Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/109

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Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea - The Watsons - Headpiece.png


The first winter assembly in the Town of D[orking] in Surrey was to be held on Tuesday, October the thirteenth, and it was generally expected to be a very good one; a long list of County Families was confidently run over as sure of attending, and sanguine hopes were entertained that the Osbornes themselves would be there. The Edwardeses' invitation to the Watsons followed of course. The Edwardeses were people of fortune who lived in the Town and kept their coach; the Watsons inhabited a village about three miles distant, were poor and had no close carriage; and ever since there had been Balls in the place, the former were accustomed to invite the Latter to dress, dine and sleep at their House, on every monthly return throughout the winter. On the present occasion, as only two of Mr. Watson's children were at home, and one was always necessary as companion to himself, for he was sickly and had lost his wife, one only could profit by the kindness of their friends; Miss Emma Watson, who was very recently returned to her family from the care of an Aunt who had brought her up, was to make her first public appearance in the Neighbourhood; and her eldest sister, whose delight in a Ball was not lessened by a ten years' Enjoyment, had some merit in cheerfully undertaking to drive her and all her finery in the old chair to D[orking] on the important morning.