The Ferrars Family
Anne and Lucy Steele were now staying in London with the Middletons. Everyone except Elinor was pleased to see them. The Steeles soon called on Mrs Jennings at her house in Berkeley Street. When Lucy saw Elinor there, she went up to her at once.
‘I am so pleased that you are still in London, Miss Dashwood,’ Lucy said with a sly smile. ‘You told me that you would only stay a month, but I knew that you would stay longer. And now that your brother is coming to London you will not want to leave at all! Will you be staying with Mr and Mrs Dashwood when they arrive?’
‘No, I do not think so,’ Elinor replied.
‘Oh, I am sure that you will!’ Lucy cried. ‘But you have been away from home such a long time! What does your mother think about that?’
Mrs Jennings heard Lucy’s remark and spoke immediately. ‘Oh! The Miss Dashwoods’ visit has only just begun!’ the old lady said kindly. ‘I want them to stay as my guests for as long as possible.’
‘I hear that Miss Marianne Dashwood has been ill,’ Lucy went on. ‘What is the matter with her? Where is she?’
‘My sister has a headache today and she is resting in our room,’ Elinor replied quietly.
‘Then we must go and see her!’ Anne Steele cried and she began to walk quickly towards the door.
‘Please let her rest,’ Elinor said.
Lucy frowned at her sister when she saw that Elinor was angry. Anne Steele said nothing more.
The following morning, Elinor persuaded Marianne to go with her to Bond Street. Elinor took some of her mother’s jewellery that needed to be repaired. The small jeweller’s shop was very crowded and busy, so the Miss Dashwoods sat down to wait.
Elinor noticed a handsome young man in the shop. He was talking to the jeweller. The young gentleman was about twenty-three years old and he was dressed in fine, fashionable clothes. Elinor had not seen the gentleman before, but his face reminded her of someone else.
The young man spent a long time in the shop and bought several things. He did not speak to Elinor and Marianne, but he looked at them before he left.
Elinor’s business in the shop was over quickly. Just as the sisters were leaving, their brother, Mr John Dashwood, came in. He bowed politely and seemed pleased to see them.
‘Fanny and I have been in town for two days, but we have had no time to call on you,’ John told Elinor and Marianne.
‘We spent most of yesterday with Fanny’s mother, Mrs Ferrars. But I shall certainly call on Mrs Jennings tomorrow. We should like to meet the Middletons too. I believe that they have been good friends to you in Devon.’
‘Yes, they have,’ Elinor replied. ‘They have been very kind to us. And we often visit them here in London.’
‘I am very pleased to hear it,’ John Dashwood replied with a smile. ‘The Middletons are very rich and they are members of our family too. Edward has told Fanny and me how kind the Middletons are.’
John Dashwood came to Berkeley Street the next day to call on Mrs Jennings. Colonel Brandon was also visiting that morning.
After staying for half an hour, John Dashwood asked Elinor to introduce him to the Middletons. On the way to the Middletons’ house, John asked his sister questions about the Colonel.
‘Who is Colonel Brandon?’ he asked. ‘I could see that he is a gentleman. Is he rich?’
‘He has a large house in Dorset,’ Elinor replied, smiling.
‘I am very pleased to hear it,’ her brother said. ‘Elinor, I congratulate you. You have done well.’
‘What do you mean, John?’ Elinor asked in surprise.
‘Well, Colonel Brandon is interested in you. He likes you,
‘I am sure of it,’ John replied. ‘Is Brandon rich?’
‘He has $2000 a year, I believe,’ Elinor said.
‘Well, I wish that his fortune were bigger, sister. But you will have enough money and a good house to live in too.’
‘You are wrong, brother,’ Elinor said quickly. ‘Colonel Brandon has no thought of marrying me.’
John Dashwood smiled. ‘I know that you have little money, Elinor,’ he said. ‘But do not be worried by that. Try to catch the Colonel! No one else wants to marry you, we all know that. A marriage between you and Brandon will please everyone. I know that Mrs Ferrars will be delighted to hear about it! If you and Edward are both married to suitable people, it will please her and everyone in your family.’
‘Is Mr Edward Ferrars going to be married?’ Elinor asked quickly.
‘His mother certainly hopes so. She has found him a most suitable lady. Her name is Miss Morton. She is the daughter of a rich lord. She has $30,000 a year! If Edward marries Miss Morton, Mrs Ferrars will give him $1000 a year,’ John went on. ‘Mrs Ferrars is a very generous woman. She gave Fanny two hundred dollars yesterday, to help with our expenses here in London.’
‘But you have plenty of money, brother,’ Elinor replied.
‘Perhaps,’ John said. ‘But we have many expenses, both here and in the country. We have spent a lot of money to make Norland Park more comfortable. And there is a lot more work to be done.’
Elinor could not think of a polite reply and her brother went on talking, this time about Marianne.