Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 596 pages of information about Emma.

“My dear, you are too particular,” said her husband.  “What does all that signify?  You will see nothing of it by candlelight.  It will be as clean as Randalls by candlelight.  We never see any thing of it on our club-nights.”

The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, “Men never know when things are dirty or not;” and the gentlemen perhaps thought each to himself, “Women will have their little nonsenses and needless cares.”

One perplexity, however, arose, which the gentlemen did not disdain.  It regarded a supper-room.  At the time of the ballroom’s being built, suppers had not been in question; and a small card-room adjoining, was the only addition.  What was to be done?  This card-room would be wanted as a card-room now; or, if cards were conveniently voted unnecessary by their four selves, still was it not too small for any comfortable supper?  Another room of much better size might be secured for the purpose; but it was at the other end of the house, and a long awkward passage must be gone through to get at it.  This made a difficulty.  Mrs. Weston was afraid of draughts for the young people in that passage; and neither Emma nor the gentlemen could tolerate the prospect of being miserably crowded at supper.

Mrs. Weston proposed having no regular supper; merely sandwiches, &c., set out in the little room; but that was scouted as a wretched suggestion.  A private dance, without sitting down to supper, was pronounced an infamous fraud upon the rights of men and women; and Mrs. Weston must not speak of it again.  She then took another line of expediency, and looking into the doubtful room, observed,

“I do not think it is so very small.  We shall not be many, you know.”

And Mr. Weston at the same time, walking briskly with long steps through the passage, was calling out,

“You talk a great deal of the length of this passage, my dear.  It is a mere nothing after all; and not the least draught from the stairs.”

“I wish,” said Mrs. Weston, “one could know which arrangement our guests in general would like best.  To do what would be most generally pleasing must be our object—­if one could but tell what that would be.”

“Yes, very true,” cried Frank, “very true.  You want your neighbours’ opinions.  I do not wonder at you.  If one could ascertain what the chief of them—­the Coles, for instance.  They are not far off.  Shall I call upon them?  Or Miss Bates?  She is still nearer.—­ And I do not know whether Miss Bates is not as likely to understand the inclinations of the rest of the people as any body.  I think we do want a larger council.  Suppose I go and invite Miss Bates to join us?”

“Well—­if you please,” said Mrs. Weston rather hesitating, “if you think she will be of any use.”

“You will get nothing to the purpose from Miss Bates,” said Emma.  “She will be all delight and gratitude, but she will tell you nothing.  She will not even listen to your questions.  I see no advantage in consulting Miss Bates.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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