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Chapter 1

  • A very little quiet reflection was enough to satisfy Emma as to the nature o_er agitation on hearing this news of Frank Churchill. She was soon convince_hat it was not for herself she was feeling at all apprehensive o_mbarrassed; it was for him. Her own attachment had really subsided into _ere nothing; it was not worth thinking of;— but if he, who had undoubtedl_een always so much the most in love of the two, were to be returning with th_ame warmth of sentiment which he had taken away, it would be ver_istressing. If a separation of two months should not have cooled him, ther_ere dangers and evils before her:—caution for him and for herself would b_ecessary. She did not mean to have her own affections entangled again, and i_ould be incumbent on her to avoid any encouragement of his.
  • She wished she might be able to keep him from an absolute declaration. Tha_ould be so very painful a conclusion of their present acquaintance! and yet,
  • she could not help rather anticipating something decisive. She felt as if th_pring would not pass without bringing a crisis, an event, a something t_lter 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'_eelings. The Enscombe family were not in town quite so soon as had bee_magined, but he was at Highbury very soon afterwards. He rode down for _ouple of hours; he could not yet do more; but as he came from Randall_mmediately to Hartfield, she could then exercise all her quick observation,
  • and speedily determine how he was influenced, and how she must act. They me_ith the utmost friendliness. There could be no doubt of his great pleasure i_eeing her. But she had an almost instant doubt of his caring for her as h_ad done, of his feeling the same tenderness in the same degree. She watche_im 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 ver_atural and very desirable effect.
  • He was in high spirits; as ready to talk and laugh as ever, and seeme_elighted to speak of his former visit, and recur to old stories: and he wa_ot without agitation. It was not in his calmness that she read hi_omparative difference. He was not calm; his spirits were evidently fluttered;
  • there was restlessness about him. Lively as he was, it seemed a livelines_hat did not satisfy himself; but what decided her belief on the subject, wa_is staying only a quarter of an hour, and hurrying away to make other call_n Highbury. "He had seen a group of old acquaintance in the street as h_assed— he had not stopped, he would not stop for more than a word—but he ha_he vanity to think they would be disappointed if he did not call, and much a_e wished to stay longer at Hartfield, he must hurry off." She had no doubt a_o his being less in love—but neither his agitated spirits, nor his hurryin_way, seemed like a perfect cure; and she was rather inclined to think i_mplied a dread of her returning power, and a discreet resolution of no_rusting himself with her long.
  • This was the only visit from Frank Churchill in the course of ten days. He wa_ften hoping, intending to come—but was always prevented. His aunt could no_ear to have him leave her. Such was his own account at Randall's. If he wer_uite 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 nervou_art of her disorder. That she was really ill was very certain; he ha_eclared himself convinced of it, at Randalls. Though much might be fancy, h_ould not doubt, when he looked back, that she was in a weaker state of healt_han she had been half a year ago. He did not believe it to proceed from an_hing that care and medicine might not remove, or at least that she might no_ave many years of existence before her; but he could not be prevailed on, b_ll his father's doubts, to say that her complaints were merely imaginary, o_hat she was as strong as ever.
  • It soon appeared that London was not the place for her. She could not endur_ts noise. Her nerves were under continual irritation and suffering; and b_he ten days' end, her nephew's letter to Randalls communicated a change o_lan. They were going to remove immediately to Richmond. Mrs. Churchill ha_een recommended to the medical skill of an eminent person there, and ha_therwise a fancy for the place. A ready-furnished house in a favourite spo_as engaged, and much benefit expected from the change.
  • Emma heard that Frank wrote in the highest spirits of this arrangement, an_eemed most fully to appreciate the blessing of having two months before hi_f such near neighbourhood to many dear friends— for the house was taken fo_ay and June. She was told that now he wrote with the greatest confidence o_eing often with them, almost as often as he could even wish.
  • Emma saw how Mr. Weston understood these joyous prospects. He was considerin_er 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 wa_he very circumstance he could have wished for. Now, it would be really havin_rank in their neighbourhood. What were nine miles to a young man?—An hour'_ide. He would be always coming over. The difference in that respect o_ichmond and London was enough to make the whole difference of seeing hi_lways and seeing him never. Sixteen miles—nay, eighteen—it must be ful_ighteen to Manchester-street—was a serious obstacle. Were he ever able to ge_way, the day would be spent in coming and returning. There was no comfort i_aving him in London; he might as well be at Enscombe; but Richmond was th_ery distance for easy intercourse. Better than nearer!
  • One good thing was immediately brought to a certainty by this removal,— th_all at the Crown. It had not been forgotten before, but it had been soo_cknowledged vain to attempt to fix a day. Now, however, it was absolutely t_e; every preparation was resumed, and very soon after the Churchills ha_emoved to Richmond, a few lines from Frank, to say that his aunt felt alread_uch better for the change, and that he had no doubt of being able to joi_hem for twenty-four hours at any given time, induced them to name as early _ay as possible.
  • Mr. Weston's ball was to be a real thing. A very few to-morrows stood betwee_he young people of Highbury and happiness.
  • Mr. Woodhouse was resigned. The time of year lightened the evil to him. Ma_as better for every thing than February. Mrs. Bates was engaged to spend th_vening at Hartfield, James had due notice, and he sanguinely hoped tha_either dear little Henry nor dear little John would have any thing the matte_ith them, while dear Emma were gone.