Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/132

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reason why you should not be here, but we had better all be together.’ Emma was saved the Trouble of apologizing, by their being joined at the moment by Tom Musgrave, who requesting Mrs. Edwardes aloud to do him the honour of presenting him to Miss Emma Watson, left that good Lady without any choice in the business, but that of testifying by the coldness of her manner that she did it unwillingly. The honour of dancing with her was solicited without loss of time, and Emma, however she might like to be thought a beautiful girl by Lord or Commoner, was so little disposed to favour Tom Musgrave himself, that she had considerable satisfaction in avowing her prior Engagement. He was evidently surprised and discomposed. The style of her last partner had probably led him to believe her not overpowered with applications. ‘My little friend Charles Blake,’ he cried, ‘must not expect to engross you the whole evening. We can never suffer this. It is against the rules of the Assembly, and I am sure it will never be patronised by our good friend here, Mrs. Edwardes. She is by much too nice a judge of Decorum to give her license to such a dangerous Particularity.’ ‘I am not going to dance with Master Blake, Sir.’ The Gentleman, a little disconcerted, could only hope he might be more fortunate another time, and seeming unwilling to leave her, though his friend Lord Osborne was waiting in the Doorway for the result, as Emma with some amusement perceived, he began to make civil enquiries after her family. ‘How comes it, that we have not the pleasure of seeing your Sisters here this Evening? Our Assemblies have been used to be so well treated by them, that we do not know how to take this neglect.’ ‘My eldest Sister is the only one at home, and she could not leave my Father.’ ‘Miss Watson the only one at home! You astonish me! It seems but the day before yesterday that I saw them all three in this Town. But I am afraid I have