Sir Thomas was indeed the life of the party, who at his suggestion now seated themselves round the fire. He had the best right to be the talker; and the delight of his sensations in being again in his own house, in the centre of his family, after such a separation, made him communicative and chatty in a very unusual degree; and he was ready to give every information as to his voyage, and answer every question of his two sons almost before it was put. His business in Antigua had latterly been prosperously rapid, and he came directly from Liverpool, having had an opportunity of making his passage thither40 in a private vessel41, instead of waiting for the packet; and all the little particulars of his proceedings43 and events, his arrivals and departures, were most promptly44 delivered, as he sat by Lady Bertram and looked with heartfelt satisfaction on the faces around him–interrupting himself more than once, however, to remark on his good fortune in finding them all at home–coming unexpectedly as he did–all collected together exactly as he could have wished, but dared not depend on. Mr. Rushworth was not forgotten: a most friendly reception and warmth of hand-shaking had already met him, and with pointed45 attention he was now included in the objects most intimately connected with Mansfield. There was nothing disagreeable in Mr. Rushworth’s appearance, and Sir Thomas was liking46 him already.
By not one of the circle was he listened to with such unbroken, unalloyed enjoyment47 as by his wife, who was really extremely happy to see him, and whose feelings were so warmed by his sudden arrival as to place her nearer agitation than she had been for the last twenty years. She had been almost fluttered for a few minutes, and still remained so sensibly animated48 as to put away her work, move Pug from her side, and give all her attention and all the rest of her sofa to her husband. She had no anxieties for anybody to cloud her pleasure: her own time had been