He had time only to say,
“No, not at Randalls; I have not been near Randalls,” when the door was thrown open, and Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax walked into the room. Full of thanks, and full of news, Miss Bates knew not which to give quickest. Mr. Knightley soon saw that he had lost his moment, and that not another syllable of communication could rest with him.
“Oh! my dear sir, how are you this morning? My dear Miss Woodhouse— I come quite over-powered. Such a beautiful hind-quarter of pork! You are too bountiful! Have you heard the news? Mr. Elton is going to be married.”
Emma had not had time even to think of Mr. Elton, and she was so completely surprized that she could not avoid a little start, and a little blush, at the sound.
“There is my news:—I thought it would interest you,” said Mr. Knightley, with a smile which implied a conviction of some part of what had passed between them.
“But where could you hear it?” cried Miss Bates. “Where could you possibly hear it, Mr. Knightley? For it is not five minutes since I received Mrs. Cole’s note—no, it cannot be more than five— or at least ten—for I had got my bonnet and spencer on, just ready to come out—I was only gone down to speak to Patty again about the pork—Jane was standing in the passage—were not you, Jane?— for my mother was so afraid that we had not any salting-pan large enough. So I said I would go down and see, and Jane said, `Shall I go down instead? for I think you have a little cold, and Patty has been washing the kitchen.’—`Oh! my dear,’ said I—well, and just then came the note. A Miss Hawkins— that’s all I know. A Miss Hawkins of Bath. But, Mr. Knightley, how could you possibly have heard it? for the very moment Mr. Cole told Mrs. Cole of it, she sat down and wrote to me. A Miss Hawkins—”
“I was with Mr. Cole on business an hour and a half ago. He had just read Elton’s letter as I was shewn in, and handed it to me directly.”
“Well! that is quite—I suppose there never was a piece of news more generally interesting. My dear sir, you really are too bountiful. My mother desires her very best compliments and regards, and a thousand thanks, and says you really quite oppress her.”
“We consider our Hartfield pork,” replied Mr. Woodhouse—“indeed it certainly is, so very superior to all other pork, that Emma and I cannot have a greater pleasure than—”
“Oh! my dear sir, as my mother says, our friends are only too good to us. If ever there were people who, without having great wealth themselves, had every thing they could wish for, I am sure it is us. We may well say that `our lot is cast in a goodly heritage.’ Well, Mr. Knightley, and so you actually saw the letter; well—”
“It was short—merely to announce—but cheerful, exulting, of course.”— Here was a sly glance at Emma. “He had been so fortunate as to— I forget the precise words—one has no business to remember them. The information was, as you state, that he was going to be married to a Miss Hawkins. By his style, I should imagine it just settled.”