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A Collection Of Letters - LETTER the SECOND Post by :sarsuelo Category :Nonfictions Author :Jane Austen Date :May 2011 Read :1339

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A Collection Of Letters - LETTER the SECOND

LETTER the SECOND
From a YOUNG LADY crossed in Love to her freind

Why should this last disappointment hang so heavily on my
spirits? Why should I feel it more, why should it wound me
deeper than those I have experienced before? Can it be that I
have a greater affection for Willoughby than I had for his
amiable predecessors? Or is it that our feelings become more
acute from being often wounded? I must suppose my dear Belle
that this is the Case, since I am not conscious of being more
sincerely attached to Willoughby than I was to Neville, Fitzowen,
or either of the Crawfords, for all of whom I once felt the most
lasting affection that ever warmed a Woman's heart. Tell me then
dear Belle why I still sigh when I think of the faithless Edward,
or why I weep when I behold his Bride, for too surely this is the
case--. My Freinds are all alarmed for me; They fear my
declining health; they lament my want of spirits; they dread the
effects of both. In hopes of releiving my melancholy, by
directing my thoughts to other objects, they have invited several
of their freinds to spend the Christmas with us. Lady Bridget
Darkwood and her sister-in-law, Miss Jane are expected on Friday;
and Colonel Seaton's family will be with us next week. This is
all most kindly meant by my Uncle and Cousins; but what can the
presence of a dozen indefferent people do to me, but weary and
distress me--. I will not finish my Letter till some of our
Visitors are arrived.

Friday Evening
Lady Bridget came this morning, and with her, her sweet sister
Miss Jane--. Although I have been acquainted with this charming
Woman above fifteen Years, yet I never before observed how lovely
she is. She is now about 35, and in spite of sickness, sorrow
and Time is more blooming than I ever saw a Girl of 17. I was
delighted with her, the moment she entered the house, and she
appeared equally pleased with me, attaching herself to me during
the remainder of the day. There is something so sweet, so mild in
her Countenance, that she seems more than Mortal. Her
Conversation is as bewitching as her appearance; I could not help
telling her how much she engaged my admiration--. "Oh! Miss
Jane (said I)--and stopped from an inability at the moment of
expressing myself as I could wish-- Oh! Miss Jane--(I repeated)
--I could not think of words to suit my feelings-- She seemed
waiting for my speech--. I was confused-- distressed--my
thoughts were bewildered--and I could only add--"How do you do?"
She saw and felt for my Embarrassment and with admirable presence
of mind releived me from it by saying--"My dear Sophia be not
uneasy at having exposed yourself--I will turn the Conversation
without appearing to notice it. "Oh! how I loved her for her
kindness!" Do you ride as much as you used to do?" said she--.
"I am advised to ride by my Physician. We have delightful Rides
round us, I have a Charming horse, am uncommonly fond of the
Amusement, replied I quite recovered from my Confusion, and in
short I ride a great deal." "You are in the right my Love," said
she. Then repeating the following line which was an extempore
and equally adapted to recommend both Riding and Candour--

"Ride where you may, Be Candid where you can," she added," I rode
once, but it is many years ago--She spoke this in so low and
tremulous a Voice, that I was silent--. Struck with her Manner of
speaking I could make no reply. "I have not ridden, continued she
fixing her Eyes on my face, since I was married." I was never so
surprised--"Married, Ma'am!" I repeated. "You may well wear that
look of astonishment, said she, since what I have said must
appear improbable to you--Yet nothing is more true than that I
once was married."

"Then why are you called Miss Jane?"

"I married, my Sophia without the consent or knowledge of my
father the late Admiral Annesley. It was therefore necessary to
keep the secret from him and from every one, till some fortunate
opportunity might offer of revealing it--. Such an opportunity
alas! was but too soon given in the death of my dear Capt.
Dashwood--Pardon these tears, continued Miss Jane wiping her
Eyes, I owe them to my Husband's memory. He fell my Sophia,
while fighting for his Country in America after a most happy
Union of seven years--. My Children, two sweet Boys and a Girl,
who had constantly resided with my Father and me, passing with
him and with every one as the Children of a Brother (tho' I had
ever been an only Child) had as yet been the comforts of my Life.
But no sooner had I lossed my Henry, than these sweet Creatures
fell sick and died--. Conceive dear Sophia what my feelings must
have been when as an Aunt I attended my Children to their early
Grave--. My Father did not survive them many weeks--He died,
poor Good old man, happily ignorant to his last hour of my
Marriage.'

"But did not you own it, and assume his name at your husband's
death?"

"No; I could not bring myself to do it; more especially when in
my Children I lost all inducement for doing it. Lady Bridget,
and yourself are the only persons who are in the knowledge of my
having ever been either Wife or Mother. As I could not Prevail on
myself to take the name of Dashwood (a name which after my
Henry's death I could never hear without emotion) and as I was
conscious of having no right to that of Annesley, I dropt all
thoughts of either, and have made it a point of bearing only my
Christian one since my Father's death." She paused--"Oh! my dear
Miss Jane (said I) how infinitely am I obliged to you for so
entertaining a story! You cannot think how it has diverted me!
But have you quite done?"

"I have only to add my dear Sophia, that my Henry's elder Brother
dieing about the same time, Lady Bridget became a Widow like
myself, and as we had always loved each other in idea from the
high Character in which we had ever been spoken of, though we had
never met, we determined to live together. We wrote to one
another on the same subject by the same post, so exactly did our
feeling and our actions coincide! We both eagerly embraced the
proposals we gave and received of becoming one family, and have
from that time lived together in the greatest affection."

"And is this all? said I, I hope you have not done."

"Indeed I have; and did you ever hear a story more pathetic?"

"I never did--and it is for that reason it pleases me so much,
for when one is unhappy nothing is so delightful to one's
sensations as to hear of equal misery."

"Ah! but my Sophia why are YOU unhappy?"

"Have you not heard Madam of Willoughby's Marriage?"

"But my love why lament HIS perfidy, when you bore so well that
of many young Men before?"

"Ah! Madam, I was used to it then, but when Willoughby broke his
Engagements I had not been dissapointed for half a year."

"Poor Girl!" said Miss Jane.

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