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Chapter 34
Mrs. John Dashwood had so much confidence in her husband's judgment, that
she waited the very next day both on Mrs. Jennings and her daughter; and her
confidence was rewarded by finding even the former, even the woman with
whom her sisters were staying, by no means unworthy her notice; and as for
Lady Middleton, she found her one of the most charming women in the world!
Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of
cold hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually attracted them; and they
sympathized with each other in an insipid propriety of demeanor, and a general
want of understanding.
The same manners, however, which recommended Mrs. John Dashwood to the
good opinion of Lady Middleton did not suit the fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to
her she appeared nothing more than a little proud-looking woman of uncordial
address, who met her husband's sisters without any affection, and almost without
having anything to say to them; for of the quarter of an hour bestowed on
Berkeley Street, she sat at least seven minutes and a half in silence.
Elinor wanted very much to know, though she did not choose to ask, whether
Edward was then in town; but nothing would have induced Fanny voluntarily to
mention his name before her, till able to tell her that his marriage with Miss
Morton was resolved on, or till her husband's expectations on Colonel Brandon
were answered; because she believed them still so very much attached to each
other, that they could not be too sedulously divided in word and deed on every
occasion. The intelligence however, which she would not give, soon flowed from
another quarter. Lucy came very shortly to claim Elinor's compassion on being
unable to see Edward, though he had arrived in town with Mr. and Mrs.
Dashwood. He dared not come to Bartlett's Buildings for fear of detection, and
though their mutual impatience to meet, was not to be told, they could do nothing
at present but write.
Edward assured them himself of his being in town, within a very short time, by
twice calling in Berkeley Street. Twice was his card found on the table, when they
returned from their morning's engagements. Elinor was pleased that he had
called; and still more pleased that she had missed him.
The Dashwoods were so prodigiously delighted with the Middletons, that, though
not much in the habit of giving anything, they determined to give them-- a dinner;
and soon after their acquaintance began, invited them to dine in Harley Street,
where they had taken a very good house for three months. Their sisters and Mrs.
Jennings were invited likewise, and John Dashwood was careful to secure
Colonel Brandon, who, always glad to be where the Miss Dashwoods were,
received his eager civilities with some surprise, but much more pleasure. They
were to meet Mrs. Ferrars; but Elinor could not learn whether her sons were to
be of the party. The expectation of seeing her, however, was enough to make her
interested in the engagement; for though she could now meet Edward's mother
without that strong anxiety which had once promised to attend such an
introduction, though she could now see her with perfect indifference as to her