Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/143

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113
THE WATSONS

quite agree with my gouty foot, and Mr. Howard walked by me from the bottom to the top, and would make me take his arm. It struck me as very becoming in so young a Man, but I am sure I had no claim to expect it; for I never saw him before in my Life. By the bye, he enquired after one of my Daughters, but I do not know which. I suppose you know among yourselves.’




On the third day after the Ball, as Nanny, at five minutes before three, was beginning to bustle into the parlour with the Tray and the Knife-case, she was suddenly called to the front door, by the sound of as smart a rap as the end of a riding-whip could give, and though charged by Miss Watson to let nobody in, returned in half a minute, with a look of awkward dismay, to hold the parlour door open for Lord Osborne and Tom Musgrave. The surprise of the young Ladies may be imagined. No visitors would have been welcome at such a moment; but such visitors as these, such a one as Lord Osborne at least, a nobleman and a stranger, was really distressing. He looked a little embarrassed himself; as, on being introduced by his easy, voluble friend, he muttered something of doing himself the honour of waiting on Mr. Watson. Though Emma could not but take the compliment of the visit to herself, she was very far from enjoying it. She felt all the inconsistency of such an acquaintance with the very humble style in which they were obliged to live; and having in her Aunt’s family been used to many of the Elegancies of Life, was fully sensible of all that must be open to the ridicule of Richer people in her present home. Of the pain of such feelings, Elizabeth knew very little; her simpler Mind, or juster reason, saved her from such mortification, and though shrinking under a general sense of Inferiority, she felt no particular Shame, Mr. Watson, as the Gentlemen