Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 596 pages of information about Emma.
Its character as a ball-room caught him; and instead of passing on, he stopt for several minutes at the two superior sashed windows which were open, to look in and contemplate its capabilities, and lament that its original purpose should have ceased.  He saw no fault in the room, he would acknowledge none which they suggested.  No, it was long enough, broad enough, handsome enough.  It would hold the very number for comfort.  They ought to have balls there at least every fortnight through the winter.  Why had not Miss Woodhouse revived the former good old days of the room?—­She who could do any thing in Highbury!  The want of proper families in the place, and the conviction that none beyond the place and its immediate environs could be tempted to attend, were mentioned; but he was not satisfied.  He could not be persuaded that so many good-looking houses as he saw around him, could not furnish numbers enough for such a meeting; and even when particulars were given and families described, he was still unwilling to admit that the inconvenience of such a mixture would be any thing, or that there would be the smallest difficulty in every body’s returning into their proper place the next morning.  He argued like a young man very much bent on dancing; and Emma was rather surprized to see the constitution of the Weston prevail so decidedly against the habits of the Churchills.  He seemed to have all the life and spirit, cheerful feelings, and social inclinations of his father, and nothing of the pride or reserve of Enscombe.  Of pride, indeed, there was, perhaps, scarcely enough; his indifference to a confusion of rank, bordered too much on inelegance of mind.  He could be no judge, however, of the evil he was holding cheap.  It was but an effusion of lively spirits.

At last he was persuaded to move on from the front of the Crown; and being now almost facing the house where the Bateses lodged, Emma recollected his intended visit the day before, and asked him if he had paid it.

“Yes, oh! yes”—­he replied; “I was just going to mention it.  A very successful visit:—­I saw all the three ladies; and felt very much obliged to you for your preparatory hint.  If the talking aunt had taken me quite by surprize, it must have been the death of me.  As it was, I was only betrayed into paying a most unreasonable visit.  Ten minutes would have been all that was necessary, perhaps all that was proper; and I had told my father I should certainly be at home before him—­but there was no getting away, no pause; and, to my utter astonishment, I found, when he (finding me nowhere else) joined me there at last, that I had been actually sitting with them very nearly three-quarters of an hour.  The good lady had not given me the possibility of escape before.”

“And how did you think Miss Fairfax looking?”

“Ill, very ill—­that is, if a young lady can ever be allowed to look ill.  But the expression is hardly admissible, Mrs. Weston, is it?  Ladies can never look ill.  And, seriously, Miss Fairfax is naturally so pale, as almost always to give the appearance of ill health.—­ A most deplorable want of complexion.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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