Jane Austen’s Sanditon: Plot Summary Chapters 9-12

Chapter 9

While walking Charlotte notices a new arrival at the hotel unloading luggage. She returns to Trafalgar House and while walking notices a nimble woman behind her at a distance who catches up and enters. Mr. and Mrs. Parker introduce Diana Parker. They are surprised at her unannounced arrival. Susan and Arthur are with her. She has a thousand fears for her sister Susan who bore the travel tolerably well. No hysterics until they reached Sanditon.  She is sure that Arthur has lumbago. The West Indians she had told him of prove to be Mrs. Griffiths and her family. She knows of them through a particular friend of her very particular friend Fanny Noyce who recommended Sanditon to her. Diana goes on and on to explaining the links of communication and extremes she has gone to secure new visitors for her brother’s project. Mrs. Griffiths has concerns about accommodations because of Miss Lambe, a sickly young heiress under her care. She decided to come immediately to secure Mrs. Griffiths lodging and servants even though she has not heard the particulars of the size of the party or their needs. Charlotte looks astonished at the story thinking “unaccountable officiousness!” “activity run mad!” Diana explains that the world is divided between the weak of mind and the strong and those who can act and those who cannot. “It is the bounden duty of the capable to let no opportunity of being useful escape them.” Mr. Parker asks his siblings to dine. Diana declines. Susan never eats and she does not eat for a week after a journey. Arthur must be checked. Diana is confident that the Camberwell Seminary will arrive. She has word from Mrs. Charles Dupuis who lives next door to a lady whose relation works at the seminary as an instructor. She got him a hare from Sidney’s friend and he recommended Sanditon to Mrs. Dupuis who recommended it to Mrs. Griffiths.

Chapter 10

Charlotte suspects a good deal of fancy in Diana Parker’s illnesses and her complaints are invented. “It would seem that they must either be very busy for the good of others or else extremely ill themselves.” Diana is busy in arrangements for Mrs. Griffiths, even though she never employed her to do so. Charlotte is invited to tea with Diana and meets Susan and Arthur Parker. The drawing room was shut up with not an open window and a blazing fire even though it was a fair English summer. Susan was thin and worn by illness and medicine. She had a more relaxed air and calmer voice than her sister, but also talked as incessantly as Diana. Arthur was tall, robust, stout, lusty with no look of an invalid. That morning Susan had superintended their removal from the hotel to their lodging carrying 3 heavy boxes. Arthur thought it too chilly outside and sat by the fire explaining that it was needed to keep out the damp sea air which gives him rheumatism. He is also troubled with nerves. His sisters think he is bilious, but he disagrees. Charlotte recommends daily exercise for nerves. Tea is served and Arthur is lost in his cocoa and buttered toast. His sisters disapprove of him making his cocoa so strong. He brags that he is a fine bread toaster and never burns it recommending butter or it is unwholesome for the stomach. His sisters chastise him for using too much butter. He scrapes some off and then when they are not looking adds a great dab back before it goes in his mouth. His enjoyments in invalidism were less spiritualized than his sisters. Charlotte thinks he has adopted that line of life because of their influence. He shocked by Charlotte drinking two cups of green tea claiming that much would act like poison and take away the use of his right side. A letter of introduction for Mrs. Griffiths arrives from the hotel from Mrs. Charles Dupuis. Diana thinks there are now two Mrs. Griffiths from Camberwell, and a second Miss Lambe. She doubts it is the same, but they all think they are one in the same. Even though she is fatigued, Diana must repair to the hotel and offer them her services.

Chapter 11

Diana is embarrassed to admit that the family from Surrey and Camberwell are one in the same. She regrets the long journey from Hampshire, a brother disappointed, an expensive house for a week rented, and worse than all the rest, the sensation of her knowing that she was not clear-sighted and infallible as she had believed herself.  It did not trouble her for long. Mrs. Griffiths brings only three girls with her. Miss Lambe was the most important and precious as she paid in proportion to her fortune. She was about seventeen, half mulatto, chilly and tender and was always of first consequence. The other two girls were the Miss Beauforts were as common as any young ladies in the kingdom with tolerable complexions and showy figures, very accomplish and very ignorant. Their time was divided between pursuits to attract the admiration of men and the pursuit of fashion in order to captivate some man of better fortune than their own. Lady Denham calls on Mrs. Griffiths to be introduced to Miss Lambe, the very sickly and rich heiress she wants for Sir Edward. She offers her a chamber-horse for Miss Lambe.

Chapter 12

Charlotte plans to visit Sanditon House. Mr. Parker wants his wife to ask her Ladyship for donations to the poor. Mrs. Parker balks but will do as he bids. Diana Parker remarks there is noting to it. She also wishes her to present a long lists of charities to her. “And I look upon her to be the sort of person who, when once she is prevailed on to undraw her purse, would as readily give ten guineas as five.” Mrs. Parker objects, “I could no more mention these things to Lady Denham than I could fly.” Diana does not see the difficulty and would go herself but she must encourage Miss Lambe to take her first dip. Then she must hurry home because Susan has leeches at one o’clock. Then they shall all go to bed. If Arthur stays up, he will only eat and drink more than her ought. Mr. Parker withdraws his request of his wife which relieves her of pressing Diana’s causes. Charlotte and Mrs. Parker set off for Sanditon House. A carriage arrives bearing Sidney Parker who has just come from Eastbourne and will spend two or three days. Two friends will be joining him. Sidney was about 27 or 28, very good looking with a decided air of fashion. Along there walk Charlotte catches a glimpse of something white and womanish in a field. Miss Brereton is seated with Sir Edward Denham at her side having an intimate conversation. “Among other points of moralising reflection which the sight of this tete-a-tete produced, Charlotte could not but think of the extreme difficulty which secret lovers must have in finding a proper spot for their stolen interviews.” They arrive at Sanditon House which is well proportioned and furnished but not new and showy. A large portrait of Sir Henry Denham hangs over the fireplace. Poor Mr. Hollis only gets a miniature in the corner and is obliged to sit back in his own house and see the best place by the fire constantly occupied by Sir Henry Denham. Poor Mr. Hollis.

Favorite words: alacrity, belles letters, superfluity, circuitous, hitherto, efficacy, dross, perturbation, solicitude, importunate, assignation, assiduously


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