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Love and Friendship, a novel by Jane Austen

LETTER the 12th LAURA in continuation

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_ You may imagine how greatly we were surprised by the sudden
departure of Lord St Clair. "Ignoble Grand-sire!" exclaimed
Sophia. "Unworthy Grandfather!" said I, and instantly fainted in
each other's arms. How long we remained in this situation I know
not; but when we recovered we found ourselves alone, without
either Gustavus, Philander, or the Banknotes. As we were
deploring our unhappy fate, the Door of the Apartment opened and
"Macdonald" was announced. He was Sophia's cousin. The haste
with which he came to our releif so soon after the receipt of our
Note, spoke so greatly in his favour that I hesitated not to
pronounce him at first sight, a tender and simpathetic Freind.
Alas! he little deserved the name--for though he told us that he
was much concerned at our Misfortunes, yet by his own account it
appeared that the perusal of them, had neither drawn from him a
single sigh, nor induced him to bestow one curse on our
vindictive stars--. He told Sophia that his Daughter depended on
her returning with him to Macdonald-Hall, and that as his
Cousin's freind he should be happy to see me there also. To
Macdonald-Hall, therefore we went, and were received with great
kindness by Janetta the Daughter of Macdonald, and the Mistress
of the Mansion. Janetta was then only fifteen; naturally well
disposed, endowed with a susceptible Heart, and a simpathetic
Disposition, she might, had these amiable qualities been properly
encouraged, have been an ornament to human Nature; but
unfortunately her Father possessed not a soul sufficiently
exalted to admire so promising a Disposition, and had endeavoured
by every means on his power to prevent it encreasing with her
Years. He had actually so far extinguished the natural noble
Sensibility of her Heart, as to prevail on her to accept an offer
from a young Man of his Recommendation. They were to be married
in a few months, and Graham, was in the House when we arrived.
WE soon saw through his character. He was just such a Man as one
might have expected to be the choice of Macdonald. They said he
was Sensible, well-informed, and Agreable; we did not pretend to
Judge of such trifles, but as we were convinced he had no soul,
that he had never read the sorrows of Werter, and that his Hair
bore not the least resemblance to auburn, we were certain that
Janetta could feel no affection for him, or at least that she
ought to feel none. The very circumstance of his being her
father's choice too, was so much in his disfavour, that had he
been deserving her, in every other respect yet THAT of itself
ought to have been a sufficient reason in the Eyes of Janetta for
rejecting him. These considerations we were determined to
represent to her in their proper light and doubted not of meeting
with the desired success from one naturally so well disposed;
whose errors in the affair had only arisen from a want of proper
confidence in her own opinion, and a suitable contempt of her
father's. We found her indeed all that our warmest wishes could
have hoped for; we had no difficulty to convince her that it was
impossible she could love Graham, or that it was her Duty to
disobey her Father; the only thing at which she rather seemed to
hesitate was our assertion that she must be attached to some
other Person. For some time, she persevered in declaring that
she knew no other young man for whom she had the the smallest
Affection; but upon explaining the impossibility of such a thing
she said that she beleived she DID LIKE Captain M'Kenrie better
than any one she knew besides. This confession satisfied us and
after having enumerated the good Qualities of M'Kenrie and
assured her that she was violently in love with him, we desired
to know whether he had ever in any wise declared his affection to

"So far from having ever declared it, I have no reason to imagine
that he has ever felt any for me." said Janetta. "That he
certainly adores you (replied Sophia) there can be no doubt--.
The Attachment must be reciprocal. Did he never gaze on you with
admiration--tenderly press your hand--drop an involantary tear--
and leave the room abruptly?" "Never (replied she) that I
remember--he has always left the room indeed when his visit has
been ended, but has never gone away particularly abruptly or
without making a bow." Indeed my Love (said I) you must be
mistaken--for it is absolutely impossible that he should ever
have left you but with Confusion, Despair, and Precipitation.
Consider but for a moment Janetta, and you must be convinced how
absurd it is to suppose that he could ever make a Bow, or behave
like any other Person." Having settled this Point to our
satisfaction, the next we took into consideration was, to
determine in what manner we should inform M'Kenrie of the
favourable Opinion Janetta entertained of him. . . . We at
length agreed to acquaint him with it by an anonymous Letter
which Sophia drew up in the following manner.

"Oh! happy Lover of the beautifull Janetta, oh! amiable
Possessor of HER Heart whose hand is destined to another, why do
you thus delay a confession of your attachment to the amiable
Object of it? Oh! consider that a few weeks will at once put an
end to every flattering Hope that you may now entertain, by
uniting the unfortunate Victim of her father's Cruelty to the
execrable and detested Graham."

"Alas! why do you thus so cruelly connive at the projected
Misery of her and of yourself by delaying to communicate that
scheme which had doubtless long possessed your imagination? A
secret Union will at once secure the felicity of both."

The amiable M'Kenrie, whose modesty as he afterwards assured us
had been the only reason of his having so long concealed the
violence of his affection for Janetta, on receiving this Billet
flew on the wings of Love to Macdonald-Hall, and so powerfully
pleaded his Attachment to her who inspired it, that after a few
more private interveiws, Sophia and I experienced the
satisfaction of seeing them depart for Gretna-Green, which they
chose for the celebration of their Nuptials, in preference to any
other place although it was at a considerable distance from


Laura. _

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