A gentleman, whose family name I shall conceal, bought a small cottage in Pembrokeshire about two years ago. This daring action was suggested to him by his elder brother who promised to furnish two rooms and a closet for him, provided he would take a small house near the borders of an extensive forest, and about three miles from the sea. Wilhelminus gladly accepted the offer and continued for some time searching after such a retreat when he was one morning agreeably relieved from his suspense by reading this advertisement in a newspaper.
To be Lett
A Neat Cottage on the borders of an extensive forest and about three Miles from the Sea. It is ready furnished except two rooms and a Closet.
The delighted Wilhelminus posted away immediately to his brother, and showed him the advertisement. Robertus congratulated him and sent him in his carriage to take possession of the cottage. After travelling for three days and six nights without stopping, they arrived at the forest and following a track which led by its’ side down a steep Hill over which ten Rivulets meandered, they reached the Cottage in half an hour. Wilhelminus alighted, and after knocking for some time without receiving any answer or hearing any one stir within, he opened the door which was fastened only by a wooden latch and entered a small room, which he immediately perceived to be one of the two that were unfurnished – from thence he proceeded into a closet equally bare. A pair of stairs that went out of it led him into a room above, no less destitute, and these apartments he found composed the whole of the house. He was by no means displeased with this discovery, as he had the comfort of reflecting that he should not be obliged to lay out anything on furniture himself. He returned immediately to his brother, who took him the next day to every shop in town, and bought whatever was requisite to furnish the two rooms and the closet. In a few days everything was completed, and Wilhelminus returned to take possession of his cottage. Robertus accompanied him, with his Lady the amiable Cecilia and her two lovely sisters Arabella and Marina to whom Wilhelminus was tenderly attached, and a large number of Attendants. An ordinary genius might probably have been embarrassed, in endeavouring to accommodate so large a party, but Wilhelminus with admirable presence of mind gave orders for the immediate erection of two noble tents in an open spot in the forest adjoining the house. Their construction was both simple and elegant – a couple of old blankets, each supported by four sticks, gave a striking proof of that taste for architecture and that happy ease in overcoming difficulties which were some of Wilhelminus’s most striking virtues.
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Jane Austen (1775-1817) was a writer. She was best known for her novels including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma.