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Love and Friendship, a novel by Jane Austen

LETTER 10th LAURA in continuation

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_ When we were somewhat recovered from the overpowering Effusions
of our grief, Edward desired that we would consider what was the
most prudent step to be taken in our unhappy situation while he
repaired to his imprisoned freind to lament over his misfortunes.
We promised that we would, and he set forwards on his journey to
Town. During his absence we faithfully complied with his Desire
and after the most mature Deliberation, at length agreed that the
best thing we could do was to leave the House; of which we every
moment expected the officers of Justice to take possession. We
waited therefore with the greatest impatience, for the return of
Edward in order to impart to him the result of our Deliberations.
But no Edward appeared. In vain did we count the tedious moments
of his absence--in vain did we weep--in vain even did we sigh--no
Edward returned--. This was too cruel, too unexpected a Blow to
our Gentle Sensibility--we could not support it--we could only
faint. At length collecting all the Resolution I was Mistress
of, I arose and after packing up some necessary apparel for
Sophia and myself, I dragged her to a Carriage I had ordered and
we instantly set out for London. As the Habitation of Augustus
was within twelve miles of Town, it was not long e'er we arrived
there, and no sooner had we entered Holboun than letting down one
of the Front Glasses I enquired of every decent-looking Person
that we passed "If they had seen my Edward?"

But as we drove too rapidly to allow them to answer my repeated
Enquiries, I gained little, or indeed, no information concerning
him. "Where am I to drive?" said the Postilion. "To Newgate
Gentle Youth (replied I), to see Augustus." "Oh! no, no,
(exclaimed Sophia) I cannot go to Newgate; I shall not be able to
support the sight of my Augustus in so cruel a confinement--my
feelings are sufficiently shocked by the RECITAL, of his
Distress, but to behold it will overpower my Sensibility." As I
perfectly agreed with her in the Justice of her Sentiments the
Postilion was instantly directed to return into the Country. You
may perhaps have been somewhat surprised my Dearest Marianne,
that in the Distress I then endured, destitute of any support,
and unprovided with any Habitation, I should never once have
remembered my Father and Mother or my paternal Cottage in the
Vale of Uske. To account for this seeming forgetfullness I must
inform you of a trifling circumstance concerning them which I
have as yet never mentioned. The death of my Parents a few weeks
after my Departure, is the circumstance I allude to. By their
decease I became the lawfull Inheritress of their House and
Fortune. But alas! the House had never been their own and their
Fortune had only been an Annuity on their own Lives. Such is the
Depravity of the World! To your Mother I should have returned
with Pleasure, should have been happy to have introduced to her,
my charming Sophia and should with Chearfullness have passed the
remainder of my Life in their dear Society in the Vale of Uske,
had not one obstacle to the execution of so agreable a scheme,
intervened; which was the Marriage and Removal of your Mother to
a distant part of Ireland.


Laura. _

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