Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty dignified
situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he and Elizabeth
were settled there, much to their satisfaction.
Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of many
months, and anxiously saying to herself, "Oh! when shall I leave you again?" A
degree of unexpected cordiality, however, in the welcome she received, did her
good. Her father and sister were glad to see her, for the sake of showing her the
house and furniture, and met her with kindness. Her making a fourth, when they
sat down to dinner, was noticed as an advantage.
Mrs. Clay was very pleasant, and very smiling, but her courtesies and smiles
were more a matter of course. Anne had always felt that she would pretend what
was proper on her arrival, but the complaisance of the others was unlooked for.
They were evidently in excellent spirits, and she was soon to listen to the causes.
They had no inclination to listen to her. After laying out for some compliments of
being deeply regretted in their old neighbourhood, which Anne could not pay,
they had only a few faint enquiries to make, before the talk must be all their own.
Uppercross excited no interest, Kellynch very little: it was all Bath.
They had the pleasure of assuring her that Bath more than answered their
expectations in every respect. Their house was undoubtedly the best in Camden
Place; their drawing-rooms had many decided advantages over all the others
which they had either seen or heard of, and the superiority was not less in the
style of the fitting-up, or the taste of the furniture. Their acquaintance was
exceedingly sought after. Everybody was wanting to visit them. They had drawn
back from many introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by
people of whom they knew nothing.
Here were funds of enjoyment. Could Anne wonder that her father and sister
were happy? She might not wonder, but she must sigh that her father should feel
no degradation in his change, should see nothing to regret in the duties and
dignity of the resident landholder, should find so much to be vain of in the
littlenesses of a town; and she must sigh, and smile, and wonder too, as
Elizabeth threw open the folding-doors and walked with exultation from one
drawing-room to the other, boasting of their space; at the possibility of that
woman, who had been mistress of Kellynch Hall, finding extent to be proud of
between two walls, perhaps thirty feet asunder.
But this was not all which they had to make them happy. They had Mr. Elliot too.
Anne had a great deal to hear of Mr. Elliot. He was not only pardoned, they were
delighted with him. He had been in Bath about a fortnight; (he had passed
through Bath in November, in his way to London, when the intelligence of Sir
Walter's being settled there had of course reached him, though only twenty-four
hours in the place, but he had not been able to avail himself of it;) but he had
now been a fortnight in Bath, and his first object on arriving, had been to leave
his card in Camden Place, following it up by such assiduous endeavours to meet,
and when they did meet, by such great openness of conduct, such readiness to