Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/110

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As they splashed along the dirty Lane Miss Watson thus instructed and cautioned her inexperienc’d sister. ‘I dare say it will be a very good Ball, and among so many officers, you will hardly want partners. You will find Mrs. Edwardes’s maid very willing to help you, and I would advise you to ask Mary Edwardes’s opinion if you are at all at a loss, for she has a very good Taste. If Mr. Edwardes does not lose his money at cards, you will stay as late as you can wish for; if he does, he will hurry you home perhaps, but you are sure of some comfortable soup. I hope you will be in good looks. I should not be surprised if you were to be thought one of the prettiest girls in the room, there is a great deal in Novelty. Perhaps Tom Musgrave may take notice of you; but I would advise you by all means not to give him any encouragement. He generally pays attention to every new girl, but he is a great Hitt and never means anything serious.’ ‘I think I have heard you speak of him before,’ said Emma. ‘Who is he?’ ‘A young Man of very good fortune, quite independant, and remarkably agreeable, an universal favourite wherever he goes. Most of the girls hereabouts are in love with him, or have been. I believe I am the only one among them that have escaped with a whole heart, and yet I was the first he paid attention to, when he came into this Country, six years ago; and very great attention indeed did he pay me. Some people say that he has never seemed to like any girl so well since, though he is always behaving in a particular way to one or another.’

‘And how came your heart to be the only cold one?’ said Emma smiling. ‘There was a reason for that,’ replied Miss Watson, changing colour. ‘I have not been very well used, Emma, among them, I hope you will have better luck.’ ‘Dear Sister, I beg your pardon, if I have unthinkingly given you pain.’ ‘When first we knew Tom Musgrave,’ continued