Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/127

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97
THE WATSONS

Tutor to Lord Osborne, now Clergyman of the Parish in which the Castle stood; Mrs. Blake, a widow-sister who lived with him, her son a fine boy of ten years old, and Mr. Tom Musgrave, who probably imprisoned within his own room, had been listening in bitter impatience to the sound of the Music, for the last half hour. In their progress up the room, they paused almost immediately behind Emma, to receive the Compliments of some acquaintance, and she heard Lady Osborne observe that they had made a point of coming early for the gratification of Mrs. Blake’s little boy, who was uncommonly fond of dancing. Emma looked at them all as they passed, but chiefly and with most interest on Tom Musgrave, who was certainly a genteel, good looking young man. Of the females, Lady Osborne had by much the finest person; though nearly fifty, she was very handsome, and had all the Dignity of Rank.

Lord Osborne was a very fine young man; but there was an air of Coldness, of Carelessness, even of Awkwardness about him, which seemed to speak him out of his Element in a Ball-room. He came in fact only because it was judged expedient for him to please the Borough; he was not fond of Women’s company, and he never danced. Mr. Howard was an agreeable-looking Man, a little more than Thirty.

At the conclusion of the two Dances, Emma found herself, she knew not how, seated amongst the Osborne set; and she was immediately struck with the fine Countenance and animated gestures of the little boy, as he was standing before his Mother, wondering when they should begin. ‘You will not be surprised at Charles’s impatience,’ said Mrs. Blake, a lively pleasant-looking little Woman of 5 or 6 and 30, to a Lady who was standing near her, ‘when you know what a partner he is to have. Miss Osborne has been so very kind as to promise to dance the two first dances with him.’ ‘Oh!