Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/133

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103
THE WATSONS

been a very sad neighbour of late. I hear dreadful complaints of my negligence wherever I go, and I confess it is a shameful length of time since I was at Stanton. But I shall now endeavour to make myself amends for the past.’ Emma’s calm curtsey in reply must have struck him as very unlike the encouraging warmth he had been used to receive from her Sisters, and gave him probably the novel sensation of doubting his own influence, and of wishing for more attention than she bestowed. The dancing now recommenced; Miss Carr being impatient to call, everybody was required to stand up, and Tom Musgrave’s curiosity was appeased, on seeing Mr. Howard come forward and claim Emma’s hand. ‘That will do as well for me,’ was Lord Osborne’s remark, when his friend carried him the news, and he was continually at Howard’s Elbow during the two dances. The frequency of his appearance there, was the only unpleasant part of her engagement, the only objection she could make to Mr. Howard. In himself, she thought him as agreeable as he looked; though chatting on the commonest topics, he had a sensible, unaffected way of expressing himself; which made them all worth hearing, and she only regretted that he had not been able to make his pupil’s Manners as unexceptionable as his own. The two dances seemed very short, and she had her partner’s authority for considering them so. At their conclusion the Osbornes and their Train were all on the move, ‘We are off at last,’ said his Lordship to Tom. ‘How much longer do you stay in this Heavenly place?—till Sunrise?’ ‘No, faith! my Lord, I have had quite enough of it. I assure you I shall not shew myself here again when I have had the honour of attending Lady Osborne to her Carriage. I shall retreat in as much secrecy as possible to the most remote corner of the Inn, where I shall order a Barrel of Oysters, and be famously snug.’ ‘Let us see you soon at the Castle; and bring me word how