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Love and Friendship, a novel by Jane Austen


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_ We remained but a few days after our Marriage, in the Vale of
Uske. After taking an affecting Farewell of my Father, my Mother
and my Isabel, I accompanied Edward to his Aunt's in Middlesex.
Philippa received us both with every expression of affectionate
Love. My arrival was indeed a most agreable surprise to her as
she had not only been totally ignorant of my Marriage with her
Nephew, but had never even had the slightest idea of there being
such a person in the World.

Augusta, the sister of Edward was on a visit to her when we
arrived. I found her exactly what her Brother had described her
to be--of the middle size. She received me with equal surprise
though not with equal Cordiality, as Philippa. There was a
disagreable coldness and Forbidding Reserve in her reception of
me which was equally distressing and Unexpected. None of that
interesting Sensibility or amiable simpathy in her manners and
Address to me when we first met which should have distinguished
our introduction to each other. Her Language was neither warm,
nor affectionate, her expressions of regard were neither animated
nor cordial; her arms were not opened to receive me to her Heart,
tho' my own were extended to press her to mine.

A short Conversation between Augusta and her Brother, which I
accidentally overheard encreased my dislike to her, and convinced
me that her Heart was no more formed for the soft ties of Love
than for the endearing intercourse of Freindship.

"But do you think that my Father will ever be reconciled to this
imprudent connection?" (said Augusta.)

"Augusta (replied the noble Youth) I thought you had a better
opinion of me, than to imagine I would so abjectly degrade myself
as to consider my Father's Concurrence in any of my affairs,
either of Consequence or concern to me. Tell me Augusta with
sincerity; did you ever know me consult his inclinations or
follow his Advice in the least trifling Particular since the age
of fifteen?"

"Edward (replied she) you are surely too diffident in your own
praise. Since you were fifteen only! My Dear Brother since you
were five years old, I entirely acquit you of ever having
willingly contributed to the satisfaction of your Father. But
still I am not without apprehensions of your being shortly
obliged to degrade yourself in your own eyes by seeking a support
for your wife in the Generosity of Sir Edward."

"Never, never Augusta will I so demean myself. (said Edward).
Support! What support will Laura want which she can receive from

"Only those very insignificant ones of Victuals and Drink."
(answered she.)

"Victuals and Drink! (replied my Husband in a most nobly
contemptuous Manner) and dost thou then imagine that there is no
other support for an exalted mind (such as is my Laura's) than
the mean and indelicate employment of Eating and Drinking?"

"None that I know of, so efficacious." (returned Augusta).

"And did you then never feel the pleasing Pangs of Love, Augusta?
(replied my Edward). Does it appear impossible to your vile and
corrupted Palate, to exist on Love? Can you not conceive the
Luxury of living in every distress that Poverty can inflict, with
the object of your tenderest affection?"

"You are too ridiculous (said Augusta) to argue with; perhaps
however you may in time be convinced that ..."

Here I was prevented from hearing the remainder of her speech, by
the appearance of a very Handsome young Woman, who was ushured
into the Room at the Door of which I had been listening. On
hearing her announced by the Name of "Lady Dorothea," I instantly
quitted my Post and followed her into the Parlour, for I well
remembered that she was the Lady, proposed as a Wife for my
Edward by the Cruel and Unrelenting Baronet.

Altho' Lady Dorothea's visit was nominally to Philippa and
Augusta, yet I have some reason to imagine that (acquainted with
the Marriage and arrival of Edward) to see me was a principal
motive to it.

I soon perceived that tho' Lovely and Elegant in her Person and
tho' Easy and Polite in her Address, she was of that inferior
order of Beings with regard to Delicate Feeling, tender
Sentiments, and refined Sensibility, of which Augusta was one.

She staid but half an hour and neither in the Course of her
Visit, confided to me any of her secret thoughts, nor requested
me to confide in her, any of Mine. You will easily imagine
therefore my Dear Marianne that I could not feel any ardent
affection or very sincere Attachment for Lady Dorothea.


Laura. _

Read next: LETTER 8th LAURA to MARIANNE, in continuation

Read previous: LETTER 6th LAURA to MARIANNE

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