Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about Emma.

They remained but a few minutes together, as Miss Woodhouse must not be kept waiting; and Harriet then came running to her with a smiling face, and in a flutter of spirits, which Miss Woodhouse hoped very soon to compose.

“Only think of our happening to meet him!—­How very odd!  It was quite a chance, he said, that he had not gone round by Randalls.  He did not think we ever walked this road.  He thought we walked towards Randalls most days.  He has not been able to get the Romance of the Forest yet.  He was so busy the last time he was at Kingston that he quite forgot it, but he goes again to-morrow.  So very odd we should happen to meet!  Well, Miss Woodhouse, is he like what you expected?  What do you think of him?  Do you think him so very plain?”

“He is very plain, undoubtedly—­remarkably plain:—­but that is nothing compared with his entire want of gentility.  I had no right to expect much, and I did not expect much; but I had no idea that he could be so very clownish, so totally without air.  I had imagined him, I confess, a degree or two nearer gentility.”

“To be sure,” said Harriet, in a mortified voice, “he is not so genteel as real gentlemen.”

“I think, Harriet, since your acquaintance with us, you have been repeatedly in the company of some such very real gentlemen, that you must yourself be struck with the difference in Mr. Martin.  At Hartfield, you have had very good specimens of well educated, well bred men.  I should be surprized if, after seeing them, you could be in company with Mr. Martin again without perceiving him to be a very inferior creature—­and rather wondering at yourself for having ever thought him at all agreeable before.  Do not you begin to feel that now?  Were not you struck?  I am sure you must have been struck by his awkward look and abrupt manner, and the uncouthness of a voice which I heard to be wholly unmodulated as I stood here.”

“Certainly, he is not like Mr. Knightley.  He has not such a fine air and way of walking as Mr. Knightley.  I see the difference plain enough.  But Mr. Knightley is so very fine a man!”

“Mr. Knightley’s air is so remarkably good that it is not fair to compare Mr. Martin with him.  You might not see one in a hundred with gentleman so plainly written as in Mr. Knightley.  But he is not the only gentleman you have been lately used to.  What say you to Mr. Weston and Mr. Elton?  Compare Mr. Martin with either of them.  Compare their manner of carrying themselves; of walking; of speaking; of being silent.  You must see the difference.”

“Oh yes!—­there is a great difference.  But Mr. Weston is almost an old man.  Mr. Weston must be between forty and fifty.”

“Which makes his good manners the more valuable.  The older a person grows, Harriet, the more important it is that their manners should not be bad; the more glaring and disgusting any loudness, or coarseness, or awkwardness becomes.  What is passable in youth is detestable in later age.  Mr. Martin is now awkward and abrupt; what will he be at Mr. Weston’s time of life?”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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