They saw him step into his carriage, and in a minute it was out of sight.
Nay, the longer they were together the more doubtful seemed the nature of his regard; and sometimes, for a few painful minutes, she believed it to be no more than friendship.
In about five minutes he returned.
And now, after only ten minutes notice—Gone too without intending to return!
As Elinor was certain of seeing her in a couple of minutes, without taking that liberty, she begged to be excused.
Mr. Palmer looked up on her entering the room, stared at her some minutes, and then returned to his newspaper.
Elinor made her a civil reply, and they walked on for a few minutes in silence.
His eyes were fixed on Marianne, and, after a silence of some minutes, he said, with a faint smile, "Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second attachments."
Margaret agreed, and they pursued their way against the wind, resisting it with laughing delight for about twenty minutes longer, when suddenly the clouds united over their heads, and a driving rain set full in their face.
In the present case it took up ten minutes to determine whether the boy were most like his father or mother, and in what particular he resembled either, for of course every body differed, and every body was astonished at the opinion of the others.
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She instantly begged her sister would entreat Lady Middleton to take them home, as she was too miserable to stay a minute longer.
"And here is my sweet little Annamaria," she added, tenderly caressing a little girl of three years old, who had not made a noise for the last two minutes; "And she is always so gentle and quiet—Never was there such a quiet little thing!"
After sitting with them a few minutes, the Miss Steeles returned to the Park, and Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched.
They were again silent for many minutes.
Another pause therefore of many minutes’ duration, succeeded this speech, and Lucy was still the first to end it.
He could say no more, and rising hastily walked for a few minutes about the room.
A few minutes more of silent exertion enabled him to proceed with composure.
Marianne’s was finished in a very few minutes; in length it could be no more than a note; it was then folded up, sealed, and directed with eager rapidity.
After a pause of several minutes, their silence was broken, by his asking her in a voice of some agitation, when he was to congratulate her on the acquisition of a brother?
I have erred against every common-place notion of decorum; I have been open and sincere where I ought to have been reserved, spiritless, dull, and deceitful—had I talked only of the weather and the roads, and had I spoken only once in ten minutes, this reproach would have been spared.
And I really believe he HAS the most delicate conscience in the world; the most scrupulous in performing every engagement, however minute, and however it may make against his interest or pleasure.
In a few minutes, however, Marianne was recovered enough to put an end to the bustle, and sit down among the rest; though her spirits retained the impression of what had passed, the whole evening.
She had already repeated her own history to Elinor three or four times; and had Elinor’s memory been equal to her means of improvement, she might have known very early in their acquaintance all the particulars of Mr. Jenning’s last illness, and what he said to his wife a few minutes before he died.
Mrs. Dashwood declared they should not stay a minute longer in the house, and your brother was forced to go down upon HIS knees too, to persuade her to let them stay till they had packed up their clothes.
He took the opposite chair, and for half a minute not a word was said by either.
Elinor tried to talk of something else; but Miss Steele could not be kept beyond a couple of minutes, from what was uppermost in her mind.
Yes; once, while she was staying in this house, I happened to drop in for ten minutes; and I saw quite enough of her.
To her dress and appearance she was grown so perfectly indifferent, as not to bestow half the consideration on it, during the whole of her toilet, which it received from Miss Steele in the first five minutes of their being together, when it was finished.
"Yes,—I left London this morning at eight o’clock, and the only ten minutes I have spent out of my chaise since that time procured me a nuncheon at Marlborough."
Would either of them only have given her a full and minute account of the whole affair between Marianne and Mr. Willoughby, she would have thought herself amply rewarded for the sacrifice of the best place by the fire after dinner, which their arrival occasioned.
They had scarcely been two minutes by themselves, before he began to speak of Edward; for he, too, had heard of the living, and was very inquisitive on the subject.
It was some minutes before she could go on with her letter, and the frequent bursts of grief which still obliged her, at intervals, to withhold her pen, were proofs enough of her feeling how more than probable it was that she was writing for the last time to Willoughby.
She was debating within herself on the eligibility of beginning her story directly, or postponing it till Marianne were in stronger health;— and they crept on for a few minutes in silence.
They had not long finished their breakfast before Mrs. Palmer’s barouche stopped at the door, and in a few minutes she came laughing into the room: so delighted to see them all, that it was hard to say whether she received most pleasure from meeting her mother or the Miss Dashwoods again.
She sometimes endeavoured for a few minutes to read; but the book was soon thrown aside, and she returned to the more interesting employment of walking backwards and forwards across the room, pausing for a moment whenever she came to the window, in hopes of distinguishing the long-expected rap.
As soon as Mrs. Dashwood had recovered herself, to see Marianne was her first desire; and in two minutes she was with her beloved child, rendered dearer to her than ever by absence, unhappiness, and danger.
They then talked on for a few minutes longer without her catching a syllable, when another lucky stop in Marianne’s performance brought her these words in the Colonel’s calm voice,— "I am afraid it cannot take place very soon."
She joined them sometimes at Sir John’s, sometimes at her own house; but wherever it was, she always came in excellent spirits, full of delight and importance, attributing Charlotte’s well doing to her own care, and ready to give so exact, so minute a detail of her situation, as only Miss Steele had curiosity enough to desire.
From a reverie of this kind she was recalled at the end of some minutes by Willoughby, who, rousing himself from a reverie at least equally painful, started up in preparation for going, and said— "There is no use in staying here; I must be off."
—She shook her head, put the music aside, and after running over the keys for a minute, complained of feebleness in her fingers, and closed the instrument again; declaring however with firmness as she did so, that she should in future practice much.
Mrs. Jennings, though regretting that she had not been five minutes earlier, was satisfied with the compromise; and Elinor, as she swallowed the chief of it, reflected, that though its effects on a colicky gout were, at present, of little importance to her, its healing powers, on a disappointed heart might be as reasonably tried on herself as on her sister.
Her exertions did not stop here; for she soon afterwards felt herself so heroically disposed as to determine, under pretence of fetching Marianne, to leave the others by themselves; and she really did it, and THAT in the handsomest manner, for she loitered away several minutes on the landing-place, with the most high-minded fortitude, before she went to her sister.
She had not seen him before since his engagement became public, and therefore not since his knowing her to be acquainted with it; which, with the consciousness of what she had been thinking of, and what she had to tell him, made her feel particularly uncomfortable for some minutes.
With such encouragement as this, was she dismissed on the present occasion, to her brother’s carriage; which they were ready to enter five minutes after it stopped at the door, a punctuality not very agreeable to their sister-in-law, who had preceded them to the house of her acquaintance, and was there hoping for some delay on their part that might inconvenience either herself or her coachman.
’Lord!’ thinks she to herself, ’they are all so fond of Lucy, to be sure they will make no difficulty about it;’ and so, away she went to your sister, who was sitting all alone at her carpet-work, little suspecting what was to come—for she had just been saying to your brother, only five minutes before, that she thought to make a match between Edward and some Lord’s daughter or other, I forget who.
When the note was shown to Elinor, as it was within ten minutes after its arrival, it gave her, for the first time, some share in the expectations of Lucy; for such a mark of uncommon kindness, vouchsafed on so short an acquaintance, seemed to declare that the good-will towards her arose from something more than merely malice against herself; and might be brought, by time and address, to do every thing that Lucy wished.
Nothing escaped HER minute observation and general curiosity; she saw every thing, and asked every thing; was never easy till she knew the price of every part of Marianne’s dress; could have guessed the number of her gowns altogether with better judgment than Marianne herself, and was not without hopes of finding out before they parted, how much her washing cost per week, and how much she had every year to spend upon herself.
The possibility of a relapse would of course, in some moments, occur to remind her of what anxiety was— but when she saw, on her frequent and minute examination, that every symptom of recovery continued, and saw Marianne at six o’clock sink into a quiet, steady, and to all appearance comfortable, sleep, she silenced every doubt.
Every thing was silent; this could not be borne many seconds; she opened the door, advanced a few steps towards the stairs, and after listening half a minute, returned into the room in all the agitation which a conviction of having heard him would naturally produce; in the ecstasy of her feelings at that instant she could not help exclaiming, "Oh, Elinor, it is Willoughby, indeed it is!" and seemed almost ready to throw herself into his arms, when Colonel Brandon appeared.
The same manners, however, which recommended Mrs. John Dashwood to the good opinion of Lady Middleton did not suit the fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to HER she appeared nothing more than a little proud-looking woman of uncordial address, who met her husband’s sisters without any affection, and almost without having anything to say to them; for of the quarter of an hour bestowed on Berkeley Street, she sat at least seven minutes and a half in silence.
Elinor, dreading her being tired, led her towards home; and till they reached the door of the cottage, easily conjecturing what her curiosity must be though no question was suffered to speak it, talked of nothing but Willoughby, and their conversation together; and was carefully minute in every particular of speech and look, where minuteness could be safely indulged.
CHAPTER 44 Elinor, starting back with a look of horror at the sight of him, obeyed the first impulse of her heart in turning instantly to quit the room, and her hand was already on the lock, when its action was suspended by his hastily advancing, and saying, in a voice rather of command than supplication, "Miss Dashwood, for half an hour—for ten minutes— I entreat you to stay."
A few minutes more spent in the same kind of effusion, concluded his visit; and with repeated assurances to his sisters that he really believed there was no material danger in Fanny’s indisposition, and that they need not therefore be very uneasy about it, he went away; leaving the three ladies unanimous in their sentiments on the present occasion, as far at least as it regarded Mrs. Ferrars’s conduct, the Dashwoods’, and Edward’s.
In a few minutes they could distinguish him to be a gentleman; and in a moment afterwards Marianne rapturously exclaimed, "It is he; it is indeed;—I know it is!
Perhaps Mrs. Jennings was in hopes, by this vigorous sketch of their future ennui, to provoke him to make that offer, which might give himself an escape from it;— and if so, she had soon afterwards good reason to think her object gained; for, on Elinor’s moving to the window to take more expeditiously the dimensions of a print, which she was going to copy for her friend, he followed her to it with a look of particular meaning, and conversed with her there for several minutes.
Marianne entered the house with a heart swelling with emotion from the consciousness of being only eighty miles from Barton, and not thirty from Combe Magna; and before she had been five minutes within its walls, while the others were busily helping Charlotte to show her child to the housekeeper, she quitted it again, stealing away through the winding shrubberies, now just beginning to be in beauty, to gain a distant eminence; where, from its Grecian temple, her eye, wandering over a…
"To be sure," continued Lucy, after a few minutes silence on both sides, "his mother must provide for him sometime or other; but poor Edward is so cast down by it!
She blushed at this hint; but it was even visibly gratifying to her; and after a ten minutes’ interval of earnest thought, she came to her sister again, and said with great good humour, "Perhaps, Elinor, it WAS rather ill-judged in me to go to Allenham; but Mr. Willoughby wanted particularly to shew me the place; and it is a charming house, I assure you.
) Colonel Brandon, who was here only ten minutes ago, has desired me to say, that understanding you mean to take orders, he has great pleasure in offering you the living of Delaford now just vacant, and only wishes it were more valuable.
There are no more uses of "minuteness" in the book.