Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility

A level 5 Oxford Bookworms Library graded reader. Retold for Learners of English by Clare West.

Sometimes the Dashwood girls do not seem like sisters. Elinor is all calmness and reason, and can be relied upon for practical, common sense opinions. Marianne, on the other hand, is all sensibility, full of passionate and romantic feeling. She has no time for dull common sense — or for middle-aged men of thirty-five, long past the age of marriage. True love can only be felt by the young, of course. And if your heart is broken at the age of seventeen, how can you ever expect to recover from the passionate misery that fills your life, waking and sleeping?
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    And dear Mrs Jennings too – I hope she will say a good word for us to any friend who may be able to help us.
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    You are right, my dear,’ said her husband seriously. ‘Perhaps I should give them half that. Five hundred pounds would be a valuable present for them.’
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    For very many years there had been Dashwoods living in Sussex, in the south of England. The family owned a large area of land around their country house, Norland Park. Recently the head of the family, an unmarried man of great age, had invited into his home his nephew, who was expected to inherit the house and land, with his wife and children. The nephew, Mr Henry Dashwood, and his wife behaved kindly and thoughtfully towards the old gentleman, not from interest in his fortune, but from goodness of heart, so that he was able to spend his last years comfortably with these pleasant and cheerful companions.

    By his first wife Mr Henry Dashwood had one son, John; by his present wife, three daughters. John, a respectable, serious young man, had received a large inheritance from his mother, and had also added to his wealth by his own marriage. To him, therefore, the Norland fortune was not as important as to his sisters, who had very little money of their own.

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