Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/131

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101
THE WATSONS

pleasure of being first out of the room, which happened to be increased by one or two of the card parties having just broken up and the players being disposed to move exactly the different way. Among these was Mr. Howard, his sister leaning on his arm, and no sooner were they within reach of Emma, than Mrs. Blake, calling her notice by a friendly touch, said: ‘Your goodness to Charles, my dear Miss Watson, brings all his family upon you. Give me leave to introduce my Brother—Mr. Howard.’ Emma curtsied, the gentleman bowed, made a hasty request for the honour of her hand in the two next dances, to which as hasty an affirmative was given, and they were immediately impelled in opposite directions. Emma was very well pleased with the circumstance; there was a quietly-cheerful, gentlemanlike air in Mr. Howard which suited her, and in a few minutes afterwards, the value of her Engagement increased, when as she was sitting in the Card-room somewhat screened by a door, she heard Lord Osborne, who was lounging on a vacant Table near her, call Tom Musgrave towards him and say, ‘Why do not you dance with that beautiful Emma Watson? I want you to dance with her, and I will come and stand by you.’ ‘I was determining on it this very moment, my Lord; I’ll be introduced and dance with her directly.’ ‘Aye, do, and if you find she does not want much Talking to, you may introduce me by and bye.’ ‘Very well, my Lord. If she is like her Sisters, she will only want to be listened to. I will go this moment. I shall find her in the Tea-room. That stiff old Mrs. Edwardes has never done tea.’ Away he went, Lord Osborne after him, and Emma lost no time in hurrying from her corner, exactly the other way, forgetting in her haste that she left Mrs. Edwardes behind. ‘We had quite lost you,’ said Mrs. Edwardes, who followed her with Mary, in less than five minutes. ‘If you prefer this room to the other, there is no