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Chapter 29
The ball was over, and the breakfast was soon over too; the last kiss was given,
and William was gone. Mr. Crawford had, as he foretold, been very punctual, and
short and pleasant had been the meal.
After seeing William to the last moment, Fanny walked back to the breakfast-
room with a very saddened heart to grieve over the melancholy change; and
there her uncle kindly left her to cry in peace, conceiving, perhaps, that the
deserted chair of each young man might exercise her tender enthusiasm, and
that the remaining cold pork bones and mustard in William's plate might but
divide her feelings with the broken egg-shells in Mr. Crawford's. She sat and
cried con amore as her uncle intended, but it was con amore fraternal and no
other. William was gone, and she now felt as if she had wasted half his visit in
idle cares and selfish solicitudes unconnected with him.
Fanny's disposition was such that she could never even think of her aunt Norris
in the meagreness and cheerlessness of her own small house, without
reproaching herself for some little want of attention to her when they had been
last together; much less could her feelings acquit her of having done and said
and thought everything by William that was due to him for a whole fortnight.
It was a heavy, melancholy day. Soon after the second breakfast, Edmund bade
them good-bye for a week, and mounted his horse for Peterborough, and then all
were gone. Nothing remained of last night but remembrances, which she had
nobody to share in. She talked to her aunt Bertram-- she must talk to somebody
of the ball; but her aunt had seen so little of what had passed, and had so little
curiosity, that it was heavy work. Lady Bertram was not certain of anybody's
dress or anybody's place at supper but her own. "She could not recollect what it
was that she had heard about one of the Miss Maddoxes, or what it was that
Lady Prescott had noticed in Fanny: she was not sure whether Colonel Harrison
had been talking of Mr. Crawford or of William when he said he was the finest
young man in the room-- somebody had whispered something to her; she had
forgot to ask Sir Thomas what it could be." And these were her longest speeches
and clearest communications: the rest was only a languid "Yes, yes; very well;
did you? did he? I did not see that; I should not know one from the other." This
was very bad. It was only better than Mrs. Norris's sharp answers would have
been; but she being gone home with all the supernumerary jellies to nurse a sick
maid, there was peace and good-humour in their little party, though it could not
boast much beside.
The evening was heavy like the day. "I cannot think what is the matter with me,"
said Lady Bertram, when the tea-things were removed. "I feel quite stupid. It
must be sitting up so late last night. Fanny, you must do something to keep me
awake. I cannot work. Fetch the cards; I feel so very stupid."
The cards were brought, and Fanny played at cribbage with her aunt till bedtime;
and as Sir Thomas was reading to himself, no sounds were heard in the room for
the next two hours beyond the reckonings of the game--"And that makes thirty-
one; four in hand and eight in crib. You are to deal, ma'am; shall I deal for you?"