Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/171

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139
CANCELLED CHAPTER OF ‘PERSUASION’

he turned round in half a minute, and coming towards the Table where she sat, said, in a voice of effort and constraint: ‘You must have heard too much already, Madam, to be in any doubt of my having promised Admiral Croft to speak to you on some particular subject, and this conviction determines me to do so, however repugnant to my—to all my sense of propriety, to be taking so great a liberty. You will acquit me of Impertinence, I trust, by considering me as speaking only for another, and speaking by Necessity; and the Admiral is a Man who can never be thought Impertinent by one who knows him as you do. His Intentions are always the kindest and the Best; and you will perceive that he is actuated by none other, in the application which I am now with—with very peculiar feelings—obliged to make.’ He stopped, but merely to recover breath; not seeming to expect any answer. Anne listened, as if her Life depended on the issue of his Speech. He proceeded, with a forced alacrity. ‘The Admiral, Madam, was this morning confidently informed that you were—upon my word I am quite at a loss, ashamed’ (breathing and speaking quick)—‘the awkwardness of giving Information of this sort to one of the Parties. You can be at no loss to understand me. It was very confidently said that Mr. Elliot—that everything was settled in the family for an Union between Mr. Elliot—and yourself. It was added that you were to live at Kellynch—that Kellynch was to be given up. This, the Admiral knew, could not be correct. But it occurred to him that it might be the wish of the Parties. And my commission from him, Madam, is to say, that if the Family wish is such, his Lease of Kellynch shall be cancel’d, and he and my sister will provide themselves with another home, without imagining themselves to be doing anything which under similar circumstances would not be done for them. This is all, Madam. A very few words in