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Sense and Sensibility

Chapter 20
As the Miss Dashwoods entered the drawing-room of the park the next day, at
one door, Mrs. Palmer came running in at the other, looking as good humoured
and merry as before. She took them all most affectionately by the hand, and
expressed great delight in seeing them again.
"I am so glad to see you!" said she, seating herself between Elinor and Marianne,
"for it is so bad a day I was afraid you might not come, which would be a
shocking thing, as we go away again tomorrow. We must go, for the Westons
come to us next week you know. It was quite a sudden thing our coming at all,
and I knew nothing of it till the carriage was coming to the door, and then Mr.
Palmer asked me if I would go with him to Barton. He is so droll! He never tells
me any thing! I am so sorry we cannot stay longer; however we shall meet again
in town very soon, I hope."
They were obliged to put an end to such an expectation.
"Not go to town!" cried Mrs. Palmer, with a laugh, "I shall be quite disappointed if
you do not. I could get the nicest house in world for you, next door to ours, in
Hanover-square. You must come, indeed. I am sure I shall be very happy to
chaperon you at any time till I am confined, if Mrs. Dashwood should not like to
go into public."
They thanked her; but were obliged to resist all her entreaties.
"Oh, my love," cried Mrs. Palmer to her husband, who just then entered the
room--"you must help me to persuade the Miss Dashwoods to go to town this
winter."
Her love made no answer; and after slightly bowing to the ladies, began
complaining of the weather.
"How horrid all this is!" said he. "Such weather makes every thing and every body
disgusting. Dullness is as much produced within doors as without, by rain. It
makes one detest all one's acquaintance. What the devil does Sir John mean by
not having a billiard room in his house? How few people know what comfort is!
Sir John is as stupid as the weather."
The rest of the company soon dropt in.
"I am afraid, Miss Marianne," said Sir John, "you have not been able to take your
usual walk to Allenham today."
Marianne looked very grave and said nothing.
"Oh, don't be so sly before us," said Mrs. Palmer; "for we know all about it, I
assure you; and I admire your taste very much, for I think he is extremely
handsome. We do not live a great way from him in the country, you know. Not
above ten miles, I dare say."
"Much nearer thirty," said her husband.
"Ah, well! there is not much difference. I never was at his house; but they say it is
a sweet pretty place."
"As vile a spot as I ever saw in my life," said Mr. Palmer.
Marianne remained perfectly silent, though her countenance betrayed her
interest in what was said.
 
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