Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/130

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THE WATSONS

refreshment. The Tea-room was a small room within the Card-room, and in passing through the latter, where the passage was straightened by Tables, Mrs. Edwardes and her party were for a few moments hemmed in. It happened close by Lady Osborne’s Casino Table; Mr. Howard, who belonged to it, spoke to his Nephew; and Emma, on perceiving herself the object of attention both to Lady Osborne and him, had just turned away her eyes in time, to avoid seeming to hear her young companion delightedly whisper aloud: ‘Oh! Uncle, do look at my partner. She is so pretty!’ As they were immediately in motion again, however, Charles was hurried off without being able to receive his Uncle’s suffrage. On entering the Tea-room, in which two long Tables were prepared, Lord Osborne was to be seen quite alone at the end of one, as if retreating as far as he could from the Ball, to enjoy his own thoughts, and gape without restraint. Charles instantly pointed him out to Emma. ‘There’s Lord Osborne. Let you and I go and sit by him.’ ‘No, no,’ said Emma, laughing, ‘you must sit with my friends.’

Charles was now free enough to hazard a few questions in his turn. ‘What o’clock was it?’ ’Eleven.’ ‘Eleven! And I am not at all sleepy. Mamma said I should be asleep before ten. Do you think Miss Osborne will keep her word with me, when Tea is over?’ ‘Oh! yes. I suppose so,’—though she felt that she had no better reason to give than that Miss Osborne had not kept it before. ‘When shall you come to Osborne Castle?’ ‘Never, probably. I am not acquainted with the family.’ ‘But you may come to Wickstead and see Mamma, and she can take you to the Castle. There is a monstrous curious stuff’d Fox there, and a Badger; anybody would think they were alive. It is a pity you should not see them.’

On rising from Tea, there was again a scramble for the