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Chapter 6
The first part of their journey was performed in too melancholy a disposition to be
otherwise than tedious and unpleasant. But as they drew towards the end of it,
their interest in the appearance of a country which they were to inhabit overcame
their dejection, and a view of Barton Valley as they entered it gave them
cheerfulness. It was a pleasant fertile spot, well wooded, and rich in pasture.
After winding along it for more than a mile, they reached their own house. A small
green court was the whole of its demesne in front; and a neat wicket gate
admitted them into it.
As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as
a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the
window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with
honeysuckles. A narrow passage led directly through the house into the garden
behind. On each side of the entrance was a sitting room, about sixteen feet
square; and beyond them were the offices and the stairs. Four bed-rooms and
two garrets formed the rest of the house. It had not been built many years and
was in good repair. In comparison of Norland, it was poor and small indeed!--but
the tears which recollection called forth as they entered the house were soon
dried away. They were cheered by the joy of the servants on their arrival, and
each for the sake of the others resolved to appear happy. It was very early in
September; the season was fine, and from first seeing the place under the
advantage of good weather, they received an impression in its favour which was
of material service in recommending it to their lasting approbation.
The situation of the house was good. High hills rose immediately behind, and at
no great distance on each side; some of which were open downs, the others
cultivated and woody. The village of Barton was chiefly on one of these hills, and
formed a pleasant view from the cottage windows. The prospect in front was
more extensive; it commanded the whole of the valley, and reached into the
country beyond. The hills which surrounded the cottage terminated the valley in
that direction; under another name, and in another course, it branched out again
between two of the steepest of them.
With the size and furniture of the house Mrs. Dashwood was upon the whole well
satisfied; for though her former style of life rendered many additions to the latter
indispensable, yet to add and improve was a delight to her; and she had at this
time ready money enough to supply all that was wanted of greater elegance to
the apartments. "As for the house itself, to be sure," said she, "it is too small for
our family, but we will make ourselves tolerably comfortable for the present, as it
is too late in the year for improvements. Perhaps in the spring, if I have plenty of
money, as I dare say I shall, we may think about building. These parlors are both
too small for such parties of our friends as I hope to see often collected here; and
I have some thoughts of throwing the passage into one of them with perhaps a
part of the other, and so leave the remainder of that other for an entrance; this,
with a new drawing room which may be easily added, and a bed-chamber and
garret above, will make it a very snug little cottage. I could wish the stairs were