Sense and Sensibility HTML version

Chapter 24
In a firm, though cautious tone, Elinor thus began.
"I should be undeserving of the confidence you have honoured me with, if I felt
no desire for its continuance, or no farther curiosity on its subject. I will not
apologize therefore for bringing it forward again."
"Thank you," cried Lucy warmly, "for breaking the ice; you have set my heart at
ease by it; for I was somehow or other afraid I had offended you by what I told
you that Monday."
"Offended me! How could you suppose so? Believe me," and Elinor spoke it with
the truest sincerity, "nothing could be farther from my intention than to give you
such an idea. Could you have a motive for the trust, that was not honourable and
flattering to me?"
"And yet I do assure you," replied Lucy, her little sharp eyes full of meaning,
"there seemed to me to be a coldness and displeasure in your manner that made
me quite uncomfortable. I felt sure that you was angry with me; and have been
quarrelling with myself ever since, for having took such a liberty as to trouble you
with my affairs. But I am very glad to find it was only my own fancy, and that you
really do not blame me. If you knew what a consolation it was to me to relieve my
heart speaking to you of what I am always thinking of every moment of my life,
your compassion would make you overlook every thing else I am sure."
"Indeed, I can easily believe that it was a very great relief to you, to acknowledge
your situation to me, and be assured that you shall never have reason to repent
it. Your case is a very unfortunate one; you seem to me to be surrounded with
difficulties, and you will have need of all your mutual affection to support you
under them. Mr. Ferrars, I believe, is entirely dependent on his mother."
"He has only two thousand pounds of his own; it would be madness to marry
upon that, though for my own part, I could give up every prospect of more without
a sigh. I have been always used to a very small income, and could struggle with
any poverty for him; but I love him too well to be the selfish means of robbing
him, perhaps, of all that his mother might give him if he married to please her.
We must wait, it may be for many years. With almost every other man in the
world, it would be an alarming prospect; but Edward's affection and constancy
nothing can deprive me of I know."
"That conviction must be every thing to you; and he is undoubtedly supported by
the same trust in yours. If the strength of your reciprocal attachment had failed,
as between many people, and under many circumstances it naturally would
during a four years' engagement, your situation would have been pitiable,
Lucy here looked up; but Elinor was careful in guarding her countenance from
every expression that could give her words a suspicious tendency.
"Edward's love for me," said Lucy, "has been pretty well put to the test, by our
long, very long absence since we were first engaged, and it has stood the trial so
well, that I should be unpardonable to doubt it now. I can safely say that he has
never gave me one moment's alarm on that account from the first."