Sense and sensibility HTML version

by whomsoever given or received, was to her a source
of immoveable disgust. Mrs. John Dashwood had never
been a favourite with any of her husband's family;
but she had had no opportunity, till the present,
of shewing them with how little attention to the comfort
of other people she could act when occasion required it.
So acutely did Mrs. Dashwood feel this ungracious
behaviour, and so earnestly did she despise her
daughter-in-law for it, that, on the arrival of the latter,
she would have quitted the house for ever, had not the
entreaty of her eldest girl induced her first to reflect
on the propriety of going, and her own tender love for all
her three children determined her afterwards to stay,
and for their sakes avoid a breach with their brother.
Elinor, this eldest daughter, whose advice was
so effectual, possessed a strength of understanding,
and coolness of judgment, which qualified her,
though only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother,
and enabled her frequently to counteract, to the advantage
of them all, that eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood
which must generally have led to imprudence. She had an
excellent heart;--her disposition was affectionate, and
her feelings were strong; but she knew how to govern
them: it was a knowledge which her mother had yet to learn;
and which one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught.
Marianne's abilities were, in many respects,
quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever;
but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have
no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she
was everything but prudent. The resemblance between
her and her mother was strikingly great.
Elinor saw, with concern, the excess of her
sister's sensibility; but by Mrs. Dashwood it was valued
and cherished. They encouraged each other now in the
violence of their affliction. The agony of grief
which overpowered them at first, was voluntarily renewed,
was sought for, was created again and again. They gave
themselves up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase
of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it,
and resolved against ever admitting consolation
in future. Elinor, too, was deeply afflicted; but still
she could struggle, she could exert herself. She could
consult with her brother, could receive her sister-in-law
on her arrival, and treat her with proper attention;
and could strive to rouse her mother to similar exertion,
and encourage her to similar forbearance.
Margaret, the other sister, was a good-humored,
well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed
a good deal of Marianne's romance, without having
much of her sense, she did not, at thirteen, bid fair
to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.
Mrs. John Dashwood now installed herself mistress
of Norland; and her mother and sisters-in-law were degraded
to the condition of visitors. As such, however, they were
treated by her with quiet civility; and by her husband