In the evening it was found, according to the predetermination of Mrs. Grant and her sister, that after making up the whist-table there would remain sufficient for a round game, and everybody being as perfectly13 complying and without a choice as on such occasions they always are, speculation14 was decided15 on almost as soon as whist; and Lady Bertram soon found herself in the critical situation of being applied16 to for her own choice between the games, and being required either to draw a card for whist or not. She hesitated. Luckily Sir Thomas was at hand.
“What shall I do, Sir Thomas? Whist and speculation; which will amuse me most?”
Sir Thomas, after a moment’s thought, recommended speculation. He was a whist player himself, and perhaps might feel that it would not much amuse him to have her for a partner.
“Very well,” was her ladyship’s contented17 answer; “then speculation, if you please, Mrs. Grant. I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me.”
Here Fanny interposed, however, with anxious protestations of her own equal ignorance; she had never played the game nor seen it played in her life; and Lady Bertram felt a moment’s indecision again; but upon everybody’s assuring her that nothing could be so easy, that it was the easiest game on the cards, and Henry Crawford’s stepping forward with a most earnest request to be allowed to sit between her ladyship and Miss Price, and teach them both, it was so settled; and Sir Thomas, Mrs. Norris, and Dr. and Mrs. Grant being seated at the table of prime intellectual state and dignity, the remaining six, under Miss Crawford’s direction, were arranged round the other. It was a fine arrangement for Henry Crawford, who was close to Fanny, and with his hands full of business, having two persons’ cards to manage as well as his own; for though it was