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Chapter 10
Marianne's preserver, as Margaret, with more elegance than precision, styled
Willoughby, called at the cottage early the next morning to make his personal
enquiries. He was received by Mrs. Dashwood with more than politeness; with a
kindness which Sir John's account of him and her own gratitude prompted; and
every thing that passed during the visit tended to assure him of the sense,
elegance, mutual affection, and domestic comfort of the family to whom accident
had now introduced him. Of their personal charms he had not required a second
interview to be convinced.
Miss Dashwood had a delicate complexion, regular features, and a remarkably
pretty figure. Marianne was still handsomer. Her form, though not so correct as
her sister's, in having the advantage of height, was more striking; and her face
was so lovely, that when in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful
girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens. Her skin was very
brown, but, from its transparency, her complexion was uncommonly brilliant; her
features were all good; her smile was sweet and attractive; and in her eyes,
which were very dark, there was a life, a spirit, an eagerness, which could hardily
be seen without delight. From Willoughby their expression was at first held back,
by the embarrassment which the remembrance of his assistance created. But
when this passed away, when her spirits became collected, when she saw that to
the perfect good-breeding of the gentleman, he united frankness and vivacity,
and above all, when she heard him declare, that of music and dancing he was
passionately fond, she gave him such a look of approbation as secured the
largest share of his discourse to herself for the rest of his stay.
It was only necessary to mention any favourite amusement to engage her to talk.
She could not be silent when such points were introduced, and she had neither
shyness nor reserve in their discussion. They speedily discovered that their
enjoyment of dancing and music was mutual, and that it arose from a general
conformity of judgment in all that related to either. Encouraged by this to a further
examination of his opinions, she proceeded to question him on the subject of
books; her favourite authors were brought forward and dwelt upon with so
rapturous a delight, that any young man of five and twenty must have been
insensible indeed, not to become an immediate convert to the excellence of such
works, however disregarded before. Their taste was strikingly alike. The same
books, the same passages were idolized by each-- or if any difference appeared,
any objection arose, it lasted no longer than till the force of her arguments and
the brightness of her eyes could be displayed. He acquiesced in all her
decisions, caught all her enthusiasm; and long before his visit concluded, they
conversed with the familiarity of a long-established acquaintance.
"Well, Marianne," said Elinor, as soon as he had left them, "for one morning I
think you have done pretty well. You have already ascertained Mr. Willoughby's
opinion in almost every matter of importance. You know what he thinks of
Cowper and Scott; you are certain of his estimating their beauties as he ought,
and you have received every assurance of his admiring Pope no more than is