Saturday, December 26, 2009
Emma By Jane Austen VOLUME Ii
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 01
Emma and Harriet had been walking together one morning, and, in Emma's
opinion, had been talking enough of Mr. Elton for that day. She could
not think that Harriet's solace or her own sins required more; and she
was therefore industriously getting rid of the subject as they
returned;__but it burst out again when she thought she had succeeded,
and after speaking some time of what the poor must suffer in winter,
and receiving no other answer than a very plaintive__ "Mr. Elton is so
good to the poor!" she found something else must be done.
They were just approaching the house where lived Mrs. and Miss Bates.
She determined to call upon them and seek safety in numbers. There was
always sufficient reason for such an attention; Mrs. and Miss Bates
loved to be called on, and she knew she was considered by the very few
who presumed ever to see imperfection in her, as rather negligent in
that respect, and as not contributing what she ought to the stock of
their scanty comforts.
She had had many a hint from Mr. Knightley and some from her own heart,
as to her deficiency__but none were equal to counteract the persuasion
of its being very disagreeable,__a waste of time__tiresome women__and
all the horror of being in danger of falling in with the second_rate
and third_rate of Highbury, who were calling on them for ever, and
therefore she seldom went near them. But now she made the sudden
resolution of not passing their door without going in__observing, as
she proposed it to Harriet, that, as well as she could calculate, they
were just now quite safe from any letter from Jane Fairfax.
The house belonged to people in business. Mrs. and Miss Bates occupied
the drawing_room floor; and there, in the very moderate_sized
apartment, which was every thing to them, the visitors were most
cordially and even gratefully welcomed; the quiet neat old lady, who
with her knitting was seated in the warmest corner, wanting even to
give up her place to Miss Woodhouse, and her more active, talking
daughter, almost ready to overpower them with care and kindness, thanks
for their visit, solicitude for their shoes, anxious inquiries after
Mr. Woodhouse's health, cheerful communications about her mother's, and
sweet_cake from the beaufet__"Mrs. Cole had just been there, just
called in for ten minutes, and had been so good as to sit an hour with
them, and -she- had taken a piece of cake and been so kind as to say
she liked it very much; and, therefore, she hoped Miss Woodhouse and
Miss Smith would do them the favour to eat a piece too."
The mention of the Coles was sure to be followed by that of Mr. Elton.
There was intimacy between them, and Mr. Cole had heard from Mr. Elton
since his going away. Emma knew what was coming; they must have the
letter over again, and settle how long he had been gone, and how much
he was engaged in company, and what a favourite he was wherever he
went, and how full the Master of the Ceremonies' ball had been; and she
went through it very well, with all the interest and all the
commendation that could be requisite, and always putting forward to
prevent Harriet's being obliged to say a word.
This she had been prepared for when she entered the house; but meant,
having once talked him handsomely over, to be no farther incommoded by
any troublesome topic, and to wander at large amongst all the
Mistresses and Misses of Highbury, and their card_parties. She had not
been prepared to have Jane Fairfax succeed Mr. Elton; but he was
actually hurried off by Miss Bates, she jumped away from him at last
abruptly to the Coles, to usher in a letter from her niece.
"Oh! yes__Mr. Elton, I understand__certainly as to dancing__ Mrs. Cole
was telling me that dancing at the rooms at Bath was__ Mrs. Cole was so
kind as to sit some time with us, talking of Jane; for as soon as she
came in, she began inquiring after her, Jane is so very great a
favourite there. Whenever she is with us, Mrs. Cole does not know how
to shew her kindness enough; and I must say that Jane deserves it as
much as any body can. And so she began inquiring after her directly,
saying, 'I know you cannot have heard from Jane lately, because it is
not her time for writing;' and when I immediately said, 'But indeed we
have, we had a letter this very morning,' I do not know that I ever saw
any body more surprized. 'Have you, upon your honour?' said she;
'well, that is quite unexpected. Do let me hear what she says.'"
Emma's politeness was at hand directly, to say, with smiling interest__
"Have you heard from Miss Fairfax so lately? I am extremely happy. I
hope she is well?"
"Thank you. You are so kind!" replied the happily deceived aunt, while
eagerly hunting for the letter.__"Oh! here it is. I was sure it could
not be far off; but I had put my huswife upon it, you see, without
being aware, and so it was quite hid, but I had it in my hand so very
lately that I was almost sure it must be on the table. I was reading
it to Mrs. Cole, and since she went away, I was reading it again to my
mother, for it is such a pleasure to her__a letter from Jane__that she
can never hear it often enough; so I knew it could not be far off, and
here it is, only just under my huswife__and since you are so kind as to
wish to hear what she says;__but, first of all, I really must, in
justice to Jane, apologise for her writing so short a letter__only two
pages you see__hardly two__and in general she fills the whole paper
and crosses half. My mother often wonders that I can make it out so
well. She often says, when the letter is first opened, 'Well, Hetty,
now I think you will be put to it to make out all that checker_work'__
don't you, ma'am?__And then I tell her, I am sure she would contrive to
make it out herself, if she had nobody to do it for her__every word of
it__I am sure she would pore over it till she had made out every word.
And, indeed, though my mother's eyes are not so good as they were, she
can see amazingly well still, thank God! with the help of spectacles.
It is such a blessing! My mother's are really very good indeed. Jane
often says, when she is here, 'I am sure, grandmama, you must have had
very strong eyes to see as you do__and so much fine work as you have
done too!__I only wish my eyes may last me as well.'"
All this spoken extremely fast obliged Miss Bates to stop for breath;
and Emma said something very civil about the excellence of Miss
"You are extremely kind," replied Miss Bates, highly gratified; "you
who are such a judge, and write so beautifully yourself. I am sure
there is nobody's praise that could give us so much pleasure as Miss
Woodhouse's. My mother does not hear; she is a little deaf you know.
Ma'am," addressing her, "do you hear what Miss Woodhouse is so obliging
to say about Jane's handwriting?"
And Emma had the advantage of hearing her own silly compliment repeated
twice over before the good old lady could comprehend it. She was
pondering, in the meanwhile, upon the possibility, without seeming very
rude, of making her escape from Jane Fairfax's letter, and had almost
resolved on hurrying away directly under some slight excuse, when Miss
Bates turned to her again and seized her attention.
"My mother's deafness is very trifling you see__just nothing at all.
By only raising my voice, and saying any thing two or three times over,
she is sure to hear; but then she is used to my voice. But it is very
remarkable that she should always hear Jane better than she does me.
Jane speaks so distinct! However, she will not find her grandmama at
all deafer than she was two years ago; which is saying a great deal at
my mother's time of life__and it really is full two years, you know,
since she was here. We never were so long without seeing her before,
and as I was telling Mrs. Cole, we shall hardly know how to make enough
of her now."
"Are you expecting Miss Fairfax here soon?"
"Oh yes; next week."
"Indeed!__that must be a very great pleasure."
"Thank you. You are very kind. Yes, next week. Every body is so
surprized; and every body says the same obliging things. I am sure she
will be as happy to see her friends at Highbury, as they can be to see
her. Yes, Friday or Saturday; she cannot say which, because Colonel
Campbell will be wanting the carriage himself one of those days. So
very good of them to send her the whole way! But they always do, you
know. Oh yes, Friday or Saturday next. That is what she writes about.
That is the reason of her writing out of rule, as we call it; for, in
the common course, we should not have heard from her before next
Tuesday or Wednesday."
"Yes, so I imagined. I was afraid there could be little chance of my
hearing any thing of Miss Fairfax to_day."
"So obliging of you! No, we should not have heard, if it had not been
for this particular circumstance, of her being to come here so soon.
My mother is so delighted!__for she is to be three months with us at
least. Three months, she says so, positively, as I am going to have
the pleasure of reading to you. The case is, you see, that the
Campbells are going to Ireland. Mrs. Dixon has persuaded her father
and mother to come over and see her directly. They had not intended to
go over till the summer, but she is so impatient to see them again__for
till she married, last October, she was never away from them so much as
a week, which must make it very strange to be in different kingdoms, I
was going to say, but however different countries, and so she wrote a
very urgent letter to her mother__or her father, I declare I do not
know which it was, but we shall see presently in Jane's letter__wrote
in Mr. Dixon's name as well as her own, to press their coming over
directly, and they would give them the meeting in Dublin, and take them
back to their country seat, Baly_craig, a beautiful place, I fancy.
Jane has heard a great deal of its beauty; from Mr. Dixon, I mean__ I
do not know that she ever heard about it from any body else; but it was
very natural, you know, that he should like to speak of his own place
while he was paying his addresses__and as Jane used to be very often
walking out with them__for Colonel and Mrs. Campbell were very
particular about their daughter's not walking out often with only Mr.
Dixon, for which I do not at all blame them; of course she heard every
thing he might be telling Miss Campbell about his own home in Ireland;
and I think she wrote us word that he had shewn them some drawings of
the place, views that he had taken himself. He is a most amiable,
charming young man, I believe. Jane was quite longing to go to
Ireland, from his account of things."
At this moment, an ingenious and animating suspicion entering Emma's
brain with regard to Jane Fairfax, this charming Mr. Dixon, and the not
going to Ireland, she said, with the insidious design of farther
"You must feel it very fortunate that Miss Fairfax should be allowed to
come to you at such a time. Considering the very particular friendship
between her and Mrs. Dixon, you could hardly have expected her to be
excused from accompanying Colonel and Mrs. Campbell."
"Very true, very true, indeed. The very thing that we have always been
rather afraid of; for we should not have liked to have her at such a
distance from us, for months together__not able to come if any thing
was to happen. But you see, every thing turns out for the best. They
want her (Mr. and Mrs. Dixon) excessively to come over with Colonel and
Mrs. Campbell; quite depend upon it; nothing can be more kind or
pressing than their -joint- invitation, Jane says, as you will hear
presently; Mr. Dixon does not seem in the least backward in any
attention. He is a most charming young man. Ever since the service he
rendered Jane at Weymouth, when they were out in that party on the
water, and she, by the sudden whirling round of something or other
among the sails, would have been dashed into the sea at once, and
actually was all but gone, if he had not, with the greatest presence of
mind, caught hold of her habit__ (I can never think of it without
trembling!)__But ever since we had the history of that day, I have been
so fond of Mr. Dixon!"
"But, in spite of all her friends' urgency, and her own wish of seeing
Ireland, Miss Fairfax prefers devoting the time to you and Mrs. Bates?"
"Yes__entirely her own doing, entirely her own choice; and Colonel and
Mrs. Campbell think she does quite right, just what they should
recommend; and indeed they particularly -wish- her to try her native
air, as she has not been quite so well as usual lately."
"I am concerned to hear of it. I think they judge wisely. But Mrs.
Dixon must be very much disappointed. Mrs. Dixon, I understand, has no
remarkable degree of personal beauty; is not, by any means, to be
compared with Miss Fairfax."
"Oh! no. You are very obliging to say such things__but certainly not.
There is no comparison between them. Miss Campbell always was
absolutely plain__but extremely elegant and amiable."
"Yes, that of course."
"Jane caught a bad cold, poor thing! so long ago as the 7th of
November, (as I am going to read to you,) and has never been well
since. A long time, is not it, for a cold to hang upon her? She never
mentioned it before, because she would not alarm us. Just like her! so
considerate!__But however, she is so far from well, that her kind
friends the Campbells think she had better come home, and try an air
that always agrees with her; and they have no doubt that three or four
months at Highbury will entirely cure her__and it is certainly a great
deal better that she should come here, than go to Ireland, if she is
unwell. Nobody could nurse her, as we should do."
"It appears to me the most desirable arrangement in the world."
"And so she is to come to us next Friday or Saturday, and the Campbells
leave town in their way to Holyhead the Monday following__as you will
find from Jane's letter. So sudden!__You may guess, dear Miss
Woodhouse, what a flurry it has thrown me in! If it was not for the
drawback of her illness__but I am afraid we must expect to see her
grown thin, and looking very poorly. I must tell you what an unlucky
thing happened to me, as to that. I always make a point of reading
Jane's letters through to myself first, before I read them aloud to my
mother, you know, for fear of there being any thing in them to distress
her. Jane desired me to do it, so I always do: and so I began to_day
with my usual caution; but no sooner did I come to the mention of her
being unwell, than I burst out, quite frightened, with 'Bless me! poor
Jane is ill!'__which my mother, being on the watch, heard distinctly,
and was sadly alarmed at. However, when I read on, I found it was not
near so bad as I had fancied at first; and I make so light of it now to
her, that she does not think much about it. But I cannot imagine how I
could be so off my guard. If Jane does not get well soon, we will call
in Mr. Perry. The expense shall not be thought of; and though he is so
liberal, and so fond of Jane that I dare say he would not mean to
charge any thing for attendance, we could not suffer it to be so, you
know. He has a wife and family to maintain, and is not to be giving
away his time. Well, now I have just given you a hint of what Jane
writes about, we will turn to her letter, and I am sure she tells her
own story a great deal better than I can tell it for her."
"I am afraid we must be running away," said Emma, glancing at Harriet,
and beginning to rise__"My father will be expecting us. I had no
intention, I thought I had no power of staying more than five minutes,
when I first entered the house. I merely called, because I would not
pass the door without inquiring after Mrs. Bates; but I have been so
pleasantly detained! Now, however, we must wish you and Mrs. Bates
And not all that could be urged to detain her succeeded. She regained
the street__happy in this, that though much had been forced on her
against her will, though she had in fact heard the whole substance of
Jane Fairfax's letter, she had been able to escape the letter itself.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 02
Jane Fairfax was an orphan, the only child of Mrs. Bates's youngest
The marriage of Lieut. Fairfax of the ------- regiment of infantry, and
Miss Jane Bates, had had its day of fame and pleasure, hope and
interest; but nothing now remained of it, save the melancholy
remembrance of him dying in action abroad__of his widow sinking under
consumption and grief soon afterwards__and this girl.
By birth she belonged to Highbury: and when at three years old, on
losing her mother, she became the property, the charge, the
consolation, the fondling of her grandmother and aunt, there had seemed
every probability of her being permanently fixed there; of her being
taught only what very limited means could command, and growing up with
no advantages of connexion or improvement, to be engrafted on what
nature had given her in a pleasing person, good understanding, and
warm_hearted, well_meaning relations.
But the compassionate feelings of a friend of her father gave a change
to her destiny. This was Colonel Campbell, who had very highly
regarded Fairfax, as an excellent officer and most deserving young man;
and farther, had been indebted to him for such attentions, during a
severe camp_fever, as he believed had saved his life. These were
claims which he did not learn to overlook, though some years passed
away from the death of poor Fairfax, before his own return to England
put any thing in his power. When he did return, he sought out the
child and took notice of her. He was a married man, with only one
living child, a girl, about Jane's age: and Jane became their guest,
paying them long visits and growing a favourite with all; and before
she was nine years old, his daughter's great fondness for her, and his
own wish of being a real friend, united to produce an offer from
Colonel Campbell of undertaking the whole charge of her education. It
was accepted; and from that period Jane had belonged to Colonel
Campbell's family, and had lived with them entirely, only visiting her
grandmother from time to time.
The plan was that she should be brought up for educating others; the
very few hundred pounds which she inherited from her father making
independence impossible. To provide for her otherwise was out of
Colonel Campbell's power; for though his income, by pay and
appointments, was handsome, his fortune was moderate and must be all
his daughter's; but, by giving her an education, he hoped to be
supplying the means of respectable subsistence hereafter.
Such was Jane Fairfax's history. She had fallen into good hands, known
nothing but kindness from the Campbells, and been given an excellent
education. Living constantly with right_minded and well_informed
people, her heart and understanding had received every advantage of
discipline and culture; and Colonel Campbell's residence being in
London, every lighter talent had been done full justice to, by the
attendance of first_rate masters. Her disposition and abilities were
equally worthy of all that friendship could do; and at eighteen or
nineteen she was, as far as such an early age can be qualified for the
care of children, fully competent to the office of instruction herself;
but she was too much beloved to be parted with. Neither father nor
mother could promote, and the daughter could not endure it. The evil
day was put off. It was easy to decide that she was still too young;
and Jane remained with them, sharing, as another daughter, in all the
rational pleasures of an elegant society, and a judicious mixture of
home and amusement, with only the drawback of the future, the sobering
suggestions of her own good understanding to remind her that all this
might soon be over.
The affection of the whole family, the warm attachment of Miss Campbell
in particular, was the more honourable to each party from the
circumstance of Jane's decided superiority both in beauty and
acquirements. That nature had given it in feature could not be unseen
by the young woman, nor could her higher powers of mind be unfelt by
the parents. They continued together with unabated regard however,
till the marriage of Miss Campbell, who by that chance, that luck which
so often defies anticipation in matrimonial affairs, giving attraction
to what is moderate rather than to what is superior, engaged the
affections of Mr. Dixon, a young man, rich and agreeable, almost as
soon as they were acquainted; and was eligibly and happily settled,
while Jane Fairfax had yet her bread to earn.
This event had very lately taken place; too lately for any thing to be
yet attempted by her less fortunate friend towards entering on her path
of duty; though she had now reached the age which her own judgment had
fixed on for beginning. She had long resolved that one_and_twenty
should be the period. With the fortitude of a devoted novitiate, she
had resolved at one_and_twenty to complete the sacrifice, and retire
from all the pleasures of life, of rational intercourse, equal society,
peace and hope, to penance and mortification for ever.
The good sense of Colonel and Mrs. Campbell could not oppose such a
resolution, though their feelings did. As long as they lived, no
exertions would be necessary, their home might be hers for ever; and
for their own comfort they would have retained her wholly; but this
would be selfishness:__what must be at last, had better be soon.
Perhaps they began to feel it might have been kinder and wiser to have
resisted the temptation of any delay, and spared her from a taste of
such enjoyments of ease and leisure as must now be relinquished.
Still, however, affection was glad to catch at any reasonable excuse
for not hurrying on the wretched moment. She had never been quite well
since the time of their daughter's marriage; and till she should have
completely recovered her usual strength, they must forbid her engaging
in duties, which, so far from being compatible with a weakened frame
and varying spirits, seemed, under the most favourable circumstances,
to require something more than human perfection of body and mind to be
discharged with tolerable comfort.
With regard to her not accompanying them to Ireland, her account to her
aunt contained nothing but truth, though there might be some truths not
told. It was her own choice to give the time of their absence to
Highbury; to spend, perhaps, her last months of perfect liberty with
those kind relations to whom she was so very dear: and the Campbells,
whatever might be their motive or motives, whether single, or double,
or treble, gave the arrangement their ready sanction, and said, that
they depended more on a few months spent in her native air, for the
recovery of her health, than on any thing else. Certain it was that
she was to come; and that Highbury, instead of welcoming that perfect
novelty which had been so long promised it__Mr. Frank Churchill__must
put up for the present with Jane Fairfax, who could bring only the
freshness of a two years' absence.
Emma was sorry;__to have to pay civilities to a person she did not like
through three long months!__to be always doing more than she wished,
and less than she ought! Why she did not like Jane Fairfax might be a
difficult question to answer; Mr. Knightley had once told her it was
because she saw in her the really accomplished young woman, which she
wanted to be thought herself; and though the accusation had been
eagerly refuted at the time, there were moments of self_examination in
which her conscience could not quite acquit her. But "she could never
get acquainted with her: she did not know how it was, but there was
such coldness and reserve__such apparent indifference whether she
pleased or not__and then, her aunt was such an eternal talker!__and she
was made such a fuss with by every body!__and it had been always
imagined that they were to be so intimate__because their ages were the
same, every body had supposed they must be so fond of each other."
These were her reasons__she had no better.
It was a dislike so little just__every imputed fault was so magnified
by fancy, that she never saw Jane Fairfax the first time after any
considerable absence, without feeling that she had injured her; and
now, when the due visit was paid, on her arrival, after a two years'
interval, she was particularly struck with the very appearance and
manners, which for those two whole years she had been depreciating.
Jane Fairfax was very elegant, remarkably elegant; and she had herself
the highest value for elegance. Her height was pretty, just such as
almost every body would think tall, and nobody could think very tall;
her figure particularly graceful; her size a most becoming medium,
between fat and thin, though a slight appearance of ill_health seemed
to point out the likeliest evil of the two. Emma could not but feel
all this; and then, her face__her features__there was more beauty in
them altogether than she had remembered; it was not regular, but it was
very pleasing beauty. Her eyes, a deep grey, with dark eye_lashes and
eyebrows, had never been denied their praise; but the skin, which she
had been used to cavil at, as wanting colour, had a clearness and
delicacy which really needed no fuller bloom. It was a style of
beauty, of which elegance was the reigning character, and as such, she
must, in honour, by all her principles, admire it:__elegance, which,
whether of person or of mind, she saw so little in Highbury. There,
not to be vulgar, was distinction, and merit.
In short, she sat, during the first visit, looking at Jane Fairfax with
twofold complacency; the sense of pleasure and the sense of rendering
justice, and was determining that she would dislike her no longer.
When she took in her history, indeed, her situation, as well as her
beauty; when she considered what all this elegance was destined to,
what she was going to sink from, how she was going to live, it seemed
impossible to feel any thing but compassion and respect; especially, if
to every well_known particular entitling her to interest, were added
the highly probable circumstance of an attachment to Mr. Dixon, which
she had so naturally started to herself. In that case, nothing could
be more pitiable or more honourable than the sacrifices she had
resolved on. Emma was very willing now to acquit her of having seduced
Mr. Dixon's actions from his wife, or of any thing mischievous which
her imagination had suggested at first. If it were love, it might be
simple, single, successless love on her side alone. She might have
been unconsciously sucking in the sad poison, while a sharer of his
conversation with her friend; and from the best, the purest of motives,
might now be denying herself this visit to Ireland, and resolving to
divide herself effectually from him and his connexions by soon
beginning her career of laborious duty.
Upon the whole, Emma left her with such softened, charitable feelings,
as made her look around in walking home, and lament that Highbury
afforded no young man worthy of giving her independence; nobody that
she could wish to scheme about for her.
These were charming feelings__but not lasting. Before she had
committed herself by any public profession of eternal friendship for
Jane Fairfax, or done more towards a recantation of past prejudices and
errors, than saying to Mr. Knightley, "She certainly is handsome; she
is better than handsome!" Jane had spent an evening at Hartfield with
her grandmother and aunt, and every thing was relapsing much into its
usual state. Former provocations reappeared. The aunt was as tiresome
as ever; more tiresome, because anxiety for her health was now added to
admiration of her powers; and they had to listen to the description of
exactly how little bread and butter she ate for breakfast, and how
small a slice of mutton for dinner, as well as to see exhibitions of
new caps and new workbags for her mother and herself; and Jane's
offences rose again. They had music; Emma was obliged to play; and the
thanks and praise which necessarily followed appeared to her an
affectation of candour, an air of greatness, meaning only to shew off
in higher style her own very superior performance. She was, besides,
which was the worst of all, so cold, so cautious! There was no getting
at her real opinion. Wrapt up in a cloak of politeness, she seemed
determined to hazard nothing. She was disgustingly, was suspiciously
If any thing could be more, where all was most, she was more reserved
on the subject of Weymouth and the Dixons than any thing. She seemed
bent on giving no real insight into Mr. Dixon's character, or her own
value for his company, or opinion of the suitableness of the match. It
was all general approbation and smoothness; nothing delineated or
distinguished. It did her no service however. Her caution was thrown
away. Emma saw its artifice, and returned to her first surmises.
There probably -was- something more to conceal than her own preference;
Mr. Dixon, perhaps, had been very near changing one friend for the
other, or been fixed only to Miss Campbell, for the sake of the future
twelve thousand pounds.
The like reserve prevailed on other topics. She and Mr. Frank
Churchill had been at Weymouth at the same time. It was known that
they were a little acquainted; but not a syllable of real information
could Emma procure as to what he truly was. "Was he handsome?"__"She
believed he was reckoned a very fine young man." "Was he agreeable?"__
"He was generally thought so." "Did he appear a sensible young man; a
young man of information?"__"At a watering_place, or in a common London
acquaintance, it was difficult to decide on such points. Manners were
all that could be safely judged of, under a much longer knowledge than
they had yet had of Mr. Churchill. She believed every body found his
manners pleasing." Emma could not forgive her.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 03
Emma could not forgive her;__but as neither provocation nor resentment
were discerned by Mr. Knightley, who had been of the party, and had
seen only proper attention and pleasing behaviour on each side, he was
expressing the next morning, being at Hartfield again on business with
Mr. Woodhouse, his approbation of the whole; not so openly as he might
have done had her father been out of the room, but speaking plain
enough to be very intelligible to Emma. He had been used to think her
unjust to Jane, and had now great pleasure in marking an improvement.
"A very pleasant evening," he began, as soon as Mr. Woodhouse had been
talked into what was necessary, told that he understood, and the papers
swept away;__"particularly pleasant. You and Miss Fairfax gave us some
very good music. I do not know a more luxurious state, sir, than
sitting at one's ease to be entertained a whole evening by two such
young women; sometimes with music and sometimes with conversation. I
am sure Miss Fairfax must have found the evening pleasant, Emma. You
left nothing undone. I was glad you made her play so much, for having
no instrument at her grandmother's, it must have been a real
"I am happy you approved," said Emma, smiling; "but I hope I am not
often deficient in what is due to guests at Hartfield."
"No, my dear," said her father instantly; "-that- I am sure you are
not. There is nobody half so attentive and civil as you are. If any
thing, you are too attentive. The muffin last night__if it had been
handed round once, I think it would have been enough."
"No," said Mr. Knightley, nearly at the same time; "you are not often
deficient; not often deficient either in manner or comprehension. I
think you understand me, therefore."
An arch look expressed__"I understand you well enough;" but she said
only, "Miss Fairfax is reserved."
"I always told you she was__a little; but you will soon overcome all
that part of her reserve which ought to be overcome, all that has its
foundation in diffidence. What arises from discretion must be
"You think her diffident. I do not see it."
"My dear Emma," said he, moving from his chair into one close by her,
"you are not going to tell me, I hope, that you had not a pleasant
"Oh! no; I was pleased with my own perseverance in asking questions;
and amused to think how little information I obtained."
"I am disappointed," was his only answer.
"I hope every body had a pleasant evening," said Mr. Woodhouse, in his
quiet way. "I had. Once, I felt the fire rather too much; but then I
moved back my chair a little, a very little, and it did not disturb me.
Miss Bates was very chatty and good_humoured, as she always is, though
she speaks rather too quick. However, she is very agreeable, and Mrs.
Bates too, in a different way. I like old friends; and Miss Jane
Fairfax is a very pretty sort of young lady, a very pretty and a very
well_behaved young lady indeed. She must have found the evening
agreeable, Mr. Knightley, because she had Emma."
"True, sir; and Emma, because she had Miss Fairfax."
Emma saw his anxiety, and wishing to appease it, at least for the
present, said, and with a sincerity which no one could question__
"She is a sort of elegant creature that one cannot keep one's eyes
from. I am always watching her to admire; and I do pity her from my
Mr. Knightley looked as if he were more gratified than he cared to
express; and before he could make any reply, Mr. Woodhouse, whose
thoughts were on the Bates's, said__
"It is a great pity that their circumstances should be so confined! a
great pity indeed! and I have often wished__but it is so little one can
venture to do__small, trifling presents, of any thing uncommon__ Now we
have killed a porker, and Emma thinks of sending them a loin or a leg;
it is very small and delicate__Hartfield pork is not like any other
pork__but still it is pork__and, my dear Emma, unless one could be sure
of their making it into steaks, nicely fried, as ours are fried,
without the smallest grease, and not roast it, for no stomach can bear
roast pork__I think we had better send the leg__do not you think so,
"My dear papa, I sent the whole hind_quarter. I knew you would wish it.
There will be the leg to be salted, you know, which is so very nice,
and the loin to be dressed directly in any manner they like."
"That's right, my dear, very right. I had not thought of it before,
but that is the best way. They must not over_salt the leg; and then,
if it is not over_salted, and if it is very thoroughly boiled, just as
Serle boils ours, and eaten very moderately of, with a boiled turnip,
and a little carrot or parsnip, I do not consider it unwholesome."
"Emma," said Mr. Knightley presently, "I have a piece of news for you.
You like news__and I heard an article in my way hither that I think
will interest you."
"News! Oh! yes, I always like news. What is it?__why do you smile
so?__where did you hear it?__at Randalls?"
He had time only to say,
"No, not at Randalls; I have not been near Randalls," when the door was
thrown open, and Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax walked into the room.
Full of thanks, and full of news, Miss Bates knew not which to give
quickest. Mr. Knightley soon saw that he had lost his moment, and that
not another syllable of communication could rest with him.
"Oh! my dear sir, how are you this morning? My dear Miss Woodhouse__ I
come quite over_powered. Such a beautiful hind_quarter of pork! You
are too bountiful! Have you heard the news? Mr. Elton is going to be
Emma had not had time even to think of Mr. Elton, and she was so
completely surprized that she could not avoid a little start, and a
little blush, at the sound.
"There is my news:__I thought it would interest you," said Mr.
Knightley, with a smile which implied a conviction of some part of what
had passed between them.
"But where could -you- hear it?" cried Miss Bates. "Where could you
possibly hear it, Mr. Knightley? For it is not five minutes since I
received Mrs. Cole's note__no, it cannot be more than five__or at
least ten__for I had got my bonnet and spencer on, just ready to come
out__I was only gone down to speak to Patty again about the pork__Jane
was standing in the passage__were not you, Jane?__for my mother was so
afraid that we had not any salting_pan large enough. So I said I would
go down and see, and Jane said, 'Shall I go down instead? for I think
you have a little cold, and Patty has been washing the kitchen.'__'Oh!
my dear,' said I__well, and just then came the note. A Miss Hawkins__
that's all I know. A Miss Hawkins of Bath. But, Mr. Knightley, how
could you possibly have heard it? for the very moment Mr. Cole told
Mrs. Cole of it, she sat down and wrote to me. A Miss Hawkins__"
"I was with Mr. Cole on business an hour and a half ago. He had just
read Elton's letter as I was shewn in, and handed it to me directly."
"Well! that is quite__I suppose there never was a piece of news more
generally interesting. My dear sir, you really are too bountiful. My
mother desires her very best compliments and regards, and a thousand
thanks, and says you really quite oppress her."
"We consider our Hartfield pork," replied Mr. Woodhouse__"indeed it
certainly is, so very superior to all other pork, that Emma and I
cannot have a greater pleasure than__"
"Oh! my dear sir, as my mother says, our friends are only too good to
us. If ever there were people who, without having great wealth
themselves, had every thing they could wish for, I am sure it is us.
We may well say that 'our lot is cast in a goodly heritage.' Well, Mr.
Knightley, and so you actually saw the letter; well__"
"It was short__merely to announce__but cheerful, exulting, of
course."__ Here was a sly glance at Emma. "He had been so fortunate as
to__I forget the precise words__one has no business to remember them.
The information was, as you state, that he was going to be married to a
Miss Hawkins. By his style, I should imagine it just settled."
"Mr. Elton going to be married!" said Emma, as soon as she could speak.
"He will have every body's wishes for his happiness."
"He is very young to settle," was Mr. Woodhouse's observation. "He had
better not be in a hurry. He seemed to me very well off as he was. We
were always glad to see him at Hartfield."
"A new neighbour for us all, Miss Woodhouse!" said Miss Bates,
joyfully; "my mother is so pleased!__she says she cannot bear to have
the poor old Vicarage without a mistress. This is great news, indeed.
Jane, you have never seen Mr. Elton!__no wonder that you have such a
curiosity to see him."
Jane's curiosity did not appear of that absorbing nature as wholly to
"No__I have never seen Mr. Elton," she replied, starting on this
appeal; "is he__is he a tall man?"
"Who shall answer that question?" cried Emma. "My father would say
'yes,' Mr. Knightley 'no;' and Miss Bates and I that he is just the
happy medium. When you have been here a little longer, Miss Fairfax,
you will understand that Mr. Elton is the standard of perfection in
Highbury, both in person and mind."
"Very true, Miss Woodhouse, so she will. He is the very best young
man__But, my dear Jane, if you remember, I told you yesterday he was
precisely the height of Mr. Perry. Miss Hawkins,__I dare say, an
excellent young woman. His extreme attention to my mother__wanting
her to sit in the vicarage pew, that she might hear the better, for my
mother is a little deaf, you know__it is not much, but she does not
hear quite quick. Jane says that Colonel Campbell is a little deaf.
He fancied bathing might be good for it__the warm bath__but she says
it did him no lasting benefit. Colonel Campbell, you know, is quite
our angel. And Mr. Dixon seems a very charming young man, quite worthy
of him. It is such a happiness when good people get together__and they
always do. Now, here will be Mr. Elton and Miss Hawkins; and there are
the Coles, such very good people; and the Perrys__I suppose there never
was a happier or a better couple than Mr. and Mrs. Perry. I say, sir,"
turning to Mr. Woodhouse, "I think there are few places with such
society as Highbury. I always say, we are quite blessed in our
neighbours.__My dear sir, if there is one thing my mother loves better
than another, it is pork__a roast loin of pork__"
"As to who, or what Miss Hawkins is, or how long he has been acquainted
with her," said Emma, "nothing I suppose can be known. One feels that
it cannot be a very long acquaintance. He has been gone only four
Nobody had any information to give; and, after a few more wonderings,
"You are silent, Miss Fairfax__but I hope you mean to take an interest
in this news. You, who have been hearing and seeing so much of late on
these subjects, who must have been so deep in the business on Miss
Campbell's account__we shall not excuse your being indifferent about
Mr. Elton and Miss Hawkins."
"When I have seen Mr. Elton," replied Jane, "I dare say I shall be
interested__but I believe it requires -that- with me. And as it is
some months since Miss Campbell married, the impression may be a little
"Yes, he has been gone just four weeks, as you observe, Miss
Woodhouse," said Miss Bates, "four weeks yesterday.__A Miss
Hawkins!__Well, I had always rather fancied it would be some young lady
hereabouts; not that I ever__Mrs. Cole once whispered to me__but I
immediately said, 'No, Mr. Elton is a most worthy young man__but'__In
short, I do not think I am particularly quick at those sort of
discoveries. I do not pretend to it. What is before me, I see. At
the same time, nobody could wonder if Mr. Elton should have
aspired__Miss Woodhouse lets me chatter on, so good_humouredly. She
knows I would not offend for the world. How does Miss Smith do? She
seems quite recovered now. Have you heard from Mrs. John Knightley
lately? Oh! those dear little children. Jane, do you know I always
fancy Mr. Dixon like Mr. John Knightley. I mean in person__tall, and
with that sort of look__and not very talkative."
"Quite wrong, my dear aunt; there is no likeness at all."
"Very odd! but one never does form a just idea of any body beforehand.
One takes up a notion, and runs away with it. Mr. Dixon, you say, is
not, strictly speaking, handsome?"
"Handsome! Oh! no__far from it__certainly plain. I told you he was
"My dear, you said that Miss Campbell would not allow him to be plain,
and that you yourself__"
"Oh! as for me, my judgment is worth nothing. Where I have a regard, I
always think a person well_looking. But I gave what I believed the
general opinion, when I called him plain."
"Well, my dear Jane, I believe we must be running away. The weather
does not look well, and grandmama will be uneasy. You are too
obliging, my dear Miss Woodhouse; but we really must take leave. This
has been a most agreeable piece of news indeed. I shall just go round
by Mrs. Cole's; but I shall not stop three minutes: and, Jane, you had
better go home directly__I would not have you out in a shower!__We
think she is the better for Highbury already. Thank you, we do indeed.
I shall not attempt calling on Mrs. Goddard, for I really do not think
she cares for any thing but -boiled- pork: when we dress the leg it
will be another thing. Good morning to you, my dear sir. Oh! Mr.
Knightley is coming too. Well, that is so very!__I am sure if Jane is
tired, you will be so kind as to give her your arm.__Mr. Elton, and
Miss Hawkins!__Good morning to you."
Emma, alone with her father, had half her attention wanted by him while
he lamented that young people would be in such a hurry to marry__and
to marry strangers too__and the other half she could give to her own
view of the subject. It was to herself an amusing and a very welcome
piece of news, as proving that Mr. Elton could not have suffered long;
but she was sorry for Harriet: Harriet must feel it__and all that she
could hope was, by giving the first information herself, to save her
from hearing it abruptly from others. It was now about the time that
she was likely to call. If she were to meet Miss Bates in her
way!__and upon its beginning to rain, Emma was obliged to expect that
the weather would be detaining her at Mrs. Goddard's, and that the
intelligence would undoubtedly rush upon her without preparation.
The shower was heavy, but short; and it had not been over five minutes,
when in came Harriet, with just the heated, agitated look which
hurrying thither with a full heart was likely to give; and the "Oh!
Miss Woodhouse, what do you think has happened!" which instantly burst
forth, had all the evidence of corresponding perturbation. As the blow
was given, Emma felt that she could not now shew greater kindness than
in listening; and Harriet, unchecked, ran eagerly through what she had
to tell. "She had set out from Mrs. Goddard's half an hour ago__she
had been afraid it would rain__she had been afraid it would pour down
every moment__but she thought she might get to Hartfield first__she had
hurried on as fast as possible; but then, as she was passing by the
house where a young woman was making up a gown for her, she thought she
would just step in and see how it went on; and though she did not seem
to stay half a moment there, soon after she came out it began to rain,
and she did not know what to do; so she ran on directly, as fast as she
could, and took shelter at Ford's."__Ford's was the principal
woollen_draper, linen_draper, and haberdasher's shop united; the shop
first in size and fashion in the place.__"And so, there she had set,
without an idea of any thing in the world, full ten minutes,
perhaps__when, all of a sudden, who should come in__to be sure it was
so very odd!__but they always dealt at Ford's__who should come in, but
Elizabeth Martin and her brother!__ Dear Miss Woodhouse! only think. I
thought I should have fainted. I did not know what to do. I was
sitting near the door__Elizabeth saw me directly; but he did not; he
was busy with the umbrella. I am sure she saw me, but she looked away
directly, and took no notice; and they both went to quite the farther
end of the shop; and I kept sitting near the door!__Oh! dear; I was so
miserable! I am sure I must have been as white as my gown. I could
not go away you know, because of the rain; but I did so wish myself
anywhere in the world but there.__Oh! dear, Miss Woodhouse__well, at
last, I fancy, he looked round and saw me; for instead of going on with
her buyings, they began whispering to one another. I am sure they were
talking of me; and I could not help thinking that he was persuading her
to speak to me__(do you think he was, Miss Woodhouse?)__for presently
she came forward__came quite up to me, and asked me how I did, and
seemed ready to shake hands, if I would. She did not do any of it in
the same way that she used; I could see she was altered; but, however,
she seemed to -try- to be very friendly, and we shook hands, and stood
talking some time; but I know no more what I said__I was in such a
tremble!__I remember she said she was sorry we never met now; which I
thought almost too kind! Dear, Miss Woodhouse, I was absolutely
miserable! By that time, it was beginning to hold up, and I was
determined that nothing should stop me from getting away__and
then__only think!__ I found he was coming up towards me too__slowly you
know, and as if he did not quite know what to do; and so he came and
spoke, and I answered__and I stood for a minute, feeling dreadfully,
you know, one can't tell how; and then I took courage, and said it did
not rain, and I must go; and so off I set; and I had not got three
yards from the door, when he came after me, only to say, if I was going
to Hartfield, he thought I had much better go round by Mr. Cole's
stables, for I should find the near way quite floated by this rain.
Oh! dear, I thought it would have been the death of me! So I said, I
was very much obliged to him: you know I could not do less; and then
he went back to Elizabeth, and I came round by the stables__I believe I
did__but I hardly knew where I was, or any thing about it. Oh! Miss
Woodhouse, I would rather done any thing than have it happen: and yet,
you know, there was a sort of satisfaction in seeing him behave so
pleasantly and so kindly. And Elizabeth, too. Oh! Miss Woodhouse, do
talk to me and make me comfortable again."
Very sincerely did Emma wish to do so; but it was not immediately in
her power. She was obliged to stop and think. She was not thoroughly
comfortable herself. The young man's conduct, and his sister's, seemed
the result of real feeling, and she could not but pity them. As
Harriet described it, there had been an interesting mixture of wounded
affection and genuine delicacy in their behaviour. But she had
believed them to be well_meaning, worthy people before; and what
difference did this make in the evils of the connexion? It was folly
to be disturbed by it. Of course, he must be sorry to lose her__they
must be all sorry. Ambition, as well as love, had probably been
mortified. They might all have hoped to rise by Harriet's
acquaintance: and besides, what was the value of Harriet's
description?__So easily pleased__so little discerning;__what signified
She exerted herself, and did try to make her comfortable, by
considering all that had passed as a mere trifle, and quite unworthy of
being dwelt on,
"It might be distressing, for the moment," said she; "but you seem to
have behaved extremely well; and it is over__and may never__can never,
as a first meeting, occur again, and therefore you need not think about
Harriet said, "very true," and she "would not think about it;" but
still she talked of it__still she could talk of nothing else; and Emma,
at last, in order to put the Martins out of her head, was obliged to
hurry on the news, which she had meant to give with so much tender
caution; hardly knowing herself whether to rejoice or be angry, ashamed
or only amused, at such a state of mind in poor Harriet__such a
conclusion of Mr. Elton's importance with her!
Mr. Elton's rights, however, gradually revived. Though she did not
feel the first intelligence as she might have done the day before, or
an hour before, its interest soon increased; and before their first
conversation was over, she had talked herself into all the sensations
of curiosity, wonder and regret, pain and pleasure, as to this
fortunate Miss Hawkins, which could conduce to place the Martins under
proper subordination in her fancy.
Emma learned to be rather glad that there had been such a meeting. It
had been serviceable in deadening the first shock, without retaining
any influence to alarm. As Harriet now lived, the Martins could not
get at her, without seeking her, where hitherto they had wanted either
the courage or the condescension to seek her; for since her refusal of
the brother, the sisters never had been at Mrs. Goddard's; and a
twelvemonth might pass without their being thrown together again, with
any necessity, or even any power of speech.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 04
Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting
situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of
being kindly spoken of.
A week had not passed since Miss Hawkins's name was first mentioned in
Highbury, before she was, by some means or other, discovered to have
every recommendation of person and mind; to be handsome, elegant,
highly accomplished, and perfectly amiable: and when Mr. Elton himself
arrived to triumph in his happy prospects, and circulate the fame of
her merits, there was very little more for him to do, than to tell her
Christian name, and say whose music she principally played.
Mr. Elton returned, a very happy man. He had gone away rejected and
mortified__disappointed in a very sanguine hope, after a series of what
appeared to him strong encouragement; and not only losing the right
lady, but finding himself debased to the level of a very wrong one. He
had gone away deeply offended__he came back engaged to another__and to
another as superior, of course, to the first, as under such
circumstances what is gained always is to what is lost. He came back
gay and self_satisfied, eager and busy, caring nothing for Miss
Woodhouse, and defying Miss Smith.
The charming Augusta Hawkins, in addition to all the usual advantages
of perfect beauty and merit, was in possession of an independent
fortune, of so many thousands as would always be called ten; a point of
some dignity, as well as some convenience: the story told well; he had
not thrown himself away__he had gained a woman of 10,000 l. or
thereabouts; and he had gained her with such delightful rapidity__the
first hour of introduction had been so very soon followed by
distinguishing notice; the history which he had to give Mrs. Cole of
the rise and progress of the affair was so glorious__the steps so
quick, from the accidental rencontre, to the dinner at Mr. Green's, and
the party at Mrs. Brown's__smiles and blushes rising in importance__
with consciousness and agitation richly scattered__the lady had been so
easily impressed__so sweetly disposed__had in short, to use a most
intelligible phrase, been so very ready to have him, that vanity and
prudence were equally contented.
He had caught both substance and shadow__both fortune and affection,
and was just the happy man he ought to be; talking only of himself and
his own concerns__expecting to be congratulated__ready to be laughed
at__and, with cordial, fearless smiles, now addressing all the young
ladies of the place, to whom, a few weeks ago, he would have been more
The wedding was no distant event, as the parties had only themselves to
please, and nothing but the necessary preparations to wait for; and
when he set out for Bath again, there was a general expectation, which
a certain glance of Mrs. Cole's did not seem to contradict, that when
he next entered Highbury he would bring his bride.
During his present short stay, Emma had barely seen him; but just
enough to feel that the first meeting was over, and to give her the
impression of his not being improved by the mixture of pique and
pretension, now spread over his air. She was, in fact, beginning very
much to wonder that she had ever thought him pleasing at all; and his
sight was so inseparably connected with some very disagreeable
feelings, that, except in a moral light, as a penance, a lesson, a
source of profitable humiliation to her own mind, she would have been
thankful to be assured of never seeing him again. She wished him very
well; but he gave her pain, and his welfare twenty miles off would
administer most satisfaction.
The pain of his continued residence in Highbury, however, must
certainly be lessened by his marriage. Many vain solicitudes would be
prevented__many awkwardnesses smoothed by it. A -Mrs.- -Elton- would
be an excuse for any change of intercourse; former intimacy might sink
without remark. It would be almost beginning their life of civility
Of the lady, individually, Emma thought very little. She was good
enough for Mr. Elton, no doubt; accomplished enough for Highbury__
handsome enough__to look plain, probably, by Harriet's side. As to
connexion, there Emma was perfectly easy; persuaded, that after all his
own vaunted claims and disdain of Harriet, he had done nothing. On
that article, truth seemed attainable. -What- she was, must be
uncertain; but -who- she was, might be found out; and setting aside the
10,000 l., it did not appear that she was at all Harriet's superior.
She brought no name, no blood, no alliance. Miss Hawkins was the
youngest of the two daughters of a Bristol__merchant, of course, he
must be called; but, as the whole of the profits of his mercantile life
appeared so very moderate, it was not unfair to guess the dignity of
his line of trade had been very moderate also. Part of every winter
she had been used to spend in Bath; but Bristol was her home, the very
heart of Bristol; for though the father and mother had died some years
ago, an uncle remained__in the law line__nothing more distinctly
honourable was hazarded of him, than that he was in the law line; and
with him the daughter had lived. Emma guessed him to be the drudge of
some attorney, and too stupid to rise. And all the grandeur of the
connexion seemed dependent on the elder sister, who was -very- -well-
-married-, to a gentleman in a -great- -way-, near Bristol, who kept
two carriages! That was the wind_up of the history; that was the glory
of Miss Hawkins.
Could she but have given Harriet her feelings about it all! She had
talked her into love; but, alas! she was not so easily to be talked out
of it. The charm of an object to occupy the many vacancies of
Harriet's mind was not to be talked away. He might be superseded by
another; he certainly would indeed; nothing could be clearer; even a
Robert Martin would have been sufficient; but nothing else, she feared,
would cure her. Harriet was one of those, who, having once begun,
would be always in love. And now, poor girl! she was considerably
worse from this reappearance of Mr. Elton. She was always having a
glimpse of him somewhere or other. Emma saw him only once; but two or
three times every day Harriet was sure -just- to meet with him, or
-just- to miss him, -just- to hear his voice, or see his shoulder,
-just- to have something occur to preserve him in her fancy, in all the
favouring warmth of surprize and conjecture. She was, moreover,
perpetually hearing about him; for, excepting when at Hartfield, she
was always among those who saw no fault in Mr. Elton, and found nothing
so interesting as the discussion of his concerns; and every report,
therefore, every guess__all that had already occurred, all that might
occur in the arrangement of his affairs, comprehending income,
servants, and furniture, was continually in agitation around her. Her
regard was receiving strength by invariable praise of him, and her
regrets kept alive, and feelings irritated by ceaseless repetitions of
Miss Hawkins's happiness, and continual observation of, how much he
seemed attached!__his air as he walked by the house__the very sitting
of his hat, being all in proof of how much he was in love!
Had it been allowable entertainment, had there been no pain to her
friend, or reproach to herself, in the waverings of Harriet's mind,
Emma would have been amused by its variations. Sometimes Mr. Elton
predominated, sometimes the Martins; and each was occasionally useful
as a check to the other. Mr. Elton's engagement had been the cure of
the agitation of meeting Mr. Martin. The unhappiness produced by the
knowledge of that engagement had been a little put aside by Elizabeth
Martin's calling at Mrs. Goddard's a few days afterwards. Harriet had
not been at home; but a note had been prepared and left for her,
written in the very style to touch; a small mixture of reproach, with a
great deal of kindness; and till Mr. Elton himself appeared, she had
been much occupied by it, continually pondering over what could be done
in return, and wishing to do more than she dared to confess. But Mr.
Elton, in person, had driven away all such cares. While he staid, the
Martins were forgotten; and on the very morning of his setting off for
Bath again, Emma, to dissipate some of the distress it occasioned,
judged it best for her to return Elizabeth Martin's visit.
How that visit was to be acknowledged__what would be necessary__and
what might be safest, had been a point of some doubtful consideration.
Absolute neglect of the mother and sisters, when invited to come, would
be ingratitude. It must not be: and yet the danger of a renewal of the
After much thinking, she could determine on nothing better, than
Harriet's returning the visit; but in a way that, if they had
understanding, should convince them that it was to be only a formal
acquaintance. She meant to take her in the carriage, leave her at the
Abbey Mill, while she drove a little farther, and call for her again so
soon, as to allow no time for insidious applications or dangerous
recurrences to the past, and give the most decided proof of what degree
of intimacy was chosen for the future.
She could think of nothing better: and though there was something in
it which her own heart could not approve__something of ingratitude,
merely glossed over__it must be done, or what would become of Harriet?
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 05
Small heart had Harriet for visiting. Only half an hour before her
friend called for her at Mrs. Goddard's, her evil stars had led her to
the very spot where, at that moment, a trunk, directed to -The Rev.
Philip Elton, White_Hart, Bath-, was to be seen under the operation of
being lifted into the butcher's cart, which was to convey it to where
the coaches past; and every thing in this world, excepting that trunk
and the direction, was consequently a blank.
She went, however; and when they reached the farm, and she was to be
put down, at the end of the broad, neat gravel walk, which led between
espalier apple_trees to the front door, the sight of every thing which
had given her so much pleasure the autumn before, was beginning to
revive a little local agitation; and when they parted, Emma observed
her to be looking around with a sort of fearful curiosity, which
determined her not to allow the visit to exceed the proposed quarter of
an hour. She went on herself, to give that portion of time to an old
servant who was married, and settled in Donwell.
The quarter of an hour brought her punctually to the white gate again;
and Miss Smith receiving her summons, was with her without delay, and
unattended by any alarming young man. She came solitarily down the
gravel walk__a Miss Martin just appearing at the door, and parting with
her seemingly with ceremonious civility.
Harriet could not very soon give an intelligible account. She was
feeling too much; but at last Emma collected from her enough to
understand the sort of meeting, and the sort of pain it was creating.
She had seen only Mrs. Martin and the two girls. They had received her
doubtingly, if not coolly; and nothing beyond the merest commonplace
had been talked almost all the time__till just at last, when Mrs.
Martin's saying, all of a sudden, that she thought Miss Smith was
grown, had brought on a more interesting subject, and a warmer manner.
In that very room she had been measured last September, with her two
friends. There were the pencilled marks and memorandums on the
wainscot by the window. -He- had done it. They all seemed to remember
the day, the hour, the party, the occasion__to feel the same
consciousness, the same regrets__to be ready to return to the same good
understanding; and they were just growing again like themselves,
(Harriet, as Emma must suspect, as ready as the best of them to be
cordial and happy,) when the carriage reappeared, and all was over.
The style of the visit, and the shortness of it, were then felt to be
decisive. Fourteen minutes to be given to those with whom she had
thankfully passed six weeks not six months ago!__Emma could not but
picture it all, and feel how justly they might resent, how naturally
Harriet must suffer. It was a bad business. She would have given a
great deal, or endured a great deal, to have had the Martins in a
higher rank of life. They were so deserving, that a -little- higher
should have been enough: but as it was, how could she have done
otherwise?__Impossible!__She could not repent. They must be separated;
but there was a great deal of pain in the process__so much to herself
at this time, that she soon felt the necessity of a little consolation,
and resolved on going home by way of Randalls to procure it. Her mind
was quite sick of Mr. Elton and the Martins. The refreshment of
Randalls was absolutely necessary.
It was a good scheme; but on driving to the door they heard that
neither "master nor mistress was at home;" they had both been out some
time; the man believed they were gone to Hartfield.
"This is too bad," cried Emma, as they turned away. "And now we shall
just miss them; too provoking!__I do not know when I have been so
disappointed." And she leaned back in the corner, to indulge her
murmurs, or to reason them away; probably a little of both__such being
the commonest process of a not ill_disposed mind. Presently the
carriage stopt; she looked up; it was stopt by Mr. and Mrs. Weston, who
were standing to speak to her. There was instant pleasure in the sight
of them, and still greater pleasure was conveyed in sound__for Mr.
Weston immediately accosted her with,
"How d'ye do?__how d'ye do?__We have been sitting with your father__
glad to see him so well. Frank comes to_morrow__I had a letter this
morning__we see him to_morrow by dinner_time to a certainty__he is at
Oxford to_day, and he comes for a whole fortnight; I knew it would be
so. If he had come at Christmas he could not have staid three days; I
was always glad he did not come at Christmas; now we are going to have
just the right weather for him, fine, dry, settled weather. We shall
enjoy him completely; every thing has turned out exactly as we could
There was no resisting such news, no possibility of avoiding the
influence of such a happy face as Mr. Weston's, confirmed as it all was
by the words and the countenance of his wife, fewer and quieter, but
not less to the purpose. To know that -she- thought his coming certain
was enough to make Emma consider it so, and sincerely did she rejoice
in their joy. It was a most delightful reanimation of exhausted
spirits. The worn_out past was sunk in the freshness of what was
coming; and in the rapidity of half a moment's thought, she hoped Mr.
Elton would now be talked of no more.
Mr. Weston gave her the history of the engagements at Enscombe, which
allowed his son to answer for having an entire fortnight at his
command, as well as the route and the method of his journey; and she
listened, and smiled, and congratulated.
"I shall soon bring him over to Hartfield," said he, at the conclusion.
Emma could imagine she saw a touch of the arm at this speech, from his
"We had better move on, Mr. Weston," said she, "we are detaining the
"Well, well, I am ready;"__and turning again to Emma, "but you must not
be expecting such a -very- fine young man; you have only had -my-
account you know; I dare say he is really nothing extraordinary:"__though
his own sparkling eyes at the moment were speaking a very
Emma could look perfectly unconscious and innocent, and answer in a
manner that appropriated nothing.
"Think of me to_morrow, my dear Emma, about four o'clock," was Mrs.
Weston's parting injunction; spoken with some anxiety, and meant only
"Four o'clock!__depend upon it he will be here by three," was Mr.
Weston's quick amendment; and so ended a most satisfactory meeting.
Emma's spirits were mounted quite up to happiness; every thing wore a
different air; James and his horses seemed not half so sluggish as
before. When she looked at the hedges, she thought the elder at least
must soon be coming out; and when she turned round to Harriet, she saw
something like a look of spring, a tender smile even there.
"Will Mr. Frank Churchill pass through Bath as well as Oxford?"__was a
question, however, which did not augur much.
But neither geography nor tranquillity could come all at once, and Emma
was now in a humour to resolve that they should both come in time.
The morning of the interesting day arrived, and Mrs. Weston's faithful
pupil did not forget either at ten, or eleven, or twelve o'clock, that
she was to think of her at four.
"My dear, dear anxious friend,"__said she, in mental soliloquy, while
walking downstairs from her own room, "always overcareful for every
body's comfort but your own; I see you now in all your little fidgets,
going again and again into his room, to be sure that all is right."
The clock struck twelve as she passed through the hall. "'Tis twelve;
I shall not forget to think of you four hours hence; and by this time
to_morrow, perhaps, or a little later, I may be thinking of the
possibility of their all calling here. I am sure they will bring him
She opened the parlour door, and saw two gentlemen sitting with her
father__Mr. Weston and his son. They had been arrived only a few
minutes, and Mr. Weston had scarcely finished his explanation of
Frank's being a day before his time, and her father was yet in the
midst of his very civil welcome and congratulations, when she appeared,
to have her share of surprize, introduction, and pleasure.
The Frank Churchill so long talked of, so high in interest, was
actually before her__he was presented to her, and she did not think too
much had been said in his praise; he was a -very- good looking young
man; height, air, address, all were unexceptionable, and his
countenance had a great deal of the spirit and liveliness of his
father's; he looked quick and sensible. She felt immediately that she
should like him; and there was a well_bred ease of manner, and a
readiness to talk, which convinced her that he came intending to be
acquainted with her, and that acquainted they soon must be.
He had reached Randalls the evening before. She was pleased with the
eagerness to arrive which had made him alter his plan, and travel
earlier, later, and quicker, that he might gain half a day.
"I told you yesterday," cried Mr. Weston with exultation, "I told you
all that he would be here before the time named. I remembered what I
used to do myself. One cannot creep upon a journey; one cannot help
getting on faster than one has planned; and the pleasure of coming in
upon one's friends before the look_out begins, is worth a great deal
more than any little exertion it needs."
"It is a great pleasure where one can indulge in it," said the young
man, "though there are not many houses that I should presume on so far;
but in coming -home- I felt I might do any thing."
The word -home- made his father look on him with fresh complacency.
Emma was directly sure that he knew how to make himself agreeable; the
conviction was strengthened by what followed. He was very much pleased
with Randalls, thought it a most admirably arranged house, would hardly
allow it even to be very small, admired the situation, the walk to
Highbury, Highbury itself, Hartfield still more, and professed himself
to have always felt the sort of interest in the country which none but
one's -own- country gives, and the greatest curiosity to visit it.
That he should never have been able to indulge so amiable a feeling
before, passed suspiciously through Emma's brain; but still, if it were
a falsehood, it was a pleasant one, and pleasantly handled. His manner
had no air of study or exaggeration. He did really look and speak as
if in a state of no common enjoyment.
Their subjects in general were such as belong to an opening
acquaintance. On his side were the inquiries,__"Was she a
horsewoman?__Pleasant rides?__Pleasant walks?__Had they a large
neighbourhood?__Highbury, perhaps, afforded society enough?__There were
several very pretty houses in and about it.__Balls__had they
balls?__Was it a musical society?"
But when satisfied on all these points, and their acquaintance
proportionably advanced, he contrived to find an opportunity, while
their two fathers were engaged with each other, of introducing his
mother_in_law, and speaking of her with so much handsome praise, so
much warm admiration, so much gratitude for the happiness she secured
to his father, and her very kind reception of himself, as was an
additional proof of his knowing how to please__and of his certainly
thinking it worth while to try to please her. He did not advance a
word of praise beyond what she knew to be thoroughly deserved by Mrs.
Weston; but, undoubtedly he could know very little of the matter. He
understood what would be welcome; he could be sure of little else.
"His father's marriage," he said, "had been the wisest measure, every
friend must rejoice in it; and the family from whom he had received
such a blessing must be ever considered as having conferred the highest
obligation on him."
He got as near as he could to thanking her for Miss Taylor's merits,
without seeming quite to forget that in the common course of things it
was to be rather supposed that Miss Taylor had formed Miss Woodhouse's
character, than Miss Woodhouse Miss Taylor's. And at last, as if
resolved to qualify his opinion completely for travelling round to its
object, he wound it all up with astonishment at the youth and beauty of
"Elegant, agreeable manners, I was prepared for," said he; "but I
confess that, considering every thing, I had not expected more than a
very tolerably well_looking woman of a certain age; I did not know that
I was to find a pretty young woman in Mrs. Weston."
"You cannot see too much perfection in Mrs. Weston for my feelings,"
said Emma; "were you to guess her to be -eighteen-, I should listen
with pleasure; but -she- would be ready to quarrel with you for using
such words. Don't let her imagine that you have spoken of her as a
pretty young woman."
"I hope I should know better," he replied; "no, depend upon it, (with a
gallant bow,) that in addressing Mrs. Weston I should understand whom I
might praise without any danger of being thought extravagant in my
Emma wondered whether the same suspicion of what might be expected from
their knowing each other, which had taken strong possession of her
mind, had ever crossed his; and whether his compliments were to be
considered as marks of acquiescence, or proofs of defiance. She must
see more of him to understand his ways; at present she only felt they
She had no doubt of what Mr. Weston was often thinking about. His
quick eye she detected again and again glancing towards them with a
happy expression; and even, when he might have determined not to look,
she was confident that he was often listening.
Her own father's perfect exemption from any thought of the kind, the
entire deficiency in him of all such sort of penetration or suspicion,
was a most comfortable circumstance. Happily he was not farther from
approving matrimony than from foreseeing it.__ Though always objecting
to every marriage that was arranged, he never suffered beforehand from
the apprehension of any; it seemed as if he could not think so ill of
any two persons' understanding as to suppose they meant to marry till
it were proved against them. She blessed the favouring blindness. He
could now, without the drawback of a single unpleasant surmise, without
a glance forward at any possible treachery in his guest, give way to
all his natural kind_hearted civility in solicitous inquiries after Mr.
Frank Churchill's accommodation on his journey, through the sad evils
of sleeping two nights on the road, and express very genuine unmixed
anxiety to know that he had certainly escaped catching cold__which,
however, he could not allow him to feel quite assured of himself till
after another night.
A reasonable visit paid, Mr. Weston began to move.__"He must be going.
He had business at the Crown about his hay, and a great many errands
for Mrs. Weston at Ford's, but he need not hurry any body else." His
son, too well bred to hear the hint, rose immediately also, saying,
"As you are going farther on business, sir, I will take the opportunity
of paying a visit, which must be paid some day or other, and therefore
may as well be paid now. I have the honour of being acquainted with a
neighbour of yours, (turning to Emma,) a lady residing in or near
Highbury; a family of the name of Fairfax. I shall have no difficulty,
I suppose, in finding the house; though Fairfax, I believe, is not the
proper name__I should rather say Barnes, or Bates. Do you know any
family of that name?"
"To be sure we do," cried his father; "Mrs. Bates__we passed her
house__I saw Miss Bates at the window. True, true, you are acquainted
with Miss Fairfax; I remember you knew her at Weymouth, and a fine girl
she is. Call upon her, by all means."
"There is no necessity for my calling this morning," said the young
man; "another day would do as well; but there was that degree of
acquaintance at Weymouth which__"
"Oh! go to_day, go to_day. Do not defer it. What is right to be done
cannot be done too soon. And, besides, I must give you a hint, Frank;
any want of attention to her -here- should be carefully avoided. You
saw her with the Campbells, when she was the equal of every body she
mixed with, but here she is with a poor old grandmother, who has barely
enough to live on. If you do not call early it will be a slight."
The son looked convinced.
"I have heard her speak of the acquaintance," said Emma; "she is a very
elegant young woman."
He agreed to it, but with so quiet a "Yes," as inclined her almost to
doubt his real concurrence; and yet there must be a very distinct sort
of elegance for the fashionable world, if Jane Fairfax could be thought
only ordinarily gifted with it.
"If you were never particularly struck by her manners before," said
she, "I think you will to_day. You will see her to advantage; see her
and hear her__no, I am afraid you will not hear her at all, for she has
an aunt who never holds her tongue."
"You are acquainted with Miss Jane Fairfax, sir, are you?" said Mr.
Woodhouse, always the last to make his way in conversation; "then give
me leave to assure you that you will find her a very agreeable young
lady. She is staying here on a visit to her grandmama and aunt, very
worthy people; I have known them all my life. They will be extremely
glad to see you, I am sure; and one of my servants shall go with you to
shew you the way."
"My dear sir, upon no account in the world; my father can direct me."
"But your father is not going so far; he is only going to the Crown,
quite on the other side of the street, and there are a great many
houses; you might be very much at a loss, and it is a very dirty walk,
unless you keep on the footpath; but my coachman can tell you where you
had best cross the street."
Mr. Frank Churchill still declined it, looking as serious as he could,
and his father gave his hearty support by calling out, "My good friend,
this is quite unnecessary; Frank knows a puddle of water when he sees
it, and as to Mrs. Bates's, he may get there from the Crown in a hop,
step, and jump."
They were permitted to go alone; and with a cordial nod from one, and a
graceful bow from the other, the two gentlemen took leave. Emma
remained very well pleased with this beginning of the acquaintance, and
could now engage to think of them all at Randalls any hour of the day,
with full confidence in their comfort.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 06
The next morning brought Mr. Frank Churchill again. He came with Mrs.
Weston, to whom and to Highbury he seemed to take very cordially. He
had been sitting with her, it appeared, most companionably at home,
till her usual hour of exercise; and on being desired to chuse their
walk, immediately fixed on Highbury.__"He did not doubt there being
very pleasant walks in every direction, but if left to him, he should
always chuse the same. Highbury, that airy, cheerful, happy_looking
Highbury, would be his constant attraction."__ Highbury, with Mrs.
Weston, stood for Hartfield; and she trusted to its bearing the same
construction with him. They walked thither directly.
Emma had hardly expected them: for Mr. Weston, who had called in for
half a minute, in order to hear that his son was very handsome, knew
nothing of their plans; and it was an agreeable surprize to her,
therefore, to perceive them walking up to the house together, arm in
arm. She was wanting to see him again, and especially to see him in
company with Mrs. Weston, upon his behaviour to whom her opinion of him
was to depend. If he were deficient there, nothing should make amends
for it. But on seeing them together, she became perfectly satisfied.
It was not merely in fine words or hyperbolical compliment that he paid
his duty; nothing could be more proper or pleasing than his whole
manner to her__nothing could more agreeably denote his wish of
considering her as a friend and securing her affection. And there was
time enough for Emma to form a reasonable judgment, as their visit
included all the rest of the morning. They were all three walking
about together for an hour or two__first round the shrubberies of
Hartfield, and afterwards in Highbury. He was delighted with every
thing; admired Hartfield sufficiently for Mr. Woodhouse's ear; and when
their going farther was resolved on, confessed his wish to be made
acquainted with the whole village, and found matter of commendation and
interest much oftener than Emma could have supposed.
Some of the objects of his curiosity spoke very amiable feelings. He
begged to be shewn the house which his father had lived in so long, and
which had been the home of his father's father; and on recollecting
that an old woman who had nursed him was still living, walked in quest
of her cottage from one end of the street to the other; and though in
some points of pursuit or observation there was no positive merit, they
shewed, altogether, a good_will towards Highbury in general, which must
be very like a merit to those he was with.
Emma watched and decided, that with such feelings as were now shewn, it
could not be fairly supposed that he had been ever voluntarily
absenting himself; that he had not been acting a part, or making a
parade of insincere professions; and that Mr. Knightley certainly had
not done him justice.
Their first pause was at the Crown Inn, an inconsiderable house, though
the principal one of the sort, where a couple of pair of post_horses
were kept, more for the convenience of the neighbourhood than from any
run on the road; and his companions had not expected to be detained by
any interest excited there; but in passing it they gave the history of
the large room visibly added; it had been built many years ago for a
ball_room, and while the neighbourhood had been in a particularly
populous, dancing state, had been occasionally used as such;__but such
brilliant days had long passed away, and now the highest purpose for
which it was ever wanted was to accommodate a whist club established
among the gentlemen and half_gentlemen of the place. He was
immediately interested. Its character as a ball_room caught him; and
instead of passing on, he stopt for several minutes at the two superior
sashed windows which were open, to look in and contemplate its
capabilities, and lament that its original purpose should have ceased.
He saw no fault in the room, he would acknowledge none which they
suggested. No, it was long enough, broad enough, handsome enough. It
would hold the very number for comfort. They ought to have balls there
at least every fortnight through the winter. Why had not Miss
Woodhouse revived the former good old days of the room?__She who could
do any thing in Highbury! The want of proper families in the place,
and the conviction that none beyond the place and its immediate
environs could be tempted to attend, were mentioned; but he was not
satisfied. He could not be persuaded that so many good_looking houses
as he saw around him, could not furnish numbers enough for such a
meeting; and even when particulars were given and families described,
he was still unwilling to admit that the inconvenience of such a
mixture would be any thing, or that there would be the smallest
difficulty in every body's returning into their proper place the next
morning. He argued like a young man very much bent on dancing; and
Emma was rather surprized to see the constitution of the Weston prevail
so decidedly against the habits of the Churchills. He seemed to have
all the life and spirit, cheerful feelings, and social inclinations of
his father, and nothing of the pride or reserve of Enscombe. Of pride,
indeed, there was, perhaps, scarcely enough; his indifference to a
confusion of rank, bordered too much on inelegance of mind. He could
be no judge, however, of the evil he was holding cheap. It was but an
effusion of lively spirits.
At last he was persuaded to move on from the front of the Crown; and
being now almost facing the house where the Bateses lodged, Emma
recollected his intended visit the day before, and asked him if he had
"Yes, oh! yes"__he replied; "I was just going to mention it. A very
successful visit:__I saw all the three ladies; and felt very much
obliged to you for your preparatory hint. If the talking aunt had
taken me quite by surprize, it must have been the death of me. As it
was, I was only betrayed into paying a most unreasonable visit. Ten
minutes would have been all that was necessary, perhaps all that was
proper; and I had told my father I should certainly be at home before
him__but there was no getting away, no pause; and, to my utter
astonishment, I found, when he (finding me nowhere else) joined me
there at last, that I had been actually sitting with them very nearly
three_quarters of an hour. The good lady had not given me the
possibility of escape before."
"And how did you think Miss Fairfax looking?"
"Ill, very ill__that is, if a young lady can ever be allowed to look
ill. But the expression is hardly admissible, Mrs. Weston, is it?
Ladies can never look ill. And, seriously, Miss Fairfax is naturally
so pale, as almost always to give the appearance of ill health.__ A
most deplorable want of complexion."
Emma would not agree to this, and began a warm defence of Miss
Fairfax's complexion. "It was certainly never brilliant, but she would
not allow it to have a sickly hue in general; and there was a softness
and delicacy in her skin which gave peculiar elegance to the character
of her face." He listened with all due deference; acknowledged that he
had heard many people say the same__but yet he must confess, that to
him nothing could make amends for the want of the fine glow of health.
Where features were indifferent, a fine complexion gave beauty to them
all; and where they were good, the effect was__fortunately he need not
attempt to describe what the effect was.
"Well," said Emma, "there is no disputing about taste.__At least you
admire her except her complexion."
He shook his head and laughed.__"I cannot separate Miss Fairfax and her
"Did you see her often at Weymouth? Were you often in the same
At this moment they were approaching Ford's, and he hastily exclaimed,
"Ha! this must be the very shop that every body attends every day of
their lives, as my father informs me. He comes to Highbury himself, he
says, six days out of the seven, and has always business at Ford's. If
it be not inconvenient to you, pray let us go in, that I may prove
myself to belong to the place, to be a true citizen of Highbury. I
must buy something at Ford's. It will be taking out my freedom.__ I
dare say they sell gloves."
"Oh! yes, gloves and every thing. I do admire your patriotism. You
will be adored in Highbury. You were very popular before you came,
because you were Mr. Weston's son__but lay out half a guinea at Ford's,
and your popularity will stand upon your own virtues."
They went in; and while the sleek, well_tied parcels of "Men's Beavers"
and "York Tan" were bringing down and displaying on the counter, he
said__"But I beg your pardon, Miss Woodhouse, you were speaking to me,
you were saying something at the very moment of this burst of my -amor-
-patriae-. Do not let me lose it. I assure you the utmost stretch of
public fame would not make me amends for the loss of any happiness in
"I merely asked, whether you had known much of Miss Fairfax and her
party at Weymouth."
"And now that I understand your question, I must pronounce it to be a
very unfair one. It is always the lady's right to decide on the degree
of acquaintance. Miss Fairfax must already have given her account.__ I
shall not commit myself by claiming more than she may chuse to allow."
"Upon my word! you answer as discreetly as she could do herself. But
her account of every thing leaves so much to be guessed, she is so very
reserved, so very unwilling to give the least information about any
body, that I really think you may say what you like of your
acquaintance with her."
"May I, indeed?__Then I will speak the truth, and nothing suits me so
well. I met her frequently at Weymouth. I had known the Campbells a
little in town; and at Weymouth we were very much in the same set.
Colonel Campbell is a very agreeable man, and Mrs. Campbell a friendly,
warm_hearted woman. I like them all."
"You know Miss Fairfax's situation in life, I conclude; what she is
destined to be?"
"Yes__(rather hesitatingly)__I believe I do."
"You get upon delicate subjects, Emma," said Mrs. Weston smiling;
"remember that I am here.__Mr. Frank Churchill hardly knows what to say
when you speak of Miss Fairfax's situation in life. I will move a
little farther off."
"I certainly do forget to think of -her-," said Emma, "as having ever
been any thing but my friend and my dearest friend."
He looked as if he fully understood and honoured such a sentiment.
When the gloves were bought, and they had quitted the shop again, "Did
you ever hear the young lady we were speaking of, play?" said Frank
"Ever hear her!" repeated Emma. "You forget how much she belongs to
Highbury. I have heard her every year of our lives since we both
began. She plays charmingly."
"You think so, do you?__I wanted the opinion of some one who could
really judge. She appeared to me to play well, that is, with
considerable taste, but I know nothing of the matter myself.__ I am
excessively fond of music, but without the smallest skill or right of
judging of any body's performance.__I have been used to hear her's
admired; and I remember one proof of her being thought to play well:__a
man, a very musical man, and in love with another woman__engaged to
her__on the point of marriage__would yet never ask that other woman to
sit down to the instrument, if the lady in question could sit down
instead__never seemed to like to hear one if he could hear the other.
That, I thought, in a man of known musical talent, was some proof."
"Proof indeed!" said Emma, highly amused.__"Mr. Dixon is very musical,
is he? We shall know more about them all, in half an hour, from you,
than Miss Fairfax would have vouchsafed in half a year."
"Yes, Mr. Dixon and Miss Campbell were the persons; and I thought it a
very strong proof."
"Certainly__very strong it was; to own the truth, a great deal stronger
than, if -I- had been Miss Campbell, would have been at all agreeable
to me. I could not excuse a man's having more music than love__more
ear than eye__a more acute sensibility to fine sounds than to my
feelings. How did Miss Campbell appear to like it?"
"It was her very particular friend, you know."
"Poor comfort!" said Emma, laughing. "One would rather have a stranger
preferred than one's very particular friend__with a stranger it might
not recur again__but the misery of having a very particular friend
always at hand, to do every thing better than one does oneself!__ Poor
Mrs. Dixon! Well, I am glad she is gone to settle in Ireland."
"You are right. It was not very flattering to Miss Campbell; but she
really did not seem to feel it."
"So much the better__or so much the worse:__I do not know which. But
be it sweetness or be it stupidity in her__quickness of friendship, or
dulness of feeling__there was one person, I think, who must have felt
it: Miss Fairfax herself. She must have felt the improper and
"As to that__I do not__"
"Oh! do not imagine that I expect an account of Miss Fairfax's
sensations from you, or from any body else. They are known to no human
being, I guess, but herself. But if she continued to play whenever she
was asked by Mr. Dixon, one may guess what one chuses."
"There appeared such a perfectly good understanding among them all__"
he began rather quickly, but checking himself, added, "however, it is
impossible for me to say on what terms they really were__how it might
all be behind the scenes. I can only say that there was smoothness
outwardly. But you, who have known Miss Fairfax from a child, must be
a better judge of her character, and of how she is likely to conduct
herself in critical situations, than I can be."
"I have known her from a child, undoubtedly; we have been children and
women together; and it is natural to suppose that we should be
intimate,__that we should have taken to each other whenever she visited
her friends. But we never did. I hardly know how it has happened; a
little, perhaps, from that wickedness on my side which was prone to
take disgust towards a girl so idolized and so cried up as she always
was, by her aunt and grandmother, and all their set. And then, her
reserve__I never could attach myself to any one so completely reserved."
"It is a most repulsive quality, indeed," said he. "Oftentimes very
convenient, no doubt, but never pleasing. There is safety in reserve,
but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person."
"Not till the reserve ceases towards oneself; and then the attraction
may be the greater. But I must be more in want of a friend, or an
agreeable companion, than I have yet been, to take the trouble of
conquering any body's reserve to procure one. Intimacy between Miss
Fairfax and me is quite out of the question. I have no reason to think
ill of her__not the least__except that such extreme and perpetual
cautiousness of word and manner, such a dread of giving a distinct idea
about any body, is apt to suggest suspicions of there being something
He perfectly agreed with her: and after walking together so long, and
thinking so much alike, Emma felt herself so well acquainted with him,
that she could hardly believe it to be only their second meeting. He
was not exactly what she had expected; less of the man of the world in
some of his notions, less of the spoiled child of fortune, therefore
better than she had expected. His ideas seemed more moderate__his
feelings warmer. She was particularly struck by his manner of
considering Mr. Elton's house, which, as well as the church, he would
go and look at, and would not join them in finding much fault with.
No, he could not believe it a bad house; not such a house as a man was
to be pitied for having. If it were to be shared with the woman he
loved, he could not think any man to be pitied for having that house.
There must be ample room in it for every real comfort. The man must be
a blockhead who wanted more.
Mrs. Weston laughed, and said he did not know what he was talking
about. Used only to a large house himself, and without ever thinking
how many advantages and accommodations were attached to its size, he
could be no judge of the privations inevitably belonging to a small
one. But Emma, in her own mind, determined that he -did- know what he
was talking about, and that he shewed a very amiable inclination to
settle early in life, and to marry, from worthy motives. He might not
be aware of the inroads on domestic peace to be occasioned by no
housekeeper's room, or a bad butler's pantry, but no doubt he did
perfectly feel that Enscombe could not make him happy, and that
whenever he were attached, he would willingly give up much of wealth to
be allowed an early establishment.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 07
Emma's very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the
following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to
have his hair cut. A sudden freak seemed to have seized him at
breakfast, and he had sent for a chaise and set off, intending to
return to dinner, but with no more important view that appeared than
having his hair cut. There was certainly no harm in his travelling
sixteen miles twice over on such an errand; but there was an air of
foppery and nonsense in it which she could not approve. It did not
accord with the rationality of plan, the moderation in expense, or even
the unselfish warmth of heart, which she had believed herself to
discern in him yesterday. Vanity, extravagance, love of change,
restlessness of temper, which must be doing something, good or bad;
heedlessness as to the pleasure of his father and Mrs. Weston,
indifferent as to how his conduct might appear in general; he became
liable to all these charges. His father only called him a coxcomb, and
thought it a very good story; but that Mrs. Weston did not like it, was
clear enough, by her passing it over as quickly as possible, and making
no other comment than that "all young people would have their little
With the exception of this little blot, Emma found that his visit
hitherto had given her friend only good ideas of him. Mrs. Weston was
very ready to say how attentive and pleasant a companion he made
himself__how much she saw to like in his disposition altogether. He
appeared to have a very open temper__certainly a very cheerful and
lively one; she could observe nothing wrong in his notions, a great
deal decidedly right; he spoke of his uncle with warm regard, was fond
of talking of him__said he would be the best man in the world if he
were left to himself; and though there was no being attached to the
aunt, he acknowledged her kindness with gratitude, and seemed to mean
always to speak of her with respect. This was all very promising; and,
but for such an unfortunate fancy for having his hair cut, there was
nothing to denote him unworthy of the distinguished honour which her
imagination had given him; the honour, if not of being really in love
with her, of being at least very near it, and saved only by her own
indifference__(for still her resolution held of never marrying)__the
honour, in short, of being marked out for her by all their joint
Mr. Weston, on his side, added a virtue to the account which must have
some weight. He gave her to understand that Frank admired her
extremely__thought her very beautiful and very charming; and with so
much to be said for him altogether, she found she must not judge him
harshly. As Mrs. Weston observed, "all young people would have their
There was one person among his new acquaintance in Surry, not so
leniently disposed. In general he was judged, throughout the parishes
of Donwell and Highbury, with great candour; liberal allowances were
made for the little excesses of such a handsome young man__one who
smiled so often and bowed so well; but there was one spirit among them
not to be softened, from its power of censure, by bows or smiles__Mr.
Knightley. The circumstance was told him at Hartfield; for the moment,
he was silent; but Emma heard him almost immediately afterwards say to
himself, over a newspaper he held in his hand, "Hum! just the trifling,
silly fellow I took him for." She had half a mind to resent; but an
instant's observation convinced her that it was really said only to
relieve his own feelings, and not meant to provoke; and therefore she
let it pass.
Although in one instance the bearers of not good tidings, Mr. and Mrs.
Weston's visit this morning was in another respect particularly
opportune. Something occurred while they were at Hartfield, to make
Emma want their advice; and, which was still more lucky, she wanted
exactly the advice they gave.
This was the occurrence:__The Coles had been settled some years in
Highbury, and were very good sort of people__friendly, liberal, and
unpretending; but, on the other hand, they were of low origin, in
trade, and only moderately genteel. On their first coming into the
country, they had lived in proportion to their income, quietly, keeping
little company, and that little unexpensively; but the last year or two
had brought them a considerable increase of means__the house in town
had yielded greater profits, and fortune in general had smiled on them.
With their wealth, their views increased; their want of a larger house,
their inclination for more company. They added to their house, to
their number of servants, to their expenses of every sort; and by this
time were, in fortune and style of living, second only to the family at
Hartfield. Their love of society, and their new dining_room, prepared
every body for their keeping dinner_company; and a few parties, chiefly
among the single men, had already taken place. The regular and best
families Emma could hardly suppose they would presume to invite__
neither Donwell, nor Hartfield, nor Randalls. Nothing should tempt
-her- to go, if they did; and she regretted that her father's known
habits would be giving her refusal less meaning than she could wish.
The Coles were very respectable in their way, but they ought to be
taught that it was not for them to arrange the terms on which the
superior families would visit them. This lesson, she very much feared,
they would receive only from herself; she had little hope of Mr.
Knightley, none of Mr. Weston.
But she had made up her mind how to meet this presumption so many weeks
before it appeared, that when the insult came at last, it found her
very differently affected. Donwell and Randalls had received their
invitation, and none had come for her father and herself; and Mrs.
Weston's accounting for it with "I suppose they will not take the
liberty with you; they know you do not dine out," was not quite
sufficient. She felt that she should like to have had the power of
refusal; and afterwards, as the idea of the party to be assembled
there, consisting precisely of those whose society was dearest to her,
occurred again and again, she did not know that she might not have been
tempted to accept. Harriet was to be there in the evening, and the
Bateses. They had been speaking of it as they walked about Highbury
the day before, and Frank Churchill had most earnestly lamented her
absence. Might not the evening end in a dance? had been a question of
his. The bare possibility of it acted as a farther irritation on her
spirits; and her being left in solitary grandeur, even supposing the
omission to be intended as a compliment, was but poor comfort.
It was the arrival of this very invitation while the Westons were at
Hartfield, which made their presence so acceptable; for though her
first remark, on reading it, was that "of course it must be declined,"
she so very soon proceeded to ask them what they advised her to do,
that their advice for her going was most prompt and successful.
She owned that, considering every thing, she was not absolutely without
inclination for the party. The Coles expressed themselves so
properly__there was so much real attention in the manner of it__so
much consideration for her father. "They would have solicited the
honour earlier, but had been waiting the arrival of a folding_screen
from London, which they hoped might keep Mr. Woodhouse from any draught
of air, and therefore induce him the more readily to give them the
honour of his company." Upon the whole, she was very persuadable; and
it being briefly settled among themselves how it might be done without
neglecting his comfort__how certainly Mrs. Goddard, if not Mrs. Bates,
might be depended on for bearing him company__ Mr. Woodhouse was to be
talked into an acquiescence of his daughter's going out to dinner on a
day now near at hand, and spending the whole evening away from him. As
for -his- going, Emma did not wish him to think it possible, the hours
would be too late, and the party too numerous. He was soon pretty well
"I am not fond of dinner_visiting," said he__"I never was. No more is
Emma. Late hours do not agree with us. I am sorry Mr. and Mrs. Cole
should have done it. I think it would be much better if they would
come in one afternoon next summer, and take their tea with us__take us
in their afternoon walk; which they might do, as our hours are so
reasonable, and yet get home without being out in the damp of the
evening. The dews of a summer evening are what I would not expose any
body to. However, as they are so very desirous to have dear Emma dine
with them, and as you will both be there, and Mr. Knightley too, to
take care of her, I cannot wish to prevent it, provided the weather be
what it ought, neither damp, nor cold, nor windy." Then turning to
Mrs. Weston, with a look of gentle reproach__"Ah! Miss Taylor, if you
had not married, you would have staid at home with me."
"Well, sir," cried Mr. Weston, "as I took Miss Taylor away, it is
incumbent on me to supply her place, if I can; and I will step to Mrs.
Goddard in a moment, if you wish it."
But the idea of any thing to be done in a -moment-, was increasing, not
lessening, Mr. Woodhouse's agitation. The ladies knew better how to
allay it. Mr. Weston must be quiet, and every thing deliberately
With this treatment, Mr. Woodhouse was soon composed enough for talking
as usual. "He should be happy to see Mrs. Goddard. He had a great
regard for Mrs. Goddard; and Emma should write a line, and invite her.
James could take the note. But first of all, there must be an answer
written to Mrs. Cole."
"You will make my excuses, my dear, as civilly as possible. You will
say that I am quite an invalid, and go no where, and therefore must
decline their obliging invitation; beginning with my -compliments-, of
course. But you will do every thing right. I need not tell you what
is to be done. We must remember to let James know that the carriage
will be wanted on Tuesday. I shall have no fears for you with him. We
have never been there above once since the new approach was made; but
still I have no doubt that James will take you very safely. And when
you get there, you must tell him at what time you would have him come
for you again; and you had better name an early hour. You will not
like staying late. You will get very tired when tea is over."
"But you would not wish me to come away before I am tired, papa?"
"Oh! no, my love; but you will soon be tired. There will be a great
many people talking at once. You will not like the noise."
"But, my dear sir," cried Mr. Weston, "if Emma comes away early, it
will be breaking up the party."
"And no great harm if it does," said Mr. Woodhouse. "The sooner every
party breaks up, the better."
"But you do not consider how it may appear to the Coles. Emma's going
away directly after tea might be giving offence. They are good_natured
people, and think little of their own claims; but still they must feel
that any body's hurrying away is no great compliment; and Miss
Woodhouse's doing it would be more thought of than any other person's
in the room. You would not wish to disappoint and mortify the Coles, I
am sure, sir; friendly, good sort of people as ever lived, and who have
been your neighbours these -ten- years."
"No, upon no account in the world, Mr. Weston; I am much obliged to you
for reminding me. I should be extremely sorry to be giving them any
pain. I know what worthy people they are. Perry tells me that Mr.
Cole never touches malt liquor. You would not think it to look at him,
but he is bilious__Mr. Cole is very bilious. No, I would not be the
means of giving them any pain. My dear Emma, we must consider this. I
am sure, rather than run the risk of hurting Mr. and Mrs. Cole, you
would stay a little longer than you might wish. You will not regard
being tired. You will be perfectly safe, you know, among your friends."
"Oh yes, papa. I have no fears at all for myself; and I should have no
scruples of staying as late as Mrs. Weston, but on your account. I am
only afraid of your sitting up for me. I am not afraid of your not
being exceedingly comfortable with Mrs. Goddard. She loves piquet, you
know; but when she is gone home, I am afraid you will be sitting up by
yourself, instead of going to bed at your usual time__and the idea of
that would entirely destroy my comfort. You must promise me not to sit
He did, on the condition of some promises on her side: such as that,
if she came home cold, she would be sure to warm herself thoroughly; if
hungry, that she would take something to eat; that her own maid should
sit up for her; and that Serle and the butler should see that every
thing were safe in the house, as usual.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 08
Frank Churchill came back again; and if he kept his father's dinner
waiting, it was not known at Hartfield; for Mrs. Weston was too anxious
for his being a favourite with Mr. Woodhouse, to betray any
imperfection which could be concealed.
He came back, had had his hair cut, and laughed at himself with a very
good grace, but without seeming really at all ashamed of what he had
done. He had no reason to wish his hair longer, to conceal any
confusion of face; no reason to wish the money unspent, to improve his
spirits. He was quite as undaunted and as lively as ever; and, after
seeing him, Emma thus moralised to herself:__
"I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things do
cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent
way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always
folly.__It depends upon the character of those who handle it. Mr.
Knightley, he is -not- a trifling, silly young man. If he were, he
would have done this differently. He would either have gloried in the
achievement, or been ashamed of it. There would have been either the
ostentation of a coxcomb, or the evasions of a mind too weak to defend
its own vanities.__No, I am perfectly sure that he is not trifling or
With Tuesday came the agreeable prospect of seeing him again, and for a
longer time than hitherto; of judging of his general manners, and by
inference, of the meaning of his manners towards herself; of guessing
how soon it might be necessary for her to throw coldness into her air;
and of fancying what the observations of all those might be, who were
now seeing them together for the first time.
She meant to be very happy, in spite of the scene being laid at Mr.
Cole's; and without being able to forget that among the failings of Mr.
Elton, even in the days of his favour, none had disturbed her more than
his propensity to dine with Mr. Cole.
Her father's comfort was amply secured, Mrs. Bates as well as Mrs.
Goddard being able to come; and her last pleasing duty, before she left
the house, was to pay her respects to them as they sat together after
dinner; and while her father was fondly noticing the beauty of her
dress, to make the two ladies all the amends in her power, by helping
them to large slices of cake and full glasses of wine, for whatever
unwilling self_denial his care of their constitution might have obliged
them to practise during the meal.__She had provided a plentiful dinner
for them; she wished she could know that they had been allowed to eat
She followed another carriage to Mr. Cole's door; and was pleased to
see that it was Mr. Knightley's; for Mr. Knightley keeping no horses,
having little spare money and a great deal of health, activity, and
independence, was too apt, in Emma's opinion, to get about as he could,
and not use his carriage so often as became the owner of Donwell Abbey.
She had an opportunity now of speaking her approbation while warm from
her heart, for he stopped to hand her out.
"This is coming as you should do," said she; "like a gentleman.__ I am
quite glad to see you."
He thanked her, observing, "How lucky that we should arrive at the same
moment! for, if we had met first in the drawing_room, I doubt whether
you would have discerned me to be more of a gentleman than usual.__ You
might not have distinguished how I came, by my look or manner."
"Yes I should, I am sure I should. There is always a look of
consciousness or bustle when people come in a way which they know to be
beneath them. You think you carry it off very well, I dare say, but
with you it is a sort of bravado, an air of affected unconcern; I
always observe it whenever I meet you under those circumstances. -Now-
you have nothing to try for. You are not afraid of being supposed
ashamed. You are not striving to look taller than any body else.
-Now- I shall really be very happy to walk into the same room with you."
"Nonsensical girl!" was his reply, but not at all in anger.
Emma had as much reason to be satisfied with the rest of the party as
with Mr. Knightley. She was received with a cordial respect which
could not but please, and given all the consequence she could wish for.
When the Westons arrived, the kindest looks of love, the strongest of
admiration were for her, from both husband and wife; the son approached
her with a cheerful eagerness which marked her as his peculiar object,
and at dinner she found him seated by her__and, as she firmly believed,
not without some dexterity on his side.
The party was rather large, as it included one other family, a proper
unobjectionable country family, whom the Coles had the advantage of
naming among their acquaintance, and the male part of Mr. Cox's family,
the lawyer of Highbury. The less worthy females were to come in the
evening, with Miss Bates, Miss Fairfax, and Miss Smith; but already, at
dinner, they were too numerous for any subject of conversation to be
general; and, while politics and Mr. Elton were talked over, Emma could
fairly surrender all her attention to the pleasantness of her
neighbour. The first remote sound to which she felt herself obliged to
attend, was the name of Jane Fairfax. Mrs. Cole seemed to be relating
something of her that was expected to be very interesting. She
listened, and found it well worth listening to. That very dear part of
Emma, her fancy, received an amusing supply. Mrs. Cole was telling
that she had been calling on Miss Bates, and as soon as she entered the
room had been struck by the sight of a pianoforte__a very elegant
looking instrument__not a grand, but a large_sized square pianoforte;
and the substance of the story, the end of all the dialogue which
ensued of surprize, and inquiry, and congratulations on her side, and
explanations on Miss Bates's, was, that this pianoforte had arrived
from Broadwood's the day before, to the great astonishment of both aunt
and niece__entirely unexpected; that at first, by Miss Bates's account,
Jane herself was quite at a loss, quite bewildered to think who could
possibly have ordered it__but now, they were both perfectly satisfied
that it could be from only one quarter;__of course it must be from
"One can suppose nothing else," added Mrs. Cole, "and I was only
surprized that there could ever have been a doubt. But Jane, it seems,
had a letter from them very lately, and not a word was said about it.
She knows their ways best; but I should not consider their silence as
any reason for their not meaning to make the present. They might chuse
to surprize her."
Mrs. Cole had many to agree with her; every body who spoke on the
subject was equally convinced that it must come from Colonel Campbell,
and equally rejoiced that such a present had been made; and there were
enough ready to speak to allow Emma to think her own way, and still
listen to Mrs. Cole.
"I declare, I do not know when I have heard any thing that has given me
more satisfaction!__It always has quite hurt me that Jane Fairfax, who
plays so delightfully, should not have an instrument. It seemed quite
a shame, especially considering how many houses there are where fine
instruments are absolutely thrown away. This is like giving ourselves
a slap, to be sure! and it was but yesterday I was telling Mr. Cole, I
really was ashamed to look at our new grand pianoforte in the
drawing_room, while I do not know one note from another, and our little
girls, who are but just beginning, perhaps may never make any thing of
it; and there is poor Jane Fairfax, who is mistress of music, has not
any thing of the nature of an instrument, not even the pitifullest old
spinet in the world, to amuse herself with.__I was saying this to Mr.
Cole but yesterday, and he quite agreed with me; only he is so
particularly fond of music that he could not help indulging himself in
the purchase, hoping that some of our good neighbours might be so
obliging occasionally to put it to a better use than we can; and that
really is the reason why the instrument was bought__or else I am sure
we ought to be ashamed of it.__We are in great hopes that Miss
Woodhouse may be prevailed with to try it this evening."
Miss Woodhouse made the proper acquiescence; and finding that nothing
more was to be entrapped from any communication of Mrs. Cole's, turned
to Frank Churchill.
"Why do you smile?" said she.
"Nay, why do you?"
"Me!__I suppose I smile for pleasure at Colonel Campbell's being so
rich and so liberal.__It is a handsome present."
"I rather wonder that it was never made before."
"Perhaps Miss Fairfax has never been staying here so long before."
"Or that he did not give her the use of their own instrument__which
must now be shut up in London, untouched by any body."
"That is a grand pianoforte, and he might think it too large for Mrs.
"You may -say- what you chuse__but your countenance testifies that your
-thoughts- on this subject are very much like mine."
"I do not know. I rather believe you are giving me more credit for
acuteness than I deserve. I smile because you smile, and shall
probably suspect whatever I find you suspect; but at present I do not
see what there is to question. If Colonel Campbell is not the person,
who can be?"
"What do you say to Mrs. Dixon?"
"Mrs. Dixon! very true indeed. I had not thought of Mrs. Dixon. She
must know as well as her father, how acceptable an instrument would be;
and perhaps the mode of it, the mystery, the surprize, is more like a
young woman's scheme than an elderly man's. It is Mrs. Dixon, I dare
say. I told you that your suspicions would guide mine."
"If so, you must extend your suspicions and comprehend -Mr-. Dixon in
"Mr. Dixon.__Very well. Yes, I immediately perceive that it must be
the joint present of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon. We were speaking the other
day, you know, of his being so warm an admirer of her performance."
"Yes, and what you told me on that head, confirmed an idea which I had
entertained before.__I do not mean to reflect upon the good intentions
of either Mr. Dixon or Miss Fairfax, but I cannot help suspecting
either that, after making his proposals to her friend, he had the
misfortune to fall in love with -her-, or that he became conscious of a
little attachment on her side. One might guess twenty things without
guessing exactly the right; but I am sure there must be a particular
cause for her chusing to come to Highbury instead of going with the
Campbells to Ireland. Here, she must be leading a life of privation
and penance; there it would have been all enjoyment. As to the
pretence of trying her native air, I look upon that as a mere
excuse.__In the summer it might have passed; but what can any body's
native air do for them in the months of January, February, and March?
Good fires and carriages would be much more to the purpose in most
cases of delicate health, and I dare say in her's. I do not require you
to adopt all my suspicions, though you make so noble a profession of
doing it, but I honestly tell you what they are."
"And, upon my word, they have an air of great probability. Mr. Dixon's
preference of her music to her friend's, I can answer for being very
"And then, he saved her life. Did you ever hear of that?__ A water
party; and by some accident she was falling overboard. He caught her."
"He did. I was there__one of the party."
"Were you really?__Well!__But you observed nothing of course, for it
seems to be a new idea to you.__If I had been there, I think I should
have made some discoveries."
"I dare say you would; but I, simple I, saw nothing but the fact, that
Miss Fairfax was nearly dashed from the vessel and that Mr. Dixon
caught her.__It was the work of a moment. And though the consequent
shock and alarm was very great and much more durable__indeed I believe
it was half an hour before any of us were comfortable again__yet that
was too general a sensation for any thing of peculiar anxiety to be
observable. I do not mean to say, however, that you might not have
The conversation was here interrupted. They were called on to share in
the awkwardness of a rather long interval between the courses, and
obliged to be as formal and as orderly as the others; but when the
table was again safely covered, when every corner dish was placed
exactly right, and occupation and ease were generally restored, Emma
"The arrival of this pianoforte is decisive with me. I wanted to know
a little more, and this tells me quite enough. Depend upon it, we
shall soon hear that it is a present from Mr. and Mrs. Dixon."
"And if the Dixons should absolutely deny all knowledge of it we must
conclude it to come from the Campbells."
"No, I am sure it is not from the Campbells. Miss Fairfax knows it is
not from the Campbells, or they would have been guessed at first. She
would not have been puzzled, had she dared fix on them. I may not have
convinced you perhaps, but I am perfectly convinced myself that Mr.
Dixon is a principal in the business."
"Indeed you injure me if you suppose me unconvinced. Your reasonings
carry my judgment along with them entirely. At first, while I supposed
you satisfied that Colonel Campbell was the giver, I saw it only as
paternal kindness, and thought it the most natural thing in the world.
But when you mentioned Mrs. Dixon, I felt how much more probable that
it should be the tribute of warm female friendship. And now I can see
it in no other light than as an offering of love."
There was no occasion to press the matter farther. The conviction
seemed real; he looked as if he felt it. She said no more, other
subjects took their turn; and the rest of the dinner passed away; the
dessert succeeded, the children came in, and were talked to and admired
amid the usual rate of conversation; a few clever things said, a few
downright silly, but by much the larger proportion neither the one nor
the other__nothing worse than everyday remarks, dull repetitions, old
news, and heavy jokes.
The ladies had not been long in the drawing_room, before the other
ladies, in their different divisions, arrived. Emma watched the entree
of her own particular little friend; and if she could not exult in her
dignity and grace, she could not only love the blooming sweetness and
the artless manner, but could most heartily rejoice in that light,
cheerful, unsentimental disposition which allowed her so many
alleviations of pleasure, in the midst of the pangs of disappointed
affection. There she sat__and who would have guessed how many tears
she had been lately shedding? To be in company, nicely dressed herself
and seeing others nicely dressed, to sit and smile and look pretty, and
say nothing, was enough for the happiness of the present hour. Jane
Fairfax did look and move superior; but Emma suspected she might have
been glad to change feelings with Harriet, very glad to have purchased
the mortification of having loved__yes, of having loved even Mr. Elton
in vain__by the surrender of all the dangerous pleasure of knowing
herself beloved by the husband of her friend.
In so large a party it was not necessary that Emma should approach her.
She did not wish to speak of the pianoforte, she felt too much in the
secret herself, to think the appearance of curiosity or interest fair,
and therefore purposely kept at a distance; but by the others, the
subject was almost immediately introduced, and she saw the blush of
consciousness with which congratulations were received, the blush of
guilt which accompanied the name of "my excellent friend Colonel
Mrs. Weston, kind_hearted and musical, was particularly interested by
the circumstance, and Emma could not help being amused at her
perseverance in dwelling on the subject; and having so much to ask and
to say as to tone, touch, and pedal, totally unsuspicious of that wish
of saying as little about it as possible, which she plainly read in the
fair heroine's countenance.
They were soon joined by some of the gentlemen; and the very first of
the early was Frank Churchill. In he walked, the first and the
handsomest; and after paying his compliments en passant to Miss Bates
and her niece, made his way directly to the opposite side of the
circle, where sat Miss Woodhouse; and till he could find a seat by her,
would not sit at all. Emma divined what every body present must be
thinking. She was his object, and every body must perceive it. She
introduced him to her friend, Miss Smith, and, at convenient moments
afterwards, heard what each thought of the other. "He had never seen
so lovely a face, and was delighted with her naivete." And she, "Only
to be sure it was paying him too great a compliment, but she did think
there were some looks a little like Mr. Elton." Emma restrained her
indignation, and only turned from her in silence.
Smiles of intelligence passed between her and the gentleman on first
glancing towards Miss Fairfax; but it was most prudent to avoid speech.
He told her that he had been impatient to leave the dining_room__hated
sitting long__was always the first to move when he could__that his
father, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Cox, and Mr. Cole, were left very busy over
parish business__that as long as he had staid, however, it had been
pleasant enough, as he had found them in general a set of
gentlemanlike, sensible men; and spoke so handsomely of Highbury
altogether__thought it so abundant in agreeable families__that Emma
began to feel she had been used to despise the place rather too much.
She questioned him as to the society in Yorkshire__the extent of the
neighbourhood about Enscombe, and the sort; and could make out from his
answers that, as far as Enscombe was concerned, there was very little
going on, that their visitings were among a range of great families,
none very near; and that even when days were fixed, and invitations
accepted, it was an even chance that Mrs. Churchill were not in health
and spirits for going; that they made a point of visiting no fresh
person; and that, though he had his separate engagements, it was not
without difficulty, without considerable address -at- -times-, that he
could get away, or introduce an acquaintance for a night.
She saw that Enscombe could not satisfy, and that Highbury, taken at
its best, might reasonably please a young man who had more retirement
at home than he liked. His importance at Enscombe was very evident.
He did not boast, but it naturally betrayed itself, that he had
persuaded his aunt where his uncle could do nothing, and on her
laughing and noticing it, he owned that he believed (excepting one or
two points) he could -with- -time- persuade her to any thing. One of
those points on which his influence failed, he then mentioned. He had
wanted very much to go abroad__had been very eager indeed to be allowed
to travel__but she would not hear of it. This had happened the year
before. -Now-, he said, he was beginning to have no longer the same
The unpersuadable point, which he did not mention, Emma guessed to be
good behaviour to his father.
"I have made a most wretched discovery," said he, after a short
pause.__ "I have been here a week to_morrow__half my time. I never
knew days fly so fast. A week to_morrow!__And I have hardly begun to
enjoy myself. But just got acquainted with Mrs. Weston, and others!__
I hate the recollection."
"Perhaps you may now begin to regret that you spent one whole day, out
of so few, in having your hair cut."
"No," said he, smiling, "that is no subject of regret at all. I have
no pleasure in seeing my friends, unless I can believe myself fit to be
The rest of the gentlemen being now in the room, Emma found herself
obliged to turn from him for a few minutes, and listen to Mr. Cole.
When Mr. Cole had moved away, and her attention could be restored as
before, she saw Frank Churchill looking intently across the room at
Miss Fairfax, who was sitting exactly opposite.
"What is the matter?" said she.
He started. "Thank you for rousing me," he replied. "I believe I have
been very rude; but really Miss Fairfax has done her hair in so odd a
way__so very odd a way__that I cannot keep my eyes from her. I never
saw any thing so outree!__Those curls!__This must be a fancy of her
own. I see nobody else looking like her!__ I must go and ask her
whether it is an Irish fashion. Shall I?__ Yes, I will__I declare I
will__and you shall see how she takes it;__whether she colours."
He was gone immediately; and Emma soon saw him standing before Miss
Fairfax, and talking to her; but as to its effect on the young lady, as
he had improvidently placed himself exactly between them, exactly in
front of Miss Fairfax, she could absolutely distinguish nothing.
Before he could return to his chair, it was taken by Mrs. Weston.
"This is the luxury of a large party," said she:__"one can get near
every body, and say every thing. My dear Emma, I am longing to talk to
you. I have been making discoveries and forming plans, just like
yourself, and I must tell them while the idea is fresh. Do you know
how Miss Bates and her niece came here?"
"How?__They were invited, were not they?"
"Oh! yes__but how they were conveyed hither?__the manner of their
"They walked, I conclude. How else could they come?"
"Very true.__Well, a little while ago it occurred to me how very sad it
would be to have Jane Fairfax walking home again, late at night, and
cold as the nights are now. And as I looked at her, though I never saw
her appear to more advantage, it struck me that she was heated, and
would therefore be particularly liable to take cold. Poor girl! I
could not bear the idea of it; so, as soon as Mr. Weston came into the
room, and I could get at him, I spoke to him about the carriage. You
may guess how readily he came into my wishes; and having his
approbation, I made my way directly to Miss Bates, to assure her that
the carriage would be at her service before it took us home; for I
thought it would be making her comfortable at once. Good soul! she was
as grateful as possible, you may be sure. 'Nobody was ever so
fortunate as herself!'__but with many, many thanks__'there was no
occasion to trouble us, for Mr. Knightley's carriage had brought, and
was to take them home again.' I was quite surprized;__very glad, I am
sure; but really quite surprized. Such a very kind attention__and so
thoughtful an attention!__the sort of thing that so few men would
think of. And, in short, from knowing his usual ways, I am very much
inclined to think that it was for their accommodation the carriage was
used at all. I do suspect he would not have had a pair of horses for
himself, and that it was only as an excuse for assisting them."
"Very likely," said Emma__"nothing more likely. I know no man more
likely than Mr. Knightley to do the sort of thing__to do any thing
really good_natured, useful, considerate, or benevolent. He is not a
gallant man, but he is a very humane one; and this, considering Jane
Fairfax's ill_health, would appear a case of humanity to him;__and for
an act of unostentatious kindness, there is nobody whom I would fix on
more than on Mr. Knightley. I know he had horses to_day__for we
arrived together; and I laughed at him about it, but he said not a word
that could betray."
"Well," said Mrs. Weston, smiling, "you give him credit for more
simple, disinterested benevolence in this instance than I do; for while
Miss Bates was speaking, a suspicion darted into my head, and I have
never been able to get it out again. The more I think of it, the more
probable it appears. In short, I have made a match between Mr.
Knightley and Jane Fairfax. See the consequence of keeping you
company!__What do you say to it?"
"Mr. Knightley and Jane Fairfax!" exclaimed Emma. "Dear Mrs. Weston,
how could you think of such a thing?__Mr. Knightley!__Mr. Knightley
must not marry!__You would not have little Henry cut out from
Donwell?__ Oh! no, no, Henry must have Donwell. I cannot at all
consent to Mr. Knightley's marrying; and I am sure it is not at all
likely. I am amazed that you should think of such a thing."
"My dear Emma, I have told you what led me to think of it. I do not
want the match__I do not want to injure dear little Henry__but the
idea has been given me by circumstances; and if Mr. Knightley really
wished to marry, you would not have him refrain on Henry's account, a
boy of six years old, who knows nothing of the matter?"
"Yes, I would. I could not bear to have Henry supplanted.__ Mr.
Knightley marry!__No, I have never had such an idea, and I cannot adopt
it now. And Jane Fairfax, too, of all women!"
"Nay, she has always been a first favourite with him, as you very well
"But the imprudence of such a match!"
"I am not speaking of its prudence; merely its probability."
"I see no probability in it, unless you have any better foundation than
what you mention. His good_nature, his humanity, as I tell you, would
be quite enough to account for the horses. He has a great regard for
the Bateses, you know, independent of Jane Fairfax__and is always glad
to shew them attention. My dear Mrs. Weston, do not take to
match_making. You do it very ill. Jane Fairfax mistress of the
Abbey!__Oh! no, no;__every feeling revolts. For his own sake, I would
not have him do so mad a thing."
"Imprudent, if you please__but not mad. Excepting inequality of
fortune, and perhaps a little disparity of age, I can see nothing
"But Mr. Knightley does not want to marry. I am sure he has not the
least idea of it. Do not put it into his head. Why should he marry?__
He is as happy as possible by himself; with his farm, and his sheep,
and his library, and all the parish to manage; and he is extremely fond
of his brother's children. He has no occasion to marry, either to fill
up his time or his heart."
"My dear Emma, as long as he thinks so, it is so; but if he really
loves Jane Fairfax__"
"Nonsense! He does not care about Jane Fairfax. In the way of love, I
am sure he does not. He would do any good to her, or her family; but__"
"Well," said Mrs. Weston, laughing, "perhaps the greatest good he could
do them, would be to give Jane such a respectable home."
"If it would be good to her, I am sure it would be evil to himself; a
very shameful and degrading connexion. How would he bear to have Miss
Bates belonging to him?__To have her haunting the Abbey, and thanking
him all day long for his great kindness in marrying Jane?__ 'So very
kind and obliging!__But he always had been such a very kind neighbour!'
And then fly off, through half a sentence, to her mother's old
petticoat. 'Not that it was such a very old petticoat either__for
still it would last a great while__and, indeed, she must thankfully say
that their petticoats were all very strong.'"
"For shame, Emma! Do not mimic her. You divert me against my
conscience. And, upon my word, I do not think Mr. Knightley would be
much disturbed by Miss Bates. Little things do not irritate him. She
might talk on; and if he wanted to say any thing himself, he would only
talk louder, and drown her voice. But the question is not, whether it
would be a bad connexion for him, but whether he wishes it; and I think
he does. I have heard him speak, and so must you, so very highly of
Jane Fairfax! The interest he takes in her__his anxiety about her
health__his concern that she should have no happier prospect! I have
heard him express himself so warmly on those points!__Such an admirer
of her performance on the pianoforte, and of her voice! I have heard
him say that he could listen to her for ever. Oh! and I had almost
forgotten one idea that occurred to me__this pianoforte that has been
sent here by somebody__though we have all been so well satisfied to
consider it a present from the Campbells, may it not be from Mr.
Knightley? I cannot help suspecting him. I think he is just the
person to do it, even without being in love."
"Then it can be no argument to prove that he is in love. But I do not
think it is at all a likely thing for him to do. Mr. Knightley does
"I have heard him lamenting her having no instrument repeatedly;
oftener than I should suppose such a circumstance would, in the common
course of things, occur to him."
"Very well; and if he had intended to give her one, he would have told
"There might be scruples of delicacy, my dear Emma. I have a very
strong notion that it comes from him. I am sure he was particularly
silent when Mrs. Cole told us of it at dinner."
"You take up an idea, Mrs. Weston, and run away with it; as you have
many a time reproached me with doing. I see no sign of attachment__I
believe nothing of the pianoforte__and proof only shall convince me
that Mr. Knightley has any thought of marrying Jane Fairfax."
They combated the point some time longer in the same way; Emma rather
gaining ground over the mind of her friend; for Mrs. Weston was the
most used of the two to yield; till a little bustle in the room shewed
them that tea was over, and the instrument in preparation;__and at the
same moment Mr. Cole approaching to entreat Miss Woodhouse would do
them the honour of trying it. Frank Churchill, of whom, in the
eagerness of her conversation with Mrs. Weston, she had been seeing
nothing, except that he had found a seat by Miss Fairfax, followed Mr.
Cole, to add his very pressing entreaties; and as, in every respect, it
suited Emma best to lead, she gave a very proper compliance.
She knew the limitations of her own powers too well to attempt more
than she could perform with credit; she wanted neither taste nor spirit
in the little things which are generally acceptable, and could
accompany her own voice well. One accompaniment to her song took her
agreeably by surprize__a second, slightly but correctly taken by Frank
Churchill. Her pardon was duly begged at the close of the song, and
every thing usual followed. He was accused of having a delightful
voice, and a perfect knowledge of music; which was properly denied; and
that he knew nothing of the matter, and had no voice at all, roundly
asserted. They sang together once more; and Emma would then resign her
place to Miss Fairfax, whose performance, both vocal and instrumental,
she never could attempt to conceal from herself, was infinitely
superior to her own.
With mixed feelings, she seated herself at a little distance from the
numbers round the instrument, to listen. Frank Churchill sang again.
They had sung together once or twice, it appeared, at Weymouth. But
the sight of Mr. Knightley among the most attentive, soon drew away
half Emma's mind; and she fell into a train of thinking on the subject
of Mrs. Weston's suspicions, to which the sweet sounds of the united
voices gave only momentary interruptions. Her objections to Mr.
Knightley's marrying did not in the least subside. She could see
nothing but evil in it. It would be a great disappointment to Mr. John
Knightley; consequently to Isabella. A real injury to the children__a
most mortifying change, and material loss to them all;__a very great
deduction from her father's daily comfort__and, as to herself, she
could not at all endure the idea of Jane Fairfax at Donwell Abbey. A
Mrs. Knightley for them all to give way to!__No__Mr. Knightley must
never marry. Little Henry must remain the heir of Donwell.
Presently Mr. Knightley looked back, and came and sat down by her.
They talked at first only of the performance. His admiration was
certainly very warm; yet she thought, but for Mrs. Weston, it would not
have struck her. As a sort of touchstone, however, she began to speak
of his kindness in conveying the aunt and niece; and though his answer
was in the spirit of cutting the matter short, she believed it to
indicate only his disinclination to dwell on any kindness of his own.
"I often feel concern," said she, "that I dare not make our carriage
more useful on such occasions. It is not that I am without the wish;
but you know how impossible my father would deem it that James should
put_to for such a purpose."
"Quite out of the question, quite out of the question," he replied;__
"but you must often wish it, I am sure." And he smiled with such
seeming pleasure at the conviction, that she must proceed another step.
"This present from the Campbells," said she__"this pianoforte is very
"Yes," he replied, and without the smallest apparent embarrassment.__
"But they would have done better had they given her notice of it.
Surprizes are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the
inconvenience is often considerable. I should have expected better
judgment in Colonel Campbell."
From that moment, Emma could have taken her oath that Mr. Knightley had
had no concern in giving the instrument. But whether he were entirely
free from peculiar attachment__whether there were no actual
preference__remained a little longer doubtful. Towards the end of
Jane's second song, her voice grew thick.
"That will do," said he, when it was finished, thinking aloud__"you
have sung quite enough for one evening__now be quiet."
Another song, however, was soon begged for. "One more;__they would not
fatigue Miss Fairfax on any account, and would only ask for one more."
And Frank Churchill was heard to say, "I think you could manage this
without effort; the first part is so very trifling. The strength of
the song falls on the second."
Mr. Knightley grew angry.
"That fellow," said he, indignantly, "thinks of nothing but shewing off
his own voice. This must not be." And touching Miss Bates, who at
that moment passed near__"Miss Bates, are you mad, to let your niece
sing herself hoarse in this manner? Go, and interfere. They have no
mercy on her."
Miss Bates, in her real anxiety for Jane, could hardly stay even to be
grateful, before she stept forward and put an end to all farther
singing. Here ceased the concert part of the evening, for Miss
Woodhouse and Miss Fairfax were the only young lady performers; but
soon (within five minutes) the proposal of dancing__originating nobody
exactly knew where__was so effectually promoted by Mr. and Mrs. Cole,
that every thing was rapidly clearing away, to give proper space. Mrs.
Weston, capital in her country_dances, was seated, and beginning an
irresistible waltz; and Frank Churchill, coming up with most becoming
gallantry to Emma, had secured her hand, and led her up to the top.
While waiting till the other young people could pair themselves off,
Emma found time, in spite of the compliments she was receiving on her
voice and her taste, to look about, and see what became of Mr.
Knightley. This would be a trial. He was no dancer in general. If he
were to be very alert in engaging Jane Fairfax now, it might augur
something. There was no immediate appearance. No; he was talking to
Mrs. Cole__he was looking on unconcerned; Jane was asked by somebody
else, and he was still talking to Mrs. Cole.
Emma had no longer an alarm for Henry; his interest was yet safe; and
she led off the dance with genuine spirit and enjoyment. Not more than
five couple could be mustered; but the rarity and the suddenness of it
made it very delightful, and she found herself well matched in a
partner. They were a couple worth looking at.
Two dances, unfortunately, were all that could be allowed. It was
growing late, and Miss Bates became anxious to get home, on her
mother's account. After some attempts, therefore, to be permitted to
begin again, they were obliged to thank Mrs. Weston, look sorrowful,
and have done.
"Perhaps it is as well," said Frank Churchill, as he attended Emma to
her carriage. "I must have asked Miss Fairfax, and her languid dancing
would not have agreed with me, after yours."
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 09
Emma did not repent her condescension in going to the Coles. The visit
afforded her many pleasant recollections the next day; and all that she
might be supposed to have lost on the side of dignified seclusion, must
be amply repaid in the splendour of popularity. She must have
delighted the Coles__worthy people, who deserved to be made happy!__And
left a name behind her that would not soon die away.
Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common; and there were two
points on which she was not quite easy. She doubted whether she had
not transgressed the duty of woman by woman, in betraying her
suspicions of Jane Fairfax's feelings to Frank Churchill. It was
hardly right; but it had been so strong an idea, that it would escape
her, and his submission to all that she told, was a compliment to her
penetration, which made it difficult for her to be quite certain that
she ought to have held her tongue.
The other circumstance of regret related also to Jane Fairfax; and
there she had no doubt. She did unfeignedly and unequivocally regret
the inferiority of her own playing and singing. She did most heartily
grieve over the idleness of her childhood__and sat down and practised
vigorously an hour and a half.
She was then interrupted by Harriet's coming in; and if Harriet's
praise could have satisfied her, she might soon have been comforted.
"Oh! if I could but play as well as you and Miss Fairfax!"
"Don't class us together, Harriet. My playing is no more like her's,
than a lamp is like sunshine."
"Oh! dear__I think you play the best of the two. I think you play
quite as well as she does. I am sure I had much rather hear you.
Every body last night said how well you played."
"Those who knew any thing about it, must have felt the difference. The
truth is, Harriet, that my playing is just good enough to be praised,
but Jane Fairfax's is much beyond it."
"Well, I always shall think that you play quite as well as she does, or
that if there is any difference nobody would ever find it out. Mr.
Cole said how much taste you had; and Mr. Frank Churchill talked a
great deal about your taste, and that he valued taste much more than
"Ah! but Jane Fairfax has them both, Harriet."
"Are you sure? I saw she had execution, but I did not know she had any
taste. Nobody talked about it. And I hate Italian singing.__ There is
no understanding a word of it. Besides, if she does play so very well,
you know, it is no more than she is obliged to do, because she will
have to teach. The Coxes were wondering last night whether she would
get into any great family. How did you think the Coxes looked?"
"Just as they always do__very vulgar."
"They told me something," said Harriet rather hesitatingly; "but it is
nothing of any consequence."
Emma was obliged to ask what they had told her, though fearful of its
producing Mr. Elton.
"They told me__that Mr. Martin dined with them last Saturday."
"He came to their father upon some business, and he asked him to stay
"They talked a great deal about him, especially Anne Cox. I do not
know what she meant, but she asked me if I thought I should go and stay
there again next summer."
"She meant to be impertinently curious, just as such an Anne Cox should
"She said he was very agreeable the day he dined there. He sat by her
at dinner. Miss Nash thinks either of the Coxes would be very glad to
"Very likely.__I think they are, without exception, the most vulgar
girls in Highbury."
Harriet had business at Ford's.__Emma thought it most prudent to go
with her. Another accidental meeting with the Martins was possible,
and in her present state, would be dangerous.
Harriet, tempted by every thing and swayed by half a word, was always
very long at a purchase; and while she was still hanging over muslins
and changing her mind, Emma went to the door for amusement.__Much could
not be hoped from the traffic of even the busiest part of Highbury;__
Mr. Perry walking hastily by, Mr. William Cox letting himself in at the
office_door, Mr. Cole's carriage_horses returning from exercise, or a
stray letter_boy on an obstinate mule, were the liveliest objects she
could presume to expect; and when her eyes fell only on the butcher
with his tray, a tidy old woman travelling homewards from shop with her
full basket, two curs quarrelling over a dirty bone, and a string of
dawdling children round the baker's little bow_window eyeing the
gingerbread, she knew she had no reason to complain, and was amused
enough; quite enough still to stand at the door. A mind lively and at
ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not
She looked down the Randalls road. The scene enlarged; two persons
appeared; Mrs. Weston and her son_in_law; they were walking into
Highbury;__to Hartfield of course. They were stopping, however, in the
first place at Mrs. Bates's; whose house was a little nearer Randalls
than Ford's; and had all but knocked, when Emma caught their
eye.__Immediately they crossed the road and came forward to her; and
the agreeableness of yesterday's engagement seemed to give fresh
pleasure to the present meeting. Mrs. Weston informed her that she was
going to call on the Bateses, in order to hear the new instrument.
"For my companion tells me," said she, "that I absolutely promised Miss
Bates last night, that I would come this morning. I was not aware of
it myself. I did not know that I had fixed a day, but as he says I
did, I am going now."
"And while Mrs. Weston pays her visit, I may be allowed, I hope," said
Frank Churchill, "to join your party and wait for her at Hartfield__if
you are going home."
Mrs. Weston was disappointed.
"I thought you meant to go with me. They would be very much pleased."
"Me! I should be quite in the way. But, perhaps__I may be equally in
the way here. Miss Woodhouse looks as if she did not want me. My aunt
always sends me off when she is shopping. She says I fidget her to
death; and Miss Woodhouse looks as if she could almost say the same.
What am I to do?"
"I am here on no business of my own," said Emma; "I am only waiting for
my friend. She will probably have soon done, and then we shall go
home. But you had better go with Mrs. Weston and hear the instrument."
"Well__if you advise it.__But (with a smile) if Colonel Campbell should
have employed a careless friend, and if it should prove to have an
indifferent tone__what shall I say? I shall be no support to Mrs.
Weston. She might do very well by herself. A disagreeable truth would
be palatable through her lips, but I am the wretchedest being in the
world at a civil falsehood."
"I do not believe any such thing," replied Emma.__"I am persuaded that
you can be as insincere as your neighbours, when it is necessary; but
there is no reason to suppose the instrument is indifferent. Quite
otherwise indeed, if I understood Miss Fairfax's opinion last night."
"Do come with me," said Mrs. Weston, "if it be not very disagreeable to
you. It need not detain us long. We will go to Hartfield afterwards.
We will follow them to Hartfield. I really wish you to call with me.
It will be felt so great an attention! and I always thought you meant
He could say no more; and with the hope of Hartfield to reward him,
returned with Mrs. Weston to Mrs. Bates's door. Emma watched them in,
and then joined Harriet at the interesting counter,__trying, with all
the force of her own mind, to convince her that if she wanted plain
muslin it was of no use to look at figured; and that a blue ribbon, be
it ever so beautiful, would still never match her yellow pattern. At
last it was all settled, even to the destination of the parcel.
"Should I send it to Mrs. Goddard's, ma'am?" asked Mrs. Ford.__
"Yes__no__yes, to Mrs. Goddard's. Only my pattern gown is at Hartfield.
No, you shall send it to Hartfield, if you please. But then, Mrs.
Goddard will want to see it.__And I could take the pattern gown home
any day. But I shall want the ribbon directly__so it had better go to
Hartfield__at least the ribbon. You could make it into two parcels,
Mrs. Ford, could not you?"
"It is not worth while, Harriet, to give Mrs. Ford the trouble of two
"No more it is."
"No trouble in the world, ma'am," said the obliging Mrs. Ford.
"Oh! but indeed I would much rather have it only in one. Then, if you
please, you shall send it all to Mrs. Goddard's__ I do not know__No, I
think, Miss Woodhouse, I may just as well have it sent to Hartfield,
and take it home with me at night. What do you advise?"
"That you do not give another half_second to the subject. To
Hartfield, if you please, Mrs. Ford."
"Aye, that will be much best," said Harriet, quite satisfied, "I should
not at all like to have it sent to Mrs. Goddard's."
Voices approached the shop__or rather one voice and two ladies: Mrs.
Weston and Miss Bates met them at the door.
"My dear Miss Woodhouse," said the latter, "I am just run across to
entreat the favour of you to come and sit down with us a little while,
and give us your opinion of our new instrument; you and Miss Smith.
How do you do, Miss Smith?__Very well I thank you.__And I begged Mrs.
Weston to come with me, that I might be sure of succeeding."
"I hope Mrs. Bates and Miss Fairfax are__"
"Very well, I am much obliged to you. My mother is delightfully well;
and Jane caught no cold last night. How is Mr. Woodhouse?__I am so
glad to hear such a good account. Mrs. Weston told me you were here.__
Oh! then, said I, I must run across, I am sure Miss Woodhouse will
allow me just to run across and entreat her to come in; my mother will
be so very happy to see her__and now we are such a nice party, she
cannot refuse.__'Aye, pray do,' said Mr. Frank Churchill, 'Miss
Woodhouse's opinion of the instrument will be worth having.'__ But,
said I, I shall be more sure of succeeding if one of you will go with
me.__'Oh,' said he, 'wait half a minute, till I have finished my
job;'__For, would you believe it, Miss Woodhouse, there he is, in the
most obliging manner in the world, fastening in the rivet of my
mother's spectacles.__The rivet came out, you know, this morning.__ So
very obliging!__For my mother had no use of her spectacles__could not
put them on. And, by the bye, every body ought to have two pair of
spectacles; they should indeed. Jane said so. I meant to take them
over to John Saunders the first thing I did, but something or other
hindered me all the morning; first one thing, then another, there is no
saying what, you know. At one time Patty came to say she thought the
kitchen chimney wanted sweeping. Oh, said I, Patty do not come with
your bad news to me. Here is the rivet of your mistress's spectacles
out. Then the baked apples came home, Mrs. Wallis sent them by her
boy; they are extremely civil and obliging to us, the Wallises,
always__I have heard some people say that Mrs. Wallis can be uncivil
and give a very rude answer, but we have never known any thing but the
greatest attention from them. And it cannot be for the value of our
custom now, for what is our consumption of bread, you know? Only three
of us.__besides dear Jane at present__and she really eats
nothing__makes such a shocking breakfast, you would be quite frightened
if you saw it. I dare not let my mother know how little she eats__so I
say one thing and then I say another, and it passes off. But about the
middle of the day she gets hungry, and there is nothing she likes so
well as these baked apples, and they are extremely wholesome, for I
took the opportunity the other day of asking Mr. Perry; I happened to
meet him in the street. Not that I had any doubt before__ I have so
often heard Mr. Woodhouse recommend a baked apple. I believe it is the
only way that Mr. Woodhouse thinks the fruit thoroughly wholesome. We
have apple_dumplings, however, very often. Patty makes an excellent
apple_dumpling. Well, Mrs. Weston, you have prevailed, I hope, and
these ladies will oblige us."
Emma would be "very happy to wait on Mrs. Bates, &c.," and they did at
last move out of the shop, with no farther delay from Miss Bates than,
"How do you do, Mrs. Ford? I beg your pardon. I did not see you
before. I hear you have a charming collection of new ribbons from
town. Jane came back delighted yesterday. Thank ye, the gloves do
very well__only a little too large about the wrist; but Jane is taking
"What was I talking of?" said she, beginning again when they were all
in the street.
Emma wondered on what, of all the medley, she would fix.
"I declare I cannot recollect what I was talking of.__Oh! my mother's
spectacles. So very obliging of Mr. Frank Churchill! 'Oh!' said he,
'I do think I can fasten the rivet; I like a job of this kind
excessively.'__Which you know shewed him to be so very. . . . Indeed I
must say that, much as I had heard of him before and much as I had
expected, he very far exceeds any thing. . . . I do congratulate you,
Mrs. Weston, most warmly. He seems every thing the fondest parent
could. . . . 'Oh!' said he, 'I can fasten the rivet. I like a job of
that sort excessively.' I never shall forget his manner. And when I
brought out the baked apples from the closet, and hoped our friends
would be so very obliging as to take some, 'Oh!' said he directly,
'there is nothing in the way of fruit half so good, and these are the
finest_looking home_baked apples I ever saw in my life.' That, you
know, was so very. . . . And I am sure, by his manner, it was no
compliment. Indeed they are very delightful apples, and Mrs. Wallis
does them full justice__only we do not have them baked more than twice,
and Mr. Woodhouse made us promise to have them done three times__but
Miss Woodhouse will be so good as not to mention it. The apples
themselves are the very finest sort for baking, beyond a doubt; all
from Donwell__some of Mr. Knightley's most liberal supply. He sends us
a sack every year; and certainly there never was such a keeping apple
anywhere as one of his trees__I believe there is two of them. My
mother says the orchard was always famous in her younger days. But I
was really quite shocked the other day__for Mr. Knightley called one
morning, and Jane was eating these apples, and we talked about them and
said how much she enjoyed them, and he asked whether we were not got to
the end of our stock. 'I am sure you must be,' said he, 'and I will
send you another supply; for I have a great many more than I can ever
use. William Larkins let me keep a larger quantity than usual this
year. I will send you some more, before they get good for nothing.' So
I begged he would not__for really as to ours being gone, I could not
absolutely say that we had a great many left__it was but half a dozen
indeed; but they should be all kept for Jane; and I could not at all
bear that he should be sending us more, so liberal as he had been
already; and Jane said the same. And when he was gone, she almost
quarrelled with me__No, I should not say quarrelled, for we never had a
quarrel in our lives; but she was quite distressed that I had owned the
apples were so nearly gone; she wished I had made him believe we had a
great many left. Oh, said I, my dear, I did say as much as I could.
However, the very same evening William Larkins came over with a large
basket of apples, the same sort of apples, a bushel at least, and I was
very much obliged, and went down and spoke to William Larkins and said
every thing, as you may suppose. William Larkins is such an old
acquaintance! I am always glad to see him. But, however, I found
afterwards from Patty, that William said it was all the apples of
-that- sort his master had; he had brought them all__and now his master
had not one left to bake or boil. William did not seem to mind it
himself, he was so pleased to think his master had sold so many; for
William, you know, thinks more of his master's profit than any thing;
but Mrs. Hodges, he said, was quite displeased at their being all sent
away. She could not bear that her master should not be able to have
another apple_tart this spring. He told Patty this, but bid her not
mind it, and be sure not to say any thing to us about it, for Mrs.
Hodges -would- be cross sometimes, and as long as so many sacks were
sold, it did not signify who ate the remainder. And so Patty told me,
and I was excessively shocked indeed! I would not have Mr. Knightley
know any thing about it for the world! He would be so very. . . . I
wanted to keep it from Jane's knowledge; but, unluckily, I had
mentioned it before I was aware."
Miss Bates had just done as Patty opened the door; and her visitors
walked upstairs without having any regular narration to attend to,
pursued only by the sounds of her desultory good_will.
"Pray take care, Mrs. Weston, there is a step at the turning. Pray
take care, Miss Woodhouse, ours is rather a dark staircase__rather
darker and narrower than one could wish. Miss Smith, pray take care.
Miss Woodhouse, I am quite concerned, I am sure you hit your foot.
Miss Smith, the step at the turning."
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 10
The appearance of the little sitting_room as they entered, was
tranquillity itself; Mrs. Bates, deprived of her usual employment,
slumbering on one side of the fire, Frank Churchill, at a table near
her, most deedily occupied about her spectacles, and Jane Fairfax,
standing with her back to them, intent on her pianoforte.
Busy as he was, however, the young man was yet able to shew a most
happy countenance on seeing Emma again.
"This is a pleasure," said he, in rather a low voice, "coming at least
ten minutes earlier than I had calculated. You find me trying to be
useful; tell me if you think I shall succeed."
"What!" said Mrs. Weston, "have not you finished it yet? you would not
earn a very good livelihood as a working silversmith at this rate."
"I have not been working uninterruptedly," he replied, "I have been
assisting Miss Fairfax in trying to make her instrument stand steadily,
it was not quite firm; an unevenness in the floor, I believe. You see
we have been wedging one leg with paper. This was very kind of you to
be persuaded to come. I was almost afraid you would be hurrying home."
He contrived that she should be seated by him; and was sufficiently
employed in looking out the best baked apple for her, and trying to
make her help or advise him in his work, till Jane Fairfax was quite
ready to sit down to the pianoforte again. That she was not
immediately ready, Emma did suspect to arise from the state of her
nerves; she had not yet possessed the instrument long enough to touch
it without emotion; she must reason herself into the power of
performance; and Emma could not but pity such feelings, whatever their
origin, and could not but resolve never to expose them to her neighbour
At last Jane began, and though the first bars were feebly given, the
powers of the instrument were gradually done full justice to. Mrs.
Weston had been delighted before, and was delighted again; Emma joined
her in all her praise; and the pianoforte, with every proper
discrimination, was pronounced to be altogether of the highest promise.
"Whoever Colonel Campbell might employ," said Frank Churchill, with a
smile at Emma, "the person has not chosen ill. I heard a good deal of
Colonel Campbell's taste at Weymouth; and the softness of the upper
notes I am sure is exactly what he and -all- -that- -party- would
particularly prize. I dare say, Miss Fairfax, that he either gave his
friend very minute directions, or wrote to Broadwood himself. Do not
you think so?"
Jane did not look round. She was not obliged to hear. Mrs. Weston had
been speaking to her at the same moment.
"It is not fair," said Emma, in a whisper; "mine was a random guess.
Do not distress her."
He shook his head with a smile, and looked as if he had very little
doubt and very little mercy. Soon afterwards he began again,
"How much your friends in Ireland must be enjoying your pleasure on
this occasion, Miss Fairfax. I dare say they often think of you, and
wonder which will be the day, the precise day of the instrument's
coming to hand. Do you imagine Colonel Campbell knows the business to
be going forward just at this time?__Do you imagine it to be the
consequence of an immediate commission from him, or that he may have
sent only a general direction, an order indefinite as to time, to
depend upon contingencies and conveniences?"
He paused. She could not but hear; she could not avoid answering,
"Till I have a letter from Colonel Campbell," said she, in a voice of
forced calmness, "I can imagine nothing with any confidence. It must
be all conjecture."
"Conjecture__aye, sometimes one conjectures right, and sometimes one
conjectures wrong. I wish I could conjecture how soon I shall make
this rivet quite firm. What nonsense one talks, Miss Woodhouse, when
hard at work, if one talks at all;__your real workmen, I suppose, hold
their tongues; but we gentlemen labourers if we get hold of a
word__Miss Fairfax said something about conjecturing. There, it is
done. I have the pleasure, madam, (to Mrs. Bates,) of restoring your
spectacles, healed for the present."
He was very warmly thanked both by mother and daughter; to escape a
little from the latter, he went to the pianoforte, and begged Miss
Fairfax, who was still sitting at it, to play something more.
"If you are very kind," said he, "it will be one of the waltzes we
danced last night;__let me live them over again. You did not enjoy
them as I did; you appeared tired the whole time. I believe you were
glad we danced no longer; but I would have given worlds__all the
worlds one ever has to give__for another half_hour."
"What felicity it is to hear a tune again which -has- made one happy!__
If I mistake not that was danced at Weymouth."
She looked up at him for a moment, coloured deeply, and played
something else. He took some music from a chair near the pianoforte,
and turning to Emma, said,
"Here is something quite new to me. Do you know it?__Cramer.__ And
here are a new set of Irish melodies. That, from such a quarter, one
might expect. This was all sent with the instrument. Very thoughtful
of Colonel Campbell, was not it?__He knew Miss Fairfax could have no
music here. I honour that part of the attention particularly; it shews
it to have been so thoroughly from the heart. Nothing hastily done;
nothing incomplete. True affection only could have prompted it."
Emma wished he would be less pointed, yet could not help being amused;
and when on glancing her eye towards Jane Fairfax she caught the
remains of a smile, when she saw that with all the deep blush of
consciousness, there had been a smile of secret delight, she had less
scruple in the amusement, and much less compunction with respect to
her.__This amiable, upright, perfect Jane Fairfax was apparently
cherishing very reprehensible feelings.
He brought all the music to her, and they looked it over together.__
Emma took the opportunity of whispering,
"You speak too plain. She must understand you."
"I hope she does. I would have her understand me. I am not in the
least ashamed of my meaning."
"But really, I am half ashamed, and wish I had never taken up the idea."
"I am very glad you did, and that you communicated it to me. I have
now a key to all her odd looks and ways. Leave shame to her. If she
does wrong, she ought to feel it."
"She is not entirely without it, I think."
"I do not see much sign of it. She is playing -Robin- -Adair- at this
Shortly afterwards Miss Bates, passing near the window, descried Mr.
Knightley on horse_back not far off.
"Mr. Knightley I declare!__I must speak to him if possible, just to
thank him. I will not open the window here; it would give you all
cold; but I can go into my mother's room you know. I dare say he will
come in when he knows who is here. Quite delightful to have you all
meet so!__Our little room so honoured!"
She was in the adjoining chamber while she still spoke, and opening the
casement there, immediately called Mr. Knightley's attention, and every
syllable of their conversation was as distinctly heard by the others,
as if it had passed within the same apartment.
"How d' ye do?__how d'ye do?__Very well, I thank you. So obliged to
you for the carriage last night. We were just in time; my mother just
ready for us. Pray come in; do come in. You will find some friends
So began Miss Bates; and Mr. Knightley seemed determined to be heard in
his turn, for most resolutely and commandingly did he say,
"How is your niece, Miss Bates?__I want to inquire after you all, but
particularly your niece. How is Miss Fairfax?__I hope she caught no
cold last night. How is she to_day? Tell me how Miss Fairfax is."
And Miss Bates was obliged to give a direct answer before he would hear
her in any thing else. The listeners were amused; and Mrs. Weston gave
Emma a look of particular meaning. But Emma still shook her head in
"So obliged to you!__so very much obliged to you for the carriage,"
resumed Miss Bates.
He cut her short with,
"I am going to Kingston. Can I do any thing for you?"
"Oh! dear, Kingston__are you?__Mrs. Cole was saying the other day she
wanted something from Kingston."
"Mrs. Cole has servants to send. Can I do any thing for -you-?"
"No, I thank you. But do come in. Who do you think is here?__ Miss
Woodhouse and Miss Smith; so kind as to call to hear the new
pianoforte. Do put up your horse at the Crown, and come in."
"Well," said he, in a deliberating manner, "for five minutes, perhaps."
"And here is Mrs. Weston and Mr. Frank Churchill too!__Quite
delightful; so many friends!"
"No, not now, I thank you. I could not stay two minutes. I must get
on to Kingston as fast as I can."
"Oh! do come in. They will be so very happy to see you."
"No, no; your room is full enough. I will call another day, and hear
"Well, I am so sorry!__Oh! Mr. Knightley, what a delightful party last
night; how extremely pleasant.__Did you ever see such dancing?__ Was
not it delightful?__Miss Woodhouse and Mr. Frank Churchill; I never saw
any thing equal to it."
"Oh! very delightful indeed; I can say nothing less, for I suppose Miss
Woodhouse and Mr. Frank Churchill are hearing every thing that passes.
And (raising his voice still more) I do not see why Miss Fairfax should
not be mentioned too. I think Miss Fairfax dances very well; and Mrs.
Weston is the very best country_dance player, without exception, in
England. Now, if your friends have any gratitude, they will say
something pretty loud about you and me in return; but I cannot stay to
"Oh! Mr. Knightley, one moment more; something of consequence__so
shocked!__Jane and I are both so shocked about the apples!"
"What is the matter now?"
"To think of your sending us all your store apples. You said you had a
great many, and now you have not one left. We really are so shocked!
Mrs. Hodges may well be angry. William Larkins mentioned it here. You
should not have done it, indeed you should not. Ah! he is off. He
never can bear to be thanked. But I thought he would have staid now,
and it would have been a pity not to have mentioned. . . . Well,
(returning to the room,) I have not been able to succeed. Mr.
Knightley cannot stop. He is going to Kingston. He asked me if he
could do any thing. . . ."
"Yes," said Jane, "we heard his kind offers, we heard every thing."
"Oh! yes, my dear, I dare say you might, because you know, the door was
open, and the window was open, and Mr. Knightley spoke loud. You must
have heard every thing to be sure. 'Can I do any thing for you at
Kingston?' said he; so I just mentioned. . . . Oh! Miss Woodhouse,
must you be going?__You seem but just come__so very obliging of you."
Emma found it really time to be at home; the visit had already lasted
long; and on examining watches, so much of the morning was perceived to
be gone, that Mrs. Weston and her companion taking leave also, could
allow themselves only to walk with the two young ladies to Hartfield
gates, before they set off for Randalls.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 11
It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been
known of young people passing many, many months successively, without
being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue
either to body or mind;__but when a beginning is made__when the
felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt__it
must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.
Frank Churchill had danced once at Highbury, and longed to dance again;
and the last half_hour of an evening which Mr. Woodhouse was persuaded
to spend with his daughter at Randalls, was passed by the two young
people in schemes on the subject. Frank's was the first idea; and his
the greatest zeal in pursuing it; for the lady was the best judge of
the difficulties, and the most solicitous for accommodation and
appearance. But still she had inclination enough for shewing people
again how delightfully Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Woodhouse
danced__for doing that in which she need not blush to compare herself
with Jane Fairfax__and even for simple dancing itself, without any of
the wicked aids of vanity__to assist him first in pacing out the room
they were in to see what it could be made to hold__and then in taking
the dimensions of the other parlour, in the hope of discovering, in
spite of all that Mr. Weston could say of their exactly equal size,
that it was a little the largest.
His first proposition and request, that the dance begun at Mr. Cole's
should be finished there__that the same party should be collected, and
the same musician engaged, met with the readiest acquiescence. Mr.
Weston entered into the idea with thorough enjoyment, and Mrs. Weston
most willingly undertook to play as long as they could wish to dance;
and the interesting employment had followed, of reckoning up exactly
who there would be, and portioning out the indispensable division of
space to every couple.
"You and Miss Smith, and Miss Fairfax, will be three, and the two Miss
Coxes five," had been repeated many times over. "And there will be the
two Gilberts, young Cox, my father, and myself, besides Mr. Knightley.
Yes, that will be quite enough for pleasure. You and Miss Smith, and
Miss Fairfax, will be three, and the two Miss Coxes five; and for five
couple there will be plenty of room."
But soon it came to be on one side,
"But will there be good room for five couple?__I really do not think
"And after all, five couple are not enough to make it worth while to
stand up. Five couple are nothing, when one thinks seriously about it.
It will not do to -invite- five couple. It can be allowable only as
the thought of the moment."
Somebody said that -Miss- Gilbert was expected at her brother's, and
must be invited with the rest. Somebody else believed -Mrs-. Gilbert
would have danced the other evening, if she had been asked. A word was
put in for a second young Cox; and at last, Mr. Weston naming one
family of cousins who must be included, and another of very old
acquaintance who could not be left out, it became a certainty that the
five couple would be at least ten, and a very interesting speculation
in what possible manner they could be disposed of.
The doors of the two rooms were just opposite each other. "Might not
they use both rooms, and dance across the passage?" It seemed the best
scheme; and yet it was not so good but that many of them wanted a
better. Emma said it would be awkward; Mrs. Weston was in distress
about the supper; and Mr. Woodhouse opposed it earnestly, on the score
of health. It made him so very unhappy, indeed, that it could not be
"Oh! no," said he; "it would be the extreme of imprudence. I could not
bear it for Emma!__Emma is not strong. She would catch a dreadful
cold. So would poor little Harriet. So you would all. Mrs. Weston,
you would be quite laid up; do not let them talk of such a wild thing.
Pray do not let them talk of it. That young man (speaking lower) is
very thoughtless. Do not tell his father, but that young man is not
quite the thing. He has been opening the doors very often this
evening, and keeping them open very inconsiderately. He does not think
of the draught. I do not mean to set you against him, but indeed he is
not quite the thing!"
Mrs. Weston was sorry for such a charge. She knew the importance of
it, and said every thing in her power to do it away. Every door was
now closed, the passage plan given up, and the first scheme of dancing
only in the room they were in resorted to again; and with such
good_will on Frank Churchill's part, that the space which a quarter of
an hour before had been deemed barely sufficient for five couple, was
now endeavoured to be made out quite enough for ten.
"We were too magnificent," said he. "We allowed unnecessary room. Ten
couple may stand here very well."
Emma demurred. "It would be a crowd__a sad crowd; and what could be
worse than dancing without space to turn in?"
"Very true," he gravely replied; "it was very bad." But still he went
on measuring, and still he ended with,
"I think there will be very tolerable room for ten couple."
"No, no," said she, "you are quite unreasonable. It would be dreadful
to be standing so close! Nothing can be farther from pleasure than to
be dancing in a crowd__and a crowd in a little room!"
"There is no denying it," he replied. "I agree with you exactly. A
crowd in a little room__Miss Woodhouse, you have the art of giving
pictures in a few words. Exquisite, quite exquisite!__Still, however,
having proceeded so far, one is unwilling to give the matter up. It
would be a disappointment to my father__and altogether__I do not know
that__I am rather of opinion that ten couple might stand here very
Emma perceived that the nature of his gallantry was a little
self_willed, and that he would rather oppose than lose the pleasure of
dancing with her; but she took the compliment, and forgave the rest.
Had she intended ever to -marry- him, it might have been worth while to
pause and consider, and try to understand the value of his preference,
and the character of his temper; but for all the purposes of their
acquaintance, he was quite amiable enough.
Before the middle of the next day, he was at Hartfield; and he entered
the room with such an agreeable smile as certified the continuance of
the scheme. It soon appeared that he came to announce an improvement.
"Well, Miss Woodhouse," he almost immediately began, "your inclination
for dancing has not been quite frightened away, I hope, by the terrors
of my father's little rooms. I bring a new proposal on the subject:__a
thought of my father's, which waits only your approbation to be acted
upon. May I hope for the honour of your hand for the two first dances
of this little projected ball, to be given, not at Randalls, but at the
"Yes; if you and Mr. Woodhouse see no objection, and I trust you
cannot, my father hopes his friends will be so kind as to visit him
there. Better accommodations, he can promise them, and not a less
grateful welcome than at Randalls. It is his own idea. Mrs. Weston
sees no objection to it, provided you are satisfied. This is what we
all feel. Oh! you were perfectly right! Ten couple, in either of the
Randalls rooms, would have been insufferable!__Dreadful!__I felt how
right you were the whole time, but was too anxious for securing -any-
-thing- to like to yield. Is not it a good exchange?__You consent__I
hope you consent?"
"It appears to me a plan that nobody can object to, if Mr. and Mrs.
Weston do not. I think it admirable; and, as far as I can answer for
myself, shall be most happy__It seems the only improvement that could
be. Papa, do you not think it an excellent improvement?"
She was obliged to repeat and explain it, before it was fully
comprehended; and then, being quite new, farther representations were
necessary to make it acceptable.
"No; he thought it very far from an improvement__a very bad plan__much
worse than the other. A room at an inn was always damp and dangerous;
never properly aired, or fit to be inhabited. If they must dance, they
had better dance at Randalls. He had never been in the room at the
Crown in his life__did not know the people who kept it by sight.__Oh!
no__a very bad plan. They would catch worse colds at the Crown than
"I was going to observe, sir," said Frank Churchill, "that one of the
great recommendations of this change would be the very little danger of
any body's catching cold__so much less danger at the Crown than at
Randalls! Mr. Perry might have reason to regret the alteration, but
nobody else could."
"Sir," said Mr. Woodhouse, rather warmly, "you are very much mistaken
if you suppose Mr. Perry to be that sort of character. Mr. Perry is
extremely concerned when any of us are ill. But I do not understand
how the room at the Crown can be safer for you than your father's
"From the very circumstance of its being larger, sir. We shall have no
occasion to open the windows at all__not once the whole evening; and it
is that dreadful habit of opening the windows, letting in cold air upon
heated bodies, which (as you well know, sir) does the mischief."
"Open the windows!__but surely, Mr. Churchill, nobody would think of
opening the windows at Randalls. Nobody could be so imprudent! I
never heard of such a thing. Dancing with open windows!__I am sure,
neither your father nor Mrs. Weston (poor Miss Taylor that was) would
"Ah! sir__but a thoughtless young person will sometimes step behind a
window_curtain, and throw up a sash, without its being suspected. I
have often known it done myself."
"Have you indeed, sir?__Bless me! I never could have supposed it. But
I live out of the world, and am often astonished at what I hear.
However, this does make a difference; and, perhaps, when we come to
talk it over__but these sort of things require a good deal of
consideration. One cannot resolve upon them in a hurry. If Mr. and
Mrs. Weston will be so obliging as to call here one morning, we may
talk it over, and see what can be done."
"But, unfortunately, sir, my time is so limited__"
"Oh!" interrupted Emma, "there will be plenty of time for talking every
thing over. There is no hurry at all. If it can be contrived to be at
the Crown, papa, it will be very convenient for the horses. They will
be so near their own stable."
"So they will, my dear. That is a great thing. Not that James ever
complains; but it is right to spare our horses when we can. If I could
be sure of the rooms being thoroughly aired__but is Mrs. Stokes to be
trusted? I doubt it. I do not know her, even by sight."
"I can answer for every thing of that nature, sir, because it will be
under Mrs. Weston's care. Mrs. Weston undertakes to direct the whole."
"There, papa!__Now you must be satisfied__Our own dear Mrs. Weston, who
is carefulness itself. Do not you remember what Mr. Perry said, so
many years ago, when I had the measles? 'If -Miss- -Taylor- undertakes
to wrap Miss Emma up, you need not have any fears, sir.' How often
have I heard you speak of it as such a compliment to her!"
"Aye, very true. Mr. Perry did say so. I shall never forget it. Poor
little Emma! You were very bad with the measles; that is, you would
have been very bad, but for Perry's great attention. He came four
times a day for a week. He said, from the first, it was a very good
sort__which was our great comfort; but the measles are a dreadful
complaint. I hope whenever poor Isabella's little ones have the
measles, she will send for Perry."
"My father and Mrs. Weston are at the Crown at this moment," said Frank
Churchill, "examining the capabilities of the house. I left them there
and came on to Hartfield, impatient for your opinion, and hoping you
might be persuaded to join them and give your advice on the spot. I
was desired to say so from both. It would be the greatest pleasure to
them, if you could allow me to attend you there. They can do nothing
satisfactorily without you."
Emma was most happy to be called to such a council; and her father,
engaging to think it all over while she was gone, the two young people
set off together without delay for the Crown. There were Mr. and Mrs.
Weston; delighted to see her and receive her approbation, very busy and
very happy in their different way; she, in some little distress; and
he, finding every thing perfect.
"Emma," said she, "this paper is worse than I expected. Look! in
places you see it is dreadfully dirty; and the wainscot is more yellow
and forlorn than any thing I could have imagined."
"My dear, you are too particular," said her husband. "What does all
that signify? You will see nothing of it by candlelight. It will be
as clean as Randalls by candlelight. We never see any thing of it on
The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, "Men never know
when things are dirty or not;" and the gentlemen perhaps thought each
to himself, "Women will have their little nonsenses and needless cares."
One perplexity, however, arose, which the gentlemen did not disdain.
It regarded a supper_room. At the time of the ballroom's being built,
suppers had not been in question; and a small card_room adjoining, was
the only addition. What was to be done? This card_room would be
wanted as a card_room now; or, if cards were conveniently voted
unnecessary by their four selves, still was it not too small for any
comfortable supper? Another room of much better size might be secured
for the purpose; but it was at the other end of the house, and a long
awkward passage must be gone through to get at it. This made a
difficulty. Mrs. Weston was afraid of draughts for the young people in
that passage; and neither Emma nor the gentlemen could tolerate the
prospect of being miserably crowded at supper.
Mrs. Weston proposed having no regular supper; merely sandwiches, &c.,
set out in the little room; but that was scouted as a wretched
suggestion. A private dance, without sitting down to supper, was
pronounced an infamous fraud upon the rights of men and women; and Mrs.
Weston must not speak of it again. She then took another line of
expediency, and looking into the doubtful room, observed,
"I do not think it -is- so very small. We shall not be many, you know."
And Mr. Weston at the same time, walking briskly with long steps
through the passage, was calling out,
"You talk a great deal of the length of this passage, my dear. It is a
mere nothing after all; and not the least draught from the stairs."
"I wish," said Mrs. Weston, "one could know which arrangement our
guests in general would like best. To do what would be most generally
pleasing must be our object__if one could but tell what that would be."
"Yes, very true," cried Frank, "very true. You want your neighbours'
opinions. I do not wonder at you. If one could ascertain what the
chief of them__the Coles, for instance. They are not far off. Shall I
call upon them? Or Miss Bates? She is still nearer.__ And I do not
know whether Miss Bates is not as likely to understand the inclinations
of the rest of the people as any body. I think we do want a larger
council. Suppose I go and invite Miss Bates to join us?"
"Well__if you please," said Mrs. Weston rather hesitating, "if you
think she will be of any use."
"You will get nothing to the purpose from Miss Bates," said Emma. "She
will be all delight and gratitude, but she will tell you nothing. She
will not even listen to your questions. I see no advantage in
consulting Miss Bates."
"But she is so amusing, so extremely amusing! I am very fond of
hearing Miss Bates talk. And I need not bring the whole family, you
Here Mr. Weston joined them, and on hearing what was proposed, gave it
his decided approbation.
"Aye, do, Frank.__Go and fetch Miss Bates, and let us end the matter at
once. She will enjoy the scheme, I am sure; and I do not know a
properer person for shewing us how to do away difficulties. Fetch Miss
Bates. We are growing a little too nice. She is a standing lesson of
how to be happy. But fetch them both. Invite them both."
"Both sir! Can the old lady?" . . .
"The old lady! No, the young lady, to be sure. I shall think you a
great blockhead, Frank, if you bring the aunt without the niece."
"Oh! I beg your pardon, sir. I did not immediately recollect.
Undoubtedly if you wish it, I will endeavour to persuade them both."
And away he ran.
Long before he reappeared, attending the short, neat, brisk_moving
aunt, and her elegant niece,__Mrs. Weston, like a sweet_tempered woman
and a good wife, had examined the passage again, and found the evils of
it much less than she had supposed before__indeed very trifling; and
here ended the difficulties of decision. All the rest, in speculation
at least, was perfectly smooth. All the minor arrangements of table
and chair, lights and music, tea and supper, made themselves; or were
left as mere trifles to be settled at any time between Mrs. Weston and
Mrs. Stokes.__ Every body invited, was certainly to come; Frank had
already written to Enscombe to propose staying a few days beyond his
fortnight, which could not possibly be refused. And a delightful dance
it was to be.
Most cordially, when Miss Bates arrived, did she agree that it must.
As a counsellor she was not wanted; but as an approver, (a much safer
character,) she was truly welcome. Her approbation, at once general
and minute, warm and incessant, could not but please; and for another
half_hour they were all walking to and fro, between the different
rooms, some suggesting, some attending, and all in happy enjoyment of
the future. The party did not break up without Emma's being positively
secured for the two first dances by the hero of the evening, nor
without her overhearing Mr. Weston whisper to his wife, "He has asked
her, my dear. That's right. I knew he would!"
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 12
One thing only was wanting to make the prospect of the ball completely
satisfactory to Emma__its being fixed for a day within the granted term
of Frank Churchill's stay in Surry; for, in spite of Mr. Weston's
confidence, she could not think it so very impossible that the
Churchills might not allow their nephew to remain a day beyond his
fortnight. But this was not judged feasible. The preparations must
take their time, nothing could be properly ready till the third week
were entered on, and for a few days they must be planning, proceeding
and hoping in uncertainty__at the risk__in her opinion, the great
risk, of its being all in vain.
Enscombe however was gracious, gracious in fact, if not in word. His
wish of staying longer evidently did not please; but it was not
opposed. All was safe and prosperous; and as the removal of one
solicitude generally makes way for another, Emma, being now certain of
her ball, began to adopt as the next vexation Mr. Knightley's provoking
indifference about it. Either because he did not dance himself, or
because the plan had been formed without his being consulted, he seemed
resolved that it should not interest him, determined against its
exciting any present curiosity, or affording him any future amusement.
To her voluntary communications Emma could get no more approving reply,
"Very well. If the Westons think it worth while to be at all this
trouble for a few hours of noisy entertainment, I have nothing to say
against it, but that they shall not chuse pleasures for me.__ Oh! yes,
I must be there; I could not refuse; and I will keep as much awake as I
can; but I would rather be at home, looking over William Larkins's
week's account; much rather, I confess.__ Pleasure in seeing
dancing!__not I, indeed__I never look at it__ I do not know who
does.__Fine dancing, I believe, like virtue, must be its own reward.
Those who are standing by are usually thinking of something very
This Emma felt was aimed at her; and it made her quite angry. It was
not in compliment to Jane Fairfax however that he was so indifferent,
or so indignant; he was not guided by -her- feelings in reprobating the
ball, for -she- enjoyed the thought of it to an extraordinary degree.
It made her animated__open hearted__she voluntarily said;__
"Oh! Miss Woodhouse, I hope nothing may happen to prevent the ball.
What a disappointment it would be! I do look forward to it, I own,
with -very- great pleasure."
It was not to oblige Jane Fairfax therefore that he would have
preferred the society of William Larkins. No!__she was more and more
convinced that Mrs. Weston was quite mistaken in that surmise. There
was a great deal of friendly and of compassionate attachment on his
side__but no love.
Alas! there was soon no leisure for quarrelling with Mr. Knightley.
Two days of joyful security were immediately followed by the over_throw
of every thing. A letter arrived from Mr. Churchill to urge his
nephew's instant return. Mrs. Churchill was unwell__far too unwell to
do without him; she had been in a very suffering state (so said her
husband) when writing to her nephew two days before, though from her
usual unwillingness to give pain, and constant habit of never thinking
of herself, she had not mentioned it; but now she was too ill to
trifle, and must entreat him to set off for Enscombe without delay.
The substance of this letter was forwarded to Emma, in a note from Mrs.
Weston, instantly. As to his going, it was inevitable. He must be
gone within a few hours, though without feeling any real alarm for his
aunt, to lessen his repugnance. He knew her illnesses; they never
occurred but for her own convenience.
Mrs. Weston added, "that he could only allow himself time to hurry to
Highbury, after breakfast, and take leave of the few friends there whom
he could suppose to feel any interest in him; and that he might be
expected at Hartfield very soon."
This wretched note was the finale of Emma's breakfast. When once it
had been read, there was no doing any thing, but lament and exclaim.
The loss of the ball__the loss of the young man__and all that the
young man might be feeling!__It was too wretched!__ Such a delightful
evening as it would have been!__Every body so happy! and she and her
partner the happiest!__"I said it would be so," was the only
Her father's feelings were quite distinct. He thought principally of
Mrs. Churchill's illness, and wanted to know how she was treated; and
as for the ball, it was shocking to have dear Emma disappointed; but
they would all be safer at home.
Emma was ready for her visitor some time before he appeared; but if
this reflected at all upon his impatience, his sorrowful look and total
want of spirits when he did come might redeem him. He felt the going
away almost too much to speak of it. His dejection was most evident.
He sat really lost in thought for the first few minutes; and when
rousing himself, it was only to say,
"Of all horrid things, leave_taking is the worst."
"But you will come again," said Emma. "This will not be your only
visit to Randalls."
"Ah!__(shaking his head)__the uncertainty of when I may be able to
return!__I shall try for it with a zeal!__It will be the object of all
my thoughts and cares!__and if my uncle and aunt go to town this
spring__but I am afraid__they did not stir last spring__ I am afraid it
is a custom gone for ever."
"Our poor ball must be quite given up."
"Ah! that ball!__why did we wait for any thing?__why not seize the
pleasure at once?__How often is happiness destroyed by preparation,
foolish preparation!__You told us it would be so.__Oh! Miss Woodhouse,
why are you always so right?"
"Indeed, I am very sorry to be right in this instance. I would much
rather have been merry than wise."
"If I can come again, we are still to have our ball. My father depends
on it. Do not forget your engagement."
Emma looked graciously.
"Such a fortnight as it has been!" he continued; "every day more
precious and more delightful than the day before!__every day making me
less fit to bear any other place. Happy those, who can remain at
"As you do us such ample justice now," said Emma, laughing, "I will
venture to ask, whether you did not come a little doubtfully at first?
Do not we rather surpass your expectations? I am sure we do. I am
sure you did not much expect to like us. You would not have been so
long in coming, if you had had a pleasant idea of Highbury."
He laughed rather consciously; and though denying the sentiment, Emma
was convinced that it had been so.
"And you must be off this very morning?"
"Yes; my father is to join me here: we shall walk back together, and I
must be off immediately. I am almost afraid that every moment will
"Not five minutes to spare even for your friends Miss Fairfax and Miss
Bates? How unlucky! Miss Bates's powerful, argumentative mind might
have strengthened yours."
"Yes__I -have- called there; passing the door, I thought it better. It
was a right thing to do. I went in for three minutes, and was detained
by Miss Bates's being absent. She was out; and I felt it impossible
not to wait till she came in. She is a woman that one may, that one
-must- laugh at; but that one would not wish to slight. It was better
to pay my visit, then"__
He hesitated, got up, walked to a window.
"In short," said he, "perhaps, Miss Woodhouse__I think you can hardly
be quite without suspicion"__
He looked at her, as if wanting to read her thoughts. She hardly knew
what to say. It seemed like the forerunner of something absolutely
serious, which she did not wish. Forcing herself to speak, therefore,
in the hope of putting it by, she calmly said,
"You are quite in the right; it was most natural to pay your visit,
He was silent. She believed he was looking at her; probably reflecting
on what she had said, and trying to understand the manner. She heard
him sigh. It was natural for him to feel that he had -cause- to sigh.
He could not believe her to be encouraging him. A few awkward moments
passed, and he sat down again; and in a more determined manner said,
"It was something to feel that all the rest of my time might be given
to Hartfield. My regard for Hartfield is most warm"__
He stopt again, rose again, and seemed quite embarrassed.__ He was more
in love with her than Emma had supposed; and who can say how it might
have ended, if his father had not made his appearance? Mr. Woodhouse
soon followed; and the necessity of exertion made him composed.
A very few minutes more, however, completed the present trial. Mr.
Weston, always alert when business was to be done, and as incapable of
procrastinating any evil that was inevitable, as of foreseeing any that
was doubtful, said, "It was time to go;" and the young man, though he
might and did sigh, could not but agree, to take leave.
"I shall hear about you all," said he; "that is my chief consolation.
I shall hear of every thing that is going on among you. I have engaged
Mrs. Weston to correspond with me. She has been so kind as to promise
it. Oh! the blessing of a female correspondent, when one is really
interested in the absent!__she will tell me every thing. In her
letters I shall be at dear Highbury again."
A very friendly shake of the hand, a very earnest "Good_bye," closed
the speech, and the door had soon shut out Frank Churchill. Short had
been the notice__short their meeting; he was gone; and Emma felt so
sorry to part, and foresaw so great a loss to their little society from
his absence as to begin to be afraid of being too sorry, and feeling it
It was a sad change. They had been meeting almost every day since his
arrival. Certainly his being at Randalls had given great spirit to the
last two weeks__indescribable spirit; the idea, the expectation of
seeing him which every morning had brought, the assurance of his
attentions, his liveliness, his manners! It had been a very happy
fortnight, and forlorn must be the sinking from it into the common
course of Hartfield days. To complete every other recommendation, he
had -almost- told her that he loved her. What strength, or what
constancy of affection he might be subject to, was another point; but
at present she could not doubt his having a decidedly warm admiration,
a conscious preference of herself; and this persuasion, joined to all
the rest, made her think that she -must- be a little in love with him,
in spite of every previous determination against it.
"I certainly must," said she. "This sensation of listlessness,
weariness, stupidity, this disinclination to sit down and employ
myself, this feeling of every thing's being dull and insipid about the
house!__ I must be in love; I should be the oddest creature in the
world if I were not__for a few weeks at least. Well! evil to some is
always good to others. I shall have many fellow_mourners for the ball,
if not for Frank Churchill; but Mr. Knightley will be happy. He may
spend the evening with his dear William Larkins now if he likes."
Mr. Knightley, however, shewed no triumphant happiness. He could not
say that he was sorry on his own account; his very cheerful look would
have contradicted him if he had; but he said, and very steadily, that
he was sorry for the disappointment of the others, and with
considerable kindness added,
"You, Emma, who have so few opportunities of dancing, you are really
out of luck; you are very much out of luck!"
It was some days before she saw Jane Fairfax, to judge of her honest
regret in this woeful change; but when they did meet, her composure was
odious. She had been particularly unwell, however, suffering from
headache to a degree, which made her aunt declare, that had the ball
taken place, she did not think Jane could have attended it; and it was
charity to impute some of her unbecoming indifference to the languor of
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 13
Emma continued to entertain no doubt of her being in love. Her ideas
only varied as to the how much. At first, she thought it was a good
deal; and afterwards, but little. She had great pleasure in hearing
Frank Churchill talked of; and, for his sake, greater pleasure than
ever in seeing Mr. and Mrs. Weston; she was very often thinking of him,
and quite impatient for a letter, that she might know how he was, how
were his spirits, how was his aunt, and what was the chance of his
coming to Randalls again this spring. But, on the other hand, she
could not admit herself to be unhappy, nor, after the first morning, to
be less disposed for employment than usual; she was still busy and
cheerful; and, pleasing as he was, she could yet imagine him to have
faults; and farther, though thinking of him so much, and, as she sat
drawing or working, forming a thousand amusing schemes for the progress
and close of their attachment, fancying interesting dialogues, and
inventing elegant letters; the conclusion of every imaginary
declaration on his side was that she -refused- -him-. Their affection
was always to subside into friendship. Every thing tender and charming
was to mark their parting; but still they were to part. When she
became sensible of this, it struck her that she could not be very much
in love; for in spite of her previous and fixed determination never to
quit her father, never to marry, a strong attachment certainly must
produce more of a struggle than she could foresee in her own feelings.
"I do not find myself making any use of the word -sacrifice-," said
she.__ "In not one of all my clever replies, my delicate negatives, is
there any allusion to making a sacrifice. I do suspect that he is not
really necessary to my happiness. So much the better. I certainly
will not persuade myself to feel more than I do. I am quite enough in
love. I should be sorry to be more."
Upon the whole, she was equally contented with her view of his feelings.
"-He- is undoubtedly very much in love__every thing denotes it__very
much in love indeed!__and when he comes again, if his affection
continue, I must be on my guard not to encourage it.__It would be most
inexcusable to do otherwise, as my own mind is quite made up. Not that
I imagine he can think I have been encouraging him hitherto. No, if he
had believed me at all to share his feelings, he would not have been so
wretched. Could he have thought himself encouraged, his looks and
language at parting would have been different.__ Still, however, I must
be on my guard. This is in the supposition of his attachment
continuing what it now is; but I do not know that I expect it will; I
do not look upon him to be quite the sort of man__ I do not altogether
build upon his steadiness or constancy.__ His feelings are warm, but I
can imagine them rather changeable.__ Every consideration of the
subject, in short, makes me thankful that my happiness is not more
deeply involved.__I shall do very well again after a little while__and
then, it will be a good thing over; for they say every body is in love
once in their lives, and I shall have been let off easily."
When his letter to Mrs. Weston arrived, Emma had the perusal of it; and
she read it with a degree of pleasure and admiration which made her at
first shake her head over her own sensations, and think she had
undervalued their strength. It was a long, well_written letter, giving
the particulars of his journey and of his feelings, expressing all the
affection, gratitude, and respect which was natural and honourable, and
describing every thing exterior and local that could be supposed
attractive, with spirit and precision. No suspicious flourishes now of
apology or concern; it was the language of real feeling towards Mrs.
Weston; and the transition from Highbury to Enscombe, the contrast
between the places in some of the first blessings of social life was
just enough touched on to shew how keenly it was felt, and how much
more might have been said but for the restraints of propriety.__The
charm of her own name was not wanting. -Miss- -Woodhouse- appeared
more than once, and never without a something of pleasing connexion,
either a compliment to her taste, or a remembrance of what she had
said; and in the very last time of its meeting her eye, unadorned as it
was by any such broad wreath of gallantry, she yet could discern the
effect of her influence and acknowledge the greatest compliment perhaps
of all conveyed. Compressed into the very lowest vacant corner were
these words__"I had not a spare moment on Tuesday, as you know, for
Miss Woodhouse's beautiful little friend. Pray make my excuses and
adieus to her." This, Emma could not doubt, was all for herself.
Harriet was remembered only from being -her- friend. His information
and prospects as to Enscombe were neither worse nor better than had
been anticipated; Mrs. Churchill was recovering, and he dared not yet,
even in his own imagination, fix a time for coming to Randalls again.
Gratifying, however, and stimulative as was the letter in the material
part, its sentiments, she yet found, when it was folded up and returned
to Mrs. Weston, that it had not added any lasting warmth, that she
could still do without the writer, and that he must learn to do without
her. Her intentions were unchanged. Her resolution of refusal only
grew more interesting by the addition of a scheme for his subsequent
consolation and happiness. His recollection of Harriet, and the words
which clothed it, the "beautiful little friend," suggested to her the
idea of Harriet's succeeding her in his affections. Was it
impossible?__No.__Harriet undoubtedly was greatly his inferior in
understanding; but he had been very much struck with the loveliness of
her face and the warm simplicity of her manner; and all the
probabilities of circumstance and connexion were in her favour.__For
Harriet, it would be advantageous and delightful indeed.
"I must not dwell upon it," said she.__"I must not think of it. I know
the danger of indulging such speculations. But stranger things have
happened; and when we cease to care for each other as we do now, it
will be the means of confirming us in that sort of true disinterested
friendship which I can already look forward to with pleasure."
It was well to have a comfort in store on Harriet's behalf, though it
might be wise to let the fancy touch it seldom; for evil in that
quarter was at hand. As Frank Churchill's arrival had succeeded Mr.
Elton's engagement in the conversation of Highbury, as the latest
interest had entirely borne down the first, so now upon Frank
Churchill's disappearance, Mr. Elton's concerns were assuming the most
irresistible form.__His wedding_day was named. He would soon be among
them again; Mr. Elton and his bride. There was hardly time to talk
over the first letter from Enscombe before "Mr. Elton and his bride"
was in every body's mouth, and Frank Churchill was forgotten. Emma
grew sick at the sound. She had had three weeks of happy exemption
from Mr. Elton; and Harriet's mind, she had been willing to hope, had
been lately gaining strength. With Mr. Weston's ball in view at least,
there had been a great deal of insensibility to other things; but it
was now too evident that she had not attained such a state of composure
as could stand against the actual approach__new carriage, bell_ringing,
Poor Harriet was in a flutter of spirits which required all the
reasonings and soothings and attentions of every kind that Emma could
give. Emma felt that she could not do too much for her, that Harriet
had a right to all her ingenuity and all her patience; but it was heavy
work to be for ever convincing without producing any effect, for ever
agreed to, without being able to make their opinions the same. Harriet
listened submissively, and said "it was very true__it was just as Miss
Woodhouse described__it was not worth while to think about them__and
she would not think about them any longer" but no change of subject
could avail, and the next half_hour saw her as anxious and restless
about the Eltons as before. At last Emma attacked her on another
"Your allowing yourself to be so occupied and so unhappy about Mr.
Elton's marrying, Harriet, is the strongest reproach you can make -me-.
You could not give me a greater reproof for the mistake I fell into.
It was all my doing, I know. I have not forgotten it, I assure
you.__Deceived myself, I did very miserably deceive you__and it will
be a painful reflection to me for ever. Do not imagine me in danger of
Harriet felt this too much to utter more than a few words of eager
exclamation. Emma continued,
"I have not said, exert yourself Harriet for my sake; think less, talk
less of Mr. Elton for my sake; because for your own sake rather, I
would wish it to be done, for the sake of what is more important than
my comfort, a habit of self_command in you, a consideration of what is
your duty, an attention to propriety, an endeavour to avoid the
suspicions of others, to save your health and credit, and restore your
tranquillity. These are the motives which I have been pressing on you.
They are very important__and sorry I am that you cannot feel them
sufficiently to act upon them. My being saved from pain is a very
secondary consideration. I want you to save yourself from greater
pain. Perhaps I may sometimes have felt that Harriet would not forget
what was due__or rather what would be kind by me."
This appeal to her affections did more than all the rest. The idea of
wanting gratitude and consideration for Miss Woodhouse, whom she really
loved extremely, made her wretched for a while, and when the violence
of grief was comforted away, still remained powerful enough to prompt
to what was right and support her in it very tolerably.
"You, who have been the best friend I ever had in my life__ Want
gratitude to you!__Nobody is equal to you!__I care for nobody as I do
for you!__Oh! Miss Woodhouse, how ungrateful I have been!"
Such expressions, assisted as they were by every thing that look and
manner could do, made Emma feel that she had never loved Harriet so
well, nor valued her affection so highly before.
"There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart," said she afterwards
to herself. "There is nothing to be compared to it. Warmth and
tenderness of heart, with an affectionate, open manner, will beat all
the clearness of head in the world, for attraction, I am sure it will.
It is tenderness of heart which makes my dear father so generally
beloved__which gives Isabella all her popularity.__ I have it not__but
I know how to prize and respect it.__Harriet is my superior in all the
charm and all the felicity it gives. Dear Harriet!__I would not change
you for the clearest_headed, longest_sighted, best_judging female
breathing. Oh! the coldness of a Jane Fairfax!__Harriet is worth a
hundred such__And for a wife__a sensible man's wife__it is invaluable.
I mention no names; but happy the man who changes Emma for Harriet!"
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 14
Mrs. Elton was first seen at church: but though devotion might be
interrupted, curiosity could not be satisfied by a bride in a pew, and
it must be left for the visits in form which were then to be paid, to
settle whether she were very pretty indeed, or only rather pretty, or
not pretty at all.
Emma had feelings, less of curiosity than of pride or propriety, to
make her resolve on not being the last to pay her respects; and she
made a point of Harriet's going with her, that the worst of the
business might be gone through as soon as possible.
She could not enter the house again, could not be in the same room to
which she had with such vain artifice retreated three months ago, to
lace up her boot, without -recollecting-. A thousand vexatious
thoughts would recur. Compliments, charades, and horrible blunders;
and it was not to be supposed that poor Harriet should not be
recollecting too; but she behaved very well, and was only rather pale
and silent. The visit was of course short; and there was so much
embarrassment and occupation of mind to shorten it, that Emma would not
allow herself entirely to form an opinion of the lady, and on no
account to give one, beyond the nothing_meaning terms of being
"elegantly dressed, and very pleasing."
She did not really like her. She would not be in a hurry to find
fault, but she suspected that there was no elegance;__ease, but not
elegance.__ She was almost sure that for a young woman, a stranger, a
bride, there was too much ease. Her person was rather good; her face
not unpretty; but neither feature, nor air, nor voice, nor manner, were
elegant. Emma thought at least it would turn out so.
As for Mr. Elton, his manners did not appear__but no, she would not
permit a hasty or a witty word from herself about his manners. It was
an awkward ceremony at any time to be receiving wedding visits, and a
man had need be all grace to acquit himself well through it. The woman
was better off; she might have the assistance of fine clothes, and the
privilege of bashfulness, but the man had only his own good sense to
depend on; and when she considered how peculiarly unlucky poor Mr.
Elton was in being in the same room at once with the woman he had just
married, the woman he had wanted to marry, and the woman whom he had
been expected to marry, she must allow him to have the right to look as
little wise, and to be as much affectedly, and as little really easy as
"Well, Miss Woodhouse," said Harriet, when they had quitted the house,
and after waiting in vain for her friend to begin; "Well, Miss
Woodhouse, (with a gentle sigh,) what do you think of her?__ Is not she
There was a little hesitation in Emma's answer.
"Oh! yes__very__a very pleasing young woman."
"I think her beautiful, quite beautiful."
"Very nicely dressed, indeed; a remarkably elegant gown."
"I am not at all surprized that he should have fallen in love."
"Oh! no__there is nothing to surprize one at all.__A pretty fortune;
and she came in his way."
"I dare say," returned Harriet, sighing again, "I dare say she was very
much attached to him."
"Perhaps she might; but it is not every man's fate to marry the woman
who loves him best. Miss Hawkins perhaps wanted a home, and thought
this the best offer she was likely to have."
"Yes," said Harriet earnestly, "and well she might, nobody could ever
have a better. Well, I wish them happy with all my heart. And now,
Miss Woodhouse, I do not think I shall mind seeing them again. He is
just as superior as ever;__but being married, you know, it is quite a
different thing. No, indeed, Miss Woodhouse, you need not be afraid; I
can sit and admire him now without any great misery. To know that he
has not thrown himself away, is such a comfort!__ She does seem a
charming young woman, just what he deserves. Happy creature! He
called her 'Augusta.' How delightful!"
When the visit was returned, Emma made up her mind. She could then see
more and judge better. From Harriet's happening not to be at
Hartfield, and her father's being present to engage Mr. Elton, she had
a quarter of an hour of the lady's conversation to herself, and could
composedly attend to her; and the quarter of an hour quite convinced
her that Mrs. Elton was a vain woman, extremely well satisfied with
herself, and thinking much of her own importance; that she meant to
shine and be very superior, but with manners which had been formed in a
bad school, pert and familiar; that all her notions were drawn from one
set of people, and one style of living; that if not foolish she was
ignorant, and that her society would certainly do Mr. Elton no good.
Harriet would have been a better match. If not wise or refined
herself, she would have connected him with those who were; but Miss
Hawkins, it might be fairly supposed from her easy conceit, had been
the best of her own set. The rich brother_in_law near Bristol was the
pride of the alliance, and his place and his carriages were the pride
The very first subject after being seated was Maple Grove, "My brother
Mr. Suckling's seat;"__a comparison of Hartfield to Maple Grove. The
grounds of Hartfield were small, but neat and pretty; and the house was
modern and well_built. Mrs. Elton seemed most favourably impressed by
the size of the room, the entrance, and all that she could see or
imagine. "Very like Maple Grove indeed!__She was quite struck by the
likeness!__That room was the very shape and size of the morning_room at
Maple Grove; her sister's favourite room."__ Mr. Elton was appealed
to.__"Was not it astonishingly like?__ She could really almost fancy
herself at Maple Grove."
"And the staircase__You know, as I came in, I observed how very like
the staircase was; placed exactly in the same part of the house. I
really could not help exclaiming! I assure you, Miss Woodhouse, it is
very delightful to me, to be reminded of a place I am so extremely
partial to as Maple Grove. I have spent so many happy months there!
(with a little sigh of sentiment). A charming place, undoubtedly.
Every body who sees it is struck by its beauty; but to me, it has been
quite a home. Whenever you are transplanted, like me, Miss Woodhouse,
you will understand how very delightful it is to meet with any thing at
all like what one has left behind. I always say this is quite one of
the evils of matrimony."
Emma made as slight a reply as she could; but it was fully sufficient
for Mrs. Elton, who only wanted to be talking herself.
"So extremely like Maple Grove! And it is not merely the house__the
grounds, I assure you, as far as I could observe, are strikingly like.
The laurels at Maple Grove are in the same profusion as here, and stand
very much in the same way__just across the lawn; and I had a glimpse of
a fine large tree, with a bench round it, which put me so exactly in
mind! My brother and sister will be enchanted with this place. People
who have extensive grounds themselves are always pleased with any thing
in the same style."
Emma doubted the truth of this sentiment. She had a great idea that
people who had extensive grounds themselves cared very little for the
extensive grounds of any body else; but it was not worth while to
attack an error so double_dyed, and therefore only said in reply,
"When you have seen more of this country, I am afraid you will think
you have overrated Hartfield. Surry is full of beauties."
"Oh! yes, I am quite aware of that. It is the garden of England, you
know. Surry is the garden of England."
"Yes; but we must not rest our claims on that distinction. Many
counties, I believe, are called the garden of England, as well as
"No, I fancy not," replied Mrs. Elton, with a most satisfied smile." I
never heard any county but Surry called so."
Emma was silenced.
"My brother and sister have promised us a visit in the spring, or
summer at farthest," continued Mrs. Elton; "and that will be our time
for exploring. While they are with us, we shall explore a great deal,
I dare say. They will have their barouche_landau, of course, which
holds four perfectly; and therefore, without saying any thing of -our-
carriage, we should be able to explore the different beauties extremely
well. They would hardly come in their chaise, I think, at that season
of the year. Indeed, when the time draws on, I shall decidedly
recommend their bringing the barouche_landau; it will be so very much
preferable. When people come into a beautiful country of this sort,
you know, Miss Woodhouse, one naturally wishes them to see as much as
possible; and Mr. Suckling is extremely fond of exploring. We explored
to King's_Weston twice last summer, in that way, most delightfully,
just after their first having the barouche_landau. You have many
parties of that kind here, I suppose, Miss Woodhouse, every summer?"
"No; not immediately here. We are rather out of distance of the very
striking beauties which attract the sort of parties you speak of; and
we are a very quiet set of people, I believe; more disposed to stay at
home than engage in schemes of pleasure."
"Ah! there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. Nobody
can be more devoted to home than I am. I was quite a proverb for it at
Maple Grove. Many a time has Selina said, when she has been going to
Bristol, 'I really cannot get this girl to move from the house. I
absolutely must go in by myself, though I hate being stuck up in the
barouche_landau without a companion; but Augusta, I believe, with her
own good_will, would never stir beyond the park paling.' Many a time
has she said so; and yet I am no advocate for entire seclusion. I
think, on the contrary, when people shut themselves up entirely from
society, it is a very bad thing; and that it is much more advisable to
mix in the world in a proper degree, without living in it either too
much or too little. I perfectly understand your situation, however,
Miss Woodhouse__(looking towards Mr. Woodhouse), Your father's state
of health must be a great drawback. Why does not he try Bath?__Indeed
he should. Let me recommend Bath to you. I assure you I have no doubt
of its doing Mr. Woodhouse good."
"My father tried it more than once, formerly; but without receiving any
benefit; and Mr. Perry, whose name, I dare say, is not unknown to you,
does not conceive it would be at all more likely to be useful now."
"Ah! that's a great pity; for I assure you, Miss Woodhouse, where the
waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give. In my
Bath life, I have seen such instances of it! And it is so cheerful a
place, that it could not fail of being of use to Mr. Woodhouse's
spirits, which, I understand, are sometimes much depressed. And as to
its recommendations to -you-, I fancy I need not take much pains to
dwell on them. The advantages of Bath to the young are pretty
generally understood. It would be a charming introduction for you, who
have lived so secluded a life; and I could immediately secure you some
of the best society in the place. A line from me would bring you a
little host of acquaintance; and my particular friend, Mrs. Partridge,
the lady I have always resided with when in Bath, would be most happy
to shew you any attentions, and would be the very person for you to go
into public with."
It was as much as Emma could bear, without being impolite. The idea of
her being indebted to Mrs. Elton for what was called an
-introduction-__of her going into public under the auspices of a friend
of Mrs. Elton's__probably some vulgar, dashing widow, who, with the
help of a boarder, just made a shift to live!__ The dignity of Miss
Woodhouse, of Hartfield, was sunk indeed!
She restrained herself, however, from any of the reproofs she could
have given, and only thanked Mrs. Elton coolly; "but their going to
Bath was quite out of the question; and she was not perfectly convinced
that the place might suit her better than her father." And then, to
prevent farther outrage and indignation, changed the subject directly.
"I do not ask whether you are musical, Mrs. Elton. Upon these
occasions, a lady's character generally precedes her; and Highbury has
long known that you are a superior performer."
"Oh! no, indeed; I must protest against any such idea. A superior
performer!__very far from it, I assure you. Consider from how partial
a quarter your information came. I am doatingly fond of
music__passionately fond;__and my friends say I am not entirely devoid
of taste; but as to any thing else, upon my honour my performance is
-mediocre- to the last degree. You, Miss Woodhouse, I well know, play
delightfully. I assure you it has been the greatest satisfaction,
comfort, and delight to me, to hear what a musical society I am got
into. I absolutely cannot do without music. It is a necessary of life
to me; and having always been used to a very musical society, both at
Maple Grove and in Bath, it would have been a most serious sacrifice.
I honestly said as much to Mr. E. when he was speaking of my future
home, and expressing his fears lest the retirement of it should be
disagreeable; and the inferiority of the house too__knowing what I had
been accustomed to__of course he was not wholly without apprehension.
When he was speaking of it in that way, I honestly said that -the-
-world- I could give up__parties, balls, plays__for I had no fear of
retirement. Blessed with so many resources within myself, the world
was not necessary to -me-. I could do very well without it. To those
who had no resources it was a different thing; but my resources made me
quite independent. And as to smaller_sized rooms than I had been used
to, I really could not give it a thought. I hoped I was perfectly
equal to any sacrifice of that description. Certainly I had been
accustomed to every luxury at Maple Grove; but I did assure him that
two carriages were not necessary to my happiness, nor were spacious
apartments. 'But,' said I, 'to be quite honest, I do not think I can
live without something of a musical society. I condition for nothing
else; but without music, life would be a blank to me.'"
"We cannot suppose," said Emma, smiling, "that Mr. Elton would hesitate
to assure you of there being a -very- musical society in Highbury; and
I hope you will not find he has outstepped the truth more than may be
pardoned, in consideration of the motive."
"No, indeed, I have no doubts at all on that head. I am delighted to
find myself in such a circle. I hope we shall have many sweet little
concerts together. I think, Miss Woodhouse, you and I must establish a
musical club, and have regular weekly meetings at your house, or ours.
Will not it be a good plan? If -we- exert ourselves, I think we shall
not be long in want of allies. Something of that nature would be
particularly desirable for -me-, as an inducement to keep me in
practice; for married women, you know__there is a sad story against
them, in general. They are but too apt to give up music."
"But you, who are so extremely fond of it__there can be no danger,
"I should hope not; but really when I look around among my
acquaintance, I tremble. Selina has entirely given up music__never
touches the instrument__though she played sweetly. And the same may be
said of Mrs. Jeffereys__Clara Partridge, that was__and of the two
Milmans, now Mrs. Bird and Mrs. James Cooper; and of more than I can
enumerate. Upon my word it is enough to put one in a fright. I used
to be quite angry with Selina; but really I begin now to comprehend
that a married woman has many things to call her attention. I believe
I was half an hour this morning shut up with my housekeeper."
"But every thing of that kind," said Emma, "will soon be in so regular
"Well," said Mrs. Elton, laughing, "we shall see."
Emma, finding her so determined upon neglecting her music, had nothing
more to say; and, after a moment's pause, Mrs. Elton chose another
"We have been calling at Randalls," said she, "and found them both at
home; and very pleasant people they seem to be. I like them extremely.
Mr. Weston seems an excellent creature__quite a first_rate favourite
with me already, I assure you. And -she- appears so truly good__there
is something so motherly and kind_hearted about her, that it wins upon
one directly. She was your governess, I think?"
Emma was almost too much astonished to answer; but Mrs. Elton hardly
waited for the affirmative before she went on.
"Having understood as much, I was rather astonished to find her so very
lady_like! But she is really quite the gentlewoman."
"Mrs. Weston's manners," said Emma, "were always particularly good.
Their propriety, simplicity, and elegance, would make them the safest
model for any young woman."
"And who do you think came in while we were there?"
Emma was quite at a loss. The tone implied some old acquaintance__and
how could she possibly guess?
"Knightley!" continued Mrs. Elton; "Knightley himself!__Was not it
lucky?__for, not being within when he called the other day, I had never
seen him before; and of course, as so particular a friend of Mr. E.'s,
I had a great curiosity. 'My friend Knightley' had been so often
mentioned, that I was really impatient to see him; and I must do my
caro sposo the justice to say that he need not be ashamed of his
friend. Knightley is quite the gentleman. I like him very much.
Decidedly, I think, a very gentleman_like man."
Happily, it was now time to be gone. They were off; and Emma could
"Insufferable woman!" was her immediate exclamation. "Worse than I had
supposed. Absolutely insufferable! Knightley!__I could not have
believed it. Knightley!__never seen him in her life before, and call
him Knightley!__and discover that he is a gentleman! A little upstart,
vulgar being, with her Mr. E., and her -caro- -sposo-, and her
resources, and all her airs of pert pretension and underbred finery.
Actually to discover that Mr. Knightley is a gentleman! I doubt
whether he will return the compliment, and discover her to be a lady.
I could not have believed it! And to propose that she and I should
unite to form a musical club! One would fancy we were bosom friends!
And Mrs. Weston!__ Astonished that the person who had brought me up
should be a gentlewoman! Worse and worse. I never met with her equal.
Much beyond my hopes. Harriet is disgraced by any comparison. Oh!
what would Frank Churchill say to her, if he were here? How angry and
how diverted he would be! Ah! there I am__thinking of him directly.
Always the first person to be thought of! How I catch myself out!
Frank Churchill comes as regularly into my mind!"__
All this ran so glibly through her thoughts, that by the time her
father had arranged himself, after the bustle of the Eltons' departure,
and was ready to speak, she was very tolerably capable of attending.
"Well, my dear," he deliberately began, "considering we never saw her
before, she seems a very pretty sort of young lady; and I dare say she
was very much pleased with you. She speaks a little too quick. A
little quickness of voice there is which rather hurts the ear. But I
believe I am nice; I do not like strange voices; and nobody speaks like
you and poor Miss Taylor. However, she seems a very obliging,
pretty_behaved young lady, and no doubt will make him a very good wife.
Though I think he had better not have married. I made the best excuses
I could for not having been able to wait on him and Mrs. Elton on this
happy occasion; I said that I hoped I -should- in the course of the
summer. But I ought to have gone before. Not to wait upon a bride is
very remiss. Ah! it shews what a sad invalid I am! But I do not like
the corner into Vicarage Lane."
"I dare say your apologies were accepted, sir. Mr. Elton knows you."
"Yes: but a young lady__a bride__I ought to have paid my respects to
her if possible. It was being very deficient."
"But, my dear papa, you are no friend to matrimony; and therefore why
should you be so anxious to pay your respects to a -bride-? It ought
to be no recommendation to -you-. It is encouraging people to marry if
you make so much of them."
"No, my dear, I never encouraged any body to marry, but I would always
wish to pay every proper attention to a lady__and a bride, especially,
is never to be neglected. More is avowedly due to -her-. A bride, you
know, my dear, is always the first in company, let the others be who
"Well, papa, if this is not encouragement to marry, I do not know what
is. And I should never have expected you to be lending your sanction
to such vanity_baits for poor young ladies."
"My dear, you do not understand me. This is a matter of mere common
politeness and good_breeding, and has nothing to do with any
encouragement to people to marry."
Emma had done. Her father was growing nervous, and could not
understand -her-. Her mind returned to Mrs. Elton's offences, and
long, very long, did they occupy her.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 15
Emma was not required, by any subsequent discovery, to retract her ill
opinion of Mrs. Elton. Her observation had been pretty correct. Such
as Mrs. Elton appeared to her on this second interview, such she
appeared whenever they met again,__self_important, presuming, familiar,
ignorant, and ill_bred. She had a little beauty and a little
accomplishment, but so little judgment that she thought herself coming
with superior knowledge of the world, to enliven and improve a country
neighbourhood; and conceived Miss Hawkins to have held such a place in
society as Mrs. Elton's consequence only could surpass.
There was no reason to suppose Mr. Elton thought at all differently
from his wife. He seemed not merely happy with her, but proud. He had
the air of congratulating himself on having brought such a woman to
Highbury, as not even Miss Woodhouse could equal; and the greater part
of her new acquaintance, disposed to commend, or not in the habit of
judging, following the lead of Miss Bates's good_will, or taking it for
granted that the bride must be as clever and as agreeable as she
professed herself, were very well satisfied; so that Mrs. Elton's
praise passed from one mouth to another as it ought to do, unimpeded by
Miss Woodhouse, who readily continued her first contribution and talked
with a good grace of her being "very pleasant and very elegantly
In one respect Mrs. Elton grew even worse than she had appeared at
first. Her feelings altered towards Emma.__Offended, probably, by the
little encouragement which her proposals of intimacy met with, she drew
back in her turn and gradually became much more cold and distant; and
though the effect was agreeable, the ill_will which produced it was
necessarily increasing Emma's dislike. Her manners, too__and Mr.
Elton's, were unpleasant towards Harriet. They were sneering and
negligent. Emma hoped it must rapidly work Harriet's cure; but the
sensations which could prompt such behaviour sunk them both very
much.__It was not to be doubted that poor Harriet's attachment had been
an offering to conjugal unreserve, and her own share in the story,
under a colouring the least favourable to her and the most soothing to
him, had in all likelihood been given also. She was, of course, the
object of their joint dislike.__ When they had nothing else to say, it
must be always easy to begin abusing Miss Woodhouse; and the enmity
which they dared not shew in open disrespect to her, found a broader
vent in contemptuous treatment of Harriet.
Mrs. Elton took a great fancy to Jane Fairfax; and from the first. Not
merely when a state of warfare with one young lady might be supposed to
recommend the other, but from the very first; and she was not satisfied
with expressing a natural and reasonable admiration__but without
solicitation, or plea, or privilege, she must be wanting to assist and
befriend her.__Before Emma had forfeited her confidence, and about the
third time of their meeting, she heard all Mrs. Elton's knight_errantry
on the subject.__
"Jane Fairfax is absolutely charming, Miss Woodhouse.__I quite rave
about Jane Fairfax.__A sweet, interesting creature. So mild and
ladylike__and with such talents!__I assure you I think she has very
extraordinary talents. I do not scruple to say that she plays
extremely well. I know enough of music to speak decidedly on that
point. Oh! she is absolutely charming! You will laugh at my
warmth__but, upon my word, I talk of nothing but Jane Fairfax.__ And
her situation is so calculated to affect one!__Miss Woodhouse, we must
exert ourselves and endeavour to do something for her. We must bring
her forward. Such talent as hers must not be suffered to remain
unknown.__I dare say you have heard those charming lines of the poet,
'Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
'And waste its fragrance on the desert air.'
We must not allow them to be verified in sweet Jane Fairfax."
"I cannot think there is any danger of it," was Emma's calm answer__
"and when you are better acquainted with Miss Fairfax's situation and
understand what her home has been, with Colonel and Mrs. Campbell, I
have no idea that you will suppose her talents can be unknown."
"Oh! but dear Miss Woodhouse, she is now in such retirement, such
obscurity, so thrown away.__Whatever advantages she may have enjoyed
with the Campbells are so palpably at an end! And I think she feels
it. I am sure she does. She is very timid and silent. One can see
that she feels the want of encouragement. I like her the better for
it. I must confess it is a recommendation to me. I am a great
advocate for timidity__and I am sure one does not often meet with
it.__But in those who are at all inferior, it is extremely
prepossessing. Oh! I assure you, Jane Fairfax is a very delightful
character, and interests me more than I can express."
"You appear to feel a great deal__but I am not aware how you or any of
Miss Fairfax's acquaintance here, any of those who have known her
longer than yourself, can shew her any other attention than"__
"My dear Miss Woodhouse, a vast deal may be done by those who dare to
act. You and I need not be afraid. If -we- set the example, many will
follow it as far as they can; though all have not our situations. -We-
have carriages to fetch and convey her home, and -we- live in a style
which could not make the addition of Jane Fairfax, at any time, the
least inconvenient.__I should be extremely displeased if Wright were to
send us up such a dinner, as could make me regret having asked -more-
than Jane Fairfax to partake of it. I have no idea of that sort of
thing. It is not likely that I -should-, considering what I have been
used to. My greatest danger, perhaps, in housekeeping, may be quite
the other way, in doing too much, and being too careless of expense.
Maple Grove will probably be my model more than it ought to be__for we
do not at all affect to equal my brother, Mr. Suckling, in
income.__However, my resolution is taken as to noticing Jane Fairfax.__
I shall certainly have her very often at my house, shall introduce her
wherever I can, shall have musical parties to draw out her talents, and
shall be constantly on the watch for an eligible situation. My
acquaintance is so very extensive, that I have little doubt of hearing
of something to suit her shortly.__I shall introduce her, of course,
very particularly to my brother and sister when they come to us. I am
sure they will like her extremely; and when she gets a little
acquainted with them, her fears will completely wear off, for there
really is nothing in the manners of either but what is highly
conciliating.__I shall have her very often indeed while they are with
me, and I dare say we shall sometimes find a seat for her in the
barouche_landau in some of our exploring parties."
"Poor Jane Fairfax!"__thought Emma.__"You have not deserved this. You
may have done wrong with regard to Mr. Dixon, but this is a punishment
beyond what you can have merited!__The kindness and protection of Mrs.
Elton!__'Jane Fairfax and Jane Fairfax.' Heavens! Let me not suppose
that she dares go about, Emma Woodhouse_ing me!__ But upon my honour,
there seems no limits to the licentiousness of that woman's tongue!"
Emma had not to listen to such paradings again__to any so exclusively
addressed to herself__so disgustingly decorated with a "dear Miss
Woodhouse." The change on Mrs. Elton's side soon afterwards appeared,
and she was left in peace__neither forced to be the very particular
friend of Mrs. Elton, nor, under Mrs. Elton's guidance, the very active
patroness of Jane Fairfax, and only sharing with others in a general
way, in knowing what was felt, what was meditated, what was done.
She looked on with some amusement.__Miss Bates's gratitude for Mrs.
Elton's attentions to Jane was in the first style of guileless
simplicity and warmth. She was quite one of her worthies__the most
amiable, affable, delightful woman__just as accomplished and
condescending as Mrs. Elton meant to be considered. Emma's only
surprize was that Jane Fairfax should accept those attentions and
tolerate Mrs. Elton as she seemed to do. She heard of her walking with
the Eltons, sitting with the Eltons, spending a day with the Eltons!
This was astonishing!__She could not have believed it possible that the
taste or the pride of Miss Fairfax could endure such society and
friendship as the Vicarage had to offer.
"She is a riddle, quite a riddle!" said she.__"To chuse to remain here
month after month, under privations of every sort! And now to chuse
the mortification of Mrs. Elton's notice and the penury of her
conversation, rather than return to the superior companions who have
always loved her with such real, generous affection."
Jane had come to Highbury professedly for three months; the Campbells
were gone to Ireland for three months; but now the Campbells had
promised their daughter to stay at least till Midsummer, and fresh
invitations had arrived for her to join them there. According to Miss
Bates__it all came from her__Mrs. Dixon had written most pressingly.
Would Jane but go, means were to be found, servants sent, friends
contrived__no travelling difficulty allowed to exist; but still she had
"She must have some motive, more powerful than appears, for refusing
this invitation," was Emma's conclusion. "She must be under some sort
of penance, inflicted either by the Campbells or herself. There is
great fear, great caution, great resolution somewhere.__ She is -not-
to be with the -Dixons-. The decree is issued by somebody. But why
must she consent to be with the Eltons?__Here is quite a separate
Upon her speaking her wonder aloud on that part of the subject, before
the few who knew her opinion of Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Weston ventured this
apology for Jane.
"We cannot suppose that she has any great enjoyment at the Vicarage, my
dear Emma__but it is better than being always at home. Her aunt is a
good creature, but, as a constant companion, must be very tiresome. We
must consider what Miss Fairfax quits, before we condemn her taste for
what she goes to."
"You are right, Mrs. Weston," said Mr. Knightley warmly, "Miss Fairfax
is as capable as any of us of forming a just opinion of Mrs. Elton.
Could she have chosen with whom to associate, she would not have chosen
her. But (with a reproachful smile at Emma) she receives attentions
from Mrs. Elton, which nobody else pays her."
Emma felt that Mrs. Weston was giving her a momentary glance; and she
was herself struck by his warmth. With a faint blush, she presently
"Such attentions as Mrs. Elton's, I should have imagined, would rather
disgust than gratify Miss Fairfax. Mrs. Elton's invitations I should
have imagined any thing but inviting."
"I should not wonder," said Mrs. Weston, "if Miss Fairfax were to have
been drawn on beyond her own inclination, by her aunt's eagerness in
accepting Mrs. Elton's civilities for her. Poor Miss Bates may very
likely have committed her niece and hurried her into a greater
appearance of intimacy than her own good sense would have dictated, in
spite of the very natural wish of a little change."
Both felt rather anxious to hear him speak again; and after a few
minutes silence, he said,
"Another thing must be taken into consideration too__Mrs. Elton does
not talk -to- Miss Fairfax as she speaks -of- her. We all know the
difference between the pronouns he or she and thou, the plainest spoken
amongst us; we all feel the influence of a something beyond common
civility in our personal intercourse with each other__a something more
early implanted. We cannot give any body the disagreeable hints that
we may have been very full of the hour before. We feel things
differently. And besides the operation of this, as a general
principle, you may be sure that Miss Fairfax awes Mrs. Elton by her
superiority both of mind and manner; and that, face to face, Mrs. Elton
treats her with all the respect which she has a claim to. Such a woman
as Jane Fairfax probably never fell in Mrs. Elton's way before__and no
degree of vanity can prevent her acknowledging her own comparative
littleness in action, if not in consciousness."
"I know how highly you think of Jane Fairfax," said Emma. Little Henry
was in her thoughts, and a mixture of alarm and delicacy made her
irresolute what else to say.
"Yes," he replied, "any body may know how highly I think of her."
"And yet," said Emma, beginning hastily and with an arch look, but soon
stopping__it was better, however, to know the worst at once__she
hurried on__"And yet, perhaps, you may hardly be aware yourself how
highly it is. The extent of your admiration may take you by surprize
some day or other."
Mr. Knightley was hard at work upon the lower buttons of his thick
leather gaiters, and either the exertion of getting them together, or
some other cause, brought the colour into his face, as he answered,
"Oh! are you there?__But you are miserably behindhand. Mr. Cole gave
me a hint of it six weeks ago."
He stopped.__Emma felt her foot pressed by Mrs. Weston, and did not
herself know what to think. In a moment he went on__
"That will never be, however, I can assure you. Miss Fairfax, I dare
say, would not have me if I were to ask her__and I am very sure I shall
never ask her."
Emma returned her friend's pressure with interest; and was pleased
enough to exclaim,
"You are not vain, Mr. Knightley. I will say that for you."
He seemed hardly to hear her; he was thoughtful__and in a manner which
shewed him not pleased, soon afterwards said,
"So you have been settling that I should marry Jane Fairfax?"
"No indeed I have not. You have scolded me too much for match_making,
for me to presume to take such a liberty with you. What I said just
now, meant nothing. One says those sort of things, of course, without
any idea of a serious meaning. Oh! no, upon my word I have not the
smallest wish for your marrying Jane Fairfax or Jane any body. You
would not come in and sit with us in this comfortable way, if you were
Mr. Knightley was thoughtful again. The result of his reverie was,
"No, Emma, I do not think the extent of my admiration for her will ever
take me by surprize.__I never had a thought of her in that way, I
assure you." And soon afterwards, "Jane Fairfax is a very charming
young woman__but not even Jane Fairfax is perfect. She has a fault.
She has not the open temper which a man would wish for in a wife."
Emma could not but rejoice to hear that she had a fault. "Well," said
she, "and you soon silenced Mr. Cole, I suppose?"
"Yes, very soon. He gave me a quiet hint; I told him he was mistaken;
he asked my pardon and said no more. Cole does not want to be wiser or
wittier than his neighbours."
"In that respect how unlike dear Mrs. Elton, who wants to be wiser and
wittier than all the world! I wonder how she speaks of the Coles__what
she calls them! How can she find any appellation for them, deep
enough in familiar vulgarity? She calls you, Knightley__what can she
do for Mr. Cole? And so I am not to be surprized that Jane Fairfax
accepts her civilities and consents to be with her. Mrs. Weston, your
argument weighs most with me. I can much more readily enter into the
temptation of getting away from Miss Bates, than I can believe in the
triumph of Miss Fairfax's mind over Mrs. Elton. I have no faith in
Mrs. Elton's acknowledging herself the inferior in thought, word, or
deed; or in her being under any restraint beyond her own scanty rule of
good_breeding. I cannot imagine that she will not be continually
insulting her visitor with praise, encouragement, and offers of
service; that she will not be continually detailing her magnificent
intentions, from the procuring her a permanent situation to the
including her in those delightful exploring parties which are to take
place in the barouche_landau."
"Jane Fairfax has feeling," said Mr. Knightley__"I do not accuse her of
want of feeling. Her sensibilities, I suspect, are strong__and her
temper excellent in its power of forbearance, patience, self_control;
but it wants openness. She is reserved, more reserved, I think, than
she used to be__And I love an open temper. No__till Cole alluded to my
supposed attachment, it had never entered my head. I saw Jane Fairfax
and conversed with her, with admiration and pleasure always__but with
no thought beyond."
"Well, Mrs. Weston," said Emma triumphantly when he left them, "what do
you say now to Mr. Knightley's marrying Jane Fairfax?"
"Why, really, dear Emma, I say that he is so very much occupied by the
idea of -not- being in love with her, that I should not wonder if it
were to end in his being so at last. Do not beat me."
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 16
Every body in and about Highbury who had ever visited Mr. Elton, was
disposed to pay him attention on his marriage. Dinner_parties and
evening_parties were made for him and his lady; and invitations flowed
in so fast that she had soon the pleasure of apprehending they were
never to have a disengaged day.
"I see how it is," said she. "I see what a life I am to lead among
you. Upon my word we shall be absolutely dissipated. We really seem
quite the fashion. If this is living in the country, it is nothing
very formidable. From Monday next to Saturday, I assure you we have
not a disengaged day!__A woman with fewer resources than I have, need
not have been at a loss."
No invitation came amiss to her. Her Bath habits made evening_parties
perfectly natural to her, and Maple Grove had given her a taste for
dinners. She was a little shocked at the want of two drawing rooms, at
the poor attempt at rout_cakes, and there being no ice in the Highbury
card_parties. Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Goddard and others, were a
good deal behind_hand in knowledge of the world, but she would soon
shew them how every thing ought to be arranged. In the course of the
spring she must return their civilities by one very superior party__in
which her card_tables should be set out with their separate candles and
unbroken packs in the true style__and more waiters engaged for the
evening than their own establishment could furnish, to carry round the
refreshments at exactly the proper hour, and in the proper order.
Emma, in the meanwhile, could not be satisfied without a dinner at
Hartfield for the Eltons. They must not do less than others, or she
should be exposed to odious suspicions, and imagined capable of pitiful
resentment. A dinner there must be. After Emma had talked about it
for ten minutes, Mr. Woodhouse felt no unwillingness, and only made the
usual stipulation of not sitting at the bottom of the table himself,
with the usual regular difficulty of deciding who should do it for him.
The persons to be invited, required little thought. Besides the
Eltons, it must be the Westons and Mr. Knightley; so far it was all of
course__and it was hardly less inevitable that poor little Harriet
must be asked to make the eighth:__but this invitation was not given
with equal satisfaction, and on many accounts Emma was particularly
pleased by Harriet's begging to be allowed to decline it. "She would
rather not be in his company more than she could help. She was not yet
quite able to see him and his charming happy wife together, without
feeling uncomfortable. If Miss Woodhouse would not be displeased, she
would rather stay at home." It was precisely what Emma would have
wished, had she deemed it possible enough for wishing. She was
delighted with the fortitude of her little friend__for fortitude she
knew it was in her to give up being in company and stay at home; and
she could now invite the very person whom she really wanted to make the
eighth, Jane Fairfax.__ Since her last conversation with Mrs. Weston
and Mr. Knightley, she was more conscience_stricken about Jane Fairfax
than she had often been.__Mr. Knightley's words dwelt with her. He had
said that Jane Fairfax received attentions from Mrs. Elton which nobody
else paid her.
"This is very true," said she, "at least as far as relates to me, which
was all that was meant__and it is very shameful.__Of the same age__and
always knowing her__I ought to have been more her friend.__ She will
never like me now. I have neglected her too long. But I will shew her
greater attention than I have done."
Every invitation was successful. They were all disengaged and all
happy.__ The preparatory interest of this dinner, however, was not yet
over. A circumstance rather unlucky occurred. The two eldest little
Knightleys were engaged to pay their grandpapa and aunt a visit of some
weeks in the spring, and their papa now proposed bringing them, and
staying one whole day at Hartfield__which one day would be the very day
of this party.__His professional engagements did not allow of his being
put off, but both father and daughter were disturbed by its happening
so. Mr. Woodhouse considered eight persons at dinner together as the
utmost that his nerves could bear__and here would be a ninth__and Emma
apprehended that it would be a ninth very much out of humour at not
being able to come even to Hartfield for forty_eight hours without
falling in with a dinner_party.
She comforted her father better than she could comfort herself, by
representing that though he certainly would make them nine, yet he
always said so little, that the increase of noise would be very
immaterial. She thought it in reality a sad exchange for herself, to
have him with his grave looks and reluctant conversation opposed to her
instead of his brother.
The event was more favourable to Mr. Woodhouse than to Emma. John
Knightley came; but Mr. Weston was unexpectedly summoned to town and
must be absent on the very day. He might be able to join them in the
evening, but certainly not to dinner. Mr. Woodhouse was quite at ease;
and the seeing him so, with the arrival of the little boys and the
philosophic composure of her brother on hearing his fate, removed the
chief of even Emma's vexation.
The day came, the party were punctually assembled, and Mr. John
Knightley seemed early to devote himself to the business of being
agreeable. Instead of drawing his brother off to a window while they
waited for dinner, he was talking to Miss Fairfax. Mrs. Elton, as
elegant as lace and pearls could make her, he looked at in silence__
wanting only to observe enough for Isabella's information__but Miss
Fairfax was an old acquaintance and a quiet girl, and he could talk to
her. He had met her before breakfast as he was returning from a walk
with his little boys, when it had been just beginning to rain. It was
natural to have some civil hopes on the subject, and he said,
"I hope you did not venture far, Miss Fairfax, this morning, or I am
sure you must have been wet.__We scarcely got home in time. I hope you
"I went only to the post_office," said she, "and reached home before
the rain was much. It is my daily errand. I always fetch the letters
when I am here. It saves trouble, and is a something to get me out. A
walk before breakfast does me good."
"Not a walk in the rain, I should imagine."
"No, but it did not absolutely rain when I set out."
Mr. John Knightley smiled, and replied,
"That is to say, you chose to have your walk, for you were not six
yards from your own door when I had the pleasure of meeting you; and
Henry and John had seen more drops than they could count long before.
The post_office has a great charm at one period of our lives. When you
have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth
going through the rain for."
There was a little blush, and then this answer,
"I must not hope to be ever situated as you are, in the midst of every
dearest connexion, and therefore I cannot expect that simply growing
older should make me indifferent about letters."
"Indifferent! Oh! no__I never conceived you could become indifferent.
Letters are no matter of indifference; they are generally a very
"You are speaking of letters of business; mine are letters of
"I have often thought them the worst of the two," replied he coolly.
"Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does."
"Ah! you are not serious now. I know Mr. John Knightley too well__I
am very sure he understands the value of friendship as well as any
body. I can easily believe that letters are very little to you, much
less than to me, but it is not your being ten years older than myself
which makes the difference, it is not age, but situation. You have
every body dearest to you always at hand, I, probably, never shall
again; and therefore till I have outlived all my affections, a
post_office, I think, must always have power to draw me out, in worse
weather than to_day."
"When I talked of your being altered by time, by the progress of
years," said John Knightley, "I meant to imply the change of situation
which time usually brings. I consider one as including the other.
Time will generally lessen the interest of every attachment not within
the daily circle__but that is not the change I had in view for you. As
an old friend, you will allow me to hope, Miss Fairfax, that ten years
hence you may have as many concentrated objects as I have."
It was kindly said, and very far from giving offence. A pleasant
"thank you" seemed meant to laugh it off, but a blush, a quivering lip,
a tear in the eye, shewed that it was felt beyond a laugh. Her
attention was now claimed by Mr. Woodhouse, who being, according to his
custom on such occasions, making the circle of his guests, and paying
his particular compliments to the ladies, was ending with her__and with
all his mildest urbanity, said,
"I am very sorry to hear, Miss Fairfax, of your being out this morning
in the rain. Young ladies should take care of themselves.__ Young
ladies are delicate plants. They should take care of their health and
their complexion. My dear, did you change your stockings?"
"Yes, sir, I did indeed; and I am very much obliged by your kind
solicitude about me."
"My dear Miss Fairfax, young ladies are very sure to be cared for.__ I
hope your good grand_mama and aunt are well. They are some of my very
old friends. I wish my health allowed me to be a better neighbour.
You do us a great deal of honour to_day, I am sure. My daughter and I
are both highly sensible of your goodness, and have the greatest
satisfaction in seeing you at Hartfield."
The kind_hearted, polite old man might then sit down and feel that he
had done his duty, and made every fair lady welcome and easy.
By this time, the walk in the rain had reached Mrs. Elton, and her
remonstrances now opened upon Jane.
"My dear Jane, what is this I hear?__Going to the post_office in the
rain!__This must not be, I assure you.__You sad girl, how could you do
such a thing?__It is a sign I was not there to take care of you."
Jane very patiently assured her that she had not caught any cold.
"Oh! do not tell -me-. You really are a very sad girl, and do not know
how to take care of yourself.__To the post_office indeed! Mrs. Weston,
did you ever hear the like? You and I must positively exert our
"My advice," said Mrs. Weston kindly and persuasively, "I certainly do
feel tempted to give. Miss Fairfax, you must not run such risks.__
Liable as you have been to severe colds, indeed you ought to be
particularly careful, especially at this time of year. The spring I
always think requires more than common care. Better wait an hour or
two, or even half a day for your letters, than run the risk of bringing
on your cough again. Now do not you feel that you had? Yes, I am sure
you are much too reasonable. You look as if you would not do such a
"Oh! she -shall- -not- do such a thing again," eagerly rejoined Mrs.
Elton. "We will not allow her to do such a thing again:"__and nodding
significantly__"there must be some arrangement made, there must indeed.
I shall speak to Mr. E. The man who fetches our letters every morning
(one of our men, I forget his name) shall inquire for yours too and
bring them to you. That will obviate all difficulties you know; and
from -us- I really think, my dear Jane, you can have no scruple to
accept such an accommodation."
"You are extremely kind," said Jane; "but I cannot give up my early
walk. I am advised to be out of doors as much as I can, I must walk
somewhere, and the post_office is an object; and upon my word, I have
scarcely ever had a bad morning before."
"My dear Jane, say no more about it. The thing is determined, that is
(laughing affectedly) as far as I can presume to determine any thing
without the concurrence of my lord and master. You know, Mrs. Weston,
you and I must be cautious how we express ourselves. But I do flatter
myself, my dear Jane, that my influence is not entirely worn out. If I
meet with no insuperable difficulties therefore, consider that point as
"Excuse me," said Jane earnestly, "I cannot by any means consent to
such an arrangement, so needlessly troublesome to your servant. If the
errand were not a pleasure to me, it could be done, as it always is
when I am not here, by my grandmama's."
"Oh! my dear; but so much as Patty has to do!__And it is a kindness to
employ our men."
Jane looked as if she did not mean to be conquered; but instead of
answering, she began speaking again to Mr. John Knightley.
"The post_office is a wonderful establishment!" said she.__ "The
regularity and despatch of it! If one thinks of all that it has to do,
and all that it does so well, it is really astonishing!"
"It is certainly very well regulated."
"So seldom that any negligence or blunder appears! So seldom that a
letter, among the thousands that are constantly passing about the
kingdom, is even carried wrong__and not one in a million, I suppose,
actually lost! And when one considers the variety of hands, and of bad
hands too, that are to be deciphered, it increases the wonder."
"The clerks grow expert from habit.__They must begin with some
quickness of sight and hand, and exercise improves them. If you want
any farther explanation," continued he, smiling, "they are paid for it.
That is the key to a great deal of capacity. The public pays and must
be served well."
The varieties of handwriting were farther talked of, and the usual
"I have heard it asserted," said John Knightley, "that the same sort of
handwriting often prevails in a family; and where the same master
teaches, it is natural enough. But for that reason, I should imagine
the likeness must be chiefly confined to the females, for boys have
very little teaching after an early age, and scramble into any hand
they can get. Isabella and Emma, I think, do write very much alike. I
have not always known their writing apart."
"Yes," said his brother hesitatingly, "there is a likeness. I know
what you mean__but Emma's hand is the strongest."
"Isabella and Emma both write beautifully," said Mr. Woodhouse; "and
always did. And so does poor Mrs. Weston"__with half a sigh and half a
smile at her.
"I never saw any gentleman's handwriting"__Emma began, looking also at
Mrs. Weston; but stopped, on perceiving that Mrs. Weston was attending
to some one else__and the pause gave her time to reflect, "Now, how am
I going to introduce him?__Am I unequal to speaking his name at once
before all these people? Is it necessary for me to use any roundabout
phrase?__Your Yorkshire friend__your correspondent in Yorkshire;__that
would be the way, I suppose, if I were very bad.__No, I can pronounce
his name without the smallest distress. I certainly get better and
better.__Now for it."
Mrs. Weston was disengaged and Emma began again__"Mr. Frank Churchill
writes one of the best gentleman's hands I ever saw."
"I do not admire it," said Mr. Knightley. "It is too small__wants
strength. It is like a woman's writing."
This was not submitted to by either lady. They vindicated him against
the base aspersion. "No, it by no means wanted strength__it was not a
large hand, but very clear and certainly strong. Had not Mrs. Weston
any letter about her to produce?" No, she had heard from him very
lately, but having answered the letter, had put it away.
"If we were in the other room," said Emma, "if I had my writing_desk, I
am sure I could produce a specimen. I have a note of his.__ Do not you
remember, Mrs. Weston, employing him to write for you one day?"
"He chose to say he was employed"__
"Well, well, I have that note; and can shew it after dinner to convince
"Oh! when a gallant young man, like Mr. Frank Churchill," said Mr.
Knightley dryly, "writes to a fair lady like Miss Woodhouse, he will,
of course, put forth his best."
Dinner was on table.__Mrs. Elton, before she could be spoken to, was
ready; and before Mr. Woodhouse had reached her with his request to be
allowed to hand her into the dining_parlour, was saying__
"Must I go first? I really am ashamed of always leading the way."
Jane's solicitude about fetching her own letters had not escaped Emma.
She had heard and seen it all; and felt some curiosity to know whether
the wet walk of this morning had produced any. She suspected that it
-had-; that it would not have been so resolutely encountered but in
full expectation of hearing from some one very dear, and that it had
not been in vain. She thought there was an air of greater happiness
than usual__a glow both of complexion and spirits.
She could have made an inquiry or two, as to the expedition and the
expense of the Irish mails;__it was at her tongue's end__but she
abstained. She was quite determined not to utter a word that should
hurt Jane Fairfax's feelings; and they followed the other ladies out of
the room, arm in arm, with an appearance of good_will highly becoming
to the beauty and grace of each.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 17
When the ladies returned to the drawing_room after dinner, Emma found
it hardly possible to prevent their making two distinct parties;__with
so much perseverance in judging and behaving ill did Mrs. Elton engross
Jane Fairfax and slight herself. She and Mrs. Weston were obliged to
be almost always either talking together or silent together. Mrs.
Elton left them no choice. If Jane repressed her for a little time,
she soon began again; and though much that passed between them was in a
half_whisper, especially on Mrs. Elton's side, there was no avoiding a
knowledge of their principal subjects: The post_office__catching
cold__fetching letters__and friendship, were long under discussion; and
to them succeeded one, which must be at least equally unpleasant to
Jane__inquiries whether she had yet heard of any situation likely to
suit her, and professions of Mrs. Elton's meditated activity.
"Here is April come!" said she, "I get quite anxious about you. June
will soon be here."
"But I have never fixed on June or any other month__merely looked
forward to the summer in general."
"But have you really heard of nothing?"
"I have not even made any inquiry; I do not wish to make any yet."
"Oh! my dear, we cannot begin too early; you are not aware of the
difficulty of procuring exactly the desirable thing."
"I not aware!" said Jane, shaking her head; "dear Mrs. Elton, who can
have thought of it as I have done?"
"But you have not seen so much of the world as I have. You do not know
how many candidates there always are for the -first- situations. I saw
a vast deal of that in the neighbourhood round Maple Grove. A cousin
of Mr. Suckling, Mrs. Bragge, had such an infinity of applications;
every body was anxious to be in her family, for she moves in the first
circle. Wax_candles in the schoolroom! You may imagine how desirable!
Of all houses in the kingdom Mrs. Bragge's is the one I would most wish
to see you in."
"Colonel and Mrs. Campbell are to be in town again by midsummer," said
Jane. "I must spend some time with them; I am sure they will want
it;__afterwards I may probably be glad to dispose of myself. But I
would not wish you to take the trouble of making any inquiries at
"Trouble! aye, I know your scruples. You are afraid of giving me
trouble; but I assure you, my dear Jane, the Campbells can hardly be
more interested about you than I am. I shall write to Mrs. Partridge
in a day or two, and shall give her a strict charge to be on the
look_out for any thing eligible."
"Thank you, but I would rather you did not mention the subject to her;
till the time draws nearer, I do not wish to be giving any body
"But, my dear child, the time is drawing near; here is April, and June,
or say even July, is very near, with such business to accomplish before
us. Your inexperience really amuses me! A situation such as you
deserve, and your friends would require for you, is no everyday
occurrence, is not obtained at a moment's notice; indeed, indeed, we
must begin inquiring directly."
"Excuse me, ma'am, but this is by no means my intention; I make no
inquiry myself, and should be sorry to have any made by my friends.
When I am quite determined as to the time, I am not at all afraid of
being long unemployed. There are places in town, offices, where
inquiry would soon produce something__Offices for the sale__not quite
of human flesh__but of human intellect."
"Oh! my dear, human flesh! You quite shock me; if you mean a fling at
the slave_trade, I assure you Mr. Suckling was always rather a friend
to the abolition."
"I did not mean, I was not thinking of the slave_trade," replied Jane;
"governess_trade, I assure you, was all that I had in view; widely
different certainly as to the guilt of those who carry it on; but as to
the greater misery of the victims, I do not know where it lies. But I
only mean to say that there are advertising offices, and that by
applying to them I should have no doubt of very soon meeting with
something that would do."
"Something that would do!" repeated Mrs. Elton. "Aye, -that- may suit
your humble ideas of yourself;__I know what a modest creature you are;
but it will not satisfy your friends to have you taking up with any
thing that may offer, any inferior, commonplace situation, in a family
not moving in a certain circle, or able to command the elegancies of
"You are very obliging; but as to all that, I am very indifferent; it
would be no object to me to be with the rich; my mortifications, I
think, would only be the greater; I should suffer more from comparison.
A gentleman's family is all that I should condition for."
"I know you, I know you; you would take up with any thing; but I shall
be a little more nice, and I am sure the good Campbells will be quite
on my side; with your superior talents, you have a right to move in the
first circle. Your musical knowledge alone would entitle you to name
your own terms, have as many rooms as you like, and mix in the family
as much as you chose;__that is__I do not know__if you knew the harp,
you might do all that, I am very sure; but you sing as well as
play;__yes, I really believe you might, even without the harp,
stipulate for what you chose;__and you must and shall be delightfully,
honourably and comfortably settled before the Campbells or I have any
"You may well class the delight, the honour, and the comfort of such a
situation together," said Jane, "they are pretty sure to be equal;
however, I am very serious in not wishing any thing to be attempted at
present for me. I am exceedingly obliged to you, Mrs. Elton, I am
obliged to any body who feels for me, but I am quite serious in wishing
nothing to be done till the summer. For two or three months longer I
shall remain where I am, and as I am."
"And I am quite serious too, I assure you," replied Mrs. Elton gaily,
"in resolving to be always on the watch, and employing my friends to
watch also, that nothing really unexceptionable may pass us."
In this style she ran on; never thoroughly stopped by any thing till
Mr. Woodhouse came into the room; her vanity had then a change of
object, and Emma heard her saying in the same half_whisper to Jane,
"Here comes this dear old beau of mine, I protest!__Only think of his
gallantry in coming away before the other men!__what a dear creature he
is;__I assure you I like him excessively. I admire all that quaint,
old_fashioned politeness; it is much more to my taste than modern ease;
modern ease often disgusts me. But this good old Mr. Woodhouse, I wish
you had heard his gallant speeches to me at dinner. Oh! I assure you
I began to think my caro sposo would be absolutely jealous. I fancy I
am rather a favourite; he took notice of my gown. How do you like
it?__Selina's choice__handsome, I think, but I do not know whether it
is not over_trimmed; I have the greatest dislike to the idea of being
over_trimmed__quite a horror of finery. I must put on a few ornaments
now, because it is expected of me. A bride, you know, must appear like
a bride, but my natural taste is all for simplicity; a simple style of
dress is so infinitely preferable to finery. But I am quite in the
minority, I believe; few people seem to value simplicity of
dress,__show and finery are every thing. I have some notion of putting
such a trimming as this to my white and silver poplin. Do you think it
will look well?"
The whole party were but just reassembled in the drawing_room when Mr.
Weston made his appearance among them. He had returned to a late
dinner, and walked to Hartfield as soon as it was over. He had been
too much expected by the best judges, for surprize__but there was
great joy. Mr. Woodhouse was almost as glad to see him now, as he
would have been sorry to see him before. John Knightley only was in
mute astonishment.__That a man who might have spent his evening quietly
at home after a day of business in London, should set off again, and
walk half a mile to another man's house, for the sake of being in mixed
company till bed_time, of finishing his day in the efforts of civility
and the noise of numbers, was a circumstance to strike him deeply. A
man who had been in motion since eight o'clock in the morning, and
might now have been still, who had been long talking, and might have
been silent, who had been in more than one crowd, and might have been
alone!__Such a man, to quit the tranquillity and independence of his
own fireside, and on the evening of a cold sleety April day rush out
again into the world!__Could he by a touch of his finger have instantly
taken back his wife, there would have been a motive; but his coming
would probably prolong rather than break up the party. John Knightley
looked at him with amazement, then shrugged his shoulders, and said, "I
could not have believed it even of -him-."
Mr. Weston meanwhile, perfectly unsuspicious of the indignation he was
exciting, happy and cheerful as usual, and with all the right of being
principal talker, which a day spent anywhere from home confers, was
making himself agreeable among the rest; and having satisfied the
inquiries of his wife as to his dinner, convincing her that none of all
her careful directions to the servants had been forgotten, and spread
abroad what public news he had heard, was proceeding to a family
communication, which, though principally addressed to Mrs. Weston, he
had not the smallest doubt of being highly interesting to every body in
the room. He gave her a letter, it was from Frank, and to herself; he
had met with it in his way, and had taken the liberty of opening it.
"Read it, read it," said he, "it will give you pleasure; only a few
lines__will not take you long; read it to Emma."
The two ladies looked over it together; and he sat smiling and talking
to them the whole time, in a voice a little subdued, but very audible
to every body.
"Well, he is coming, you see; good news, I think. Well, what do you
say to it?__I always told you he would be here again soon, did not
I?__Anne, my dear, did not I always tell you so, and you would not
believe me?__In town next week, you see__at the latest, I dare say; for
-she- is as impatient as the black gentleman when any thing is to be
done; most likely they will be there to_morrow or Saturday. As to her
illness, all nothing of course. But it is an excellent thing to have
Frank among us again, so near as town. They will stay a good while
when they do come, and he will be half his time with us. This is
precisely what I wanted. Well, pretty good news, is not it? Have you
finished it? Has Emma read it all? Put it up, put it up; we will have
a good talk about it some other time, but it will not do now. I shall
only just mention the circumstance to the others in a common way."
Mrs. Weston was most comfortably pleased on the occasion. Her looks
and words had nothing to restrain them. She was happy, she knew she
was happy, and knew she ought to be happy. Her congratulations were
warm and open; but Emma could not speak so fluently. -She- was a
little occupied in weighing her own feelings, and trying to understand
the degree of her agitation, which she rather thought was considerable.
Mr. Weston, however, too eager to be very observant, too communicative
to want others to talk, was very well satisfied with what she did say,
and soon moved away to make the rest of his friends happy by a partial
communication of what the whole room must have overheard already.
It was well that he took every body's joy for granted, or he might not
have thought either Mr. Woodhouse or Mr. Knightley particularly
delighted. They were the first entitled, after Mrs. Weston and Emma,
to be made happy;__from them he would have proceeded to Miss Fairfax,
but she was so deep in conversation with John Knightley, that it would
have been too positive an interruption; and finding himself close to
Mrs. Elton, and her attention disengaged, he necessarily began on the
subject with her.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 18
"I hope I shall soon have the pleasure of introducing my son to you,"
said Mr. Weston.
Mrs. Elton, very willing to suppose a particular compliment intended
her by such a hope, smiled most graciously.
"You have heard of a certain Frank Churchill, I presume," he
continued__"and know him to be my son, though he does not bear my
"Oh! yes, and I shall be very happy in his acquaintance. I am sure Mr.
Elton will lose no time in calling on him; and we shall both have great
pleasure in seeing him at the Vicarage."
"You are very obliging.__Frank will be extremely happy, I am sure.__ He
is to be in town next week, if not sooner. We have notice of it in a
letter to_day. I met the letters in my way this morning, and seeing my
son's hand, presumed to open it__though it was not directed to me__it
was to Mrs. Weston. She is his principal correspondent, I assure you.
I hardly ever get a letter."
"And so you absolutely opened what was directed to her! Oh! Mr.
Weston__(laughing affectedly) I must protest against that.__A most
dangerous precedent indeed!__I beg you will not let your neighbours
follow your example.__Upon my word, if this is what I am to expect, we
married women must begin to exert ourselves!__Oh! Mr. Weston, I could
not have believed it of you!"
"Aye, we men are sad fellows. You must take care of yourself, Mrs.
Elton.__This letter tells us__it is a short letter__written in a hurry,
merely to give us notice__it tells us that they are all coming up to
town directly, on Mrs. Churchill's account__she has not been well the
whole winter, and thinks Enscombe too cold for her__so they are all to
move southward without loss of time."
"Indeed!__from Yorkshire, I think. Enscombe is in Yorkshire?"
"Yes, they are about one hundred and ninety miles from London. a
"Yes, upon my word, very considerable. Sixty_five miles farther than
from Maple Grove to London. But what is distance, Mr. Weston, to
people of large fortune?__You would be amazed to hear how my brother,
Mr. Suckling, sometimes flies about. You will hardly believe me__but
twice in one week he and Mr. Bragge went to London and back again with
"The evil of the distance from Enscombe," said Mr. Weston, "is, that
Mrs. Churchill, -as- -we- -understand-, has not been able to leave the
sofa for a week together. In Frank's last letter she complained, he
said, of being too weak to get into her conservatory without having
both his arm and his uncle's! This, you know, speaks a great degree of
weakness__but now she is so impatient to be in town, that she means to
sleep only two nights on the road.__So Frank writes word. Certainly,
delicate ladies have very extraordinary constitutions, Mrs. Elton. You
must grant me that."
"No, indeed, I shall grant you nothing. I always take the part of my
own sex. I do indeed. I give you notice__You will find me a
formidable antagonist on that point. I always stand up for women__and
I assure you, if you knew how Selina feels with respect to sleeping at
an inn, you would not wonder at Mrs. Churchill's making incredible
exertions to avoid it. Selina says it is quite horror to her__and I
believe I have caught a little of her nicety. She always travels with
her own sheets; an excellent precaution. Does Mrs. Churchill do the
"Depend upon it, Mrs. Churchill does every thing that any other fine
lady ever did. Mrs. Churchill will not be second to any lady in the
Mrs. Elton eagerly interposed with,
"Oh! Mr. Weston, do not mistake me. Selina is no fine lady, I assure
you. Do not run away with such an idea."
"Is not she? Then she is no rule for Mrs. Churchill, who is as
thorough a fine lady as any body ever beheld."
Mrs. Elton began to think she had been wrong in disclaiming so warmly.
It was by no means her object to have it believed that her sister was
-not- a fine lady; perhaps there was want of spirit in the pretence of
it;__and she was considering in what way she had best retract, when Mr.
Weston went on.
"Mrs. Churchill is not much in my good graces, as you may suspect__but
this is quite between ourselves. She is very fond of Frank, and
therefore I would not speak ill of her. Besides, she is out of health
now; but -that- indeed, by her own account, she has always been. I
would not say so to every body, Mrs. Elton, but I have not much faith
in Mrs. Churchill's illness."
"If she is really ill, why not go to Bath, Mr. Weston?__To Bath, or to
Clifton?" "She has taken it into her head that Enscombe is too cold
for her. The fact is, I suppose, that she is tired of Enscombe. She
has now been a longer time stationary there, than she ever was before,
and she begins to want change. It is a retired place. A fine place,
but very retired."
"Aye__like Maple Grove, I dare say. Nothing can stand more retired
from the road than Maple Grove. Such an immense plantation all round
it! You seem shut out from every thing__in the most complete
retirement.__ And Mrs. Churchill probably has not health or spirits
like Selina to enjoy that sort of seclusion. Or, perhaps she may not
have resources enough in herself to be qualified for a country life. I
always say a woman cannot have too many resources__and I feel very
thankful that I have so many myself as to be quite independent of
"Frank was here in February for a fortnight."
"So I remember to have heard. He will find an -addition- to the
society of Highbury when he comes again; that is, if I may presume to
call myself an addition. But perhaps he may never have heard of there
being such a creature in the world."
This was too loud a call for a compliment to be passed by, and Mr.
Weston, with a very good grace, immediately exclaimed,
"My dear madam! Nobody but yourself could imagine such a thing
possible. Not heard of you!__I believe Mrs. Weston's letters lately
have been full of very little else than Mrs. Elton."
He had done his duty and could return to his son.
"When Frank left us," continued he, "it was quite uncertain when we
might see him again, which makes this day's news doubly welcome. It
has been completely unexpected. That is, -I- always had a strong
persuasion he would be here again soon, I was sure something favourable
would turn up__but nobody believed me. He and Mrs. Weston were both
dreadfully desponding. 'How could he contrive to come? And how could
it be supposed that his uncle and aunt would spare him again?' and so
forth__I always felt that something would happen in our favour; and so
it has, you see. I have observed, Mrs. Elton, in the course of my
life, that if things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to
mend the next."
"Very true, Mr. Weston, perfectly true. It is just what I used to say
to a certain gentleman in company in the days of courtship, when,
because things did not go quite right, did not proceed with all the
rapidity which suited his feelings, he was apt to be in despair, and
exclaim that he was sure at this rate it would be -May- before Hymen's
saffron robe would be put on for us. Oh! the pains I have been at to
dispel those gloomy ideas and give him cheerfuller views! The
carriage__we had disappointments about the carriage;__one morning, I
remember, he came to me quite in despair."
She was stopped by a slight fit of coughing, and Mr. Weston instantly
seized the opportunity of going on.
"You were mentioning May. May is the very month which Mrs. Churchill
is ordered, or has ordered herself, to spend in some warmer place than
Enscombe__in short, to spend in London; so that we have the agreeable
prospect of frequent visits from Frank the whole spring__precisely the
season of the year which one should have chosen for it: days almost at
the longest; weather genial and pleasant, always inviting one out, and
never too hot for exercise. When he was here before, we made the best
of it; but there was a good deal of wet, damp, cheerless weather; there
always is in February, you know, and we could not do half that we
intended. Now will be the time. This will be complete enjoyment; and
I do not know, Mrs. Elton, whether the uncertainty of our meetings, the
sort of constant expectation there will be of his coming in to_day or
to_morrow, and at any hour, may not be more friendly to happiness than
having him actually in the house. I think it is so. I think it is the
state of mind which gives most spirit and delight. I hope you will be
pleased with my son; but you must not expect a prodigy. He is
generally thought a fine young man, but do not expect a prodigy. Mrs.
Weston's partiality for him is very great, and, as you may suppose,
most gratifying to me. She thinks nobody equal to him."
"And I assure you, Mr. Weston, I have very little doubt that my opinion
will be decidedly in his favour. I have heard so much in praise of Mr.
Frank Churchill.__At the same time it is fair to observe, that I am one
of those who always judge for themselves, and are by no means
implicitly guided by others. I give you notice that as I find your
son, so I shall judge of him.__I am no flatterer."
Mr. Weston was musing.
"I hope," said he presently, "I have not been severe upon poor Mrs.
Churchill. If she is ill I should be sorry to do her injustice; but
there are some traits in her character which make it difficult for me
to speak of her with the forbearance I could wish. You cannot be
ignorant, Mrs. Elton, of my connexion with the family, nor of the
treatment I have met with; and, between ourselves, the whole blame of
it is to be laid to her. She was the instigator. Frank's mother would
never have been slighted as she was but for her. Mr. Churchill has
pride; but his pride is nothing to his wife's: his is a quiet,
indolent, gentlemanlike sort of pride that would harm nobody, and only
make himself a little helpless and tiresome; but her pride is arrogance
and insolence! And what inclines one less to bear, she has no fair
pretence of family or blood. She was nobody when he married her,
barely the daughter of a gentleman; but ever since her being turned
into a Churchill she has out_Churchill'd them all in high and mighty
claims: but in herself, I assure you, she is an upstart."
"Only think! well, that must be infinitely provoking! I have quite a
horror of upstarts. Maple Grove has given me a thorough disgust to
people of that sort; for there is a family in that neighbourhood who
are such an annoyance to my brother and sister from the airs they give
themselves! Your description of Mrs. Churchill made me think of them
directly. People of the name of Tupman, very lately settled there, and
encumbered with many low connexions, but giving themselves immense
airs, and expecting to be on a footing with the old established
families. A year and a half is the very utmost that they can have
lived at West Hall; and how they got their fortune nobody knows. They
came from Birmingham, which is not a place to promise much, you know,
Mr. Weston. One has not great hopes from Birmingham. I always say
there is something direful in the sound: but nothing more is
positively known of the Tupmans, though a good many things I assure you
are suspected; and yet by their manners they evidently think themselves
equal even to my brother, Mr. Suckling, who happens to be one of their
nearest neighbours. It is infinitely too bad. Mr. Suckling, who has
been eleven years a resident at Maple Grove, and whose father had it
before him__I believe, at least__I am almost sure that old Mr. Suckling
had completed the purchase before his death."
They were interrupted. Tea was carrying round, and Mr. Weston, having
said all that he wanted, soon took the opportunity of walking away.
After tea, Mr. and Mrs. Weston, and Mr. Elton sat down with Mr.
Woodhouse to cards. The remaining five were left to their own powers,
and Emma doubted their getting on very well; for Mr. Knightley seemed
little disposed for conversation; Mrs. Elton was wanting notice, which
nobody had inclination to pay, and she was herself in a worry of
spirits which would have made her prefer being silent.
Mr. John Knightley proved more talkative than his brother. He was to
leave them early the next day; and he soon began with__
"Well, Emma, I do not believe I have any thing more to say about the
boys; but you have your sister's letter, and every thing is down at
full length there we may be sure. My charge would be much more concise
than her's, and probably not much in the same spirit; all that I have
to recommend being comprised in, do not spoil them, and do not physic
"I rather hope to satisfy you both," said Emma, "for I shall do all in
my power to make them happy, which will be enough for Isabella; and
happiness must preclude false indulgence and physic."
"And if you find them troublesome, you must send them home again."
"That is very likely. You think so, do not you?"
"I hope I am aware that they may be too noisy for your father__or even
may be some encumbrance to you, if your visiting engagements continue
to increase as much as they have done lately."
"Certainly; you must be sensible that the last half_year has made a
great difference in your way of life."
"Difference! No indeed I am not."
"There can be no doubt of your being much more engaged with company
than you used to be. Witness this very time. Here am I come down for
only one day, and you are engaged with a dinner_party!__ When did it
happen before, or any thing like it? Your neighbourhood is increasing,
and you mix more with it. A little while ago, every letter to Isabella
brought an account of fresh gaieties; dinners at Mr. Cole's, or balls
at the Crown. The difference which Randalls, Randalls alone makes in
your goings_on, is very great."
"Yes," said his brother quickly, "it is Randalls that does it all."
"Very well__and as Randalls, I suppose, is not likely to have less
influence than heretofore, it strikes me as a possible thing, Emma,
that Henry and John may be sometimes in the way. And if they are, I
only beg you to send them home."
"No," cried Mr. Knightley, "that need not be the consequence. Let them
be sent to Donwell. I shall certainly be at leisure."
"Upon my word," exclaimed Emma, "you amuse me! I should like to know
how many of all my numerous engagements take place without your being
of the party; and why I am to be supposed in danger of wanting leisure
to attend to the little boys. These amazing engagements of mine__what
have they been? Dining once with the Coles__and having a ball talked
of, which never took place. I can understand you__(nodding at Mr. John
Knightley)__your good fortune in meeting with so many of your friends
at once here, delights you too much to pass unnoticed. But you,
(turning to Mr. Knightley,) who know how very, very seldom I am ever
two hours from Hartfield, why you should foresee such a series of
dissipation for me, I cannot imagine. And as to my dear little boys, I
must say, that if Aunt Emma has not time for them, I do not think they
would fare much better with Uncle Knightley, who is absent from home
about five hours where she is absent one__and who, when he is at home,
is either reading to himself or settling his accounts."
Mr. Knightley seemed to be trying not to smile; and succeeded without
difficulty, upon Mrs. Elton's beginning to talk to him.