Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about Emma.
to one another.  I am sure they were talking of me; and I could not help thinking that he was persuading her to speak to me—­(do you think he was, Miss Woodhouse?)—­for presently she came forward—­came quite up to me, and asked me how I did, and seemed ready to shake hands, if I would.  She did not do any of it in the same way that she used; I could see she was altered; but, however, she seemed to try to be very friendly, and we shook hands, and stood talking some time; but I know no more what I said—­I was in such a tremble!—­I remember she said she was sorry we never met now; which I thought almost too kind!  Dear, Miss Woodhouse, I was absolutely miserable!  By that time, it was beginning to hold up, and I was determined that nothing should stop me from getting away—­and then—­only think!—­ I found he was coming up towards me too—­slowly you know, and as if he did not quite know what to do; and so he came and spoke, and I answered—­and I stood for a minute, feeling dreadfully, you know, one can’t tell how; and then I took courage, and said it did not rain, and I must go; and so off I set; and I had not got three yards from the door, when he came after me, only to say, if I was going to Hartfield, he thought I had much better go round by Mr. Cole’s stables, for I should find the near way quite floated by this rain.  Oh! dear, I thought it would have been the death of me!  So I said, I was very much obliged to him:  you know I could not do less; and then he went back to Elizabeth, and I came round by the stables—­I believe I did—­but I hardly knew where I was, or any thing about it.  Oh!  Miss Woodhouse, I would rather done any thing than have it happen:  and yet, you know, there was a sort of satisfaction in seeing him behave so pleasantly and so kindly.  And Elizabeth, too.  Oh!  Miss Woodhouse, do talk to me and make me comfortable again.”

Very sincerely did Emma wish to do so; but it was not immediately in her power.  She was obliged to stop and think.  She was not thoroughly comfortable herself.  The young man’s conduct, and his sister’s, seemed the result of real feeling, and she could not but pity them.  As Harriet described it, there had been an interesting mixture of wounded affection and genuine delicacy in their behaviour.  But she had believed them to be well-meaning, worthy people before; and what difference did this make in the evils of the connexion?  It was folly to be disturbed by it.  Of course, he must be sorry to lose her—­they must be all sorry.  Ambition, as well as love, had probably been mortified.  They might all have hoped to rise by Harriet’s acquaintance:  and besides, what was the value of Harriet’s description?—­So easily pleased—­so little discerning;—­ what signified her praise?

She exerted herself, and did try to make her comfortable, by considering all that had passed as a mere trifle, and quite unworthy of being dwelt on,

“It might be distressing, for the moment,” said she; “but you seem to have behaved extremely well; and it is over—­and may never—­ can never, as a first meeting, occur again, and therefore you need not think about it.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.