Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/158

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Speculation. I cannot say I am very fond of Speculation.’ Mrs. Robert offered not another word in support of the game. She was quite vanquished, and the fashions of Osborne Castle carried it over the fashions of Croydon. ‘Do you see much of the Parsonage family at the Castle, Mr. Musgrave?’ said Emma, as they were taking their seats. ‘Oh! yes; they are almost always there. Mrs. Blake is a nice little good-humoured Woman, she and I are sworn friends; and Howard’s a very gentlemanlike good sort of fellow! You are not forgotten, I assure you, by any of the party. I fancy you must have a little cheek-glowing now and then, Miss Emma. Were not you rather warm last Saturday about 9 or 10 o’clock in the Evening? I will tell you how it was. I see you are dying to know. Says Howard to Lord Osborne——’ At this interesting moment he was called on by the others, to regulate the game and determine some disputable point; and his attention was so totally engaged in the business and afterwards by the course of the game as never to revert to what he had been saying before; and Emma, though suffering a good deal from Curiosity, dared not remind him. He proved a very useful addition at their Table; without him, it would have been a party of such very near relations as could have felt little Interest, and perhaps maintained little complaisance, but his presence gave variety and secured good manners. He was in fact excellently qualified to shine at a round Game; and few situations made him appear to greater advantage. He played with spirit, and had a great deal to say, and though with no wit himself, could sometimes make use of the wit of an absent friend; and had a lively way of retailing a commonplace, or saying a mere nothing, that had great effect at a Card Table. The ways and good Jokes of Osborne Castle were now added to his ordinary means of Entertainment; he repeated the smart sayings of one Lady, detailed the oversights of another, and