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Chapter 9

  • Emma's pensive meditations, as she walked home, were not interrupted; but o_ntering the parlour, she found those who must rouse her. Mr. Knightley an_arriet 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, an_herefore must now be gone directly. I am going to London, to spend a few day_ith 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 hi_nquiries.
  • "Well, my dear, and did you get there safely?—And how did you find my worth_ld friend and her daughter?—I dare say they must have been very much oblige_o 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, an_hake of the head, which spoke much, she looked at Mr. Knightley.— It seeme_s if there were an instantaneous impression in her favour, as if his eye_eceived the truth from her's, and all that had passed of good in her feeling_ere at once caught and honoured.— He looked at her with a glow of regard. Sh_as warmly gratified— and in another moment still more so, by a littl_ovement 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— sh_ight, perhaps, have rather offered it—but he took her hand, pressed it, an_ertainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips— when, from some fanc_r other, he suddenly let it go.—Why he should feel such a scruple, why h_hould change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive.—H_ould have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped.—The intention,
  • however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in genera_o little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothin_ecame 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 suc_erfect amity.—He left them immediately afterwards— gone in a moment. H_lways moved with the alertness of a mind which could neither be undecided no_ilatory, 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 ha_eft her ten minutes earlier;—it would have been a great pleasure to talk ove_ane Fairfax's situation with Mr. Knightley.— Neither would she regret that h_hould be going to Brunswick Square, for she knew how much his visit would b_njoyed—but it might have happened at a better time—and to have had longe_otice of it, would have been pleasanter.—They parted thorough friends,
  • however; she could not be deceived as to the meaning of his countenance, an_is unfinished gallantry;—it was all done to assure her that she had full_ecovered his good opinion.—He had been sitting with them half an hour, sh_ound. It was a pity that she had not come back earlier!
  • In the hope of diverting her father's thoughts from the disagreeableness o_r. Knightley's going to London; and going so suddenly; and going o_orseback, which she knew would be all very bad; Emma communicated her news o_ane Fairfax, and her dependence on the effect was justified; it supplied _ery useful check,— interested, without disturbing him. He had long made u_is mind to Jane Fairfax's going out as governess, and could talk of i_heerfully, 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 acquaintanc_re just what they ought to be. I hope it is a dry situation, and that he_ealth will be taken good care of. It ought to be a first object, as I am sur_oor Miss Taylor's always was with me. You know, my dear, she is going to b_o this new lady what Miss Taylor was to us. And I hope she will be better of_n one respect, and not be induced to go away after it has been her home s_ong."
  • The following day brought news from Richmond to throw every thing else int_he background. An express arrived at Randalls to announce the death of Mrs.
  • Churchill! Though her nephew had had no particular reason to hasten back o_er account, she had not lived above six-and-thirty hours after his return. _udden seizure of a different nature from any thing foreboded by her genera_tate, had carried her off after a short struggle. The great Mrs. Churchil_as no more.
  • It was felt as such things must be felt. Every body had a degree of gravit_nd sorrow; tenderness towards the departed, solicitude for the survivin_riends; and, in a reasonable time, curiosity to know where she would b_uried. Goldsmith tells us, that when lovely woman stoops to folly, she ha_othing to do but to die; and when she stoops to be disagreeable, it i_qually to be recommended as a clearer of ill-fame. Mrs. Churchill, afte_eing disliked at least twenty-five years, was now spoken of wit_ompassionate allowances. In one point she was fully justified. She had neve_een admitted before to be seriously ill. The event acquitted her of all th_ancifulness, and all the selfishness of imaginary complaints.
  • "Poor Mrs. Churchill! no doubt she had been suffering a great deal: more tha_ny body had ever supposed—and continual pain would try the temper. It was _ad event—a great shock—with all her faults, what would Mr. Churchill d_ithout her? Mr. Churchill's loss would be dreadful indeed. Mr. Churchil_ould 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 hi_ourning should be as handsome as possible; and his wife sat sighing an_oralising over her broad hems with a commiseration and good sense, true an_teady. How it would affect Frank was among the earliest thoughts of both. I_as 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 an_ompassion—and then rested with lightened feelings on how Frank might b_ffected by the event, how benefited, how freed. She saw in a moment all th_ossible good. Now, an attachment to Harriet Smith would have nothing t_ncounter. Mr. Churchill, independent of his wife, was feared by nobody; a_asy, guidable man, to be persuaded into any thing by his nephew. All tha_emained 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 bein_lready formed.
  • Harriet behaved extremely well on the occasion, with great self-command. Wha_ver she might feel of brighter hope, she betrayed nothing. Emma wa_ratified, to observe such a proof in her of strengthened character, an_efrained 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 wa_mmediately important of their state and plans. Mr. Churchill was better tha_ould be expected; and their first removal, on the departure of the funera_or Yorkshire, was to be to the house of a very old friend in Windsor, to who_r. Churchill had been promising a visit the last ten years. At present, ther_as nothing to be done for Harriet; good wishes for the future were all tha_ould yet be possible on Emma's side.
  • It was a more pressing concern to shew attention to Jane Fairfax, whos_rospects were closing, while Harriet's opened, and whose engagements no_llowed of no delay in any one at Highbury, who wished to shew he_indness—and with Emma it was grown into a first wish. She had scarcely _tronger regret than for her past coldness; and the person, whom she had bee_o many months neglecting, was now the very one on whom she would hav_avished every distinction of regard or sympathy. She wanted to be of use t_er; wanted to shew a value for her society, and testify respect an_onsideration. She resolved to prevail on her to spend a day at Hartfield. _ote was written to urge it. The invitation was refused, and by a verba_essage. "Miss Fairfax was not well enough to write;" and when Mr. Perr_alled at Hartfield, the same morning, it appeared that she was so muc_ndisposed as to have been visited, though against her own consent, b_imself, and that she was suffering under severe headaches, and a nervou_ever 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 completel_eranged— appetite quite gone—and though there were no absolutely alarmin_ymptoms, nothing touching the pulmonary complaint, which was the standin_pprehension of the family, Mr. Perry was uneasy about her. He thought she ha_ndertaken more than she was equal to, and that she felt it so herself, thoug_he would not own it. Her spirits seemed overcome. Her present home, he coul_ot but observe, was unfavourable to a nervous disorder:— confined always t_ne room;—he could have wished it otherwise— and her good aunt, though hi_ery old friend, he must acknowledge to be not the best companion for a_nvalid of that description. Her care and attention could not be questioned;
  • they were, in fact, only too great. He very much feared that Miss Fairfa_erived 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 o_eing useful. To take her—be it only an hour or two—from her aunt, to give he_hange of air and scene, and quiet rational conversation, even for an hour o_wo, might do her good; and the following morning she wrote again to say, i_he most feeling language she could command, that she would call for her i_he 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. Th_nswer was only in this short note:
  • "Miss Fairfax's compliments and thanks, but is quite unequal to any exercise."
  • Emma felt that her own note had deserved something better; but it wa_mpossible to quarrel with words, whose tremulous inequality shewe_ndisposition so plainly, and she thought only of how she might bes_ounteract 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 hop_hat Jane would be induced to join her— but it would not do;—Miss Bates cam_o the carriage door, all gratitude, and agreeing with her most earnestly i_hinking an airing might be of the greatest service—and every thing tha_essage could do was tried— but all in vain. Miss Bates was obliged to retur_ithout success; Jane was quite unpersuadable; the mere proposal of going ou_eemed to make her worse.—Emma wished she could have seen her, and tried he_wn powers; but, almost before she could hint the wish, Miss Bates made i_ppear 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—an_ody at all— Mrs. Elton, indeed, could not be denied—and Mrs. Cole had mad_uch a point—and Mrs. Perry had said so much—but, except them, Jane woul_eally see nobody."
  • Emma did not want to be classed with the Mrs. Eltons, the Mrs. Perrys, and th_rs. Coles, who would force themselves anywhere; neither could she feel an_ight of preference herself— she submitted, therefore, and only questione_iss Bates farther as to her niece's appetite and diet, which she longed to b_ble to assist. On that subject poor Miss Bates was very unhappy, and ver_ommunicative; Jane would hardly eat any thing:— Mr. Perry recommende_ourishing food; but every thing they could command (and never had any bod_uch good neighbours) was distasteful.
  • Emma, on reaching home, called the housekeeper directly, to an examination o_er stores; and some arrowroot of very superior quality was speedil_espatched to Miss Bates with a most friendly note. In half an hour th_rrowroot was returned, with a thousand thanks from Miss Bates, but "dear Jan_ould not be satisfied without its being sent back; it was a thing she coul_ot take—and, moreover, she insisted on her saying, that she was not at all i_ant of any thing."
  • When Emma afterwards heard that Jane Fairfax had been seen wandering about th_eadows, at some distance from Highbury, on the afternoon of the very day o_hich she had, under the plea of being unequal to any exercise, s_eremptorily refused to go out with her in the carriage, she could have n_oubt—putting every thing together— that Jane was resolved to receive n_indness from her. She was sorry, very sorry. Her heart was grieved for _tate which seemed but the more pitiable from this sort of irritation o_pirits, inconsistency of action, and inequality of powers; and it mortifie_er that she was given so little credit for proper feeling, or esteemed s_ittle worthy as a friend: but she had the consolation of knowing that he_ntentions 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, coul_e even have seen into her heart, he would not, on this occasion, have foun_ny thing to reprove.