Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/138

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seeing your Sister.’ This was precisely what Emma had longed for; and she accepted the offer most thankfully; acknowledging that as Elizabeth was entirely alone, it was her wish to return home to dinner. The plan was warmly opposed by their Visitor. ‘I cannot suffer it indeed. I must not be deprived of the happiness of escorting you. I assure you there is not a possibility of fear with my Horses. You might guide them yourself. Your Sisters all know how quiet they are; they have none of them the smallest scruple in trusting themselves with me, even on a Race Course. Believe me,’ added he, lowering his voice, ‘you are quite safe, the danger is only mine.’ Emma was not more disposed to oblige him for all this. ‘And as to Mrs. Edwardes’s carriage being used the day after a Ball, it is a thing quite out of rule, I assure you—never heard of before—the old Coachman will look as black as his Horses. Won’t he, Miss Edwardes?’ No notice was taken. The Ladies were silently firm, and the gentleman found himself obliged to submit.

‘What a famous Ball we had last night!’ he cried, after a short pause. ‘How long did you keep it up, after the Osbornes and I went away?’ ‘We had two dances more.’ ‘It is making it too much of a fatigue, I think, to stay so late. I suppose your Set was not a very full one.’ ‘Yes, quite as full as ever, except the Osbornes. There seemed no vacancy anywhere, and everybody danced with uncommon spirit to the very last.’ Emma said this, though against her conscience. ‘Indeed! perhaps I might have looked in upon you again, if I had been aware of as much; for I am rather fond of dancing than not. Miss Osborne is a charming girl, is not she?’ ‘I do not think her handsome,’ replied Emma, to whom all this was chiefly addressed. ‘Perhaps she is not critically handsome, but her Manners are delightful. And Fanny Carr is a most interesting little creature. You can imagine