The Sisters looked on each other with astonishment, when their Visitors had withdrawn. ‘Here’s an unaccountable Honour!’ cried Elizabeth at last. ‘Who would have thought of Lord Osborne’s coming to Stanton. He is very handsome; but Tom Musgrave looks all to nothing the smartest and most fashionable Man of the two. I am glad he did not say any thing to me; I would not have had to talk to such a great Man for the world. Tom was very agreeable, was not he? But did you hear him ask where Miss Penelope and Miss Margaret were, when he first came in? It put me out of patience. I am glad Nanny had not laid the Cloth, however, it would have looked so awkward; just the Tray did not signify.’ To say that Emma was not flattered by Lord Osborne’s visit, would be to assert a very unlikely thing, and describe a very odd young Lady; but the gratification was by no means unalloyed. His coming was a sort of notice which might please her vanity, but did not suit her pride, and she would rather have known that he wished the visit without presuming to make it, than have seen him at Stanton. Among other unsatisfactory reflections it once occurred to her to wonder why Mr. Howard had not taken the same privilege of coming, and accompanied his Lordship; but she was willing to suppose that he had either known nothing about it, or had declined any share in a measure which carried quite as much Impertinence in its form as Good breeding. Mr. Watson was very far from being delighted, when he heard what had passed; a little peevish under immediate pain, and ill disposed to be pleased, he only replied: ‘Phoo! Phoo! What occasion could there be for Lord Osborne’s coming? I have lived here fourteen years without being noticed by any of the family.
I mention this, in hopes of your being drawn out to see what’s going on. If the morning’s tolerable, pray do us the honour of giving us your good wishes in person.’