On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs. Croft's seeing Kellynch Hall,
Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk to Lady Russell's, and
keep out of the way till all was over; when she found it most natural to be sorry
that she had missed the opportunity of seeing them.
This meeting of the two parties proved highly satisfactory, and decided the whole
business at once. Each lady was previously well disposed for an agreement, and
saw nothing, therefore, but good manners in the other; and with regard to the
gentlemen, there was such an hearty good humour, such an open, trusting
liberality on the Admiral's side, as could not but influence Sir Walter, who had
besides been flattered into his very best and most polished behaviour by Mr.
Shepherd's assurances of his being known, by report, to the Admiral, as a model
of good breeding.
The house and grounds, and furniture, were approved, the Crofts were approved,
terms, time, every thing, and every body, was right; and Mr. Shepherd's clerks
were set to work, without there having been a single preliminary difference to
modify of all that "This indenture showeth."
Sir Walter, without hesitation, declared the Admiral to be the best-looking sailor
he had ever met with, and went so far as to say, that if his own man might have
had the arranging of his hair, he should not be ashamed of being seen with him
any where; and the Admiral, with sympathetic cordiality, observed to his wife as
they drove back through the park, "I thought we should soon come to a deal, my
dear, in spite of what they told us at Taunton. The Baronet will never set the
Thames on fire, but there seems to be no harm in him." reciprocal compliments,
which would have been esteemed about equal.
The Crofts were to have possession at Michaelmas; and as Sir Walter proposed
removing to Bath in the course of the preceding month, there was no time to be
lost in making every dependent arrangement.
Lady Russell, convinced that Anne would not be allowed to be of any use, or any
importance, in the choice of the house which they were going to secure, was very
unwilling to have her hurried away so soon, and wanted to make it possible for
her to stay behind till she might convey her to Bath herself after Christmas; but
having engagements of her own which must take her from Kellynch for several
weeks, she was unable to give the full invitation she wished, and Anne though
dreading the possible heats of September in all the white glare of Bath, and
grieving to forego all the influence so sweet and so sad of the autumnal months
in the country, did not think that, everything considered, she wished to remain. It
would be most right, and most wise, and, therefore must involve least suffering to
go with the others.
Something occurred, however, to give her a different duty. Mary, often a little
unwell, and always thinking a great deal of her own complaints, and always in the
habit of claiming Anne when anything was the matter, was indisposed; and
foreseeing that she should not have a day's health all the autumn, entreated, or
rather required her, for it was hardly entreaty, to come to Uppercross Cottage,
and bear her company as long as she should want her, instead of going to Bath.