Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/153

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THE WATSONS

Dinner came, and except when Mrs. Robert looked at her husband’s head, she continued gay and flippant, chiding Elizabeth for the profusion on the Table, and absolutely protesting against the entrance of the roast Turkey, which formed the only exception to ‘You see your dinner.’ ‘I do beg and entreat that no Turkey may be seen today. I am really frightened out of my wits with the number of dishes we have already. Let us have no Turkey, I beseech you.’ ‘My dear,’ replied Elizabeth, ‘the Turkey is roasted, and it may just as well come in, as stay in the Kitchen. Besides, if it is cut, I am in hopes my Father may be tempted to eat a bit, for it is rather a favourite dish.’ ‘You may have it in, my dear, but I assure you I shan’t touch it.’

Mr. Watson had not been well enough to join the party at dinner, but was prevailed on to come down and drink tea with them. ‘I wish we may be able to have a game of cards tonight,’ said Elizabeth to Mrs. Robert, after seeing her father comfortably seated in his arm chair. ‘Not on my account, my dear, I beg. You know I am no card player. I think a snug chat infinitely better. I always say cards are very well sometimes, to break a formal circle, but one never wants them among friends.’ ‘I was thinking of its being something to amuse my father,’ answered Elizabeth, ‘if it was not disagreeable to you. He says his head won’t bear Whist, but perhaps if we make a round game he may be tempted to sit down with us.’ ‘By all means, my dear Creature. I am quite at your service. Only do not oblige me to choose the game, that’s all. Speculation is the only round game at Croydon now, but I can play anything. When there is only one or two of you at home, you must be quite at a loss to amuse him. Why do not you get him to play at Cribbage? Margaret and I have played at Cribbage, most nights that we have not been engaged.’ A sound like