or 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 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