Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/173

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141
CANCELLED CHAPTER OF ‘PERSUASION’

she joined them not long afterwards. She probably, in the observations of the next ten minutes, saw something to suspect, and though it was hardly possible for a woman of her description to wish the Mantua maker had imprisoned her longer, she might be very likely wishing for some excuse to run about the house, some storm to break the windows above, or a summons to the Admiral’s Shoemaker below. Fortune favoured them all, however, in another way—in a gentle, steady rain, just happily set in as the Admiral returned and Anne rose to go. She was earnestly invited to stay dinner; a note was dispatched to Camden Place, and she staid—staid till ten at night. And during that time, the Husband and wife, either by the wife’s contrivance, or by simply going on in their usual way, were frequently out of the room together—gone up stairs to hear a noise, or down stairs to settle their accounts, or upon the Landing place to trim the Lamp. And these precious moments were turned to so good an account that all the most anxious feelings of the past were gone through. Before they parted at night, Anne had the felicity of being assured in the first place that (so far from being altered for the worse!) she had gained inexpressibly in personal Loveliness; and that, as to Character, hers was now fixed on his Mind as Perfection itself; maintaining the just Medium of Fortitude and Gentleness; that he had never ceased to love and prefer her, though it had been only at Uppercross that he had learnt to do her Justice, and only at Lyme that he had begun to understand his own sensations; that at Lyme he had received Lessons of more than one kind; the passing admiration of Mr. Elliot had at least roused him, and the scenes on the Cobb and at Captain Harville’s had fixed her superiority. In his preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the attempts of Anger and Pique) he protested that he had continually felt the impossibility of really caring for Louisa,