, & have lived hard, & worked hard, till he could redeem it — In such a position / shd. have felt it the first duty of my life”. “And if you had a Sister, as is the case with Sir Edwd, dependant on you for a home?” “I must of course have provided her with one; that would
have been included in my ideas of duty — but not at Denham Park — Now there seems only one thing for this poor young man to do — & it is a thingone hates to see a man forced into but he must marry—” ” you mean” “Why, yes— what use should he marry for —at least for the next ten years of his life?” “And here is an Heiress, with more ciphers to her fortune than one can count, amongst the latest arrivals at Sanditon— You might have observed the name when you wrote your own in Mrs. Whitby’s book — indeed you might have observed Miss Lambe herself, as she was sitting in the Library at the time — a little black girl — but Miss Beaufort, a much more pretentious young Lady, was standing before her.” “I did not notice either of them: though I remember there were Ladiesin the shop. Now what are ourplans for the day?”
These were soon so far fixed
as to include in advice about thecountry a visit to the old home of the Parkers.
On returning to the Hotel they were informed that Sir Edwd Denham had called to leave his card for Mr. Sidney Parker, & descending soon afterwards to the Terrace they met, not only most of the Parker family, but Sir Edwd. himself in attendance on Lady Denham & Miss Brereton. There was a slight consciousness on the part of Sir Ed: on his first recognition of Mr. Tracy, but the very well bred manners of the latter prevented it’s extending beyond the moment —on Lady Denham they also seemed to make a favourable impression, as she received his introduction with unusual graciousness; as a stranger too, one who she knew nothing about, he was the more acceptable,
Lady Denham knew, as she said, all about Sidney Parker — when he was born, & when sent to school — & also the exact amount of the fortune left him by his rich City Uncle — “Old Kit Sidney” — but this Mr. Tracy was new to her So they walked side by side — Lady Denham not extracting much information but discoursing, on her own concerns, & Mr. Tracy listening with grave attention — Miss Brereton fell to the share of Sir Edward, Sidney Parker naturallyas was for customsjoining the party from Trafalgar House —
When the time for separation came, that is, when Lady Denham had walked & talked as long as suited her own hour for dinner, Sir Edwd expressed a polite, & probably sincere wish, to see Mr. Tracy at Denham Park; (he might be excused for a natural desire to shew his altered position in life) & it was agreed that Sidney should drive over some early day with his friend, & by coming to luncheon make sure of finding both Sir Edwd. & Miss Denham at home. So they parted — Mr. Parker was engaged to dine with his Brother at the Hotel, & Arthur, also an invited guest, wd very gladly have done the same, if his Sisters had not vehemently protested against his running such a risk. According to their belief poison must have been
as inevitable at a Hotel, as the bill; & lurked in every dish, from the first, placed on the table according to ancient custom by Mr. Woodcock’s own august hands, to the concluding Ale & Stilton Cheese. Arthur struggled manfully, even obstinately, asserting himself to be in so much stronger health than when he came to Sanditon — but he finally had to accept of a compromise, & consent instead of dining at the Hotel, to drink tea & spend the Evening at Mrs Griffith’s Lodgings —
Another week passed, bringing to Sanditon, as to other parts of the world, it’s pleasures, & it’s pains. There had been one long day of distant sight-seeing, with which Mr. & Mrs. Parker pleased themselves by giving pleasure to their guest; & which, as a matter of course, included the two gentlemen from the Hotel — There were, besides,
long rambling walks, by the coast, & amongst the cliffs; on which occasions, Mr. Parker, in the absence of his wife, who was not a good walker, constituted himself Chaperon to all the young Ladies who were willing to put themselves under his charge. He had succeeded, to his heart’s content in establishing two Donkeys, with their attendent Boys upon the beach; &, beyond his expectations, with out cavil, or contra = = diction on the part of Lady Denham; the truth being, that she rather approved of an experiment, which if it failed could bring no loss to herself: & if successful might the next season open a more advantageous course of life for her two milch Asses.
Under the influence of Diane Parker’s energetic recommendations, & the promise of walking close to her side, Miss Lambe had allowed herself to be seated on one of the Donkeys, & was reported after her hour of exercise
to have enjoyed the ride; at any rate
she did not contradict Miss Diana Parker’sassertion to that effect. All thesewere exhilarating circumstances;& most of all was the continuance ofSidney & his friend at the Hotel;but, it was not so well that Julyshould have ripened into Augustwith no sight or sound of fresh arrivalsin Sandition. Mr. Parker, indeed, stilltalked of amends to be expectedfrom the Autumn months; but noteven his sanguine spirit could feelconfident of a remunerative season.
Sidney began to feel anxious on the subject; especially after some conversation with Mr. Hillier, an old Tenant & friend of the family, which made him apprehensive that his Brother’s responsibilites might lead him into very serious embarrassment. Under this impression, & with an indefinite hope of being able in some way or other to make himself of use, he resolved on prolonging his own stay at Sanditon — if he had any
other inducement it was one as yet scarcely acknowledged to himself.
In communicating his intentions to Mr. Tracy, that Gentleman, after a few moments of consideration, propossed his inclination to remain also. It was, he said, just then, an idle time with him, or nearly so: he liked the place & the people — he must be some where, & if Sidney did not feel weary of the partnership, he should, for his own part, like it to continue a week or two longer. So it was settled; & there was truth, more or less, in all that Mr. Tracy had said. Mr. Parker was so pleasant, so hospitable, so thoroughly friendly in all his feelings, that he won golden opinions from all with whom he made acquaintance — Mr. Tracy had not been able to escape the infection, & like him, as he might have said, beyond the permission of his judgment, Mrs. Parker too, had her 3 words of
commendation jotted down in Mr. Tracy’s private journal as “Nice little Woman”. Had he taken the trouble to amplify it would have run thus — “Always well mannered, & well dressed — Fond of Husband & children — Nothing in her/’ Something however there was which Charlotte Heywood had opportunity to discover, & the right-mindedness to appreciate— If Mr. Tracy could have been aware of Miss Heywood’s opinion it might have inclined him to reconsider his own; for amongst those people he so liberally professed to like she certainly held the very first place.
Before the end of the week there came a melancholy change of weather, & two stormy days & nights of cold continuous rain. Such is always a trying season for the pleasure-seekers of a bathing place, whose first object, after securing their
Lodgings is to be as little with inside them as possible. Over the high ground round Trafalgar House the wind swept with a force that made it difficult for even man’s strength to cross the down: and whilst the rain blotted out all distant objects, except the seething angry sea which rolled in upon the beach below; it’s waves (though very far from “mountain high”) leaping over the sea wall, washing the Terrace er’e they receded, & tossing their spray against the homes opposite.
The bathing machines were drawn up high on the beach: the doors of the Library were closed, Mrs. Whitby had retired into private life, & scarcely a change of novels could be effected by Miss Beaufort, or any other young Lady in need of similar consolation. On this dreary Saturday not only
the pleasures but even the necessariesof life failed. Mrs. Parker’s cook could getno supplies from the garden of Old Sanditon — Mrs. Woodcock,always first served, could get no Fish; On Sunday it was spiritual destitution, for nobody beyond it’s immediate precincts could get to church; not even the stout hearted Lady Denham.
These homes of imprisonment had nevertheless their deviations; least to those who were wise enough to make the least of circumstances. Arthur Parker, who had of late walked about very much like other people, had in fact, as he expressed it, taken a good deal out of himself, was now in full enjoyment of an easy chair by the fire, with as much eating & drinking as the vigilance of his Sisters rendered possible — Miss Lambe had a torpid satisfation in being let alone; stringing her beads, or nursing her dog for two whole days in peace, without being required to go any where or take an interest in anything! What more could her Creole nature desire?
Sidney Parker & Mr. Tracy fought their way to Trafalgar House: where to the kind hearted owners they were almost equally welcome With so good a Part[y] to run into they rode out the gale easily, for the time that it lasted — it could not be long so early in the Season — Sun shine & Summer soon returned, and with them came the acknowledged duty of keeping their engagement with Sir Edwd. Denham.
They were at last on their road to Denham Park, situated about 5 miles inland from Sanditon, & had accomplished more than half the Distance when, after an interval of silence, Mr Tracy observed, rather abruptly, “So, this Miss Brereton, I understand, lives with Lady Denham; a sort of companion, I suppose, or Protegee; which is it?” “Something of both I should think; there is a relationship between them, Lady Denham having been herself a Brereton.” “Well — if I had any interest in the matter I should strongly advise her to get rid of that young Lady —” “Get rid of poor Miss Brereton! for what possible reason? In my own family I have always heard her residence with Lady Denham spoken of as a most happy circumstance for both parties.” “You Parkers, seem to me to have the very amiablepropensity of discovering happy circumstances in every thing—” “And what are the unhappy ones, which in this instance
one ought to see, but do not?” “Nay, I said nothing of ought, for it is not your concern, nor indeed mine; but it strikes one that something is carrying on between Miss Brereton & Sir Edwd Denham. & I think one other person, namely Miss Heywood, has made the same discovery —” — “Miss Heywood! What on earth can she have to do with it? You surprise me, more & more.” “I see no occasion for any surprise, & you,” (glancing at the groom who was seated behind) “had better perhaps not speak quite so loud. What is there surprising that a young woman in Miss Brereton’s circumstances should endeavour to get herself well married.” Or that another young woman, quick, & observant like Miss Heywood, should see what she is about? I have never exchanged a syllable with Miss Heywood on the subject, as you may suppose — it was only
catching her eye at a particular momentthat gave me the idea of her havingmade the same observation as myself’” “Well, it was an unlucky momentfor the Lovers, if Lovers they are; mostespecially as regards your self; you,who hold such weakness in disdain””I don’t think I understand what youmean”, replied Mr. Tracy in a toneof annoyance — but recovering himself,added — ‘”As to Lovers, I confess that I sawno strong sympthoms of love on eitherside.”— “Then, what, may I ask, didyou see?” “I saw very plainly, asI told you, that Miss Brereton meantto marry Sir Edwrd Denham; thatshe, at least was in earnest — as
for the Gentleman, I will not pretendto say — I cannot make him out but here, I presume, we enter his grounds. The carriage passed through the Lodge gates into a Park, which had once been well stocked with Deer; though now sheep only were to be seen feeding upon it’s grassy slopes; along side
of these the carriage road at first took a winding course; & through a part of the Park that was bare of timber — but when by a gradual ascent to higher ground it reached the brow of a hill, the mansion was seen below standing well amongst fine forest trees. A high ridge of wood closed the view beyond, & in the intermediate distance there was a glimpse of what Sir Edwd. & his Sister were pleased to call the “Lake” but which was better known to the country around as “the great Pond of Denham”. The house, old, & picturesque looking, both in form & colours, as a feature in the Landscape charmed the eye, and offered a tempting subject for the pencil: in point of fact however it was in various parts considerably out of repairs, & this circumstance combined with ill-hung gates, ragged, or roughly mendedfences
gave to the whole scene on a nearerapproach, an air of desolation —The contrast was great in every respectbetween the homes of Denham &Sandition: the former standing low,& covering a good deal of ground,without affording in its interiorthe advantages of space — illkept, & indifferently furnished;whilst Sanditon, a square, compact,balustraded pile of building, placedon high ground, with it’s well rolledgravel, guiltless of a weed, & closelymown Lawns, conveyed at once theimpression of health, wealth, &respectability. Before however thisnearer view could be obtained bythe present visitors their approach, as thecarriage descended the hill, wasobserved from the house, & Sir Edwd.hastened to prepare his Sister for theluncheon that had been promised and wouldbe expected. This was a part of the scheme which
had not before transpired, & therefore Miss Denham, hastily reviewing in her own mind, the not very handsome remains of a Ham, the cold mutton, & ordinary luncheon cake, which would probably form the Bill of Fare, lost no time in summoning the Housekeeper to a conference.
The entrance Hall at Denham was low, with a heavily carved ceiling, & had originally been lighted only by two rather narrow windows looking to the North. It came to pass however, in the course of time, that a spirit of innovation, or a craving for sunshine had caused an opening to be made in a recess at one corner, which, by the insertion of a sashed door, gave access to an old fashioned Flower garden — Nothing of the sort could have been executed in worse taste, the door being neither handsome in itself, nor in character with
any other part of the building, the garden, also was but a narrow slip running in a straight line along the southern front of the house; though under the direction of Miss Denham, kept in tolorable order — Still — when, as in the present occasion, there came through the wide open door a stream of golden light, which brightened up the faded Portraits, & dimmed escutcheons that hung upon the walls; & bringing with it the pleasant smell of Roses & mignonette to wage war with their taint of mildew, it could have been in the phraseology of the reigning Baronet, hypercriticism to condemn so small an aberration from the strict rules of Domestic architecture. It was in this Hall that Sir Edwd. Denham met & welcomed his guests with an extreme of cordiality;
and conducted them through an ante room nearly bare of furniture to the apartment usually occupied by Miss Denham. Sidney Parker remembered when the former had been the common sitting room of the family; in those days when even the Denhams of Denham wd. as soon have thought of wearing their best clothes, as of sitting on their best chairs, in every day life; and, as he passed, his eye glanced on some familar objects — There were the same printed linen curtains, drawn up in festoons, the pattern on which, in the stripes of yellow ochre colour & purple had fixed itself in his memory — On the walls of the room there still hung the long long remem-= bered Prints in their Black & gold frames which had been the admiration of his childhood; which he had stood on chairs to study with
the closest attention, whenever a family visit to Denham gave him an opportunity: the anger of Achilles, his triumph over the dead Body of Hector — the grief of Andromache — they were still there, not having been thought worthy of removal — or fit for anything but to share the passage room with one or two disabled chairs & a wood basket. The state drawing room, which Miss Denham profaned by daily use & in which she was now seated with her embroidery, was a long, & rather picturesque looking room: The furniture had been originally handsome, according to the fashion of the time, & the massive chairs & sofas were now permitted to display their coverings of rich & well perserved Gobelinwork — The addition of various articles of furniture, chiefly, & economically, at the expense of the outer apartment gave to the whole an air of comfort & habitation — Miss Denham was in person decidedly elegant, & rather handsome; she had a look of greatersense than her Brother,
but the expression of the face was by nomeans so agreable; perhaps for wantof the same ambition to please —According to her previous instructions,Sir Edwd on the pleas of it’s being early,almost immediately proposed takinghis guest out of doors to look aboutthe place — He had not, poor young man,much to entertain them with; nothingin stables, or in Kennel, worth the shewing:nor any of the new inventions forcultivating either his garden or hisFarm; but, so well & so accuratelydid he perform the part assigned him,that their reappearance in theDrawing room was immediatelyfollowed by the commencementof Luncheon — Sir Edward Denhamperhaps never appeared to greateradvantage than in doing the honoursof his own house & table A gooddeal of manners & a very gentlemanly tone of voice were the gifts of nature,
although the first fell short of perfection bybeing too elaborate, & like thesubject matter of his discourse had more ofemphasis than meaning. Still,with men Sir Edwd, if not brilliant,could be rational, & there werematters of local interest whichmade it easy for him to conversewith Sidney Parker — Miss Denham& Mr. Tracy discussed the news of theday, & state of the weather withblameless propriety, & mutual satisfaction,neither party having any design ofmaking themselves more agreeableto the other than the occasion required.To the credit of Miss Denham’s cookit may therefore be recorded thatthe material part of the luncheon provedmore worthy of praiseof higher quality than thediscourse
The eating drinking & talkingcame to a close, & thepause which ensued seemed toforeshadow the final break up ofthe party, when a Servantentered with a letter and
the announcement of —
“Mr. Parker’s carriage” [was announced:]& inspite of the civil surprise & regretexpressed at their early departureit was visibly a relief both to Sir Edwd& his sister— As it was still earlythe Gentlemen prolonged their drive:but, except an observation from S.P.that Lady D had evidently taken thefield; with the not very applicablereply of, “an intolerable Puppy!” nothingpassed between them relative to theplace or the people they had left.[They had had enough, & yet were fated beforeThe Evening was to be spent, as mostthe end of the day to hear of them again—of their evenings were, at Trafalgar H.;]Where, on arriving, they foundMrs. Parker already seated behindthe skone & tea & Bread & Butterhanding about in an unusuallybusiness-like way. On one ofthe sofas was seated Lady Denham:
near to her, Miss Diana Parker; & Miss B was also in the room. It appeared that Lady D had called on Mrs. P in the course of the day to excuse herself from accepting an invitation for the next evening on account of her own engagement with Miss Lambe— “It did not suit”, she said, “either her or her nags to go out visiting twice in the same day — but when Mrs. P proposed to her & Miss B to drink tea with them the same evening in a quiet way, & at a comparatively early hour, no objection was made — Lady Denham was ostensibly talking to Miss Diana Parker, but in a tone sufficiently loud to be heard by all in the room when the two Gent from the Hotel entered She continuedto talk— “That was what I said to Mrs. Griffith, you are not taking the right way Ma’am with this young Lady— she’s shy, & she’s timid, & she’s indolent, as I believe most West Ingins are; & she will never be
anything else if you do not changeyour measures— She wants to be takenout & about— Yes, yes” observing thatMiss Diana P was about to speak — “Iknow all about it my dear, & what Exerciseyou are going to say—in the open air without fatigue, that’sthe cry— but I want to know howcreeping up & down the beachupon a Donkey— or going out for 2 or 3miles in Woodcock’s sociableis to make Miss Lambe more brisk,or what you book people call energetic.She might as well be taking herpleasure on my chamber horse” Miss Diana tried once more to speak but could get no further than “Riding on a chamber horse” Well, my dear, she don’t do it — So there is no need to argue that point, but what I maintain to Mrs. Griffith is that Miss Lambe wants to be properly introduced— & brought forward— which she never can be with those two bold faced Miss Beauforts always putting themselves before her”—
“Oh, my dear Lady Denham” exclaimed Miss Diana, resolved at last to be heard There, allow me to say, you are al–together mistaken I do not know two more obliging, unaffected, considerate girls— especially the youngest Miss Letitia Beaufort— always thinking of other people, & so far from being over confident that she always asks leave to be near me in the little excursions, we have taken together, & does always keep close to my side— “And why pray should not Mrs. Griffith’s side do as well — That’s what I should like to ask Miss Letitia if she came fawning about me: but I am not so easily taken in. When Mrs. G. agreed to my carrying Miss Lambe with me to D.P. in order that she might return Miss Esther’s visit, she asked whether if Miss Lambe’s heart failed her at the last moment I would object to Miss Beaufort’s supplying her place— she dared say she would.
Though Miss D. Parker was a very fluent talker, generally found herself worsted in an encounter with Lady Denham. On the present evening it was a signal defeat; in the first place having brought in a large work basket filled various articles some finished, & others in hand intended for a charitable Depository, in the success of which she hoped to interest Lady Denham & to cure her customer, she met instead with a very determined refusal. Lady Denham wd. lend her patronage to nothing of the kind— if people liked to give their 5s. or their 5 pounds, as the case might be, to this or that charity so let them they were welcome— but whycould they not be satisfied to part with their money without filling their houses with rubbish? That was not her way— she never bought things she did not want; never crammed her rooms with knick knacks that only served to collect dust & make work for the Housemaids. Then besides & in addition to this indiscretion, Miss Diana had attempted to vindicate
the Miss Beauforts, against whom especially the eldest, on account of sympthoms of flirtations at various timeswith Sir Edwd— Lady Denham was strongly prejudiced It was therefore a reasonable relief when Sidney Parker came to that end of the room & began talking to Lady Denham. He told her pleasantly the history of the morning; the visit of himself & friend to Denham Park— the hospitality of their reception— the interest he had felt in seeing the place again— his recollection of former obligations to herself, & the late Sir Harry, in frequent leaves to shoot over their ground— the capital days skating he had enjoyed on the Lake— & above all, to go farther back, the delight of his boyhood in being present at the occasional dragging of the water— Lady Denham listened graciously— was soothed— & the appearance of the card table which immediately suceeded to the Tea things completed her amiability— Lady Denham enjoyed a quiet Rubber
& had so far advanced with the age in which she lived as to tolorate, though she could not in her heart prefer, short whist. Mr. Parker always presided at the card table in his own house; in the present case it seemed as if nothing could be more easy to arrange. There was himself, Lady Denham, & Mr. Tracy, all ready & willing— the 4th, it soon became clear must be either Sidney Parker or Charlotte Hey wood, though each wd. have prefered music to whist. Mrs. Parker did not know the game; Clara Brereton who did, was not permitted by Lady Denham to play for money: this was an established & well understood rule which prevented her being ever applied to— Diana Parker had her work, & was, as she said, much too busy to have time for cards. The gentle appeal of Mrs. Parker to her friend— “I believe you know how to play— would you very much mind? was unheard, except by the person addressed; being lost under the louder & more decided call of Mr. Parker on his Brother—
“Come, Sidney— don’t be lazy— we want you— here is Lady Denham waiting— Miss Heywood will be so good as to sing for us— She sings the best; & you ought to play whist the best; every one to their own trade—” “And a very good rule too”, said Lady D. as she took her seat at the table, “I wish the Brick–layers who work for me down at my Farm, would follow it— Browning tells me there is no keeping them two days together steady to their work— they are off here & there & every where; & I must say Mr. Parker that all their new planning & buildings are a great hinderance to us old regular customers.” “Come, that’s all right!” said Mr. Parker, when Sidney had taken his card— “Lady Denham & I are partners, & I am to deal.” “A very temporary inconvenience, my dear Madam”, he continued as the cards flew rapidly round the table— “all those matters will soon right themselves. & you shd. recollect the 3 rainy days of last week— Capital!” as he triumphantly turned up the trump card. The King,my Lady!”
(73)[“And a very good rule too” said Lady D as she took her seat at the table— “I wish the Brick layers who might be at work on my Farm premises wd. follow it but there is no keeping them two days, together steady to their work— they are off & away nobody knows where— I must say Mr. P. that all these new plannings, & buildings are a great hinderance to us regular old customers” — “Come— that’s, all right!” said Mr. P. as Sidney took a card = Lady Denham & I are partners, & I am to deal— Only a very temporary inconvenience, my dear Madam”, he continued, as the cards flew, rapidly round the table-“all those things will soon right themselves— I remember the 3 rainy days of last week.— There!” Triumphantly, as he turned up the trump card,
the thing, My Lady!”] “Verygood,” Said Lady Denham “ifyou have any thing in yr handto support him” — Perhaps he hadnot— At any rate after 3 moredeals their adversaries markeda single game— Mr. Parkerhad to deal again, but in thefirst round he suddenlystopped— “Hark! there aresteps on the gravel— Who canbe coming to us at this timeof the Evg— Arthur perhaps haswalked up”— “Arthur!” exclaimed
his Sister Diana hastily leaving her seaton the sofa & coming across the room”Impossible! he can not be soimprudent— I left him takingColts foot tea for his cold— I mustinstantly see if it is him””My dear Die,” said her BrotherSidney, stopping her progress, asshe approached his chair
I can not suffer you to do anysuch thing.Comein as quickly as possible—If, he isIf brother is at the doorthe best thing he can do is tocome in— What should youstop him for?— Why go to thedoor at all?— If anybody isthere I suppose they will ring— Listen!”Everybody present did listen,& Mr. P. dealt out his cardsvery softly, as if afraidto [ ] the noise of the DoorBell. “There is nothing” saidSidney — “it was a mere fancy ofTom’s” “No” said Mr. Tracy — “it was nota mere fancy — I heard the sound myself
“Who ever it was” said Mr. Parker has gone round to the offices— One of Lady Denham’s servants perhaps from the Hotel.” “Not them indeed— I don’t approve of them idling away a whole evening at the Hotel, & drinking perhaps more than they ought; I sent the Servants & Chariot home with orders to come again at 10 o’clock.””Besides that your household Lady D ought of come to patronize the Hollis Arms”— As Sidney spoke the last words, a step was heard in the Hall, the door opened — Morgan came in & advancing a few steps towards Mr. Sidney Parker said in a rather subdued tone of voice
“Mr. Woodcock, Sirs, would be gladif you cd speak with him for a minutein the Hall” — Sidney laid downthe cards he had justsorted, & left the room. “Somethingthe matter with one of his horsesperhaps—” said Mr. Parker — “In thatcase”, observed Mr. Tracy “his groomwould have come to tell him.Lady Denham began to despairof her game— If a certain celebratednovel had then been written,& read, which is highlyimprobable by Lady D. shemight have felt disposed toexclaim with D “Are weplaying at Whist, or are we not?”Mr. P. had retired to the extremeend of the room where the Pianoforte stood, & was looking over somemusic & Charlotte who had beenconversing with Miss Brereton &Miss D. P. at the opposite endof the room was preparing to joinhim, when her progress was stopped
by the opening of the door— Sidney Parker, looked in, caught her eyes, just said —”Will you be kind enough to take my place” — with a glance at the card table, & disappeared. Charlotte felt a little nervous— What could have happened—
Mr. Richd. Brereton, the Father of Lady D’s protegee had been an amiable, ill judging & unprosperous man, Rejecting the counties to which he was considered born & bred, he shifted from one employment or one speculation to another, & failed of success in any. In the course of this struggle for a livelihood he married as he did every thing else, imprudently, & from that time his worldly affairs went asuredly from bad to worse — in fact it sealed his fate — & prematurely worn out by distress of mind & neglected health Richd. Brereton died a young man leaving one surviving child— Clara— then between 5 & 6 years of age. The remembrance of her Father, his fond indulgence of herself, & all the little incidents of her childhood connected with him was the one soft spot in Clara Brereton’s heart — &
The little soiled hymn book fromwhich she had learnt on Sundayevenings seated on her Father’s knee& which had on it’s title page hername written by his hand wasthrough many after years carefully preserved — the only possession that inthe light of a keep sake Clara had ever valued.What influence paternal love mighthave had upon her dispositioncould never be known — but notwo natures could be more differentthan those of the Father & childHe, affectionate, & impulsive: eagerin pursuit of whatever object hehad in view, but easily discouraged:
& incapable of perseverance — honest in word & deed but continually imposing on those who trusted him & most of all imposing on himself.
Clara’s temper was one of great endurance, & rarely gave way in the severest provocation — but she was cold, calculating, & selfish — Thankful & trustworthy in the common affairs of every day life, but capable of systematic deception when, as she wd. have alledged, circumstances required it— Her Mother did not very long remain a widow. She married again, & her 2d. Husband without being much better off for money than the first, was greatly his inferior in every other respect— Habits of life, language, & associates were all of the worst description & before long violent quarrels occurred between him & his wife.
Her temper had been always overbearing
& under the trials of her 2d marriagewas soon worked up to exasperation.Nevertheless during the first year ofthis unhappy connection Clara wassent with tolerable regularity to arespectable day school in the neighbourhood& thus partially savedfrom many disgraceful sights & sounds;but a second & yearly increasingfamily rendered her serviceseven at 10 years old necessary toher Mother thenceforthso her schooldays ceased, & she became as shegrew older & stronger more & moreof a Household drudge— but inspiteof many hardships she did grow upin health & beauty— and sometimeswhen money or liquor prevailed herstep Father would storm & swearat the sin & the shame of letting sucha fine handsome girl grow up asignorant as a lamp post of every thing. Ifher Mother did not care to do her duty by her, why hewould—
& for the short time the fit lastedClara was sent to a Dancing Academyor she picked up a few French phrasesfrom some disreputable Foreignerbut of useful, wholesome instructionthere was none — & for Religion—it may be hoped that when Claraoccasionally turned, with her littleBrothers & Sisters into some neighbouringChurch or Chapel it was with abetter feeling, at least sometimes,than for the mere sake of change, oras a means of keeping the childrenout of mischief. When Clarawas about 18 her Mother diedrather suddenly; & with her departedevery attempt to maintain evenan outward shew of decent respectabilityIt was indeed time that “Uncle James”her Father’s elder Brother should”consider it his duty”, as he said,”to look a little after poor Dick’s child”He found things more than he expected —worse, that is, than it hadsuited him to expect. There was butone thing to be evidently to bedone:
Clara must be taken away. The Step Father began with opposition, or the plea of requiring her help to look after his children — but they had been thinned down by death til only two Boys remained — & these a relation who had long ceased to notice the Father, now compassionately offered to send to school — Mr. Brereton had therefore no serious difficulty in gaining possession of his niece, & removing her at once to his own home; the difficulty was, how afterwards to support her. He had once been a prosperous man of business— but had failed, through no fault or negligence of his own; & now he was a poor man, bringing up a numerous family on very insufficient means — He thought of the rich cousin, Lady Denham — would she be likely to assist in providing for poor Clara? Was it worth his while to apply to her? No — she had invariably repelled
every attempt of the family to introduce themselves to her notice; &, at the time of his own great trouble was reported to have said that no man would be a Bankrupt if he did not begin with being either a Knave or a Fool— Then another doubt suggested itself to the Brereton mind — suppose Lady D. should in this case relent, & take an interest in Clara — who could say how that might end? The ten thousand pounds on which he & others speculated might be left solely to Clara— No — he could not put the girl in the way of being enriched at the expense of his own children, but what he could do for her unassisted, that he would do— God forbid, poor Dick’s child shd be in want of bread whilst he had a morsel to give her. The result of all this consideration led him to explain to his niece, as the Hackney Coach slowly dragged them
through the City in their way from the region of Soho to that of White Chapel his intention of giving her a home for some months — say half a year during which time she must endeavor to fit herself for gaining her own livelihood— as teacher at a school— or some thing of that sort— in return he shd. expect her to assist her Aunt & cousins in the business of the house, or the mange–ment of the children, but above all she was to bear in mind that though he shd always wish to be her friend, she must depend upon nobody but herself: & that her business in life was to take care of, & do the best she could for herself. Clara listened & agreed — she did not in reply express much Gratitude, for it was a sentiment which if it existed in composition of her mind, circumstances had never yet developed— but she felt what her uncle required of her to be, just & reasonable:
& she fully intended to follow his concluding advice. She was reed by her Aunt & cousins with as much kindness as was possible for them to feel under the circumstances. Such an addition to the family must necessarily put them to inconvenience, but they were very good sort of people who according to their own measure of duty were conscientious in performing it.
On Sundays they went regularly to Church or Chapel, though it seemed a matter of indifference to them which; & in their general manner of living there was as much attention paid to order & propriety as could consist with an over abundance of children & a scarcity of Servants. At the end of the 6 months first named by Mr. Brereton it happened that a news —paper advertisement caught his attention. It ran thus—”Nursing goverss wanted in the family of a Lady residing a few miles from London to instruct 4 young children, 3 girls & a Boy— and take entire charge
of their wardrobes— superior manners indispensable— Terms from 16 to 20 pounds—” “Why this might do for you Clara, as a beginning—” Observed Mr. B after reading the paragraph aloud — and as Clara had nothing to object he lost no time in opening a correspondence with the unknown Mrs. CD. At first everything progressed smoothly, Mr. Brereton promising & recommeng without scruple, & objecting to no earthly thing that was proposed; but then there came a check: the Lady was obliged to confess that inspite of Mr. B. respectable references she hesitated to engage a young Person from the neighbourhood of White Chapel; it might be a prejudice, but such was her feeling— and what to do about it or now to relieve her
from such a feeling Mr. B. did not perceive — What however he cd not do for her Mrs. C. D was kind enough to do for herself— in her next letter she waved the objection & appointed an interview— after which, supposing it satisfactory, Miss Brereton might consider herself engaged by Mrs. Cavendish Dawes of Dawes Villa. When the eventful day came Mr. B. made it a point of duty to accompany his Niece— having also some curiosity to see the Lady with whom he had been in correspondence, & hoping perhaps by the respectability of his own appearance to mitigate her prejudices against the nature of White Chapel— on their arrival however at Dawes Villa Clara was immediately conducted up stairs to the private apartment of Mrs. CD. whilst Mr. B. was shewn into a sitting room on the ground floor & requested to wait. Here he had
ample & uninterrupted time to make his observations, which from the apparent style of the establishment, the expensiveness of the furniture within & the view of a handsomely filled conservatory without, even on the whole of a satisfactory, sort in everything that he cd. see there was indication of wealth; & though the salary which Clara was to receive had not been fixed on the same scale he was impressed with the grandeur of the scene in which she was to make her debut, & having by his own congratulated himself on having disposed of her so agilely as well asexpeditiously— But pleasing as these reflections were for a time, they at last became wearisome— he wd have liked to see a little beyond the
room in which he had spent the last hour, & above all he wd. have liked to see Mrs. Cavandish Dawes. Suddenly a Servant entered to inform him that the young Lady was waiting in the Hall— There indeed was Clara, & there also was a wide open door with 2 Servants evidently impatient to close it upon them— Mr. Brereton had not sufficient courage, or at least presence of mind to offer any resistance— but once in the High road along which they were to walk till over taken by a stage coach he expressed his disappointment in not having been admitted to the presenceof Mrs. C. Dawes— he supposed she had not been told he was in the house. “You shd. have mentioned the circumstance,my dear.” Clara assured him that she had done so — Somebody belonging to the house she supposed had seen them arrive, as Mrs. CD inquired who it was that came with her.
“I said it was my Uncle” “And what then?” “She said, Oh! very well— she did not object to that; as if she wd. have objected if it had been anybody else”— “Naturally I am extremely glad Clara, I was able to get away from office today— otherwise I must have sent your cousin Jem with you & though he is your cousin perhaps it might not have been approved—” “It would have made no difference Uncle; for I am afraid Mrs. CD. does not intend to engage me”. “Not engage you child? What do you mean? Why she had all but done so. What have you been saying to offend her?” “I have said nothing, Uncle, I assure you that could— of course it could not be my object to offend Mrs. Cavendish Dawes.” “Then why do you think she has changed her mind? Did she make any objection, or give any reason?” “No, it was a change in her manner just at last— and when I asked
How soon, if she was so good as to engage me, she would wish me to come, she answered, there was no hurry: she could not immediately decide: she had some doubt whether I should perfectly suit her— but when she had made up her mind she would write, & let me know. And then she rang the bell for me to be shewn down stairs”— “Did you see any body else” Mr. B. asked, after a little pause— “did you see Mr. C Dawes? for there is a Husband as I have ascertained—” I saw no one, except the children who were in the room, the girls at least, most part of the time— & as Mrs. CD. asked me a great questions about my family— whether I had a Father or Mother— how long I had been living with you, & other things— it was rather unpleasant—” “Poor people who have to make their own way in the world must put up little disagreables; you did not shew that you wereannoyed, Clara?’
“No, that I did not”— said Clara decidedly— It is not my way—” “Well, to do you justice, I don’t think that it is; & you will fare all the better for it— but if this business comes to an end, in the way you expect, it will be very vexatious, & great loss of time— and you cannot, you say, even guess at any reason?” “I can guess at nothing likely— all I can say is— ” & it was said with a shade of hesitation, when the little Boy came into the room, he ran up to me, & wanted to kiss me, because he said I was so pretty”— “How big was he?” asked Mr. Brereton— “Oh quite a little fellow: 6 years old perhaps— I shd not mention it, only Mrs. CD. looked displeased — & sent the children out of the room— and soon after she dismissed me” — Mr. B did not make any immediate reply— & when he spoke only observed that he supposed it was all at an end—
A few more days & the promised letter came to realize Clara’s apprehensions— Mrs. CD. had her regrets, though more on account of her own inconvenience & loss of time, than for any that she might occasion Clara— “but, she had not been altogether favourably impressed by Miss Brereton’s appearance, & therefore begged to decline &c &c
“Well, to be sure” said simple Mrs. Brereton— “Clara’s silk is rather dusty, there is no denying it; but her straw bonnet looks almost as goodas new” “Straw fiddlesticks!” exclaimed Mr. B. interrupting his wife— “My Dearwhat are you talking about? The objection was to the face & not to the Bonnet or gown — & certainly it is to be regretted that Clara shd. not be considering her circumstances more ordinary looking— Now, if it had been Mary or Bess” glancing with complacency at his own
plain grown up Daughters this wdnever have happened I’ll answer for itthey either of them wd. have gotthe situation — & much better forthem too, if their mother sd but thinkso than stitching their eyes out allday over fine needlework—”
Mr. B’s speech, though spoken in atone of commendation as regardedhis Daughters was not exactly agreeableto any who were of those present — Mrs.Brereton looked puzzled to catch his meaning: the young Ladies annoyed, understood it too well; & Clara, who had very little personal vanity, cd. not consider the implied compliment as any compensation for the loss of a situation which in spite of Mrs. C. Dawe’s some time back she had begun to set her mind upon obtaining
(97)[In the course of a very few days the promised letter came, & its contents realized Clara’s apprehensions— Mrs. CD. had her regrets— more as was apparent on account of loss of time & inconvenience to herself than for any which Clara might sustain— but she had not been favourably impressed by Miss Brereton’s appearance, & therefore begged to decline &c &c— “Well— to be sure” said the simple Mrs.Brereton Clara’s gown is dusty there is no denying it but her straw bonnet is is as good as new— Nonsense It wasmy Dear it was neither the gown nor not the bonnetinterrupted Husband — but the face that was objected to— & it is certainly to be regretted that Clara isnot more ordinary looking— Now, glancing complacently at his own plain grown up Daughters— if it had been Mary or Bess — I’ll be bound they would either of them have got the situation — & far better for them too if their Mother cd but think so than stitching their eyes out over fine needle work—
Mr. Brereton s tone was one of commendation but he did not give satisfaction to any of hearers. Mrs. Breton looked bewildered— her Daughters annoyed— & Clara, who considering her beauty, had very remarkably little personal vanity, derived no consolation from the compliment for the loss of a situation, which in spite of Mrs. CD. ungracious manners she had a good deal set her mind upon—
The day after this catastrophe Mr. B. intending to resume his search in the column of advertisements was suddenly struck in turning over the Paper with the name of Lady Denham— amongst the fashionable arrivals during the last week at a certain Hotel – he read Yes, she had removed from her seat at Sanditon House, & might now be seated much less comfortably at a certain Hotel]
(100)[Mr. Brereton had resumed his search in the columns of advertisements when, one evening after he had thrown the newspaper upon the table with an exclamation that “there was nothing in it” it was taken up by one of his Daughters, who turning to a Page containing the news of the day read aloud from the list of fashionable arrivals at a certain Hotel — “Lady Denham from her Seat in Sussex”— Great was the surprise & the excitement felt by the family at Great was the wonder as well as interest & not less the curiosity created in the family by this unlooked for event — Seldom had they been thrown into such a state of excitement— The arrival of Buonaparte at Plymouth & the possibility of his being forwarded tothe Tower]
“Jane, my dear!” said Mr. Brereton,as he one eveningopened the door of the common sittingroom rather later than heusually returned from his office thenlooking round added impatiently”Where is your Mother Girls? What hasshe got out of the way for?” Beforehowever any body could reply Mrs.Brereton made her appearance from theinner room carrying over her arm a large supply of work for the occupation of her evening “Jane, my Dear! I have news for you— news that you little expect to hear— at least, I can take upon me to say that J have been a good deal more surprised than I expected”— Dear me! said Mrs. Brereton in a plaintive tone of voice, & placing various articles of clothing upon the table — You don’t say so— James— What ever can it be? I shd not wonder though if Mrs. C. Dawes had changed her mind, & was going to take Clara after all— I hope though she does not want her
tomorrow for there’s a heap of mending to be done for the Boys. It’s past belief how they do rig out their clothes — & as to Janey she is pretty nearly as bad— & minds no more “Oh dear me! interrupted Mr. Brereton rubbing his hair up on end in desperation — What can possess you Mrs B to keep on in this way — I do beg & beseech of you to leave off turning those stockings inside out & listen to what I am saying — it’s worth your while. I can assure you— it concerns Lady Denham— Mrs. Brereton’s eyes ceased to linger over the objects of her concern & she looked with some thing of dismay at her Husband “Poor Lady! is she dead James?” “Not a bit dead all alive, & at this present time in the metropolis of England— There’s for you now What do you all think of that?” “Well! that is something wonderful to be sure—” So said Mrs. Brereton
& so said, or words to the same purpose, all who were present— “But how do you know” she continued —Have you seen her Ladyship? “God bless me, no— I should think not— but let us sit down, & you shall hear the particulars — You must know I had business this afternoon which took me not as far as the Strand— & as I was pushing along pretty fast I came unexpectedly against that fellow Hickson — Clara’s Step Father you know— “Halloo”, says he “Mr Brereton” when he saw who it was — you seem in a deuce of a hurry — going to look up your Grandee Lady cousin I suppose. “What are you discoursing about, Mr. Hickson”, I said — I have not the pleasure to understand—”, Oh! says he. I dare say not— You don’t happen to know, of course that Lady Denham has come up to Town — from her seat in the country as the papers have it” I stared a little as you may suppose, & then in as careless a way as I cd. put on I asked him whereabouts her Ladyship was staying in London,
“Ah!” says he “I suppose you would like to know that — & so wd. Mr Turner if he has not found it out already — should not wonder though if he got the start of you— Good day Mr. Brereton & so with that he was off & I soon found it wd be no use to follow” — Mr. Brereton proceeded to inform his hearers that recollecting Mr. Hickson’s allusion to the Papers he had spent some time before returning to his own home in looking through certain back numbers of the Morng Post & had been fortunate enough to discover the announcement of Lady Denham’s arrival at a West end Hotel — She must have been in London nearly a week. Long enough in all conscience Mr. B observed for Turner to have got at her— he shd. not be surprised to hear he had given Hickson a guinee for his news.
I don’t know a more grasping man than Turner — because he married into the family he has always been speculating on a legacy from Lady Denham — & he will lick the very dust under her feet if he has but the chance. . ‘There’s no denying that Mrs. Turner is cousin to Lady Denham just the same as you may be yourself— and so is her Sister Mrs. Greenwood” — Oh I have nothing to say against the Greenwoods — they are very quiet decent sort of people, they live some where down in Lincolnshire — never mind about them — the question is, Wife, what it will be best for us to do under these circumstances There’s the children & ourselves to be thought of in the first place; & next the proper respect to Lady Denham, but how it is to be managed I protest I dont see, & so I shall be glad of your opinion — The last time I addressed a letter to Lady D — (you remember when that was) she sent me back such a snappish answer that I don’t much fancytrying her again
I can’t say that I do—”[Mrs. B. was a woman of slow comprehension, & it took her some time to master any new idea but when once this][Mrs. B. though slow of comprehension, & therefore not ready in accepting any new idea, had nevertheless]Mrs. Brereton was slow of comprehension& had no power ofreceiving readily any new idea;but when she had once over comethis difficulty her judgmentwas much clearer than that of herHusband, who consequently was[Mrs. Brereton was slow of comprehension & had no power of receiving readily any new idea— but when once she had over come this difficulty] [Mrs. B. was slow of comprehension & it took her some time to]