فصل 04

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 04

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Two Young Men

A few days passed, but Willoughby and Marianne said nothing about their engagement. Elinor could not understand it. Willoughby visited Barton Cottage every day and he spent most of his time with Marianne. The two young people were completely happy. Willoughby’s love for the beautiful girl and his liking for all her family became stronger as each day passed.

One evening, Mrs Dashwood was talking about her plans to change Barton Cottage. The Dashwoods wanted to build extra rooms in the cottage and decorate it with new paint.

‘Oh, do not change anything in the cottage, my dear Mrs Dashwood!’ Willoughby cried. ‘Nothing must be changed! Barton Cottage is perfect!’

‘But the stairs are too narrow and the fireplace in the kitchen needs to be repaired,’ Elinor said with a smile.

‘Change nothing in this dear little house,’ Willoughby repeated. ‘And never, never change your feelings towards me. We have all been so happy here. Everything must stay the same. Please promise me that nothing will be changed.’

Mrs Dashwood smiled at Willoughby’s words and a few hours later, Willoughby got ready to return to Allenham.

‘We must call on Lady Middleton tomorrow morning,’ Mrs Dashwood told him. ‘But shall we see you here at dinner tomorrow evening?’

Willoughby bowed politely and said that he would be at the cottage at four o’clock.

The next morning, Mrs Dashwood, Elinor and Margaret went to visit Lady Middleton. Marianne stayed at home.

When the ladies returned, Willoughby’s yellow curricle, with its two black horses, was outside the cottage.

The Dashwoods went inside. Moments later, they were surprised to see Marianne run past them. She was holding a handkerchief to her face. Weeping loudly, she ran upstairs to her room.

The door of the drawing-room was open and Willoughby was standing by the fireplace. His back was towards them.

‘What is the matter with Marianne?’ Mrs Dashwood cried. ‘Is she ill?’

Willoughby turned around. He looked very unhappy.

‘No, Marianne is not ill,’ he replied. ‘But I have had some very bad news and she is upset. Mrs Smith has given me her orders. I cannot disobey her. She is sending me on business to London. I must go at once.’

‘But you will not be away for long, I hope?’ Mrs Dashwood asked with a smile.

‘You are very kind,’ Willoughby answered, ‘but I am afraid that I cannot give you an answer. I never visit Mrs Smith more than once a year. I shall not be returning to Allenham Court for some time.’

‘But what about your friends here at Barton Cottage? You are welcome to visit us at any time, you know that.’

Willoughby could not look at Mrs Dashwood. His face became very red.

‘You are very kind,’ he said again, quietly. ‘But I have many things to do in London. I cannot promise that I will return soon. I must go now. There is no more to say. I must leave you at once.’

Willoughby bowed and left the room quickly. In a few minutes, he was out of the house, in his carriage, and driving away.

Mrs Dashwood and Elinor looked at each other. They did not know what to think. Had Willoughby and Marianne quarrelled? What about their engagement? Were they engaged at all?

Mrs Dashwood did not want to have a bad opinion of Willoughby. She wanted to believe that there was a very important reason for his strange behaviour. She thought that the young man loved her daughter.

‘It cannot be Willoughby’s fault that he has to go to London,’ Mrs Dashwood said to Elinor. ‘Mrs Smith must have heard about his friendship with Marianne. It has made the old lady angry. Perhaps Willoughby cannot tell his aunt about his engagement to Marianne at this time. Perhaps he thinks that he must leave Devon for a short time. Do you agree with me, Elinor?’

‘I do not know. We cannot be sure, mama,’ Elinor replied.

‘Not sure?’ Mrs Dashwood cried. ‘Have you no feelings, Elinor? Everyone can see how much Willoughby and Marianne love each other!’

‘I can believe in their love,’ Elinor said, ‘but I cannot believe in their engagement. Neither Willoughby nor Marianne have spoken about their engagement. Why not? Why must it be a secret?’

‘I am sure that Mrs Smith is the problem,’ Mrs Dashwood said quickly. ‘Willoughby must be very careful. He is very dependent on his aunt. He will inherit her property when she dies. He was very upset. You saw that, Elinor. He did not want to leave Marianne.’

‘I am very fond of Willoughby, mama. I shall say nothing more against him,’ Elinor said. ‘We will know the truth very soon.’

When Marianne came downstairs tor dinner, her eyes were red. She had been weeping. She did not eat and she did not speak. After a few minutes, she began to cry again and she soon left the room.

That night, Elinor heard Marianne weeping and in the morning, Marianne had a bad headache. She had been awake all night. She did not eat any breakfast. Instead, she went for a walk by herself. In the evening, she sang all of Willoughby’s favourite songs and then she began to cry again. She wept for many hours.

After a few days, Marianne was a little calmer, but she was still very unhappy. No letters came from Willoughby.

‘Mama, please ask Marianne about her engagement,’ Elinor said to her mother.

‘No, no, I cannot,’ Mrs Dashwood said. ‘Marianne will tell us all about it when she is ready. She is too unhappy to talk about it at the moment.’

About a week after Willoughby had left Devon, Marianne agreed to go for a walk with her sisters. When they stepped onto the road outside the cottage, they stopped for a moment. A gentleman was riding his horse towards them.

‘It is him!’ Marianne cried, it is Willoughby!’

‘No, this gentleman is not tall enough,’ Elinor said, it cannot be Willoughby.’

‘It is Willoughby, it is. I knew that he would come,’ Marianne said and she began to run towards the visitor.

But Marianne was disappointed. The visitor was not Willoughby - it was Edward Ferrars.

‘He is here, at last!’ Elinor thought.

Edward got off his horse and walked with the girls into Barton Cottage. He was very quiet and he looked unhappy. He did not look at Elinor.

‘Have you come from London, Edward?’ Marianne asked the young man.

‘No, I have not come from London,’ Edward replied. ‘I have been in Devon for two weeks.’

Two weeks!’ Marianne repeated in surprise. ‘Why have you not come to see us before today?’

Edward looked very embarrassed. ‘I have been staying with friends near Plymouth,’ he said quietly.

‘Have you been in Sussex recently?’ Elinor asked the young man.

‘I was at Norland about a month ago,’ Edward replied.

‘Dear, dear Norland!’ Marianne cried. ‘I miss our beautiful home in Sussex. But Barton is beautiful, too, is it not? Look at those hills! And over there is Barton Park, surrounded by all its lovely trees!’

‘Barton is certainly in a beautiful part of Devon,’ Edward replied. ‘But in winter, these roads must be very wet and muddy.’

Marianne felt sorry for a man who thought about mud rather than beautiful trees.

Elinor was pleased to see Edward, but she could not understand why he had come. He did not look happy to see her at all.

Mrs Dashwood gave Edward a warm welcome to Barton Cottage and invited him to stay for several days. Edward accepted her invitation and he began to be more cheerful.

‘What are your plans, Edward?’ Mrs Dashwood asked him at dinner. ‘Have you decided on a profession? Will you join the army or the navy? Or will you study law? Will you become a famous soldier, sailor, or lawyer? Your mother has great plans for you, I am sure.’

Edward smiled and shook his head.

‘I shall never be a great man,’ he said. ‘And I do not want to be famous. I am very shy, as you know, and I do not like meeting strangers.’

‘But we are your friends, Edward,’ Marianne said. ‘You do not need to be shy with us. Do not hide your true feelings from us.’

‘I apologise,’ said Edward. ‘I know that you are my friend - and I shall try to be more cheerful.’

Elinor was sorry for her friend. He was certainly very unhappy, but she could not understand why.

At breakfast the next morning, Marianne saw that Edward was wearing a ring with a lock of hair in it.

‘You are wearing a new ring, Edward,’ Marianne said. ‘Is that a lock of your sister’s hair inside it? I thought that Fanny’s hair was darker.’

Edward answered very quietly. ‘You are right. This is my sister’s hair,’ he said. But he looked at Elinor as he spoke. She was sure that the lock of hair was her own. She felt pleased, but she did not say anything.

Later that morning, Sir John and Mrs Jennings came to visit. Mrs Jennings was very interested to hear that Edward’s last name was Ferrars. She was already thinking of jokes about the letter F. She was already thinking of teasing Elinor about Edward.

Edward Ferrars stayed at Barton Cottage for a week. During that time, he became happier, but he said very little. Elinor believed that his mother was making Edward unhappy. But Mrs Dashwood had another idea.

‘Edward,’ she said as he was leaving. ‘You have nothing to do. That is why you are not happy. You are an educated man. You should have a profession.’

‘I agree, Mrs Dashwood,’ Edward said sadly, I would like to be a clergyman, but my family do not believe that this is a good profession. My parents wanted me to be a soldier or a lawyer, but these professions were not right for me. When I was eighteen, my parents sent me to study in Oxford. However, since then, I have done nothing.

‘And I believe that I will never do what I wish to do,’ the young man added sadly.

‘Dear Edward, try to be happy,’ Mrs Dashwood said. ‘The future may be better than you think.’

Edward bowed politely. He thanked Mrs Dashwood for her kindness. Then he smiled sadly at Elinor and left Barton Cottage without another word.

Marianne had wept when Willoughby went away. But when Edward left, Elinor did not show her feelings. She sat down at a little table in the sitting-room and began to draw. She was busy all day, but she was thinking of Edward. Elinor was very worried about him. Then she remembered the ring that Edward was wearing. He was wearing a ring with a lock of hair in it - hair which she believed was hers - and she felt much happier.

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