Saturday, December 26, 2009
Emma By Jane Austen VOLUME III
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 01
A very little quiet reflection was enough to satisfy Emma as to the
nature of her agitation on hearing this news of Frank Churchill. She
was soon convinced that it was not for herself she was feeling at all
apprehensive or embarrassed; it was for him. Her own attachment had
really subsided into a mere nothing; it was not worth thinking of;__
but if he, who had undoubtedly been always so much the most in love of
the two, were to be returning with the same warmth of sentiment which
he had taken away, it would be very distressing. If a separation of
two months should not have cooled him, there were dangers and evils
before her:__caution for him and for herself would be necessary. She
did not mean to have her own affections entangled again, and it would
be incumbent on her to avoid any encouragement of his.
She wished she might be able to keep him from an absolute declaration.
That would be so very painful a conclusion of their present
acquaintance! and yet, she could not help rather anticipating
something decisive. She felt as if the spring would not pass without
bringing a crisis, an event, a something to alter her present composed
and tranquil state.
It was not very long, though rather longer than Mr. Weston had
foreseen, before she had the power of forming some opinion of Frank
Churchill's feelings. The Enscombe family were not in town quite so
soon as had been imagined, but he was at Highbury very soon afterwards.
He rode down for a couple of hours; he could not yet do more; but as he
came from Randalls immediately to Hartfield, she could then exercise
all her quick observation, and speedily determine how he was
influenced, and how she must act. They met with the utmost
friendliness. There could be no doubt of his great pleasure in seeing
her. But she had an almost instant doubt of his caring for her as he
had done, of his feeling the same tenderness in the same degree. She
watched him well. It was a clear thing he was less in love than he had
been. Absence, with the conviction probably of her indifference, had
produced this very natural and very desirable effect.
He was in high spirits; as ready to talk and laugh as ever, and seemed
delighted to speak of his former visit, and recur to old stories: and
he was not without agitation. It was not in his calmness that she read
his comparative difference. He was not calm; his spirits were
evidently fluttered; there was restlessness about him. Lively as he
was, it seemed a liveliness that did not satisfy himself; but what
decided her belief on the subject, was his staying only a quarter of an
hour, and hurrying away to make other calls in Highbury. "He had seen
a group of old acquaintance in the street as he passed__he had not
stopped, he would not stop for more than a word__but he had the vanity
to think they would be disappointed if he did not call, and much as he
wished to stay longer at Hartfield, he must hurry off." She had no
doubt as to his being less in love__but neither his agitated spirits,
nor his hurrying away, seemed like a perfect cure; and she was rather
inclined to think it implied a dread of her returning power, and a
discreet resolution of not trusting himself with her long.
This was the only visit from Frank Churchill in the course of ten days.
He was often hoping, intending to come__but was always prevented. His
aunt could not bear to have him leave her. Such was his own account at
Randall's. If he were quite sincere, if he really tried to come, it was
to be inferred that Mrs. Churchill's removal to London had been of no
service to the wilful or nervous part of her disorder. That she was
really ill was very certain; he had declared himself convinced of it,
at Randalls. Though much might be fancy, he could not doubt, when he
looked back, that she was in a weaker state of health than she had been
half a year ago. He did not believe it to proceed from any thing that
care and medicine might not remove, or at least that she might not have
many years of existence before her; but he could not be prevailed on,
by all his father's doubts, to say that her complaints were merely
imaginary, or that she was as strong as ever.
It soon appeared that London was not the place for her. She could not
endure its noise. Her nerves were under continual irritation and
suffering; and by the ten days' end, her nephew's letter to Randalls
communicated a change of plan. They were going to remove immediately
to Richmond. Mrs. Churchill had been recommended to the medical skill
of an eminent person there, and had otherwise a fancy for the place. A
ready_furnished house in a favourite spot was engaged, and much benefit
expected from the change.
Emma heard that Frank wrote in the highest spirits of this arrangement,
and seemed most fully to appreciate the blessing of having two months
before him of such near neighbourhood to many dear friends__for the
house was taken for May and June. She was told that now he wrote with
the greatest confidence of being often with them, almost as often as he
could even wish.
Emma saw how Mr. Weston understood these joyous prospects. He was
considering her as the source of all the happiness they offered. She
hoped it was not so. Two months must bring it to the proof.
Mr. Weston's own happiness was indisputable. He was quite delighted.
It was the very circumstance he could have wished for. Now, it would
be really having Frank in their neighbourhood. What were nine miles to
a young man?__An hour's ride. He would be always coming over. The
difference in that respect of Richmond and London was enough to make
the whole difference of seeing him always and seeing him never.
Sixteen miles__nay, eighteen__it must be full eighteen to
Manchester_street__was a serious obstacle. Were he ever able to get
away, the day would be spent in coming and returning. There was no
comfort in having him in London; he might as well be at Enscombe; but
Richmond was the very distance for easy intercourse. Better than
One good thing was immediately brought to a certainty by this
removal,__the ball at the Crown. It had not been forgotten before,
but it had been soon acknowledged vain to attempt to fix a day. Now,
however, it was absolutely to be; every preparation was resumed, and
very soon after the Churchills had removed to Richmond, a few lines
from Frank, to say that his aunt felt already much better for the
change, and that he had no doubt of being able to join them for
twenty_four hours at any given time, induced them to name as early a
day as possible.
Mr. Weston's ball was to be a real thing. A very few to_morrows stood
between the young people of Highbury and happiness.
Mr. Woodhouse was resigned. The time of year lightened the evil to
him. May was better for every thing than February. Mrs. Bates was
engaged to spend the evening at Hartfield, James had due notice, and he
sanguinely hoped that neither dear little Henry nor dear little John
would have any thing the matter with them, while dear Emma were gone.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 02
No misfortune occurred, again to prevent the ball. The day approached,
the day arrived; and after a morning of some anxious watching, Frank
Churchill, in all the certainty of his own self, reached Randalls
before dinner, and every thing was safe.
No second meeting had there yet been between him and Emma. The room at
the Crown was to witness it;__but it would be better than a common
meeting in a crowd. Mr. Weston had been so very earnest in his
entreaties for her arriving there as soon as possible after themselves,
for the purpose of taking her opinion as to the propriety and comfort
of the rooms before any other persons came, that she could not refuse
him, and must therefore spend some quiet interval in the young man's
company. She was to convey Harriet, and they drove to the Crown in
good time, the Randalls party just sufficiently before them.
Frank Churchill seemed to have been on the watch; and though he did not
say much, his eyes declared that he meant to have a delightful evening.
They all walked about together, to see that every thing was as it
should be; and within a few minutes were joined by the contents of
another carriage, which Emma could not hear the sound of at first,
without great surprize. "So unreasonably early!" she was going to
exclaim; but she presently found that it was a family of old friends,
who were coming, like herself, by particular desire, to help Mr.
Weston's judgment; and they were so very closely followed by another
carriage of cousins, who had been entreated to come early with the same
distinguishing earnestness, on the same errand, that it seemed as if
half the company might soon be collected together for the purpose of
Emma perceived that her taste was not the only taste on which Mr.
Weston depended, and felt, that to be the favourite and intimate of a
man who had so many intimates and confidantes, was not the very first
distinction in the scale of vanity. She liked his open manners, but a
little less of open_heartedness would have made him a higher
character.__General benevolence, but not general friendship, made a man
what he ought to be.__ She could fancy such a man. The whole party
walked about, and looked, and praised again; and then, having nothing
else to do, formed a sort of half_circle round the fire, to observe in
their various modes, till other subjects were started, that, though
-May-, a fire in the evening was still very pleasant.
Emma found that it was not Mr. Weston's fault that the number of privy
councillors was not yet larger. They had stopped at Mrs. Bates's door
to offer the use of their carriage, but the aunt and niece were to be
brought by the Eltons.
Frank was standing by her, but not steadily; there was a restlessness,
which shewed a mind not at ease. He was looking about, he was going to
the door, he was watching for the sound of other carriages,__impatient
to begin, or afraid of being always near her.
Mrs. Elton was spoken of. "I think she must be here soon," said he.
"I have a great curiosity to see Mrs. Elton, I have heard so much of
her. It cannot be long, I think, before she comes."
A carriage was heard. He was on the move immediately; but coming back,
"I am forgetting that I am not acquainted with her. I have never seen
either Mr. or Mrs. Elton. I have no business to put myself forward."
Mr. and Mrs. Elton appeared; and all the smiles and the proprieties
"But Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax!" said Mr. Weston, looking about. "We
thought you were to bring them."
The mistake had been slight. The carriage was sent for them now. Emma
longed to know what Frank's first opinion of Mrs. Elton might be; how
he was affected by the studied elegance of her dress, and her smiles of
graciousness. He was immediately qualifying himself to form an
opinion, by giving her very proper attention, after the introduction
In a few minutes the carriage returned.__Somebody talked of rain.__ "I
will see that there are umbrellas, sir," said Frank to his father:
"Miss Bates must not be forgotten:" and away he went. Mr. Weston was
following; but Mrs. Elton detained him, to gratify him by her opinion
of his son; and so briskly did she begin, that the young man himself,
though by no means moving slowly, could hardly be out of hearing.
"A very fine young man indeed, Mr. Weston. You know I candidly told
you I should form my own opinion; and I am happy to say that I am
extremely pleased with him.__You may believe me. I never compliment.
I think him a very handsome young man, and his manners are precisely
what I like and approve__so truly the gentleman, without the least
conceit or puppyism. You must know I have a vast dislike to puppies__
quite a horror of them. They were never tolerated at Maple Grove.
Neither Mr. Suckling nor me had ever any patience with them; and we
used sometimes to say very cutting things! Selina, who is mild almost
to a fault, bore with them much better."
While she talked of his son, Mr. Weston's attention was chained; but
when she got to Maple Grove, he could recollect that there were ladies
just arriving to be attended to, and with happy smiles must hurry away.
Mrs. Elton turned to Mrs. Weston. "I have no doubt of its being our
carriage with Miss Bates and Jane. Our coachman and horses are so
extremely expeditious!__I believe we drive faster than any body.__ What
a pleasure it is to send one's carriage for a friend!__ I understand
you were so kind as to offer, but another time it will be quite
unnecessary. You may be very sure I shall always take care of -them-."
Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax, escorted by the two gentlemen, walked into
the room; and Mrs. Elton seemed to think it as much her duty as Mrs.
Weston's to receive them. Her gestures and movements might be
understood by any one who looked on like Emma; but her words, every
body's words, were soon lost under the incessant flow of Miss Bates,
who came in talking, and had not finished her speech under many minutes
after her being admitted into the circle at the fire. As the door
opened she was heard,
"So very obliging of you!__No rain at all. Nothing to signify. I do
not care for myself. Quite thick shoes. And Jane declares__
Well!__(as soon as she was within the door) Well! This is brilliant
indeed!__This is admirable!__Excellently contrived, upon my word.
Nothing wanting. Could not have imagined it.__So well lighted up!__
Jane, Jane, look!__did you ever see any thing? Oh! Mr. Weston, you
must really have had Aladdin's lamp. Good Mrs. Stokes would not know
her own room again. I saw her as I came in; she was standing in the
entrance. 'Oh! Mrs. Stokes,' said I__but I had not time for more."
She was now met by Mrs. Weston.__ "Very well, I thank you, ma'am. I
hope you are quite well. Very happy to hear it. So afraid you might
have a headache!__seeing you pass by so often, and knowing how much
trouble you must have. Delighted to hear it indeed. Ah! dear Mrs.
Elton, so obliged to you for the carriage!__excellent time. Jane and I
quite ready. Did not keep the horses a moment. Most comfortable
carriage.__ Oh! and I am sure our thanks are due to you, Mrs. Weston,
on that score. Mrs. Elton had most kindly sent Jane a note, or we
should have been.__ But two such offers in one day!__Never were such
neighbours. I said to my mother, 'Upon my word, ma'am__.' Thank you,
my mother is remarkably well. Gone to Mr. Woodhouse's. I made her take
her shawl__for the evenings are not warm__her large new shawl__ Mrs.
Dixon's wedding_present.__So kind of her to think of my mother! Bought
at Weymouth, you know__Mr. Dixon's choice. There were three others,
Jane says, which they hesitated about some time. Colonel Campbell
rather preferred an olive. My dear Jane, are you sure you did not wet
your feet?__It was but a drop or two, but I am so afraid:__but Mr.
Frank Churchill was so extremely__and there was a mat to step upon__I
shall never forget his extreme politeness.__Oh! Mr. Frank Churchill, I
must tell you my mother's spectacles have never been in fault since;
the rivet never came out again. My mother often talks of your
good_nature. Does not she, Jane?__Do not we often talk of Mr. Frank
Churchill?__ Ah! here's Miss Woodhouse.__Dear Miss Woodhouse, how do
you do?__ Very well I thank you, quite well. This is meeting quite in
fairy_land!__ Such a transformation!__Must not compliment, I know
(eyeing Emma most complacently)__that would be rude__but upon my word,
Miss Woodhouse, you do look__how do you like Jane's hair?__You are a
judge.__ She did it all herself. Quite wonderful how she does her
hair!__ No hairdresser from London I think could.__Ah! Dr. Hughes I
declare__and Mrs. Hughes. Must go and speak to Dr. and Mrs. Hughes
for a moment.__How do you do? How do you do?__Very well, I thank you.
This is delightful, is not it?__Where's dear Mr. Richard?__ Oh! there
he is. Don't disturb him. Much better employed talking to the young
ladies. How do you do, Mr. Richard?__I saw you the other day as you
rode through the town__Mrs. Otway, I protest!__and good Mr. Otway, and
Miss Otway and Miss Caroline.__Such a host of friends!__and Mr. George
and Mr. Arthur!__How do you do? How do you all do?__Quite well, I am
much obliged to you. Never better.__ Don't I hear another
carriage?__Who can this be?__very likely the worthy Coles.__Upon my
word, this is charming to be standing about among such friends! And
such a noble fire!__I am quite roasted. No coffee, I thank you, for
me__never take coffee.__A little tea if you please, sir, by and
bye,__no hurry__Oh! here it comes. Every thing so good!"
Frank Churchill returned to his station by Emma; and as soon as Miss
Bates was quiet, she found herself necessarily overhearing the
discourse of Mrs. Elton and Miss Fairfax, who were standing a little
way behind her.__He was thoughtful. Whether he were overhearing too,
she could not determine. After a good many compliments to Jane on her
dress and look, compliments very quietly and properly taken, Mrs. Elton
was evidently wanting to be complimented herself__and it was, "How do
you like my gown?__How do you like my trimming?__ How has Wright done
my hair?"__with many other relative questions, all answered with
patient politeness. Mrs. Elton then said, "Nobody can think less of
dress in general than I do__but upon such an occasion as this, when
every body's eyes are so much upon me, and in compliment to the
Westons__who I have no doubt are giving this ball chiefly to do me
honour__I would not wish to be inferior to others. And I see very few
pearls in the room except mine.__ So Frank Churchill is a capital
dancer, I understand.__We shall see if our styles suit.__A fine young
man certainly is Frank Churchill. I like him very well."
At this moment Frank began talking so vigorously, that Emma could not
but imagine he had overheard his own praises, and did not want to hear
more;__and the voices of the ladies were drowned for a while, till
another suspension brought Mrs. Elton's tones again distinctly
forward.__Mr. Elton had just joined them, and his wife was exclaiming,
"Oh! you have found us out at last, have you, in our seclusion?__ I was
this moment telling Jane, I thought you would begin to be impatient for
tidings of us."
"Jane!"__repeated Frank Churchill, with a look of surprize and
displeasure.__ "That is easy__but Miss Fairfax does not disapprove it,
"How do you like Mrs. Elton?" said Emma in a whisper.
"Not at all."
"You are ungrateful."
"Ungrateful!__What do you mean?" Then changing from a frown to a
smile__"No, do not tell me__I do not want to know what you mean.__
Where is my father?__When are we to begin dancing?"
Emma could hardly understand him; he seemed in an odd humour. He
walked off to find his father, but was quickly back again with both Mr.
and Mrs. Weston. He had met with them in a little perplexity, which
must be laid before Emma. It had just occurred to Mrs. Weston that
Mrs. Elton must be asked to begin the ball; that she would expect it;
which interfered with all their wishes of giving Emma that
distinction.__Emma heard the sad truth with fortitude.
"And what are we to do for a proper partner for her?" said Mr. Weston.
"She will think Frank ought to ask her."
Frank turned instantly to Emma, to claim her former promise; and
boasted himself an engaged man, which his father looked his most
perfect approbation of__and it then appeared that Mrs. Weston was
wanting -him- to dance with Mrs. Elton himself, and that their business
was to help to persuade him into it, which was done pretty soon.__ Mr.
Weston and Mrs. Elton led the way, Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss
Woodhouse followed. Emma must submit to stand second to Mrs. Elton,
though she had always considered the ball as peculiarly for her. It
was almost enough to make her think of marrying. Mrs. Elton had
undoubtedly the advantage, at this time, in vanity completely
gratified; for though she had intended to begin with Frank Churchill,
she could not lose by the change. Mr. Weston might be his son's
superior.__ In spite of this little rub, however, Emma was smiling with
enjoyment, delighted to see the respectable length of the set as it was
forming, and to feel that she had so many hours of unusual festivity
before her.__ She was more disturbed by Mr. Knightley's not dancing
than by any thing else.__There he was, among the standers_by, where he
ought not to be; he ought to be dancing,__not classing himself with the
husbands, and fathers, and whist_players, who were pretending to feel
an interest in the dance till their rubbers were made up,__so young as
he looked!__ He could not have appeared to greater advantage perhaps
anywhere, than where he had placed himself. His tall, firm, upright
figure, among the bulky forms and stooping shoulders of the elderly
men, was such as Emma felt must draw every body's eyes; and, excepting
her own partner, there was not one among the whole row of young men who
could be compared with him.__He moved a few steps nearer, and those few
steps were enough to prove in how gentlemanlike a manner, with what
natural grace, he must have danced, would he but take the
trouble.__Whenever she caught his eye, she forced him to smile; but in
general he was looking grave. She wished he could love a ballroom
better, and could like Frank Churchill better.__ He seemed often
observing her. She must not flatter herself that he thought of her
dancing, but if he were criticising her behaviour, she did not feel
afraid. There was nothing like flirtation between her and her partner.
They seemed more like cheerful, easy friends, than lovers. That Frank
Churchill thought less of her than he had done, was indubitable.
The ball proceeded pleasantly. The anxious cares, the incessant
attentions of Mrs. Weston, were not thrown away. Every body seemed
happy; and the praise of being a delightful ball, which is seldom
bestowed till after a ball has ceased to be, was repeatedly given in
the very beginning of the existence of this. Of very important, very
recordable events, it was not more productive than such meetings
usually are. There was one, however, which Emma thought something
of.__The two last dances before supper were begun, and Harriet had no
partner;__the only young lady sitting down;__and so equal had been
hitherto the number of dancers, that how there could be any one
disengaged was the wonder!__But Emma's wonder lessened soon afterwards,
on seeing Mr. Elton sauntering about. He would not ask Harriet to
dance if it were possible to be avoided: she was sure he would not__and
she was expecting him every moment to escape into the card_room.
Escape, however, was not his plan. He came to the part of the room
where the sitters_by were collected, spoke to some, and walked about in
front of them, as if to shew his liberty, and his resolution of
maintaining it. He did not omit being sometimes directly before Miss
Smith, or speaking to those who were close to her.__ Emma saw it. She
was not yet dancing; she was working her way up from the bottom, and
had therefore leisure to look around, and by only turning her head a
little she saw it all. When she was half_way up the set, the whole
group were exactly behind her, and she would no longer allow her eyes
to watch; but Mr. Elton was so near, that she heard every syllable of a
dialogue which just then took place between him and Mrs. Weston; and
she perceived that his wife, who was standing immediately above her,
was not only listening also, but even encouraging him by significant
glances.__The kind_hearted, gentle Mrs. Weston had left her seat to
join him and say, "Do not you dance, Mr. Elton?" to which his prompt
reply was, "Most readily, Mrs. Weston, if you will dance with me."
"Me!__oh! no__I would get you a better partner than myself. I am no
"If Mrs. Gilbert wishes to dance," said he, "I shall have great
pleasure, I am sure__for, though beginning to feel myself rather an old
married man, and that my dancing days are over, it would give me very
great pleasure at any time to stand up with an old friend like Mrs.
"Mrs. Gilbert does not mean to dance, but there is a young lady
disengaged whom I should be very glad to see dancing__Miss Smith."
"Miss Smith!__oh!__I had not observed.__You are extremely obliging__
and if I were not an old married man.__But my dancing days are over,
Mrs. Weston. You will excuse me. Any thing else I should be most
happy to do, at your command__but my dancing days are over."
Mrs. Weston said no more; and Emma could imagine with what surprize and
mortification she must be returning to her seat. This was Mr. Elton!
the amiable, obliging, gentle Mr. Elton.__ She looked round for a
moment; he had joined Mr. Knightley at a little distance, and was
arranging himself for settled conversation, while smiles of high glee
passed between him and his wife.
She would not look again. Her heart was in a glow, and she feared her
face might be as hot.
In another moment a happier sight caught her;__Mr. Knightley leading
Harriet to the set!__Never had she been more surprized, seldom more
delighted, than at that instant. She was all pleasure and gratitude,
both for Harriet and herself, and longed to be thanking him; and though
too distant for speech, her countenance said much, as soon as she could
catch his eye again.
His dancing proved to be just what she had believed it, extremely good;
and Harriet would have seemed almost too lucky, if it had not been for
the cruel state of things before, and for the very complete enjoyment
and very high sense of the distinction which her happy features
announced. It was not thrown away on her, she bounded higher than
ever, flew farther down the middle, and was in a continual course of
Mr. Elton had retreated into the card_room, looking (Emma trusted) very
foolish. She did not think he was quite so hardened as his wife,
though growing very like her;__-she- spoke some of her feelings, by
observing audibly to her partner,
"Knightley has taken pity on poor little Miss Smith!__Very goodnatured,
Supper was announced. The move began; and Miss Bates might be heard
from that moment, without interruption, till her being seated at table
and taking up her spoon.
"Jane, Jane, my dear Jane, where are you?__Here is your tippet. Mrs.
Weston begs you to put on your tippet. She says she is afraid there
will be draughts in the passage, though every thing has been done__One
door nailed up__Quantities of matting__My dear Jane, indeed you must.
Mr. Churchill, oh! you are too obliging! How well you put it on!__so
gratified! Excellent dancing indeed!__ Yes, my dear, I ran home, as I
said I should, to help grandmama to bed, and got back again, and nobody
missed me.__I set off without saying a word, just as I told you.
Grandmama was quite well, had a charming evening with Mr. Woodhouse, a
vast deal of chat, and backgammon.__Tea was made downstairs, biscuits
and baked apples and wine before she came away: amazing luck in some
of her throws: and she inquired a great deal about you, how you were
amused, and who were your partners. 'Oh!' said I, 'I shall not
forestall Jane; I left her dancing with Mr. George Otway; she will love
to tell you all about it herself to_morrow: her first partner was Mr.
Elton, I do not know who will ask her next, perhaps Mr. William Cox.'
My dear sir, you are too obliging.__Is there nobody you would not
rather?__I am not helpless. Sir, you are most kind. Upon my word,
Jane on one arm, and me on the other!__Stop, stop, let us stand a
little back, Mrs. Elton is going; dear Mrs. Elton, how elegant she
looks!__Beautiful lace!__Now we all follow in her train. Quite the
queen of the evening!__Well, here we are at the passage. Two steps,
Jane, take care of the two steps. Oh! no, there is but one. Well, I
was persuaded there were two. How very odd! I was convinced there
were two, and there is but one. I never saw any thing equal to the
comfort and style__Candles everywhere.__I was telling you of your
grandmama, Jane,__There was a little disappointment.__ The baked apples
and biscuits, excellent in their way, you know; but there was a
delicate fricassee of sweetbread and some asparagus brought in at
first, and good Mr. Woodhouse, not thinking the asparagus quite boiled
enough, sent it all out again. Now there is nothing grandmama loves
better than sweetbread and asparagus__so she was rather disappointed,
but we agreed we would not speak of it to any body, for fear of its
getting round to dear Miss Woodhouse, who would be so very much
concerned!__Well, this is brilliant! I am all amazement! could not
have supposed any thing!__Such elegance and profusion!__I have seen
nothing like it since__ Well, where shall we sit? where shall we sit?
Anywhere, so that Jane is not in a draught. Where -I- sit is of no
consequence. Oh! do you recommend this side?__Well, I am sure, Mr.
Churchill__only it seems too good__but just as you please. What you
direct in this house cannot be wrong. Dear Jane, how shall we ever
recollect half the dishes for grandmama? Soup too! Bless me! I
should not be helped so soon, but it smells most excellent, and I
cannot help beginning."
Emma had no opportunity of speaking to Mr. Knightley till after supper;
but, when they were all in the ballroom again, her eyes invited him
irresistibly to come to her and be thanked. He was warm in his
reprobation of Mr. Elton's conduct; it had been unpardonable rudeness;
and Mrs. Elton's looks also received the due share of censure.
"They aimed at wounding more than Harriet," said he. "Emma, why is it
that they are your enemies?"
He looked with smiling penetration; and, on receiving no answer, added,
"-She- ought not to be angry with you, I suspect, whatever he may
be.__To that surmise, you say nothing, of course; but confess, Emma,
that you did want him to marry Harriet."
"I did," replied Emma, "and they cannot forgive me."
He shook his head; but there was a smile of indulgence with it, and he
"I shall not scold you. I leave you to your own reflections."
"Can you trust me with such flatterers?__Does my vain spirit ever tell
me I am wrong?"
"Not your vain spirit, but your serious spirit.__If one leads you
wrong, I am sure the other tells you of it."
"I do own myself to have been completely mistaken in Mr. Elton. There
is a littleness about him which you discovered, and which I did not:
and I was fully convinced of his being in love with Harriet. It was
through a series of strange blunders!"
"And, in return for your acknowledging so much, I will do you the
justice to say, that you would have chosen for him better than he has
chosen for himself.__Harriet Smith has some first_rate qualities, which
Mrs. Elton is totally without. An unpretending, single_minded, artless
girl__infinitely to be preferred by any man of sense and taste to such
a woman as Mrs. Elton. I found Harriet more conversable than I
Emma was extremely gratified.__They were interrupted by the bustle of
Mr. Weston calling on every body to begin dancing again.
"Come Miss Woodhouse, Miss Otway, Miss Fairfax, what are you all
doing?__ Come Emma, set your companions the example. Every body is
lazy! Every body is asleep!"
"I am ready," said Emma, "whenever I am wanted."
"Whom are you going to dance with?" asked Mr. Knightley.
She hesitated a moment, and then replied, "With you, if you will ask
"Will you?" said he, offering his hand.
"Indeed I will. You have shewn that you can dance, and you know we are
not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper."
"Brother and sister! no, indeed."
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 03
This little explanation with Mr. Knightley gave Emma considerable
pleasure. It was one of the agreeable recollections of the ball, which
she walked about the lawn the next morning to enjoy.__She was extremely
glad that they had come to so good an understanding respecting the
Eltons, and that their opinions of both husband and wife were so much
alike; and his praise of Harriet, his concession in her favour, was
peculiarly gratifying. The impertinence of the Eltons, which for a few
minutes had threatened to ruin the rest of her evening, had been the
occasion of some of its highest satisfactions; and she looked forward
to another happy result__the cure of Harriet's infatuation.__ From
Harriet's manner of speaking of the circumstance before they quitted
the ballroom, she had strong hopes. It seemed as if her eyes were
suddenly opened, and she were enabled to see that Mr. Elton was not the
superior creature she had believed him. The fever was over, and Emma
could harbour little fear of the pulse being quickened again by
injurious courtesy. She depended on the evil feelings of the Eltons
for supplying all the discipline of pointed neglect that could be
farther requisite.__Harriet rational, Frank Churchill not too much in
love, and Mr. Knightley not wanting to quarrel with her, how very happy
a summer must be before her!
She was not to see Frank Churchill this morning. He had told her that
he could not allow himself the pleasure of stopping at Hartfield, as he
was to be at home by the middle of the day. She did not regret it.
Having arranged all these matters, looked them through, and put them
all to rights, she was just turning to the house with spirits freshened
up for the demands of the two little boys, as well as of their
grandpapa, when the great iron sweep_gate opened, and two persons
entered whom she had never less expected to see together__Frank
Churchill, with Harriet leaning on his arm__actually Harriet!__A moment
sufficed to convince her that something extraordinary had happened.
Harriet looked white and frightened, and he was trying to cheer her.__
The iron gates and the front_door were not twenty yards asunder;__they
were all three soon in the hall, and Harriet immediately sinking into a
chair fainted away.
A young lady who faints, must be recovered; questions must be answered,
and surprizes be explained. Such events are very interesting, but the
suspense of them cannot last long. A few minutes made Emma acquainted
with the whole.
Miss Smith, and Miss Bickerton, another parlour boarder at Mrs.
Goddard's, who had been also at the ball, had walked out together, and
taken a road, the Richmond road, which, though apparently public enough
for safety, had led them into alarm.__About half a mile beyond
Highbury, making a sudden turn, and deeply shaded by elms on each side,
it became for a considerable stretch very retired; and when the young
ladies had advanced some way into it, they had suddenly perceived at a
small distance before them, on a broader patch of greensward by the
side, a party of gipsies. A child on the watch, came towards them to
beg; and Miss Bickerton, excessively frightened, gave a great scream,
and calling on Harriet to follow her, ran up a steep bank, cleared a
slight hedge at the top, and made the best of her way by a short cut
back to Highbury. But poor Harriet could not follow. She had suffered
very much from cramp after dancing, and her first attempt to mount the
bank brought on such a return of it as made her absolutely powerless__
and in this state, and exceedingly terrified, she had been obliged to
How the trampers might have behaved, had the young ladies been more
courageous, must be doubtful; but such an invitation for attack could
not be resisted; and Harriet was soon assailed by half a dozen
children, headed by a stout woman and a great boy, all clamorous, and
impertinent in look, though not absolutely in word.__More and more
frightened, she immediately promised them money, and taking out her
purse, gave them a shilling, and begged them not to want more, or to
use her ill.__She was then able to walk, though but slowly, and was
moving away__but her terror and her purse were too tempting, and she
was followed, or rather surrounded, by the whole gang, demanding more.
In this state Frank Churchill had found her, she trembling and
conditioning, they loud and insolent. By a most fortunate chance his
leaving Highbury had been delayed so as to bring him to her assistance
at this critical moment. The pleasantness of the morning had induced
him to walk forward, and leave his horses to meet him by another road,
a mile or two beyond Highbury__and happening to have borrowed a pair
of scissors the night before of Miss Bates, and to have forgotten to
restore them, he had been obliged to stop at her door, and go in for a
few minutes: he was therefore later than he had intended; and being on
foot, was unseen by the whole party till almost close to them. The
terror which the woman and boy had been creating in Harriet was then
their own portion. He had left them completely frightened; and Harriet
eagerly clinging to him, and hardly able to speak, had just strength
enough to reach Hartfield, before her spirits were quite overcome. It
was his idea to bring her to Hartfield: he had thought of no other
This was the amount of the whole story,__of his communication and of
Harriet's as soon as she had recovered her senses and speech.__ He
dared not stay longer than to see her well; these several delays left
him not another minute to lose; and Emma engaging to give assurance of
her safety to Mrs. Goddard, and notice of there being such a set of
people in the neighbourhood to Mr. Knightley, he set off, with all the
grateful blessings that she could utter for her friend and herself.
Such an adventure as this,__a fine young man and a lovely young woman
thrown together in such a way, could hardly fail of suggesting certain
ideas to the coldest heart and the steadiest brain. So Emma thought,
at least. Could a linguist, could a grammarian, could even a
mathematician have seen what she did, have witnessed their appearance
together, and heard their history of it, without feeling that
circumstances had been at work to make them peculiarly interesting to
each other?__How much more must an imaginist, like herself, be on fire
with speculation and foresight!__especially with such a groundwork of
anticipation as her mind had already made.
It was a very extraordinary thing! Nothing of the sort had ever
occurred before to any young ladies in the place, within her memory; no
rencontre, no alarm of the kind;__and now it had happened to the very
person, and at the very hour, when the other very person was chancing
to pass by to rescue her!__It certainly was very extraordinary!__And
knowing, as she did, the favourable state of mind of each at this
period, it struck her the more. He was wishing to get the better of
his attachment to herself, she just recovering from her mania for Mr.
Elton. It seemed as if every thing united to promise the most
interesting consequences. It was not possible that the occurrence
should not be strongly recommending each to the other.
In the few minutes' conversation which she had yet had with him, while
Harriet had been partially insensible, he had spoken of her terror, her
naivete, her fervour as she seized and clung to his arm, with a
sensibility amused and delighted; and just at last, after Harriet's own
account had been given, he had expressed his indignation at the
abominable folly of Miss Bickerton in the warmest terms. Every thing
was to take its natural course, however, neither impelled nor assisted.
She would not stir a step, nor drop a hint. No, she had had enough of
interference. There could be no harm in a scheme, a mere passive
scheme. It was no more than a wish. Beyond it she would on no account
Emma's first resolution was to keep her father from the knowledge of
what had passed,__aware of the anxiety and alarm it would occasion: but
she soon felt that concealment must be impossible. Within half an hour
it was known all over Highbury. It was the very event to engage those
who talk most, the young and the low; and all the youth and servants in
the place were soon in the happiness of frightful news. The last
night's ball seemed lost in the gipsies. Poor Mr. Woodhouse trembled
as he sat, and, as Emma had foreseen, would scarcely be satisfied
without their promising never to go beyond the shrubbery again. It was
some comfort to him that many inquiries after himself and Miss
Woodhouse (for his neighbours knew that he loved to be inquired after),
as well as Miss Smith, were coming in during the rest of the day; and
he had the pleasure of returning for answer, that they were all very
indifferent__which, though not exactly true, for she was perfectly
well, and Harriet not much otherwise, Emma would not interfere with.
She had an unhappy state of health in general for the child of such a
man, for she hardly knew what indisposition was; and if he did not
invent illnesses for her, she could make no figure in a message.
The gipsies did not wait for the operations of justice; they took
themselves off in a hurry. The young ladies of Highbury might have
walked again in safety before their panic began, and the whole history
dwindled soon into a matter of little importance but to Emma and her
nephews:__in her imagination it maintained its ground, and Henry and
John were still asking every day for the story of Harriet and the
gipsies, and still tenaciously setting her right if she varied in the
slightest particular from the original recital.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 04
A very few days had passed after this adventure, when Harriet came one
morning to Emma with a small parcel in her hand, and after sitting down
and hesitating, thus began:
"Miss Woodhouse__if you are at leisure__I have something that I should
like to tell you__a sort of confession to make__and then, you know, it
will be over."
Emma was a good deal surprized; but begged her to speak. There was a
seriousness in Harriet's manner which prepared her, quite as much as
her words, for something more than ordinary.
"It is my duty, and I am sure it is my wish," she continued, "to have
no reserves with you on this subject. As I am happily quite an altered
creature in -one- -respect-, it is very fit that you should have the
satisfaction of knowing it. I do not want to say more than is
necessary__I am too much ashamed of having given way as I have done,
and I dare say you understand me."
"Yes," said Emma, "I hope I do."
"How I could so long a time be fancying myself! . . ." cried Harriet,
warmly. "It seems like madness! I can see nothing at all
extraordinary in him now.__I do not care whether I meet him or
not__except that of the two I had rather not see him__and indeed I
would go any distance round to avoid him__but I do not envy his wife in
the least; I neither admire her nor envy her, as I have done: she is
very charming, I dare say, and all that, but I think her very
ill_tempered and disagreeable__I shall never forget her look the other
night!__However, I assure you, Miss Woodhouse, I wish her no evil.__No,
let them be ever so happy together, it will not give me another
moment's pang: and to convince you that I have been speaking truth, I
am now going to destroy__what I ought to have destroyed long ago__what
I ought never to have kept__ I know that very well (blushing as she
spoke).__However, now I will destroy it all__and it is my particular
wish to do it in your presence, that you may see how rational I am
grown. Cannot you guess what this parcel holds?" said she, with a
"Not the least in the world.__Did he ever give you any thing?"
"No__I cannot call them gifts; but they are things that I have valued
She held the parcel towards her, and Emma read the words -Most-
-precious- -treasures- on the top. Her curiosity was greatly excited.
Harriet unfolded the parcel, and she looked on with impatience. Within
abundance of silver paper was a pretty little Tunbridge_ware box, which
Harriet opened: it was well lined with the softest cotton; but,
excepting the cotton, Emma saw only a small piece of court_plaister.
"Now," said Harriet, "you -must- recollect."
"No, indeed I do not."
"Dear me! I should not have thought it possible you could forget what
passed in this very room about court_plaister, one of the very last
times we ever met in it!__It was but a very few days before I had my
sore throat__just before Mr. and Mrs. John Knightley came__ I think the
very evening.__Do not you remember his cutting his finger with your new
penknife, and your recommending court_plaister?__ But, as you had none
about you, and knew I had, you desired me to supply him; and so I took
mine out and cut him a piece; but it was a great deal too large, and he
cut it smaller, and kept playing some time with what was left, before
he gave it back to me. And so then, in my nonsense, I could not help
making a treasure of it__so I put it by never to be used, and looked
at it now and then as a great treat."
"My dearest Harriet!" cried Emma, putting her hand before her face, and
jumping up, "you make me more ashamed of myself than I can bear.
Remember it? Aye, I remember it all now; all, except your saving this
relic__I knew nothing of that till this moment__but the cutting the
finger, and my recommending court_plaister, and saying I had none about
me!__Oh! my sins, my sins!__And I had plenty all the while in my
pocket!__One of my senseless tricks!__I deserve to be under a continual
blush all the rest of my life.__Well__(sitting down again)__go
"And had you really some at hand yourself? I am sure I never suspected
it, you did it so naturally."
"And so you actually put this piece of court_plaister by for his sake!"
said Emma, recovering from her state of shame and feeling divided
between wonder and amusement. And secretly she added to herself, "Lord
bless me! when should I ever have thought of putting by in cotton a
piece of court_plaister that Frank Churchill had been pulling about! I
never was equal to this."
"Here," resumed Harriet, turning to her box again, "here is something
still more valuable, I mean that -has- -been- more valuable, because
this is what did really once belong to him, which the court_plaister
Emma was quite eager to see this superior treasure. It was the end of
an old pencil,__the part without any lead.
"This was really his," said Harriet.__"Do not you remember one
morning?__no, I dare say you do not. But one morning__I forget exactly
the day__but perhaps it was the Tuesday or Wednesday before -that-
-evening-, he wanted to make a memorandum in his pocket_book; it was
about spruce_beer. Mr. Knightley had been telling him something about
brewing spruce_beer, and he wanted to put it down; but when he took out
his pencil, there was so little lead that he soon cut it all away, and
it would not do, so you lent him another, and this was left upon the
table as good for nothing. But I kept my eye on it; and, as soon as I
dared, caught it up, and never parted with it again from that moment."
"I do remember it," cried Emma; "I perfectly remember it.__ Talking
about spruce_beer.__Oh! yes__Mr. Knightley and I both saying we liked
it, and Mr. Elton's seeming resolved to learn to like it too. I
perfectly remember it.__Stop; Mr. Knightley was standing just here, was
not he? I have an idea he was standing just here."
"Ah! I do not know. I cannot recollect.__It is very odd, but I cannot
recollect.__Mr. Elton was sitting here, I remember, much about where I
"Well, go on."
"Oh! that's all. I have nothing more to shew you, or to say__except
that I am now going to throw them both behind the fire, and I wish you
to see me do it."
"My poor dear Harriet! and have you actually found happiness in
treasuring up these things?"
"Yes, simpleton as I was!__but I am quite ashamed of it now, and wish I
could forget as easily as I can burn them. It was very wrong of me,
you know, to keep any remembrances, after he was married. I knew it
was__but had not resolution enough to part with them."
"But, Harriet, is it necessary to burn the court_plaister?__I have not
a word to say for the bit of old pencil, but the court_plaister might
"I shall be happier to burn it," replied Harriet. "It has a
disagreeable look to me. I must get rid of every thing.__ There it
goes, and there is an end, thank Heaven! of Mr. Elton."
"And when," thought Emma, "will there be a beginning of Mr. Churchill?"
She had soon afterwards reason to believe that the beginning was
already made, and could not but hope that the gipsy, though she had
-told- no fortune, might be proved to have made Harriet's.__About a
fortnight after the alarm, they came to a sufficient explanation, and
quite undesignedly. Emma was not thinking of it at the moment, which
made the information she received more valuable. She merely said, in
the course of some trivial chat, "Well, Harriet, whenever you marry I
would advise you to do so and so"__and thought no more of it, till
after a minute's silence she heard Harriet say in a very serious tone,
"I shall never marry."
Emma then looked up, and immediately saw how it was; and after a
moment's debate, as to whether it should pass unnoticed or not, replied,
"Never marry!__This is a new resolution."
"It is one that I shall never change, however."
After another short hesitation, "I hope it does not proceed from__I
hope it is not in compliment to Mr. Elton?"
"Mr. Elton indeed!" cried Harriet indignantly.__"Oh! no"__and Emma
could just catch the words, "so superior to Mr. Elton!"
She then took a longer time for consideration. Should she proceed no
farther?__should she let it pass, and seem to suspect nothing?__
Perhaps Harriet might think her cold or angry if she did; or perhaps if
she were totally silent, it might only drive Harriet into asking her to
hear too much; and against any thing like such an unreserve as had
been, such an open and frequent discussion of hopes and chances, she
was perfectly resolved.__ She believed it would be wiser for her to say
and know at once, all that she meant to say and know. Plain dealing
was always best. She had previously determined how far she would
proceed, on any application of the sort; and it would be safer for
both, to have the judicious law of her own brain laid down with
speed.__ She was decided, and thus spoke__
"Harriet, I will not affect to be in doubt of your meaning. Your
resolution, or rather your expectation of never marrying, results from
an idea that the person whom you might prefer, would be too greatly
your superior in situation to think of you. Is not it so?"
"Oh! Miss Woodhouse, believe me I have not the presumption to
suppose__ Indeed I am not so mad.__But it is a pleasure to me to admire
him at a distance__and to think of his infinite superiority to all the
rest of the world, with the gratitude, wonder, and veneration, which
are so proper, in me especially."
"I am not at all surprized at you, Harriet. The service he rendered
you was enough to warm your heart."
"Service! oh! it was such an inexpressible obligation!__ The very
recollection of it, and all that I felt at the time__when I saw him
coming__his noble look__and my wretchedness before. Such a change! In
one moment such a change! From perfect misery to perfect happiness!"
"It is very natural. It is natural, and it is honourable.__ Yes,
honourable, I think, to chuse so well and so gratefully.__ But that it
will be a fortunate preference is more that I can promise. I do not
advise you to give way to it, Harriet. I do not by any means engage
for its being returned. Consider what you are about. Perhaps it will
be wisest in you to check your feelings while you can: at any rate do
not let them carry you far, unless you are persuaded of his liking you.
Be observant of him. Let his behaviour be the guide of your
sensations. I give you this caution now, because I shall never speak
to you again on the subject. I am determined against all interference.
Henceforward I know nothing of the matter. Let no name ever pass our
lips. We were very wrong before; we will be cautious now.__He is your
superior, no doubt, and there do seem objections and obstacles of a
very serious nature; but yet, Harriet, more wonderful things have taken
place, there have been matches of greater disparity. But take care of
yourself. I would not have you too sanguine; though, however it may
end, be assured your raising your thoughts to -him-, is a mark of good
taste which I shall always know how to value."
Harriet kissed her hand in silent and submissive gratitude. Emma was
very decided in thinking such an attachment no bad thing for her
friend. Its tendency would be to raise and refine her mind__and it
must be saving her from the danger of degradation.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 05
In this state of schemes, and hopes, and connivance, June opened upon
Hartfield. To Highbury in general it brought no material change. The
Eltons were still talking of a visit from the Sucklings, and of the use
to be made of their barouche_landau; and Jane Fairfax was still at her
grandmother's; and as the return of the Campbells from Ireland was
again delayed, and August, instead of Midsummer, fixed for it, she was
likely to remain there full two months longer, provided at least she
were able to defeat Mrs. Elton's activity in her service, and save
herself from being hurried into a delightful situation against her will.
Mr. Knightley, who, for some reason best known to himself, had
certainly taken an early dislike to Frank Churchill, was only growing
to dislike him more. He began to suspect him of some double dealing in
his pursuit of Emma. That Emma was his object appeared indisputable.
Every thing declared it; his own attentions, his father's hints, his
mother_in_law's guarded silence; it was all in unison; words, conduct,
discretion, and indiscretion, told the same story. But while so many
were devoting him to Emma, and Emma herself making him over to Harriet,
Mr. Knightley began to suspect him of some inclination to trifle with
Jane Fairfax. He could not understand it; but there were symptoms of
intelligence between them__he thought so at least__symptoms of
admiration on his side, which, having once observed, he could not
persuade himself to think entirely void of meaning, however he might
wish to escape any of Emma's errors of imagination. -She- was not
present when the suspicion first arose. He was dining with the
Randalls family, and Jane, at the Eltons'; and he had seen a look, more
than a single look, at Miss Fairfax, which, from the admirer of Miss
Woodhouse, seemed somewhat out of place. When he was again in their
company, he could not help remembering what he had seen; nor could he
avoid observations which, unless it were like Cowper and his fire at
"Myself creating what I saw,"
brought him yet stronger suspicion of there being a something of
private liking, of private understanding even, between Frank Churchill
He had walked up one day after dinner, as he very often did, to spend
his evening at Hartfield. Emma and Harriet were going to walk; he
joined them; and, on returning, they fell in with a larger party, who,
like themselves, judged it wisest to take their exercise early, as the
weather threatened rain; Mr. and Mrs. Weston and their son, Miss Bates
and her niece, who had accidentally met. They all united; and, on
reaching Hartfield gates, Emma, who knew it was exactly the sort of
visiting that would be welcome to her father, pressed them all to go in
and drink tea with him. The Randalls party agreed to it immediately;
and after a pretty long speech from Miss Bates, which few persons
listened to, she also found it possible to accept dear Miss Woodhouse's
most obliging invitation.
As they were turning into the grounds, Mr. Perry passed by on
horseback. The gentlemen spoke of his horse.
"By the bye," said Frank Churchill to Mrs. Weston presently, "what
became of Mr. Perry's plan of setting up his carriage?"
Mrs. Weston looked surprized, and said, "I did not know that he ever
had any such plan."
"Nay, I had it from you. You wrote me word of it three months ago."
"Indeed you did. I remember it perfectly. You mentioned it as what
was certainly to be very soon. Mrs. Perry had told somebody, and was
extremely happy about it. It was owing to -her- persuasion, as she
thought his being out in bad weather did him a great deal of harm. You
must remember it now?"
"Upon my word I never heard of it till this moment."
"Never! really, never!__Bless me! how could it be?__Then I must have
dreamt it__but I was completely persuaded__Miss Smith, you walk as if
you were tired. You will not be sorry to find yourself at home."
"What is this?__What is this?" cried Mr. Weston, "about Perry and a
carriage? Is Perry going to set up his carriage, Frank? I am glad he
can afford it. You had it from himself, had you?"
"No, sir," replied his son, laughing, "I seem to have had it from
nobody.__Very odd!__I really was persuaded of Mrs. Weston's having
mentioned it in one of her letters to Enscombe, many weeks ago, with
all these particulars__but as she declares she never heard a syllable
of it before, of course it must have been a dream. I am a great
dreamer. I dream of every body at Highbury when I am away__and when I
have gone through my particular friends, then I begin dreaming of Mr.
and Mrs. Perry."
"It is odd though," observed his father, "that you should have had such
a regular connected dream about people whom it was not very likely you
should be thinking of at Enscombe. Perry's setting up his carriage!
and his wife's persuading him to it, out of care for his health__just
what will happen, I have no doubt, some time or other; only a little
premature. What an air of probability sometimes runs through a dream!
And at others, what a heap of absurdities it is! Well, Frank, your
dream certainly shews that Highbury is in your thoughts when you are
absent. Emma, you are a great dreamer, I think?"
Emma was out of hearing. She had hurried on before her guests to
prepare her father for their appearance, and was beyond the reach of
Mr. Weston's hint.
"Why, to own the truth," cried Miss Bates, who had been trying in vain
to be heard the last two minutes, "if I must speak on this subject,
there is no denying that Mr. Frank Churchill might have__I do not mean
to say that he did not dream it__I am sure I have sometimes the oddest
dreams in the world__but if I am questioned about it, I must
acknowledge that there was such an idea last spring; for Mrs. Perry
herself mentioned it to my mother, and the Coles knew of it as well as
ourselves__but it was quite a secret, known to nobody else, and only
thought of about three days. Mrs. Perry was very anxious that he
should have a carriage, and came to my mother in great spirits one
morning because she thought she had prevailed. Jane, don't you
remember grandmama's telling us of it when we got home? I forget where
we had been walking to__very likely to Randalls; yes, I think it was
to Randalls. Mrs. Perry was always particularly fond of my
mother__indeed I do not know who is not__and she had mentioned it to
her in confidence; she had no objection to her telling us, of course,
but it was not to go beyond: and, from that day to this, I never
mentioned it to a soul that I know of. At the same time, I will not
positively answer for my having never dropt a hint, because I know I do
sometimes pop out a thing before I am aware. I am a talker, you know;
I am rather a talker; and now and then I have let a thing escape me
which I should not. I am not like Jane; I wish I were. I will answer
for it -she- never betrayed the least thing in the world. Where is
she?__Oh! just behind. Perfectly remember Mrs. Perry's coming.__
Extraordinary dream, indeed!"
They were entering the hall. Mr. Knightley's eyes had preceded Miss
Bates's in a glance at Jane. From Frank Churchill's face, where he
thought he saw confusion suppressed or laughed away, he had
involuntarily turned to hers; but she was indeed behind, and too busy
with her shawl. Mr. Weston had walked in. The two other gentlemen
waited at the door to let her pass. Mr. Knightley suspected in Frank
Churchill the determination of catching her eye__he seemed watching
her intently__in vain, however, if it were so__ Jane passed between
them into the hall, and looked at neither.
There was no time for farther remark or explanation. The dream must be
borne with, and Mr. Knightley must take his seat with the rest round
the large modern circular table which Emma had introduced at Hartfield,
and which none but Emma could have had power to place there and
persuade her father to use, instead of the small_sized Pembroke, on
which two of his daily meals had, for forty years been crowded. Tea
passed pleasantly, and nobody seemed in a hurry to move.
"Miss Woodhouse," said Frank Churchill, after examining a table behind
him, which he could reach as he sat, "have your nephews taken away
their alphabets__their box of letters? It used to stand here. Where
is it? This is a sort of dull_looking evening, that ought to be
treated rather as winter than summer. We had great amusement with
those letters one morning. I want to puzzle you again."
Emma was pleased with the thought; and producing the box, the table was
quickly scattered over with alphabets, which no one seemed so much
disposed to employ as their two selves. They were rapidly forming
words for each other, or for any body else who would be puzzled. The
quietness of the game made it particularly eligible for Mr. Woodhouse,
who had often been distressed by the more animated sort, which Mr.
Weston had occasionally introduced, and who now sat happily occupied in
lamenting, with tender melancholy, over the departure of the "poor
little boys," or in fondly pointing out, as he took up any stray letter
near him, how beautifully Emma had written it.
Frank Churchill placed a word before Miss Fairfax. She gave a slight
glance round the table, and applied herself to it. Frank was next to
Emma, Jane opposite to them__and Mr. Knightley so placed as to see them
all; and it was his object to see as much as he could, with as little
apparent observation. The word was discovered, and with a faint smile
pushed away. If meant to be immediately mixed with the others, and
buried from sight, she should have looked on the table instead of
looking just across, for it was not mixed; and Harriet, eager after
every fresh word, and finding out none, directly took it up, and fell
to work. She was sitting by Mr. Knightley, and turned to him for help.
The word was -blunder-; and as Harriet exultingly proclaimed it, there
was a blush on Jane's cheek which gave it a meaning not otherwise
ostensible. Mr. Knightley connected it with the dream; but how it
could all be, was beyond his comprehension. How the delicacy, the
discretion of his favourite could have been so lain asleep! He feared
there must be some decided involvement. Disingenuousness and double
dealing seemed to meet him at every turn. These letters were but the
vehicle for gallantry and trick. It was a child's play, chosen to
conceal a deeper game on Frank Churchill's part.
With great indignation did he continue to observe him; with great alarm
and distrust, to observe also his two blinded companions. He saw a
short word prepared for Emma, and given to her with a look sly and
demure. He saw that Emma had soon made it out, and found it highly
entertaining, though it was something which she judged it proper to
appear to censure; for she said, "Nonsense! for shame!" He heard Frank
Churchill next say, with a glance towards Jane, "I will give it to
her__shall I?"__and as clearly heard Emma opposing it with eager
laughing warmth. "No, no, you must not; you shall not, indeed."
It was done however. This gallant young man, who seemed to love
without feeling, and to recommend himself without complaisance,
directly handed over the word to Miss Fairfax, and with a particular
degree of sedate civility entreated her to study it. Mr. Knightley's
excessive curiosity to know what this word might be, made him seize
every possible moment for darting his eye towards it, and it was not
long before he saw it to be -Dixon-. Jane Fairfax's perception seemed
to accompany his; her comprehension was certainly more equal to the
covert meaning, the superior intelligence, of those five letters so
arranged. She was evidently displeased; looked up, and seeing herself
watched, blushed more deeply than he had ever perceived her, and saying
only, "I did not know that proper names were allowed," pushed away the
letters with even an angry spirit, and looked resolved to be engaged by
no other word that could be offered. Her face was averted from those
who had made the attack, and turned towards her aunt.
"Aye, very true, my dear," cried the latter, though Jane had not spoken
a word__"I was just going to say the same thing. It is time for us to
be going indeed. The evening is closing in, and grandmama will be
looking for us. My dear sir, you are too obliging. We really must
wish you good night."
Jane's alertness in moving, proved her as ready as her aunt had
preconceived. She was immediately up, and wanting to quit the table;
but so many were also moving, that she could not get away; and Mr.
Knightley thought he saw another collection of letters anxiously pushed
towards her, and resolutely swept away by her unexamined. She was
afterwards looking for her shawl__Frank Churchill was looking also__it
was growing dusk, and the room was in confusion; and how they parted,
Mr. Knightley could not tell.
He remained at Hartfield after all the rest, his thoughts full of what
he had seen; so full, that when the candles came to assist his
observations, he must__yes, he certainly must, as a friend__an anxious
friend__give Emma some hint, ask her some question. He could not see
her in a situation of such danger, without trying to preserve her. It
was his duty.
"Pray, Emma," said he, "may I ask in what lay the great amusement, the
poignant sting of the last word given to you and Miss Fairfax? I saw
the word, and am curious to know how it could be so very entertaining
to the one, and so very distressing to the other."
Emma was extremely confused. She could not endure to give him the true
explanation; for though her suspicions were by no means removed, she
was really ashamed of having ever imparted them.
"Oh!" she cried in evident embarrassment, "it all meant nothing; a mere
joke among ourselves."
"The joke," he replied gravely, "seemed confined to you and Mr.
He had hoped she would speak again, but she did not. She would rather
busy herself about any thing than speak. He sat a little while in
doubt. A variety of evils crossed his mind. Interference__fruitless
interference. Emma's confusion, and the acknowledged intimacy, seemed
to declare her affection engaged. Yet he would speak. He owed it to
her, to risk any thing that might be involved in an unwelcome
interference, rather than her welfare; to encounter any thing, rather
than the remembrance of neglect in such a cause.
"My dear Emma," said he at last, with earnest kindness, "do you think
you perfectly understand the degree of acquaintance between the
gentleman and lady we have been speaking of?"
"Between Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Fairfax? Oh! yes, perfectly.__
Why do you make a doubt of it?"
"Have you never at any time had reason to think that he admired her, or
that she admired him?"
"Never, never!" she cried with a most open eagerness__"Never, for the
twentieth part of a moment, did such an idea occur to me. And how
could it possibly come into your head?"
"I have lately imagined that I saw symptoms of attachment between
them__certain expressive looks, which I did not believe meant to be
"Oh! you amuse me excessively. I am delighted to find that you can
vouchsafe to let your imagination wander__but it will not do__very
sorry to check you in your first essay__but indeed it will not do.
There is no admiration between them, I do assure you; and the
appearances which have caught you, have arisen from some peculiar
circumstances__feelings rather of a totally different nature__it is
impossible exactly to explain:__there is a good deal of nonsense in
it__but the part which is capable of being communicated, which is
sense, is, that they are as far from any attachment or admiration for
one another, as any two beings in the world can be. That is, I
-presume- it to be so on her side, and I can -answer- for its being so
on his. I will answer for the gentleman's indifference."
She spoke with a confidence which staggered, with a satisfaction which
silenced, Mr. Knightley. She was in gay spirits, and would have
prolonged the conversation, wanting to hear the particulars of his
suspicions, every look described, and all the wheres and hows of a
circumstance which highly entertained her: but his gaiety did not meet
hers. He found he could not be useful, and his feelings were too much
irritated for talking. That he might not be irritated into an absolute
fever, by the fire which Mr. Woodhouse's tender habits required almost
every evening throughout the year, he soon afterwards took a hasty
leave, and walked home to the coolness and solitude of Donwell Abbey.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 06
After being long fed with hopes of a speedy visit from Mr. and Mrs.
Suckling, the Highbury world were obliged to endure the mortification
of hearing that they could not possibly come till the autumn. No such
importation of novelties could enrich their intellectual stores at
present. In the daily interchange of news, they must be again
restricted to the other topics with which for a while the Sucklings'
coming had been united, such as the last accounts of Mrs. Churchill,
whose health seemed every day to supply a different report, and the
situation of Mrs. Weston, whose happiness it was to be hoped might
eventually be as much increased by the arrival of a child, as that of
all her neighbours was by the approach of it.
Mrs. Elton was very much disappointed. It was the delay of a great
deal of pleasure and parade. Her introductions and recommendations
must all wait, and every projected party be still only talked of. So
she thought at first;__but a little consideration convinced her that
every thing need not be put off. Why should not they explore to Box
Hill though the Sucklings did not come? They could go there again with
them in the autumn. It was settled that they should go to Box Hill.
That there was to be such a party had been long generally known: it
had even given the idea of another. Emma had never been to Box Hill;
she wished to see what every body found so well worth seeing, and she
and Mr. Weston had agreed to chuse some fine morning and drive thither.
Two or three more of the chosen only were to be admitted to join them,
and it was to be done in a quiet, unpretending, elegant way, infinitely
superior to the bustle and preparation, the regular eating and
drinking, and picnic parade of the Eltons and the Sucklings.
This was so very well understood between them, that Emma could not but
feel some surprise, and a little displeasure, on hearing from Mr.
Weston that he had been proposing to Mrs. Elton, as her brother and
sister had failed her, that the two parties should unite, and go
together; and that as Mrs. Elton had very readily acceded to it, so it
was to be, if she had no objection. Now, as her objection was nothing
but her very great dislike of Mrs. Elton, of which Mr. Weston must
already be perfectly aware, it was not worth bringing forward
again:__it could not be done without a reproof to him, which would be
giving pain to his wife; and she found herself therefore obliged to
consent to an arrangement which she would have done a great deal to
avoid; an arrangement which would probably expose her even to the
degradation of being said to be of Mrs. Elton's party! Every feeling
was offended; and the forbearance of her outward submission left a
heavy arrear due of secret severity in her reflections on the
unmanageable goodwill of Mr. Weston's temper.
"I am glad you approve of what I have done," said he very comfortably.
"But I thought you would. Such schemes as these are nothing without
numbers. One cannot have too large a party. A large party secures its
own amusement. And she is a good_natured woman after all. One could
not leave her out."
Emma denied none of it aloud, and agreed to none of it in private.
It was now the middle of June, and the weather fine; and Mrs. Elton was
growing impatient to name the day, and settle with Mr. Weston as to
pigeon_pies and cold lamb, when a lame carriage_horse threw every thing
into sad uncertainty. It might be weeks, it might be only a few days,
before the horse were useable; but no preparations could be ventured
on, and it was all melancholy stagnation. Mrs. Elton's resources were
inadequate to such an attack.
"Is not this most vexatious, Knightley?" she cried.__"And such weather
for exploring!__These delays and disappointments are quite odious.
What are we to do?__The year will wear away at this rate, and nothing
done. Before this time last year I assure you we had had a delightful
exploring party from Maple Grove to Kings Weston."
"You had better explore to Donwell," replied Mr. Knightley. "That may
be done without horses. Come, and eat my strawberries. They are
If Mr. Knightley did not begin seriously, he was obliged to proceed so,
for his proposal was caught at with delight; and the "Oh! I should
like it of all things," was not plainer in words than manner. Donwell
was famous for its strawberry_beds, which seemed a plea for the
invitation: but no plea was necessary; cabbage_beds would have been
enough to tempt the lady, who only wanted to be going somewhere. She
promised him again and again to come__much oftener than he doubted__and
was extremely gratified by such a proof of intimacy, such a
distinguishing compliment as she chose to consider it.
"You may depend upon me," said she. "I certainly will come. Name your
day, and I will come. You will allow me to bring Jane Fairfax?"
"I cannot name a day," said he, "till I have spoken to some others whom
I would wish to meet you."
"Oh! leave all that to me. Only give me a carte_blanche.__I am Lady
Patroness, you know. It is my party. I will bring friends with me."
"I hope you will bring Elton," said he: "but I will not trouble you to
give any other invitations."
"Oh! now you are looking very sly. But consider__you need not be
afraid of delegating power to -me-. I am no young lady on her
preferment. Married women, you know, may be safely authorised. It is
my party. Leave it all to me. I will invite your guests."
"No,"__he calmly replied,__"there is but one married woman in the world
whom I can ever allow to invite what guests she pleases to Donwell, and
that one is__"
"__Mrs. Weston, I suppose," interrupted Mrs. Elton, rather mortified.
"No__Mrs. Knightley;__and till she is in being, I will manage such
"Ah! you are an odd creature!" she cried, satisfied to have no one
preferred to herself.__"You are a humourist, and may say what you like.
Quite a humourist. Well, I shall bring Jane with me__Jane and her
aunt.__The rest I leave to you. I have no objections at all to meeting
the Hartfield family. Don't scruple. I know you are attached to them."
"You certainly will meet them if I can prevail; and I shall call on
Miss Bates in my way home."
"That's quite unnecessary; I see Jane every day:__but as you like. It
is to be a morning scheme, you know, Knightley; quite a simple thing.
I shall wear a large bonnet, and bring one of my little baskets hanging
on my arm. Here,__probably this basket with pink ribbon. Nothing can
be more simple, you see. And Jane will have such another. There is to
be no form or parade__a sort of gipsy party. We are to walk about your
gardens, and gather the strawberries ourselves, and sit under
trees;__and whatever else you may like to provide, it is to be all out
of doors__a table spread in the shade, you know. Every thing as
natural and simple as possible. Is not that your idea?"
"Not quite. My idea of the simple and the natural will be to have the
table spread in the dining_room. The nature and the simplicity of
gentlemen and ladies, with their servants and furniture, I think is
best observed by meals within doors. When you are tired of eating
strawberries in the garden, there shall be cold meat in the house."
"Well__as you please; only don't have a great set out. And, by the
bye, can I or my housekeeper be of any use to you with our opinion?__
Pray be sincere, Knightley. If you wish me to talk to Mrs. Hodges, or
to inspect anything__"
"I have not the least wish for it, I thank you."
"Well__but if any difficulties should arise, my housekeeper is
"I will answer for it, that mine thinks herself full as clever, and
would spurn any body's assistance."
"I wish we had a donkey. The thing would be for us all to come on
donkeys, Jane, Miss Bates, and me__and my caro sposo walking by. I
really must talk to him about purchasing a donkey. In a country life I
conceive it to be a sort of necessary; for, let a woman have ever so
many resources, it is not possible for her to be always shut up at
home;__and very long walks, you know__in summer there is dust, and in
winter there is dirt."
"You will not find either, between Donwell and Highbury. Donwell Lane
is never dusty, and now it is perfectly dry. Come on a donkey,
however, if you prefer it. You can borrow Mrs. Cole's. I would wish
every thing to be as much to your taste as possible."
"That I am sure you would. Indeed I do you justice, my good friend.
Under that peculiar sort of dry, blunt manner, I know you have the
warmest heart. As I tell Mr. E., you are a thorough humourist.__ Yes,
believe me, Knightley, I am fully sensible of your attention to me in
the whole of this scheme. You have hit upon the very thing to please
Mr. Knightley had another reason for avoiding a table in the shade. He
wished to persuade Mr. Woodhouse, as well as Emma, to join the party;
and he knew that to have any of them sitting down out of doors to eat
would inevitably make him ill. Mr. Woodhouse must not, under the
specious pretence of a morning drive, and an hour or two spent at
Donwell, be tempted away to his misery.
He was invited on good faith. No lurking horrors were to upbraid him
for his easy credulity. He did consent. He had not been at Donwell
for two years. "Some very fine morning, he, and Emma, and Harriet,
could go very well; and he could sit still with Mrs. Weston, while the
dear girls walked about the gardens. He did not suppose they could be
damp now, in the middle of the day. He should like to see the old
house again exceedingly, and should be very happy to meet Mr. and Mrs.
Elton, and any other of his neighbours.__He could not see any objection
at all to his, and Emma's, and Harriet's going there some very fine
morning. He thought it very well done of Mr. Knightley to invite
them__very kind and sensible__much cleverer than dining out.__He was
not fond of dining out."
Mr. Knightley was fortunate in every body's most ready concurrence.
The invitation was everywhere so well received, that it seemed as if,
like Mrs. Elton, they were all taking the scheme as a particular
compliment to themselves.__Emma and Harriet professed very high
expectations of pleasure from it; and Mr. Weston, unasked, promised to
get Frank over to join them, if possible; a proof of approbation and
gratitude which could have been dispensed with.__ Mr. Knightley was
then obliged to say that he should be glad to see him; and Mr. Weston
engaged to lose no time in writing, and spare no arguments to induce
him to come.
In the meanwhile the lame horse recovered so fast, that the party to
Box Hill was again under happy consideration; and at last Donwell was
settled for one day, and Box Hill for the next,__the weather appearing
Under a bright mid_day sun, at almost Midsummer, Mr. Woodhouse was
safely conveyed in his carriage, with one window down, to partake of
this al_fresco party; and in one of the most comfortable rooms in the
Abbey, especially prepared for him by a fire all the morning, he was
happily placed, quite at his ease, ready to talk with pleasure of what
had been achieved, and advise every body to come and sit down, and not
to heat themselves.__ Mrs. Weston, who seemed to have walked there on
purpose to be tired, and sit all the time with him, remained, when all
the others were invited or persuaded out, his patient listener and
It was so long since Emma had been at the Abbey, that as soon as she
was satisfied of her father's comfort, she was glad to leave him, and
look around her; eager to refresh and correct her memory with more
particular observation, more exact understanding of a house and grounds
which must ever be so interesting to her and all her family.
She felt all the honest pride and complacency which her alliance with
the present and future proprietor could fairly warrant, as she viewed
the respectable size and style of the building, its suitable, becoming,
characteristic situation, low and sheltered__its ample gardens
stretching down to meadows washed by a stream, of which the Abbey, with
all the old neglect of prospect, had scarcely a sight__and its
abundance of timber in rows and avenues, which neither fashion nor
extravagance had rooted up.__The house was larger than Hartfield, and
totally unlike it, covering a good deal of ground, rambling and
irregular, with many comfortable, and one or two handsome rooms.__It
was just what it ought to be, and it looked what it was__and Emma felt
an increasing respect for it, as the residence of a family of such true
gentility, untainted in blood and understanding.__Some faults of temper
John Knightley had; but Isabella had connected herself unexceptionably.
She had given them neither men, nor names, nor places, that could raise
a blush. These were pleasant feelings, and she walked about and
indulged them till it was necessary to do as the others did, and
collect round the strawberry_beds.__The whole party were assembled,
excepting Frank Churchill, who was expected every moment from Richmond;
and Mrs. Elton, in all her apparatus of happiness, her large bonnet and
her basket, was very ready to lead the way in gathering, accepting, or
talking__strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or
spoken of.__"The best fruit in England__every body's favourite__always
wholesome.__These the finest beds and finest sorts.__Delightful to
gather for one's self__the only way of really enjoying them.__Morning
decidedly the best time__never tired__every sort good__hautboy
infinitely superior__no comparison__the others hardly
eatable__hautboys very scarce__Chili preferred__white wood finest
flavour of all__price of strawberries in London__abundance about
Bristol__Maple Grove__cultivation__beds when to be renewed__gardeners
thinking exactly different__no general rule__gardeners never to be put
out of their way__delicious fruit__only too rich to be eaten much
of__inferior to cherries__currants more refreshing__only objection to
gathering strawberries the stooping__glaring sun__tired to death__could
bear it no longer__must go and sit in the shade."
Such, for half an hour, was the conversation__interrupted only once by
Mrs. Weston, who came out, in her solicitude after her son_in_law, to
inquire if he were come__and she was a little uneasy.__ She had some
fears of his horse.
Seats tolerably in the shade were found; and now Emma was obliged to
overhear what Mrs. Elton and Jane Fairfax were talking of.__ A
situation, a most desirable situation, was in question. Mrs. Elton had
received notice of it that morning, and was in raptures. It was not
with Mrs. Suckling, it was not with Mrs. Bragge, but in felicity and
splendour it fell short only of them: it was with a cousin of Mrs.
Bragge, an acquaintance of Mrs. Suckling, a lady known at Maple Grove.
Delightful, charming, superior, first circles, spheres, lines, ranks,
every thing__and Mrs. Elton was wild to have the offer closed with
immediately.__On her side, all was warmth, energy, and triumph__and she
positively refused to take her friend's negative, though Miss Fairfax
continued to assure her that she would not at present engage in any
thing, repeating the same motives which she had been heard to urge
before.__ Still Mrs. Elton insisted on being authorised to write an
acquiescence by the morrow's post.__How Jane could bear it at all, was
astonishing to Emma.__She did look vexed, she did speak pointedly__and
at last, with a decision of action unusual to her, proposed a
removal.__ "Should not they walk? Would not Mr. Knightley shew them
the gardens__all the gardens?__She wished to see the whole
extent."__The pertinacity of her friend seemed more than she could bear.
It was hot; and after walking some time over the gardens in a
scattered, dispersed way, scarcely any three together, they insensibly
followed one another to the delicious shade of a broad short avenue of
limes, which stretching beyond the garden at an equal distance from the
river, seemed the finish of the pleasure grounds.__ It led to nothing;
nothing but a view at the end over a low stone wall with high pillars,
which seemed intended, in their erection, to give the appearance of an
approach to the house, which never had been there. Disputable,
however, as might be the taste of such a termination, it was in itself
a charming walk, and the view which closed it extremely pretty.__The
considerable slope, at nearly the foot of which the Abbey stood,
gradually acquired a steeper form beyond its grounds; and at half a
mile distant was a bank of considerable abruptness and grandeur, well
clothed with wood;__and at the bottom of this bank, favourably placed
and sheltered, rose the Abbey Mill Farm, with meadows in front, and the
river making a close and handsome curve around it.
It was a sweet view__sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure,
English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without
In this walk Emma and Mr. Weston found all the others assembled; and
towards this view she immediately perceived Mr. Knightley and Harriet
distinct from the rest, quietly leading the way. Mr. Knightley and
Harriet!__It was an odd tete_a_tete; but she was glad to see it.__There
had been a time when he would have scorned her as a companion, and
turned from her with little ceremony. Now they seemed in pleasant
conversation. There had been a time also when Emma would have been
sorry to see Harriet in a spot so favourable for the Abbey Mill Farm;
but now she feared it not. It might be safely viewed with all its
appendages of prosperity and beauty, its rich pastures, spreading
flocks, orchard in blossom, and light column of smoke ascending.__She
joined them at the wall, and found them more engaged in talking than in
looking around. He was giving Harriet information as to modes of
agriculture, etc. and Emma received a smile which seemed to say,
"These are my own concerns. I have a right to talk on such subjects,
without being suspected of introducing Robert Martin."__She did not
suspect him. It was too old a story.__Robert Martin had probably
ceased to think of Harriet.__They took a few turns together along the
walk.__The shade was most refreshing, and Emma found it the pleasantest
part of the day.
The next remove was to the house; they must all go in and eat;__and
they were all seated and busy, and still Frank Churchill did not come.
Mrs. Weston looked, and looked in vain. His father would not own
himself uneasy, and laughed at her fears; but she could not be cured of
wishing that he would part with his black mare. He had expressed
himself as to coming, with more than common certainty. "His aunt was
so much better, that he had not a doubt of getting over to them."__Mrs.
Churchill's state, however, as many were ready to remind her, was
liable to such sudden variation as might disappoint her nephew in the
most reasonable dependence__and Mrs. Weston was at last persuaded to
believe, or to say, that it must be by some attack of Mrs. Churchill
that he was prevented coming.__ Emma looked at Harriet while the point
was under consideration; she behaved very well, and betrayed no emotion.
The cold repast was over, and the party were to go out once more to see
what had not yet been seen, the old Abbey fish_ponds; perhaps get as
far as the clover, which was to be begun cutting on the morrow, or, at
any rate, have the pleasure of being hot, and growing cool again.__Mr.
Woodhouse, who had already taken his little round in the highest part
of the gardens, where no damps from the river were imagined even by
him, stirred no more; and his daughter resolved to remain with him,
that Mrs. Weston might be persuaded away by her husband to the exercise
and variety which her spirits seemed to need.
Mr. Knightley had done all in his power for Mr. Woodhouse's
entertainment. Books of engravings, drawers of medals, cameos, corals,
shells, and every other family collection within his cabinets, had been
prepared for his old friend, to while away the morning; and the
kindness had perfectly answered. Mr. Woodhouse had been exceedingly
well amused. Mrs. Weston had been shewing them all to him, and now he
would shew them all to Emma;__fortunate in having no other resemblance
to a child, than in a total want of taste for what he saw, for he was
slow, constant, and methodical.__Before this second looking over was
begun, however, Emma walked into the hall for the sake of a few
moments' free observation of the entrance and ground_plot of the
house__and was hardly there, when Jane Fairfax appeared, coming quickly
in from the garden, and with a look of escape.__ Little expecting to
meet Miss Woodhouse so soon, there was a start at first; but Miss
Woodhouse was the very person she was in quest of.
"Will you be so kind," said she, "when I am missed, as to say that I am
gone home?__I am going this moment.__My aunt is not aware how late it
is, nor how long we have been absent__but I am sure we shall be wanted,
and I am determined to go directly.__I have said nothing about it to
any body. It would only be giving trouble and distress. Some are gone
to the ponds, and some to the lime walk. Till they all come in I shall
not be missed; and when they do, will you have the goodness to say that
I am gone?"
"Certainly, if you wish it;__but you are not going to walk to Highbury
"Yes__what should hurt me?__I walk fast. I shall be at home in twenty
"But it is too far, indeed it is, to be walking quite alone. Let my
father's servant go with you.__Let me order the carriage. It can be
round in five minutes."
"Thank you, thank you__but on no account.__I would rather walk.__ And
for -me- to be afraid of walking alone!__I, who may so soon have to
She spoke with great agitation; and Emma very feelingly replied, "That
can be no reason for your being exposed to danger now. I must order
the carriage. The heat even would be danger.__You are fatigued
"I am,"__she answered__"I am fatigued; but it is not the sort of
fatigue__quick walking will refresh me.__Miss Woodhouse, we all know at
times what it is to be wearied in spirits. Mine, I confess, are
exhausted. The greatest kindness you can shew me, will be to let me
have my own way, and only say that I am gone when it is necessary."
Emma had not another word to oppose. She saw it all; and entering into
her feelings, promoted her quitting the house immediately, and watched
her safely off with the zeal of a friend. Her parting look was
grateful__and her parting words, "Oh! Miss Woodhouse, the comfort of
being sometimes alone!"__seemed to burst from an overcharged heart, and
to describe somewhat of the continual endurance to be practised by her,
even towards some of those who loved her best.
"Such a home, indeed! such an aunt!" said Emma, as she turned back into
the hall again. "I do pity you. And the more sensibility you betray
of their just horrors, the more I shall like you."
Jane had not been gone a quarter of an hour, and they had only
accomplished some views of St. Mark's Place, Venice, when Frank
Churchill entered the room. Emma had not been thinking of him, she had
forgotten to think of him__but she was very glad to see him. Mrs.
Weston would be at ease. The black mare was blameless; -they- were
right who had named Mrs. Churchill as the cause. He had been detained
by a temporary increase of illness in her; a nervous seizure, which had
lasted some hours__and he had quite given up every thought of coming,
till very late;__and had he known how hot a ride he should have, and
how late, with all his hurry, he must be, he believed he should not
have come at all. The heat was excessive; he had never suffered any
thing like it__almost wished he had staid at home__nothing killed him
like heat__he could bear any degree of cold, etc., but heat was
intolerable__and he sat down, at the greatest possible distance from
the slight remains of Mr. Woodhouse's fire, looking very deplorable.
"You will soon be cooler, if you sit still," said Emma.
"As soon as I am cooler I shall go back again. I could very ill be
spared__but such a point had been made of my coming! You will all be
going soon I suppose; the whole party breaking up. I met -one- as I
came__Madness in such weather!__absolute madness!"
Emma listened, and looked, and soon perceived that Frank Churchill's
state might be best defined by the expressive phrase of being out of
humour. Some people were always cross when they were hot. Such might
be his constitution; and as she knew that eating and drinking were
often the cure of such incidental complaints, she recommended his
taking some refreshment; he would find abundance of every thing in the
dining_room__and she humanely pointed out the door.
"No__he should not eat. He was not hungry; it would only make him
hotter." In two minutes, however, he relented in his own favour; and
muttering something about spruce_beer, walked off. Emma returned all
her attention to her father, saying in secret__
"I am glad I have done being in love with him. I should not like a man
who is so soon discomposed by a hot morning. Harriet's sweet easy
temper will not mind it."
He was gone long enough to have had a very comfortable meal, and came
back all the better__grown quite cool__and, with good manners, like
himself__able to draw a chair close to them, take an interest in their
employment; and regret, in a reasonable way, that he should be so late.
He was not in his best spirits, but seemed trying to improve them; and,
at last, made himself talk nonsense very agreeably. They were looking
over views in Swisserland.
"As soon as my aunt gets well, I shall go abroad," said he. "I shall
never be easy till I have seen some of these places. You will have my
sketches, some time or other, to look at__or my tour to read__or my
poem. I shall do something to expose myself."
"That may be__but not by sketches in Swisserland. You will never go to
Swisserland. Your uncle and aunt will never allow you to leave
"They may be induced to go too. A warm climate may be prescribed for
her. I have more than half an expectation of our all going abroad. I
assure you I have. I feel a strong persuasion, this morning, that I
shall soon be abroad. I ought to travel. I am tired of doing nothing.
I want a change. I am serious, Miss Woodhouse, whatever your
penetrating eyes may fancy__I am sick of England__ and would leave it
to_morrow, if I could."
"You are sick of prosperity and indulgence. Cannot you invent a few
hardships for yourself, and be contented to stay?"
"-I- sick of prosperity and indulgence! You are quite mistaken. I do
not look upon myself as either prosperous or indulged. I am thwarted
in every thing material. I do not consider myself at all a fortunate
"You are not quite so miserable, though, as when you first came. Go
and eat and drink a little more, and you will do very well. Another
slice of cold meat, another draught of Madeira and water, will make you
nearly on a par with the rest of us."
"No__I shall not stir. I shall sit by you. You are my best cure."
"We are going to Box Hill to_morrow;__you will join us. It is not
Swisserland, but it will be something for a young man so much in want
of a change. You will stay, and go with us?"
"No, certainly not; I shall go home in the cool of the evening."
"But you may come again in the cool of to_morrow morning."
"No__It will not be worth while. If I come, I shall be cross."
"Then pray stay at Richmond."
"But if I do, I shall be crosser still. I can never bear to think of
you all there without me."
"These are difficulties which you must settle for yourself. Chuse your
own degree of crossness. I shall press you no more."
The rest of the party were now returning, and all were soon collected.
With some there was great joy at the sight of Frank Churchill; others
took it very composedly; but there was a very general distress and
disturbance on Miss Fairfax's disappearance being explained. That it
was time for every body to go, concluded the subject; and with a short
final arrangement for the next day's scheme, they parted. Frank
Churchill's little inclination to exclude himself increased so much,
that his last words to Emma were,
"Well;__if -you- wish me to stay and join the party, I will."
She smiled her acceptance; and nothing less than a summons from
Richmond was to take him back before the following evening.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 07
They had a very fine day for Box Hill; and all the other outward
circumstances of arrangement, accommodation, and punctuality, were in
favour of a pleasant party. Mr. Weston directed the whole, officiating
safely between Hartfield and the Vicarage, and every body was in good
time. Emma and Harriet went together; Miss Bates and her niece, with
the Eltons; the gentlemen on horseback. Mrs. Weston remained with Mr.
Woodhouse. Nothing was wanting but to be happy when they got there.
Seven miles were travelled in expectation of enjoyment, and every body
had a burst of admiration on first arriving; but in the general amount
of the day there was deficiency. There was a languor, a want of
spirits, a want of union, which could not be got over. They separated
too much into parties. The Eltons walked together; Mr. Knightley took
charge of Miss Bates and Jane; and Emma and Harriet belonged to Frank
Churchill. And Mr. Weston tried, in vain, to make them harmonise
better. It seemed at first an accidental division, but it never
materially varied. Mr. and Mrs. Elton, indeed, shewed no unwillingness
to mix, and be as agreeable as they could; but during the two whole
hours that were spent on the hill, there seemed a principle of
separation, between the other parties, too strong for any fine
prospects, or any cold collation, or any cheerful Mr. Weston, to remove.
At first it was downright dulness to Emma. She had never seen Frank
Churchill so silent and stupid. He said nothing worth hearing__looked
without seeing__admired without intelligence__listened without knowing
what she said. While he was so dull, it was no wonder that Harriet
should be dull likewise; and they were both insufferable.
When they all sat down it was better; to her taste a great deal better,
for Frank Churchill grew talkative and gay, making her his first
object. Every distinguishing attention that could be paid, was paid to
her. To amuse her, and be agreeable in her eyes, seemed all that he
cared for__and Emma, glad to be enlivened, not sorry to be flattered,
was gay and easy too, and gave him all the friendly encouragement, the
admission to be gallant, which she had ever given in the first and most
animating period of their acquaintance; but which now, in her own
estimation, meant nothing, though in the judgment of most people
looking on it must have had such an appearance as no English word but
flirtation could very well describe. "Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss
Woodhouse flirted together excessively." They were laying themselves
open to that very phrase__and to having it sent off in a letter to
Maple Grove by one lady, to Ireland by another. Not that Emma was gay
and thoughtless from any real felicity; it was rather because she felt
less happy than she had expected. She laughed because she was
disappointed; and though she liked him for his attentions, and thought
them all, whether in friendship, admiration, or playfulness, extremely
judicious, they were not winning back her heart. She still intended
him for her friend.
"How much I am obliged to you," said he, "for telling me to come
to_day!__ If it had not been for you, I should certainly have lost all
the happiness of this party. I had quite determined to go away again."
"Yes, you were very cross; and I do not know what about, except that
you were too late for the best strawberries. I was a kinder friend
than you deserved. But you were humble. You begged hard to be
commanded to come."
"Don't say I was cross. I was fatigued. The heat overcame me."
"It is hotter to_day."
"Not to my feelings. I am perfectly comfortable to_day."
"You are comfortable because you are under command."
"Perhaps I intended you to say so, but I meant self_command. You had,
somehow or other, broken bounds yesterday, and run away from your own
management; but to_day you are got back again__and as I cannot be
always with you, it is best to believe your temper under your own
command rather than mine."
"It comes to the same thing. I can have no self_command without a
motive. You order me, whether you speak or not. And you can be always
with me. You are always with me."
"Dating from three o'clock yesterday. My perpetual influence could not
begin earlier, or you would not have been so much out of humour before."
"Three o'clock yesterday! That is your date. I thought I had seen you
first in February."
"Your gallantry is really unanswerable. But (lowering her voice)__
nobody speaks except ourselves, and it is rather too much to be talking
nonsense for the entertainment of seven silent people."
"I say nothing of which I am ashamed," replied he, with lively
impudence. "I saw you first in February. Let every body on the Hill
hear me if they can. Let my accents swell to Mickleham on one side,
and Dorking on the other. I saw you first in February." And then
whispering__ "Our companions are excessively stupid. What shall we do
to rouse them? Any nonsense will serve. They -shall- talk. Ladies
and gentlemen, I am ordered by Miss Woodhouse (who, wherever she is,
presides) to say, that she desires to know what you are all thinking
Some laughed, and answered good_humouredly. Miss Bates said a great
deal; Mrs. Elton swelled at the idea of Miss Woodhouse's presiding; Mr.
Knightley's answer was the most distinct.
"Is Miss Woodhouse sure that she would like to hear what we are all
"Oh! no, no"__cried Emma, laughing as carelessly as she could__ "Upon
no account in the world. It is the very last thing I would stand the
brunt of just now. Let me hear any thing rather than what you are all
thinking of. I will not say quite all. There are one or two, perhaps,
(glancing at Mr. Weston and Harriet,) whose thoughts I might not be
afraid of knowing."
"It is a sort of thing," cried Mrs. Elton emphatically, "which -I-
should not have thought myself privileged to inquire into. Though,
perhaps, as the -Chaperon- of the party__ -I- never was in any
circle__exploring parties__young ladies__married women__"
Her mutterings were chiefly to her husband; and he murmured, in reply,
"Very true, my love, very true. Exactly so, indeed__quite unheard of__
but some ladies say any thing. Better pass it off as a joke. Every
body knows what is due to -you-."
"It will not do," whispered Frank to Emma; "they are most of them
affronted. I will attack them with more address. Ladies and
gentlemen__I am ordered by Miss Woodhouse to say, that she waives her
right of knowing exactly what you may all be thinking of, and only
requires something very entertaining from each of you, in a general
way. Here are seven of you, besides myself, (who, she is pleased to
say, am very entertaining already,) and she only demands from each of
you either one thing very clever, be it prose or verse, original or
repeated__or two things moderately clever__or three things very dull
indeed, and she engages to laugh heartily at them all."
"Oh! very well," exclaimed Miss Bates, "then I need not be uneasy.
'Three things very dull indeed.' That will just do for me, you know.
I shall be sure to say three dull things as soon as ever I open my
mouth, shan't I? (looking round with the most good_humoured dependence
on every body's assent)__Do not you all think I shall?"
Emma could not resist.
"Ah! ma'am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me__but you will be
limited as to number__only three at once."
Miss Bates, deceived by the mock ceremony of her manner, did not
immediately catch her meaning; but, when it burst on her, it could not
anger, though a slight blush shewed that it could pain her.
"Ah!__well__to be sure. Yes, I see what she means, (turning to Mr.
Knightley,) and I will try to hold my tongue. I must make myself very
disagreeable, or she would not have said such a thing to an old friend."
"I like your plan," cried Mr. Weston. "Agreed, agreed. I will do my
best. I am making a conundrum. How will a conundrum reckon?"
"Low, I am afraid, sir, very low," answered his son;__"but we shall be
indulgent__especially to any one who leads the way."
"No, no," said Emma, "it will not reckon low. A conundrum of Mr.
Weston's shall clear him and his next neighbour. Come, sir, pray let
me hear it."
"I doubt its being very clever myself," said Mr. Weston. "It is too
much a matter of fact, but here it is.__What two letters of the
alphabet are there, that express perfection?"
"What two letters!__express perfection! I am sure I do not know."
"Ah! you will never guess. You, (to Emma), I am certain, will never
guess.__I will tell you.__M. and A.__Em_ma.__Do you understand?"
Understanding and gratification came together. It might be a very
indifferent piece of wit, but Emma found a great deal to laugh at and
enjoy in it__and so did Frank and Harriet.__It did not seem to touch
the rest of the party equally; some looked very stupid about it, and
Mr. Knightley gravely said,
"This explains the sort of clever thing that is wanted, and Mr. Weston
has done very well for himself; but he must have knocked up every body
else. -Perfection- should not have come quite so soon."
"Oh! for myself, I protest I must be excused," said Mrs. Elton; "-I-
really cannot attempt__I am not at all fond of the sort of thing. I
had an acrostic once sent to me upon my own name, which I was not at
all pleased with. I knew who it came from. An abominable puppy!__ You
know who I mean (nodding to her husband). These kind of things are very
well at Christmas, when one is sitting round the fire; but quite out of
place, in my opinion, when one is exploring about the country in
summer. Miss Woodhouse must excuse me. I am not one of those who have
witty things at every body's service. I do not pretend to be a wit. I
have a great deal of vivacity in my own way, but I really must be
allowed to judge when to speak and when to hold my tongue. Pass us, if
you please, Mr. Churchill. Pass Mr. E., Knightley, Jane, and myself.
We have nothing clever to say__not one of us.
"Yes, yes, pray pass -me-," added her husband, with a sort of sneering
consciousness; "-I- have nothing to say that can entertain Miss
Woodhouse, or any other young lady. An old married man__quite good
for nothing. Shall we walk, Augusta?"
"With all my heart. I am really tired of exploring so long on one
spot. Come, Jane, take my other arm."
Jane declined it, however, and the husband and wife walked off. "Happy
couple!" said Frank Churchill, as soon as they were out of
hearing:__"How well they suit one another!__Very lucky__marrying as
they did, upon an acquaintance formed only in a public place!__They
only knew each other, I think, a few weeks in Bath! Peculiarly
lucky!__for as to any real knowledge of a person's disposition that
Bath, or any public place, can give__it is all nothing; there can be no
knowledge. It is only by seeing women in their own homes, among their
own set, just as they always are, that you can form any just judgment.
Short of that, it is all guess and luck__and will generally be
ill_luck. How many a man has committed himself on a short acquaintance,
and rued it all the rest of his life!"
Miss Fairfax, who had seldom spoken before, except among her own
confederates, spoke now.
"Such things do occur, undoubtedly."__She was stopped by a cough.
Frank Churchill turned towards her to listen.
"You were speaking," said he, gravely. She recovered her voice.
"I was only going to observe, that though such unfortunate
circumstances do sometimes occur both to men and women, I cannot
imagine them to be very frequent. A hasty and imprudent attachment may
arise__but there is generally time to recover from it afterwards. I
would be understood to mean, that it can be only weak, irresolute
characters, (whose happiness must be always at the mercy of chance,)
who will suffer an unfortunate acquaintance to be an inconvenience, an
oppression for ever."
He made no answer; merely looked, and bowed in submission; and soon
afterwards said, in a lively tone,
"Well, I have so little confidence in my own judgment, that whenever I
marry, I hope some body will chuse my wife for me. Will you? (turning
to Emma.) Will you chuse a wife for me?__I am sure I should like any
body fixed on by you. You provide for the family, you know, (with a
smile at his father). Find some body for me. I am in no hurry. Adopt
her, educate her."
"And make her like myself."
"By all means, if you can."
"Very well. I undertake the commission. You shall have a charming
"She must be very lively, and have hazle eyes. I care for nothing
else. I shall go abroad for a couple of years__and when I return, I
shall come to you for my wife. Remember."
Emma was in no danger of forgetting. It was a commission to touch
every favourite feeling. Would not Harriet be the very creature
described? Hazle eyes excepted, two years more might make her all that
he wished. He might even have Harriet in his thoughts at the moment;
who could say? Referring the education to her seemed to imply it.
"Now, ma'am," said Jane to her aunt, "shall we join Mrs. Elton?"
"If you please, my dear. With all my heart. I am quite ready. I was
ready to have gone with her, but this will do just as well. We shall
soon overtake her. There she is__no, that's somebody else. That's one
of the ladies in the Irish car party, not at all like her.__ Well, I
They walked off, followed in half a minute by Mr. Knightley. Mr.
Weston, his son, Emma, and Harriet, only remained; and the young man's
spirits now rose to a pitch almost unpleasant. Even Emma grew tired at
last of flattery and merriment, and wished herself rather walking
quietly about with any of the others, or sitting almost alone, and
quite unattended to, in tranquil observation of the beautiful views
beneath her. The appearance of the servants looking out for them to
give notice of the carriages was a joyful sight; and even the bustle of
collecting and preparing to depart, and the solicitude of Mrs. Elton to
have -her- carriage first, were gladly endured, in the prospect of the
quiet drive home which was to close the very questionable enjoyments of
this day of pleasure. Such another scheme, composed of so many
ill_assorted people, she hoped never to be betrayed into again.
While waiting for the carriage, she found Mr. Knightley by her side.
He looked around, as if to see that no one were near, and then said,
"Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a
privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use
it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How could
you be so unfeeling to Miss Bates? How could you be so insolent in
your wit to a woman of her character, age, and situation?__ Emma, I had
not thought it possible."
Emma recollected, blushed, was sorry, but tried to laugh it off.
"Nay, how could I help saying what I did?__Nobody could have helped it.
It was not so very bad. I dare say she did not understand me."
"I assure you she did. She felt your full meaning. She has talked of
it since. I wish you could have heard how she talked of it__with what
candour and generosity. I wish you could have heard her honouring your
forbearance, in being able to pay her such attentions, as she was for
ever receiving from yourself and your father, when her society must be
"Oh!" cried Emma, "I know there is not a better creature in the world:
but you must allow, that what is good and what is ridiculous are most
unfortunately blended in her."
"They are blended," said he, "I acknowledge; and, were she prosperous,
I could allow much for the occasional prevalence of the ridiculous over
the good. Were she a woman of fortune, I would leave every harmless
absurdity to take its chance, I would not quarrel with you for any
liberties of manner. Were she your equal in situation__but, Emma,
consider how far this is from being the case. She is poor; she has
sunk from the comforts she was born to; and, if she live to old age,
must probably sink more. Her situation should secure your compassion.
It was badly done, indeed! You, whom she had known from an infant,
whom she had seen grow up from a period when her notice was an honour,
to have you now, in thoughtless spirits, and the pride of the moment,
laugh at her, humble her__and before her niece, too__and before others,
many of whom (certainly -some-,) would be entirely guided by -your-
treatment of her.__This is not pleasant to you, Emma__and it is very
far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,__I will tell you truths
while I can; satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful
counsel, and trusting that you will some time or other do me greater
justice than you can do now."
While they talked, they were advancing towards the carriage; it was
ready; and, before she could speak again, he had handed her in. He had
misinterpreted the feelings which had kept her face averted, and her
tongue motionless. They were combined only of anger against herself,
mortification, and deep concern. She had not been able to speak; and,
on entering the carriage, sunk back for a moment overcome__then
reproaching herself for having taken no leave, making no
acknowledgment, parting in apparent sullenness, she looked out with
voice and hand eager to shew a difference; but it was just too late.
He had turned away, and the horses were in motion. She continued to
look back, but in vain; and soon, with what appeared unusual speed,
they were half way down the hill, and every thing left far behind. She
was vexed beyond what could have been expressed__almost beyond what she
could conceal. Never had she felt so agitated, mortified, grieved, at
any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth
of this representation there was no denying. She felt it at her heart.
How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates! How could
she have exposed herself to such ill opinion in any one she valued!
And how suffer him to leave her without saying one word of gratitude,
of concurrence, of common kindness!
Time did not compose her. As she reflected more, she seemed but to
feel it more. She never had been so depressed. Happily it was not
necessary to speak. There was only Harriet, who seemed not in spirits
herself, fagged, and very willing to be silent; and Emma felt the tears
running down her cheeks almost all the way home, without being at any
trouble to check them, extraordinary as they were.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 08
The wretchedness of a scheme to Box Hill was in Emma's thoughts all the
evening. How it might be considered by the rest of the party, she
could not tell. They, in their different homes, and their different
ways, might be looking back on it with pleasure; but in her view it was
a morning more completely misspent, more totally bare of rational
satisfaction at the time, and more to be abhorred in recollection, than
any she had ever passed. A whole evening of back_gammon with her
father, was felicity to it. -There-, indeed, lay real pleasure, for
there she was giving up the sweetest hours of the twenty_four to his
comfort; and feeling that, unmerited as might be the degree of his fond
affection and confiding esteem, she could not, in her general conduct,
be open to any severe reproach. As a daughter, she hoped she was not
without a heart. She hoped no one could have said to her, "How could
you be so unfeeling to your father?__ I must, I will tell you truths
while I can." Miss Bates should never again__no, never! If attention,
in future, could do away the past, she might hope to be forgiven. She
had been often remiss, her conscience told her so; remiss, perhaps,
more in thought than fact; scornful, ungracious. But it should be so
no more. In the warmth of true contrition, she would call upon her the
very next morning, and it should be the beginning, on her side, of a
regular, equal, kindly intercourse.
She was just as determined when the morrow came, and went early, that
nothing might prevent her. It was not unlikely, she thought, that she
might see Mr. Knightley in her way; or, perhaps, he might come in while
she were paying her visit. She had no objection. She would not be
ashamed of the appearance of the penitence, so justly and truly hers.
Her eyes were towards Donwell as she walked, but she saw him not.
"The ladies were all at home." She had never rejoiced at the sound
before, nor ever before entered the passage, nor walked up the stairs,
with any wish of giving pleasure, but in conferring obligation, or of
deriving it, except in subsequent ridicule.
There was a bustle on her approach; a good deal of moving and talking.
She heard Miss Bates's voice, something was to be done in a hurry; the
maid looked frightened and awkward; hoped she would be pleased to wait
a moment, and then ushered her in too soon. The aunt and niece seemed
both escaping into the adjoining room. Jane she had a distinct glimpse
of, looking extremely ill; and, before the door had shut them out, she
heard Miss Bates saying, "Well, my dear, I shall -say- you are laid
down upon the bed, and I am sure you are ill enough."
Poor old Mrs. Bates, civil and humble as usual, looked as if she did
not quite understand what was going on.
"I am afraid Jane is not very well," said she, "but I do not know; they
-tell- me she is well. I dare say my daughter will be here presently,
Miss Woodhouse. I hope you find a chair. I wish Hetty had not gone.
I am very little able__Have you a chair, ma'am? Do you sit where you
like? I am sure she will be here presently."
Emma seriously hoped she would. She had a moment's fear of Miss Bates
keeping away from her. But Miss Bates soon came__"Very happy and
obliged"__but Emma's conscience told her that there was not the same
cheerful volubility as before__less ease of look and manner. A very
friendly inquiry after Miss Fairfax, she hoped, might lead the way to a
return of old feelings. The touch seemed immediate.
"Ah! Miss Woodhouse, how kind you are!__I suppose you have heard__and
are come to give us joy. This does not seem much like joy, indeed, in
me__(twinkling away a tear or two)__but it will be very trying for us
to part with her, after having had her so long, and she has a dreadful
headache just now, writing all the morning:__such long letters, you
know, to be written to Colonel Campbell, and Mrs. Dixon. 'My dear,'
said I, 'you will blind yourself'__for tears were in her eyes
perpetually. One cannot wonder, one cannot wonder. It is a great
change; and though she is amazingly fortunate__such a situation, I
suppose, as no young woman before ever met with on first going out__do
not think us ungrateful, Miss Woodhouse, for such surprising good
fortune__(again dispersing her tears)__but, poor dear soul! if you were
to see what a headache she has. When one is in great pain, you know
one cannot feel any blessing quite as it may deserve. She is as low as
possible. To look at her, nobody would think how delighted and happy
she is to have secured such a situation. You will excuse her not
coming to you__she is not able__she is gone into her own room__I want
her to lie down upon the bed. 'My dear,' said I, 'I shall say you are
laid down upon the bed:' but, however, she is not; she is walking
about the room. But, now that she has written her letters, she says
she shall soon be well. She will be extremely sorry to miss seeing
you, Miss Woodhouse, but your kindness will excuse her. You were kept
waiting at the door__I was quite ashamed__but somehow there was a
little bustle__for it so happened that we had not heard the knock, and
till you were on the stairs, we did not know any body was coming. 'It
is only Mrs. Cole,' said I, 'depend upon it. Nobody else would come so
early.' 'Well,' said she, 'it must be borne some time or other, and it
may as well be now.' But then Patty came in, and said it was you.
'Oh!' said I, 'it is Miss Woodhouse: I am sure you will like to see
her.'__ 'I can see nobody,' said she; and up she got, and would go
away; and that was what made us keep you waiting__and extremely sorry
and ashamed we were. 'If you must go, my dear,' said I, 'you must, and
I will say you are laid down upon the bed.'"
Emma was most sincerely interested. Her heart had been long growing
kinder towards Jane; and this picture of her present sufferings acted
as a cure of every former ungenerous suspicion, and left her nothing
but pity; and the remembrance of the less just and less gentle
sensations of the past, obliged her to admit that Jane might very
naturally resolve on seeing Mrs. Cole or any other steady friend, when
she might not bear to see herself. She spoke as she felt, with earnest
regret and solicitude__sincerely wishing that the circumstances which
she collected from Miss Bates to be now actually determined on, might
be as much for Miss Fairfax's advantage and comfort as possible. "It
must be a severe trial to them all. She had understood it was to be
delayed till Colonel Campbell's return."
"So very kind!" replied Miss Bates. "But you are always kind."
There was no bearing such an "always;" and to break through her
dreadful gratitude, Emma made the direct inquiry of__
"Where__may I ask?__is Miss Fairfax going?"
"To a Mrs. Smallridge__charming woman__most superior__to have the
charge of her three little girls__delightful children. Impossible that
any situation could be more replete with comfort; if we except,
perhaps, Mrs. Suckling's own family, and Mrs. Bragge's; but Mrs.
Smallridge is intimate with both, and in the very same
neighbourhood:__lives only four miles from Maple Grove. Jane will be
only four miles from Maple Grove."
"Mrs. Elton, I suppose, has been the person to whom Miss Fairfax owes__"
"Yes, our good Mrs. Elton. The most indefatigable, true friend. She
would not take a denial. She would not let Jane say, 'No;' for when
Jane first heard of it, (it was the day before yesterday, the very
morning we were at Donwell,) when Jane first heard of it, she was quite
decided against accepting the offer, and for the reasons you mention;
exactly as you say, she had made up her mind to close with nothing till
Colonel Campbell's return, and nothing should induce her to enter into
any engagement at present__and so she told Mrs. Elton over and over
again__and I am sure I had no more idea that she would change her
mind!__but that good Mrs. Elton, whose judgment never fails her, saw
farther than I did. It is not every body that would have stood out in
such a kind way as she did, and refuse to take Jane's answer; but she
positively declared she would -not- write any such denial yesterday, as
Jane wished her; she would wait__and, sure enough, yesterday evening it
was all settled that Jane should go. Quite a surprize to me! I had
not the least idea!__Jane took Mrs. Elton aside, and told her at once,
that upon thinking over the advantages of Mrs. Smallridge's situation,
she had come to the resolution of accepting it.__I did not know a word
of it till it was all settled."
"You spent the evening with Mrs. Elton?"
"Yes, all of us; Mrs. Elton would have us come. It was settled so,
upon the hill, while we were walking about with Mr. Knightley. 'You
-must- -all- spend your evening with us,' said she__'I positively must
have you -all- come.'"
"Mr. Knightley was there too, was he?"
"No, not Mr. Knightley; he declined it from the first; and though I
thought he would come, because Mrs. Elton declared she would not let
him off, he did not;__but my mother, and Jane, and I, were all there,
and a very agreeable evening we had. Such kind friends, you know, Miss
Woodhouse, one must always find agreeable, though every body seemed
rather fagged after the morning's party. Even pleasure, you know, is
fatiguing__and I cannot say that any of them seemed very much to have
enjoyed it. However, -I- shall always think it a very pleasant party,
and feel extremely obliged to the kind friends who included me in it."
"Miss Fairfax, I suppose, though you were not aware of it, had been
making up her mind the whole day?"
"I dare say she had."
"Whenever the time may come, it must be unwelcome to her and all her
friends__but I hope her engagement will have every alleviation that is
possible__I mean, as to the character and manners of the family."
"Thank you, dear Miss Woodhouse. Yes, indeed, there is every thing in
the world that can make her happy in it. Except the Sucklings and
Bragges, there is not such another nursery establishment, so liberal
and elegant, in all Mrs. Elton's acquaintance. Mrs. Smallridge, a most
delightful woman!__A style of living almost equal to Maple Grove__and
as to the children, except the little Sucklings and little Bragges,
there are not such elegant sweet children anywhere. Jane will be
treated with such regard and kindness!__ It will be nothing but
pleasure, a life of pleasure.__And her salary!__ I really cannot
venture to name her salary to you, Miss Woodhouse. Even you, used as
you are to great sums, would hardly believe that so much could be given
to a young person like Jane."
"Ah! madam," cried Emma, "if other children are at all like what I
remember to have been myself, I should think five times the amount of
what I have ever yet heard named as a salary on such occasions, dearly
"You are so noble in your ideas!"
"And when is Miss Fairfax to leave you?"
"Very soon, very soon, indeed; that's the worst of it. Within a
fortnight. Mrs. Smallridge is in a great hurry. My poor mother does
not know how to bear it. So then, I try to put it out of her thoughts,
and say, Come ma'am, do not let us think about it any more."
"Her friends must all be sorry to lose her; and will not Colonel and
Mrs. Campbell be sorry to find that she has engaged herself before
"Yes; Jane says she is sure they will; but yet, this is such a
situation as she cannot feel herself justified in declining. I was so
astonished when she first told me what she had been saying to Mrs.
Elton, and when Mrs. Elton at the same moment came congratulating me
upon it! It was before tea__stay__no, it could not be before tea,
because we were just going to cards__and yet it was before tea, because
I remember thinking__Oh! no, now I recollect, now I have it; something
happened before tea, but not that. Mr. Elton was called out of the
room before tea, old John Abdy's son wanted to speak with him. Poor
old John, I have a great regard for him; he was clerk to my poor father
twenty_seven years; and now, poor old man, he is bed_ridden, and very
poorly with the rheumatic gout in his joints__ I must go and see him
to_day; and so will Jane, I am sure, if she gets out at all. And poor
John's son came to talk to Mr. Elton about relief from the parish; he
is very well to do himself, you know, being head man at the Crown,
ostler, and every thing of that sort, but still he cannot keep his
father without some help; and so, when Mr. Elton came back, he told us
what John ostler had been telling him, and then it came out about the
chaise having been sent to Randalls to take Mr. Frank Churchill to
Richmond. That was what happened before tea. It was after tea that
Jane spoke to Mrs. Elton."
Miss Bates would hardly give Emma time to say how perfectly new this
circumstance was to her; but as without supposing it possible that she
could be ignorant of any of the particulars of Mr. Frank Churchill's
going, she proceeded to give them all, it was of no consequence.
What Mr. Elton had learned from the ostler on the subject, being the
accumulation of the ostler's own knowledge, and the knowledge of the
servants at Randalls, was, that a messenger had come over from Richmond
soon after the return of the party from Box Hill__which messenger,
however, had been no more than was expected; and that Mr. Churchill had
sent his nephew a few lines, containing, upon the whole, a tolerable
account of Mrs. Churchill, and only wishing him not to delay coming
back beyond the next morning early; but that Mr. Frank Churchill having
resolved to go home directly, without waiting at all, and his horse
seeming to have got a cold, Tom had been sent off immediately for the
Crown chaise, and the ostler had stood out and seen it pass by, the boy
going a good pace, and driving very steady.
There was nothing in all this either to astonish or interest, and it
caught Emma's attention only as it united with the subject which
already engaged her mind. The contrast between Mrs. Churchill's
importance in the world, and Jane Fairfax's, struck her; one was every
thing, the other nothing__and she sat musing on the difference of
woman's destiny, and quite unconscious on what her eyes were fixed,
till roused by Miss Bates's saying,
"Aye, I see what you are thinking of, the pianoforte. What is to
become of that?__Very true. Poor dear Jane was talking of it just
now.__ 'You must go,' said she. 'You and I must part. You will have
no business here.__Let it stay, however,' said she; 'give it houseroom
till Colonel Campbell comes back. I shall talk about it to him; he
will settle for me; he will help me out of all my difficulties.'__ And
to this day, I do believe, she knows not whether it was his present or
Now Emma was obliged to think of the pianoforte; and the remembrance of
all her former fanciful and unfair conjectures was so little pleasing,
that she soon allowed herself to believe her visit had been long
enough; and, with a repetition of every thing that she could venture to
say of the good wishes which she really felt, took leave.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 09
Emma's pensive meditations, as she walked home, were not interrupted;
but on entering the parlour, she found those who must rouse her. Mr.
Knightley and Harriet had arrived during her absence, and were sitting
with her father.__Mr. Knightley immediately got up, and in a manner
decidedly graver than usual, said,
"I would not go away without seeing you, but I have no time to spare,
and therefore must now be gone directly. I am going to London, to
spend a few days with John and Isabella. Have you any thing to send or
say, besides the 'love,' which nobody carries?"
"Nothing at all. But is not this a sudden scheme?"
"Yes__rather__I have been thinking of it some little time."
Emma was sure he had not forgiven her; he looked unlike himself. Time,
however, she thought, would tell him that they ought to be friends
again. While he stood, as if meaning to go, but not going__her father
began his inquiries.
"Well, my dear, and did you get there safely?__And how did you find my
worthy old friend and her daughter?__I dare say they must have been
very much obliged to you for coming. Dear Emma has been to call on
Mrs. and Miss Bates, Mr. Knightley, as I told you before. She is
always so attentive to them!"
Emma's colour was heightened by this unjust praise; and with a smile,
and shake of the head, which spoke much, she looked at Mr. Knightley.__
It seemed as if there were an instantaneous impression in her favour,
as if his eyes received the truth from her's, and all that had passed
of good in her feelings were at once caught and honoured.__ He looked
at her with a glow of regard. She was warmly gratified__and in
another moment still more so, by a little movement of more than common
friendliness on his part.__He took her hand;__whether she had not
herself made the first motion, she could not say__she might, perhaps,
have rather offered it__but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly
was on the point of carrying it to his lips__when, from some fancy or
other, he suddenly let it go.__Why he should feel such a scruple, why
he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not
perceive.__He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not
stopped.__The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was
that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it
happened, but she thought nothing became him more.__ It was with him,
of so simple, yet so dignified a nature.__ She could not but recall the
attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity.__He left
them immediately afterwards__gone in a moment. He always moved with
the alertness of a mind which could neither be undecided nor dilatory,
but now he seemed more sudden than usual in his disappearance.
Emma could not regret her having gone to Miss Bates, but she wished she
had left her ten minutes earlier;__it would have been a great pleasure
to talk over Jane Fairfax's situation with Mr. Knightley.__ Neither
would she regret that he should be going to Brunswick Square, for she
knew how much his visit would be enjoyed__but it might have happened at
a better time__and to have had longer notice of it, would have been
pleasanter.__They parted thorough friends, however; she could not be
deceived as to the meaning of his countenance, and his unfinished
gallantry;__it was all done to assure her that she had fully recovered
his good opinion.__He had been sitting with them half an hour, she
found. It was a pity that she had not come back earlier!
In the hope of diverting her father's thoughts from the
disagreeableness of Mr. Knightley's going to London; and going so
suddenly; and going on horseback, which she knew would be all very bad;
Emma communicated her news of Jane Fairfax, and her dependence on the
effect was justified; it supplied a very useful check,__interested,
without disturbing him. He had long made up his mind to Jane Fairfax's
going out as governess, and could talk of it cheerfully, but Mr.
Knightley's going to London had been an unexpected blow.
"I am very glad, indeed, my dear, to hear she is to be so comfortably
settled. Mrs. Elton is very good_natured and agreeable, and I dare say
her acquaintance are just what they ought to be. I hope it is a dry
situation, and that her health will be taken good care of. It ought to
be a first object, as I am sure poor Miss Taylor's always was with me.
You know, my dear, she is going to be to this new lady what Miss Taylor
was to us. And I hope she will be better off in one respect, and not
be induced to go away after it has been her home so long."
The following day brought news from Richmond to throw every thing else
into the background. An express arrived at Randalls to announce the
death of Mrs. Churchill! Though her nephew had had no particular
reason to hasten back on her account, she had not lived above
six_and_thirty hours after his return. A sudden seizure of a different
nature from any thing foreboded by her general state, had carried her
off after a short struggle. The great Mrs. Churchill was no more.
It was felt as such things must be felt. Every body had a degree of
gravity and sorrow; tenderness towards the departed, solicitude for the
surviving friends; and, in a reasonable time, curiosity to know where
she would be buried. Goldsmith tells us, that when lovely woman stoops
to folly, she has nothing to do but to die; and when she stoops to be
disagreeable, it is equally to be recommended as a clearer of ill_fame.
Mrs. Churchill, after being disliked at least twenty_five years, was
now spoken of with compassionate allowances. In one point she was
fully justified. She had never been admitted before to be seriously
ill. The event acquitted her of all the fancifulness, and all the
selfishness of imaginary complaints.
"Poor Mrs. Churchill! no doubt she had been suffering a great deal:
more than any body had ever supposed__and continual pain would try the
temper. It was a sad event__a great shock__with all her faults, what
would Mr. Churchill do without her? Mr. Churchill's loss would be
dreadful indeed. Mr. Churchill would never get over it."__ Even Mr.
Weston shook his head, and looked solemn, and said, "Ah! poor woman,
who would have thought it!" and resolved, that his mourning should be
as handsome as possible; and his wife sat sighing and moralising over
her broad hems with a commiseration and good sense, true and steady.
How it would affect Frank was among the earliest thoughts of both. It
was also a very early speculation with Emma. The character of Mrs.
Churchill, the grief of her husband__her mind glanced over them both
with awe and compassion__and then rested with lightened feelings on how
Frank might be affected by the event, how benefited, how freed. She
saw in a moment all the possible good. Now, an attachment to Harriet
Smith would have nothing to encounter. Mr. Churchill, independent of
his wife, was feared by nobody; an easy, guidable man, to be persuaded
into any thing by his nephew. All that remained to be wished was, that
the nephew should form the attachment, as, with all her goodwill in the
cause, Emma could feel no certainty of its being already formed.
Harriet behaved extremely well on the occasion, with great
self_command. What ever she might feel of brighter hope, she betrayed
nothing. Emma was gratified, to observe such a proof in her of
strengthened character, and refrained from any allusion that might
endanger its maintenance. They spoke, therefore, of Mrs. Churchill's
death with mutual forbearance.
Short letters from Frank were received at Randalls, communicating all
that was immediately important of their state and plans. Mr. Churchill
was better than could be expected; and their first removal, on the
departure of the funeral for Yorkshire, was to be to the house of a
very old friend in Windsor, to whom Mr. Churchill had been promising a
visit the last ten years. At present, there was nothing to be done for
Harriet; good wishes for the future were all that could yet be possible
on Emma's side.
It was a more pressing concern to shew attention to Jane Fairfax, whose
prospects were closing, while Harriet's opened, and whose engagements
now allowed of no delay in any one at Highbury, who wished to shew her
kindness__and with Emma it was grown into a first wish. She had
scarcely a stronger regret than for her past coldness; and the person,
whom she had been so many months neglecting, was now the very one on
whom she would have lavished every distinction of regard or sympathy.
She wanted to be of use to her; wanted to shew a value for her society,
and testify respect and consideration. She resolved to prevail on her
to spend a day at Hartfield. A note was written to urge it. The
invitation was refused, and by a verbal message. "Miss Fairfax was not
well enough to write;" and when Mr. Perry called at Hartfield, the same
morning, it appeared that she was so much indisposed as to have been
visited, though against her own consent, by himself, and that she was
suffering under severe headaches, and a nervous fever to a degree,
which made him doubt the possibility of her going to Mrs. Smallridge's
at the time proposed. Her health seemed for the moment completely
deranged__appetite quite gone__and though there were no absolutely
alarming symptoms, nothing touching the pulmonary complaint, which was
the standing apprehension of the family, Mr. Perry was uneasy about
her. He thought she had undertaken more than she was equal to, and
that she felt it so herself, though she would not own it. Her spirits
seemed overcome. Her present home, he could not but observe, was
unfavourable to a nervous disorder:__confined always to one room;__he
could have wished it otherwise__and her good aunt, though his very old
friend, he must acknowledge to be not the best companion for an invalid
of that description. Her care and attention could not be questioned;
they were, in fact, only too great. He very much feared that Miss
Fairfax derived more evil than good from them. Emma listened with the
warmest concern; grieved for her more and more, and looked around eager
to discover some way of being useful. To take her__be it only an hour
or two__from her aunt, to give her change of air and scene, and quiet
rational conversation, even for an hour or two, might do her good; and
the following morning she wrote again to say, in the most feeling
language she could command, that she would call for her in the carriage
at any hour that Jane would name__mentioning that she had Mr. Perry's
decided opinion, in favour of such exercise for his patient. The
answer was only in this short note:
"Miss Fairfax's compliments and thanks, but is quite unequal to any
Emma felt that her own note had deserved something better; but it was
impossible to quarrel with words, whose tremulous inequality shewed
indisposition so plainly, and she thought only of how she might best
counteract this unwillingness to be seen or assisted. In spite of the
answer, therefore, she ordered the carriage, and drove to Mrs. Bates's,
in the hope that Jane would be induced to join her__but it would not
do;__Miss Bates came to the carriage door, all gratitude, and agreeing
with her most earnestly in thinking an airing might be of the greatest
service__and every thing that message could do was tried__but all in
vain. Miss Bates was obliged to return without success; Jane was quite
unpersuadable; the mere proposal of going out seemed to make her
worse.__Emma wished she could have seen her, and tried her own powers;
but, almost before she could hint the wish, Miss Bates made it appear
that she had promised her niece on no account to let Miss Woodhouse in.
"Indeed, the truth was, that poor dear Jane could not bear to see any
body__any body at all__ Mrs. Elton, indeed, could not be denied__and
Mrs. Cole had made such a point__and Mrs. Perry had said so much__but,
except them, Jane would really see nobody."
Emma did not want to be classed with the Mrs. Eltons, the Mrs. Perrys,
and the Mrs. Coles, who would force themselves anywhere; neither could
she feel any right of preference herself__she submitted, therefore,
and only questioned Miss Bates farther as to her niece's appetite and
diet, which she longed to be able to assist. On that subject poor Miss
Bates was very unhappy, and very communicative; Jane would hardly eat
any thing:__ Mr. Perry recommended nourishing food; but every thing
they could command (and never had any body such good neighbours) was
Emma, on reaching home, called the housekeeper directly, to an
examination of her stores; and some arrowroot of very superior quality
was speedily despatched to Miss Bates with a most friendly note. In
half an hour the arrowroot was returned, with a thousand thanks from
Miss Bates, but "dear Jane would not be satisfied without its being
sent back; it was a thing she could not take__and, moreover, she
insisted on her saying, that she was not at all in want of any thing."
When Emma afterwards heard that Jane Fairfax had been seen wandering
about the meadows, at some distance from Highbury, on the afternoon of
the very day on which she had, under the plea of being unequal to any
exercise, so peremptorily refused to go out with her in the carriage,
she could have no doubt__putting every thing together__that Jane was
resolved to receive no kindness from -her-. She was sorry, very sorry.
Her heart was grieved for a state which seemed but the more pitiable
from this sort of irritation of spirits, inconsistency of action, and
inequality of powers; and it mortified her that she was given so little
credit for proper feeling, or esteemed so little worthy as a friend:
but she had the consolation of knowing that her intentions were good,
and of being able to say to herself, that could Mr. Knightley have been
privy to all her attempts of assisting Jane Fairfax, could he even have
seen into her heart, he would not, on this occasion, have found any
thing to reprove.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 10
One morning, about ten days after Mrs. Churchill's decease, Emma was
called downstairs to Mr. Weston, who "could not stay five minutes, and
wanted particularly to speak with her."__ He met her at the
parlour_door, and hardly asking her how she did, in the natural key of
his voice, sunk it immediately, to say, unheard by her father,
"Can you come to Randalls at any time this morning?__Do, if it be
possible. Mrs. Weston wants to see you. She must see you."
"Is she unwell?"
"No, no, not at all__only a little agitated. She would have ordered
the carriage, and come to you, but she must see you -alone-, and that
you know__(nodding towards her father)__Humph!__Can you come?"
"Certainly. This moment, if you please. It is impossible to refuse
what you ask in such a way. But what can be the matter?__ Is she
really not ill?"
"Depend upon me__but ask no more questions. You will know it all in
time. The most unaccountable business! But hush, hush!"
To guess what all this meant, was impossible even for Emma. Something
really important seemed announced by his looks; but, as her friend was
well, she endeavoured not to be uneasy, and settling it with her
father, that she would take her walk now, she and Mr. Weston were soon
out of the house together and on their way at a quick pace for Randalls.
"Now,"__said Emma, when they were fairly beyond the sweep gates,__"now
Mr. Weston, do let me know what has happened."
"No, no,"__he gravely replied.__"Don't ask me. I promised my wife to
leave it all to her. She will break it to you better than I can. Do
not be impatient, Emma; it will all come out too soon."
"Break it to me," cried Emma, standing still with terror.__ "Good
God!__Mr. Weston, tell me at once.__Something has happened in Brunswick
Square. I know it has. Tell me, I charge you tell me this moment what
"No, indeed you are mistaken."__
"Mr. Weston do not trifle with me.__Consider how many of my dearest
friends are now in Brunswick Square. Which of them is it?__ I charge
you by all that is sacred, not to attempt concealment."
"Upon my word, Emma."__
"Your word!__why not your honour!__why not say upon your honour, that
it has nothing to do with any of them? Good Heavens!__What can be to
be -broke- to me, that does not relate to one of that family?"
"Upon my honour," said he very seriously, "it does not. It is not in
the smallest degree connected with any human being of the name of
Emma's courage returned, and she walked on.
"I was wrong," he continued, "in talking of its being -broke- to you.
I should not have used the expression. In fact, it does not concern
you__it concerns only myself,__that is, we hope.__Humph!__In short, my
dear Emma, there is no occasion to be so uneasy about it. I don't say
that it is not a disagreeable business__but things might be much
worse.__If we walk fast, we shall soon be at Randalls."
Emma found that she must wait; and now it required little effort. She
asked no more questions therefore, merely employed her own fancy, and
that soon pointed out to her the probability of its being some money
concern__something just come to light, of a disagreeable nature in the
circumstances of the family,__something which the late event at
Richmond had brought forward. Her fancy was very active. Half a dozen
natural children, perhaps__and poor Frank cut off!__ This, though very
undesirable, would be no matter of agony to her. It inspired little
more than an animating curiosity.
"Who is that gentleman on horseback?" said she, as they proceeded__
speaking more to assist Mr. Weston in keeping his secret, than with any
"I do not know.__One of the Otways.__Not Frank;__it is not Frank, I
assure you. You will not see him. He is half way to Windsor by this
"Has your son been with you, then?"
"Oh! yes__did not you know?__Well, well, never mind."
For a moment he was silent; and then added, in a tone much more guarded
"Yes, Frank came over this morning, just to ask us how we did."
They hurried on, and were speedily at Randalls.__"Well, my dear," said
he, as they entered the room__"I have brought her, and now I hope you
will soon be better. I shall leave you together. There is no use in
delay. I shall not be far off, if you want me."__ And Emma distinctly
heard him add, in a lower tone, before he quitted the room,__"I have
been as good as my word. She has not the least idea."
Mrs. Weston was looking so ill, and had an air of so much perturbation,
that Emma's uneasiness increased; and the moment they were alone, she
"What is it my dear friend? Something of a very unpleasant nature, I
find, has occurred;__do let me know directly what it is. I have been
walking all this way in complete suspense. We both abhor suspense. Do
not let mine continue longer. It will do you good to speak of your
distress, whatever it may be."
"Have you indeed no idea?" said Mrs. Weston in a trembling voice.
"Cannot you, my dear Emma__cannot you form a guess as to what you are
"So far as that it relates to Mr. Frank Churchill, I do guess."
"You are right. It does relate to him, and I will tell you directly;"
(resuming her work, and seeming resolved against looking up.) "He has
been here this very morning, on a most extraordinary errand. It is
impossible to express our surprize. He came to speak to his father on
a subject,__to announce an attachment__"
She stopped to breathe. Emma thought first of herself, and then of
"More than an attachment, indeed," resumed Mrs. Weston; "an
engagement__a positive engagement.__What will you say, Emma__what will
any body say, when it is known that Frank Churchill and Miss Fairfax
are engaged;__nay, that they have been long engaged!"
Emma even jumped with surprize;__and, horror_struck, exclaimed,
"Jane Fairfax!__Good God! You are not serious? You do not mean it?"
"You may well be amazed," returned Mrs. Weston, still averting her
eyes, and talking on with eagerness, that Emma might have time to
recover__ "You may well be amazed. But it is even so. There has been
a solemn engagement between them ever since October__formed at
Weymouth, and kept a secret from every body. Not a creature knowing it
but themselves__neither the Campbells, nor her family, nor his.__ It is
so wonderful, that though perfectly convinced of the fact, it is yet
almost incredible to myself. I can hardly believe it.__ I thought I
Emma scarcely heard what was said.__Her mind was divided between two
ideas__her own former conversations with him about Miss Fairfax; and
poor Harriet;__and for some time she could only exclaim, and require
confirmation, repeated confirmation.
"Well," said she at last, trying to recover herself; "this is a
circumstance which I must think of at least half a day, before I can at
all comprehend it. What!__engaged to her all the winter__before
either of them came to Highbury?"
"Engaged since October,__secretly engaged.__It has hurt me, Emma, very
much. It has hurt his father equally. -Some- -part- of his conduct we
Emma pondered a moment, and then replied, "I will not pretend -not- to
understand you; and to give you all the relief in my power, be assured
that no such effect has followed his attentions to me, as you are
Mrs. Weston looked up, afraid to believe; but Emma's countenance was as
steady as her words.
"That you may have less difficulty in believing this boast, of my
present perfect indifference," she continued, "I will farther tell you,
that there was a period in the early part of our acquaintance, when I
did like him, when I was very much disposed to be attached to him__nay,
was attached__and how it came to cease, is perhaps the wonder.
Fortunately, however, it did cease. I have really for some time past,
for at least these three months, cared nothing about him. You may
believe me, Mrs. Weston. This is the simple truth."
Mrs. Weston kissed her with tears of joy; and when she could find
utterance, assured her, that this protestation had done her more good
than any thing else in the world could do.
"Mr. Weston will be almost as much relieved as myself," said she. "On
this point we have been wretched. It was our darling wish that you
might be attached to each other__and we were persuaded that it was
so.__ Imagine what we have been feeling on your account."
"I have escaped; and that I should escape, may be a matter of grateful
wonder to you and myself. But this does not acquit -him-, Mrs. Weston;
and I must say, that I think him greatly to blame. What right had he
to come among us with affection and faith engaged, and with manners so
-very- disengaged? What right had he to endeavour to please, as he
certainly did__to distinguish any one young woman with persevering
attention, as he certainly did__while he really belonged to
another?__How could he tell what mischief he might be doing?__ How
could he tell that he might not be making me in love with him?__very
wrong, very wrong indeed."
"From something that he said, my dear Emma, I rather imagine__"
"And how could -she- bear such behaviour! Composure with a witness!
to look on, while repeated attentions were offering to another woman,
before her face, and not resent it.__That is a degree of placidity,
which I can neither comprehend nor respect."
"There were misunderstandings between them, Emma; he said so expressly.
He had not time to enter into much explanation. He was here only a
quarter of an hour, and in a state of agitation which did not allow the
full use even of the time he could stay__but that there had been
misunderstandings he decidedly said. The present crisis, indeed,
seemed to be brought on by them; and those misunderstandings might very
possibly arise from the impropriety of his conduct."
"Impropriety! Oh! Mrs. Weston__it is too calm a censure. Much, much
beyond impropriety!__It has sunk him, I cannot say how it has sunk him
in my opinion. So unlike what a man should be!__ None of that upright
integrity, that strict adherence to truth and principle, that disdain
of trick and littleness, which a man should display in every
transaction of his life."
"Nay, dear Emma, now I must take his part; for though he has been wrong
in this instance, I have known him long enough to answer for his having
many, very many, good qualities; and__"
"Good God!" cried Emma, not attending to her.__"Mrs. Smallridge, too!
Jane actually on the point of going as governess! What could he mean
by such horrible indelicacy? To suffer her to engage herself__to
suffer her even to think of such a measure!"
"He knew nothing about it, Emma. On this article I can fully acquit
him. It was a private resolution of hers, not communicated to him__or
at least not communicated in a way to carry conviction.__ Till
yesterday, I know he said he was in the dark as to her plans. They
burst on him, I do not know how, but by some letter or message__and it
was the discovery of what she was doing, of this very project of hers,
which determined him to come forward at once, own it all to his uncle,
throw himself on his kindness, and, in short, put an end to the
miserable state of concealment that had been carrying on so long."
Emma began to listen better.
"I am to hear from him soon," continued Mrs. Weston. "He told me at
parting, that he should soon write; and he spoke in a manner which
seemed to promise me many particulars that could not be given now. Let
us wait, therefore, for this letter. It may bring many extenuations.
It may make many things intelligible and excusable which now are not to
be understood. Don't let us be severe, don't let us be in a hurry to
condemn him. Let us have patience. I must love him; and now that I am
satisfied on one point, the one material point, I am sincerely anxious
for its all turning out well, and ready to hope that it may. They must
both have suffered a great deal under such a system of secresy and
"-His- sufferings," replied Emma dryly, "do not appear to have done him
much harm. Well, and how did Mr. Churchill take it?"
"Most favourably for his nephew__gave his consent with scarcely a
difficulty. Conceive what the events of a week have done in that
family! While poor Mrs. Churchill lived, I suppose there could not
have been a hope, a chance, a possibility;__but scarcely are her
remains at rest in the family vault, than her husband is persuaded to
act exactly opposite to what she would have required. What a blessing
it is, when undue influence does not survive the grave!__ He gave his
consent with very little persuasion."
"Ah!" thought Emma, "he would have done as much for Harriet."
"This was settled last night, and Frank was off with the light this
morning. He stopped at Highbury, at the Bates's, I fancy, some
time__and then came on hither; but was in such a hurry to get back to
his uncle, to whom he is just now more necessary than ever, that, as I
tell you, he could stay with us but a quarter of an hour.__ He was very
much agitated__very much, indeed__to a degree that made him appear
quite a different creature from any thing I had ever seen him
before.__In addition to all the rest, there had been the shock of
finding her so very unwell, which he had had no previous suspicion of__
and there was every appearance of his having been feeling a great deal."
"And do you really believe the affair to have been carrying on with
such perfect secresy?__The Campbells, the Dixons, did none of them know
of the engagement?"
Emma could not speak the name of Dixon without a little blush.
"None; not one. He positively said that it had been known to no being
in the world but their two selves."
"Well," said Emma, "I suppose we shall gradually grow reconciled to the
idea, and I wish them very happy. But I shall always think it a very
abominable sort of proceeding. What has it been but a system of
hypocrisy and deceit,__espionage, and treachery?__ To come among us
with professions of openness and simplicity; and such a league in
secret to judge us all!__Here have we been, the whole winter and
spring, completely duped, fancying ourselves all on an equal footing of
truth and honour, with two people in the midst of us who may have been
carrying round, comparing and sitting in judgment on sentiments and
words that were never meant for both to hear.__They must take the
consequence, if they have heard each other spoken of in a way not
"I am quite easy on that head," replied Mrs. Weston. "I am very sure
that I never said any thing of either to the other, which both might
not have heard."
"You are in luck.__Your only blunder was confined to my ear, when you
imagined a certain friend of ours in love with the lady."
"True. But as I have always had a thoroughly good opinion of Miss
Fairfax, I never could, under any blunder, have spoken ill of her; and
as to speaking ill of him, there I must have been safe."
At this moment Mr. Weston appeared at a little distance from the
window, evidently on the watch. His wife gave him a look which invited
him in; and, while he was coming round, added, "Now, dearest Emma, let
me intreat you to say and look every thing that may set his heart at
ease, and incline him to be satisfied with the match. Let us make the
best of it__and, indeed, almost every thing may be fairly said in her
favour. It is not a connexion to gratify; but if Mr. Churchill does
not feel that, why should we? and it may be a very fortunate
circumstance for him, for Frank, I mean, that he should have attached
himself to a girl of such steadiness of character and good judgment as
I have always given her credit for__and still am disposed to give her
credit for, in spite of this one great deviation from the strict rule
of right. And how much may be said in her situation for even that
"Much, indeed!" cried Emma feelingly. "If a woman can ever be excused
for thinking only of herself, it is in a situation like Jane
Fairfax's.__Of such, one may almost say, that 'the world is not
their's, nor the world's law.'"
She met Mr. Weston on his entrance, with a smiling countenance,
"A very pretty trick you have been playing me, upon my word! This was
a device, I suppose, to sport with my curiosity, and exercise my talent
of guessing. But you really frightened me. I thought you had lost
half your property, at least. And here, instead of its being a matter
of condolence, it turns out to be one of congratulation.__I
congratulate you, Mr. Weston, with all my heart, on the prospect of
having one of the most lovely and accomplished young women in England
for your daughter."
A glance or two between him and his wife, convinced him that all was as
right as this speech proclaimed; and its happy effect on his spirits
was immediate. His air and voice recovered their usual briskness: he
shook her heartily and gratefully by the hand, and entered on the
subject in a manner to prove, that he now only wanted time and
persuasion to think the engagement no very bad thing. His companions
suggested only what could palliate imprudence, or smooth objections;
and by the time they had talked it all over together, and he had talked
it all over again with Emma, in their walk back to Hartfield, he was
become perfectly reconciled, and not far from thinking it the very best
thing that Frank could possibly have done.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 11
"Harriet, poor Harriet!"__Those were the words; in them lay the
tormenting ideas which Emma could not get rid of, and which constituted
the real misery of the business to her. Frank Churchill had behaved
very ill by herself__very ill in many ways,__but it was not so much
-his- behaviour as her -own-, which made her so angry with him. It was
the scrape which he had drawn her into on Harriet's account, that gave
the deepest hue to his offence.__Poor Harriet! to be a second time the
dupe of her misconceptions and flattery. Mr. Knightley had spoken
prophetically, when he once said, "Emma, you have been no friend to
Harriet Smith."__She was afraid she had done her nothing but
disservice.__It was true that she had not to charge herself, in this
instance as in the former, with being the sole and original author of
the mischief; with having suggested such feelings as might otherwise
never have entered Harriet's imagination; for Harriet had acknowledged
her admiration and preference of Frank Churchill before she had ever
given her a hint on the subject; but she felt completely guilty of
having encouraged what she might have repressed. She might have
prevented the indulgence and increase of such sentiments. Her
influence would have been enough. And now she was very conscious that
she ought to have prevented them.__She felt that she had been risking
her friend's happiness on most insufficient grounds. Common sense
would have directed her to tell Harriet, that she must not allow
herself to think of him, and that there were five hundred chances to
one against his ever caring for her.__"But, with common sense," she
added, "I am afraid I have had little to do."
She was extremely angry with herself. If she could not have been angry
with Frank Churchill too, it would have been dreadful.__ As for Jane
Fairfax, she might at least relieve her feelings from any present
solicitude on her account. Harriet would be anxiety enough; she need
no longer be unhappy about Jane, whose troubles and whose ill_health
having, of course, the same origin, must be equally under cure.__Her
days of insignificance and evil were over.__She would soon be well, and
happy, and prosperous.__ Emma could now imagine why her own attentions
had been slighted. This discovery laid many smaller matters open. No
doubt it had been from jealousy.__In Jane's eyes she had been a rival;
and well might any thing she could offer of assistance or regard be
repulsed. An airing in the Hartfield carriage would have been the
rack, and arrowroot from the Hartfield storeroom must have been poison.
She understood it all; and as far as her mind could disengage itself
from the injustice and selfishness of angry feelings, she acknowledged
that Jane Fairfax would have neither elevation nor happiness beyond her
desert. But poor Harriet was such an engrossing charge! There was
little sympathy to be spared for any body else. Emma was sadly fearful
that this second disappointment would be more severe than the first.
Considering the very superior claims of the object, it ought; and
judging by its apparently stronger effect on Harriet's mind, producing
reserve and self_command, it would.__ She must communicate the painful
truth, however, and as soon as possible. An injunction of secresy had
been among Mr. Weston's parting words. "For the present, the whole
affair was to be completely a secret. Mr. Churchill had made a point
of it, as a token of respect to the wife he had so very recently lost;
and every body admitted it to be no more than due decorum."__ Emma had
promised; but still Harriet must be excepted. It was her superior duty.
In spite of her vexation, she could not help feeling it almost
ridiculous, that she should have the very same distressing and delicate
office to perform by Harriet, which Mrs. Weston had just gone through
by herself. The intelligence, which had been so anxiously announced to
her, she was now to be anxiously announcing to another. Her heart beat
quick on hearing Harriet's footstep and voice; so, she supposed, had
poor Mrs. Weston felt when -she- was approaching Randalls. Could the
event of the disclosure bear an equal resemblance!__ But of that,
unfortunately, there could be no chance.
"Well, Miss Woodhouse!" cried Harriet, coming eagerly into the room__
"is not this the oddest news that ever was?"
"What news do you mean?" replied Emma, unable to guess, by look or
voice, whether Harriet could indeed have received any hint.
"About Jane Fairfax. Did you ever hear any thing so strange? Oh!__you
need not be afraid of owning it to me, for Mr. Weston has told me
himself. I met him just now. He told me it was to be a great secret;
and, therefore, I should not think of mentioning it to any body but
you, but he said you knew it."
"What did Mr. Weston tell you?"__said Emma, still perplexed.
"Oh! he told me all about it; that Jane Fairfax and Mr. Frank Churchill
are to be married, and that they have been privately engaged to one
another this long while. How very odd!"
It was, indeed, so odd; Harriet's behaviour was so extremely odd, that
Emma did not know how to understand it. Her character appeared
absolutely changed. She seemed to propose shewing no agitation, or
disappointment, or peculiar concern in the discovery. Emma looked at
her, quite unable to speak.
"Had you any idea," cried Harriet, "of his being in love with
her?__You, perhaps, might.__You (blushing as she spoke) who can see
into every body's heart; but nobody else__"
"Upon my word," said Emma, "I begin to doubt my having any such talent.
Can you seriously ask me, Harriet, whether I imagined him attached to
another woman at the very time that I was__tacitly, if not openly__
encouraging you to give way to your own feelings?__I never had the
slightest suspicion, till within the last hour, of Mr. Frank
Churchill's having the least regard for Jane Fairfax. You may be very
sure that if I had, I should have cautioned you accordingly."
"Me!" cried Harriet, colouring, and astonished. "Why should you
caution me?__You do not think I care about Mr. Frank Churchill."
"I am delighted to hear you speak so stoutly on the subject," replied
Emma, smiling; "but you do not mean to deny that there was a time__and
not very distant either__when you gave me reason to understand that you
did care about him?"
"Him!__never, never. Dear Miss Woodhouse, how could you so mistake
me?" turning away distressed.
"Harriet!" cried Emma, after a moment's pause__"What do you mean?__
Good Heaven! what do you mean?__Mistake you!__Am I to suppose then?__"
She could not speak another word.__Her voice was lost; and she sat
down, waiting in great terror till Harriet should answer.
Harriet, who was standing at some distance, and with face turned from
her, did not immediately say any thing; and when she did speak, it was
in a voice nearly as agitated as Emma's.
"I should not have thought it possible," she began, "that you could
have misunderstood me! I know we agreed never to name him__but
considering how infinitely superior he is to every body else, I should
not have thought it possible that I could be supposed to mean any other
person. Mr. Frank Churchill, indeed! I do not know who would ever
look at him in the company of the other. I hope I have a better taste
than to think of Mr. Frank Churchill, who is like nobody by his side.
And that you should have been so mistaken, is amazing!__I am sure, but
for believing that you entirely approved and meant to encourage me in
my attachment, I should have considered it at first too great a
presumption almost, to dare to think of him. At first, if you had not
told me that more wonderful things had happened; that there had been
matches of greater disparity (those were your very words);__ I should
not have dared to give way to__I should not have thought it
possible__But if -you-, who had been always acquainted with him__"
"Harriet!" cried Emma, collecting herself resolutely__"Let us
understand each other now, without the possibility of farther mistake.
Are you speaking of__Mr. Knightley?"
"To be sure I am. I never could have an idea of any body else__and so
I thought you knew. When we talked about him, it was as clear as
"Not quite," returned Emma, with forced calmness, "for all that you
then said, appeared to me to relate to a different person. I could
almost assert that you had -named- Mr. Frank Churchill. I am sure the
service Mr. Frank Churchill had rendered you, in protecting you from
the gipsies, was spoken of."
"Oh! Miss Woodhouse, how you do forget!"
"My dear Harriet, I perfectly remember the substance of what I said on
the occasion. I told you that I did not wonder at your attachment;
that considering the service he had rendered you, it was extremely
natural:__and you agreed to it, expressing yourself very warmly as to
your sense of that service, and mentioning even what your sensations
had been in seeing him come forward to your rescue.__The impression of
it is strong on my memory."
"Oh, dear," cried Harriet, "now I recollect what you mean; but I was
thinking of something very different at the time. It was not the
gipsies__it was not Mr. Frank Churchill that I meant. No! (with some
elevation) I was thinking of a much more precious circumstance__of Mr.
Knightley's coming and asking me to dance, when Mr. Elton would not
stand up with me; and when there was no other partner in the room.
That was the kind action; that was the noble benevolence and
generosity; that was the service which made me begin to feel how
superior he was to every other being upon earth."
"Good God!" cried Emma, "this has been a most unfortunate__most
deplorable mistake!__What is to be done?"
"You would not have encouraged me, then, if you had understood me? At
least, however, I cannot be worse off than I should have been, if the
other had been the person; and now__it -is- possible__"
She paused a few moments. Emma could not speak.
"I do not wonder, Miss Woodhouse," she resumed, "that you should feel a
great difference between the two, as to me or as to any body. You must
think one five hundred million times more above me than the other. But
I hope, Miss Woodhouse, that supposing__that if__strange as it may
appear__. But you know they were your own words, that -more- wonderful
things had happened, matches of -greater- disparity had taken place
than between Mr. Frank Churchill and me; and, therefore, it seems as if
such a thing even as this, may have occurred before__and if I should
be so fortunate, beyond expression, as to__if Mr. Knightley should
really__if -he- does not mind the disparity, I hope, dear Miss
Woodhouse, you will not set yourself against it, and try to put
difficulties in the way. But you are too good for that, I am sure."
Harriet was standing at one of the windows. Emma turned round to look
at her in consternation, and hastily said,
"Have you any idea of Mr. Knightley's returning your affection?"
"Yes," replied Harriet modestly, but not fearfully__"I must say that I
Emma's eyes were instantly withdrawn; and she sat silently meditating,
in a fixed attitude, for a few minutes. A few minutes were sufficient
for making her acquainted with her own heart. A mind like hers, once
opening to suspicion, made rapid progress. She touched__she
admitted__she acknowledged the whole truth. Why was it so much worse
that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank
Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet's
having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of
an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!
Her own conduct, as well as her own heart, was before her in the same
few minutes. She saw it all with a clearness which had never blessed
her before. How improperly had she been acting by Harriet! How
inconsiderate, how indelicate, how irrational, how unfeeling had been
her conduct! What blindness, what madness, had led her on! It struck
her with dreadful force, and she was ready to give it every bad name in
the world. Some portion of respect for herself, however, in spite of
all these demerits__some concern for her own appearance, and a strong
sense of justice by Harriet__(there would be no need of -compassion- to
the girl who believed herself loved by Mr. Knightley__but justice
required that she should not be made unhappy by any coldness now,) gave
Emma the resolution to sit and endure farther with calmness, with even
apparent kindness.__For her own advantage indeed, it was fit that the
utmost extent of Harriet's hopes should be enquired into; and Harriet
had done nothing to forfeit the regard and interest which had been so
voluntarily formed and maintained__or to deserve to be slighted by the
person, whose counsels had never led her right.__ Rousing from
reflection, therefore, and subduing her emotion, she turned to Harriet
again, and, in a more inviting accent, renewed the conversation; for as
to the subject which had first introduced it, the wonderful story of
Jane Fairfax, that was quite sunk and lost.__ Neither of them thought
but of Mr. Knightley and themselves.
Harriet, who had been standing in no unhappy reverie, was yet very glad
to be called from it, by the now encouraging manner of such a judge,
and such a friend as Miss Woodhouse, and only wanted invitation, to
give the history of her hopes with great, though trembling
delight.__Emma's tremblings as she asked, and as she listened, were
better concealed than Harriet's, but they were not less. Her voice was
not unsteady; but her mind was in all the perturbation that such a
development of self, such a burst of threatening evil, such a confusion
of sudden and perplexing emotions, must create.__ She listened with
much inward suffering, but with great outward patience, to Harriet's
detail.__Methodical, or well arranged, or very well delivered, it could
not be expected to be; but it contained, when separated from all the
feebleness and tautology of the narration, a substance to sink her
spirit__especially with the corroborating circumstances, which her own
memory brought in favour of Mr. Knightley's most improved opinion of
Harriet had been conscious of a difference in his behaviour ever since
those two decisive dances.__Emma knew that he had, on that occasion,
found her much superior to his expectation. From that evening, or at
least from the time of Miss Woodhouse's encouraging her to think of
him, Harriet had begun to be sensible of his talking to her much more
than he had been used to do, and of his having indeed quite a different
manner towards her; a manner of kindness and sweetness!__Latterly she
had been more and more aware of it. When they had been all walking
together, he had so often come and walked by her, and talked so very
delightfully!__He seemed to want to be acquainted with her. Emma knew
it to have been very much the case. She had often observed the change,
to almost the same extent.__ Harriet repeated expressions of
approbation and praise from him__and Emma felt them to be in the
closest agreement with what she had known of his opinion of Harriet.
He praised her for being without art or affectation, for having simple,
honest, generous, feelings.__ She knew that he saw such recommendations
in Harriet; he had dwelt on them to her more than once.__Much that
lived in Harriet's memory, many little particulars of the notice she
had received from him, a look, a speech, a removal from one chair to
another, a compliment implied, a preference inferred, had been
unnoticed, because unsuspected, by Emma. Circumstances that might
swell to half an hour's relation, and contained multiplied proofs to
her who had seen them, had passed undiscerned by her who now heard
them; but the two latest occurrences to be mentioned, the two of
strongest promise to Harriet, were not without some degree of witness
from Emma herself.__The first, was his walking with her apart from the
others, in the lime_walk at Donwell, where they had been walking some
time before Emma came, and he had taken pains (as she was convinced) to
draw her from the rest to himself__and at first, he had talked to her
in a more particular way than he had ever done before, in a very
particular way indeed!__(Harriet could not recall it without a blush.)
He seemed to be almost asking her, whether her affections were
engaged.__ But as soon as she (Miss Woodhouse) appeared likely to join
them, he changed the subject, and began talking about farming:__ The
second, was his having sat talking with her nearly half an hour before
Emma came back from her visit, the very last morning of his being at
Hartfield__though, when he first came in, he had said that he could not
stay five minutes__and his having told her, during their conversation,
that though he must go to London, it was very much against his
inclination that he left home at all, which was much more (as Emma
felt) than he had acknowledged to -her-. The superior degree of
confidence towards Harriet, which this one article marked, gave her
On the subject of the first of the two circumstances, she did, after a
little reflection, venture the following question. "Might he not?__Is
not it possible, that when enquiring, as you thought, into the state of
your affections, he might be alluding to Mr. Martin__he might have Mr.
Martin's interest in view? But Harriet rejected the suspicion with
"Mr. Martin! No indeed!__There was not a hint of Mr. Martin. I hope I
know better now, than to care for Mr. Martin, or to be suspected of it."
When Harriet had closed her evidence, she appealed to her dear Miss
Woodhouse, to say whether she had not good ground for hope.
"I never should have presumed to think of it at first," said she, "but
for you. You told me to observe him carefully, and let his behaviour
be the rule of mine__and so I have. But now I seem to feel that I may
deserve him; and that if he does chuse me, it will not be any thing so
The bitter feelings occasioned by this speech, the many bitter
feelings, made the utmost exertion necessary on Emma's side, to enable
her to say on reply,
"Harriet, I will only venture to declare, that Mr. Knightley is the
last man in the world, who would intentionally give any woman the idea
of his feeling for her more than he really does."
Harriet seemed ready to worship her friend for a sentence so
satisfactory; and Emma was only saved from raptures and fondness, which
at that moment would have been dreadful penance, by the sound of her
father's footsteps. He was coming through the hall. Harriet was too
much agitated to encounter him. "She could not compose herself__ Mr.
Woodhouse would be alarmed__she had better go;"__with most ready
encouragement from her friend, therefore, she passed off through
another door__and the moment she was gone, this was the spontaneous
burst of Emma's feelings: "Oh God! that I had never seen her!"
The rest of the day, the following night, were hardly enough for her
thoughts.__She was bewildered amidst the confusion of all that had
rushed on her within the last few hours. Every moment had brought a
fresh surprize; and every surprize must be matter of humiliation to
her.__How to understand it all! How to understand the deceptions she
had been thus practising on herself, and living under!__The blunders,
the blindness of her own head and heart!__she sat still, she walked
about, she tried her own room, she tried the shrubbery__in every place,
every posture, she perceived that she had acted most weakly; that she
had been imposed on by others in a most mortifying degree; that she had
been imposing on herself in a degree yet more mortifying; that she was
wretched, and should probably find this day but the beginning of
To understand, thoroughly understand her own heart, was the first
endeavour. To that point went every leisure moment which her father's
claims on her allowed, and every moment of involuntary absence of mind.
How long had Mr. Knightley been so dear to her, as every feeling
declared him now to be? When had his influence, such influence
begun?__ When had he succeeded to that place in her affection, which
Frank Churchill had once, for a short period, occupied?__She looked
back; she compared the two__compared them, as they had always stood in
her estimation, from the time of the latter's becoming known to her__
and as they must at any time have been compared by her, had it__oh!
had it, by any blessed felicity, occurred to her, to institute the
comparison.__She saw that there never had been a time when she did not
consider Mr. Knightley as infinitely the superior, or when his regard
for her had not been infinitely the most dear. She saw, that in
persuading herself, in fancying, in acting to the contrary, she had
been entirely under a delusion, totally ignorant of her own heart__and,
in short, that she had never really cared for Frank Churchill at all!
This was the conclusion of the first series of reflection. This was
the knowledge of herself, on the first question of inquiry, which she
reached; and without being long in reaching it.__ She was most
sorrowfully indignant; ashamed of every sensation but the one revealed
to her__her affection for Mr. Knightley.__ Every other part of her mind
With insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of
every body's feelings; with unpardonable arrogance proposed to arrange
every body's destiny. She was proved to have been universally
mistaken; and she had not quite done nothing__for she had done
mischief. She had brought evil on Harriet, on herself, and she too
much feared, on Mr. Knightley.__Were this most unequal of all
connexions to take place, on her must rest all the reproach of having
given it a beginning; for his attachment, she must believe to be
produced only by a consciousness of Harriet's;__and even were this not
the case, he would never have known Harriet at all but for her folly.
Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith!__It was a union to distance every
wonder of the kind.__The attachment of Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax
became commonplace, threadbare, stale in the comparison, exciting no
surprize, presenting no disparity, affording nothing to be said or
thought.__Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith!__Such an elevation on her
side! Such a debasement on his! It was horrible to Emma to think how
it must sink him in the general opinion, to foresee the smiles, the
sneers, the merriment it would prompt at his expense; the mortification
and disdain of his brother, the thousand inconveniences to
himself.__Could it be?__No; it was impossible. And yet it was far,
very far, from impossible.__Was it a new circumstance for a man of
first_rate abilities to be captivated by very inferior powers? Was it
new for one, perhaps too busy to seek, to be the prize of a girl who
would seek him?__Was it new for any thing in this world to be unequal,
inconsistent, incongruous__or for chance and circumstance (as second
causes) to direct the human fate?
Oh! had she never brought Harriet forward! Had she left her where she
ought, and where he had told her she ought!__Had she not, with a folly
which no tongue could express, prevented her marrying the
unexceptionable young man who would have made her happy and respectable
in the line of life to which she ought to belong__all would have been
safe; none of this dreadful sequel would have been.
How Harriet could ever have had the presumption to raise her thoughts
to Mr. Knightley!__How she could dare to fancy herself the chosen of
such a man till actually assured of it!__ But Harriet was less humble,
had fewer scruples than formerly.__ Her inferiority, whether of mind or
situation, seemed little felt.__ She had seemed more sensible of Mr.
Elton's being to stoop in marrying her, than she now seemed of Mr.
Knightley's.__ Alas! was not that her own doing too? Who had been at
pains to give Harriet notions of self_consequence but herself?__Who but
herself had taught her, that she was to elevate herself if possible,
and that her claims were great to a high worldly establishment?__ If
Harriet, from being humble, were grown vain, it was her doing too.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 12
Till now that she was threatened with its loss, Emma had never known
how much of her happiness depended on being -first- with Mr. Knightley,
first in interest and affection.__Satisfied that it was so, and feeling
it her due, she had enjoyed it without reflection; and only in the
dread of being supplanted, found how inexpressibly important it had
been.__Long, very long, she felt she had been first; for, having no
female connexions of his own, there had been only Isabella whose claims
could be compared with hers, and she had always known exactly how far
he loved and esteemed Isabella. She had herself been first with him
for many years past. She had not deserved it; she had often been
negligent or perverse, slighting his advice, or even wilfully opposing
him, insensible of half his merits, and quarrelling with him because he
would not acknowledge her false and insolent estimate of her own__but
still, from family attachment and habit, and thorough excellence of
mind, he had loved her, and watched over her from a girl, with an
endeavour to improve her, and an anxiety for her doing right, which no
other creature had at all shared. In spite of all her faults, she knew
she was dear to him; might she not say, very dear?__ When the
suggestions of hope, however, which must follow here, presented
themselves, she could not presume to indulge them. Harriet Smith might
think herself not unworthy of being peculiarly, exclusively,
passionately loved by Mr. Knightley. -She- could not. She could not
flatter herself with any idea of blindness in his attachment to -her-.
She had received a very recent proof of its impartiality.__ How shocked
had he been by her behaviour to Miss Bates! How directly, how strongly
had he expressed himself to her on the subject!__Not too strongly for
the offence__but far, far too strongly to issue from any feeling softer
than upright justice and clear_sighted goodwill.__ She had no hope,
nothing to deserve the name of hope, that he could have that sort of
affection for herself which was now in question; but there was a hope
(at times a slight one, at times much stronger,) that Harriet might
have deceived herself, and be overrating his regard for -her-.__Wish it
she must, for his sake__be the consequence nothing to herself, but his
remaining single all his life. Could she be secure of that, indeed, of
his never marrying at all, she believed she should be perfectly
satisfied.__Let him but continue the same Mr. Knightley to her and her
father, the same Mr. Knightley to all the world; let Donwell and
Hartfield lose none of their precious intercourse of friendship and
confidence, and her peace would be fully secured.__Marriage, in fact,
would not do for her. It would be incompatible with what she owed to
her father, and with what she felt for him. Nothing should separate
her from her father. She would not marry, even if she were asked by
It must be her ardent wish that Harriet might be disappointed; and she
hoped, that when able to see them together again, she might at least be
able to ascertain what the chances for it were.__She should see them
henceforward with the closest observance; and wretchedly as she had
hitherto misunderstood even those she was watching, she did not know
how to admit that she could be blinded here.__ He was expected back
every day. The power of observation would be soon given__frightfully
soon it appeared when her thoughts were in one course. In the
meanwhile, she resolved against seeing Harriet.__ It would do neither
of them good, it would do the subject no good, to be talking of it
farther.__She was resolved not to be convinced, as long as she could
doubt, and yet had no authority for opposing Harriet's confidence. To
talk would be only to irritate.__She wrote to her, therefore, kindly,
but decisively, to beg that she would not, at present, come to
Hartfield; acknowledging it to be her conviction, that all farther
confidential discussion of -one- topic had better be avoided; and
hoping, that if a few days were allowed to pass before they met again,
except in the company of others__she objected only to a
tete_a_tete__they might be able to act as if they had forgotten the
conversation of yesterday.__Harriet submitted, and approved, and was
This point was just arranged, when a visitor arrived to tear Emma's
thoughts a little from the one subject which had engrossed them,
sleeping or waking, the last twenty_four hours__Mrs. Weston, who had
been calling on her daughter_in_law elect, and took Hartfield in her
way home, almost as much in duty to Emma as in pleasure to herself, to
relate all the particulars of so interesting an interview.
Mr. Weston had accompanied her to Mrs. Bates's, and gone through his
share of this essential attention most handsomely; but she having then
induced Miss Fairfax to join her in an airing, was now returned with
much more to say, and much more to say with satisfaction, than a
quarter of an hour spent in Mrs. Bates's parlour, with all the
encumbrance of awkward feelings, could have afforded.
A little curiosity Emma had; and she made the most of it while her
friend related. Mrs. Weston had set off to pay the visit in a good
deal of agitation herself; and in the first place had wished not to go
at all at present, to be allowed merely to write to Miss Fairfax
instead, and to defer this ceremonious call till a little time had
passed, and Mr. Churchill could be reconciled to the engagement's
becoming known; as, considering every thing, she thought such a visit
could not be paid without leading to reports:__but Mr. Weston had
thought differently; he was extremely anxious to shew his approbation
to Miss Fairfax and her family, and did not conceive that any suspicion
could be excited by it; or if it were, that it would be of any
consequence; for "such things," he observed, "always got about." Emma
smiled, and felt that Mr. Weston had very good reason for saying so.
They had gone, in short__and very great had been the evident distress
and confusion of the lady. She had hardly been able to speak a word,
and every look and action had shewn how deeply she was suffering from
consciousness. The quiet, heart_felt satisfaction of the old lady, and
the rapturous delight of her daughter__who proved even too joyous to
talk as usual, had been a gratifying, yet almost an affecting, scene.
They were both so truly respectable in their happiness, so
disinterested in every sensation; thought so much of Jane; so much of
every body, and so little of themselves, that every kindly feeling was
at work for them. Miss Fairfax's recent illness had offered a fair
plea for Mrs. Weston to invite her to an airing; she had drawn back and
declined at first, but, on being pressed had yielded; and, in the
course of their drive, Mrs. Weston had, by gentle encouragement,
overcome so much of her embarrassment, as to bring her to converse on
the important subject. Apologies for her seemingly ungracious silence
in their first reception, and the warmest expressions of the gratitude
she was always feeling towards herself and Mr. Weston, must necessarily
open the cause; but when these effusions were put by, they had talked a
good deal of the present and of the future state of the engagement.
Mrs. Weston was convinced that such conversation must be the greatest
relief to her companion, pent up within her own mind as every thing had
so long been, and was very much pleased with all that she had said on
"On the misery of what she had suffered, during the concealment of so
many months," continued Mrs. Weston, "she was energetic. This was one
of her expressions. 'I will not say, that since I entered into the
engagement I have not had some happy moments; but I can say, that I
have never known the blessing of one tranquil hour:'__and the
quivering lip, Emma, which uttered it, was an attestation that I felt
at my heart."
"Poor girl!" said Emma. "She thinks herself wrong, then, for having
consented to a private engagement?"
"Wrong! No one, I believe, can blame her more than she is disposed to
blame herself. 'The consequence,' said she, 'has been a state of
perpetual suffering to me; and so it ought. But after all the
punishment that misconduct can bring, it is still not less misconduct.
Pain is no expiation. I never can be blameless. I have been acting
contrary to all my sense of right; and the fortunate turn that every
thing has taken, and the kindness I am now receiving, is what my
conscience tells me ought not to be.' 'Do not imagine, madam,' she
continued, 'that I was taught wrong. Do not let any reflection fall on
the principles or the care of the friends who brought me up. The error
has been all my own; and I do assure you that, with all the excuse that
present circumstances may appear to give, I shall yet dread making the
story known to Colonel Campbell.'"
"Poor girl!" said Emma again. "She loves him then excessively, I
suppose. It must have been from attachment only, that she could be led
to form the engagement. Her affection must have overpowered her
"Yes, I have no doubt of her being extremely attached to him."
"I am afraid," returned Emma, sighing, "that I must often have
contributed to make her unhappy."
"On your side, my love, it was very innocently done. But she probably
had something of that in her thoughts, when alluding to the
misunderstandings which he had given us hints of before. One natural
consequence of the evil she had involved herself in," she said, "was
that of making her -unreasonable-. The consciousness of having done
amiss, had exposed her to a thousand inquietudes, and made her captious
and irritable to a degree that must have been__that had been__hard for
him to bear. 'I did not make the allowances,' said she, 'which I ought
to have done, for his temper and spirits__his delightful spirits, and
that gaiety, that playfulness of disposition, which, under any other
circumstances, would, I am sure, have been as constantly bewitching to
me, as they were at first.' She then began to speak of you, and of the
great kindness you had shewn her during her illness; and with a blush
which shewed me how it was all connected, desired me, whenever I had an
opportunity, to thank you__I could not thank you too much__for every
wish and every endeavour to do her good. She was sensible that you had
never received any proper acknowledgment from herself."
"If I did not know her to be happy now," said Emma, seriously, "which,
in spite of every little drawback from her scrupulous conscience, she
must be, I could not bear these thanks;__for, oh! Mrs. Weston, if
there were an account drawn up of the evil and the good I have done
Miss Fairfax!__Well (checking herself, and trying to be more lively),
this is all to be forgotten. You are very kind to bring me these
interesting particulars. They shew her to the greatest advantage. I
am sure she is very good__I hope she will be very happy. It is fit
that the fortune should be on his side, for I think the merit will be
all on hers."
Such a conclusion could not pass unanswered by Mrs. Weston. She
thought well of Frank in almost every respect; and, what was more, she
loved him very much, and her defence was, therefore, earnest. She
talked with a great deal of reason, and at least equal affection__but
she had too much to urge for Emma's attention; it was soon gone to
Brunswick Square or to Donwell; she forgot to attempt to listen; and
when Mrs. Weston ended with, "We have not yet had the letter we are so
anxious for, you know, but I hope it will soon come," she was obliged
to pause before she answered, and at last obliged to answer at random,
before she could at all recollect what letter it was which they were so
"Are you well, my Emma?" was Mrs. Weston's parting question.
"Oh! perfectly. I am always well, you know. Be sure to give me
intelligence of the letter as soon as possible."
Mrs. Weston's communications furnished Emma with more food for
unpleasant reflection, by increasing her esteem and compassion, and her
sense of past injustice towards Miss Fairfax. She bitterly regretted
not having sought a closer acquaintance with her, and blushed for the
envious feelings which had certainly been, in some measure, the cause.
Had she followed Mr. Knightley's known wishes, in paying that attention
to Miss Fairfax, which was every way her due; had she tried to know her
better; had she done her part towards intimacy; had she endeavoured to
find a friend there instead of in Harriet Smith; she must, in all
probability, have been spared from every pain which pressed on her
now.__Birth, abilities, and education, had been equally marking one as
an associate for her, to be received with gratitude; and the
other__what was she?__Supposing even that they had never become
intimate friends; that she had never been admitted into Miss Fairfax's
confidence on this important matter__which was most probable__still,
in knowing her as she ought, and as she might, she must have been
preserved from the abominable suspicions of an improper attachment to
Mr. Dixon, which she had not only so foolishly fashioned and harboured
herself, but had so unpardonably imparted; an idea which she greatly
feared had been made a subject of material distress to the delicacy of
Jane's feelings, by the levity or carelessness of Frank Churchill's.
Of all the sources of evil surrounding the former, since her coming to
Highbury, she was persuaded that she must herself have been the worst.
She must have been a perpetual enemy. They never could have been all
three together, without her having stabbed Jane Fairfax's peace in a
thousand instances; and on Box Hill, perhaps, it had been the agony of
a mind that would bear no more.
The evening of this day was very long, and melancholy, at Hartfield.
The weather added what it could of gloom. A cold stormy rain set in,
and nothing of July appeared but in the trees and shrubs, which the
wind was despoiling, and the length of the day, which only made such
cruel sights the longer visible.
The weather affected Mr. Woodhouse, and he could only be kept tolerably
comfortable by almost ceaseless attention on his daughter's side, and
by exertions which had never cost her half so much before. It reminded
her of their first forlorn tete_a_tete, on the evening of Mrs. Weston's
wedding_day; but Mr. Knightley had walked in then, soon after tea, and
dissipated every melancholy fancy. Alas! such delightful proofs of
Hartfield's attraction, as those sort of visits conveyed, might shortly
be over. The picture which she had then drawn of the privations of the
approaching winter, had proved erroneous; no friends had deserted them,
no pleasures had been lost.__But her present forebodings she feared
would experience no similar contradiction. The prospect before her
now, was threatening to a degree that could not be entirely dispelled__
that might not be even partially brightened. If all took place that
might take place among the circle of her friends, Hartfield must be
comparatively deserted; and she left to cheer her father with the
spirits only of ruined happiness.
The child to be born at Randalls must be a tie there even dearer than
herself; and Mrs. Weston's heart and time would be occupied by it.
They should lose her; and, probably, in great measure, her husband
also.__Frank Churchill would return among them no more; and Miss
Fairfax, it was reasonable to suppose, would soon cease to belong to
Highbury. They would be married, and settled either at or near
Enscombe. All that were good would be withdrawn; and if to these
losses, the loss of Donwell were to be added, what would remain of
cheerful or of rational society within their reach? Mr. Knightley to
be no longer coming there for his evening comfort!__ No longer walking
in at all hours, as if ever willing to change his own home for
their's!__How was it to be endured? And if he were to be lost to them
for Harriet's sake; if he were to be thought of hereafter, as finding
in Harriet's society all that he wanted; if Harriet were to be the
chosen, the first, the dearest, the friend, the wife to whom he looked
for all the best blessings of existence; what could be increasing
Emma's wretchedness but the reflection never far distant from her mind,
that it had been all her own work?
When it came to such a pitch as this, she was not able to refrain from
a start, or a heavy sigh, or even from walking about the room for a few
seconds__and the only source whence any thing like consolation or
composure could be drawn, was in the resolution of her own better
conduct, and the hope that, however inferior in spirit and gaiety might
be the following and every future winter of her life to the past, it
would yet find her more rational, more acquainted with herself, and
leave her less to regret when it were gone.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 13
The weather continued much the same all the following morning; and the
same loneliness, and the same melancholy, seemed to reign at
Hartfield__but in the afternoon it cleared; the wind changed into a
softer quarter; the clouds were carried off; the sun appeared; it was
summer again. With all the eagerness which such a transition gives,
Emma resolved to be out of doors as soon as possible. Never had the
exquisite sight, smell, sensation of nature, tranquil, warm, and
brilliant after a storm, been more attractive to her. She longed for
the serenity they might gradually introduce; and on Mr. Perry's coming
in soon after dinner, with a disengaged hour to give her father, she
lost no time ill hurrying into the shrubbery.__There, with spirits
freshened, and thoughts a little relieved, she had taken a few turns,
when she saw Mr. Knightley passing through the garden door, and coming
towards her.__It was the first intimation of his being returned from
London. She had been thinking of him the moment before, as
unquestionably sixteen miles distant.__There was time only for the
quickest arrangement of mind. She must be collected and calm. In half
a minute they were together. The "How d'ye do's" were quiet and
constrained on each side. She asked after their mutual friends; they
were all well.__When had he left them?__Only that morning. He must
have had a wet ride.__Yes.__He meant to walk with her, she found. "He
had just looked into the dining_room, and as he was not wanted there,
preferred being out of doors."__She thought he neither looked nor spoke
cheerfully; and the first possible cause for it, suggested by her
fears, was, that he had perhaps been communicating his plans to his
brother, and was pained by the manner in which they had been received.
They walked together. He was silent. She thought he was often looking
at her, and trying for a fuller view of her face than it suited her to
give. And this belief produced another dread. Perhaps he wanted to
speak to her, of his attachment to Harriet; he might be watching for
encouragement to begin.__She did not, could not, feel equal to lead the
way to any such subject. He must do it all himself. Yet she could not
bear this silence. With him it was most unnatural. She
considered__resolved__and, trying to smile, began__
"You have some news to hear, now you are come back, that will rather
"Have I?" said he quietly, and looking at her; "of what nature?"
"Oh! the best nature in the world__a wedding."
After waiting a moment, as if to be sure she intended to say no more,
"If you mean Miss Fairfax and Frank Churchill, I have heard that
"How is it possible?" cried Emma, turning her glowing cheeks towards
him; for, while she spoke, it occurred to her that he might have called
at Mrs. Goddard's in his way.
"I had a few lines on parish business from Mr. Weston this morning, and
at the end of them he gave me a brief account of what had happened."
Emma was quite relieved, and could presently say, with a little more
"-You- probably have been less surprized than any of us, for you have
had your suspicions.__I have not forgotten that you once tried to give
me a caution.__I wish I had attended to it__but__(with a sinking voice
and a heavy sigh) I seem to have been doomed to blindness."
For a moment or two nothing was said, and she was unsuspicious of
having excited any particular interest, till she found her arm drawn
within his, and pressed against his heart, and heard him thus saying,
in a tone of great sensibility, speaking low,
"Time, my dearest Emma, time will heal the wound.__Your own excellent
sense__your exertions for your father's sake__I know you will not allow
yourself__." Her arm was pressed again, as he added, in a more broken
and subdued accent, "The feelings of the warmest
friendship__Indignation__Abominable scoundrel!"__ And in a louder,
steadier tone, he concluded with, "He will soon be gone. They will
soon be in Yorkshire. I am sorry for -her-. She deserves a better
Emma understood him; and as soon as she could recover from the flutter
of pleasure, excited by such tender consideration, replied,
"You are very kind__but you are mistaken__and I must set you right.__ I
am not in want of that sort of compassion. My blindness to what was
going on, led me to act by them in a way that I must always be ashamed
of, and I was very foolishly tempted to say and do many things which
may well lay me open to unpleasant conjectures, but I have no other
reason to regret that I was not in the secret earlier."
"Emma!" cried he, looking eagerly at her, "are you, indeed?"__but
checking himself__"No, no, I understand you__forgive me__I am pleased
that you can say even so much.__He is no object of regret, indeed! and
it will not be very long, I hope, before that becomes the
acknowledgment of more than your reason.__Fortunate that your
affections were not farther entangled!__I could never, I confess, from
your manners, assure myself as to the degree of what you felt__ I could
only be certain that there was a preference__and a preference which I
never believed him to deserve.__He is a disgrace to the name of
man.__And is he to be rewarded with that sweet young woman?__ Jane,
Jane, you will be a miserable creature."
"Mr. Knightley," said Emma, trying to be lively, but really confused__
"I am in a very extraordinary situation. I cannot let you continue in
your error; and yet, perhaps, since my manners gave such an impression,
I have as much reason to be ashamed of confessing that I never have
been at all attached to the person we are speaking of, as it might be
natural for a woman to feel in confessing exactly the reverse.__ But I
He listened in perfect silence. She wished him to speak, but he would
not. She supposed she must say more before she were entitled to his
clemency; but it was a hard case to be obliged still to lower herself
in his opinion. She went on, however.
"I have very little to say for my own conduct.__I was tempted by his
attentions, and allowed myself to appear pleased.__ An old story,
probably__a common case__and no more than has happened to hundreds of
my sex before; and yet it may not be the more excusable in one who sets
up as I do for Understanding. Many circumstances assisted the
temptation. He was the son of Mr. Weston__he was continually here__I
always found him very pleasant__and, in short, for (with a sigh) let me
swell out the causes ever so ingeniously, they all centre in this at
last__my vanity was flattered, and I allowed his attentions. Latterly,
however__for some time, indeed__I have had no idea of their meaning
any thing.__I thought them a habit, a trick, nothing that called for
seriousness on my side. He has imposed on me, but he has not injured
me. I have never been attached to him. And now I can tolerably
comprehend his behaviour. He never wished to attach me. It was merely
a blind to conceal his real situation with another.__It was his object
to blind all about him; and no one, I am sure, could be more
effectually blinded than myself__except that I was -not- blinded__that
it was my good fortune__that, in short, I was somehow or other safe
She had hoped for an answer here__for a few words to say that her
conduct was at least intelligible; but he was silent; and, as far as
she could judge, deep in thought. At last, and tolerably in his usual
tone, he said,
"I have never had a high opinion of Frank Churchill.__I can suppose,
however, that I may have underrated him. My acquaintance with him has
been but trifling.__And even if I have not underrated him hitherto, he
may yet turn out well.__With such a woman he has a chance.__I have no
motive for wishing him ill__and for her sake, whose happiness will be
involved in his good character and conduct, I shall certainly wish him
"I have no doubt of their being happy together," said Emma; "I believe
them to be very mutually and very sincerely attached."
"He is a most fortunate man!" returned Mr. Knightley, with energy. "So
early in life__at three_and_twenty__a period when, if a man chuses a
wife, he generally chuses ill. At three_and_twenty to have drawn such
a prize! What years of felicity that man, in all human calculation,
has before him!__Assured of the love of such a woman__the disinterested
love, for Jane Fairfax's character vouches for her disinterestedness;
every thing in his favour,__equality of situation__I mean, as far as
regards society, and all the habits and manners that are important;
equality in every point but one__and that one, since the purity of her
heart is not to be doubted, such as must increase his felicity, for it
will be his to bestow the only advantages she wants.__A man would
always wish to give a woman a better home than the one he takes her
from; and he who can do it, where there is no doubt of -her- regard,
must, I think, be the happiest of mortals.__Frank Churchill is, indeed,
the favourite of fortune. Every thing turns out for his good.__He
meets with a young woman at a watering_place, gains her affection,
cannot even weary her by negligent treatment__and had he and all his
family sought round the world for a perfect wife for him, they could
not have found her superior.__His aunt is in the way.__His aunt
dies.__He has only to speak.__His friends are eager to promote his
happiness.__ He had used every body ill__and they are all delighted to
forgive him.__ He is a fortunate man indeed!"
"You speak as if you envied him."
"And I do envy him, Emma. In one respect he is the object of my envy."
Emma could say no more. They seemed to be within half a sentence of
Harriet, and her immediate feeling was to avert the subject, if
possible. She made her plan; she would speak of something totally
different__the children in Brunswick Square; and she only waited for
breath to begin, when Mr. Knightley startled her, by saying,
"You will not ask me what is the point of envy.__You are determined, I
see, to have no curiosity.__You are wise__but -I- cannot be wise.
Emma, I must tell you what you will not ask, though I may wish it
unsaid the next moment."
"Oh! then, don't speak it, don't speak it," she eagerly cried. "Take a
little time, consider, do not commit yourself."
"Thank you," said he, in an accent of deep mortification, and not
another syllable followed.
Emma could not bear to give him pain. He was wishing to confide in
her__perhaps to consult her;__cost her what it would, she would
listen. She might assist his resolution, or reconcile him to it; she
might give just praise to Harriet, or, by representing to him his own
independence, relieve him from that state of indecision, which must be
more intolerable than any alternative to such a mind as his.__They had
reached the house.
"You are going in, I suppose?" said he.
"No,"__replied Emma__quite confirmed by the depressed manner in which
he still spoke__"I should like to take another turn. Mr. Perry is not
gone." And, after proceeding a few steps, she added__ "I stopped you
ungraciously, just now, Mr. Knightley, and, I am afraid, gave you
pain.__But if you have any wish to speak openly to me as a friend, or
to ask my opinion of any thing that you may have in contemplation__as a
friend, indeed, you may command me.__I will hear whatever you like. I
will tell you exactly what I think."
"As a friend!"__repeated Mr. Knightley.__"Emma, that I fear is a
word__No, I have no wish__Stay, yes, why should I hesitate?__ I have
gone too far already for concealment.__Emma, I accept your offer__
Extraordinary as it may seem, I accept it, and refer myself to you as a
friend.__Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?"
He stopped in his earnestness to look the question, and the expression
of his eyes overpowered her.
"My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever
the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved
Emma__tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said."__ She could
really say nothing.__"You are silent," he cried, with great animation;
"absolutely silent! at present I ask no more."
Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The
dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most
"I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such
sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably
convincing.__"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it
more. But you know what I am.__You hear nothing but truth from me.__I
have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other
woman in England would have borne it.__ Bear with the truths I would
tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The
manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I
have been a very indifferent lover.__ But you understand me.__Yes, you
see, you understand my feelings__and will return them if you can. At
present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice."
While he spoke, Emma's mind was most busy, and, with all the wonderful
velocity of thought, had been able__and yet without losing a word__to
catch and comprehend the exact truth of the whole; to see that
Harriet's hopes had been entirely groundless, a mistake, a delusion, as
complete a delusion as any of her own__that Harriet was nothing; that
she was every thing herself; that what she had been saying relative to
Harriet had been all taken as the language of her own feelings; and
that her agitation, her doubts, her reluctance, her discouragement, had
been all received as discouragement from herself.__And not only was
there time for these convictions, with all their glow of attendant
happiness; there was time also to rejoice that Harriet's secret had not
escaped her, and to resolve that it need not, and should not.__It was
all the service she could now render her poor friend; for as to any of
that heroism of sentiment which might have prompted her to entreat him
to transfer his affection from herself to Harriet, as infinitely the
most worthy of the two__or even the more simple sublimity of resolving
to refuse him at once and for ever, without vouchsafing any motive,
because he could not marry them both, Emma had it not. She felt for
Harriet, with pain and with contrition; but no flight of generosity run
mad, opposing all that could be probable or reasonable, entered her
brain. She had led her friend astray, and it would be a reproach to
her for ever; but her judgment was as strong as her feelings, and as
strong as it had ever been before, in reprobating any such alliance for
him, as most unequal and degrading. Her way was clear, though not
quite smooth.__She spoke then, on being so entreated.__ What did she
say?__Just what she ought, of course. A lady always does.__ She said
enough to shew there need not be despair__and to invite him to say more
himself. He -had- despaired at one period; he had received such an
injunction to caution and silence, as for the time crushed every
hope;__she had begun by refusing to hear him.__The change had perhaps
been somewhat sudden;__her proposal of taking another turn, her
renewing the conversation which she had just put an end to, might be a
little extraordinary!__She felt its inconsistency; but Mr. Knightley
was so obliging as to put up with it, and seek no farther explanation.
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human
disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little
disguised, or a little mistaken; but where, as in this case, though the
conduct is mistaken, the feelings are not, it may not be very
material.__ Mr. Knightley could not impute to Emma a more relenting
heart than she possessed, or a heart more disposed to accept of his.
He had, in fact, been wholly unsuspicious of his own influence. He had
followed her into the shrubbery with no idea of trying it. He had
come, in his anxiety to see how she bore Frank Churchill's engagement,
with no selfish view, no view at all, but of endeavouring, if she
allowed him an opening, to soothe or to counsel her.__The rest had been
the work of the moment, the immediate effect of what he heard, on his
feelings. The delightful assurance of her total indifference towards
Frank Churchill, of her having a heart completely disengaged from him,
had given birth to the hope, that, in time, he might gain her affection
himself;__but it had been no present hope__he had only, in the
momentary conquest of eagerness over judgment, aspired to be told that
she did not forbid his attempt to attach her.__The superior hopes which
gradually opened were so much the more enchanting.__ The affection,
which he had been asking to be allowed to create, if he could, was
already his!__Within half an hour, he had passed from a thoroughly
distressed state of mind, to something so like perfect happiness, that
it could bear no other name.
-Her- change was equal.__This one half_hour had given to each the same
precious certainty of being beloved, had cleared from each the same
degree of ignorance, jealousy, or distrust.__On his side, there had
been a long_standing jealousy, old as the arrival, or even the
expectation, of Frank Churchill.__He had been in love with Emma, and
jealous of Frank Churchill, from about the same period, one sentiment
having probably enlightened him as to the other. It was his jealousy
of Frank Churchill that had taken him from the country.__The Box Hill
party had decided him on going away. He would save himself from
witnessing again such permitted, encouraged attentions.__He had gone to
learn to be indifferent.__ But he had gone to a wrong place. There was
too much domestic happiness in his brother's house; woman wore too
amiable a form in it; Isabella was too much like Emma__differing only
in those striking inferiorities, which always brought the other in
brilliancy before him, for much to have been done, even had his time
been longer.__He had stayed on, however, vigorously, day after
day__till this very morning's post had conveyed the history of Jane
Fairfax.__Then, with the gladness which must be felt, nay, which he did
not scruple to feel, having never believed Frank Churchill to be at all
deserving Emma, was there so much fond solicitude, so much keen anxiety
for her, that he could stay no longer. He had ridden home through the
rain; and had walked up directly after dinner, to see how this sweetest
and best of all creatures, faultless in spite of all her faults, bore
He had found her agitated and low.__Frank Churchill was a villain.__ He
heard her declare that she had never loved him. Frank Churchill's
character was not desperate.__She was his own Emma, by hand and word,
when they returned into the house; and if he could have thought of
Frank Churchill then, he might have deemed him a very good sort of
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 14
What totally different feelings did Emma take back into the house from
what she had brought out!__she had then been only daring to hope for a
little respite of suffering;__she was now in an exquisite flutter of
happiness, and such happiness moreover as she believed must still be
greater when the flutter should have passed away.
They sat down to tea__the same party round the same table__how often
it had been collected!__and how often had her eyes fallen on the same
shrubs in the lawn, and observed the same beautiful effect of the
western sun!__But never in such a state of spirits, never in any thing
like it; and it was with difficulty that she could summon enough of her
usual self to be the attentive lady of the house, or even the attentive
Poor Mr. Woodhouse little suspected what was plotting against him in
the breast of that man whom he was so cordially welcoming, and so
anxiously hoping might not have taken cold from his ride.__Could he
have seen the heart, he would have cared very little for the lungs; but
without the most distant imagination of the impending evil, without the
slightest perception of any thing extraordinary in the looks or ways of
either, he repeated to them very comfortably all the articles of news
he had received from Mr. Perry, and talked on with much
self_contentment, totally unsuspicious of what they could have told him
As long as Mr. Knightley remained with them, Emma's fever continued;
but when he was gone, she began to be a little tranquillised and
subdued__and in the course of the sleepless night, which was the tax
for such an evening, she found one or two such very serious points to
consider, as made her feel, that even her happiness must have some
alloy. Her father__and Harriet. She could not be alone without
feeling the full weight of their separate claims; and how to guard the
comfort of both to the utmost, was the question. With respect to her
father, it was a question soon answered. She hardly knew yet what Mr.
Knightley would ask; but a very short parley with her own heart
produced the most solemn resolution of never quitting her father.__She
even wept over the idea of it, as a sin of thought. While he lived, it
must be only an engagement; but she flattered herself, that if divested
of the danger of drawing her away, it might become an increase of
comfort to him.__ How to do her best by Harriet, was of more difficult
decision;__how to spare her from any unnecessary pain; how to make her
any possible atonement; how to appear least her enemy?__ On these
subjects, her perplexity and distress were very great__and her mind
had to pass again and again through every bitter reproach and sorrowful
regret that had ever surrounded it.__ She could only resolve at last,
that she would still avoid a meeting with her, and communicate all that
need be told by letter; that it would be inexpressibly desirable to
have her removed just now for a time from Highbury, and__indulging in
one scheme more__nearly resolve, that it might be practicable to get
an invitation for her to Brunswick Square.__Isabella had been pleased
with Harriet; and a few weeks spent in London must give her some
amusement.__ She did not think it in Harriet's nature to escape being
benefited by novelty and variety, by the streets, the shops, and the
children.__ At any rate, it would be a proof of attention and kindness
in herself, from whom every thing was due; a separation for the
present; an averting of the evil day, when they must all be together
She rose early, and wrote her letter to Harriet; an employment which
left her so very serious, so nearly sad, that Mr. Knightley, in walking
up to Hartfield to breakfast, did not arrive at all too soon; and half
an hour stolen afterwards to go over the same ground again with him,
literally and figuratively, was quite necessary to reinstate her in a
proper share of the happiness of the evening before.
He had not left her long, by no means long enough for her to have the
slightest inclination for thinking of any body else, when a letter was
brought her from Randalls__a very thick letter;__she guessed what it
must contain, and deprecated the necessity of reading it.__ She was now
in perfect charity with Frank Churchill; she wanted no explanations,
she wanted only to have her thoughts to herself__and as for
understanding any thing he wrote, she was sure she was incapable of
it.__It must be waded through, however. She opened the packet; it was
too surely so;__a note from Mrs. Weston to herself, ushered in the
letter from Frank to Mrs. Weston.
"I have the greatest pleasure, my dear Emma, in forwarding to you the
enclosed. I know what thorough justice you will do it, and have
scarcely a doubt of its happy effect.__I think we shall never
materially disagree about the writer again; but I will not delay you by
a long preface.__We are quite well.__This letter has been the cure of
all the little nervousness I have been feeling lately.__I did not quite
like your looks on Tuesday, but it was an ungenial morning; and though
you will never own being affected by weather, I think every body feels
a north_east wind.__I felt for your dear father very much in the storm
of Tuesday afternoon and yesterday morning, but had the comfort of
hearing last night, by Mr. Perry, that it had not made him ill.
[To Mrs. Weston.]
MY DEAR MADAM,
"If I made myself intelligible yesterday, this letter will be expected;
but expected or not, I know it will be read with candour and
indulgence.__You are all goodness, and I believe there will be need of
even all your goodness to allow for some parts of my past conduct.__
But I have been forgiven by one who had still more to resent. My
courage rises while I write. It is very difficult for the prosperous
to be humble. I have already met with such success in two applications
for pardon, that I may be in danger of thinking myself too sure of
yours, and of those among your friends who have had any ground of
offence.__You must all endeavour to comprehend the exact nature of my
situation when I first arrived at Randalls; you must consider me as
having a secret which was to be kept at all hazards. This was the
fact. My right to place myself in a situation requiring such
concealment, is another question. I shall not discuss it here. For my
temptation to -think- it a right, I refer every caviller to a brick
house, sashed windows below, and casements above, in Highbury. I dared
not address her openly; my difficulties in the then state of Enscombe
must be too well known to require definition; and I was fortunate
enough to prevail, before we parted at Weymouth, and to induce the most
upright female mind in the creation to stoop in charity to a secret
engagement.__Had she refused, I should have gone mad.__But you will be
ready to say, what was your hope in doing this?__What did you look
forward to?__To any thing, every thing__to time, chance, circumstance,
slow effects, sudden bursts, perseverance and weariness, health and
sickness. Every possibility of good was before me, and the first of
blessings secured, in obtaining her promises of faith and
correspondence. If you need farther explanation, I have the honour, my
dear madam, of being your husband's son, and the advantage of
inheriting a disposition to hope for good, which no inheritance of
houses or lands can ever equal the value of.__See me, then, under these
circumstances, arriving on my first visit to Randalls;__and here I am
conscious of wrong, for that visit might have been sooner paid. You
will look back and see that I did not come till Miss Fairfax was in
Highbury; and as -you- were the person slighted, you will forgive me
instantly; but I must work on my father's compassion, by reminding him,
that so long as I absented myself from his house, so long I lost the
blessing of knowing you. My behaviour, during the very happy fortnight
which I spent with you, did not, I hope, lay me open to reprehension,
excepting on one point. And now I come to the principal, the only
important part of my conduct while belonging to you, which excites my
own anxiety, or requires very solicitous explanation. With the
greatest respect, and the warmest friendship, do I mention Miss
Woodhouse; my father perhaps will think I ought to add, with the
deepest humiliation.__ A few words which dropped from him yesterday
spoke his opinion, and some censure I acknowledge myself liable to.__My
behaviour to Miss Woodhouse indicated, I believe, more than it ought.__
In order to assist a concealment so essential to me, I was led on to
make more than an allowable use of the sort of intimacy into which we
were immediately thrown.__I cannot deny that Miss Woodhouse was my
ostensible object__but I am sure you will believe the declaration, that
had I not been convinced of her indifference, I would not have been
induced by any selfish views to go on.__ Amiable and delightful as Miss
Woodhouse is, she never gave me the idea of a young woman likely to be
attached; and that she was perfectly free from any tendency to being
attached to me, was as much my conviction as my wish.__She received my
attentions with an easy, friendly, goodhumoured playfulness, which
exactly suited me. We seemed to understand each other. From our
relative situation, those attentions were her due, and were felt to be
so.__Whether Miss Woodhouse began really to understand me before the
expiration of that fortnight, I cannot say;__when I called to take
leave of her, I remember that I was within a moment of confessing the
truth, and I then fancied she was not without suspicion; but I have no
doubt of her having since detected me, at least in some degree.__ She
may not have surmised the whole, but her quickness must have penetrated
a part. I cannot doubt it. You will find, whenever the subject
becomes freed from its present restraints, that it did not take her
wholly by surprize. She frequently gave me hints of it. I remember
her telling me at the ball, that I owed Mrs. Elton gratitude for her
attentions to Miss Fairfax.__ I hope this history of my conduct towards
her will be admitted by you and my father as great extenuation of what
you saw amiss. While you considered me as having sinned against Emma
Woodhouse, I could deserve nothing from either. Acquit me here, and
procure for me, when it is allowable, the acquittal and good wishes of
that said Emma Woodhouse, whom I regard with so much brotherly
affection, as to long to have her as deeply and as happily in love as
myself.__ Whatever strange things I said or did during that fortnight,
you have now a key to. My heart was in Highbury, and my business was
to get my body thither as often as might be, and with the least
suspicion. If you remember any queernesses, set them all to the right
account.__ Of the pianoforte so much talked of, I feel it only
necessary to say, that its being ordered was absolutely unknown to Miss
F__, who would never have allowed me to send it, had any choice been
given her.__ The delicacy of her mind throughout the whole engagement,
my dear madam, is much beyond my power of doing justice to. You will
soon, I earnestly hope, know her thoroughly yourself.__ No description
can describe her. She must tell you herself what she is__yet not by
word, for never was there a human creature who would so designedly
suppress her own merit.__Since I began this letter, which will be
longer than I foresaw, I have heard from her.__ She gives a good
account of her own health; but as she never complains, I dare not
depend. I want to have your opinion of her looks. I know you will
soon call on her; she is living in dread of the visit. Perhaps it is
paid already. Let me hear from you without delay; I am impatient for a
thousand particulars. Remember how few minutes I was at Randalls, and
in how bewildered, how mad a state: and I am not much better yet; still
insane either from happiness or misery. When I think of the kindness
and favour I have met with, of her excellence and patience, and my
uncle's generosity, I am mad with joy: but when I recollect all the
uneasiness I occasioned her, and how little I deserve to be forgiven, I
am mad with anger. If I could but see her again!__But I must not
propose it yet. My uncle has been too good for me to encroach.__I must
still add to this long letter. You have not heard all that you ought
to hear. I could not give any connected detail yesterday; but the
suddenness, and, in one light, the unseasonableness with which the
affair burst out, needs explanation; for though the event of the 26th
ult., as you will conclude, immediately opened to me the happiest
prospects, I should not have presumed on such early measures, but from
the very particular circumstances, which left me not an hour to lose.
I should myself have shrunk from any thing so hasty, and she would have
felt every scruple of mine with multiplied strength and refinement.__
But I had no choice. The hasty engagement she had entered into with
that woman__Here, my dear madam, I was obliged to leave off abruptly,
to recollect and compose myself.__I have been walking over the country,
and am now, I hope, rational enough to make the rest of my letter what
it ought to be.__It is, in fact, a most mortifying retrospect for me.
I behaved shamefully. And here I can admit, that my manners to Miss
W., in being unpleasant to Miss F., were highly blameable. -She-
disapproved them, which ought to have been enough.__My plea of
concealing the truth she did not think sufficient.__She was displeased;
I thought unreasonably so: I thought her, on a thousand occasions,
unnecessarily scrupulous and cautious: I thought her even cold. But
she was always right. If I had followed her judgment, and subdued my
spirits to the level of what she deemed proper, I should have escaped
the greatest unhappiness I have ever known.__We quarrelled.__ Do you
remember the morning spent at Donwell?__-There- every little
dissatisfaction that had occurred before came to a crisis. I was late;
I met her walking home by herself, and wanted to walk with her, but she
would not suffer it. She absolutely refused to allow me, which I then
thought most unreasonable. Now, however, I see nothing in it but a
very natural and consistent degree of discretion. While I, to blind
the world to our engagement, was behaving one hour with objectionable
particularity to another woman, was she to be consenting the next to a
proposal which might have made every previous caution useless?__Had we
been met walking together between Donwell and Highbury, the truth must
have been suspected.__ I was mad enough, however, to resent.__I doubted
her affection. I doubted it more the next day on Box Hill; when,
provoked by such conduct on my side, such shameful, insolent neglect of
her, and such apparent devotion to Miss W., as it would have been
impossible for any woman of sense to endure, she spoke her resentment
in a form of words perfectly intelligible to me.__ In short, my dear
madam, it was a quarrel blameless on her side, abominable on mine; and
I returned the same evening to Richmond, though I might have staid with
you till the next morning, merely because I would be as angry with her
as possible. Even then, I was not such a fool as not to mean to be
reconciled in time; but I was the injured person, injured by her
coldness, and I went away determined that she should make the first
advances.__I shall always congratulate myself that you were not of the
Box Hill party. Had you witnessed my behaviour there, I can hardly
suppose you would ever have thought well of me again. Its effect upon
her appears in the immediate resolution it produced: as soon as she
found I was really gone from Randalls, she closed with the offer of
that officious Mrs. Elton; the whole system of whose treatment of her,
by the bye, has ever filled me with indignation and hatred. I must not
quarrel with a spirit of forbearance which has been so richly extended
towards myself; but, otherwise, I should loudly protest against the
share of it which that woman has known.__ 'Jane,' indeed!__You will
observe that I have not yet indulged myself in calling her by that
name, even to you. Think, then, what I must have endured in hearing it
bandied between the Eltons with all the vulgarity of needless
repetition, and all the insolence of imaginary superiority. Have
patience with me, I shall soon have done.__ She closed with this offer,
resolving to break with me entirely, and wrote the next day to tell me
that we never were to meet again.__ -She- -felt- -the- -engagement-
-to- -be- -a- -source- -of- -repentance- -and- -misery- -to- -each-:
-she- -dissolved- -it-.__This letter reached me on the very morning of
my poor aunt's death. I answered it within an hour; but from the
confusion of my mind, and the multiplicity of business falling on me at
once, my answer, instead of being sent with all the many other letters
of that day, was locked up in my writing_desk; and I, trusting that I
had written enough, though but a few lines, to satisfy her, remained
without any uneasiness.__I was rather disappointed that I did not hear
from her again speedily; but I made excuses for her, and was too busy,
and__may I add?__ too cheerful in my views to be captious.__We removed
to Windsor; and two days afterwards I received a parcel from her, my
own letters all returned!__and a few lines at the same time by the
post, stating her extreme surprize at not having had the smallest reply
to her last; and adding, that as silence on such a point could not be
misconstrued, and as it must be equally desirable to both to have every
subordinate arrangement concluded as soon as possible, she now sent me,
by a safe conveyance, all my letters, and requested, that if I could
not directly command hers, so as to send them to Highbury within a
week, I would forward them after that period to her at__: in short,
the full direction to Mr. Smallridge's, near Bristol, stared me in the
face. I knew the name, the place, I knew all about it, and instantly
saw what she had been doing. It was perfectly accordant with that
resolution of character which I knew her to possess; and the secrecy
she had maintained, as to any such design in her former letter, was
equally descriptive of its anxious delicacy. For the world would not
she have seemed to threaten me.__Imagine the shock; imagine how, till I
had actually detected my own blunder, I raved at the blunders of the
post.__ What was to be done?__One thing only.__I must speak to my
uncle. Without his sanction I could not hope to be listened to
again.__ I spoke; circumstances were in my favour; the late event had
softened away his pride, and he was, earlier than I could have
anticipated, wholly reconciled and complying; and could say at last,
poor man! with a deep sigh, that he wished I might find as much
happiness in the marriage state as he had done.__I felt that it would
be of a different sort.__Are you disposed to pity me for what I must
have suffered in opening the cause to him, for my suspense while all
was at stake?__No; do not pity me till I reached Highbury, and saw how
ill I had made her. Do not pity me till I saw her wan, sick looks.__I
reached Highbury at the time of day when, from my knowledge of their
late breakfast hour, I was certain of a good chance of finding her
alone.__I was not disappointed; and at last I was not disappointed
either in the object of my journey. A great deal of very reasonable,
very just displeasure I had to persuade away. But it is done; we are
reconciled, dearer, much dearer, than ever, and no moment's uneasiness
can ever occur between us again. Now, my dear madam, I will release
you; but I could not conclude before. A thousand and a thousand thanks
for all the kindness you have ever shewn me, and ten thousand for the
attentions your heart will dictate towards her.__If you think me in a
way to be happier than I deserve, I am quite of your opinion.__Miss W.
calls me the child of good fortune. I hope she is right.__In one
respect, my good fortune is undoubted, that of being able to subscribe
Your obliged and affectionate Son,
F. C. WESTON CHURCHILL.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 15
This letter must make its way to Emma's feelings. She was obliged, in
spite of her previous determination to the contrary, to do it all the
justice that Mrs. Weston foretold. As soon as she came to her own
name, it was irresistible; every line relating to herself was
interesting, and almost every line agreeable; and when this charm
ceased, the subject could still maintain itself, by the natural return
of her former regard for the writer, and the very strong attraction
which any picture of love must have for her at that moment. She never
stopt till she had gone through the whole; and though it was impossible
not to feel that he had been wrong, yet he had been less wrong than she
had supposed__and he had suffered, and was very sorry__and he was so
grateful to Mrs. Weston, and so much in love with Miss Fairfax, and she
was so happy herself, that there was no being severe; and could he have
entered the room, she must have shaken hands with him as heartily as
She thought so well of the letter, that when Mr. Knightley came again,
she desired him to read it. She was sure of Mrs. Weston's wishing it
to be communicated; especially to one, who, like Mr. Knightley, had
seen so much to blame in his conduct.
"I shall be very glad to look it over," said he; "but it seems long. I
will take it home with me at night."
But that would not do. Mr. Weston was to call in the evening, and she
must return it by him.
"I would rather be talking to you," he replied; "but as it seems a
matter of justice, it shall be done."
He began__stopping, however, almost directly to say, "Had I been
offered the sight of one of this gentleman's letters to his
mother_in_law a few months ago, Emma, it would not have been taken with
He proceeded a little farther, reading to himself; and then, with a
smile, observed, "Humph! a fine complimentary opening: But it is his
way. One man's style must not be the rule of another's. We will not
"It will be natural for me," he added shortly afterwards, "to speak my
opinion aloud as I read. By doing it, I shall feel that I am near you.
It will not be so great a loss of time: but if you dislike it__"
"Not at all. I should wish it."
Mr. Knightley returned to his reading with greater alacrity.
"He trifles here," said he, "as to the temptation. He knows he is
wrong, and has nothing rational to urge.__Bad.__He ought not to have
formed the engagement.__'His father's disposition:'__he is unjust,
however, to his father. Mr. Weston's sanguine temper was a blessing on
all his upright and honourable exertions; but Mr. Weston earned every
present comfort before he endeavoured to gain it.__Very true; he did
not come till Miss Fairfax was here."
"And I have not forgotten," said Emma, "how sure you were that he might
have come sooner if he would. You pass it over very handsomely__but
you were perfectly right."
"I was not quite impartial in my judgment, Emma:__but yet, I think__
had -you- not been in the case__I should still have distrusted him."
When he came to Miss Woodhouse, he was obliged to read the whole of it
aloud__all that related to her, with a smile; a look; a shake of the
head; a word or two of assent, or disapprobation; or merely of love, as
the subject required; concluding, however, seriously, and, after steady
"Very bad__though it might have been worse.__Playing a most dangerous
game. Too much indebted to the event for his acquittal.__ No judge of
his own manners by you.__Always deceived in fact by his own wishes, and
regardless of little besides his own convenience.__ Fancying you to
have fathomed his secret. Natural enough!__his own mind full of
intrigue, that he should suspect it in others.__Mystery; Finesse__how
they pervert the understanding! My Emma, does not every thing serve to
prove more and more the beauty of truth and sincerity in all our
dealings with each other?"
Emma agreed to it, and with a blush of sensibility on Harriet's
account, which she could not give any sincere explanation of.
"You had better go on," said she.
He did so, but very soon stopt again to say, "the pianoforte! Ah!
That was the act of a very, very young man, one too young to consider
whether the inconvenience of it might not very much exceed the
pleasure. A boyish scheme, indeed!__I cannot comprehend a man's
wishing to give a woman any proof of affection which he knows she would
rather dispense with; and he did know that she would have prevented the
instrument's coming if she could."
After this, he made some progress without any pause. Frank Churchill's
confession of having behaved shamefully was the first thing to call for
more than a word in passing.
"I perfectly agree with you, sir,"__was then his remark. "You did
behave very shamefully. You never wrote a truer line." And having gone
through what immediately followed of the basis of their disagreement,
and his persisting to act in direct opposition to Jane Fairfax's sense
of right, he made a fuller pause to say, "This is very bad.__He had
induced her to place herself, for his sake, in a situation of extreme
difficulty and uneasiness, and it should have been his first object to
prevent her from suffering unnecessarily.__She must have had much more
to contend with, in carrying on the correspondence, than he could. He
should have respected even unreasonable scruples, had there been such;
but hers were all reasonable. We must look to her one fault, and
remember that she had done a wrong thing in consenting to the
engagement, to bear that she should have been in such a state of
Emma knew that he was now getting to the Box Hill party, and grew
uncomfortable. Her own behaviour had been so very improper! She was
deeply ashamed, and a little afraid of his next look. It was all read,
however, steadily, attentively, and without the smallest remark; and,
excepting one momentary glance at her, instantly withdrawn, in the fear
of giving pain__no remembrance of Box Hill seemed to exist.
"There is no saying much for the delicacy of our good friends, the
Eltons," was his next observation.__"His feelings are natural.__ What!
actually resolve to break with him entirely!__She felt the engagement
to be a source of repentance and misery to each__she dissolved
it.__What a view this gives of her sense of his behaviour!__Well, he
must be a most extraordinary__"
"Nay, nay, read on.__You will find how very much he suffers."
"I hope he does," replied Mr. Knightley coolly, and resuming the
letter. "'Smallridge!'__What does this mean? What is all this?"
"She had engaged to go as governess to Mrs. Smallridge's children__a
dear friend of Mrs. Elton's__a neighbour of Maple Grove; and, by the
bye, I wonder how Mrs. Elton bears the disappointment?"
"Say nothing, my dear Emma, while you oblige me to read__not even of
Mrs. Elton. Only one page more. I shall soon have done. What a
letter the man writes!"
"I wish you would read it with a kinder spirit towards him."
"Well, there -is- feeling here.__He does seem to have suffered in
finding her ill.__Certainly, I can have no doubt of his being fond of
her. 'Dearer, much dearer than ever.' I hope he may long continue to
feel all the value of such a reconciliation.__He is a very liberal
thanker, with his thousands and tens of thousands.__'Happier than I
deserve.' Come, he knows himself there. 'Miss Woodhouse calls me the
child of good fortune.'__Those were Miss Woodhouse's words, were
they?__ And a fine ending__and there is the letter. The child of good
fortune! That was your name for him, was it?"
"You do not appear so well satisfied with his letter as I am; but still
you must, at least I hope you must, think the better of him for it. I
hope it does him some service with you."
"Yes, certainly it does. He has had great faults, faults of
inconsideration and thoughtlessness; and I am very much of his opinion
in thinking him likely to be happier than he deserves: but still as he
is, beyond a doubt, really attached to Miss Fairfax, and will soon, it
may be hoped, have the advantage of being constantly with her, I am
very ready to believe his character will improve, and acquire from hers
the steadiness and delicacy of principle that it wants. And now, let
me talk to you of something else. I have another person's interest at
present so much at heart, that I cannot think any longer about Frank
Churchill. Ever since I left you this morning, Emma, my mind has been
hard at work on one subject."
The subject followed; it was in plain, unaffected, gentlemanlike
English, such as Mr. Knightley used even to the woman he was in love
with, how to be able to ask her to marry him, without attacking the
happiness of her father. Emma's answer was ready at the first word.
"While her dear father lived, any change of condition must be
impossible for her. She could never quit him." Part only of this
answer, however, was admitted. The impossibility of her quitting her
father, Mr. Knightley felt as strongly as herself; but the
inadmissibility of any other change, he could not agree to. He had
been thinking it over most deeply, most intently; he had at first hoped
to induce Mr. Woodhouse to remove with her to Donwell; he had wanted to
believe it feasible, but his knowledge of Mr. Woodhouse would not
suffer him to deceive himself long; and now he confessed his
persuasion, that such a transplantation would be a risk of her father's
comfort, perhaps even of his life, which must not be hazarded. Mr.
Woodhouse taken from Hartfield!__No, he felt that it ought not to be
attempted. But the plan which had arisen on the sacrifice of this, he
trusted his dearest Emma would not find in any respect objectionable;
it was, that he should be received at Hartfield; that so long as her
father's happiness in other words his life__required Hartfield to
continue her home, it should be his likewise.
Of their all removing to Donwell, Emma had already had her own passing
thoughts. Like him, she had tried the scheme and rejected it; but such
an alternative as this had not occurred to her. She was sensible of
all the affection it evinced. She felt that, in quitting Donwell, he
must be sacrificing a great deal of independence of hours and habits;
that in living constantly with her father, and in no house of his own,
there would be much, very much, to be borne with. She promised to
think of it, and advised him to think of it more; but he was fully
convinced, that no reflection could alter his wishes or his opinion on
the subject. He had given it, he could assure her, very long and calm
consideration; he had been walking away from William Larkins the whole
morning, to have his thoughts to himself.
"Ah! there is one difficulty unprovided for," cried Emma. "I am sure
William Larkins will not like it. You must get his consent before you
She promised, however, to think of it; and pretty nearly promised,
moreover, to think of it, with the intention of finding it a very good
It is remarkable, that Emma, in the many, very many, points of view in
which she was now beginning to consider Donwell Abbey, was never struck
with any sense of injury to her nephew Henry, whose rights as
heir_expectant had formerly been so tenaciously regarded. Think she
must of the possible difference to the poor little boy; and yet she
only gave herself a saucy conscious smile about it, and found amusement
in detecting the real cause of that violent dislike of Mr. Knightley's
marrying Jane Fairfax, or any body else, which at the time she had
wholly imputed to the amiable solicitude of the sister and the aunt.
This proposal of his, this plan of marrying and continuing at
Hartfield__the more she contemplated it, the more pleasing it became.
His evils seemed to lessen, her own advantages to increase, their
mutual good to outweigh every drawback. Such a companion for herself
in the periods of anxiety and cheerlessness before her!__ Such a
partner in all those duties and cares to which time must be giving
increase of melancholy!
She would have been too happy but for poor Harriet; but every blessing
of her own seemed to involve and advance the sufferings of her friend,
who must now be even excluded from Hartfield. The delightful family
party which Emma was securing for herself, poor Harriet must, in mere
charitable caution, be kept at a distance from. She would be a loser
in every way. Emma could not deplore her future absence as any
deduction from her own enjoyment. In such a party, Harriet would be
rather a dead weight than otherwise; but for the poor girl herself, it
seemed a peculiarly cruel necessity that was to be placing her in such
a state of unmerited punishment.
In time, of course, Mr. Knightley would be forgotten, that is,
supplanted; but this could not be expected to happen very early. Mr.
Knightley himself would be doing nothing to assist the cure;__not like
Mr. Elton. Mr. Knightley, always so kind, so feeling, so truly
considerate for every body, would never deserve to be less worshipped
than now; and it really was too much to hope even of Harriet, that she
could be in love with more than -three- men in one year.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 16
It was a very great relief to Emma to find Harriet as desirous as
herself to avoid a meeting. Their intercourse was painful enough by
letter. How much worse, had they been obliged to meet!
Harriet expressed herself very much as might be supposed, without
reproaches, or apparent sense of ill_usage; and yet Emma fancied there
was a something of resentment, a something bordering on it in her
style, which increased the desirableness of their being separate.__ It
might be only her own consciousness; but it seemed as if an angel only
could have been quite without resentment under such a stroke.
She had no difficulty in procuring Isabella's invitation; and she was
fortunate in having a sufficient reason for asking it, without
resorting to invention.__There was a tooth amiss. Harriet really
wished, and had wished some time, to consult a dentist. Mrs. John
Knightley was delighted to be of use; any thing of ill health was a
recommendation to her__and though not so fond of a dentist as of a Mr.
Wingfield, she was quite eager to have Harriet under her care.__When it
was thus settled on her sister's side, Emma proposed it to her friend,
and found her very persuadable.__ Harriet was to go; she was invited
for at least a fortnight; she was to be conveyed in Mr. Woodhouse's
carriage.__It was all arranged, it was all completed, and Harriet was
safe in Brunswick Square.
Now Emma could, indeed, enjoy Mr. Knightley's visits; now she could
talk, and she could listen with true happiness, unchecked by that sense
of injustice, of guilt, of something most painful, which had haunted
her when remembering how disappointed a heart was near her, how much
might at that moment, and at a little distance, be enduring by the
feelings which she had led astray herself.
The difference of Harriet at Mrs. Goddard's, or in London, made perhaps
an unreasonable difference in Emma's sensations; but she could not
think of her in London without objects of curiosity and employment,
which must be averting the past, and carrying her out of herself.
She would not allow any other anxiety to succeed directly to the place
in her mind which Harriet had occupied. There was a communication
before her, one which -she- only could be competent to make__the
confession of her engagement to her father; but she would have nothing
to do with it at present.__She had resolved to defer the disclosure
till Mrs. Weston were safe and well. No additional agitation should be
thrown at this period among those she loved__and the evil should not
act on herself by anticipation before the appointed time.__A fortnight,
at least, of leisure and peace of mind, to crown every warmer, but more
agitating, delight, should be hers.
She soon resolved, equally as a duty and a pleasure, to employ half an
hour of this holiday of spirits in calling on Miss Fairfax.__ She ought
to go__and she was longing to see her; the resemblance of their present
situations increasing every other motive of goodwill. It would be a
-secret- satisfaction; but the consciousness of a similarity of
prospect would certainly add to the interest with which she should
attend to any thing Jane might communicate.
She went__she had driven once unsuccessfully to the door, but had not
been into the house since the morning after Box Hill, when poor Jane
had been in such distress as had filled her with compassion, though all
the worst of her sufferings had been unsuspected.__ The fear of being
still unwelcome, determined her, though assured of their being at home,
to wait in the passage, and send up her name.__ She heard Patty
announcing it; but no such bustle succeeded as poor Miss Bates had
before made so happily intelligible.__No; she heard nothing but the
instant reply of, "Beg her to walk up;"__and a moment afterwards she
was met on the stairs by Jane herself, coming eagerly forward, as if no
other reception of her were felt sufficient.__ Emma had never seen her
look so well, so lovely, so engaging. There was consciousness,
animation, and warmth; there was every thing which her countenance or
manner could ever have wanted.__ She came forward with an offered hand;
and said, in a low, but very feeling tone,
"This is most kind, indeed!__Miss Woodhouse, it is impossible for me to
express__I hope you will believe__Excuse me for being so entirely
Emma was gratified, and would soon have shewn no want of words, if the
sound of Mrs. Elton's voice from the sitting_room had not checked her,
and made it expedient to compress all her friendly and all her
congratulatory sensations into a very, very earnest shake of the hand.
Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Elton were together. Miss Bates was out, which
accounted for the previous tranquillity. Emma could have wished Mrs.
Elton elsewhere; but she was in a humour to have patience with every
body; and as Mrs. Elton met her with unusual graciousness, she hoped
the rencontre would do them no harm.
She soon believed herself to penetrate Mrs. Elton's thoughts, and
understand why she was, like herself, in happy spirits; it was being in
Miss Fairfax's confidence, and fancying herself acquainted with what
was still a secret to other people. Emma saw symptoms of it
immediately in the expression of her face; and while paying her own
compliments to Mrs. Bates, and appearing to attend to the good old
lady's replies, she saw her with a sort of anxious parade of mystery
fold up a letter which she had apparently been reading aloud to Miss
Fairfax, and return it into the purple and gold reticule by her side,
saying, with significant nods,
"We can finish this some other time, you know. You and I shall not
want opportunities. And, in fact, you have heard all the essential
already. I only wanted to prove to you that Mrs. S. admits our
apology, and is not offended. You see how delightfully she writes.
Oh! she is a sweet creature! You would have doated on her, had you
gone.__But not a word more. Let us be discreet__quite on our good
behaviour.__Hush!__You remember those lines__ I forget the poem at this
"For when a lady's in the case,
"You know all other things give place."
Now I say, my dear, in -our- case, for -lady-, read____mum! a word to
the wise.__I am in a fine flow of spirits, an't I? But I want to set
your heart at ease as to Mrs. S.__-My- representation, you see, has
quite appeased her."
And again, on Emma's merely turning her head to look at Mrs. Bates's
knitting, she added, in a half whisper,
"I mentioned no -names-, you will observe.__Oh! no; cautious as a
minister of state. I managed it extremely well."
Emma could not doubt. It was a palpable display, repeated on every
possible occasion. When they had all talked a little while in harmony
of the weather and Mrs. Weston, she found herself abruptly addressed
"Do not you think, Miss Woodhouse, our saucy little friend here is
charmingly recovered?__Do not you think her cure does Perry the highest
credit?__(here was a side_glance of great meaning at Jane.) Upon my
word, Perry has restored her in a wonderful short time!__ Oh! if you
had seen her, as I did, when she was at the worst!"__ And when Mrs.
Bates was saying something to Emma, whispered farther, "We do not say a
word of any -assistance- that Perry might have; not a word of a certain
young physician from Windsor.__Oh! no; Perry shall have all the credit."
"I have scarce had the pleasure of seeing you, Miss Woodhouse," she
shortly afterwards began, "since the party to Box Hill. Very pleasant
party. But yet I think there was something wanting. Things did not
seem__that is, there seemed a little cloud upon the spirits of
some.__So it appeared to me at least, but I might be mistaken.
However, I think it answered so far as to tempt one to go again. What
say you both to our collecting the same party, and exploring to Box
Hill again, while the fine weather lasts?__ It must be the same party,
you know, quite the same party, not -one- exception."
Soon after this Miss Bates came in, and Emma could not help being
diverted by the perplexity of her first answer to herself, resulting,
she supposed, from doubt of what might be said, and impatience to say
"Thank you, dear Miss Woodhouse, you are all kindness.__It is
impossible to say__Yes, indeed, I quite understand__dearest Jane's
prospects__that is, I do not mean.__But she is charmingly recovered.__
How is Mr. Woodhouse?__I am so glad.__Quite out of my power.__ Such a
happy little circle as you find us here.__Yes, indeed.__ Charming young
man!__that is__so very friendly; I mean good Mr. Perry!__such
attention to Jane!"__And from her great, her more than commonly
thankful delight towards Mrs. Elton for being there, Emma guessed that
there had been a little show of resentment towards Jane, from the
vicarage quarter, which was now graciously overcome.__ After a few
whispers, indeed, which placed it beyond a guess, Mrs. Elton, speaking
"Yes, here I am, my good friend; and here I have been so long, that
anywhere else I should think it necessary to apologise; but, the truth
is, that I am waiting for my lord and master. He promised to join me
here, and pay his respects to you."
"What! are we to have the pleasure of a call from Mr. Elton?__ That
will be a favour indeed! for I know gentlemen do not like morning
visits, and Mr. Elton's time is so engaged."
"Upon my word it is, Miss Bates.__He really is engaged from morning to
night.__There is no end of people's coming to him, on some pretence or
other.__The magistrates, and overseers, and churchwardens, are always
wanting his opinion. They seem not able to do any thing without
him.__'Upon my word, Mr. E.,' I often say, 'rather you than I.__ I do
not know what would become of my crayons and my instrument, if I had
half so many applicants.'__Bad enough as it is, for I absolutely
neglect them both to an unpardonable degree.__I believe I have not
played a bar this fortnight.__However, he is coming, I assure you:
yes, indeed, on purpose to wait on you all." And putting up her hand
to screen her words from Emma__"A congratulatory visit, you know.__Oh!
yes, quite indispensable."
Miss Bates looked about her, so happily!__
"He promised to come to me as soon as he could disengage himself from
Knightley; but he and Knightley are shut up together in deep
consultation.__Mr. E. is Knightley's right hand."
Emma would not have smiled for the world, and only said, "Is Mr. Elton
gone on foot to Donwell?__He will have a hot walk."
"Oh! no, it is a meeting at the Crown, a regular meeting. Weston and
Cole will be there too; but one is apt to speak only of those who
lead.__I fancy Mr. E. and Knightley have every thing their own way."
"Have not you mistaken the day?" said Emma. "I am almost certain that
the meeting at the Crown is not till to_morrow.__Mr. Knightley was at
Hartfield yesterday, and spoke of it as for Saturday."
"Oh! no, the meeting is certainly to_day," was the abrupt answer, which
denoted the impossibility of any blunder on Mrs. Elton's side.__ "I do
believe," she continued, "this is the most troublesome parish that ever
was. We never heard of such things at Maple Grove."
"Your parish there was small," said Jane.
"Upon my word, my dear, I do not know, for I never heard the subject
"But it is proved by the smallness of the school, which I have heard
you speak of, as under the patronage of your sister and Mrs. Bragge;
the only school, and not more than five_and_twenty children."
"Ah! you clever creature, that's very true. What a thinking brain you
have! I say, Jane, what a perfect character you and I should make, if
we could be shaken together. My liveliness and your solidity would
produce perfection.__Not that I presume to insinuate, however, that
-some- people may not think -you- perfection already.__But hush!__not
a word, if you please."
It seemed an unnecessary caution; Jane was wanting to give her words,
not to Mrs. Elton, but to Miss Woodhouse, as the latter plainly saw.
The wish of distinguishing her, as far as civility permitted, was very
evident, though it could not often proceed beyond a look.
Mr. Elton made his appearance. His lady greeted him with some of her
"Very pretty, sir, upon my word; to send me on here, to be an
encumbrance to my friends, so long before you vouchsafe to come!__ But
you knew what a dutiful creature you had to deal with. You knew I
should not stir till my lord and master appeared.__ Here have I been
sitting this hour, giving these young ladies a sample of true conjugal
obedience__for who can say, you know, how soon it may be wanted?"
Mr. Elton was so hot and tired, that all this wit seemed thrown away.
His civilities to the other ladies must be paid; but his subsequent
object was to lament over himself for the heat he was suffering, and
the walk he had had for nothing.
"When I got to Donwell," said he, "Knightley could not be found. Very
odd! very unaccountable! after the note I sent him this morning, and
the message he returned, that he should certainly be at home till one."
"Donwell!" cried his wife.__"My dear Mr. E., you have not been to
Donwell!__You mean the Crown; you come from the meeting at the Crown."
"No, no, that's to_morrow; and I particularly wanted to see Knightley
to_day on that very account.__Such a dreadful broiling morning!__ I
went over the fields too__(speaking in a tone of great ill_usage,)
which made it so much the worse. And then not to find him at home! I
assure you I am not at all pleased. And no apology left, no message
for me. The housekeeper declared she knew nothing of my being
expected.__ Very extraordinary!__And nobody knew at all which way he
was gone. Perhaps to Hartfield, perhaps to the Abbey Mill, perhaps
into his woods.__ Miss Woodhouse, this is not like our friend
Knightley!__Can you explain it?"
Emma amused herself by protesting that it was very extraordinary,
indeed, and that she had not a syllable to say for him.
"I cannot imagine," said Mrs. Elton, (feeling the indignity as a wife
ought to do,) "I cannot imagine how he could do such a thing by you, of
all people in the world! The very last person whom one should expect
to be forgotten!__My dear Mr. E., he must have left a message for you,
I am sure he must.__Not even Knightley could be so very eccentric;__
and his servants forgot it. Depend upon it, that was the case: and
very likely to happen with the Donwell servants, who are all, I have
often observed, extremely awkward and remiss.__I am sure I would not
have such a creature as his Harry stand at our sideboard for any
consideration. And as for Mrs. Hodges, Wright holds her very cheap
indeed.__She promised Wright a receipt, and never sent it."
"I met William Larkins," continued Mr. Elton, "as I got near the house,
and he told me I should not find his master at home, but I did not
believe him.__William seemed rather out of humour. He did not know
what was come to his master lately, he said, but he could hardly ever
get the speech of him. I have nothing to do with William's wants, but
it really is of very great importance that -I- should see Knightley
to_day; and it becomes a matter, therefore, of very serious
inconvenience that I should have had this hot walk to no purpose."
Emma felt that she could not do better than go home directly. In all
probability she was at this very time waited for there; and Mr.
Knightley might be preserved from sinking deeper in aggression towards
Mr. Elton, if not towards William Larkins.
She was pleased, on taking leave, to find Miss Fairfax determined to
attend her out of the room, to go with her even downstairs; it gave her
an opportunity which she immediately made use of, to say,
"It is as well, perhaps, that I have not had the possibility. Had you
not been surrounded by other friends, I might have been tempted to
introduce a subject, to ask questions, to speak more openly than might
have been strictly correct.__I feel that I should certainly have been
"Oh!" cried Jane, with a blush and an hesitation which Emma thought
infinitely more becoming to her than all the elegance of all her usual
composure__"there would have been no danger. The danger would have
been of my wearying you. You could not have gratified me more than by
expressing an interest__. Indeed, Miss Woodhouse, (speaking more
collectedly,) with the consciousness which I have of misconduct, very
great misconduct, it is particularly consoling to me to know that those
of my friends, whose good opinion is most worth preserving, are not
disgusted to such a degree as to__I have not time for half that I could
wish to say. I long to make apologies, excuses, to urge something for
myself. I feel it so very due. But, unfortunately__in short, if your
compassion does not stand my friend__"
"Oh! you are too scrupulous, indeed you are," cried Emma warmly, and
taking her hand. "You owe me no apologies; and every body to whom you
might be supposed to owe them, is so perfectly satisfied, so delighted
"You are very kind, but I know what my manners were to you.__ So cold
and artificial!__I had always a part to act.__It was a life of
deceit!__I know that I must have disgusted you."
"Pray say no more. I feel that all the apologies should be on my side.
Let us forgive each other at once. We must do whatever is to be done
quickest, and I think our feelings will lose no time there. I hope you
have pleasant accounts from Windsor?"
"And the next news, I suppose, will be, that we are to lose you__just
as I begin to know you."
"Oh! as to all that, of course nothing can be thought of yet. I am
here till claimed by Colonel and Mrs. Campbell."
"Nothing can be actually settled yet, perhaps," replied Emma,
smiling__"but, excuse me, it must be thought of."
The smile was returned as Jane answered,
"You are very right; it has been thought of. And I will own to you, (I
am sure it will be safe), that so far as our living with Mr. Churchill
at Enscombe, it is settled. There must be three months, at least, of
deep mourning; but when they are over, I imagine there will be nothing
more to wait for."
"Thank you, thank you.__This is just what I wanted to be assured of.__
Oh! if you knew how much I love every thing that is decided and open!__
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 17
Mrs. Weston's friends were all made happy by her safety; and if the
satisfaction of her well_doing could be increased to Emma, it was by
knowing her to be the mother of a little girl. She had been decided in
wishing for a Miss Weston. She would not acknowledge that it was with
any view of making a match for her, hereafter, with either of
Isabella's sons; but she was convinced that a daughter would suit both
father and mother best. It would be a great comfort to Mr. Weston, as
he grew older__and even Mr. Weston might be growing older ten years
hence__to have his fireside enlivened by the sports and the nonsense,
the freaks and the fancies of a child never banished from home; and
Mrs. Weston__no one could doubt that a daughter would be most to her;
and it would be quite a pity that any one who so well knew how to
teach, should not have their powers in exercise again.
"She has had the advantage, you know, of practising on me," she
continued__"like La Baronne d'Almane on La Comtesse d'Ostalis, in
Madame de Genlis' Adelaide and Theodore, and we shall now see her own
little Adelaide educated on a more perfect plan."
"That is," replied Mr. Knightley, "she will indulge her even more than
she did you, and believe that she does not indulge her at all. It will
be the only difference."
"Poor child!" cried Emma; "at that rate, what will become of her?"
"Nothing very bad.__The fate of thousands. She will be disagreeable in
infancy, and correct herself as she grows older. I am losing all my
bitterness against spoilt children, my dearest Emma. I, who am owing
all my happiness to -you-, would not it be horrible ingratitude in me
to be severe on them?"
Emma laughed, and replied: "But I had the assistance of all your
endeavours to counteract the indulgence of other people. I doubt
whether my own sense would have corrected me without it."
"Do you?__I have no doubt. Nature gave you understanding:__ Miss
Taylor gave you principles. You must have done well. My interference
was quite as likely to do harm as good. It was very natural for you to
say, what right has he to lecture me?__and I am afraid very natural
for you to feel that it was done in a disagreeable manner. I do not
believe I did you any good. The good was all to myself, by making you
an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about
you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of
fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were
thirteen at least."
"I am sure you were of use to me," cried Emma. "I was very often
influenced rightly by you__oftener than I would own at the time. I am
very sure you did me good. And if poor little Anna Weston is to be
spoiled, it will be the greatest humanity in you to do as much for her
as you have done for me, except falling in love with her when she is
"How often, when you were a girl, have you said to me, with one of your
saucy looks__'Mr. Knightley, I am going to do so_and_so; papa says I
may, or I have Miss Taylor's leave'__something which, you knew, I did
not approve. In such cases my interference was giving you two bad
feelings instead of one."
"What an amiable creature I was!__No wonder you should hold my speeches
in such affectionate remembrance."
"'Mr. Knightley.'__You always called me, 'Mr. Knightley;' and, from
habit, it has not so very formal a sound.__And yet it is formal. I
want you to call me something else, but I do not know what."
"I remember once calling you 'George,' in one of my amiable fits, about
ten years ago. I did it because I thought it would offend you; but, as
you made no objection, I never did it again."
"And cannot you call me 'George' now?"
"Impossible!__I never can call you any thing but 'Mr. Knightley.' I
will not promise even to equal the elegant terseness of Mrs. Elton, by
calling you Mr. K.__But I will promise," she added presently, laughing
and blushing__"I will promise to call you once by your Christian name.
I do not say when, but perhaps you may guess where;__in the building in
which N. takes M. for better, for worse."
Emma grieved that she could not be more openly just to one important
service which his better sense would have rendered her, to the advice
which would have saved her from the worst of all her womanly
follies__her wilful intimacy with Harriet Smith; but it was too tender
a subject.__She could not enter on it.__ Harriet was very seldom
mentioned between them. This, on his side, might merely proceed from
her not being thought of; but Emma was rather inclined to attribute it
to delicacy, and a suspicion, from some appearances, that their
friendship were declining. She was aware herself, that, parting under
any other circumstances, they certainly should have corresponded more,
and that her intelligence would not have rested, as it now almost
wholly did, on Isabella's letters. He might observe that it was so.
The pain of being obliged to practise concealment towards him, was very
little inferior to the pain of having made Harriet unhappy.
Isabella sent quite as good an account of her visitor as could be
expected; on her first arrival she had thought her out of spirits,
which appeared perfectly natural, as there was a dentist to be
consulted; but, since that business had been over, she did not appear
to find Harriet different from what she had known her before.__
Isabella, to be sure, was no very quick observer; yet if Harriet had
not been equal to playing with the children, it would not have escaped
her. Emma's comforts and hopes were most agreeably carried on, by
Harriet's being to stay longer; her fortnight was likely to be a month
at least. Mr. and Mrs. John Knightley were to come down in August, and
she was invited to remain till they could bring her back.
"John does not even mention your friend," said Mr. Knightley. "Here is
his answer, if you like to see it."
It was the answer to the communication of his intended marriage. Emma
accepted it with a very eager hand, with an impatience all alive to
know what he would say about it, and not at all checked by hearing that
her friend was unmentioned.
"John enters like a brother into my happiness," continued Mr.
Knightley, "but he is no complimenter; and though I well know him to
have, likewise, a most brotherly affection for you, he is so far from
making flourishes, that any other young woman might think him rather
cool in her praise. But I am not afraid of your seeing what he writes."
"He writes like a sensible man," replied Emma, when she had read the
letter. "I honour his sincerity. It is very plain that he considers
the good fortune of the engagement as all on my side, but that he is
not without hope of my growing, in time, as worthy of your affection,
as you think me already. Had he said any thing to bear a different
construction, I should not have believed him."
"My Emma, he means no such thing. He only means__"
"He and I should differ very little in our estimation of the two,"
interrupted she, with a sort of serious smile__"much less, perhaps,
than he is aware of, if we could enter without ceremony or reserve on
"Emma, my dear Emma__"
"Oh!" she cried with more thorough gaiety, "if you fancy your brother
does not do me justice, only wait till my dear father is in the secret,
and hear his opinion. Depend upon it, he will be much farther from
doing -you- justice. He will think all the happiness, all the
advantage, on your side of the question; all the merit on mine. I wish
I may not sink into 'poor Emma' with him at once.__ His tender
compassion towards oppressed worth can go no farther."
"Ah!" he cried, "I wish your father might be half as easily convinced
as John will be, of our having every right that equal worth can give,
to be happy together. I am amused by one part of John's letter__did
you notice it?__where he says, that my information did not take him
wholly by surprize, that he was rather in expectation of hearing
something of the kind."
"If I understand your brother, he only means so far as your having some
thoughts of marrying. He had no idea of me. He seems perfectly
unprepared for that."
"Yes, yes__but I am amused that he should have seen so far into my
feelings. What has he been judging by?__I am not conscious of any
difference in my spirits or conversation that could prepare him at this
time for my marrying any more than at another.__ But it was so, I
suppose. I dare say there was a difference when I was staying with
them the other day. I believe I did not play with the children quite
so much as usual. I remember one evening the poor boys saying, 'Uncle
seems always tired now.'"
The time was coming when the news must spread farther, and other
persons' reception of it tried. As soon as Mrs. Weston was
sufficiently recovered to admit Mr. Woodhouse's visits, Emma having it
in view that her gentle reasonings should be employed in the cause,
resolved first to announce it at home, and then at Randalls.__ But how
to break it to her father at last!__She had bound herself to do it, in
such an hour of Mr. Knightley's absence, or when it came to the point
her heart would have failed her, and she must have put it off; but Mr.
Knightley was to come at such a time, and follow up the beginning she
was to make.__She was forced to speak, and to speak cheerfully too.
She must not make it a more decided subject of misery to him, by a
melancholy tone herself. She must not appear to think it a
misfortune.__With all the spirits she could command, she prepared him
first for something strange, and then, in a few words, said, that if
his consent and approbation could be obtained__which, she trusted,
would be attended with no difficulty, since it was a plan to promote
the happiness of all__she and Mr. Knightley meant to marry; by which
means Hartfield would receive the constant addition of that person's
company whom she knew he loved, next to his daughters and Mrs. Weston,
best in the world.
Poor man!__it was at first a considerable shock to him, and he tried
earnestly to dissuade her from it. She was reminded, more than once,
of having always said she would never marry, and assured that it would
be a great deal better for her to remain single; and told of poor
Isabella, and poor Miss Taylor.__But it would not do. Emma hung about
him affectionately, and smiled, and said it must be so; and that he
must not class her with Isabella and Mrs. Weston, whose marriages
taking them from Hartfield, had, indeed, made a melancholy change: but
she was not going from Hartfield; she should be always there; she was
introducing no change in their numbers or their comforts but for the
better; and she was very sure that he would be a great deal the happier
for having Mr. Knightley always at hand, when he were once got used to
the idea.__Did he not love Mr. Knightley very much?__ He would not deny
that he did, she was sure.__Whom did he ever want to consult on
business but Mr. Knightley?__Who was so useful to him, who so ready to
write his letters, who so glad to assist him?__ Who so cheerful, so
attentive, so attached to him?__Would not he like to have him always on
the spot?__Yes. That was all very true. Mr. Knightley could not be
there too often; he should be glad to see him every day;__but they did
see him every day as it was.__Why could not they go on as they had done?
Mr. Woodhouse could not be soon reconciled; but the worst was overcome,
the idea was given; time and continual repetition must do the rest.__
To Emma's entreaties and assurances succeeded Mr. Knightley's, whose
fond praise of her gave the subject even a kind of welcome; and he was
soon used to be talked to by each, on every fair occasion.__ They had
all the assistance which Isabella could give, by letters of the
strongest approbation; and Mrs. Weston was ready, on the first meeting,
to consider the subject in the most serviceable light__first, as a
settled, and, secondly, as a good one__well aware of the nearly equal
importance of the two recommendations to Mr. Woodhouse's mind.__It was
agreed upon, as what was to be; and every body by whom he was used to
be guided assuring him that it would be for his happiness; and having
some feelings himself which almost admitted it, he began to think that
some time or other__in another year or two, perhaps__it might not be
so very bad if the marriage did take place.
Mrs. Weston was acting no part, feigning no feelings in all that she
said to him in favour of the event.__She had been extremely surprized,
never more so, than when Emma first opened the affair to her; but she
saw in it only increase of happiness to all, and had no scruple in
urging him to the utmost.__She had such a regard for Mr. Knightley, as
to think he deserved even her dearest Emma; and it was in every respect
so proper, suitable, and unexceptionable a connexion, and in one
respect, one point of the highest importance, so peculiarly eligible,
so singularly fortunate, that now it seemed as if Emma could not safely
have attached herself to any other creature, and that she had herself
been the stupidest of beings in not having thought of it, and wished it
long ago.__How very few of those men in a rank of life to address Emma
would have renounced their own home for Hartfield! And who but Mr.
Knightley could know and bear with Mr. Woodhouse, so as to make such an
arrangement desirable!__ The difficulty of disposing of poor Mr.
Woodhouse had been always felt in her husband's plans and her own, for
a marriage between Frank and Emma. How to settle the claims of
Enscombe and Hartfield had been a continual impediment__less
acknowledged by Mr. Weston than by herself__but even he had never been
able to finish the subject better than by saying__"Those matters will
take care of themselves; the young people will find a way." But here
there was nothing to be shifted off in a wild speculation on the
future. It was all right, all open, all equal. No sacrifice on any
side worth the name. It was a union of the highest promise of felicity
in itself, and without one real, rational difficulty to oppose or delay
Mrs. Weston, with her baby on her knee, indulging in such reflections
as these, was one of the happiest women in the world. If any thing
could increase her delight, it was perceiving that the baby would soon
have outgrown its first set of caps.
The news was universally a surprize wherever it spread; and Mr. Weston
had his five minutes share of it; but five minutes were enough to
familiarise the idea to his quickness of mind.__ He saw the advantages
of the match, and rejoiced in them with all the constancy of his wife;
but the wonder of it was very soon nothing; and by the end of an hour
he was not far from believing that he had always foreseen it.
"It is to be a secret, I conclude," said he. "These matters are always
a secret, till it is found out that every body knows them. Only let me
be told when I may speak out.__I wonder whether Jane has any suspicion."
He went to Highbury the next morning, and satisfied himself on that
point. He told her the news. Was not she like a daughter, his eldest
daughter?__he must tell her; and Miss Bates being present, it passed,
of course, to Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Perry, and Mrs. Elton, immediately
afterwards. It was no more than the principals were prepared for; they
had calculated from the time of its being known at Randalls, how soon
it would be over Highbury; and were thinking of themselves, as the
evening wonder in many a family circle, with great sagacity.
In general, it was a very well approved match. Some might think him,
and others might think her, the most in luck. One set might recommend
their all removing to Donwell, and leaving Hartfield for the John
Knightleys; and another might predict disagreements among their
servants; but yet, upon the whole, there was no serious objection
raised, except in one habitation, the Vicarage.__There, the surprize
was not softened by any satisfaction. Mr. Elton cared little about it,
compared with his wife; he only hoped "the young lady's pride would now
be contented;" and supposed "she had always meant to catch Knightley if
she could;" and, on the point of living at Hartfield, could daringly
exclaim, "Rather he than I!"__ But Mrs. Elton was very much discomposed
indeed.__"Poor Knightley! poor fellow!__sad business for him.__She was
extremely concerned; for, though very eccentric, he had a thousand good
qualities.__ How could he be so taken in?__Did not think him at all in
love__not in the least.__Poor Knightley!__There would be an end of all
pleasant intercourse with him.__How happy he had been to come and dine
with them whenever they asked him! But that would be all over now.__
Poor fellow!__No more exploring parties to Donwell made for -her-. Oh!
no; there would be a Mrs. Knightley to throw cold water on every
thing.__Extremely disagreeable! But she was not at all sorry that she
had abused the housekeeper the other day.__Shocking plan, living
together. It would never do. She knew a family near Maple Grove who
had tried it, and been obliged to separate before the end of the first
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 18
Time passed on. A few more to_morrows, and the party from London would
be arriving. It was an alarming change; and Emma was thinking of it
one morning, as what must bring a great deal to agitate and grieve her,
when Mr. Knightley came in, and distressing thoughts were put by.
After the first chat of pleasure he was silent; and then, in a graver
tone, began with,
"I have something to tell you, Emma; some news."
"Good or bad?" said she, quickly, looking up in his face.
"I do not know which it ought to be called."
"Oh! good I am sure.__I see it in your countenance. You are trying not
"I am afraid," said he, composing his features, "I am very much afraid,
my dear Emma, that you will not smile when you hear it."
"Indeed! but why so?__I can hardly imagine that any thing which pleases
or amuses you, should not please and amuse me too."
"There is one subject," he replied, "I hope but one, on which we do not
think alike." He paused a moment, again smiling, with his eyes fixed
on her face. "Does nothing occur to you?__ Do not you
Her cheeks flushed at the name, and she felt afraid of something,
though she knew not what.
"Have you heard from her yourself this morning?" cried he. "You have,
I believe, and know the whole."
"No, I have not; I know nothing; pray tell me."
"You are prepared for the worst, I see__and very bad it is. Harriet
Smith marries Robert Martin."
Emma gave a start, which did not seem like being prepared__and her
eyes, in eager gaze, said, "No, this is impossible!" but her lips were
"It is so, indeed," continued Mr. Knightley; "I have it from Robert
Martin himself. He left me not half an hour ago."
She was still looking at him with the most speaking amazement.
"You like it, my Emma, as little as I feared.__I wish our opinions were
the same. But in time they will. Time, you may be sure, will make one
or the other of us think differently; and, in the meanwhile, we need
not talk much on the subject."
"You mistake me, you quite mistake me," she replied, exerting herself.
"It is not that such a circumstance would now make me unhappy, but I
cannot believe it. It seems an impossibility!__You cannot mean to say,
that Harriet Smith has accepted Robert Martin. You cannot mean that he
has even proposed to her again__yet. You only mean, that he intends
"I mean that he has done it," answered Mr. Knightley, with smiling but
determined decision, "and been accepted."
"Good God!" she cried.__"Well!"__Then having recourse to her
workbasket, in excuse for leaning down her face, and concealing all the
exquisite feelings of delight and entertainment which she knew she must
be expressing, she added, "Well, now tell me every thing; make this
intelligible to me. How, where, when?__Let me know it all. I never
was more surprized__but it does not make me unhappy, I assure
you.__How__how has it been possible?"
"It is a very simple story. He went to town on business three days
ago, and I got him to take charge of some papers which I was wanting to
send to John.__He delivered these papers to John, at his chambers, and
was asked by him to join their party the same evening to Astley's.
They were going to take the two eldest boys to Astley's. The party was
to be our brother and sister, Henry, John__and Miss Smith. My friend
Robert could not resist. They called for him in their way; were all
extremely amused; and my brother asked him to dine with them the next
day__which he did__and in the course of that visit (as I understand) he
found an opportunity of speaking to Harriet; and certainly did not
speak in vain.__She made him, by her acceptance, as happy even as he is
deserving. He came down by yesterday's coach, and was with me this
morning immediately after breakfast, to report his proceedings, first
on my affairs, and then on his own. This is all that I can relate of
the how, where, and when. Your friend Harriet will make a much longer
history when you see her.__ She will give you all the minute
particulars, which only woman's language can make interesting.__In our
communications we deal only in the great.__However, I must say, that
Robert Martin's heart seemed for -him-, and to -me-, very overflowing;
and that he did mention, without its being much to the purpose, that on
quitting their box at Astley's, my brother took charge of Mrs. John
Knightley and little John, and he followed with Miss Smith and Henry;
and that at one time they were in such a crowd, as to make Miss Smith
He stopped.__Emma dared not attempt any immediate reply. To speak, she
was sure would be to betray a most unreasonable degree of happiness.
She must wait a moment, or he would think her mad. Her silence
disturbed him; and after observing her a little while, he added,
"Emma, my love, you said that this circumstance would not now make you
unhappy; but I am afraid it gives you more pain than you expected. His
situation is an evil__but you must consider it as what satisfies your
friend; and I will answer for your thinking better and better of him as
you know him more. His good sense and good principles would delight
you.__As far as the man is concerned, you could not wish your friend in
better hands. His rank in society I would alter if I could, which is
saying a great deal I assure you, Emma.__You laugh at me about William
Larkins; but I could quite as ill spare Robert Martin."
He wanted her to look up and smile; and having now brought herself not
to smile too broadly__she did__cheerfully answering,
"You need not be at any pains to reconcile me to the match. I think
Harriet is doing extremely well. -Her- connexions may be worse than
-his-. In respectability of character, there can be no doubt that they
are. I have been silent from surprize merely, excessive surprize. You
cannot imagine how suddenly it has come on me! how peculiarly
unprepared I was!__for I had reason to believe her very lately more
determined against him, much more, than she was before."
"You ought to know your friend best," replied Mr. Knightley; "but I
should say she was a good_tempered, soft_hearted girl, not likely to be
very, very determined against any young man who told her he loved her."
Emma could not help laughing as she answered, "Upon my word, I believe
you know her quite as well as I do.__But, Mr. Knightley, are you
perfectly sure that she has absolutely and downright -accepted- him. I
could suppose she might in time__but can she already?__ Did not you
misunderstand him?__You were both talking of other things; of business,
shows of cattle, or new drills__and might not you, in the confusion of
so many subjects, mistake him?__It was not Harriet's hand that he was
certain of__it was the dimensions of some famous ox."
The contrast between the countenance and air of Mr. Knightley and
Robert Martin was, at this moment, so strong to Emma's feelings, and so
strong was the recollection of all that had so recently passed on
Harriet's side, so fresh the sound of those words, spoken with such
emphasis, "No, I hope I know better than to think of Robert Martin,"
that she was really expecting the intelligence to prove, in some
measure, premature. It could not be otherwise.
"Do you dare say this?" cried Mr. Knightley. "Do you dare to suppose
me so great a blockhead, as not to know what a man is talking of?__
What do you deserve?"
"Oh! I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with
any other; and, therefore, you must give me a plain, direct answer.
Are you quite sure that you understand the terms on which Mr. Martin
and Harriet now are?"
"I am quite sure," he replied, speaking very distinctly, "that he told
me she had accepted him; and that there was no obscurity, nothing
doubtful, in the words he used; and I think I can give you a proof that
it must be so. He asked my opinion as to what he was now to do. He
knew of no one but Mrs. Goddard to whom he could apply for information
of her relations or friends. Could I mention any thing more fit to be
done, than to go to Mrs. Goddard? I assured him that I could not.
Then, he said, he would endeavour to see her in the course of this day."
"I am perfectly satisfied," replied Emma, with the brightest smiles,
"and most sincerely wish them happy."
"You are materially changed since we talked on this subject before."
"I hope so__for at that time I was a fool."
"And I am changed also; for I am now very willing to grant you all
Harriet's good qualities. I have taken some pains for your sake, and
for Robert Martin's sake, (whom I have always had reason to believe as
much in love with her as ever,) to get acquainted with her. I have
often talked to her a good deal. You must have seen that I did.
Sometimes, indeed, I have thought you were half suspecting me of
pleading poor Martin's cause, which was never the case; but, from all
my observations, I am convinced of her being an artless, amiable girl,
with very good notions, very seriously good principles, and placing her
happiness in the affections and utility of domestic life.__ Much of
this, I have no doubt, she may thank you for."
"Me!" cried Emma, shaking her head.__"Ah! poor Harriet!"
She checked herself, however, and submitted quietly to a little more
praise than she deserved.
Their conversation was soon afterwards closed by the entrance of her
father. She was not sorry. She wanted to be alone. Her mind was in a
state of flutter and wonder, which made it impossible for her to be
collected. She was in dancing, singing, exclaiming spirits; and till
she had moved about, and talked to herself, and laughed and reflected,
she could be fit for nothing rational.
Her father's business was to announce James's being gone out to put the
horses to, preparatory to their now daily drive to Randalls; and she
had, therefore, an immediate excuse for disappearing.
The joy, the gratitude, the exquisite delight of her sensations may be
imagined. The sole grievance and alloy thus removed in the prospect of
Harriet's welfare, she was really in danger of becoming too happy for
security.__What had she to wish for? Nothing, but to grow more worthy
of him, whose intentions and judgment had been ever so superior to her
own. Nothing, but that the lessons of her past folly might teach her
humility and circumspection in future.
Serious she was, very serious in her thankfulness, and in her
resolutions; and yet there was no preventing a laugh, sometimes in the
very midst of them. She must laugh at such a close! Such an end of
the doleful disappointment of five weeks back! Such a heart__such a
Now there would be pleasure in her returning__Every thing would be a
pleasure. It would be a great pleasure to know Robert Martin.
High in the rank of her most serious and heartfelt felicities, was the
reflection that all necessity of concealment from Mr. Knightley would
soon be over. The disguise, equivocation, mystery, so hateful to her
to practise, might soon be over. She could now look forward to giving
him that full and perfect confidence which her disposition was most
ready to welcome as a duty.
In the gayest and happiest spirits she set forward with her father; not
always listening, but always agreeing to what he said; and, whether in
speech or silence, conniving at the comfortable persuasion of his being
obliged to go to Randalls every day, or poor Mrs. Weston would be
They arrived.__Mrs. Weston was alone in the drawing_room:__but hardly
had they been told of the baby, and Mr. Woodhouse received the thanks
for coming, which he asked for, when a glimpse was caught through the
blind, of two figures passing near the window.
"It is Frank and Miss Fairfax," said Mrs. Weston. "I was just going to
tell you of our agreeable surprize in seeing him arrive this morning.
He stays till to_morrow, and Miss Fairfax has been persuaded to spend
the day with us.__They are coming in, I hope."
In half a minute they were in the room. Emma was extremely glad to see
him__but there was a degree of confusion__a number of embarrassing
recollections on each side. They met readily and smiling, but with a
consciousness which at first allowed little to be said; and having all
sat down again, there was for some time such a blank in the circle,
that Emma began to doubt whether the wish now indulged, which she had
long felt, of seeing Frank Churchill once more, and of seeing him with
Jane, would yield its proportion of pleasure. When Mr. Weston joined
the party, however, and when the baby was fetched, there was no longer
a want of subject or animation__or of courage and opportunity for
Frank Churchill to draw near her and say,
"I have to thank you, Miss Woodhouse, for a very kind forgiving message
in one of Mrs. Weston's letters. I hope time has not made you less
willing to pardon. I hope you do not retract what you then said."
"No, indeed," cried Emma, most happy to begin, "not in the least. I am
particularly glad to see and shake hands with you__and to give you joy
He thanked her with all his heart, and continued some time to speak
with serious feeling of his gratitude and happiness.
"Is not she looking well?" said he, turning his eyes towards Jane.
"Better than she ever used to do?__You see how my father and Mrs.
Weston doat upon her."
But his spirits were soon rising again, and with laughing eyes, after
mentioning the expected return of the Campbells, he named the name of
Dixon.__Emma blushed, and forbade its being pronounced in her hearing.
"I can never think of it," she cried, "without extreme shame."
"The shame," he answered, "is all mine, or ought to be. But is it
possible that you had no suspicion?__I mean of late. Early, I know,
you had none."
"I never had the smallest, I assure you."
"That appears quite wonderful. I was once very near__and I wish I
had__it would have been better. But though I was always doing wrong
things, they were very bad wrong things, and such as did me no
service.__ It would have been a much better transgression had I broken
the bond of secrecy and told you every thing."
"It is not now worth a regret," said Emma.
"I have some hope," resumed he, "of my uncle's being persuaded to pay a
visit at Randalls; he wants to be introduced to her. When the
Campbells are returned, we shall meet them in London, and continue
there, I trust, till we may carry her northward.__But now, I am at such
a distance from her__is not it hard, Miss Woodhouse?__ Till this
morning, we have not once met since the day of reconciliation. Do not
you pity me?"
Emma spoke her pity so very kindly, that with a sudden accession of gay
thought, he cried,
"Ah! by the bye," then sinking his voice, and looking demure for the
moment__"I hope Mr. Knightley is well?" He paused.__She coloured and
laughed.__"I know you saw my letter, and think you may remember my wish
in your favour. Let me return your congratulations.__ I assure you
that I have heard the news with the warmest interest and
satisfaction.__He is a man whom I cannot presume to praise."
Emma was delighted, and only wanted him to go on in the same style; but
his mind was the next moment in his own concerns and with his own Jane,
and his next words were,
"Did you ever see such a skin?__such smoothness! such delicacy!__and
yet without being actually fair.__One cannot call her fair. It is a
most uncommon complexion, with her dark eye_lashes and hair__a most
distinguishing complexion! So peculiarly the lady in it.__ Just colour
enough for beauty."
"I have always admired her complexion," replied Emma, archly; "but do
not I remember the time when you found fault with her for being so
pale?__ When we first began to talk of her.__Have you quite forgotten?"
"Oh! no__what an impudent dog I was!__How could I dare__"
But he laughed so heartily at the recollection, that Emma could not
"I do suspect that in the midst of your perplexities at that time, you
had very great amusement in tricking us all.__I am sure you had.__ I am
sure it was a consolation to you."
"Oh! no, no, no__how can you suspect me of such a thing? I was the
most miserable wretch!"
"Not quite so miserable as to be insensible to mirth. I am sure it was
a source of high entertainment to you, to feel that you were taking us
all in.__Perhaps I am the readier to suspect, because, to tell you the
truth, I think it might have been some amusement to myself in the same
situation. I think there is a little likeness between us."
"If not in our dispositions," she presently added, with a look of true
sensibility, "there is a likeness in our destiny; the destiny which
bids fair to connect us with two characters so much superior to our
"True, true," he answered, warmly. "No, not true on your side. You
can have no superior, but most true on mine.__She is a complete angel.
Look at her. Is not she an angel in every gesture? Observe the turn
of her throat. Observe her eyes, as she is looking up at my father.__
You will be glad to hear (inclining his head, and whispering seriously)
that my uncle means to give her all my aunt's jewels. They are to be
new set. I am resolved to have some in an ornament for the head. Will
not it be beautiful in her dark hair?"
"Very beautiful, indeed," replied Emma; and she spoke so kindly, that
he gratefully burst out,
"How delighted I am to see you again! and to see you in such excellent
looks!__I would not have missed this meeting for the world. I should
certainly have called at Hartfield, had you failed to come."
The others had been talking of the child, Mrs. Weston giving an account
of a little alarm she had been under, the evening before, from the
infant's appearing not quite well. She believed she had been foolish,
but it had alarmed her, and she had been within half a minute of
sending for Mr. Perry. Perhaps she ought to be ashamed, but Mr. Weston
had been almost as uneasy as herself.__In ten minutes, however, the
child had been perfectly well again. This was her history; and
particularly interesting it was to Mr. Woodhouse, who commended her
very much for thinking of sending for Perry, and only regretted that
she had not done it. "She should always send for Perry, if the child
appeared in the slightest degree disordered, were it only for a moment.
She could not be too soon alarmed, nor send for Perry too often. It
was a pity, perhaps, that he had not come last night; for, though the
child seemed well now, very well considering, it would probably have
been better if Perry had seen it."
Frank Churchill caught the name.
"Perry!" said he to Emma, and trying, as he spoke, to catch Miss
Fairfax's eye. "My friend Mr. Perry! What are they saying about Mr.
Perry?__Has he been here this morning?__And how does he travel
now?__Has he set up his carriage?"
Emma soon recollected, and understood him; and while she joined in the
laugh, it was evident from Jane's countenance that she too was really
hearing him, though trying to seem deaf.
"Such an extraordinary dream of mine!" he cried. "I can never think of
it without laughing.__She hears us, she hears us, Miss Woodhouse. I
see it in her cheek, her smile, her vain attempt to frown. Look at
her. Do not you see that, at this instant, the very passage of her own
letter, which sent me the report, is passing under her eye__that the
whole blunder is spread before her__that she can attend to nothing
else, though pretending to listen to the others?"
Jane was forced to smile completely, for a moment; and the smile partly
remained as she turned towards him, and said in a conscious, low, yet
"How you can bear such recollections, is astonishing to me!__ They
-will- sometimes obtrude__but how you can court them!"
He had a great deal to say in return, and very entertainingly; but
Emma's feelings were chiefly with Jane, in the argument; and on leaving
Randalls, and falling naturally into a comparison of the two men, she
felt, that pleased as she had been to see Frank Churchill, and really
regarding him as she did with friendship, she had never been more
sensible of Mr. Knightley's high superiority of character. The
happiness of this most happy day, received its completion, in the
animated contemplation of his worth which this comparison produced.
Emma By Jane Austen Chapter 19
If Emma had still, at intervals, an anxious feeling for Harriet, a
momentary doubt of its being possible for her to be really cured of her
attachment to Mr. Knightley, and really able to accept another man from
unbiased inclination, it was not long that she had to suffer from the
recurrence of any such uncertainty. A very few days brought the party
from London, and she had no sooner an opportunity of being one hour
alone with Harriet, than she became perfectly satisfied__unaccountable
as it was!__that Robert Martin had thoroughly supplanted Mr.
Knightley, and was now forming all her views of happiness.
Harriet was a little distressed__did look a little foolish at first:
but having once owned that she had been presumptuous and silly, and
self_deceived, before, her pain and confusion seemed to die away with
the words, and leave her without a care for the past, and with the
fullest exultation in the present and future; for, as to her friend's
approbation, Emma had instantly removed every fear of that nature, by
meeting her with the most unqualified congratulations.__ Harriet was
most happy to give every particular of the evening at Astley's, and the
dinner the next day; she could dwell on it all with the utmost delight.
But what did such particulars explain?__ The fact was, as Emma could
now acknowledge, that Harriet had always liked Robert Martin; and that
his continuing to love her had been irresistible.__Beyond this, it must
ever be unintelligible to Emma.
The event, however, was most joyful; and every day was giving her fresh
reason for thinking so.__Harriet's parentage became known. She proved
to be the daughter of a tradesman, rich enough to afford her the
comfortable maintenance which had ever been hers, and decent enough to
have always wished for concealment.__Such was the blood of gentility
which Emma had formerly been so ready to vouch for!__ It was likely to
be as untainted, perhaps, as the blood of many a gentleman: but what a
connexion had she been preparing for Mr. Knightley__or for the
Churchills__or even for Mr. Elton!__ The stain of illegitimacy,
unbleached by nobility or wealth, would have been a stain indeed.
No objection was raised on the father's side; the young man was treated
liberally; it was all as it should be: and as Emma became acquainted
with Robert Martin, who was now introduced at Hartfield, she fully
acknowledged in him all the appearance of sense and worth which could
bid fairest for her little friend. She had no doubt of Harriet's
happiness with any good_tempered man; but with him, and in the home he
offered, there would be the hope of more, of security, stability, and
improvement. She would be placed in the midst of those who loved her,
and who had better sense than herself; retired enough for safety, and
occupied enough for cheerfulness. She would be never led into
temptation, nor left for it to find her out. She would be respectable
and happy; and Emma admitted her to be the luckiest creature in the
world, to have created so steady and persevering an affection in such a
man;__or, if not quite the luckiest, to yield only to herself.
Harriet, necessarily drawn away by her engagements with the Martins,
was less and less at Hartfield; which was not to be regretted.__ The
intimacy between her and Emma must sink; their friendship must change
into a calmer sort of goodwill; and, fortunately, what ought to be, and
must be, seemed already beginning, and in the most gradual, natural
Before the end of September, Emma attended Harriet to church, and saw
her hand bestowed on Robert Martin with so complete a satisfaction, as
no remembrances, even connected with Mr. Elton as he stood before them,
could impair.__Perhaps, indeed, at that time she scarcely saw Mr.
Elton, but as the clergyman whose blessing at the altar might next fall
on herself.__Robert Martin and Harriet Smith, the latest couple engaged
of the three, were the first to be married.
Jane Fairfax had already quitted Highbury, and was restored to the
comforts of her beloved home with the Campbells.__The Mr. Churchills
were also in town; and they were only waiting for November.
The intermediate month was the one fixed on, as far as they dared, by
Emma and Mr. Knightley.__They had determined that their marriage ought
to be concluded while John and Isabella were still at Hartfield, to
allow them the fortnight's absence in a tour to the seaside, which was
the plan.__John and Isabella, and every other friend, were agreed in
approving it. But Mr. Woodhouse__how was Mr. Woodhouse to be induced
to consent?__he, who had never yet alluded to their marriage but as a
When first sounded on the subject, he was so miserable, that they were
almost hopeless.__A second allusion, indeed, gave less pain.__ He began
to think it was to be, and that he could not prevent it__a very
promising step of the mind on its way to resignation. Still, however,
he was not happy. Nay, he appeared so much otherwise, that his
daughter's courage failed. She could not bear to see him suffering, to
know him fancying himself neglected; and though her understanding
almost acquiesced in the assurance of both the Mr. Knightleys, that
when once the event were over, his distress would be soon over too, she
hesitated__she could not proceed.
In this state of suspense they were befriended, not by any sudden
illumination of Mr. Woodhouse's mind, or any wonderful change of his
nervous system, but by the operation of the same system in another
way.__ Mrs. Weston's poultry_house was robbed one night of all her
turkeys__evidently by the ingenuity of man. Other poultry_yards in the
neighbourhood also suffered.__Pilfering was -housebreaking- to Mr.
Woodhouse's fears.__He was very uneasy; and but for the sense of his
son_in_law's protection, would have been under wretched alarm every
night of his life. The strength, resolution, and presence of mind of
the Mr. Knightleys, commanded his fullest dependence. While either of
them protected him and his, Hartfield was safe.__ But Mr. John
Knightley must be in London again by the end of the first week in
The result of this distress was, that, with a much more voluntary,
cheerful consent than his daughter had ever presumed to hope for at the
moment, she was able to fix her wedding_day__and Mr. Elton was called
on, within a month from the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Martin, to
join the hands of Mr. Knightley and Miss Woodhouse.
The wedding was very much like other weddings, where the parties have
no taste for finery or parade; and Mrs. Elton, from the particulars
detailed by her husband, thought it all extremely shabby, and very
inferior to her own.__"Very little white satin, very few lace veils; a
most pitiful business!__Selina would stare when she heard of it."__But,
in spite of these deficiencies, the wishes, the hopes, the confidence,
the predictions of the small band of true friends who witnessed the
ceremony, were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union.