Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/145

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115
THE WATSONS

which made his Lordship think; and when he addressed her again, it was with a degree of considerable propriety, totally unlike the half-awkward, half-fearless style of his former remarks. It was a new thing with him to wish to please a woman; it was the first time that he had ever felt what was due to a woman, in Emma’s situation. But as he wanted neither Sense nor a good disposition, he did not feel it without effect. ‘You have not been long in this Country, I understand,’ said he, in the tone of a Gentleman. ‘I hope you are pleased with it.’ He was rewarded by a gracious answer, and a more liberal full view of her face than she had yet bestowed. Unused to exert himself; and happy in contemplating her, he then sat in silence for some minutes longer, while Tom Musgrave was chattering to Elizabeth, till they were interrupted by Nanny’s approach, who half opening the door and putting in her head, said: ‘Please, Ma’am, Master wants to know why he ben’t to have his dinner.’ The Gentlemen, who had hitherto disregarded every symptom, however positive, of the nearness of that Meal, now jumped up with apologies, while Elizabeth called briskly after Nanny ‘to tell Betty to take up the Fowls.’ ‘I am sorry it happens so,’ she added, turning good-humouredly towards Musgrave, ‘but you know what early hours we keep.’ Tom had nothing to say for himself, he knew it very well, and such honest simplicity, such shameless Truth rather bewildered him. Lord Osborne’s parting Compliments took some time, his inclination for speech seeming to increase with the shortness of the term for indulgence. He recommended Exercise in defiance of dirt, spoke again in praise of Half-boots, begged that his Sister might be allow’d to send Emma the name of her Shoemaker, and concluded with saying, ‘My Hounds will be hunting this Country next week; I believe they will throw off at Stanton Wood on Wednesday at 9 o’clock.