Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/147

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117
THE WATSONS

It is some foolery of that idle fellow Tom Musgrave. I cannot return the visit. I would not if I could.’ And when Tom Musgrave was met with again, he was commissioned with a message of excuse to Osborne Castle, on the too-sufficient plea of Mr. Watson’s infirm state of health.

A week or ten days rolled quietly away after this visit, before any new bustle arose to interrupt even for half a day the tranquil and affectionate intercourse of the two Sisters, whose mutual regard was increasing with the intimate knowledge of each other which such intercourse produced. The first circumstance to break in on this serenity, was the receipt of a letter from Croydon to announce the speedy return of Margaret, and a visit of two or three days from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Watson, who undertook to bring her home and wished to see their Sister Emma. It was an expectation to fill the thoughts of the Sisters at Stanton, and to busy the hours of one of them at least, for as Jane had been a woman of fortune, the preparations for her entertainment were considerable, and as Elizabeth had at all times more good will than method in her guidance of the house, she could make no change without a Bustle. An absence of fourteen years had made all her Brothers and Sisters Strangers to Emma, bur in her expectation of Margaret there was more than the awkwardness of such an alienation; she had heard things which made her dread her return; and the day which brought the party to Stanton seemed to her the probable conclusion of almost all that had been comfortable in the house. Robert Watson was an Attorney at Croydon, in a good way of Business; very well satisfied with himself for the same, and for having married the only daughter of the Attorney to whom he had been Clerk, with a fortune of six thousand pounds. Mrs. Robert was not less pleased with herself for having had that six thousand pounds, and for being now in possession of a very