the rest of her sofa to her husband. She had no anxieties for anybody to cloud her pleasure: her own time had been irreproachably49 spent during his absence: she had done a great deal of carpet-work, and made many yards of fringe; and she would have answered as freely for the good conduct and useful pursuits of all the young people as for her own. It was so agreeable to her to see him again, and hear him talk, to have her ear amused and her whole comprehension filled by his narratives50, that she began particularly to feel how dreadfully she must have missed him, and how impossible it would have been for her to bear a lengthened51 absence.
Mrs. Norris was by no means to be compared in happiness to her sister. Not that she was incommoded by many fears of Sir Thomas’s disapprobation when the present state of his house should be known, for her judgment53 had been so blinded that, except by the instinctive54 caution with which she had whisked away Mr. Rushworth’s pink satin cloak as her brother-in-law entered, she could hardly be said to shew any sign of alarm; but she was vexed55 by the manner of his return. It had left her nothing to do. Instead of being sent for out of the room, and seeing him first, and having to spread the happy news through the house, Sir Thomas, with a very reasonable dependence56, perhaps, on the nerves of his wife and children, had sought no confidant but the butler, and had been following him almost instantaneously into the drawing-room. Mrs. Norris felt herself defrauded57 of an office on which she had always depended, whether his arrival or his death were to be the thing unfolded; and was now trying to be in a bustle without having anything to bustle about, and labouring to be important where nothing was wanted but tranquillity58 and silence. Would Sir Thomas have consented to eat, she might have gone to the housekeeper59 with troublesome directions, and insulted the footmen with injunctions of despatch60; but Sir Thomas resolutely61 declined all dinner: he would take nothing, nothing till tea came–he would rather wait for tea. Still Mrs. Norris was at intervals62 urging something different; and in the most interesting moment of his passage to England, when the alarm of a French privateer was at the height, she burst through his recital63 with the proposal of soup. “Sure, my dear Sir Thomas, a basin of soup would be a much better thing for you than tea. Do have a basin of soup.”