Sense and Sensibility HTML version
Mrs. Jennings came immediately to their room on her return, and without waiting
to have her request of admittance answered, opened the door and walked in with
a look of real concern.
"How do you do my dear?"--said she in a voice of great compassion to Marianne,
who turned away her face without attempting to answer.
"How is she, Miss Dashwood?--Poor thing! she looks very bad.-- No wonder. Ay,
it is but too true. He is to be married very soon--a good-for-nothing fellow! I have
no patience with him. Mrs. Taylor told me of it half an hour ago, and she was told
it by a particular friend of Miss Grey herself, else I am sure I should not have
believed it; and I was almost ready to sink as it was. Well, said I, all I can say is,
that if this be true, he has used a young lady of my acquaintance abominably ill,
and I wish with all my soul his wife may plague his heart out. And so I shall
always say, my dear, you may depend on it. I have no notion of men's going on
in this way; and if ever I meet him again, I will give him such a dressing as he has
not had this many a day. But there is one comfort, my dear Miss Marianne; he is
not the only young man in the world worth having; and with your pretty face you
will never want admirers. Well, poor thing! I won't disturb her any longer, for she
had better have her cry out at once and have done with. The Parrys and
Sandersons luckily are coming tonight you know, and that will amuse her."
She then went away, walking on tiptoe out of the room, as if she supposed her
young friend's affliction could be increased by noise.
Marianne, to the surprise of her sister, determined on dining with them. Elinor
even advised her against it. But "no, she would go down; she could bear it very
well, and the bustle about her would be less." Elinor, pleased to have her
governed for a moment by such a motive, though believing it hardly possible that
she could sit out the dinner, said no more; and adjusting her dress for her as well
as she could, while Marianne still remained on the bed, was ready to assist her
into the dining room as soon as they were summoned to it.
When there, though looking most wretchedly, she ate more and was calmer than
her sister had expected. Had she tried to speak, or had she been conscious of
half Mrs. Jennings's well-meant but ill-judged attentions to her, this calmness
could not have been maintained; but not a syllable escaped her lips; and the
abstraction of her thoughts preserved her in ignorance of every thing that was
passing before her.
Elinor, who did justice to Mrs. Jennings's kindness, though its effusions were
often distressing, and sometimes almost ridiculous, made her those
acknowledgments, and returned her those civilities, which her sister could not
make or return for herself. Their good friend saw that Marianne was unhappy,
and felt that every thing was due to her which might make her at all less so. She
treated her therefore, with all the indulgent fondness of a parent towards a
favourite child on the last day of its holidays. Marianne was to have the best
place by the fire, was to be tempted to eat by every delicacy in the house, and to
be amused by the relation of all the news of the day. Had not Elinor, in the sad