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Chapter 9

  • Mr. Knightley might quarrel with her, but Emma could not quarrel with herself.
  • He was so much displeased, that it was longer than usual before he came t_artfield again; and when they did meet, his grave looks shewed that she wa_ot forgiven. She was sorry, but could not repent. On the contrary, her plan_nd proceedings were more and more justified and endeared to her by th_eneral appearances of the next few days.
  • The Picture, elegantly framed, came safely to hand soon after Mr. Elton'_eturn, and being hung over the mantelpiece of the common sitting-room, he go_p to look at it, and sighed out his half sentences of admiration just as h_ught; and as for Harriet's feelings, they were visibly forming themselve_nto as strong and steady an attachment as her youth and sort of min_dmitted. Emma was soon perfectly satisfied of Mr. Martin's being no otherwis_emembered, than as he furnished a contrast with Mr. Elton, of the utmos_dvantage to the latter.
  • Her views of improving her little friend's mind, by a great deal of usefu_eading and conversation, had never yet led to more than a few first chapters, and the intention of going on to-morrow. It was much easier to chat than t_tudy; much pleasanter to let her imagination range and work at Harriet'_ortune, than to be labouring to enlarge her comprehension or exercise it o_ober facts; and the only literary pursuit which engaged Harriet at present, the only mental provision she was making for the evening of life, was th_ollecting and transcribing all the riddles of every sort that she could mee_ith, into a thin quarto of hot-pressed paper, made up by her friend, an_rnamented with ciphers and trophies.
  • In this age of literature, such collections on a very grand scale are no_ncommon. Miss Nash, head-teacher at Mrs. Goddard's, had written out at leas_hree hundred; and Harriet, who had taken the first hint of it from her, hoped, with Miss Woodhouse's help, to get a great many more. Emma assiste_ith her invention, memory and taste; and as Harriet wrote a very pretty hand, it was likely to be an arrangement of the first order, in form as well a_uantity.
  • Mr. Woodhouse was almost as much interested in the business as the girls, an_ried very often to recollect something worth their putting in. "So man_lever riddles as there used to be when he was young—he wondered he could no_emember them! but he hoped he should in time." And it always ended in "Kitty, a fair but frozen maid."
  • His good friend Perry, too, whom he had spoken to on the subject, did not a_resent recollect any thing of the riddle kind; but he had desired Perry to b_pon the watch, and as he went about so much, something, he thought, migh_ome from that quarter.
  • It was by no means his daughter's wish that the intellects of Highbury i_eneral should be put under requisition. Mr. Elton was the only one whos_ssistance she asked. He was invited to contribute any really good enigmas, charades, or conundrums that he might recollect; and she had the pleasure o_eeing him most intently at work with his recollections; and at the same time, as she could perceive, most earnestly careful that nothing ungallant, nothin_hat did not breathe a compliment to the sex should pass his lips. They owe_o him their two or three politest puzzles; and the joy and exultation wit_hich at last he recalled, and rather sentimentally recited, that well-know_harade,
  • My first doth affliction denote,
  • Which my second is destin'd to feel
  • And my whole is the best antidote
  • That affliction to soften and heal.—
  • made her quite sorry to acknowledge that they had transcribed it some page_go already.
  • "Why will not you write one yourself for us, Mr. Elton?" said she; "that i_he only security for its freshness; and nothing could be easier to you."
  • "Oh no! he had never written, hardly ever, any thing of the kind in his life.
  • The stupidest fellow! He was afraid not even Miss Woodhouse"—he stopt _oment—"or Miss Smith could inspire him."
  • The very next day however produced some proof of inspiration. He called for _ew moments, just to leave a piece of paper on the table containing, as h_aid, a charade, which a friend of his had addressed to a young lady, th_bject of his admiration, but which, from his manner, Emma was immediatel_onvinced must be his own.
  • "I do not offer it for Miss Smith's collection," said he. "Being my friend's, I have no right to expose it in any degree to the public eye, but perhaps yo_ay not dislike looking at it."
  • The speech was more to Emma than to Harriet, which Emma could understand.
  • There was deep consciousness about him, and he found it easier to meet her ey_han her friend's. He was gone the next moment:—after another moment's pause,
  • "Take it," said Emma, smiling, and pushing the paper towards Harriet—"it i_or you. Take your own."
  • But Harriet was in a tremor, and could not touch it; and Emma, never loth t_e first, was obliged to examine it herself.
  • To Miss—
  • CHARADE.
  • My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings,
  • Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
  • Another view of man, my second brings,
  • Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!
  • But ah! united, what reverse we have!
  • Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown;
  • Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave,
  • And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
  • Thy ready wit the word will soon supply,
  • May its approval beam in that soft eye!
  • She cast her eye over it, pondered, caught the meaning, read it through agai_o be quite certain, and quite mistress of the lines, and then passing it t_arriet, sat happily smiling, and saying to herself, while Harriet wa_uzzling over the paper in all the confusion of hope and dulness, "Very well, Mr. Elton, very well indeed. I have read worse charades. Courtship—a very goo_int. I give you credit for it. This is feeling your way. This is saying ver_lainly—`Pray, Miss Smith, give me leave to pay my addresses to you. Approv_y charade and my intentions in the same glance.'
  • May its approval beam in that soft eye!
  • Harriet exactly. Soft is the very word for her eye—of all epithets, th_ustest that could be given.
  • Thy ready wit the word will soon supply.
  • Humph—Harriet's ready wit! All the better. A man must be very much in love, indeed, to describe her so. Ah! Mr. Knightley, I wish you had the benefit o_his; I think this would convince you. For once in your life you would b_bliged to own yourself mistaken. An excellent charade indeed! and very muc_o the purpose. Things must come to a crisis soon now.
  • She was obliged to break off from these very pleasant observations, which wer_therwise of a sort to run into great length, by the eagerness of Harriet'_ondering questions.
  • "What can it be, Miss Woodhouse?—what can it be? I have not an idea—I canno_uess it in the least. What can it possibly be? Do try to find it out, Mis_oodhouse. Do help me. I never saw any thing so hard. Is it kingdom? I wonde_ho the friend was—and who could be the young lady. Do you think it is a goo_ne? Can it be woman?
  • And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
  • Can it be Neptune?
  • Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!
  • Or a trident? or a mermaid? or a shark? Oh, no! shark is only one syllable. I_ust be very clever, or he would not have brought it. Oh! Miss Woodhouse, d_ou think we shall ever find it out?"
  • "Mermaids and sharks! Nonsense! My dear Harriet, what are you thinking of?
  • Where would be the use of his bringing us a charade made by a friend upon _ermaid or a shark? Give me the paper and listen.
  • For Miss —————, read Miss Smith.
  • My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings,
  • Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
  • That is court.
  • Another view of man, my second brings;
  • Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!
  • That is ship;—plain as it can be.—Now for the cream.
  • But ah! united, (courtship, you know,) what reverse we have!
  • Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown.
  • Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave,
  • And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
  • A very proper compliment!—and then follows the application, which I think, m_ear Harriet, you cannot find much difficulty in comprehending. Read it i_omfort to yourself. There can be no doubt of its being written for you and t_ou."
  • Harriet could not long resist so delightful a persuasion. She read th_oncluding lines, and was all flutter and happiness. She could not speak. Bu_he was not wanted to speak. It was enough for her to feel. Emma spoke fo_er.
  • "There is so pointed, and so particular a meaning in this compliment," sai_he, "that I cannot have a doubt as to Mr. Elton's intentions. You are hi_bject—and you will soon receive the completest proof of it. I thought it mus_e so. I thought I could not be so deceived; but now, it is clear; the stat_f his mind is as clear and decided, as my wishes on the subject have bee_ver since I knew you. Yes, Harriet, just so long have I been wanting the ver_ircumstance to happen what has happened. I could never tell whether a_ttachment between you and Mr. Elton were most desirable or most natural. It_robability and its eligibility have really so equalled each other! I am ver_appy. I congratulate you, my dear Harriet, with all my heart. This is a_ttachment which a woman may well feel pride in creating. This is a connexio_hich offers nothing but good. It will give you every thing that yo_ant—consideration, independence, a proper home—it will fix you in the centr_f all your real friends, close to Hartfield and to me, and confirm ou_ntimacy for ever. This, Harriet, is an alliance which can never raise a blus_n either of us."
  • "Dear Miss Woodhouse!"—and "Dear Miss Woodhouse," was all that Harriet, wit_any tender embraces could articulate at first; but when they did arrive a_omething more like conversation, it was sufficiently clear to her friend tha_he saw, felt, anticipated, and remembered just as she ought. Mr. Elton'_uperiority had very ample acknowledgment.
  • "Whatever you say is always right," cried Harriet, "and therefore I suppose, and believe, and hope it must be so; but otherwise I could not have imagine_t. It is so much beyond any thing I deserve. Mr. Elton, who might marry an_ody! There cannot be two opinions about him. He is so very superior. Onl_hink of those sweet verses—`To Miss ————.' Dear me, how clever!—Could i_eally be meant for me?"
  • "I cannot make a question, or listen to a question about that. It is _ertainty. Receive it on my judgment. It is a sort of prologue to the play, _otto to the chapter; and will be soon followed by matter-of-fact prose."
  • "It is a sort of thing which nobody could have expected. I am sure, a mont_go, I had no more idea myself!—The strangest things do take place!"
  • "When Miss Smiths and Mr. Eltons get acquainted—they do indeed—and really i_s strange; it is out of the common course that what is so evidently, s_alpably desirable—what courts the pre-arrangement of other people, should s_mmediately shape itself into the proper form. You and Mr. Elton are b_ituation called together; you belong to one another by every circumstance o_our respective homes. Your marrying will be equal to the match at Randalls.
  • There does seem to be a something in the air of Hartfield which gives lov_xactly the right direction, and sends it into the very channel where it ough_o flow.
  • The course of true love never did run smooth—
  • A Hartfield edition of Shakespeare would have a long note on that passage."
  • "That Mr. Elton should really be in love with me,—me, of all people, who di_ot know him, to speak to him, at Michaelmas! And he, the very handsomest ma_hat ever was, and a man that every body looks up to, quite like Mr.
  • Knightley! His company so sought after, that every body says he need not eat _ingle meal by himself if he does not chuse it; that he has more invitation_han there are days in the week. And so excellent in the Church! Miss Nash ha_ut down all the texts he has ever preached from since he came to Highbury.
  • Dear me! When I look back to the first time I saw him! How little did _hink!—The two Abbots and I ran into the front room and peeped through th_lind when we heard he was going by, and Miss Nash came and scolded us away, and staid to look through herself; however, she called me back presently, an_et me look too, which was very good-natured. And how beautiful we thought h_ooked! He was arm-in-arm with Mr. Cole."
  • "This is an alliance which, whoever—whatever your friends may be, must b_greeable to them, provided at least they have common sense; and we are not t_e addressing our conduct to fools. If they are anxious to see you happil_arried, here is a man whose amiable character gives every assurance of it;—i_hey wish to have you settled in the same country and circle which they hav_hosen to place you in, here it will be accomplished; and if their only objec_s that you should, in the common phrase, be well married, here is th_omfortable fortune, the respectable establishment, the rise in the worl_hich must satisfy them."
  • "Yes, very true. How nicely you talk; I love to hear you. You understand ever_hing. You and Mr. Elton are one as clever as the other. This charade!—If _ad studied a twelvemonth, I could never have made any thing like it."
  • "I thought he meant to try his skill, by his manner of declining i_esterday."
  • "I do think it is, without exception, the best charade I ever read."
  • "I never read one more to the purpose, certainly."
  • "It is as long again as almost all we have had before."
  • "I do not consider its length as particularly in its favour. Such things i_eneral cannot be too short."
  • Harriet was too intent on the lines to hear. The most satisfactory comparison_ere rising in her mind.
  • "It is one thing," said she, presently—her cheeks in a glow—"to have very goo_ense in a common way, like every body else, and if there is any thing to say, to sit down and write a letter, and say just what you must, in a short way; and another, to write verses and charades like this."
  • Emma could not have desired a more spirited rejection of Mr. Martin's prose.
  • "Such sweet lines!" continued Harriet—"these two last!—But how shall I ever b_ble to return the paper, or say I have found it out?—Oh! Miss Woodhouse, wha_an we do about that?"
  • "Leave it to me. You do nothing. He will be here this evening, I dare say, an_hen I will give it him back, and some nonsense or other will pass between us, and you shall not be committed.—Your soft eyes shall chuse their own time fo_eaming. Trust to me."
  • "Oh! Miss Woodhouse, what a pity that I must not write this beautiful charad_nto my book! I am sure I have not got one half so good."
  • "Leave out the two last lines, and there is no reason why you should not writ_t into your book."
  • "Oh! but those two lines are"—
  • —"The best of all. Granted;—for private enjoyment; and for private enjoymen_eep them. They are not at all the less written you know, because you divid_hem. The couplet does not cease to be, nor does its meaning change. But tak_t away, and all appropriation ceases, and a very pretty gallant charad_emains, fit for any collection. Depend upon it, he would not like to have hi_harade slighted, much better than his passion. A poet in love must b_ncouraged in both capacities, or neither. Give me the book, I will write i_own, and then there can be no possible reflection on you."
  • Harriet submitted, though her mind could hardly separate the parts, so as t_eel quite sure that her friend were not writing down a declaration of love.
  • It seemed too precious an offering for any degree of publicity.
  • "I shall never let that book go out of my own hands," said she.
  • "Very well," replied Emma; "a most natural feeling; and the longer it lasts, the better I shall be pleased. But here is my father coming: you will no_bject to my reading the charade to him. It will be giving him so muc_leasure! He loves any thing of the sort, and especially any thing that pay_oman a compliment. He has the tenderest spirit of gallantry towards u_ll!—You must let me read it to him."
  • Harriet looked grave.
  • "My dear Harriet, you must not refine too much upon this charade.—You wil_etray your feelings improperly, if you are too conscious and too quick, an_ppear to affix more meaning, or even quite all the meaning which may b_ffixed to it. Do not be overpowered by such a little tribute of admiration.
  • If he had been anxious for secrecy, he would not have left the paper while _as by; but he rather pushed it towards me than towards you. Do not let us b_oo solemn on the business. He has encouragement enough to proceed, withou_ur sighing out our souls over this charade."
  • "Oh! no—I hope I shall not be ridiculous about it. Do as you please."
  • Mr. Woodhouse came in, and very soon led to the subject again, by th_ecurrence of his very frequent inquiry of "Well, my dears, how does your boo_o on?—Have you got any thing fresh?"
  • "Yes, papa; we have something to read you, something quite fresh. A piece o_aper was found on the table this morning—(dropt, we suppose, by _airy)—containing a very pretty charade, and we have just copied it in."
  • She read it to him, just as he liked to have any thing read, slowly an_istinctly, and two or three times over, with explanations of every part a_he proceeded—and he was very much pleased, and, as she had foreseen, especially struck with the complimentary conclusion.
  • "Aye, that's very just, indeed, that's very properly said. Very true. `Woman, lovely woman.' It is such a pretty charade, my dear, that I can easily gues_hat fairy brought it.—Nobody could have written so prettily, but you, Emma."
  • Emma only nodded, and smiled.—After a little thinking, and a very tender sigh, he added,
  • "Ah! it is no difficulty to see who you take after! Your dear mother was s_lever at all those things! If I had but her memory! But I can remembe_othing;—not even that particular riddle which you have heard me mention; _an only recollect the first stanza; and there are several.
  • Kitty, a fair but frozen maid,
  • Kindled a flame I yet deplore,
  • The hood-wink'd boy I called to aid,
  • Though of his near approach afraid,
  • So fatal to my suit before.
  • And that is all that I can recollect of it—but it is very clever all the wa_hrough. But I think, my dear, you said you had got it."
  • "Yes, papa, it is written out in our second page. We copied it from th_legant Extracts. It was Garrick's, you know."
  • "Aye, very true.—I wish I could recollect more of it.
  • Kitty, a fair but frozen maid.
  • The name makes me think of poor Isabella; for she was very near bein_hristened Catherine after her grandmama. I hope we shall have her here nex_eek. Have you thought, my dear, where you shall put her—and what room ther_ill be for the children?"
  • "Oh! yes—she will have her own room, of course; the room she always has;—an_here is the nursery for the children,—just as usual, you know. Why shoul_here be any change?"
  • "I do not know, my dear—but it is so long since she was here!—not since las_aster, and then only for a few days.—Mr. John Knightley's being a lawyer i_ery inconvenient.—Poor Isabella!—she is sadly taken away from us all!—and ho_orry she will be when she comes, not to see Miss Taylor here!"
  • "She will not be surprized, papa, at least."
  • "I do not know, my dear. I am sure I was very much surprized when I firs_eard she was going to be married."
  • "We must ask Mr. and Mrs. Weston to dine with us, while Isabella is here."
  • "Yes, my dear, if there is time.—But—(in a very depressed tone)—she is comin_or only one week. There will not be time for any thing."
  • "It is unfortunate that they cannot stay longer—but it seems a case o_ecessity. Mr. John Knightley must be in town again on the 28th, and we ough_o be thankful, papa, that we are to have the whole of the time they can giv_o the country, that two or three days are not to be taken out for the Abbey.
  • Mr. Knightley promises to give up his claim this Christmas—though you know i_s longer since they were with him, than with us."
  • "It would be very hard, indeed, my dear, if poor Isabella were to be anywher_ut at Hartfield."
  • Mr. Woodhouse could never allow for Mr. Knightley's claims on his brother, o_ny body's claims on Isabella, except his own. He sat musing a little while, and then said,
  • "But I do not see why poor Isabella should be obliged to go back so soon, though he does. I think, Emma, I shall try and persuade her to stay longe_ith us. She and the children might stay very well."
  • "Ah! papa—that is what you never have been able to accomplish, and I do no_hink you ever will. Isabella cannot bear to stay behind her husband."
  • This was too true for contradiction. Unwelcome as it was, Mr. Woodhouse coul_nly give a submissive sigh; and as Emma saw his spirits affected by the ide_f his daughter's attachment to her husband, she immediately led to such _ranch of the subject as must raise them.
  • "Harriet must give us as much of her company as she can while my brother an_ister are here. I am sure she will be pleased with the children. We are ver_roud of the children, are not we, papa? I wonder which she will think th_andsomest, Henry or John?"
  • "Aye, I wonder which she will. Poor little dears, how glad they will be t_ome. They are very fond of being at Hartfield, Harriet."
  • "I dare say they are, sir. I am sure I do not know who is not."
  • "Henry is a fine boy, but John is very like his mama. Henry is the eldest, h_as named after me, not after his father. John, the second, is named after hi_ather. Some people are surprized, I believe, that the eldest was not, bu_sabella would have him called Henry, which I thought very pretty of her. An_e is a very clever boy, indeed. They are all remarkably clever; and they hav_o many pretty ways. They will come and stand by my chair, and say, `Grandpapa, can you give me a bit of string?' and once Henry asked me for _nife, but I told him knives were only made for grandpapas. I think thei_ather is too rough with them very often."
  • "He appears rough to you," said Emma, "because you are so very gentl_ourself; but if you could compare him with other papas, you would not thin_im rough. He wishes his boys to be active and hardy; and if they misbehave, can give them a sharp word now and then; but he is an affectionat_ather—certainly Mr. John Knightley is an affectionate father. The childre_re all fond of him."
  • "And then their uncle comes in, and tosses them up to the ceiling in a ver_rightful way!"
  • "But they like it, papa; there is nothing they like so much. It is suc_njoyment to them, that if their uncle did not lay down the rule of thei_aking turns, whichever began would never give way to the other."
  • "Well, I cannot understand it."
  • "That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understan_he pleasures of the other."
  • Later in the morning, and just as the girls were going to separate i_reparation for the regular four o'clock dinner, the hero of this inimitabl_harade walked in again. Harriet turned away; but Emma could receive him wit_he usual smile, and her quick eye soon discerned in his the consciousness o_aving made a push—of having thrown a die; and she imagined he was come to se_ow it might turn up. His ostensible reason, however, was to ask whether Mr.
  • Woodhouse's party could be made up in the evening without him, or whether h_hould be in the smallest degree necessary at Hartfield. If he were, ever_hing else must give way; but otherwise his friend Cole had been saying s_uch about his dining with him—had made such a point of it, that he ha_romised him conditionally to come.
  • Emma thanked him, but could not allow of his disappointing his friend on thei_ccount; her father was sure of his rubber. He re-urged—she re-declined; an_e seemed then about to make his bow, when taking the paper from the table, she returned it—
  • "Oh! here is the charade you were so obliging as to leave with us; thank yo_or the sight of it. We admired it so much, that I have ventured to write i_nto Miss Smith's collection. Your friend will not take it amiss I hope. O_ourse I have not transcribed beyond the first eight lines."
  • Mr. Elton certainly did not very well know what to say. He looked rathe_oubtingly—rather confused; said something about "honour,"—glanced at Emma an_t Harriet, and then seeing the book open on the table, took it up, an_xamined it very attentively. With the view of passing off an awkward moment, Emma smilingly said,
  • "You must make my apologies to your friend; but so good a charade must not b_onfined to one or two. He may be sure of every woman's approbation while h_rites with such gallantry."
  • "I have no hesitation in saying," replied Mr. Elton, though hesitating a goo_eal while he spoke; "I have no hesitation in saying—at least if my frien_eels at all as I do—I have not the smallest doubt that, could he see hi_ittle effusion honoured as I see it, (looking at the book again, an_eplacing it on the table), he would consider it as the proudest moment of hi_ife."
  • After this speech he was gone as soon as possible. Emma could not think it to_oon; for with all his good and agreeable qualities, there was a sort o_arade in his speeches which was very apt to incline her to laugh. She ra_way to indulge the inclination, leaving the tender and the sublime o_leasure to Harriet's share.